Wikipedia talk:Vital articles/Archive 2

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"Worldwide view"

I agree that some lists are biased- see "Entrepreneurs" for example - and this should include a better variety. However, I think that an English language release should show some bias towards English language countries. For example WP:VA on a Pashtun Wikipedia might include more cities in Afghanistan than we would expect to find in this list. I would expect to see more French politicians in the French WP:VA than in this list. That is quite appropriate. Nevertheless, the list is a bit too one-sided at the moment, at least in some areas. Walkerma 07:28, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Formal gauge of interest for WikiProject

Now that there is a POV tag on the page itself, I would like to formally gauge interest in creating Wikipedia:WikiProject Vital articles. One of its objectives could be developing criteria for inclusion on the list, and perhaps it could provide for some supplemental collaboration on the pages themselves. If formed, I would like to be a member. If anyone is interested, please feel free to comment here. Thank you. Dafoeberezin3494 20:04, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Rather than starting a separate WikiProject, I wonder if we should just expand the scope of an existing project, WP:CORE to include Vital Articles. Although WP:CORE itself is fairly quiet, it does have an existing Collaboration of the Fortnight that is quite established, with people regularly contributing - take a look at the COTF page and its regular "advert". We could maybe focus efforts on improving Core Topics and supplement articles that are also on the VA list (many are), and in the longer term expand the COTF to include other VAs. If a separate project for VA is desired, then I would suggest that both groups at least work closely together. Walkerma 22:23, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
On a related note, we at WP:WVWP, another of the WP:1.0 projects, are planning on assessing all articles on the WP:VA list as part of our plan to include all or most VAs in our next offline release, (WP:V0.7). We have recently created a VA tagging page for this purpose, maybe people here would like to help? If a project is created, then that work would also naturally be part of the scope of such a project. This is just a relevant FYI, I don't want to lead the discussion away from the main topic - is a project desired or not? Walkerma 22:30, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the information. It seems more practical to simply expand the scope of the quiet WikiProject. Do you know if WP:CORE has developed guidelines for what is and is not a core article, vital article, etc...? I think that issue needs to be addressed, and it seems to be in the scope of WP:CORE. Dafoeberezin3494 01:00, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think there are formal guidelines. The current list evolved (Wikipedia-style!) through debate. It started out as a list created by User:Maurreen (currently on Wikibreak) who tried to cover all areas, though of course it had some bias. We threw out a few from the original list, replacing them with better ones - often based on the quality of the article: "XXX is a stub, but the similar concept YYY has a much better article". Last spring, User:Silence argued vociferously for removing some and adding others, and after some debate many of those changes were made. Many of the "removed" articles were placed in the supplement.
It would be nice to have such guidelines, but I think these would best be done by someone knowledgable in the area of information science. Do you have any knowledge in that area? It would be really nice to compare VA and the two Core lists carefully - something I've never done myself. Silence has worked on both lists, but this stuff isn't the main area of his interest. We need to consider how best to get to work on this - any suggestions? Walkerma 05:38, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
If we are to formalize and widely apply these lists, I think some specific guidelines for inclusion, and review, might be helpful. One problem that frequently arose on WP:CORE was that people not only disagreed on the notability of various topics, but also on what we should even be looking for. For example, I felt that Society and Culture were some of the most important core topics, whereas others felt that Social sciences and Humanities were. Such disagreements reflect a disagreement not over notability, but over categorizational methodology: is it more important for us to list "broad" categories, even when the articles themselves are not very important (e.g., humanities and social sciences are recent Western academic categories, not phenomena as broadly important as life or art)? Finding a point of balance is made doubly difficult when we are approaching the problem from such different angles. We also need to address bias not only in terms of location (e.g., West getting hugely more coverage than East), but also temporally: are any of the actors and entertainers we list really sufficiently noteworthy to merit inclusion here? Do Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood really reach the level of importance of people like René Descartes or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? In any case, if WP:VA is not going to be merged with WP:CORE, we should probably avoid adding too much structure to it, since one of the defining differences between the two projects is that WP:VA is more informal and "loose" than that page, and more willing and open to revision. -Silence 06:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I do not have any knowledge in the area of information science. I was actually thinking of a more (Wikipedia-style!) collegial system for deciding inclusion on the list. Perhaps when I said "guidelines" I really only meant we should develop some sort of "agreement" on what articles should be on the list. I am making the assumption that a) we want to generally restrict the size of the list and b) some articles that are presently on the list do not belong there. Sorry for the confusion. Dafoeberezin3494 06:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
It would be good to consider guidelines of various sorts. The Core/Vital task is an fundamentally important project. And, Silence's points are well made. Given the variety of possible approaches to this work, for the sake of coordinating basic categories in Wikipedia and for the evaluation of most general content, I think it is a good idea to consider organizing the Vital articles project so that the category structure (beyond the first level and through the first several levels) is very similar to that of the 1.0 project (and Core subset of that). Further, if possible, i think it makes sense to define together (and circulate to the larger community for comment) a similar set of goals and methods of how to define what are general or important articles. For the group organizing and categorizing work, some sort of group approval process is obviously needed. But, inside of those commonalities, the Vital list process could still be more informal and dynamic and the Core process could be more rigorous and structured - since Core is partly aimed at generating relatively fixed/static publications, reproducible on CDs. A rough parallel might be the difference between how the WP:GA and WP:FA lists work, with GA list as more inclusive and relaxed in standards than the FA list. Vital articles could organically grow to be a significantly longer list than the Core top 1000 (or however many). Alternatively or additionally, the projects could be merged into the same process -- Vital articles being a nomination space and Core being a final agreement space (with both nominated and approved articles noted by a small icon in the VA list)? Anyway, whatever unfolds, I really enjoy categorization and plan to work on these lists somehow. --Reswik 14:35, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Excellent points - I look forward to seeing anything you come up with and commenting. It's certainly not small task you're getting yourself into :-) I think also though you will need to reference the meta list and we need to figure out how that fits into any future scheme of things here. SeanMack 14:59, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, good to be here. I've looked over the meta list. I see Silence has done work on meta. It seems there needs to be an ongoing process of reconciliation between Meta and the WP lists -- and I'm not sure which should be the final list (meta?). Such reconciliation would seem to be best made from the more stable and authorized (agreed) list to less stable lists. And what would be the most authorized list? Practically, here in the English WP, the extended Core topics list of 1000 might be the place to do the finalizing work, though, for the purposes of cross-WP language version inclusion, perhaps a group needs to be formed to work on the meta list? --Reswik 16:25, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
There is an organizing issue that can help us in coordinating the content of lists, and this is the creating a cross-platform cagetory structure for the lists. Regarding category structure, there was a discussion process last Spring in the 1.0 project that arrived it seems at a stable set of 10 top categories for the releases. These top categories are very similar to some other top level categorization schemes used in WP. If that work could be extended and carried down 3 or 4 or even 5 levels of specificity (which would amount to not only 100s of subcategories but also to 100s of main articles) and then reconciled across lists, it might go a long ways to fleshing out and coordinating the various key articles lists. Britannica did some extensive work along these lines in the Propaedia (sp?) project. So, perhaps a large part of the work to be done here first is approaching and deciding if and how to co-create an approved and effective multi-level, multi-project (and even multi-WP) categorization scheme or tree. --Reswik 16:25, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Actors and entertainers review

I question the inclusion of all the entries in "actors and entertainers". Most seem to be included for being "iconic" and/or "influential", both of which are very subjective and very difficult to judge in the short term. I particularly question the inclusion of Woody Allen, Marlene Dietrich, Clint Eastwood, and John Wayne. My current plan is to avoid controversy by simply deleting the section, and possibly moving "Madonna" (who, as the most successful female performer of all time, is the least controversial entry on that list) to the "Musicians" section, alongside Elvis Presley and The Beatles. If the section is to be kept, then good justifications will have to be made for including each of the entries. -Silence 06:38, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the above but not with your logic for removing Ireland and New Zealand from the countries. To my mind it's not bias to be interested in encyclopaedic entries of English speaking countries on an English language wiki if one is indeed English speaking. Also I'd appreciate a bit of talk page discussion on your removals of the cities and countries. I just want to make sure there is consensus, and you are not exchanging someone elses subjective views with your own. Do we have criteria for these things? Cheers SeanMack 12:17, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
To explain my POV further - I personally would not take an encyclopaedia seriously if it did not cover all the major countries, cities, rivers and lakes etc. Unfortunately since people volunteer their time people seem go with their interests which seems to be more related to pop culture and pokemon et al. For me that is all the more reason to have the less ephemeral topics as stated vital articles. There are some things that shouldn't be culled just to make a shorter list. SeanMack 12:39, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
"To my mind it's not bias to be interested in encyclopaedic entries of English speaking countries on an English language wiki if one is indeed English speaking." - The function of this list is not to provide a list of articles that are of interest to an English language speaker, but rather to provide a list of articles that are especially crucial for an encyclopedia written in English. Encyclopedias written in English do not write more about English-speaking countries than about non-English-speaking countries, all else being equal. Part of the primary function of WP:VA is to help minimize the natural bias of typical English Wikipedia editors; it should not encourage, exacerbate, or validate that bias. People already know what countries they tend naturally to prefer to read about; this is not a list of such articles, but a list of especially important articles. Importance is rarely, if ever, linguistically relative. As for the countries and cities list, I didn't arbitrarily remove them on a personal whim, but rather simply removed all the ones that had been added since the creation of the "countries" and "cities" sections of this article last year, since I failed to see a justification for their addition on the Talk page, or on the articles themselves. I'm perfectly fine with discussing them (and the), but the burden of proof should, in most cases, be on the people trying to add entries, not remove them, since it is much easier to demonstrate crucial notability than to try to prove a negative. -Silence 13:08, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

My main point is that countries per se are all important. It just so happens that this actually is the English language wikipedia and I see absolutely no problem with trying to have excellent articles on all English speaking countries. In reality these are more likely to get good contributions. Given that the vital articles page is featured prominently on the Good Articles page it was always my hope that because of this we point editors in the direction of creating and improving solid encyclopaedic articles as opposed to all the trivia I increasingly see, particularly to help improve any articles that would make it to CD or print. I personally believe that the vital articles page is a tool and now as I write this I can I see a huge benefit from a VA project if it existed, and was supported. One potential for VA is to act as an index of encyclopaedic content; a subset of classic encyclopedia type articles within the broader wikipedia at large.

Avoiding systemic bias is a good thing but removing English speaking countries seems to me anyway to be taking that too far. I'll restate my point in another way. Would you actually buy an encyclopaedia that didn't cover all major countries? I think that maybe vital articles should be better defined. To me core topics represent a line in the sand if you like, a subjective call on the most important articles. Whereas, to me, vital articles are those that a decent encyclopaedia would cover in reasonable depth, I personally don't believe this means it needs to be an FA, to me these articles should be a good B, GA, A or FA. That is my personal view.

Maybe in an ideal world all language wikis would concentrate on their strengths and through translation projects we could share the best articles. Given that premise we should strive as English speakers to cover our own ground as best we can.

At a more specific level related to just my edit that was reverted, clearly I am biased about the inclusion of Ireland since I'm Irish, but for a country that has provided a huge diaspora around the world and a disproportionate amount of recognized playrights and writers (Noted by the print Encyclopaedia Brittanica) it seems a strange omission. I added New Zealand for balance, and I genuinely still believe that if an English wiki does not cover all English speaking countries it is almost like positive discrimination gone mad. It's just my thoughts and I'm not going to push the issue. I guess the way forward is to attempt a consensus criteria - then neither of us could be accused of solely subjective edits. Kind regards. SeanMack 14:28, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

"My main point is that countries per se are all important." - WP:VA is not a list of "important" articles. It is a list of vitally important articles.
"It just so happens that this actually is the English language wikipedia and I see absolutely no problem with trying to have excellent articles on all English speaking countries." - Neither do I. Unless we do so to the exclusion of non-English-speaking countries. Then it goes from "area of interest" improvement to crude bias. But the function of WP:VA is not to list every article that "I see absolutely no problem with trying to have excellent articles" for; such a list would span the millions, not the hundreds.
"To me core topics represent a line in the sand if you like, a subjective call on the most important articles." - I agree. That's why we have multiple lists for the different "lines" one could potentially draw, like WP:VA and WP:CORE and the expanded lists for each of those areas. As long as we are internally consistent, our list remains useful, no matter how arbitrary the specific line we chose to draw is. So our main duty should be removing articles that clearly don't belong, and adding ones that clearly do; most "borderline" articles can probably simply be removed (or at least moved to the Expanded list).
"Whereas, to me, vital articles are those that a decent encyclopaedia would cover in reasonable depth," - That criterion is too loose, and very debatable. Besides, most encyclopedias (with the exception of very large ones) haven't had articles "in reasonable depth" on every country in the world.
"I personally don't believe this means it needs to be an FA," - They don't "need to be", but ideally they should be. (Or at the very least an A or GA.) The primary, short-term function of WP:VA is to keep people alerted to the current state of Wikipedia's most essential articles, so as to better-organize efforts to clean up ones with major problems, and expand ones that are currently stubs. However, WP:VA's longer-term goal is to try to make the quality of all these articles excellent, and ideally Featured. ... But that doesn't mean that every article that Wikipedia should have an FA on needs to be on this list. There are many, many, many articles Wikipedia should have FAs on that are not absolutely essential.
"Maybe in an ideal world all language wikis would concentrate on their strengths and through translation projects we could share the best articles. Given that premise we should strive as English speakers to cover our own ground as best we can." - That's an absolutely horrible idea in practice, because there are many times more English-speakers than non-English-speakers on the Wikipedias, and because a very large number of English Wikipedia's editors speak non-English languages too. Plus there are countless billions of excellent English-language resources on non-English-language topics; why ignore them just to perpetuate our bias?
"At a more specific level related to just my edit that was reverted, clearly I am biased about the inclusion of Ireland since I'm Irish," - I can't say I'm surprised.
"but for a country that has provided a huge diaspora around the world and a disproportionate amount of recognized playrights and writers (Noted by the print Encyclopaedia Brittanica) it seems a strange omission." - Well, it isn't. You are just too close to the subject matter, and too far away from the dozens of other countries that also weren't included on this list, yet are more noteworthy than Ireland.
"I added New Zealand for balance," - How is New Zealand a "balance"?! If you'd added an African or Asian country, it might have been a "balance", but adding another English-speaking country just exacerbates the bias.
"if an English wiki does not cover all English speaking countries it is almost like positive discrimination gone mad." - You are, quite frankly, completely mistaken here. First, "positive discrimination" is an absurd accusation to lobby, as it doesn't even make any sense in this context. Second, WP:VA is a list of the most absolutely essential articles on Wikipedia; is it not a list of every article that the English Wiki should cover! Even the Expanded version of WP:VA is not a list of every article that the English Wiki should cover! There are tens of thousands of articles that the English Wiki should cover.
"I guess the way forward is to attempt a consensus criteria - then neither of us could be accused of solely subjective edits." - I agree here. We should determine what to include through consensus-building discussion like this, and gather people's opinions on the matter. -Silence 08:37, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Inherent biases in Wikipedia

The actors & entertainers discussion above brings out a much broader issue - one which is largely ignored across Wikipedia as a whole, but which is critical (even "vital") in assembling this list - the issue of inherent biases. Some of those biases are valid, some are not. My time working at WP:V0.5 has helped me see a lot of that. As a Brit living in America, I can often see two sides of things - ideally I should see many sides. Here are some of the biases I have seen: (I will sign at the end of each section, Walkerma 21:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC))

Place and culture

This is a very tricky one, and the major topic we need to address with the POV tag. We all know that the English Wikipedia has much stronger coverage of topics from the US and from the UK, because that's where most of our editors live. People are more likely to write a decent article about their home town than an "obscure" town in Africa. I spent some time trying to find information last week in our (US) college library (a pretty good one) on Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania; the only book with any detail on the topic had information on where I could buy American food, meet other Americans, etc. There was nothing outside the CIA factbook to say anything about the culture of the city, demographics, etc. If it's like that for a capital city with a population of one million, what would it be like for a smaller town? Yet in my college library I can probably find much more information on towns in the US, or even Europe, that are much smaller and less important. So we are handicapped from the start - the information available to us in the English-speaking world is limited mainly to Anglophone culture. Google hit numbers aren't the answer either, since the Internet has the same bias that Wikipedia does.

At the English Wikipedia we face a unique problem; the fact that our culture is at present the dominant culture of the world. The reality is that The Beatles are far more popular around the world than any Russian or Japanese pop group. George W. Bush ranks as more important than any other current world leader. Star Wars will be ranked more highly worldwide than even the most popular Bollywood films, even though the latter may include some English. So there remains a major question - how do we separate the natural prominence of English-speaking culture from our ethnocentricity?

I think editors on Wikipedia rarely have glaring ethnocentricity like the headline, "Fog in English Channel, Europe cut off". However, I have seen American editors happily select an American topic for Version 0.5 they consider important, then reject a similar UK topic of equivalent importance (from my perspective as a Brit in the US). Apply that thinking worldwide - and you have a much bigger gulf. We need a formal system to try and offset that. We could try to judge worldwide importance - one way would be to ask, How many interwikis are there to other language versions of the article (excluding Simple English)? For example, Boston Red Sox has 18 and Real Madrid has 41, though most Americans wouldn't have heard of the latter (at least until the recent Beckham deal!).

Some bias is natural and reasonable. We should not aim for some silly version of "cultural parity" where we rank Wuhan (the "Chicago of China") (23 interwikis) with Chicago (56 interwikis), despite their superficial similarity. Clearly Chicago is more prominent on the world stage than Wuhan - though Wuhan is definitely a very important place as well. This represents the prominence of English culture in the world, as shown by the interwikis - we can't ignore it.

But even beyond that, we should allow for the fact that many English speakers are likely to live in or visit Chicago compared to Wuhan. In other words, we should show a moderate bias towards our readers - there is nothing wrong in that. I would expect the Polish Wikipedia to have better coverage of Polish football teams, villages, etc than the English Wikipedia, and vice versa, and that is quite right. A much higher % of Polish than English speakers are interested in Polish football teams! Would we demand that Scunthorpe United F.C. be included in the Polish Wikipedia, for balance?

Encyclopedias written in English do not write more about English-speaking countries than about non-English-speaking countries, all else being equal. Yes they do - it's not even close! Contrary to what Silence says, I think traditional encyclopedias do have some bias. Try looking up Watertown in [Columbia] and you get lots of medium-sized towns in the US. Try looking up similar or larger towns in Poland such as Chojnice (cf [1]), Kwidzyn, Reda. If Poland, an EU member, gets less coverage, what about China, India, Indonesia, Brazil? I could give more examples from print encyclopedias.

Narrowing down to the VA list in particular, I think this list should cater to the English reader. It is not written for an imaginary audience that reads articles about Polish football teams as often as those about English teams. I think Silence is blurring the distinction here between a meta list, and an English list:

  • m:List of articles every Wikipedia should have: Represents a true (if that's possible!) "worldwide view", free of cultural bias (as much as possible).
  • [[en:Vital articles]] (this list): Should represent the above, as well as a few additional articles that are of interest to English readers.

If the consensus is that these pages should be completely identical, then I will nominate this page for deletion and set up a redirect to the meta page (if that's possible!). The only reason for VA to exist as a separate project is to allow us to add things that English speakers consider "vital". I only expect that list to be no more than 100 articles - perhaps 50 at most - but it would help reflect the interests of our readers.

Silence is certainly right, though, when he says Part of the primary function of WP:VA is to help minimize the natural bias of typical English Wikipedia editors; it should not encourage, exacerbate, or validate that bias. I interpret that to mean, "we shouldn't make things worse, we should try to tilt things in the right direction". There is a middle way between rampant ethnocentricity and realistically catering for the readers. We should not be like the old-style BBC patronisingly educating the ignorant masses about what they should be interested in, but at the same time we don't want VA to be filled up with characters from Star Trek. Currently I think the tag is right - it is too biased towards the Anglo cultures - it needs fixing. We can do this!

I will add sections on other biases later, I must get on! Walkerma 21:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

This is an absolutely superb analysis of the problematic situation we're in, and resonates well with the troubles I've had in the past with distinguishing "the natural prominence of English-speaking culture from our ethnocentricity". For example, is it really so clear that George Washington merits inclusion on WP:VA when other countries' founders don't? Is it really clear that Miguel de Cervantes and Dante Alighieri merit inclusion in large part for helping define their respective languages, while writers in countless Asian and African languages don't? Ultimately, all we can really do is try to combat the most egregious biases; we can't rewrite Western academia from the ground up all on our own, simply because we lack the expertise. However, I do like the idea of counting InterWiki links, and I've used something similar in the past on the longer list. I think another strategy that could be very helpful if we find a way to organize it at some point in the future is to try to actually find Africans, Asians, South Americans, etc. and ask them how they'd "rate" the various included (and non-included) topics on a scale, to try to help balance our own bias against theirs and thus find the safe "middle" that all the cultures more or less agree on. Even better would be to find academics from each region, rather than just laypeople, of course.
"Yes they do - it's not even close! Contrary to what Silence says, I think traditional encyclopedias do have some bias." - You misunderstand. I was saying that English encyclopedias shouldn't have bias towards English-speaking countries. Where bias creeps in, it's never explicitly intentional; no English-language general encyclopedia has as part of its mission statement "We want to devote most of our efforts to the English-speaking world!" And the English Wikipedia certainly qualifies as not adhering to that mission statement either. Bias towards the English-speaking world is something Wikipedians need to fight, not endorse.
"Narrowing down to the VA list in particular, I think this list should cater to the English reader." - First, "the English reader" consists of people from all different cultures; just because most English-speakers live in the "English-speaking world" doesn't mean that all do, and we should not be biased towards the larger group over the smaller whenever it's possible to satisfy both. Second, I think we need to draw the line between two different types of "catering". One type of catering is reasonable and good: that's taking the commonsensical approach of choosing articles that will most benefit English-speakers, over ones that are "politically correct". Political correctness and artificial globalism should not get in the way of our encyclopedic utility.
However, the other type of "catering", which I think was going on with the interjection of New Zealand and Ireland, is catering that is harmful to our readers because it conforms more to their biases than to the real world, and therefore is much less informative than a more objective listing. I believe that in the overwhelming majority of cases, we should not favor the English-speaking world significantly over the rest of the world on WP:VA, because doing so makes our list less useful, not more useful, to English-speakers, but failing to inform them about extremely important topics that might otherwise be under-covered on Wikipedia (because they aren't focused on our specific part of the world). Only in certain rare cases, if ever, should we permit any bias towards English-speakers, and most of those should just be linguistic biases: for example, the way the English language works might require that we have more articles on a certain topic than other language Wikis would. For example, other languages might not list both art and visual art, because they don't have the same semantic redundancy we do. Or they might not list both blue and green, if they only have one word for both of those colors. That sort of "bias" is perfectly acceptable. What isn't acceptable is shortchanging our readers by sacrificing neutrality for conformity to their biases where we don't need to. For example, although George Washington might be a "borderline" entry, it's pretty clear, despite our America-centric biases, that we don't need to include Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson on the list. The purpose of an encyclopedia is to inform people about things they misunderstand or are ignorant of; it is not to parrot back what they already think and believe.
Also, this list is supposed to be the same as the meta list. They are the same project, I just renamed this one from its original meta-styled name for the sake of simplicity (because the older names were much harder to remember). The original title of this page, indeed, was Wikipedia:List of articles all languages should have. Ideally, the only difference should be that this listing is shorter, and the Extended list should conform exactly to the meta list (both through changes to the meta and changes here, depending on which is superior).
And no, it is not possible to set up a redirect to the meta page, nor is it advisable. As mentioned, WP:VA is meant to be a greatly shortened version of the meta list; Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded is the page that keeps the same relative length, and would be what we'd redirect if anything. Secondly, because this page is only for the English language wiki, we can use Wikipedia's simpler wikicode rather than the more complex code used for the MediaWiki page. Really, those are the only two reasons for the existence of this page; this page was not created just because we wanted to insert a couple more Anglocentric articles here. If anything, the reverse is the case, and we wanted to shorten the list because the Meta list is far too Anglocentric (and that bias is harder to deal with because the list is so much longer). Now, I'm not saying that we can't include at least a few articles that are of primary interest to English-speakers; all I'm saying is that that is not the purpose of this page, and should play little, if any, role in our overall selection process. It should only come into play in situations where it greatly increases our encyclopedic usefulness, and does not greatly decrease our encyclopedic neutrality, to do so. In most cases, it simply should not be part of our decision-making process; we shouldn't let Ernest Hemingway hedge out Fyodor Dostoevsky just because he's an English-speaker.
"but it would help reflect the interests of our readers." - No. Our Anglocentric additions should reflect the needs, not "interests", of our readers. We don't need to include a Super Bowl article because of the "interests of our readers", whereas I could see a stronger argument being made for including separation of church and state because it's such an important topic in the English-speaking world (though I don't see a need for either on this listing). Encyclopedias are not hobby books. We should include articles based on their informational value, not based on how interesting our readers should find them; World War II would merit inclusion even if the entire affair had been deadly dull and monotonous.
"I interpret that to mean, "we shouldn't make things worse, we should try to tilt things in the right direction"." - Roughly, yes. I am not advocating that we make the list Politically Correct, but rather that we minimize our natural biases in our selection process, because this list, despite being written for English Wikipedia, does, in fact, have an intended reader base that is international; one of the main purposes for the original creation of Wikipedia, for example, was to eventually pass out free copies of this encyclopedia to schoolchildren in Africa. And because the English Wikipedia is so much larger than the other Wikipedias, foreign-language Wikipedias (especially the smaller ones) are often heavily dependent on our decisions here to determine what they do there; it is therefore our responsibility, not to try to be 100% objective, but to minimize our bias as much as possible when it doesn't significantly improve the neutrality and usefulness of this listing. Besides, the English language is currently the most internationally widespread language in the world; although it doesn't have the most , it is the language that the largest number of disparate countries, even outside of Europe and North America, recognize. It should therefore, if anything, be the most global, pluralistic, and culturally neutral of any Wikipedia project in existence (and no, Meta is not a Wikipedia project). Although this might not always be possible in practice, what matters is that we keep that in mind in theory so as to prevent the opposite trend (towards increased Anglicization and insular isolation from the outside world) from gaining strength. -Silence 03:52, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Good, it appears that we are roughly in agreement. I apologise if I misunderstood your comment about other encyclopedias. I like the idea of talking to people from other cultures, and we should also look at the different language versions of the page on meta. My interpretation of this page as equal to "meta+" comes from the definition given at the top of the VA page, but I know how things can evolve differently over time - I think you're saying that this page is now more like what the meta page should be! I suggest that we try to find some alternative articles that we can add to improve balance, along with their "interwiki ranking", and then discuss what goes into VA. We also need to list some articles (+their interwiki ranking) we could remove, then discuss which of those comes out of VA. Reswik should have some good ideas on this stuff, he's very knowledgable. Walkerma 05:40, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
No need to apologize, I wasn't clear in what I meant with my encyclopedia comment (and one could argue that even what I meant wasn't entirely accurate, as there may indeed be some general-use English encyclopedias that explicitly favor English-language topics; but regardless, that is not the case here, or shouldn't be to any significant extent). In any case, I agree. I'll be glad to compile the "interwiki rating" for the current list of files—though it should be remembered that in some cases it will be the rating, not the entry, that needs changing. (i.e., there are some important topics that receive poor international coverage.) But, I don't see any reason not to have another useful resource to appeal to, as long as we are flexible in our interpretation of this information (i.e., there won't be any hard limit of "minimum interwikis" for inclusion on WP:VA). Also, I will list below all the entries I've removed recently from WP:VA, in case anyone wants to discuss any of them. -Silence 05:51, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Great, thanks! Yes, I agree we shouldn't have our hands tied by ratings, though they can help. Things may get busy for me at 0.5 again soon (release in a couple of weeks?), and at work, so my time here may be temporary - but I'll try to help as much as possible. Incidentally, your comment about putting this knowledge into the hands of African children struck a chord with me, since (a) all VAs are to be included in the next offline release and (b) one of our active 1.0 people is, literally, putting these releases into the hands of African children. So yes, what we do here does matter! Have a good night (time-centric comment from someone in New York time zone), Walkerma 06:05, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Removed entries for discussion

Listed by interwiki ranking (partly as an experiment to test interwiki links' reliability):

101: Argentina
92: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Frankfurt
89: New Zealand
88: Thailand
86: Venezuela
80: Madrid
78: Singapore
65: J. R. R. Tolkien, Brussels
64: Seoul
62: Linus Torvalds
61: Los Angeles, California
60: Milan
58: San Francisco, California, Lake
57: Chicago
56: Suez Canal
55: Richard Stallman
54: Charlie Chaplin, Ireland, Zürich
53: Sarajevo
52: Edmund Hillary
50: Mexico City
49: Marilyn Monroe
47: São Paulo
43: Woody Allen, Josip Broz Tito
42: Marlon Brando, Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, Oort cloud
41: Snake
37: Joseph Fourier, Michel Foucault, Francis of Assisi
36: Donald Knuth, Pierre de Fermat
35: Humphrey Bogart, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Neutron star
34: Aral Sea, HIV
33: Marlene Dietrich
32: Srinivasa Ramanujan, Mutation
31: John Wayne
30: Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, Bernhard Riemann, Ivan Pavlov, Rabies
29: Headlands and bays
28: Beach, Valley
27: Thomas Samuel Kuhn
25: Benedict of Nursia
24: Poliomyelitis
23: Fred Astaire, Howard Hughes, Hans Morgenthau, John Rawls, Historiography, Plateau
20: Diophantus, Canyon
18: Donald Trump
16: Ted Turner, G. H. Hardy, Isaiah Berlin
14: Sexual reproduction
12: Sam Walton, Asexual reproduction
9: Hans Morgenthau
7: George Westinghouse, Vladimir Arnold
2: Seymour Martin Lipset
0: Fossil record

Keep in mind that while interwiki ranking might be a valuable method for countering cultural bias, it does nothing for Wikipedia's other biases (e.g., our bias towards popular entertainers vs. more historically important figures, and towards computer-related figures vs. figures in other sciences, neither of which are restricted to the English-speaking world, but which are nevertheless biases to be avoided). It should also be noted that some figures, like J. R. R. Tolkien, are so well-represented on interwiki partly because of converted efforts by English-language Wikipedians who included Tolkien in the early draft of the SimpleWiki list of "articles all Wikis should have", which was copied to almost all of the foreign-language wikis as a "guideline" of the most important articles, even though that list had received much less review than the current WP:VA one. Consequently, many of the ratings need to be taken with a grain of salt, although they're valuable information nonetheless.

Also, for the sake of comparison to entries on the VA list: Mao Zedong gets 51, Otto von Bismarck gets 54, Abraham Lincoln gets 58, Bill Gates gets 64, Plato gets 73, Leonardo da Vinci gets 77, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart gets 85, Paris gets 103, Japan gets 123, United States gets 140.

And, for further comparison, here's a sample of the rating of entries that aren't on the VA list: Ignacy Łukasiewicz gets 6, Casimir Funk gets 12, Langston Hughes gets 13, Empress Dowager Cixi gets 22, Aretha Franklin gets 26, Vitruvius gets 27, Dennis Ritchie gets 29, Abel Tasman gets 33, Aristophanes gets 37, Ludwig Wittgenstein gets 38, Pol Pot gets 40, George Lucas gets 43, Leif Ericson gets 45, Walt Disney gets 49, Thomas Jefferson gets 60, Barcelona gets 63, Marie Curie gets 65, Cairo gets 66, Arthur Conan Doyle gets 70, Istanbul gets 70, Warsaw gets 80, Monaco gets 90, Netherlands gets 107, Kazakhstan gets 115, and Ukraine gets 123. -Silence 10:35, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

This list is amazing! How did you manage to get these interwiki numbers so quickly - can you use AWB to do this somehow? I spent much of my coffee breaks today browsing the numbers - they make interesting reading. Walkerma 05:18, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Suggested addition



  • Hugely influential. W.S. Gilbert was a major contributor to the reform of the English theatre, and his works with Sullivan basically set the foundations for the modern musical. As well, The Mikado is one of the most performed theatrical pieces in the world. Adam Cuerden talk
Wouldn't an article about English theatre be more "vital" than an article about a major contributor to the reform of English theatre? -Silence 02:13, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
While I agree with all the comments you give, and I am definitely a fan of G&S, I don't think they're in the same league as Shakespeare. Also, using our interwiki count to look at entries in other languages, none of these articles has more than 15 represented; contrast that with some of the articles listed above. I don't necessarily agree with Silence - we have Shakespeare (obviously!) but don't have English theatre, we have Hitler but not History of Germany, because clearly one has to have some biographies - but possibly Musical theatre would be a more suitable choice here. Musicals are certainly an important part of modern culture. Meanwhile, I'd like to see G&S represented at WP:V0.7 and WP:CONCISE, where they deserve a place IMHO. Walkerma 02:44, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
But Shakespeare is widely considered one of the greatest (and certainly one of the most influential) authors in the world, not just in the English language. That's why we include him but not Hemingway, and why we include the greatest Italian writer (Dante) but not the greatest Danish writer. That's why his notability transcends English theatre. Likewise, Hitler's importance is not limited to German history, but has enormous global relevance and significance. Adam's description of Gilbert, on the other hand, doesn't establish his broad essentialness as thoroughly; he might be essential if we were listing important English playwrights, but we're listing important topics in general. However, if he reaches the noteworthiness level of, say, F. Scott Fitzgerald or W. B. Yeats, then I don't see any reason not to add him (or Gilbert and Sullivan) to our expanded list at Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded. -Silence 03:34, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
They certainly reach at least that minimum - perhaps they're not quite at the level for this list, but they were pretty much the fathers of a musical genre, as well as immensely popular for the last century and a half. (W. S. Gilbert, by the way, is V0.7) Adam Cuerden talk 09:30, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Cities removed from list

Some city articles were recently removed but I think many of them should be on the list. Specifically the following:

  1. Brussels - de facto capital of the European Union
  2. Chicago - alpha world city
  3. Frankfurt - alpha world city
  4. Los Angeles - alpha world city
  5. Mexico City - population of 19.2 million (GMA), capital of Mexico
  6. Milan - alpha world city
  7. São Paulo - population 16 million (GMA) 29 million (EMA), largest and most populous city in the Southern Hemisphere
  8. Seoul - population 23 million
  9. Singapore - alpha world city

Alpha world cities are listed at Global city.

dv82matt 08:22, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

A city is not vital just for having a big population, nor merely for being an "alpha world city", nor merely for being the capital of Mexico (a country which itself barely made the list). Also, you flubbed the numbers a bit there by giving the population for Greater Mexico City rather than Mexico City proper, for Seoul National Capital Area rather than Seoul proper, and for Greater São Paulo rather than Sao Paulo proper. If your argument for including these articles is their population, why are you advocating adding the city rather than the surrounding area? Mexico City proper actually only has a population of 8.7 million (9th in the world), and Sao Paulo 11 million (4th in the world), and Seoul has 10 million (7th in the world); all three are thus beaten out by Karachi (2nd in the world) and Delhi (3rd in the world), neither of which are included in the VA list either. The cities list here should ideally only have about 20 truly globally and historically critical cities; your additions would lower those standards far too much. They are thus better-suited to Wikipedia:Vital_articles/Expanded#Cities. The only one of the cities abpve which currently seems worthy of consideration for addition is Brussels, but I'm still a bit skeptical that it's necessary. -Silence 09:20, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
A city is not vital just for having a big population, nor merely for being an "alpha world city",
Population is an important factor for assessing a city as a vital article. If the population is large enough I would consider that, on it's own, to be sufficient for inclusion. As for "alpha world cities" the factors that went into determining them are critically relevant to the standards for inclusion in this list.
nor merely for being the capital of Mexico (a country which itself barely made the list).
Good thing I didn't advocate Mexico City for inclusion merely on the basis of its being the capital of Mexico then. ;-)
Also, you flubbed the numbers a bit there by giving the population for Greater Mexico City rather than Mexico City proper, for Seoul National Capital Area rather than Seoul proper, and for Greater São Paulo rather than Sao Paulo proper.
GMA stands for 'Greater metropolitan area' so I didn't 'flub' the numbers. I think the greater metro population generally does a better job of reflecting the importance of a city than the city proper numbers do.
If your argument for including these articles is their population, why are you advocating adding the city rather than the surrounding area?
The city is generally the focal point of the metro area. Also, I doubt you are suggesting that we begin adding metro areas to this list so your question is not serious.
Mexico City proper actually only has a population of 8.7 million (9th in the world), and Sao Paulo 11 million (4th in the world), and Seoul has 10 million (7th in the world); all three are thus beaten out by Karachi (2nd in the world) and Delhi (3rd in the world), neither of which are included in the VA list either.
As I mentioned above I think the GMA is generally a better gauge of importance, but you raise an interesting point nontheless.
The cities list here should ideally only have about 20 truly globally and historically critical cities; your additions would lower those standards far too much.
Why is 20 the ideal number to have? It seems like we have a difference of opinion here.
They are thus better-suited to Wikipedia:Vital_articles/Expanded#Cities.
But that's just a copy of a list on meta.
The only one of the cities abpve which currently seems worthy of consideration for addition is Brussels, but I'm still a bit skeptical that it's necessary.
Well I'll hold off on adding anything to give others a chance to chime in.
On a somewhat related note I noticed that you did not remove Toronto from the list. Was that an oversight? It certainly seems less notable than some of the cities you did remove.
BTW, I appreciate your efforts on this page. The biography section in particular was getting extremely cluttered. —dv82matt 10:58, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "Population is an important factor for assessing a city as a vital article." - Certainly. But, as I said, it's not the only factor. It's not even one of the most important ones. This is not simply a list of the most populous cities in the world; we already have plenty of articles on that topic already, and making WP:VA a copy of those articles serves no useful purpose.
  • "GMA stands for 'Greater metropolitan area' so I didn't 'flub' the numbers." - I'm aware of what they stand for; I didn't say that you flubbed them accidentally. You misrepresented the populations of those cities by failing to list both the populations for the city proper and the populations for the general area they're in, thus distorting their actual population status (which is inappropriate even if you're correct that the area around the city is more important than the city itself; you should have raised that point for discussion rather than trying to slant the evidence in your favor).
  • "Good thing I didn't advocate Mexico City for inclusion merely on the basis of its being the capital of Mexico then. ;-)" - But you mentioned it as though it were relevant. It's not. If Mexico is important, we should include Mexico. An important country's capital city needs to be important in its own right; VA status is not inherited. Plus it simply doesn't make sense for you to mention what Mexico City is the capital of without doing the same for the other cities.
  • "I think the greater metro population generally does a better job of reflecting the importance of a city than the city proper numbers do." - An interesting POV, but not especially relevant here. Neither gauge of importance is very reliable. Jerusalem is one of the most important cities in the world, yet it has a population of only 724,000. Washington, D.C. has a population of less than 600,000. If population was our primary criterion for including or not including a city, then we'd remove Jerusalem, Athens, Mecca, Washington, D.C., and probably most of the rest of the cities from the list and add Karachi, Jakarta, Tehran, Cairo, Bogotá, Lagos, Lima, Dhaka, Kolkata, etc. instead.
  • "The city is generally the focal point of the metro area." - But if the city is not noteworthy enough for inclusion in its own right, but rather depends upon the overall metro area in order to reach the appropriate level of notability, then the fact that it's the "focal point" for what would (arguably) be a notable thing is irrelevant. We don't even have an article on metropolitan area in WP:VA; how can you argue for basing our city inclusion on a nitpicky aspect of that topic when the topic itself isn't important enough for inclusion here? The fact that X is the focal point of Y, and Y is noteworthy enough to include on WP:VA, doesn't, in itself, make X noteworthy enough to include in WP:VA (especially when Y isn't included anyway).
  • "Why is 20 the ideal number to have? It seems like we have a difference of opinion here." - 20 is the ideal maximum. I'm perfectly OK with discussing lowering the maximum even more, to 15, or 10, or 5, or possibly even 0. The reason we don't want a lengthy list here is because it makes the list (1) harder to maintain, (2) less useful to editors, (3) redundant to the expanded version of this list at Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded, and (4) dramatically more difficult to make acceptably neutral or to reach any consensus on. The looser our inclusion standards are, the more they are likely to continue to gradually loosen over time, as we are forced to include more and more marginal or "almost" entries in order to please various interest groups, etc. The same problem is likely to arise in the "countries" list if we don't keep an extremely tight leash on it; everyone wants their own country or city included, and if we don't keep the list as short as possible, our basis for rejecting those insertions here will become flimsier and flimsier over time. This is exactly the reason that the "Expanded" list was created: it allows a compromise between lowering our standards and simply rejecting articles that are indubitably very important, but don't quite meet the requirements for being altogether "vital", at least for a list that's meant to be as concise as this one.
  • "But that's just a copy of a list on meta." - What's your point? The list at meta is in English, and is based on the English Wikipedia and created by English-speaking editors. I don't see how it's any less relevant to us than the shortened version here.
  • "On a somewhat related note I noticed that you did not remove Toronto from the list. Was that an oversight? It certainly seems less notable than some of the cities you did remove." - Yes, that was an oversight. I was simply removing the entries that had been added since June 2006 and didn't seem to clearly merit inclusion; I didn't take the time to do an in-depth review of the entries already there, but in retrospect I see no compelling reason to keep Toronto there. Feel free to remove it. -Silence 12:12, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "Certainly. But, as I said, it's not the only factor. It's not even one of the most important ones. This is not simply a list of the most populous cities in the world; we already have plenty of articles on that topic already, and making WP:VA a copy of those articles serves no useful purpose."
I do not claim that it's the only factor but it is a factor that comes into play moreso for a very populous city than for a smallish city. Just as historical significance is the major factor for Athens, for a very large city population may be the major factor. I have not advocated making this list into a list of the most populous cities so that part of your statement is disingenuous.
  • "I'm aware of what they stand for; I didn't say that you flubbed them accidentally. You misrepresented the populations of those cities by failing to list both the populations for the city proper and the populations for the general area they're in, thus distorting their actual population status (which is inappropriate even if you're correct that the area around the city is more important than the city itself; you should have raised that point for discussion rather than trying to slant the evidence in your favor)."
Interesting POV you have there. I wasn't trying to slant anything. If I did, it was not intentional. Do you often assume bad faith like this?
I assumed no bad faith on your part. People have motivations, goals, and intentions without acting under bad faith. You are acting in good faith in that you are doing what you think is best for the encyclopedia; but you were also deliberately framing these cities' populations in a way that inflates their population, without explicitly addressing that issue. -Silence 11:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "But you mentioned it as though it were relevant. It's not. If Mexico is important, we should include Mexico. An important country's capital city needs to be important in its own right; VA status is not inherited. Plus it simply doesn't make sense for you to mention what Mexico City is the capital of without doing the same for the other cities."
Being the capital is somewhat important (why else would Washington, D.C. be on the list), but in the case of Mexico City it is certainly only a secondary reason. Perhaps I should not have mentioned it.
  • "An interesting POV, but not especially relevant here. Neither gauge of importance is very reliable. Jerusalem is one of the most important cities in the world, yet it has a population of only 724,000. Washington, D.C. has a population of less than 600,000."
The fact that Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. are notable for factors that don't have to do with population does not negate population as a factor for other cities. (Incidentaly, I'll not accuse you of POV pushing by your failure to include the metro area population numbers for Washington, D.C.)
  • "If population was our primary criterion for including or not including a city, then we'd remove Jerusalem, Athens, Mecca, Washington, D.C., and probably most of the rest of the cities from the list and add Karachi, Jakarta, Tehran, Cairo, Bogotá, Lagos, Lima, Dhaka, Kolkata, etc. instead."
Just because population is the primary reason a for three particular cities to be on the list that doesn't make it the primary reason for all the cities on the list. In the same way the inclusion of Athens and Rome does not reduce this to a list of historically important cities, and the inclusion of Mecca and Jerusalem does not reduce this to a list of holy cities.
True. But in order to avoid turning this into a list that's solely about historical cities, or about holy cities, or about populous cities, we need to restrict the number of cities on the list in any of those criteria. We shouldn't have more than around 3 cities on the list that are mainly there for being "holy" (though the "holy cities" are really there more for their historical, political, and cultural significance than for being "holy" per se; but I suppose that's an easy way to categorize them), and for the same reason we shouldn't have more than around 3 cities on the list that are mainly there for being populous. Expanding that number to almost a dozen, as you seem to be proposing, unbalances the list. If you want to include all the extremely populous cities in the world, a better place to include them is on the Expanded list, not this one. Besides, I'd argue that population is the least important of all the criterion that have been mentioned. The reason for this is that population is merely a number; if the only reason we're including cities is because of how populous they are, then we don't even need to include articles on the cities. We can simply include the names, their population number, and move on. The purpose of having any articles on any world cities on this list is not to tell people "these cities have lots of people in them", but rather to inform people about cities that are truly essential knowledge for understanding world history, world politics, etc. -Silence 11:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "But if the city is not noteworthy enough for inclusion in its own right, but rather depends upon the overall metro area in order to reach the appropriate level of notability, then the fact that it's the "focal point" for what would (arguably) be a notable thing is irrelevant."
It's just a convention. As cities grow they often run into other cities and towns and merge together. When this happens we in effect have one large population centre rather than two or more seperate ones. It might be more technically correct to list "New York metropolitan area" and so on but that seems unnessessary to me.
  • "We don't even have an article on metropolitan area in WP:VA; how can you argue for basing our city inclusion on a nitpicky aspect of that topic when the topic itself isn't important enough for inclusion here? The fact that X is the focal point of Y, and Y is noteworthy enough to include on WP:VA, doesn't, in itself, make X noteworthy enough to include in WP:VA (especially when Y isn't included anyway)."
It's hardly nitpicky. It's just that for large cities that have effectively merged with other cities the metro area population is often a better gauge of importance than the population of the city proper. I don't see why the fact that we don't have an article on 'metropolitan area' in WP:VA is relevant to whether we can use the population of such as a factor for determining importance.
Yes, I see your point. I have no problem with considering the metro area population, as one among several factors that can contribute to an article's significance. But my problem is that I consider this a grossly insufficient factor, without lots of other important factors to make the city one of the few dozen most essential countries in the world. The metropolitan area/city disagreement just highlights the fact that metropolitan area, on its own, is a very weak basis for including something on the WP:VA list (except, perhaps, the one city with the largest metropolitan area population; beyond that, the listed entries become dramatically less relevant). -Silence 11:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "20 is the ideal maximum. I'm perfectly OK with discussing lowering the maximum even more, to 15, or 10, or 5, or possibly even 0. The reason we don't want a lengthy list here is because it makes the list (1) harder to maintain, (2) less useful to editors, (3) redundant to the expanded version of this list at Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded, and (4) dramatically more difficult to make acceptably neutral or to reach any consensus on. The looser our inclusion standards are, the more they are likely to continue to gradually loosen over time, as we are forced to include more and more marginal or "almost" entries in order to please various interest groups, etc. The same problem is likely to arise in the "countries" list if we don't keep an extremely tight leash on it; everyone wants their own country or city included, and if we don't keep the list as short as possible, our basis for rejecting those insertions here will become flimsier and flimsier over time. This is exactly the reason that the "Expanded" list was created: it allows a compromise between lowering our standards and simply rejecting articles that are indubitably very important, but don't quite meet the requirements for being altogether "vital", at least for a list that's meant to be as concise as this one."
Good reasons all. Here's my take. I think we should allow this list to be slightly longer than the list at meta. As the largest wikipedia I feel we can handle a somewhat longer list of articles that are especially important to improve. I do realize that the list at meta was intended as a basic article list for new language editions not as a guide for featured articles, however, even bearing that in mind, I think English wikipedia has grown to the point where it would be useful to slightly increase the scope of this list from what it was originally. That's not to say that some trimming isn't in order though.
Yes, we can handle a larger list of entries than Meta can. And I absolutely agree with you that we should be expanding WP:VA. But we shouldn't be expanding the WP:VA concise list (i.e., the one at Wikipedia:Vital articles). We should be expanding the list that is already as large as the Meta list: Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded. The purpose of moving that list to the English Wikipedia was to allow us to make a more expansive list for the English Wiki, whereas the WP:VA list would be much shorter. (That, plus the Meta list is pretty poor and gets little attention because it has much fewer active editors than English Wikipedia, so probably the most important reason for making a copy of the list here is to make this list more reliable, consistent, useful, etc. than the Meta list is.) It makes no sense to me to try to expand the concise list at WP:VA to larger than Meta when that would make the list redundant to the Expanded list, it would take away the useful shortened list we currently have here, and it would take infinitely more effort and time than just starting with a list that's already long and working to trim and expand that one to be more comprehensive and high-quality than the Meta list. I'm all for shifting our focus to work much more on our Expanded list, which has not received as much attention as I'd hoped since I moved it from Meta (after several months of very hard work on raising its quality to a more acceptable level); I just don't see either list as unimportant, useless, or redundant, which seems to me to be the only possible justification for saying that we should make one list like the other. -Silence 11:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "What's your point? The list at meta is in English, and is based on the English Wikipedia and created by English-speaking editors. I don't see how it's any less relevant to us than the shortened version here."
The point is that it won't remain a copy of the meta list if everyone starts editing it. In any case I'd rather not fork this list.
Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded is not supposed to be an exact copy of meta. (Or, if anything, Meta should be altered to conform to that list, since it's a better-quality list.) It's supposed to be an improved version of a list that's about as long as the Meta one. There's no reason to have such a list on the English Wikipedia (since we can always link to Meta) except that it's easier for English-Wikipedia editors to edit the list here than at Meta, and because putting it here makes it more directly under the scope of the English Wikipedia. And, Expanded isn't a fork of this list, it's an expanded version. It's like the daughter article of a page, serving to cover the same topic but in greater detail. By having a more concise parent (WP:VA) and more thorough parent (the Expanded list), we make both lists more useful by giving people who want a short list what they want, and giving people who want a more expansive (though still not bloated to the point of uselessness) list what they want as well. -Silence 11:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "Yes, that was an oversight. I was simply removing the entries that had been added since June 2006 and didn't seem to clearly merit inclusion; I didn't take the time to do an in-depth review of the entries already there, but in retrospect I see no compelling reason to keep Toronto there. Feel free to remove it."
Will do. —dv82matt 15:37, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I must say, I support the inclusion of more places on this page. I think it's right to use the metro area as a better representation of a city's perceived population; that's why all city articles include both figures in their infoboxes. The population of a city alone is often based on administrative districts, and can be misleading, as with my home city Newcastle upon Tyne.
Since I have been beta testing the Version 0.5 dataset, I must say how glad I am that we elected to include all countries and all global cities in our set of ~2000 articles. Virtually every biography article reads like, "XXXX was an American author. He was born in New York, but he grew up in London, England. He met his wife in Paris, then they settled in San Francisco...etc. It has made me realise how much we use place as a reference point.
I'm not proposing we include here all countries, or all global cities, as we did at Version 0.5. I do note, though, that this page originally did include all countries, and that versions of this article in other languages still do (i.e., people did not edit them out as "unworthy". I think we should trim down from that list of 243, and only include sovereign states. I think we could remove some of the minor countries from that list - perhaps countries with a population under one million would be the most objective (least controversial) way to do that. That would give us perhaps 150 articles on significant countries - that alone would restore much of the "worldwide balance" we are seeking. Regarding cities, I think we should include all 10 alpha cities and all 10 beta cities, then the top 20 cities represented by List of metropolitan areas by population. That should give a list of about thirty cities, which does not seem at all excessive to me.
As I see it, there are five main types of articles at VA - places, people, things, events and ideas. I think places are vastly under-represented at present. We can make way for these places by removing some biographical articles and some "idea" articles. By the time we have removed some of the less important American people and European ideas, and replaced these with cities in Latin America and countries in Africa, we should have a much more balanced collection. Walkerma 21:19, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
"It has made me realise how much we use place as a reference point." - Of course we use place as a reference point often. But we use time as a reference point even more often, yet we currently have many, many more specific places on our list than we have specific historical periods and events.
"I do note, though, that this page originally did include all countries," - Indeed. And by far one of the most important improvements this article has undergone since that time was the removal of that bloated, useless list from this page. The value of WP:VA is that it provides a concise starting point for improving the most crucial Wikipedia articles; listing everything (or even most things) entirely defeats the project's purpose, and is as absurd as requiring that WP:VA list every single element on the periodic table, as opposed to just listing the most crucial ones (gold, helium, etc.).
"I think we could remove some of the minor countries from that list - perhaps countries with a population under one million would be the most objective (least controversial) way to do that." - And the least useful. Many of the countries with a population under one million are dozens of times more noteworthy than the relatively generic, unimportant countries with a mid-level population. The only two options are to make the list less useful, by resorting to a strict, inflexible minimum population for countries, or to make it more controversial, by relying on our personal judgment to determine which countries "aren't important" (and hope that those countries don't have many interested Wikipedians!). Or both.
"that alone would restore much of the "worldwide balance" we are seeking." - ???? There isn't any significant unbalance in the current list. Why are we trying to fix something that isn't broken? Even dv82matt doesn't allege that there's any major bias in the coverage; his problem isn't with the idea that the current list is indeed essentially the 20 most important countries in the world. Rather, his problem is that he thinks we should have many more than 20 countries listed. And that's what your argument is too. So no one has alleged, or provided any support for the view, that there is any significant bias in the current listing (which is quite an achievement in itself for such a tricky area!!). People are only complaining that the list isn't long enough (when in reality the reverse is probably true; the list is so long that I'm one of the only people who ever bothers to update it, and country/city articles tend to fluctuate in GA and FA a lot more than average articles do).
I've spent many, many months trying a wide variety of different strategies to try and craft the most useful and neutral listing of important countries possible; believe me, many of the attempts I've made have used exactly the strategies you're recommending (i.e., I've tried both starting from a few and then gradually expanding them, and starting from the complete list and gradually trimming them), and the only remotely successful versions that we've been able to produce are the ones listed here and on the Expanded list. So, although you're free to try to make such a list, I don't see how it would be very valuable (since it would either trim so few entries off that you might as well simply link to the list of countries article, or would trim so many entries off that it would spark endless squabbling and revert wars over which country meets our newly-lowered standards for inclusion).
I am skeptical of any attempt to provide a list that doesn't say that "countries X, Y, and Z are the most important", but rather says that "every country except X, Y, and Z is important"; for obvious reasons, the latter has much more potential to be offensive than the former. It's one thing to not have one's home country listed among a very tight, compact list of 30-40 pages; it's an entirely different thing to see your country exluded from a list of hundreds, essentially a slap in the face to anyone living in those places! So, for purely practical reasons (both to avoid time-consuming revert wars and trivial squabbling, and to avoid making the list so large that it's of minimal value to editors looking for a short and compact list of crucially important articles to keep an eye on), I don't think that this is a very good idea. But, you're welcome to give it a try.
"Regarding cities, I think we should include all 10 alpha cities and all 10 beta cities, then the top 20 cities represented by List of metropolitan areas by population." - That seems rather arbitrary. What about cities that are of historical importance, but are not current major metropolises? What about smaller cities that have great global importance for one reason or another, like Jerusalem? Any attempt to try to strictly quantify is going to be extremely lacking. Not only will it miss out on numerous entries that should have been included, but it will also include marginal entries mainly on technicalities, and, perhaps most importantly, will be redundant to the lists we already have on our "alpha cities" articles and so on, which any editor can already use if they just want to monitor cities based on that standard.
Additionally, it is important to consider the fact that countries are many, many, many times more important than cities. I am surprised that we are spending so much time on the relatively trivial topic of cities, when the issue of countries is so much more central (maybe because countries are even trickier to neutrally deal with than cities, making people more hesitant to broach the issue?). Regardless, we need to keep in mind, because of the much greater importance of countries over cities, that we should have at most half as many cities as we have countries. We should also keep in mind that it would be much, much, much easier to use Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded for the expanded-list purposes mentioned above than to try to completely change the high inclusion standards of the current WP:VA listing. That page already has more than twice as many cities as this one, so it's much more likely to be the one that you'd want to add these important, but not quite top-level vital, city articles to. (And many of them, in fact, already have been added there.)
"As I see it, there are five main types of articles at VA - places, people, things, events and ideas" - That level of oversimplification serves absolutely no value whatsoever in understanding the relative significance of topics. People are not, by and large, as important as things, for example. This is because people are generally unique, historical individuals, whereas things will be more regularly encountered in daily life, and are more likely to play a key role in the future. For example, electricity is an infinitely more important article than Benjamin Franklin. Hell, to be perfectly frank, it's more important than the likes of Jesus and Adolf Hitler!
"I think places are vastly under-represented at present." - That is because of your absurdly oversimplified subdivision of the types of articles above. There are two major fallacies in your reasoning here. First, you assume that all articles fit into those categories; this is clearly untrue, because what about organisms other than humans, like plants and animals and bacteria? Are you categorizing those life forms into "things"? If so, then why are humans not categorized in the same way? It seems arbitrary to consider people to not be "things", of a sort, when all other "living things" are. One could also argue that the distinction between a "place" and a "thing" is very ill-conceived, if there at all; is the universe a place or a thing, for example? What about the entire Earth? Another seemingly arbitrary factor in this subdivision is that one could argue that "people" are a subdivision of "events", at least in that the biography of any person will be solely concerned with events. Indeed, the only real difference between biographical and historical articles is that the former are generally more limited and focused in scope, which often makes them less useful than the latter (e.g., Adolf Hitler contains vastly less mportant information than World War II, and vastly more useless trivia; yet both are equally historical, if you really think about it).
The second error in your reasoning, and probably the most important one, is that you assume that just because articles are categorized in a certain way, that each category must be equally important (or even anywhere near equally important). Suppose I categorized all articles on Wikipedia into "animals", "minerals", "vegetables", and "other". (And in your system, "things" is essentially the word you're using for your "other".) Would I then be justified in saying that all four of those categories are equally important? Clearly not. To assume on "autopilot" that once we've categorized articles in a certain way, that all those categories are on the same "level" of essentialness for actually understanding the world we live in, is profoundly lazy. Actually thinking about the issues involved clearly debunks the idea that a "place" and an "event" are equally important, for example. How much valuable information is there in Oceania, for example, compared to how much there is in Cold War? A simplistic view might take Oceania to be equally as important, or even more important, because Oceania spans a larger percentage of the world's surface than the Cold War spans of the world's history; but a commonsensical analysis tells us that most of the information in Oceania will be quite trivial to the vast majority of people in the world, compared to the essential and necessary facts that anyone in the world could glean from Cold War. Likewise, it is an error to say that places are comparably important to non-locational "things". Even the biggest, broaded places in the world, like Asia or the Atlantic Ocean, are nowhere near the level of importance of core VA topics like Life or Science or Water. Likewise, to move on to less dramatic examples, it is infinitely less important to have a working understanding of New Delhi, even though it's one of the largest cities in the world and the capital of one of the most important and populous countries in the world, than it is to have a working understanding of Poetry, or Ecology, or Brain. We should not leap to the assumption that places, or people for that matter, are all that important just because they're sometimes categorized at the "top level" for the sake of convenience.
"By the time we have removed some of the less important American people and European ideas, and replaced these with cities in Latin America and countries in Africa, we should have a much more balanced collection." - And if those American or European ideas or people were more important than those Latin American or African countries or cities, will it have been worth it? I'm not questioning the idea that we need to make the list more balanced, but I think we should improve the balance, and gauge articles' importance, on a case-by-case basis, rather than losing sight of the big picture (i.e., the actual purpose of WP:VA, which is to provide a useful service to editors, not to promote or attack any cultural POV; further NPOVing the list is only a means to that end, not an end in itself). -Silence 22:57, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
One problem here is that there are two related, but distinct senses of the word important - fundamental vs. vital. By fundamental I mean that in an academic/philosophical sense, it is in the top level of concepts. Clearly Shakespeare is less fundamental than England or Theatre, but I think most people would agree that Shakespeare belongs on this list - it is vital. Which article is likely to be read more often, New York City or Life? No one would debate which one is more fundamental, yet I think NYC is more vital to include. In my mind, WP:CORE is more suited for the fundamental topics (not that we should totally exclude them from here!). This VA list, though, should focus mainly on the articles that are likely to be most vital - the articles that most people find useful, that they think MUST be there.
Of course my categorisation was simplistic, but that does not invalidate the underlying general point I was making- there aren't enough places on this list. Is relativism more important than Argentina? Is Jackson Pollock more important than Mexico City? Let's compare some statistics:
  • Relativism: 329 mainspace links in, 20 foreign language versions
  • Jackson Pollock: 228 mainspace links in, 26 foreign language
  • Argentina: 12095 mainspace links in, 101 foreign language
  • Mexico City: 3457 mainspace links in, 49 foreign language
I don't believe in living and dying based on such numbers, but I think there is a strong case for including many more countries, and even a few more cities. I agree cities are less important than countries in general - but I think Mexico City should rank higher than Saint Kitts and Nevis. If there are specific low-population countries that are really important, we can discuss including them as well - but other than that, if people complain, "Why did you exclude Saint Kitts and Nevis?" it is not based on a subjective view of importance. You're quite right about Jerusalem, Mecca and the like - there are a few cities that have historical/cultural importance well beyond their 2007 population and world city rank. One thing that concerns me with the current list of countries is the arbitrary choice. Why Niger, but not Nigeria? Other than Niger and RSA, the main criterion for a sub-Saharan African country to be included seems to be that some horrible war/genocide/famine occurred there recently. And even in Asia, why Afghanistan and Bangladesh but not Pakistan (population 170 million)?
The original discussion was precipitated by the "Worldwide view" tag attached to this page - that's why I posted on this page. I think we need to address that issue, and I think this is one way to do so. We need to ask questions like, "What would a Nigerian find in this list relevant to his/her life and interests?" I suspect they would be shocked to find that their country of 140 million people doesn't warrant a mention anywhere. I think the list is generally pretty good - otherwise I wouldn't have proposed automatic inclusion of all VA articles (unless really bad!) into WP:V0.7. I just want to see if we can make it better, and avoid the criticism of cultural/geographical bias. Walkerma 00:54, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Are there any objections to adding Nigeria and Pakistan to the list immediatly? I wouldn't think that they were intentionally left off the list to begin with.
I think that the country listing should also be somewhat expanded, although I would probably balk at there being anywhere near 150 country articles. I would be more comfortable with say 60-80 country articles and 30-40 city articles as soft maximums.
I also tend to agree that pure history articles are underepresented. Some possible candidates for inclusion might include Indian Emergency (1975–1977), Great Leap Forward, Chinese Civil War and Information Age, to name just a few. —dv82matt 03:12, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
  • "Which article is likely to be read more often, New York City or Life? No one would debate which one is more fundamental, yet I think NYC is more vital to include." - Disagree. Wikipedia articles do not assume that someone already knows about the topic in question when an article on that topic is being written, even if it's a topic like Human. If someone doesn't know about life, that person can't understand anything about NYC (or about cities or communities at all); therefore life is more vital than NYC. I agree that we should keep practicality in mind in our selections, but disagree that understanding NYC is so much more useful or practical than understanding Life that it outweighs the latter for the purposes of this list. Both merit inclusion, but the list would lose much less in giving up NYC (which is not needed to understand any of the other articles ont his list) than in giving up Life (which is necessary to understand any of the topics in Biology, and, in a lesser and secondary sense, all of the topics in People and History as well). The main distinction between WP:CORE and WP:VA is not its motivation or inclusion criteria (a core article doesn't necessarily have different characteristics than a vital one), but rather its methods; both are equally concerned with fundamental, foundational topics. (The other main distinction is that they have different goals: WP:VA is more concerned with monitoring and improving articles, whereas WP:CORE is more a part of the CD selection process.) It's just that the shortest WP:VA listing, being ten times longer than the shortest WP:CORE listing, naturally has many other articles alongside these "super-vital" topics (Life, Universe, etc.) which are not explicitly placed "below" the less fundamental ones.
  • "Is relativism more important than Argentina? Is Jackson Pollock more important than Mexico City?" - I see your point, but I would say yes, considering how integral and necessary they are to their respective topics on a global scale. One does not need to understand Argentina to understand world politics or geography or history in general; one does need to understand relativism to have any grasp whatsoever on politics, philosophy, ethics, etc. One doesn't need to know about Mexico City to understand world politics or geography or history in general; one does need to know about Pollock's contributions to understand 20th-century art in general. However, I am entirely willing to see Pollock, and possibly even relativism, removed from the list, if it is felt that these entries are not noteworthy enough. This seems more reasonable to me than lowering our standards to fit in Argentina, which failed to even meet the top-50 list of countries in the Expanded list (which includes a number of countries that are much more important than Argentina, like Kazakhstan, Monaco, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, Peru, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine. The country of Pakistan also failed to meet the strict (but much looser than this list) criteria for inclusion there.
  • "Why Niger, but not Nigeria?" - Partly because Niger is considered the least developed country in the entire world. See List of countries by Human Development Index. If you don't consider this (and Niger's other characteristics) significant enough to merit inclusion on this list over and above ones like Nigeria, then I'm perfectly fine with removing it.
  • "why Afghanistan and Bangladesh but not Pakistan (population 170 million)? " - Likewise, I'm fine with removing Afghanistan and Bangladesh. If you think Pakistan merits inclusion, we can add it (and keep Afghanistan and Bangladesh) at Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded; that seems like a good compromise, and will help both shorten this list and expand the expanded one. Likewise fir Niger and Nigeria (which are both listed at the Expanded page).
  • "We need to ask questions like, "What would a Nigerian find in this list relevant to his/her life and interests?" I suspect they would be shocked to find that their country of 140 million people doesn't warrant a mention anywhere." - You've just clearly demonstrated why that's a terribly useless question to ask: anyone in any country in the world would be roughly equally shocked to not find his or her country not on the list. A better question to ask would be: "What countries other than Nigeria would a Nigerian expect to find on this list?" If a Nigerian would be shocked to find a certain non-Nigerian country included, or not included, that's a much stronger case than measuring the degree of national pride or arrogance in a certain country. That's why ideally we should eventually get this list reviewed by as many people (and especially scholars) as possible from all different parts of the world, both to get ideas on articles to add and ones to remove. However, in the meantime, I think the best way to help make this article more globally neutral is not to expand the article greatly (which will just make the list more biased, in that the topics it doesn't discuss will be all the more glaring), but rather to remove entries that are not of global interest. This is much easier to do: rather than trying to think of every topic that isn't included (though certainly we can also expand the list, if we do think of more globally important topics), we should review the ones that currently are included, and see which ones are only (or largely) there because of our bias. This seems like a more productive way to make the list neutral, at least for now.
  • "Are there any objections to adding Nigeria and Pakistan to the list immediatly?" - I object. What makes those countries more important than Ukraine, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Sudan, Monaco, Switzerland, Mongolia, Thailand, Netherlands, Sweden, Peru, or the dozens of other countries not on the list?
  • "I would be more comfortable with say 60-80 country articles and 30-40 city articles as soft maximums." - Then I strongly recommend using that as a guideline for how long the list of country and city articles at Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded should be, as that sounds very reasonable indeed for a list longer than this one. But WP:VA itself, I strongly suggest, should be about half that long (30-40 countries, 15-20 cities). There are plenty of lengthy country lists out there, but there are no short, concise ones; WP:VA should strive to fulfill that need. The fact that we can have it both ways (thanks to the separate concise and expanded lists) is all the more reason to use both maximums. -Silence 16:13, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Changes to the list

OK, where next? I think we could perhaps add some history articles to the list, but we should first settle the cities/countries issue. How should we judge what goes in? The other thing - what comes out? I think we could look into the biographical listing, and I think we could cut some from the philosophy and religion section too. We need to make sure, though, that the result gives us more of a "worldwide view" than before. Walkerma 05:33, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

In the above section you mentioned the idea of listing all countries with a population greater than 1 million. If the population requirement were raised a bit, say to 5 million, I think that would be an acceptable guideline. (Note that this would not preclude countries that do not meet the population requirement from being listed provided they qualify for other reasons.)
As far as cities go I'm happy with the current entries. I'd be fine with including beta world cities in the list as well but I don't think it matters too much one way or the other.
For biography articles I find it's difficult to get a feel for the relative importance from the Wikipedia article and I'm hesitant to go through removing those that I don't feel are important especially when the main reason I don't think they are important is because I've never heard of them. I do think that Sitting Bull and Steve Jobs should be removed from the list though.
For the philosophy and religion section I don't really see too much of a problem with it. Do you think it is biased or just over-populated? —dv82matt 09:49, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Quick reply - yes, I agree with everything you say, though I don't know enough about Sitting Bull to know if he is considered to be the leading figure in Native American history of the last 200 years (I suspect he may be - need to check on that!). Yes, I do think mainly the philosophy & religion section is just over-populated, though I think it is fairly balanced in terms of worldwide view. I think that something like Tehran (same size as LA) is more important than Zoroaster, bearing in mind (a) we have Zoroastrianism already and (b) Zoroastrianism is largely of historical interest at this point anyway. I suspect we could trim a few "isms" as well - not a lot, but a few. Let's see what others think on that stuff, though. Steve Jobs- nice guy, but not in the VA list IMHO. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Walkerma (talkcontribs) 04:55, 15 February 2007 (UTC).
"If the population requirement were raised a bit, say to 5 million, I think that would be an acceptable guideline." - There are 113 countries in the world with a population of over 5 million. This seems like a clearly unacceptable guideline. The 1-million population requirement is barely even any worse (there are only 42 countries that meet the 1,000,000 mark but not the 5,000,000 one). Both are ridiculously inclusive for the scope of this list. They also seem useless for distinguishing important from unimportant countries; are Vatican City, Monaco, Andorra, Samoa, Iceland, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Cyprus, Fiji, East Timor, Swaziland, Latvia, Kuwait, Jamaica, Armenia, Macedonia, Estonia, Lithuania, Uruguay, Lebanon, Palestine, Singapore, Costa Rica, Croatia, and Norway, which have a population under 5 million, really significantly less noteworthy than Kyrgyzstan, Benin, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Tajikistan, Togo, Laos, Angola, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Cameroon, which have a population over 5 million?
You have made my case for me - I think countries like Jamaica, Singapore and Armenia do warrant inclusion (but not the really minor ones, under 1m, that you list). I think something like Azerbaijan is far more important than many of the articles we currently include on this page. Walkerma 05:03, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
"I think that something like Tehran (same size as LA) is more important than Zoroaster, bearing in mind (a) we have Zoroastrianism already and (b) Zoroastrianism is largely of historical interest at this point anyway." - I'm not sure I agree. Zoroaster's importance is not just for establishing Zoroastrianism, but for establishing the major beliefs of popular doctrines in the entire world today: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, etc. To say that he is "largely of historical interest" is like saying that Abraham or Jesus is largely of historical interest: his historical impact has changed the modern world in almost incomprehensibly profound ways. However, your point that we already have a Zoroastrianism article, and that the founder is less important than what he founded, is a valid one: if we trim the "religion" section down to about 15 entries, I'll be fine with removing Zoroaster, as I consider him more important than most of the current entries there. -Silence 16:30, 15 February 2007 (UTC)


Talk about American bias! The Sears Tower on the architecture list? You must be joking. The only mildly remarkable thing about the building is that it is currently the tallest building in the US. Now that's what I call important! What about the Chrysler Building, the White House, the United_States_Capitol? What about the Palace of Westminster, or the Great_Stupa_of_Sanchi, what about Angkor_Vat, the Great_Mosque_of_Djenne, the Forbidden_city, Saint_Basil's_Cathedral, the Seven_Sisters_(Moscow), the Moscow_Kremlin, or the Harimandir Sahib, to name but a few? I would consider every one of these buildings to be of greater cultural importance than the Sears Tower. Burschik 07:23, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Well it's not just the tallest building in the US, by one standard it's the tallest building in the entire world. Nonetheless you have a point. We should probably remove it and add Taipei 101 which has a better claim to being the world's tallest building. —dv82matt 08:08, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I strongly recommend including neither building on the list. If there is no absolute agreement on what building is the tallest in the world, then all the candidates for this are borderline enough to not merit inclusion. The only architectural structures that should be included on WP:VA are ones that meet the level of noteworthiness of, say, the Great Wall of China. Neither the Sears Tower nor Taipei 101 qualify. -Silence 08:39, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I totally agree with Silence on this point. I wished to point out that the Sears Tower is not notable, and that there are many more notable buildings in the world. Being the tallest building in the world at some arbitrary point in time is pretty much irrelevant. Lincoln Cathedral may have been the tallest building in the world for nearly 250 years, but who cares about that? But what about the Empire State Building? Is it as notable as the Great Wall of China? I think not. In my opinion, the only structures in the US that might approach that level of notability (or at least instant recognizability) are The_Pentagon, the Golden_Gate_Bridge and the Statue_of_Liberty. Burschik 11:44, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Entry quantities to shoot for?

Although I've been resisting a move in this direction for a long, long time because I wanted to keep this list flexible, it seems to me that continued disagreements over how broad this list should be render it almost impossible for us to discuss whether an entry actually merits inclusion in this list or that. If one person think that we should have 100 biography pages and another thinks we should have 200, then even if the two people agree that a certain person isn't anywhere near the top 100 biographies in importance, there can still be strong disagreement over whether to include that biography on the list. It seems to me that this sort of sitution is too unproductive. We should at least come to a very rough agreement regarding how many entries to include in each broad section of both Wikipedia:Vital articles and Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded, so as to minimize arguments over length. These should not be absolute, final decisions on how long to make each section, and should be open to further discussion and revisal later, but at least for now it seems like the most sensible thing is to come to some sort of consensus regarding general length, while keeping in mind that these should be used as guidelines and tools, not absolute limits. My current recommendations for the length of each section (though I'm certainly open to changing my mind on any of these, following discussion) are:

Total (concise): about 1000 entries (currently 1100; exact total of below "about Xs" is 985)
Total (expanded): about 1500 entries (currently 1376; exact total of below "about Xs" is 1520)
  • (note: this section should probably be split up and merged into more descriptive ones, as it's currently basically an "other" category; these were formally, along with "arts", under a "culture" overcategory, but the split has left this rather useless category covering things as unrelated as "language", "mind", "sports", and "food")
  • (note: this section should be merged into "mathematics")

These seem like reasonable short-term goals, highlighting both sections that need expansion (like History) and sections that need trimming (like Biography), without being too demanding or dramatic in the changes it will make (e.g., I made Biography's goal 100 rather than 50 in "concise", and 300 rather than 200 in "expanded", partly because a more extreme change will be much more difficult in this situation). However, I'm bringing this up mainly so we can discuss people's different views on how specific areas of the lists, and how the two lists overall, should be handled, in terms of general inclusion standards, length, the relative difference between the two lists, etc. So feel free to voice your thoughts on which aspects of the above proposed rough guidelines of article numbers to shoot for you agree or disagree with. -Silence 12:49, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I question the utility of having two lists. (1) Two lists will be much harder to maintain than one and (2) the lists would in large part be identical anyway. I would much prefer to merge the two lists or have the "expanded" list remain a copy of the meta list, rather than diffuse our efforts across two such similar lists. Having entry quantities to shoot for could certainly be helpful, but I strongly recommend against forking this page. —dv82matt 17:12, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
The two lists will be easy to maintain if one of the two lists is very short. Only if both lists are long will it be a big problem. Yes, the two lists would in large part be identical; part of the reason for this is that I had originally planned to give the two lists a very different format. The shorter list would keep real-time info on the status of all articles on the list (cleanup tags, FA status, etc.), while the longer one would be intended to contain other information (perhaps even in table format) on all the articles that wouldn't change as often. I've entertained and experimented with a wide variety of potential things to add to the expanded list. However, if we decide never to use that list for anything more than what WP:VA is used for, then I could see an argument being made for eliminating the redundancies by simply deleting everything from the Expanded list that is also on the concise list. This keeps all the benefits of having two lists (particularly the benefit of keeping this list from becoming a bloated, useless POV battleground by shunting off borderline articles to the other page), but makes the longer list a bit more manageable. It's something to think about, at least, though I also like the utility of having the lists repeated in that it allows someone who wants to to only use the Expanded list, while others can choose to only use the concise one. This is a bit more flexible of a system than making the Expanded list dependent upon using the concise one. But there are other ways to get around that problem (e.g., something like the system used at List of Latin phrases, which found a way to incorporate different sub-pages into one article).
As for keeping the "expanded" list as a copy of the meta list, that seems absolutely senseless to me. There is no purpose whatsoever in having an exact copy of the meta here; we can much more easily just link to the meta page itself.
"but I strongly recommend against forking this page." - The page has been "forked", by your definition, since its creation. That forking is integral to the value its had over the years. Without it, this page would have been profoundly useless for its entire history. It seems unreasonable to me that you are unwilling to accept the value of having a WP:VA list that is 1,000 entries, rather than 1,500+ or 2,000+ entries, long. It should be obvious that the shorter, more concise page has great value over the longer one in a great number of ways, and deleting it (which is essentially the only major change you are proposing; we already have the long page you desire available at Expanded, but you want to destroy this page) will take away most of the value of this entire project—that value being its conciseness and simplicity, which is what allows editors to scan over and update this page easily. -Silence 17:47, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
In your last paragraph you have grossly misrepresented my position on this. I suggest you calm yourself and reread what I wrote. Nowhere have I advocated deletion of this page and I certainly do not want to destroy it. I do not think this list should be 1,500+ or 2,000+ entries long, nor do I deny the utility of a list that is 1,000 entries long. We simply have a minor difference of opinion. It's not really worth getting upset over or casting aspersions is it?
As for the lists being easy to maintain if one is very short I respectfully disagree. The short list will still have approximatly 1,000 entries will it not? Perhaps if the concise list were dramatically shorter (-300 entries) or much of the maintenance could be done by bot I could see it. What I am concerned about is that one page (probably the expanded page) will become inactive due to the chore of keeping a subpage that is less likely to be used up to date.
As for it being "senseless" to keep a copy of the meta list I'll take your word for it. That appeared to be what it was and I assumed that whoever created it may have had a reason for doing so.
You mentioned that forking is integral to the value of this list. I take it that you are refering to the fact that it was originally copied from meta. That may be true but it doesn't follow that further forking this list will further improve it.
I should add that I don't think we are actually that far apart in this particular. Ideally I'd like to see around 1,200 entries total but I'm not stuck on that number. We seem to disagree more on the details of what to include than on the total entries.
Speaking of details I see that you've removed the "contested" city and country articles. I realise that 2 to 1 isn't exactly a robust consensus but come on! Compromise a little. —dv82matt 19:57, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I neither cast aspersions nor got upset at any point in my above comment; I recommend rereading it for what I said, rather than what you read into it. You advocated making dramatic loosenings of the current article inclusion standards for this list (like including every article for a country with a population over 5 million on the list), which would have the effect of making this page closer to 1500 articles than its original intended maximum length, 1000 articles. This means that you are eliminating any utility in having the shortened version of the page currently at this location (because you are making it as long as the Meta list), which is indeed effectively destroying it (since the other option, having two clones of the exact same page, is absurd).
And if you are concerned about the Expanded page becoming inactive—then why not work on it? It is not difficult to keep a page active. All it takes is one or two people working on it from time to time. Advocating the effective destruction of one of the pages rather than advocating putting any effort in is inconsiderate to the dozens of editors who have worked hard on both lists over the years. As for the Meta page, I am the one who created the Expanded copy here from Meta! And the reasons for its creation are exactly the ones I just told you above. I gave you the reasons for its creation; did you simply not read that section of my post?
As for forking being integral to the list, yes, I am talking about the Meta fork, but I am also talking about the fact that we've long needed forks of various sorts in order to keep cruft from accumulating on the lists, and to keep editors' valuable time from being excessively wasted by endless, cyclic debates over whether borderline articles should be included or not.
"Compromise a little." - I did exactly that. I removed both the entries that were added by you that I contested, and the entries that were added by me that you contested (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Niger, and Toronto). -Silence 02:01, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I think both of us could spend our time more productively by not continuing to bicker on this talk page and I don't see much chance of a reasonable dialog developing so for now I'll take a break from editing this page. —dv82matt 05:03, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Incidentally, I do see your point about a 1,000-long list being somewhat difficult to regularly maintain, and that the fork would be more justifiable if this list was shorter. The fork would also be more clearly justified if the other, Expanded list was a bit longer. I'm fully open to both possibilities. For example, I'm open to shortening the WP:VA list to, say, 800 rather than 1,000, and to expanding the Expanded list to 1800 or even 2000 articles, etc. I don't think this is necessary at this stage, but it's something to consider, at least for the longer-term. Having the list be automatically checked and updated by a bot has also been proposed in the past, and if necessary I think we could arrange exactly that; however, the list is updated at this point at least semi-regularly without one, so I do not see this as absolutely necessary to justify the two-list split. -Silence 02:07, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the compromise we expected was that minor topics would be replaced by major ones - not that everything would be removed and nothing added! We now only have 34 countries, more than 200 less than this page originally started with, and 16 less than even the lowest proposal! The consensus (I thought) was that we would start by removing around 60-80 articles from areas like biography, and replace these with areas that need expanding, like countries and history. Rather than starting an edit war, I think the way forward is to agree on overall numbers in each area, then discuss what is removed or added. Silence has already given us an excellent outline of his viewpoint - thank you for that. I think we all need to do the same. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to research the numbers myself and create a nice table to compare numbers, but let's at least start with Geography, which seems to be the main area of contention at this point.
This list (created by David Gerard and Tarquin in 2004) originally contained 243 countries (only 203 on meta?). Just under a year ago, Silence renamed the list, and removed nearly all of the countries. After the list was tagged as too pro-Western, I (Walkerma) looked at statistics indicating high importance of country articles, and proposed a compromise between the two extremes, 155 countries. dv82matt has proposed restricting it to only 113. Below is a table summarising these positions, along with the French Wikipedia to add more of a "worldwide viewpoint". I've left a couple of spaces for others to add their opinions.
Proposals for numbers countries
User Meta English WP (WP:VA) French WP David Gerard Silence dv82matt Walkerma
No. articles 16 concise, 40 expanded 34 concise, 48 expanded 193 243 30-40 concise, 50-60 expanded 113+ 155
Criteria Case-by-case analysis and discussion Case-by-case analysis and discussion All internationally recognized sovereign states All countries Case-by-case analysis and discussion All sovereign states with pop. <5m All sovereign states with pop. <1m

Once we come to a consensus, we can decide what to add. Walkerma 05:04, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

"I think the compromise we expected was that minor topics would be replaced by major ones - not that everything would be removed and nothing added!" - Considering that you consider the "major" ones all the ones you want added, and the "minor" ones all the ones you want removed, that's not a compromise, that's just you getting everything you want and giving nothing in return. It is in the best interests of the list to keep the list short, and not uselessly lengthy.
However, I will propose another compromise: how about if, rather than forcing editors to deal with an absurdly long list, but also rather than preventing them from using such lists if they so wish, we leave the smallish list on WP:VA, and the slightly larger one on the Expanded page (albeit with whatever revisions to each of those pages we deem fit, but staying within the basic size limits that keep those lists viable), but we also provide links at the top of the "countries" sections to pages listing (1) all the countries (and sovereign states) at List of countries; and (2) List of countries by population, to satisfy those who (incorrectly) think that the most important criteria for judging a country's importance is simply its raw population. That way we provide all three lists—the two longer ones via links, to avoid making the WP:VA pages too long to easily deal with. After all, the criteria proposed by you and dv82matt would be nothing but carbon-copies of the "List of countries by population" (with possibly a couple of other countries thrown in), but with an arbitrary line drawn at a certain population with everything below that line excluded from the list. With that in mind, wouldn't it be a lot easier on everyone to simply link to the list and let editors decide for themselves where, if anywhere, to draw that line?
If you don't find the current Wikipedia lists for these topics satisfying (though I don't see why you wouldn't, they're both excellent and one is an FA), then you can also feel free to make a sub-page in Wikipedia-space for listing the countries in whatever format you prefer—say, Wikipedia:Vital articles/Countries. That way, again, you can provide a link to a more in-depth list of countries, but without overburdening the current WP:VA list with an excess of relatively trivial articles. (Do you really think Turkmenistan is more important than Zoroaster, or than Palestine, Mongolia, and New Zealand for that matter?)
"We now only have 34 countries, more than 200 less than this page originally started with, and 16 less than even the lowest proposal!" - ... So? It's easier to add countries than to remove them, and having too short of a list is an infinitely better situation than having too long of a list. Since lists will naturally tend to accumulate new entries over time, regardless of their size, we are in a much better state when we're below the desired number than when we're above it. But, I think you're obsessing a wee bit much about the numbers; in fact, all of you are. You aren't considering the countries on a case-by-case basis, and consequently you're valuing trivial countries over highly important ones because you you're relying on largely only a single, not-very-helpful criterion for importance (population); and you aren't considering the actual purpose and function of this list, and consequently you're proposing impractical, unworkable criteria for inclusion that would overbloat the listings. We should evaluate each country (and each city) to determine whether to add it or not, weighing dozens of factors to determine whether it merits inclusion or not, as was done when these shortened lists were first created from the original unworkable "list of all countries". We should not simply automatically add ones according to some singular, arbitrary criterion, no matter what that criterion is.
"The consensus (I thought) was that we would start by removing around 60-80 articles from areas like biography, and replace these with areas that need expanding, like countries and history." - The countries list doesn't need expanding, or it needs very little. The history section does need expanding, and the biography section does need trimming. (Indeed, if you look at my above list, you will see that I suggested that around 70 articles be cut from "Biography", just as you said.)
"Just under a year ago, Silence renamed the list, and removed nearly all of the countries. After the list was tagged as too pro-Western" - Um, let's be careful not to equivocate. The countries list, which you are talking about in your first sentence here, was not tagged as being too "pro-Western". Rather, the overall WP:VA list, which is the list you're talking about in your second sentence here, was tagged as such (by User:Richard001). -Silence 11:48, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the suggestion of making inclusion of the countries list optional would be a suitable compromise at this point. And yes, I consider Turkmenistan is far more important than Zoroaster! If we're not including countries as part of a way to resolve the Western bias, how should we fix the problem? Walkerma 05:33, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Is titanium important enough to list here? It is an especially vital metal to aerospace applications and for that reason I was surprised it was not already listed. --mav 13:28, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

I recommend adding it to Wikipedia:Vital_articles/Expanded#Chemistry. We should reserve the WP:VA list for only the most absolutely essential elements, like Oxygen and Gold and Carbon. If anything, the current list is already too long on the concise list, and too short on the expanded list. -Silence 14:10, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Being a chemist myself, I was going to suggest a couple of changes to the chemistry list. I would propose removing graphite and helium - both of which I'd rank below titanium - and replace them with sodium and chlorine, both of which are of enormous importance in history, industry and chemistry. I don't think titanium quite qualifies, though it is important, it's not in the top list. Walkerma 15:26, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I would also replace magnesium and neon with something more "vital". Although we could add other interesting elements such as potassium and calcium, the chemical compounds section is too small. Instead of adding more elements we could add substances such as methane, alcohol, sugar, carbohydrate, protein, fat, polymer, ammonia, sulfuric acid, etc. (not necessarily all of them, but they deserve consideration). In particular, I wouldn't consider hydrochloric acid to be as "vital" as implied by the current list (it's the only specific compound other than water and carbon dioxide). Itub 09:15, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Computer Science

Shouldn't this article be listed?-BiancaOfHell 16:11, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it probably should. -Silence 16:14, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
but where?-BiancaOfHell 16:29, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Probably either "Mathematics" or "Information technology". It's listed under "Computers and the Internet" on the expanded list. -Silence 16:35, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Out of date info

There appear to be a number of entries that are out of date: no longer stubs, new good articles, no-longer good articles, etc. What would people think about me writing a bot to update this page once a day? --Selket Talk 21:15, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

That would be a great idea. Anything to make the list more accurate, and give more focus to it.-BiancaOfHell 21:37, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I've been thinking today about entirely revamping this current page in an effort to make it more useful to editors: turning it into a table format, with fewer articles listed (say, 600-800, with the removed entries moved to the more simple "Expanded" list) and more up-to-date and specific info on each (e.g., one bar for "Title", a second for "Status" with FA and B-class and so on noted, and a third for "Notes" with specific info on ways the article needs to be improved, like "NPOV", "REFS", etc.). I'm not sure how much such a reformat would lend itself to bot maintenance, however, unlike the current list. -Silence 21:47, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking it would be a good idea to have a way of including a link to an 'extended' list for each heading that is accessible by clicking on [show/hide].-BiancaOfHell 21:59, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I must say that I like the format now (neither would be easier or harder from a bot's perspective). Tables tend to get hard to read when they get large. That said, I agree with BiancaOfHell on having the linked extended sections. --Selket Talk 23:34, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, BiancaOfHell's description is exactly what I was planning on, and have been working on. My current idea is to have (1) a list of around 600-1,000 vital articles in table format, with columns for title, status, notes, and "date when last checked", under sections in the same [show/hide] fashion as pages like WP:GA use; (2) the exact same list, but in more or less the current format, for people who don't want all the details but mostly just want to browse through the names; and (3) the "expanded" list (1,500-2,000 articles), which will be even more basic and will be the one where most of the discussion about adding or removing entries will go on (whereas the first two lists will be more concerned with improving and maintaining the entries on the list, thus ensuring that more of the time we spend is on productive editing, rather than trivial squabbling over whether or not to include borderline entries). I imagine that the second list (and perhaps parts of the first) could indeed be well-served by a bot of some sort. A bot could also be valuable for helping determine what entries to add and remove, if we could set one up to gather information like "how many pages link to this one?" and "how many interwiki links does this page have?" en masse. -Silence 23:41, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Excellent idea. I had never seen WP:GA before, but it's a good template to start from. I agree that having an extended list will prevent needless squabbles. As long as people can see which articles are Vital, and which could do with some improving then the list will be a good service.-BiancaOfHell 00:11, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Just to update everyone, I'm almost done writing the bot. It's taking a long time because I decided to make it a little more sophisticated. It will not be restricted to just this page but can update any list based on a set of rules in the page comments. --Selket Talk 05:52, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Update Solar System status as FA by bot?

Okay, the Solar system article is now an FA. Should we wait till the bot is written to make the update? A first test.-BiancaOfHell 20:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Update now. I can't write a bot until a decision is made on whether we are changing the format of the page. Then, I will need to wait for task approval, which can take a few days. If the page is going to maintain it's format for the time being, I can go ahead and start coding. Is that what the consensus is? --Selket Talk 18:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


I'd edit the list directly, but I'm not sure what the score is around here and what criteria you are using. This list of British people I feel need inclusion is not exhaustive, but just a stab. I doin't know how you are weighting it, but this is the English language Wikipedia, so I'll throw the big British names out. Under artists I can't see Turner, Hogarth or John Constable. Under authors George Orwell, HG Wells, Charles Dickens, Chaucer, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jane Austen, D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Composers, at the least Arthur Sullivan and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Entrepreneurs needs Richard Branson, Henry Tate and John Cadbury. Explorers needs Ranulph Fiennes, Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott. Inventors and scientists needs, blimey, James Watt, John Logie Baird, Alexander Graham Bell, Stephen Hawkings. Mathematicians, at the least George Boole. Politicians and leaders, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Oliver Cromwell, Henry VIII of England, Elizabeth I of England, Lloyd George, maybe Robert Walpole and Charles I of England, possibly Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, although I am unsure of the criteria. Revolutionaries is missing Irish Republican Army. And where's the sport? Roger Bannister, Steve Redgrave, Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, David Beckham, Alf Ramsey, Celtic FC, The Ashes, Torvill and Dean and Nick Faldo etc. I'll let other countrys bang the drum for their sporting stars. And actors? Alec Guiness, Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren. Would David Lean be an artist? The BBC would fit where? Food for thought, at any rate. I'm not hot on great Irish people, Australians or Canadians, I will say, not to speak of the other countries where English is the first language. Hiding Talk webcomic warrior 14:14, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Note that we're trying to reduce, not increase, the number of English-language-centric articles on the list, including British ones. However, your suggestions are very appreciated, and a few would probably make good additions here (Stephen Hawkings looks promising, for example), and many more would probably be useful additions to the Expanded list. You are also welcome to propose any suggestions for entries to remove from the current list, as we're mostly trying to shorten, not lengthen, the current list. -Silence 21:02, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Why are you trying to shrink it? Hiding Talk webcomic warrior 21:34, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Our plan is to make two lists: one short (say, 600-1000 articles), regularly updated one for the practical purpose of monitoring Wikipedia's most critical articles and both improving and maintaining them; the other second (say 1500-2000 articles) and more comprehensive, but not used as much for the specific purpose of article maintenance because of the difficulty of regularly checking on so many articles. Wikipedia:Vital articles will be the short list, and thus needs trimming; Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded will be the long list, and thus needs expansino. -Silence 21:41, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, okay. Well, if you are shrinking English-language-centric articles then you could lose Andy Warhol, William Blake, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Madonna, Tim Berners-Lee, the Wright Brothers, Thatcher, FDR, Bush, Blair, Truman, Victoria of the United Kingdom and you need to cull half of the philosophers and social scientists, not just English Language ones. Leave Aristotle, René Descartes, Sigmund Freud, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Socrates, and Sun Tzu. Just my thoughts. Sorry, I hadn't seen the extended lists. Hiding Talk webcomic warrior 21:47, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion: Kalevala

I copy this from talk page of meta-wiki, since no talk happens there. I suggest Kalevala would be added to list. As the Finnish national epos it is the flagship of one of the richest oral traditions in the world - the Finnic mythology. About hundred thousand folk poems have been collected from Finnic peoples to the folk poem archive of Finland. Kalevala, even while it haves only a small portion of those poems, represents all that. It is written in a unique European language and unique metre. In Kalevala there are layers of mythology from all time perioids since stone age. It is translated in many languages. There is nothing else about Finland in this list of articles even though Finland is one of the leading countries in welfare, health care, fight against corruption, education, womens rights, democracy, technological achievements, journalist freedom, economic competitiveness and so on (look statistics at the Finland article). There is nothing about any Fenno-Ugric people in this list even though most scientist agree that Fenno-Ugric languages were spoken at Northern Europe before Indo-European languages and so Fenno-Ugrics are native European languages and an important part of what Europeans are composed of just like Christianity or Hellenic culture. If we don't have anything else about Fenno-Ugric world here lets have Kalevala to represent all that. Tuohirulla puhu 16:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Suggestion: tree simplification

Hi, I'd love to see this knowledge tree be simplified as in "Science"/"Science" goes to "Science", and the hyperlink is simply placed in that single "Science". bsod 23:25, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

What is 'Writing' doing in 'Information technology'? It's double, also in 'Everyday life'/'Language'. bsod 01:21, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

In 'Mathematics': The 'col-break' code between 'Integral' and 'Chaos Theory' bugs there with the renumbering, it starts at 1 again somehow. It immediately is clear that this is a bug, because both columns in the 'Mathematics' sections start at 1., which is impossible. The same bug occurs in 'Measurement' by the way. bsod 01:41, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I respectfully propose to get rid of that entire 'Measurement' main category. As every physicist will tell you, measurement is a subtopic in physics. And as such, is should be found in that category. And even as a main category, it is a very redundant structure, at least in the beginning: its just a list of physical quantities each with their respective units as children. And later on in the measurement category, even that schema does not hold. Take 'Speed' for example: it has two subcategories there, 'Acceleration' and 'Velocity'. These terms are not even speed units. It's more like /things you can measure and have something to do with speed/. Anyway, I could go on about it, but the mainline is: Let's ditch that Measurement, it helps us to loose a lot of words (of lesser importance). bsod 02:19, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


Unfortunately this list is completely Eurocenteric. It represents western POV and ignore other cultures. I write some of notable persons and events. Of course this is not all of them.

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 03:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Artists: Mir Emad Hassani and Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād don't seem notable or influential enough for this list IMO.
Do you agree with Reza Abbasi?--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Authors: Rumi, Ferdowsi, Hafez and Saadi (poet), maybe add Hafez only.
Rumi was a great theologian, jurist, Sufi and poet. His poems has great eeffect not only in Iran but also in Turkey, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Pakistan. Throughout the centuries he has had a significant influence on Persian as well as Urdu and Turkish literatures. Upon a proposal by Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey, the year 2007 was declared as the "International Rumi Year" by UNESCO in March 2006:Rumi#International Rumi Year. I can't understand why do you think he's not notable enough?--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Explorers:Ibn Battutah, maybe remove Marco Polo? Marco Polo is better known I think.
This is what I call Eurocentrism. The journey of Ibn Battutah is longer than the journey of Marco Polo. He's not notable because western Media don't pay attention to him. --Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Inventors and scientists:Al-Razi yes
Mathematicians:Yes to Al-Khwarizmi. No to Omar Khayyám.
If you want to choose one person among them, I propose Nasir al-Din Tusi. He has great work in Astronomy(Zij-i Ilkhani) and Trigonometry(Treatise on the Quadrilatera). He's one of the greatest Persian politicians(Vazir of Hulagu) and the greatest Shia theologian(His book is [[Tajrid Al-Eteqad)). He was notable in ethics(Akhlaq Naseri). He was also a jurist and philosopher.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Philosophers and social scientists:Avicenna, Averroes, Ibn Khaldun, no this section tends to mushroom out of control.
I see there's written Aristotle. The position of Avicenna in Muslim civilization similar with the position of Aristotle in Hellenistic civilization. He was one of the greatest physicians of the middle age(The Canon of Medicine). His works in physics and metaphysics are notable (like The Book of Healing). George Sarton called Avicenna "the most famous scientist of Islam and one of the most famous of all races, places, and times.
Politicians and leaders:Cyrus the Great, yes though this section also tends to grow too much.
Revolutionaries and activists:Ruhollah Khomeini, yes.
Achaemenid Empire, a bit redundant with Persian Empire but maybe.
Han Empire and Tang Empire Chinese Dynasties can be difficult. There are so many how does one pick which are notable and which are not? Maybe we should include History of China instead.
Arab Empire is currently a disambiguation page.
I chose some empires on the basis of List of largest empires#Ancient empires and List of largest empires#Medieval empires. Also Qing Empire is notable on the basis of List of largest empires#Percentage of world population and List of largest empires#Percentage of world GDP--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Iranian revolution, yes.
Caspian Sea is already included, Suez Canal maybe but maybe we should delete Panama Canal instead.
New Delhi and Istanbul yes to Instanbul, no to New Delhi.
Literature: Poetry:Shahnameh, Masnavi No, I'd prefer to trim existing entries.
Shahnameh is notable and effective as Iliad, Mahabharata and Odyssey. It has had great effect in Persian language as well as Turkish, Persian and Mongol governments of Central Asia, Turkey, Iran and India in the later era.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Music:Qawwali, maybe. Probably yes.
Visual arts: Miniature (illuminated manuscript) no.
Theistic philosophies: Sufism and Islamic philosophy no I'd prefer to trim this section rather than expand it.
I insist on Sufism in this part or other part. --Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Worship redundant with Spiritual practice perhaps it should replace it though.
Madrasah, no. Redundant with school
Bazaar, no. Redundant with market
Just my two cents on the matter. :-) —dv82matt 05:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I chose my suggestions on the basis of their worth for culture and civilization and their effect on people life. I try to choose some people or works which belong to more than one nation or region. I proposed people who have worked in more than one field. It's difficult for me to put Rumi, Avicenna or Nasir al-Din Tusi in one category. Rumi was a notable religious scholar, Sufi and poet. Avicenna as well as Nasir al-Din Tusi were great philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, theologian, physician and politician. Avicenna is famous as a philosopher and physician while Nasir al-Din Tusi is famous as a theologian and politician. There are numerous notable persons in China, India and some other former civilizations which Europeans don't pay enough attention to them. --Sa.vakilian(t-c) 10:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I understand and appreciate where you are coming from and your suggestions are good. This page does have a problem with being Eurocentric. My suggestions above are only suggestions. If you feel strongly that an article should be included then go ahead and include it. However the 'People' section tends to grow too much because people only seem to add entries and never delete them. This is what the page looked like not to long ago. Notice that there were over 200 people articles which I think is far to many. Feel free to add entries as you see fit but try to keep the number of "People articles" under 100. Cheers. —dv82matt 13:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
No I don't want to push my POV. I've asked some of my friends who are knowledgeable in yhis case to help with choosing the most notable ones. I removed Bin Ladan. He's more notable among western media than among the Muslims. I can mention about 10 other Revolutionaries and activists who are more notable than Bin Ladan.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 15:15, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I added these articles:

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 16:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I added ibn Battuta the geographer and Maimonides the philosopher/physician to try to represent the Arab world slightly. Abu Nuwas the poet should be added, though the "authors" section would need to be rescoped slightly. For scientist/mathematician, one or two of the following should be added: Averroes, Ibn al-Haitham, Geber or Al-Kindi. The "politicians" and "revolutionaries" sections should be pared, perhaps the the latter being eliminated; the former suffers the most from recentism here. Cheers, TewfikTalk 04:53, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree on ibn Battuta and Maimonides.
In the case of scientists we should choose one or two of these:
Geber:For usage of measurement in chemistry.
Al-Razi:For his works in chemistry especially finding Alcohol
Ibn al-Haitham:For his works in physics
In the case of Philosophers and social scientists:
Averroes: As a great philosopher
Ibn Khaldun:He wrote Muqaddimah which is one of the first work in philosophy and of history and sociology of transformations of civilizations)
Al-Kindi:He's not notable enough.
Literature: I don't have any idea. --Sa.vakilian(t-c) 05:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

I added these articles:

I want to add

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 13:21, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Religious scholars and leaders

I suggest to add this section under notable people section. At present the name of Gautama Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad are written under Specific religions while the name of some others like Moses and Zoroaster aren't mentioned.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 04:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree, I've thought of doing this myself. —dv82matt 05:18, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I propose to add these people:Abraham, Moses and Zoroaster.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 04:24, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I added Prophets and founders of religions and moved the name of religious leaders to there. I removed 2 persons:Bab and Guru Gobind Singh because I want to write one person for each religion. However we can write more than one person for each religion. If so, I propose Ali and Fatima for Islam, Peter and Mary for Christianity.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 04:51, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
How about "Religious figures"? I think two for each religion would be good - but surely Christianity needs Saint Paul. StAnselm 01:49, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that is the fear expressed above, that too many entries will be vital. One person per religion seems like a good guideline, though you probably shouldn't list them as "prophets", since the secular world doesn't acknowledge that they all existed. More than that and we won't be 'vital' any longer. TewfikTalk 05:21, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I think most of the people known some of them like Abraham as the prophet, however I don't insist on using prophet'.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 05:37, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Why is Confucius consider to be a religious leader? Isn't he a philosopher? David D. (Talk) 05:03, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Vital articles' department

I suggest to establish a team of wikipedians with different cultures. They can judge which article is notable enough to be mentioned in this list. They can set criteria and answer to the requests.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 05:35, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

about eurocentralism

Im seriously in agree with sa_vakilian..I think here in this sellection V can whatch a clear eurocentralism...& he offered good topics 2 B add on this list...& his critique is acceptable. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Bluesky lost (talkcontribs) 08:55, 31 March 2007 (UTC).


I'm going to add an athletes section for people. Any complaints? I'll use the core list from WP:BIO for now. I'll wait a day or to see if there are. Quadzilla99 23:45, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I'd object. Atheletes aren't really notable enough for inclusion. Also it sets a bad precedent, if atheletes are included why not actors, entertainers, and entrepreneurs the people section should be kept to under 100 entries if at all possible. —dv82matt 09:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Lack of Notability

Are these persons notable enough:

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 19:02, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Francis Drake sould be removed but I think Alan Turing should stay. —dv82matt 11:36, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Quick count

Did a quick count, seems to be 1033 articles at the present, with 73 FAs and 115 GAs. That's about 7% FAs and 11% GAs, all together 188 articles ≈ 18%. Lampman 16:49, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

What we can remove

How many article should we have? I prefer 1000 articles.

If so I propose to remove these articles:


I think we can remove these articles:

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 02:36, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I think "American football" and "baseball" should stay but "Cricket" should go. —dv82matt 07:13, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
That's crazy. Millions more people play and billions more watch Cricket than American football or baseball. --Dweller 09:02, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Keep Cricket then. —dv82matt 09:52, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Well even though I love football and play it, it's not a internationally vital sport but it's disputably more popular and important than baseball, here in USA, even if we say baseball's our national past time it's really football that's our national sport now. Cricket on the other hand though, is a internationally established sport for hundred of years. So I think cricket's more vital. It's disputable that it's the second most popular sport in the world after the only undisputed most popular sport soccer.--THUGCHILDz 09:26, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

This smacks of systemic bias =Nichalp «Talk»= 09:56, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Apart from the inclusion of soccer, the current list seems very US-centric. There is a world out there beyond the 50 states, and in most of that world American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey are minor sports. I'm not saying that they should necessarily be removed, but sports with genuine worldwide popularity such as tennis ought to be included. JH (talk page) 13:03, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't see why American Football's on there - it's a sport played almost entirely in one country. Basketball and ice hockey less so, but if they're there tennis and athletics most definetely should be. Cricket, as a sport played by billions, should stay. HornetMike 14:58, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Heh, people are jumping all over this. Let's just remove all the specific sports, they're not that vital as encyclopedia topics go anyway. We could reduce or remove many of the other "specific whatever" lists as well IMO. —dv82matt 16:46, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Agree with this. David D. (Talk) 04:57, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


We can remove some of units like:

What's your idea?--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 02:57, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Agree. While they are very important they are not crucial as encyclopedia articles. —dv82matt 07:13, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Chemical elements

I suggest to remove these articles:

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 03:02, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

All are forms of elements - diamond & graphite are forms of carbon, but I think I could agree that graphite and diamond are of limited importance (though diamond is clearly important in jewellery). Silicon is very important - it is the second commonest element in the Earth's crust, making about 26% of the mass, and (along with oxygen) it's the basic building block of nearly all soil and rock. Silicon is also the main material for integrated circuits and semiconductors. If you want a chemist's view, get rid of neon and if you want to remove a second, take helium. I really don't know why neon is on there, I would rank it about 60th in importance out the 117 elements - it doesn't do any chemistry at all, it's only claim to fame is a minor use in a few lights, it's "full octet" structure, and the fact that it's a minor component of air. Helium is more important to physicists - the alpha particle is a helium nucleus, and helium is fairly common in the universe and in fusion reactions. It is also known through its use in balloons. It has very little interest for chemists, though, except as a fluid in gas chromatography and HPLC. Walkerma 04:27, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I think "helium", "diamond", and "silicon" should stay. "Graphite" and "neon" can be deleted. Incidentally Walkerma, I added "neon" when expanding the section some time ago. But in my defence those flashy neon lights are pretty darn cool. ;-) —dv82matt 07:13, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Diamond and Graphite are some morphologies like ozone(O3) and C60. Neon and helium are Noble gas. I think we can remove Neon and leave Helium.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 07:38, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Middle Ages

Can we put Pre-Columbian instead of Aztec, Inca Empire and Maya civilization?--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 07:56, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Renaissance to present

Do we need to all of these:

--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 08:24, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

In general I don't think the history section should be made shorter as it is already quite sparse. That said we could probably lose "English Civil War". I'd like to add:
  1. History of Africa
  2. History of the Americas
  3. History of Europe
  4. History of the European Union
  5. History of Japan
  6. History of the Middle East
  7. History of the United States
  8. Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  9. Civil rights movement
  10. Indian independence movement
  11. Korean War
  12. Russian Empire
  13. Soviet Union
  14. Spanish flu
  15. Taiping Rebellion
  16. Women's suffrage
We could then remove some such as American Civil War, American Revolutionary War and Russian Civil War which you mentioned as they would have become redundant. —dv82matt 10:44, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Why don't we add Uttoman Empire, Arab-Israel conflict and some other notable articles if we put American and Russian civil war there?--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 02:16, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Ottoman empire is listed. I'm not actually against removing the American and Russian civil war as well as other articles provided we add broad overveiw articles that continue to give coverage of the topics that are removed. —dv82matt 02:42, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


Why list Bible under "Christianity"? --Dweller 19:48, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

No sports?

I don't know what criteria were used in making this list, but I can't find any mention of sports. It seems there has been talk of removing some sports-related articles from the list (#What we can remove), but atm there is not a single sports-related article on the list. I suggest adding the articles of the most notable sports (e.g. football (soccer), baseball, basketball), the most notable sportspeople (e.g. Michael Schumacher, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer) and the most notable sports teams (e.g. Scuderia Ferrari, New York Yankees, Manchester United F.C.). The specifics of this section, which sports-related articles should be included and which should not, would obviously be the subject of a subsequent discussion. Cows fly kites (Aecis) Rule/Contributions 11:14, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

It was discussed here [2]. I'm not sure I agree with it, though. I definitely don't agree with adding those sportspeople. MahangaTalk 15:08, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I think the best not-completely-arbitrary list we can come up with is the modern Olympic games. Even then it's not a very good list. Nifboy 01:41, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, this list should really, really include football (soccer) as a vital article. I see it as more vital for an encyclopedia to have than a good proportion of the stuff on this list, and I'm not even really a football fan.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 21:15, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I tend to agree but the problem has been that it is difficult to limit the list to five or six entries. Everyone seems to have strong opinions about which sports should be included and which should not. See Wikipedia_talk:Vital_articles/Archive_2#Sport.
The expanded list has American football, Athletics (track and field), Auto racing, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Fencing, Football (soccer), Hockey, Ice hockey, Rugby football, Tennis, Volleyball, Water polo and Wrestling so you could trim some off that list and give it a try if you like. —dv82matt 22:32, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I've only recently found this page, and it seems strange to me that there is "Board Games" listed, plus 4 other board game articles, but just the generic "Sport" listed. Surely some of the sports as listed above are more deserving than draughts? - fchd (talk) 09:13, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Would anyone be opposed to listing only Association football (soccer), Athletics (track and field), Auto racing and Cricket? —dv82matt 06:28, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Buckingham Palace?

Not sure it's even the most important/notable building in London, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's would all probably come first. Suggest it's deleted. Paulbrock 13:07, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I support it's removal from this list. --Amandajm 03:29, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Core topics - 1,000

This has probably been covered before, but is there a reason to have a separate Wikipedia:Core topics - 1,000 and Wikipedia:Vital articles? Both seem to be subjective lists by Wikipedians of the 1000-or-so most important topics for articles on Wikipedia. Is there a significant difference? Should they be merged? – Quadell (talk) (random) 16:41, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

The core topics list is administered by the Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team so it is purposed specifically to article selection in a release version of Wikipedia. This list is more general in purpose and allows for a more informal editing process IMO. —dv82matt 00:49, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Art and Architecture

  • I recommend the removal of all the buildings listed under "Architecture". The individuals works are a part of the period that produuced them.
I somewhat agree, though I'd suggest retaining Great Pyramid of Giza and Great Wall of China in the list. Most of the other buildings are simply not notable enough in their own right for inclusion IMO. —dv82matt 09:40, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I recommend the redirection, within the "visual arts" category, of painting to the category "Art" and the removal of the brief list of POV great works, which doesn't include the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel(!?) but does include a single popular modern work the Scream. Where are Picasso's demoiselles, one asks?
I agree that all the individual works should be removed. I would suggest removing all the specific works of literature as well (with the exception of the religious texts in the religion section).
I'm not sure what you mean by "redirection, within the "visual arts" category, of painting to the category "Art"". Do you mean to pipe "Painting" (like this: Painting)? If so then I disagree with this suggestion as this list is specifically intended to be a list of articles rather than categories. —dv82matt 09:40, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
  • The following list is the short list of important topics under "History of Art".
Pre-historic art
Arts of the ancient world
Western art history
Eastern art history
Islamic art history
Contemporary art
Western painting

These articles should all be brought up to scratch, if they are not already, and provide the links to all the other areas like Gothic architecture, Pre-Columbian art, Greek sculpture etc. --Amandajm 04:47, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Though I agree that those are important articles, I don't think the historic articles ie: Western art history, Eastern art history and Islamic art history should be included in this list. For the others I will defer to your judgement on the matter. —dv82matt 09:40, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was primarily a painter! Not a scientist. That's right! He was enormously influential as a painter. And, on the side, he was a scientist and engineer. He advertised himself as having engineering skills, but in fact, he projects either flopped or were not even begun. His flying machine didn't fly. His tank, had it been made, would have rotated on the spot (with enormous effort). His enormous crossbow, when constructed, launched a missile about ten metres. His bobbin winder worked.

His major contributions to science were made through his paintings. His knowledge of anatomy had little impact, except on Art. His study of light had little impact except on Art. Please, somebody, remove Leonardo from the list of influential scientists and put his name where it belongs - He is, with Michelangelo, the most famous painter who ever lived. See Mona Lisa. (Yeah, as an art historian, this really bugs me!)

I've contributed an article about Leonardo's science at Leonardo da Vinci - scientist and inventor. if you want him in the list of scientists, please link that article, and put the main Leonardo da Vinci in the list of artists. --Amandajm 04:47, 26 May 2007 (UTC)


Where are Plays? Where's Shakespeare's plays? Are they listed somewhere other than Literature? --Amandajm 04:47, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Who decided this?

Why on earth are Norway and Bangladesh "vital articles", but other country articles are not? Who decided this mess? Is Bangladesh somehow more "vital" to a good encyclopedia than Cameroon or Chad? Every country in the world should be a "vital article". This whole page is offensive and should be deleted. — Brian (talk) 02:10, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Original versions actually had something like "everything in List of countries" and added listings of FAs and GAs. I suspect that section grew unwatched until someone changed the wordings. Overall, I completely fail to see how the page is "offensive and should be deleted." Feel free to nominate it. Circeus 03:23, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I may have overreacted. :) I think this project could do with quite a bit of de-Eurocentrization, though. Every country in the world should be listed as "vital", at the very least. — Brian (talk) 05:52, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind expanding the list of countries somewhat, but we already have a list of every country in the world elsewhere so why duplicate that long list here? Also, where do you see European bias? Could you give some examples? —dv82matt 09:35, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
It's not just countries, I think this whole concept is a NPOV nightmare. I suppose many people will try to add their pet topic. -- Functor salad 13:30, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson

Should Nelson not be included amongst this list or at least the expanded list? He is a central figure in the history if the British Isles, in European politics over the last two centuries and in naval warfare ever since the battle of Trafalgar. Is there a reason why he is omitted? Thankyou Woodym555 16:19, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Put him on the expanded VA list if you want but he's really not pivotal enough for the main VA list. Cheers —dv82matt 19:43, 28 June 2007 (UTC)


How come this page doesn't have a section on economics? How about articles on Capitalism, Communism, Trade, Banking..etc.? Also should include core business topics: Finance, Marketing, Accounting etc.

It does. It's here. Also Armanaziz, please don't forget to sign your posts on talk pages. Cheers —dv82matt 08:06, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Medicine additions

Shouldn't hypertension and diabetes be vital articles? They're probably more important than Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy for example.FelixFelix talk 18:21, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable to me. Parmesan 16:42, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Other languages

The list of vital languages leans more than a trifle towards Europe and Asia. May I suggest the addition of Swahili and Quechua, as two widely spoken native languages (S: 80 million; Q: 10 million speakers) of Africa and South America respectively, both of which are spoken in more than one country? Parmesan 16:42, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I can't speak for Quechua, but Swahili absolutely should be there. --mav 04:06, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


I allowed myself to insert a discreet little box to show future progress in the improvement of vital articles. Hope nobody minds. Lampman 15:27, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Just updated the box, and it now includes the recently added categories, an initiative I personally quite appreciated. We now see that, while about one in five articles are currently considered among Wikipedia’s best work, that proportion increases to almost one in three if we include articles that once held that position, and may perhaps be brought back to it without too much work. That gives you hope. (PS: the numbers don’t add up because some articles belong to more than one category.) Lampman 01:15, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Note that I haven't finished updating the list, I think I have one or two more categories to go through. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 01:39, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok, let me know when you're done. Good job, by the way! Lampman 01:43, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Also note that I marked all of the A-class articles as either GA or not GA, as in my mind FA > A > GA and all A-class articles should be GAs. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 01:44, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
That does seem logical, though reality does not always confirm it. To add to the confusion, some articles (such as Berlin) have different ratings according to different projects. I'll leave it to your judgement though. Lampman 19:25, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
From the work I've done so far, I think that most A-class articles should really be ranked B-class, given the stronger requirements of WP:V as of late. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 21:05, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I finished the list. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 02:02, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Cool, I made an update to the box. It shows a few more former FAs and GAs, but this seems to be due to an increase in the total article count? Lampman 18:14, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


I'm wondering about supressing Poe of the authors list and putting Hawthorne or Melville instead. Even if Poe might be a bit well-known, American litterature seems really to begin with the Scarlet letter and Moby Dick. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexander Doria (talkcontribs) 15:01, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually, if I had to pick one and only one American author, it would be Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was the first one to really challenge British traditions and start a real American literary tradition. Melville and Hawthorne's works are often mostly reactions to Emerson. Scholars frequently make reference to his influence in American literature. Wrad 16:12, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I would also argue that T. S. Eliot is more vital than James Joyce. Wrad 16:15, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't really think T. S. Eliot should be added but maybe James Joyce should be removed. —dv82matt 13:59, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd prefer keeping Poe in the list over any of the alternatives mentioned so far. Granted some other writers mentioned might have had greater impact on literature on an academic level but I think Poe's impact on literature in popular culture is far more impressive.
Consider that Poe was influential in developing the short story, detective and crime fiction, and horror fiction. —dv82matt 11:36, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, he wasn't really influential in developing horror, it was already well-developed by then, but he did do the other things, that's a good point. I still think that we should use an author with a broader influence. Emerson's influence is so broad that we take it fr granted and don't even recognize it for what it is anymore. Wrad 14:53, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah you are right regarding Poe and horror. I misremebered. Regarding Emerson I never realized that he was so broadly influential. His wikipedia article didn't give me a very good sense of that. —dv82matt 15:43, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so sure that Emerson would be a good choice : he had a great deal of influence in American Literature, but that doesn't mean he is the greatest American writer. In Germany, Lessing had also a strong influence, but he can't be compared with Goethe, Schiller or Hölderlin. Anyway, it finally occured me that William Faulkner is the only American author able to appear in the Authors list. Alexander Doria 14:11, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
There's no way to objectively declare anyone the greatest American author. There is no agreement on that. There is agreement on Emerson's influence, though. And I'm not sure I follow the Faulkner thing. What do you mean? Wrad 14:47, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that Poe should be removed and Rousseau should be added. Rousseau's influence on Western Civ can hardly be exaggerated. He is the transition from the Enlightenment to Romanticism. And he influenced political thought also. — goethean 03:41, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Include de-featured and de-GA symbols?

I'm in favor of noting which articles have been demoted from FA and GA status so we can see where we could improve on first. Any thoughts? --Hemlock Martinis 21:37, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

It adds clutter. I'd prefer we not do that unless at least a couple more people think they would find it useful. —dv82matt 07:00, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Good idea… I think I will do the same on the French version. Alexander Doria 10:22, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
Done. Everything that was DGA, DFA, A, GA, and FA are noted as such on the list now. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 20:17, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

A-class articles?

How do we signify A-class articles like Economics? --Hemlock Martinis 23:39, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Currently we don't but maybe we should. A-Class article would work pretty well and is used for that purpose elsewhere. —dv82matt 01:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Works for me. Thanks! --Hemlock Martinis 06:48, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Great Idea, If i get some free time I will mark the Articles that are A-class A-Class article!! Hope that is ok with most people. Max ╦╩ 18:46, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
As far as I know, they're already marked, I made sure to do so when I went through and updated the list. However, most (supposedly) A-class articles are actually closer to B-class. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 20:16, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Time to prune

I believe there are 1017 articles in this list right now (excluding List of countries and List of countries by population). I could be wrong, if anybody wants do double-check, please do, but I'm pretty sure that's the number. There is of course no compelling reason why there should be 1000 articles rather than 1017 or 983, but 1000 is a nice, round number, and keeping it there helps us preventing the list from filling up with cruft. For overflow there is always Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded. So I suggest we cut out some of the articles, any suggestions? I'd like to start by suggesting Jean Racine; I see no reason to include him, and certainly not ahead of Molière. Lampman 19:23, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

No objections here to pruning a bit. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 20:16, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Note that some articles are both DFA, DGA, and A, so you might be counting a few articles more than once. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 20:18, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Nah, I took that into account. Lampman 07:09, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I've no objection to judicious pruning but there's no particular reason to restrict the list to precisely 1000 entries. —dv82matt 10:57, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

There are some articles that on their talk page are listed as vital, but are not listed here

For example, George W. Bush. There are others, but I can't recall what they are right now.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 21:09, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

They are almost always articles that used to be listed here but were removed. Any vital article tags on the talk pages of those articles should be removed. —dv82matt 22:07, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm not removing them. As it stands, this page seems both subjective and impossible to maintain.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 22:34, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Prioritizing FA, GA, A, DFA and DGA symbols (in that order)

In order to tidy up the page I'd like to suggest that we include one symbol max per article. So for example if an article is DFA then there is no need to include the DGA symbol or if an article is A class then don't use the DFA or DGA symbols and so on. —dv82matt 01:43, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. The way I formatted the list, if an article has both Failed featured article candidate and Failed good article nominee, it typically means that the article was a FA, was demoted, and then failed a GAN. That tells someone browsing the list that the article is probably B-class. As for A-class articles, I made sure to include the and Failed good article nominee symbols, as most supposedly-A-class articles haven't been through the GA nomination process. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 04:18, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
If an article has Failed featured article candidate how does adding Failed good article nominee as well help to identify it as B-class? That makes absolutely no sense to me. If uniquely identifying B-class articles on this list is desirable it would make way more sense to use B-Class article instead.
WRT, …most supposedly-A-class articles haven't been through the GA nomination process. that may be true of A-class articles in general but it's actually not true of the A-class articles on this list. —dv82matt 12:50, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
By "through" I meant "passed the GA nomination process"; as in, A-Class article. The current A-class articles on the list can be divided up as follows:
A-Class articleGood article nominee
  1. Robot
A-Class article
  1. Egypt
A-Class articleFailed good article nominee (either not passed GAN or not been through it)
  1. Moses
  2. Civilization
  3. Berlin
  4. Republic of Ireland
  5. Saudi Arabia
  6. Aesthetics
  7. Jazz
  8. Pope
  9. Maize
  10. Economics
  11. Pound sterling
  12. Trade
  13. Anarchism
  14. Liberalism
  15. Black hole
  16. Insect
  17. Physics
  18. Gravitation
  19. Theory of relativity
  20. Jet engine
  21. Computer
  22. Laser
  23. Number
I think what I'm getting at here is that I place a lot of emphasis on the GA process as far as quality rankings go. An article marked as Failed featured article candidateFailed good article nominee is obviously inferior in quality to one marked as Failed featured article candidate, etc. —Disavian (talk/contribs) 18:02, 11 November 2007 (UTC)


I would like to suggest a new policy whereby new additions are only admitted if accompanied by corresponding removals. There is a tendency for everybody to add their favourite author/country/dwarf planet without anyone ever removing anything. The result is a constantly expanding list that will eventually be indistinguishable from Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded.

I have permitted myself to prune the list down to 1000 items. There is of course nothing magical about that number, but agreeing on a set amount of articles can prevent this constant bloating. I have done this by removing additions made since early September this year, when the list was at exactly 1000. Please note that this is not intended as an editorial action on my part; the removals in no way reflect my personal views. If anybody wants to restore any of the removed articles, feel free to do so, but please suggest a removal at the same time.

The removals are as follows:

Praxiteles – Horace – Ovid – Jean Racine – Leo Tolstoy – Georg Friedrich Händel – Franz Liszt – Nicolaus Copernicus – John Paul II – Civilization – Featured article Libya – Romania – Versailles Palace – Ayyavazhi – Personal computer game – Console game – Handheld video game – Dwarf Planet – Ceres – Featured article Pluto – Featured article Eris – Imaginary number

Lampman (talk) 00:39, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Personally I'd prefer it if you did do this as an editorial action rather than simply removing articles added after some arbirtrary date. I think the policy you suggest would be wrongheaded and would tend focus attention inappropriatly on a mostly irrelevant number rather than on making improvements (whether additions or deletions) to the list. Anyway I think Nicolaus Copernicus, Civilization, Dwarf Planet and Imaginary number should definitely be listed. Praxiteles, Horace, Ovid, Leo Tolstoy and Georg Friedrich Händel are perhaps debatable but in my view they should also be listed. The rest I am ambivilant about or favor removal. BTW Thanks for bringing this up for discussion and listing your removals here. Diffs don't work for me so it would have been a hassle trying to figure what had been removed otherwise. Cheers —dv82matt 01:28, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Simply focusing on "making improvements" sounds great in theory, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way in reality. Since September, 22 additions have been made to the list, without a single removal. It goes without saying that if this development is allowed to go unchecked, the list will at some point lose all purpose. Nobody’s denying that 1,000 is an arbitrary number, but I can't for the life of me see what's so much better about 1,022, or any other number.
Personally, I agree that Leo Tolstoy, Nicolaus Copernicus, Dwarf Planet and probably also Pluto belong. Generally speaking, however, I think the list suffers from the systemic bias common to Wikipedia, and that the humanity sections could be expanded at the expense of technology, science and mathematics. I don't think we need 9 articles on electronics and 12 on geology; e.g. resistor and igneous rock could go. Also axe and fractal, in my opinion. Lampman (talk) 10:41, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
This list has existed for a lot longer than three months. Removals do happen. It's just that they tend to come in batches wheras additions trickle in. I and a few others have trimmed articles from this list from time to time so I guess I disagree that focusing on "making improvements" doesn't work in reality. (Although I admit at times it does feel like I'm the only one doing any general trimming so help in that department is always welcome.) I consider 1,000 to be a soft cap, that is, as long as we're within ~5% or so of the target then it's nothing to get overly concerned about. 1022 is only 2.2% above so it doesn't seem like too much of a problem to me at this point.
And it's not that 1,022 or any other number is better than 1,000. It's that a soft cap is IMO better than a firm one. I think a firm cap could have a somewhat chilling effect on the open and informal editing process that has characterized this page. By forcing a removal for every addition editors are likely to become frustrated at having their additions removed, not because of any problems with the additions themselves but simply because a rigid cap is in place, and then either make rushed, random or poorly informed pruning choices when pressed to do so, or simply avoid contributing at all.
I'd prefer to keep Fractal on the list but that is just my opinion. Feel free to prune the articles you mentioned and any others you think should be trimmed. Cheers —dv82matt 19:14, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
I think you point out a central problem: while additions are a free-for-all, removals remain the domain of a small group of dedicated editors. Meanwhile, the additions are often frivolous at best, and end up being removed more often than not (like the anon in October who added Jan Kochanowski, Maciej Sarbiewski, Adam Mickiewicz, Witold Lutosławski, Stefan Banach, John Paul II, Lech Wałęsa and Solidarność, betraying perhaps a slight national bias...) While a more open model might have worked in the early days, it seems reasonable to impose a level of discipline as the list gets more settled, to avoid an endless cycle of pointless adding and removing.
I’ll go ahead and remove resistor, igneous rock and axe, and add back Leo Tolstoy, Nicolaus Copernicus and – at second thought – Pluto (I would argue that while Dwarf Planet is simply an arbitrary astronomical term, for which there is not even consensus in the scientific community, Pluto has an enduring place in the popular consciousness). Lampman (talk) 01:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I am concerned that additions will simply be summarily reverted for exceeding the cap rather than considered on their merits. If we are to have a firm cap I would suggest putting it slightly higher than the target number of 1,000 articles, say at 1,050. That would prevent the list from growing without bound and yet still allow for some flexibility when editing. I'm not convinced that the cycle of adding and removing articles is entirely pointless and I hesitate to restrict that dynamic, which I think has proven useful overall.
Regarding specific articles, I take your point about Dwarf Planet and Pluto but I do think Civilization and Imaginary number (and now that I think of it Number theory) should be on the list. In the Mathematics section I'd suggest Division, Subtraction, Trigonometric function, Set and Mathematical logic as likely removal candidates. —dv82matt 04:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, if you ask any mathematician about the three most important symbols in mathematics, they are pretty likely to mention pi, e, and the imaginary number. Wrad (talk) 04:15, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


I nominate Shanghai to be added. S♦s♦e♦b♦a♦l♦l♦o♦s (Talk to Me) 02:12, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm lukewarm about adding Shanghai to the list. Having three Chinese cities listed could be unbalancing. That said, if it were added I wouldn't remove it. Cheers —dv82matt 23:31, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

I would almost consider nominating this page for deletion

It is contrary to Wikipedia's official NPOV policy. This list shows inherent systematic bias (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria are vital articles, yet Portugal, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine are not? How so? Economic bias perhaps? Elvis Presley and The Beatles are vital articles yet Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones are not? How so? Individual preferences perhaps?) and is impossible to maintain in an objective manner, because as this stands it is subjective, and at worst is without any logical foundation at all. Thoughts?--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 00:17, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

An Afd would fail miserably. If it's biased, then fix it, don't delete it. The fact is, some articles are more vital than others. Wikipedia makes a disc so that people without the internet can access the information we can, and they can't put everything on, so they pick and choose. This is where the choices are posted. This isn't just some random list, it serves a useful purpose. Again, the answer is fixing the POV, not deleting the entire page. You seem to be saying that it is impossible to make it objective because it is subjective. That just doesn't make any sense. Wrad (talk) 00:43, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Is Berlin more vital than Portugal? According to the current page it is. I'd have to disagree with that assertion.--h i s s p a c e r e s e a r c h 02:28, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
That seems like an odd comparison to me. One is a city and one is a country. The ones you made in you first post were better in my mind. Wrad (talk) 02:30, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Economics and population are the two main criteria that I used when I last updated the list of countries. Do you think that the size of a country's economy shouldn't bear as heavily on the countries included on this list? If so could you suggest an alternate metric or guidance of some sort. Perhaps the list of countries should focus more on historical or political significance? —dv82matt 07:18, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
This list isn't official and it isn't hurting anybody. There are far more productive uses of your time than trying (and likely failing) at getting this thing deleted. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 09:21, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Time for a Vital Article Collaboration of the Month maybe

More than with other articles, the length and complexity of many of these articles lend themselves to a collaborative effort to get to Featured Status rather than by a single editor. Maybe it's time to have a Vital Article collaboration of the month? cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Well there's already Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Core topics/Core topics COTF which selects from a similar list. That's just FYI though. It may still be a good idea to start a collaboration that selects from this list specifically. —dv82matt 05:05, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Wow, been here for almost 2 years and never seen that page before...I'll scrutinise it a bit more closely...but does it get much activity now? cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:38, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's particularily active right now but I don't really know firsthand. Walkerma is probably the foremost active participant ATM. —dv82matt 09:51, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Along these lines, if Language and Philosophy of Science were made the focus of an article improvement campaign, this would make all Vital Articles "Start" quality or better. Not only should we work on adding to our foremost, but also also working on our hindmost. -- llywrch (talk) 20:51, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Well 'Language' is B class and no longer has a cleanup tag on it so it should be debolded; 'Philosophy of science' is start class but has a cleanup tag. Since none of the articles on the list are stubs anymore, I'd suggest we bold all start class articles as needing attention regardless of whether they have a cleanup tag. —dv82matt 21:46, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Noam Chomsky

Doesn't it seem a glaring omission not to have this fellow on the Vital articles list? The most cited living academic and 8th most cited in history... etc. I'll add him to the list, but I'm certainly open to discussion. Pinkville (talk) 19:13, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't find being "The most cited living academic and 8th most cited in history... etc." particularily compelling as a rational for inclusion. Are the other seven academics who are more cited also listed? I just don't understand why that statistic should qualify Chomsky's article to be listed here. He is of course a very important intellectual figure, as are many others who are not listed, but I'm not convinced he should be listed. —dv82matt 04:32, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
According to this article, the ten sources (not people) most frequently cited during the period of the study (not in history) are: Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible, Plato, Freud, Chomsky, Hegel and Cicero. There is, however, no indication of how often Chomsky is cited by a supporter or a critic. This is a problem because it is very easy for a newspaper to run a quick attack on the man, citing several of his books in the process, thus racking up "citations." And this is precisely the kind of thing that happens in the wake of controversial people, like Chomsky, who use their knowledge in one area to gain credence in others. I wonder how often George W. Bush's book has been cited by American newspapers... better put him on the vital articles list. Just knock of Lincoln. I mean, what did he ever do? He didn't even publish. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:49, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
My "most-cited" point is merely a shorthand indication of Chomsky's importance (and "in history" was meant to indicate a contrast with "living academics" - as is fairly clear in the context). As the list that Postmodern Beatnik provided shows, Chomsky is in very good company. And while Postmodern Beatnik's point about controversial figures seems reasonable, Chomsky's "controversial" status simply indicates his notability and doesn't sweep away the truly massive contributions he's made 1) to linguistics, specifically, and psychology/science of mind more generally, with far-reaching implications/influences, and 2) to political analysis and activism. In these domains, many of the concepts he introduced are now commonly known and used in many academic fields as well as in day-to-day communication, and he continues to innovate and expand his thought in these domains to great effect. I don't see how any honest and informed appraisal of his work could fall short of evaluating it as of major significance (certainly relative to Marx, Hegel and Freud, hardly uncontroversial figures themselves). Pinkville (talk) 02:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
But the point that both dv82matt and I were making is that citations-as-shorthand is unconvincing. And the use of "in history" as a contrast with "living" is not clear from the context. It looks like a claim that Chomsky, in his short time on Earth, has racked up more citations than all but seven other figures ever. Furthermore, as the article I linked to tells us, the study that named Chomsky "most cited" only looks at works published over a 22 year period. And the study itself is more than 15 years old, meaning it may not represent the current state of academic research.
As for how "any honest and informed appraisal" of Chomsky's work could fail to note his importance, the counterpoint has already been made: it is too early to tell how important he will be in the overall scheme of things. He could quickly vanish after his death—a possibility I do not find at all unlikely (as an academic who has never once had to cite anything by Chomsky). Regardless, you can see from the discussion on David Hume below that I agree he should be listed for the time being. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:36, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Having Chomsky and neither Sartre nor Heidegger (nor Bergson, but that's my own POV at work) really seems quite wrong to me. — goethean 17:58, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
In fact, rather than William James or Emile Durkheim, surely both Chomsky and Bertrand Russell need to be included (obviously, Russell could be included in at least one other sublist...). The latter two have had a greater impact on the world and their fields. Mind you, I think Chomsky would be better in another sublist, but this is the most appropriate of those available. Pinkville (talk) 12:14, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


Why has this been removed? There are now only 9 artists left. So much for Jimbo's hopes that WP coverage of the visual arts would improve! Raphael is certainly a more "vital" figure than Monet or Dali, and the article has recently been entirely rewritten and improved. If you want a rather poor article on the visual arts to remove I'd recommend the very iffy Painting and History of Art - in fact History of painting is much better than either. Johnbod (talk) 15:21, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

My view is that Renaissance painters are already fairly well represented with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo listed. One thing to keep in mind is that the quality of an article plays little or no role in whether it gets listed here. So although History of painting may be of better quality than either Painting or History of Art its narrower scope diminishes its vitalness for the purpose of this list. —dv82matt 21:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, the idea is to fix what's here, not replace it with higher-quality but less-vital things. Wrad (talk) 22:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
In practice all 3 articles cover pretty much the same ground; little other than painting gets into History of Art and painting is a little history plus lists of links. Johnbod (talk) 22:38, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Francis Drake

Propose re-adding Francis Drake (who was removed after a very short debate involving 2 editors in April 2007). Rationale: Colonial claims on the west coast of North America were significant in providing legalistic justification for westward expansion of the United States; Singeing the King of Apain's beard; Defeat of the Spanish Armada. DuncanHill (talk) 09:48, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

To my mind he is in the same league as many other European explorers, for example Samuel de Champlain, Walter Raleigh, Hernando Cortes, Vasco de Gama and John Cabot, who are also not listed. I don't see what recommends Francis Drake in particular over these other explorers and including them all whould introduce a clear cut western bias as well as bloating this section of the list. —dv82matt 10:54, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

David Hume

David Hume is widely considered to be the most important English-speaking philosopher in history. Is there a reason his article is no longer considered vital? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 14:01, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not really sold on including David Hume even if he is regarded by some as the most important English speaking philosopher in history. I realize that he is quite an important figure in philosophy but most others on the list that I am familiar with (including John Locke who like Hume is English speaking, but with the possible exception of Noam Chomsky who was added only recently) strike me as more vital overall than Hume. —dv82matt 04:11, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I did not say that he is regarded by some as the most important English-speaking philosopher in history, but that he is widely considered to be the most important English-speaking philosopher in history. Indeed, he is also considered to be among the most important figures in Western philosophy period (along with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and Wittgenstein). John Locke, though important, is only an early major figure in the Empiricist movement whose premises were taken to their logical conclusions by George Berkeley and David Hume. He was not the first Empiricist (Francis Bacon and Galileo are often credited with beginning the "New Science"), and he was not the last. Hume, on the other hand, is the culmination of Empiricism in early modern philosophy; and Immanuel Kant (again, one of the most important and influential philosophers of all time) explicitly cited Hume as the reason for his awakening from "dogmatic slumber" to philosophical awareness. Locke is important in American high schools for his contributions to US political theory (despite the fact that Montesquieu, Rousseau, and the Iroquois confederacy are all at least as important), and that is why many people are familiar with him (as opposed to Hume, who offered biting criticisms of contractualism—criticisms still discussed today, I might add). But among historians of philosophy, especially those of us who specialize in 17th century philosophy, Hume is a figure without equal. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:29, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not fully convinced he should be on the list but those are excellent points and I don't dispute his importance in philosophy. It's more that I don't see him as having much influence outside that compared to some of the others (although that may just be ignorance on my part or perhaps I should hold pure philosophers in greater esteem). I'll note that Hegel and Wittgenstein are also not listed so I'm not sure that being on a short list of the most important philosophers is a sufficient rational for inclusion here. In any case, feel free to add Hume if you wish. I don't mean to dictate who can or cannot be added.
On a somewhat related note, the "Philosophers and social scientists" section tends to grow excessively over time, so I wonder if you might have any opinion on potential pruning candidates. Thanks —dv82matt 00:55, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
While perhaps you should hold "pure philosophers" in higher esteem, I would suggest that Hume was not such a figure. He has influenced science through his identification of the problem of induction (a major factor leading to the falsification model of experimentation), and Frege's theory of mathematics (by way of what George Boolos identified as "Hume's principle"). Hume is also invoked by political theorists and moral psychologists (appropriate, as his mission was to be "the Newton of the social sciences"). As for being on the short list of most important philosophers, it seems to me that would be a strong rationale for including someone on the list of "vital articles"—indeed, most of the top guys made the list, as did Aquinas who is certainly in the top three for medieval philosophy—but perhaps I have misjudged the purpose of this page. Or perhaps limited space and a desire for breadth as well as depth requires us to make some compromises. Fair enough. Still, I think we would be quite justified in replacing Locke with Hume.
As for the list running out of control, I think such an important category could hold twenty people (and thus could include Wittgenstein). Still, I am unconvinced regarding Sun Tzu, Maimonides, and Ibn Khaldun. Kierkegaard is also questionable to me. Regardless of how great I personally think he was, I don't know if he is vital to the point of demanding a high quality article. I will grudgingly grant that Chomsky should probably stay, though I think a better representative of contemporary thought could be found. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 02:37, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure I'm %100 percent convinced but I am beginning to see that Hume was a much more important figure than I had realized. You seem to be quite knowledgable on the subject, whereas I'm not really, so I'm inclinced to defer to your judgement on this.
I agree with you about Kierkegaard I have often been tempted to remove that article. The reason I didn't is that his notability (as the "Father of Existentialism"), while probably not as great as some of the others, is more conspicuous to the lay person (namely me). I don't really know enough about Sun Tzu, Maimonides, and Ibn Khaldun for my opinion there to mean much, but I tend to agree with you about those also. A potential problem though is that removing them could bias the list towards western philosophy. Now that's not by itself an excuse to keep them but it is something to bear in mind. I don't agree that Chomsky should stay (including him seems like recentism to me) but I won't remove him now that you have spoken in favor of listing him. Thanks very much for your help on this.
The list isn't really out of control at the moment but it has been at times in the past. [3] Much of the trimming done since the version linked has been done by me and no doubt carries my POV so I really do appreciate your input. —dv82matt 12:04, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Given your last comment, I am going to add David Hume back to the list. I would also like to add Ludwig Wittgenstein to the list, but would like your thoughts on that first.
The pruning is, admittedly, a harder task. I see from your link that we lost most of the social scientists, and perhaps we should be stricter about the philosophers in order to replace a few of them (such as Max Weber). To this end, as much as I enjoy Kierkegaard, I think he should be taken off the list. Nietzsche, the other great precursor of Existentialism, is just as familiar to the lay person (if not moreso) and is probably a larger figure in the history of philosophy. As for Western bias, I would note that we do have Avicenna (an important philosopher even without political correctness, and one who happens to have been a Muslim) as well as the Chinese philosopher Confucius. I would have recommended Laozi to replace Sun Tzu, but he's already under the list of religious figures. Perhaps Nagarjuna would be a good candidate for the list.
Ultimately, I think the forcible inclusion of less notable figures for the sake of cultural harmony cheapens the inclusion of thinkers such as Avicenna and Confucius who made the list independent of such considerations. Medieval philosophy, unfortunately, is an intellectual cul-de-sac from which few philosophers have emerged. Thomas Aquinas is the main exception, as well as the culmination of that era's thought—and he is on the list. As Maimonides is very much a typical medieval philosopher (a generalization, to be sure, but one that stands so long as we make proper qualifications regarding the word "typical") he seems a prime candidate for pruning.
I cannot claim to have nearly as much knowledge of Ibn Khaldun. The article makes him out to be rather important, but the quality and possible POV violations I see make me distrust the claims made. This should be looked into before he is removed, but it seems to me that Averroes would be a suitable replacement should Ibn Khaldun be found wanting (and should we feel the need to replace him with another Muslim scholar). Then again, retaining him could also diversify our list of social scientists. As such, I am torn on this one.
Finally, I would like to explicitly note that my grudging inclusion of Chomsky is not a ringing endorsement. I think it would be inappropriate to not include any contemporary thinkers, and Chomsky is certainly someone who a lot of people engage with (positively and negatively). He also adds to the number of social scientists on the list, which balances the number of philosophers (I cannot bring myself to count Chomsky as a philosopher in any serious sense).
Here, then, is my recommended list of philosophers: 1. Confucius, 2. Socrates, 3. Plato, 4. Aristotle, 5. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) 6. Nagarjuna 7. Thomas Aquinas, 8. René Descartes, 9. David Hume, 10. Immanuel Kant, 11. Friedrich Nietzsche, 12. Ludwig Wittgenstein. The other eight (I am artificially assuming a limit of 20) should be social scientists, which would allow us to include people who count in both categories—such as Karl Marx and perhaps Ibn Khaldun (though Hume and Nietzsche could also count here)—as well as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Noam Chomsky, and perhaps Isaiah Berlin or Joseph Campbell.
I hope this is helpful. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:55, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
WRT Ludwig Wittgenstein, from a laymans POV he seems to be a much more obscure figure than Hume I'll grant that apparent importance is less vital than actual importance but I'm not really in a position to know his actual importance. I would probably suggest someone like Karl Popper over Wittgenstein (not that I think Popper is really notable enough either). Do feel free to add Wittgenstein though. I just present my thoughts for consideration.
I agree with your pruning suggestions and in general with your feelings about forcing inclusion based only on cultural balance. I'm not really able to judge the importance of Nagarjuna but I don't object to him replacing Sun Tzu. Averroes should replace Ibn Khaldun in my opinion but that is just an impression based on my not having heard of Ibn Khaldun.
I can certainly live with Chomsky on the list. Regarding your recomendations I agree for the most part so I'll just mention a few things that I think might be questioable. I am somewhat reluctant to remove John Locke but perhaps I am just being sentimental about that. I've already mentioned my thoughts on Ludwig Wittgenstein above. Isaiah Berlin seems more appropriate than Joseph Campbell but I am leery of including too many contemporary thinkers because often their importance is difficult to judge or is magnified in their own time. Perhaps Isaiah Berlin could replace Chomsky?
Your comments have been very helpful. Feel free to make the changes we have discussed. I will update the list in a day or two anyway if you would rather not. —dv82matt 05:37, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

←Wittgenstein is pretty important, and is credited with starting a program of research that was dominant for about 50 years and is still influential today. Again, he's one of the top guys in Western history. Popper is important, especially in the philosophy of science, but I don't see him as vital. As for Locke, I am also reluctant to remove him. While I think Hume is more important, there's no doubt that Locke was influential and remains familiar to people. The "20 people" figure was arbitrary, so I'll leave him on.

I am also going to leave Ibn Khaldun until I can learn more about him. I have been able to confirm some elements of his importance, while others remain dubious. Nagarjuna deserves to be in, however, and by replacing Sun Tzu we will also increase the list's diversity. Besides, Sun Tzu's major contribution to history was The Art of War. While certainly belonging on any list about military history or strategy, it is not particularly important social science (though it has those elements, to be sure).

As for Chomsky vs. Berlin, I think we need to go with Chomsky. Despite his influence on contemporary political philosophy, Berlin is only listed as mid-importance by WikiProject Philosophy. Also, I think it is important to list at least one living person and, like it or not, Chomsky is a pretty good candidate for that spot.

Finally, it was mistake to suggest Freud, Jung, and Campbell. They're all of the same school of thought, which would have us ignoring behaviorists like John Watson and B.F. Skinner. As such, I'm going to keep Freud and add Skinner. I chose Skinner over Watson because the former is particularly well-known (much more than Watson) and he was both a philosopher and a psychologist. If a representative from WikiProject Psychology disagrees with that assessment, I will defer to their judgment.

Okay, time to make some changes! Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 20:45, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Looks good to me. —dv82matt 05:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Heidegger, Phidias, Pollock

Would others agree with adding Heidegger to the list of philosophers? He's probably the best-known known 20th-century continental philosopher, and influenced a fair number of others such as Sartre and Derrida. I also wonder whether we might be able to include Phidias and Pollock as representatives of ancient and post-World War II art. Arsene 23:11, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Knowing little about ancient art, I have no opinion about Phidias; but I think Pollock would have to be on any list of essential artists. As for Heidegger, however, we do have Nietzsche to represent continental philosophy (though yes, 19th-century continental philosophy) and it seems to me that the article on Sartre would be more vital than that on Heidegger. But insofar as we are trying to keep the list under control, I like it where it is. I am, however, open to convincing. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:58, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
It would help, I think, if you would suggest three articles to take off the list in exchange for Heidegger, Phidias and Pollock. We're trying to keep this list at 1000 articles, and it's much easier to compare "vitalness" than judge it absolutely.--jwandersTalk 17:12, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
The three I'd suggest would be Spanish flu, since a description of it exists already in the World War I and influenza articles, printing press, since it's covered in the printing article, and aneurysm, because a small description exists in the bleeding article (and the list of physical traumas is also quite long even without it). Would it be reasonable to make these substitutions, then? Arsene 17:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
That doesn't seem to be the way the substitutions work (taking something off of one list to add to another), though I suppose it is an option. However, the brief inclusion of a subject on a related page does not seem to be sufficient to take that page off of this list. For example, World War I is independently vital, and the description of Spanish flu is both brief and reliant upon a wikilink to the main page. The question for this page is whether or not Spanish flu is independently vital. If it is not, it should go. If it is, it should stay. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:00, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I meant to imply suggesting candidates to remove from the same section of the list. If necessary, we can of course change the number of articles alloted to each section, but I think that ought to be a separate discussion. --jwandersTalk 19:51, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
We might as well leave it the way it is, then--I think the three would be valuable additions but I'd be reluctant to consider taking off any of the other artists or philosophers. Arsene 04:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Target section counts

The target section counts I added are simply the current number of articles in each section scaled down such that the target total will be 1000.--jwandersTalk 20:54, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

But it only adds up to 992? (talk) 00:29, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Proposals for removal

These are my personal selections so we can pare this list down to 1000. If you agree, feel free to remove and update. If you disagree, leave a note beneath the bullet point as to why so we can foster some debate. Try to approach each subsection on its own rather than take my entire proposal as is - that is, please don't oppose all my choices just because you disagree with one. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 05:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

  • People (3 needed): I like having leaders fixed at 25, so I'm leaving that alone. We have too many mathematicians (more than artists or musicians!) so I'll take one, Kurt Godel, from there. From authors I recommend Jean Racine, since he's relatively minor compared to the other European authors. Our biggest problem is the philosophers category - we simply have too many. Of them, I would have to say Nagarjuna is the weakest of them all.
  • I like having philosophers and social scientists fixed at 20, particularly since it covers two categories. And several figures overlap, which is helpful. Perhaps Nagarjuna is the weakest on the list, but he is included both for diversity and for being one of the giants of Eastern philosophy. As for mathematicians, Godel seems too important to remove. Personally, I am unconvinced by the inclusion of Blaise Pascal (though as a philosopher, I am rather accustomed to being unconvinced by Blaise Pascal). I agree, however, that Racine is a good candidate for removal. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • 20 in Philosophers/Social Scientists still seems very high when compared to the other lists of people - artists, authors etc. - fchd (talk) 18:29, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Leaders only covers one category and gets 25 listings. Philosophers and social scientists have been rather important historically and deserve a good number of listings. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • What is the basis for the claim that Racine is less important than the other authors? I have some bias here as a student of French literature, but my impression is that he is often considered to be the greatest modern tragedist after Shakespeare, and also the greatest French poet (sometimes along with Ronsard) before the 19th century. If he is removed at the very least one ought to replace him with another representative of French literature like Balzac or Molière. Arsene 17:36, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Molière would be a good replacement, but we still need to either drop someone or lose some articles elsewhere. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • So I asked my wife (who specializes in French and Persian literature) who was more important: Racine or Molière. Her response was, "Both. And also Corneille." When forced to pick one, however, she went with Molière on account of his local fame and his relevance to curricula worldwide. She was also quite insistent that he belongs on this list, and I am inclined to agree with her. I'm going to make the switch in my next edit. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • That's reasonable. The main issue I think is making sure that French literature has some sort of presence on the list. Arsene 16:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Re mathematicians, I would suggest dropping David Hilbert and Henri Poincaré, keeping Godel and adding Joseph Fourier (still a net drop of 1). I've not enough experience with the other categories to judge. jwandersTalk 18:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think that Fourier is more important than Hilbert by any estimation, nor do I find him more important than Poincaré. Care to convince me otherwise? In the meantime, is Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī on the list for any other reason than being Muslim (and thus increasing diversity)? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I suggested Fourier based on how vital Fourier transforms have become—but I guess that's an arguement for including Fourier transform not Fourier himself. I suggested Hilbert and Poincare simply because I hadn't come across either before, probably just one of the many gaps in my education ;-) --jwandersTalk 07:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Also, it's important to note that the Fourier transform was named in Joseph Fourier's honor. It is not his discovery. As for Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī, I am going to replace him with Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (the father of algebra) who is most certainly a vital mathematician, regardless of race/religion/etc. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • History (3 needed): Oh boy. At first I thought this would be the second hardest (after People), but at a closer glance it actually is the easiest. The first to fall should be Spanish flu, which is hardly comparable to ones like the Great Depression or Holocaust. My second choice is Spanish Civil War, since it had relatively little impact outside of Spain, whereas the rest of the events have a more widespread feel. My third choice is Information Age, which is a little too much of a neologism for me.
  • No problems removing Spanish flu and civil war. Kind of like Information Age, but would be more confident of there was confirmation that that's the accepted name. I also noticed that there is significant overlap between the general history articles at the beginning and "specific period" history articles in the subsections (e.g. History of China and History of the People's Republic of China). Can we get rid of the specific articles on China, India and Europe? Finally, I wouldn't mind adding Prehistory to the list. jwandersTalk 18:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Good point on the PRC and RoI histories; I wouldn't miss them. We'd gain two spots, one for about we use the other to give Medicine some breathing room? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I think that's an excellent idea. That, or give it to the artists/authors group. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Medicine's pretty desperate for more room, I think we're agreed, so we'll need to trim something somewhere. I sounds like History has more breathing space than the other sections, so seems like we might as well use it. Incidentally, their's nothing sacred about the section allocations; it's just whatever they were when I did the counts, scaled down to 1000 total articles. --jwandersTalk 07:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Is Cultural Revolution more important than the Great Leap Forward? As for the open spots: how about we give one to Medicine, which puts it on target, one to People, which reduces the stress on that category a little bit, and leave the other two either free or in History. Manhattan Project, Meiji Restoration, and Boxer Rebellion are all tempting to me, but 60 is such a nice round number for the History section to have... Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • (de-indent) I've adjusted the numbers for Medicine and People and removed two slots from History. I agree with the 60 number, so is there somewhere else we could move the two History slots? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 00:22, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Geography (3 needed): First off, two countries - Denmark and the Philippines. Denmark is not a good European choice given the glut of other more worthy European nations already present, and Philippines is unremarkable in this list's context. My third choice is Grand Canyon, since it's a tad too America-biased for my tastes, especially given other geographic wonders like Victoria Falls.
  • I don't find the inclusion of the Grand Canyon to be America-biased any more than the Gobi desert is Asia-biased, nor do I find it to be US-biased. Instead, I would suggest removing the Rocky Mountains. We have three other mountain ranges, anyway—all of which seem more vital than the Rockies. So I would suggest keeping the Grand Canyon and removing the Rocky Mountains. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Agree with keeping Grand Canyon but losing the two countries and Rocky Mountains.jwandersTalk 18:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Arts (1 needed): A difficult choice, but Acrobatics is the weakest.
  • Philosophy and religion (3 needed): My first recommendation is Yoga, since it's described as a form of meditation and we already have that. Second, Jainism since it just can't compare to the other more widespread religions listed there. Finally, Beauty, because it just seems awkward and out of place to me.
  • Yoga is much more than meditation, and it isn't listed as such. Yoga is listed under "spirituality" (for whatever reason) along with meditation. Moreover, it is a major aspect of at least three religious traditions. And once we go past the "Big 5" in religion, the next tier would certainly include Jainism (which seems more vital than Voodoo). No objections to removing Beauty, though. I'll take it out in my next edit, as well. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Ouch... Epistemology? How about Reality instead? As for religion, I again say we should oust Voodoo. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Heh, from your reaction I'm guessing "Epistemology" is another of those education gaps I referred to above ;-) I'm fine with losing Voodoo; incidentally, the Voodoo page itself is a disambig page, which I think we should avoid. I'd suggested Zoroastrianism simply because its article says that it's no longer widely followed.
  • Epistemology deals with what we can know and how we can know it. It's pretty basic. Reality, however, overlaps with Ontology (and Ontology is more vital). Religion is a much thornier issue—as it always is. If we rank religions by number of adherents, we might have to lose Judaism (which gets kicked into the top ranks for being Abrahamic and historically/politically important). And I'm having second thoughts about the importance of Vodun. I think the Philosophy category may have to take another hit here, at least for now. I suggest removing Romanticism, as it is an artistic/intellectual movement—not a philosophical movement in the sense of the subcategory's other entries. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Everyday life (2 needed): Barley is the weakest of the foodstuffs and Punjabi language because it's the weakest of the Indo-Aryan languages listed.
  • I'll remove barley next edit. I'm uncomfortable with going by total speakers because it'd give us no African languages and a disproportionate number of languages from India.--Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree. Adding Urdu is a good idea, and so is removing Turkish. But I'm not so sure about losing Swahili and German. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Society (3 needed): The World Health Organization is the weakest of the international organizations we have listed, the Rupee is not as much of a powerhouse currency as the others listed, and Euthanasia is not as much of a social issue as feminism, abortion or racism.
  • I agree on the Rupee, and I'll take it out. I'm not so sure about WHO and euthanasia, however. For one thing, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is listed under "specific political and governmental institutions," which the lead section of the article specifically says IRC&RCM is not (no official organization as such exists bearing that name; it is a collection distinct and legally independent organizations that happen to have a common cause). Given this, IRC&RCM at least needs to be moved into another subcategory, or perhaps removed altogether. I would also suggest removing archaeology from the social sciences list, since it is mostly a species of anthropology (this is at least the situation in academia, where one almost invariably must study anthropology as a major and archaeology only as an area of specialization within that major). I also do not think that we need both "company" and "corporation." And is suicide really a social issue? I'm not so sure... Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Error there: see International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
  • Suicide should be moved down to health, imo. Rupee can go and I second losing archaeology and company. Human rights seem to be missing from the list and should be added. Do we need both marketing and advertising? I'd be inclined to keep red cross and lose Nobel Prize. jwandersTalk 18:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I guess the question is which is more general: company or corporation. It seems to me we should keep company and lose corporation. But my conviction on this is not particularly strong, if others disagree. And I think you're right about Nobel Prize. Better to lose it than IRC&RCM. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm taking archeology out right now. Questions about legal personhood aside, a corporation is a sort of company; therefore, company seems more basic. But I suppose "more basic" is not necessarily "more vital." Any thoughts on this HM (or anyone else reading this page)? Whichever one we lose, we are down to the target number of articles. Therefore, I suggest replacing either Nobel Prize or Suicide with Human Rights. And that lets us keep both advertising and marketing (the former being a form/tool of the latter, and also a medium of communication). Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Health and medicine (1 needed): Aneurysm is redundant since we have both stroke and bleeding on the list already.
  • Aneurysm is not redundant. For example, my grandfather died of an aneurysm, but was not considered to have any significant risk of a stroke (other than due to his age). Unfortunately, this category is very tight and I can't think of what to remove. I guess I lean most towards cutting inflammation. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe we can lose Physical Trauma? You're right, this category does seem tight; I prefer to up its target by one and lose an article somewhere else.
  • I proposed a solution that leaves an empty spot in the History section above. Perhaps we could transfer that down here? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Agreed, as above.
  • Science (4 needed): Neutrino is a relatively weak particle when compared to the others. Sedimentary rock is fairly arbitrary (why not metamorphic or igneous?). Particle accelerator is not necessarily vital; it's just the instrument by which particle physics is performed. I can't decide on a fourth one, although I'm leaning towards removing Mass and weight, moving them to measurement at the bottom, and then adding one to be removed from Measurement.
  • Another tight category. Moving mass and weight seems like a good idea to me. Do we need both "Asteroid" and "Asteroid belt"? And how vital is Pluto now that it isn't a planet? "Particle accelerator" is a good candidate, but I'd like to keep "Neutrino" if at all possible. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm happy to lose neutrino, particle accelerator and sedimentary rock. Mass and weight should stay, imo, as they're here they're concepts first and qualities to be measured second. My forth would have to be motion as it overlaps with kinetics, kinematics and dynamics. jwandersTalk 18:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm all for the removal of particle accelerator and sedimentary rock. I'd still like to see if we can keep neutrino, though. Motion is a good possibility, but I'd like another opinion. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Technology (4 needed): Fixed-wing aircraft is redundant since 1) Aircraft is already there and 2) we don't have rotary-wing aircraft listed. Kerosene is an arbitrary combustible material. And I'm unsure about the other two.
  • Yes, both of those should be removed. I'll do it in my next edit. How vital is "Global Positioning System," really? Yeah, they're great—but are they vital from an encyclopedic standpoint? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I'd go with dropping rapid transit in that case, and agree with Apollo program. I'll do that next edit. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Math (2 needed): Pass. I'm a terrible math student.
  • If we want to keep all of the various branches of mathematics on the list (including topology, which we might otherwise remove), then we're going to have to take articles out of the subcategories. How about trimming down the list under shape? We don't have "Cone," so do we really need "Cube" and "Sphere"? Why not just "Circle," "Square," and "Triangle"? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • hehe, ya got me. When I did my first pass a few days ago, the only extra articles I added where cube and sphere ;-) That said, I can't bear to lose sphere... but as something has to go, I'd pick limit and natural number as less vital than cube or sphere.
  • Both of those seem more important than the cube and sphere to me, but maybe I'm missing something. Why do you think sphere is vital? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I think of sphere and even cube as more vital than limit and natural number because they're more fundamental mathematical concepts. "Natural" is an artificial label that's been applied to a arbitrary set of numbers; it's not much more that a jargony way of saying "positive" or "non-negative", depending on the context (hmm... maybe we should have positive and negative...gah, sidetracked...). Also, we already have four other "sets of number" articles, and this one seemed least important.
  • Limit is a very advanced concept, and my take on "vital" is that make sure the simple stuff is covered before going advanced. Of all the advanced concepts (Function, Infinity, Limit, Logarithm, Series, Set, Square root) limit seems like the easiest to lose.
  • As far as keeping sphere, isn't the most fundamental shape? I mean, circles and squares are just 2D and can only exist as projections in a 3D world, whereas you can actually hold a sphere in real life. They, as atoms, all the building blocks of everything, and as planets and stars are the reason life exists. Or, in other words, are vital. --jwandersTalk 07:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • But if the argument is that Cube and Sphere are more fundamental, and thus more vital, then Square and Circle are more fundamental still. Moreover, triangles are much more important than cones (as far as I can tell), so the basic shapes seem more vital than their three-dimensional forms. If you could convince me that Cone belonged on the list over Triangle, I might see my way to getting rid of Square, Circle, and Triangle in favor of Cube, Sphere, and Cone. But for now, I remain unconvinced. Meanwhile, the "natural numbers" do not constitute an arbitrary set. They are the numbers that people and societies use even in the absence of mathematical theory. You may have something with regards to Limit, however. I'll have to think about it. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
How about Conic section in lieu of Circle, Elipse and Parabola? Likewise Polygon in lieu of Triangle, Square, Rectangle and so forth. Cover the others by redirects.LeadSongDog (talk) 16:30, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Measurement (1 needed, 2 given my Science choices): So, since I've moved Mass and Weight down here, I need to subtract two. I choose Degree and Radian, since they belong in the math section anyways.
  • Perhaps the do belong in math, but they are units of measurement for angles. As such, there is a good argument to keep them in this section, too. This might be another place to go over. I'm also wondering if we shouldn't take "Volume" out of the mathematics section and change "Volume" here to a wikilink (which would just be a category transfer, so wouldn't change the overall number of articles). Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not a big fan of this being a separate section to being with, but that's another discussion. Again, volume in the math section is a concept more than a measurement and should stay (imo). What about removing "Week" and "Month"? That would leave second, day and year in the time section. jwandersTalk 18:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Do we need both Foot and Mile? We should either lose one of each, or keep all four. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Good point about Volume. I suppose that holds for Mass and Weight, too, as you said above. If you want to revert that edit of mine, go ahead. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:09, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I can't see getting rid of degree or radian, for Beatnik's reasons above. I'm still all for losing Week and Month: five time measurements seems too much; second is the standard SI unit, while day and year are highly relevant both astronomically and societally. --jwandersTalk 07:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • You've sold me on getting rid of Week and Month. Any objections HM? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Thoughts? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 05:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, those are my thoughts. I think it is worth noting that 1,000 articles is an approximate goal, but all in all we're doing pretty well. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Vital Definition

So, now that we've gone though and hashed out which articles we think are most vital, perhaps we should agree on what vital means? I fight between two definitions when comparing articles:

  1. (which usually wins) I imagine someone who loses all their memories and only has the vital articles to learn from. She'd be best served with a general whistle-stop tour of all the hilights, with a skewed focus towards more basic concepts
  2. (which is probably more pragmatic) I imagine someone who doesn't have net access but has all of the vital articles. In this case, we'd want to include the articles she's most likely to search for.

At present the list seems to cater heavily towards the first definition, largely because we've tried to avoid systematic bias and cover different regions and times as evenly as we can. Unfortunately, I think this may be one of the few times where systematic basis works in our favour: someone using a CD of vital articles would be more likely to search for contemporary, western information (e.g. September 11 attacks, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina) than articles we've added for better diversity (e.g. Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī). Thoughts? --jwandersTalk 07:42, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

The list is intended to be stable and long-lasting in coverage; that is, these are articles that will be just as important 100, 200 or 500 years from now as they are today. I won't deny, for example, that Hurricane Katrina was an unprecedented catastrophe - but the same could be said for the Great Fire of London, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake or Pompeii. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 08:43, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Suggested change - Remove Information Technology

May I propose the removal of Information Technology. It's an extremely vague term and the article isn't exactly informative either. -Substitution (talk) 22:21, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

We're On Target!

So I just did a bit of math and it seems the old target numbers added up to 992, not 1000—which is great news, because that means everything adds up when the corrections are made! Also, the previous miscount probably helped us make some tough decisions that need making, so no harm no foul. From this point on, then, all additions will need to be accompanied by subtractions (and should probably be hashed out here first—given the work we did getting here, we don't want it all to become a mess again). Congratulations all around! Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:05, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Woohoo! Alas, this is but the first battle of the war. We've identified the articles we need to improve - now let's get to improving them. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 18:49, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Duh, see comment made on "Target section counts", made on 12 March... Lampman Talk to me! 02:06, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I saw that. But since it was an anonymous comment, I did the math myself to make sure. But thanks for being needlessly rude—it's always appreciated. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:02, 19 March 2008 (UTC)


Might I ask what the criteria is for 'vital' country articles? Bogdan що? 02:03, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

There's none set in stone. Did you have a specific country you'd like to replace? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 21:39, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Are Vital Articles automatically Top importance?

Any reason for the inconsistent handling of this? Leonardo da Vinci is both Vital and Top, while other Vitals such as Alzheimer's disease have Importance=??? Are people waiting for an option to assign Importance=Vital?LeadSongDog (talk) 22:12, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Importance is decided by projects, not by anything else, and in that case a vital article will be top importance only for those subject areas for which the person or thing is most famous/relevant. For example, it is conceivable that WikiProject London might tag the William Shakespeare article (his plays were performed there, and he lived in London for a while). However, Shakespeare is rather less important to WP:London than he would be to WP:Theatre, and the article might only be tagged as Mid importance for London yet Top importance for WP:Theatre. Walkerma (talk) 01:54, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I knew I was missing something. Thanks. So it would be Top for whichever project is primary on the article, perhaps not for other projects. LeadSongDog (talk) 02:04, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Pretty much, though I'd say "for whichever projects are primary..." Walkerma (talk) 04:01, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


How on earth is information about elevators considered a vital article but something that's shaped the world as much as boats have aren't even on the list? (talk) 20:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree, but a list like this tends to be rather arbitrary at times. Both ship and boat are classed as WP:CORE and WP:CORESUP respectively, though, and those lists are much more restrictive than this list, so someone agrees with you! Go ahead and make the edit yourself - I can't see anyone really disagreeing with you. Walkerma (talk) 01:48, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Importance of living people

WP:ITN/C is a forum for proposing and developing a consensus on which news items should be included on the ITN template. Because of repeated disputes about objectively assessing the importance of a recently deceased person (specifically the non-inclusion of Edmund Hillary, Pavarotti, Arthur C. Clarke, Bobby Fischer) in light of the limits imposed by existing criteria, we are attempting to compile a reasonably authoritative list of important living people in connection with revising the criteria. The proposal is that if someone on the list died, that would warrant an automatic nomination at the very least. The list does not have a hard ceiling on size, but it is anticipated that, unlike recent deaths, there would be no more than on the order of 1 name per week (yes, it's morbid); thus importance might be calibrated to the 50 most important people who died in 2007. Given your experience with making evaluations on importance, your contributions and feedback to this list and its criteria would be much appreciated. Madcoverboy (talk) 02:18, 16 April 2008 (UTC)


I removed Sao Paulo, Moscow, and Seoul, and substituted Delhi, Cairo, and Jakarta. Postmodern Beatnik reverted me because I didn't discuss my changes beforehand and he was in turn reverted by Jedravent.

The impetus for my change was that India and Africa had been completely excluded, which seems quite wrong. There were 3 Latin American Cities: Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janiero. I think that either Rio or Sao Paulo should be removed, but have no idea which.

I included Delhi to represent South Asia. It is a very historically interesting city (on a par with Rome), having been the capital of multiple empires. And it is the capital of India. I might be ok with including Mumbai or Calcutta instead of Delhi, if arguments were given.

I included Cairo as the only African city. What bothers me about this choice is that we alerady have several Near or Middle Eastern cities (Mecca, Jerusalem, Istanbul), and Cairo is really more Mediterraean rather than Sub-Saharan Africa, which historically speaking, is the "real" Africa. But Cairo is a much more major city than Timbuktu or Johannesburg or Addis Ababa.

I feel quite justified in removing Moscow. It is clearly less important than London/Paris/Berlin/Rome/Athens. And 6-7 European cities (depending on whether you include Istanbul) is over-representation.

Then I wanted to include a city in South East Asia. My first instinct was Bangkok, but the Jakarta metro area is larger according to Southeast Asia. But I could go either way on that one. Singapore is another possibility.

Finally, I feel that having Seoul and Tokyo is over-representing that part of the world. So I removed Seoul and inserted Jakarta.

I think that's it. — goethean 21:56, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

More thoughts: removing Moscow means that north Asia is not represented, but that maybe ok considering North Asia's historical and contemporary lack of importance. There's nothing between LA and NYC represented either (except Mexico City), which is arguably more of a travesty. — goethean 22:20, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Having Cairo and Mecca and Jerusalem is bothering me now. — goethean 22:20, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
I have reverted Jedravent, also for not discussing the changes on the talk page first; but I would like to state that I support your effort. However, it should be noted that the purpose of this page is most emphatically not to be representative in a politically correct way. That is, if it were the case that there were no important cities in South East Asia (or at least no cities more important than those already on the list) then they don't get any cities on the list. Tough. That said, I don't think that South East Asia is unimportant, and I agree that Jakarta is a very good city to put on the list. I also agree that Cairo, Mecca, and Jerusalem is too much. I suggest leaving out Cairo. I think it is important to keep Moscow, however, and I believe it is a bit short-sighted to lump Russia in with the rest of Europe. I agree that Seoul might be a good candidate for replacement, and we could put Jakarta in its place. I also like the idea of adding Delhi, but I am torn on what to remove. Perhaps Rio de Janeiro? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 23:04, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think Rio is the best candidate for removal. — goethean 03:06, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I've removed Rio and added Jakarta (which seemed the most important to put on the list). Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 02:45, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Goethean has removed Jakarta and replaced it with Delhi, which makes sense to me. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I think Moscow is a definite for inclusion as the largest city in Europe. Perhaps Berlin would be one to "drop off" first? - fchd (talk) 06:23, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Of the European cities, I agree that Berlin may be the weakest. Then again, Berlin has a very rich history—including its time as a divided capital. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 02:45, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Bodies of water

It would be really nice to get Ganges and/or the Great Lakes in the bodies of water section, but I cant see anything that can be replaced. — goethean 22:14, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

You are beginning to see the difficulty we face in making this list. =) Luckily, there is an expanded version that holds 2000 articles. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:31, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Actors, filmmakers, athletes

There are no categories for filmmakers or actors or athletes. If Madonna is one of the nine most important musicians of all time, surely Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, etc. are of at least equal stature. — goethean 03:35, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't know about the actors, but Madonna ought to be deleted. This encyclopedic list is is supposed to last quite a long time (at least half a century). Madonna seem very unlikely to be remembered as one of the nine most important musicians by then. Alexander Doria (talk) 18:16, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The meta list has Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones as other recent musicians, for replacement suggestions. --Jedravent (talk) 22:44, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we need any other recent musicians. Though if we did, Michael Jackson is probably more world famous than Madonna, Hendrix, or the Stones. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:51, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you : Presley and the Beatles are enough to represent modern music. I would only add Arnold Schœnberg, due to his wide impact on classical music (wider than Stravinski).Alexander Doria (talk) 17:17, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
That strikes me as a very good idea. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:06, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I would agree to replacing Madonna with Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, or Arnold Schœnberg. Although I'm still a little perturbed that there are no filmmakers, actors, or athletes on the list. — goethean 22:13, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I did the changes. I've got also an other suggestion : to replace Presley with Hendrix. Presley is more well-known but Hendrix seem to be more influential. Concerning Filmakers, I agree with you, but it will be very difficult to create a new list. (maybe by deleting Baha' and Dev in the religious list, and not adding anybody) Alexander Doria (talk) 14:53, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The Hendrix for Presley suggestion is interesting, but I was thinking about it this way: if we were writing a text book on the history of rock, and we kept getting our page limit reduced, who would we cut first? My thought is we'd cut Hendrix before we ever took out Elvis. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Suggestion: for performing arts, require multiple awards for multiple works in multiple forms (at least one of which is in live performance) to qualify. This will systemically exclude the studio-onlys, the over-produced, and the glitterati in favour of triple-threats. LeadSongDog (talk) 17:10, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
It's a good idea, but the section under People is for composers and musicians specifically. This on its own disqualifies the glitterati in that they have to compete with all the other figures of music history. It might be worth considering changing the category to performing artists and upping the numbers a bit, however. We would need to take out some composers, too. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

If we wanted an athlete on the list, Pelé would be one of the most famous I think. — goethean 19:43, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

I have maybe an idea in order to create a list of filmakers and actors, but I'm afraid Postmodern beatnick would be very likely to disagree : to delete at least 5 philosophers (Nagarjuna, Avicenne, Locke, Durkheim and James, and maybe also Aquinas and Wittgenstein) and/or two politician leaders (Mandela and Atatürck : only known for their acts in one country). In that outlook, of course, we would not add any contemporary philosopher. Alexander Doria (talk) 15:32, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that there are enough actors or athletes of long-term importance to deserve a list, and with the removal of Madonna the antecedent of Goethean's argument has been lost. I am working on a plan to fix the literature debacle, however. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:57, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I did not speak about athletes, and, besides, I'm most concerned with filmakers. To my own advice, it would be nice to have someone like Chaplin, Welles, Griffith or Murnau on the list. Maybe should we also put an actor like Jannings. Alexander Doria (talk) 16:33, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I know you didn't mention athletes, but I was trying to respond to the whole issue, including what Goethean said. I'm concerned that it will be difficult to fit another list of people. People is already the third largest category, after all. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:56, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I am working on a plan to fix the literature debacle, however.
You plan on sharing it with us, or is it confined to a secret council? — goethean 16:38, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Ya, I'm wondering too… Alexander Doria (talk) 16:41, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I need time to type, guys. Also, I happen to have a life outside of Wikipedia. Just thought I would mention it so you know I'm on board. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:54, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Religious leaders

The list of religious leaders does not have Saint Paul but does include the more admirable but less influential figures Bahá'u'lláh, Guru Nanak Dev, and Zoroaster. I suggest substituting Saint Paul for Bahá'u'lláh. — goethean 14:11, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Bahá'u'lláh, Guru Nanak Dev, and Zoroaster each founded their own faith. Paul built a church. Unless we're going to substitute Paul for Jesus, I think we can leave this section alone. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not so sure Bahá'u'lláh should remain on the list. His faith has only 6 million converts in the world, which is not much for one of the ten major religious leader. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexander Doria (talkcontribs) 18:23, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Zoroastrianism has only 2.6 million, according to (which is the source used by WikiProject Religion). The numbers argument doesn't work, in my opinion. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:44, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Paul built a church.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Paul had a pivotal role in the development of what we today refer to as Christianity, perhaps as strong a role as that of Jesus. Think about the centrality of salvation to Christianity and the relative paucity of Jesus' comments on such things. Consider that there are 2 billion Christians compared to 6 million Bahais, 25 million Sikhs, and 200,000 Zoroastrians. (Although Zoroastrianism had a philosophical influence on Christianity and other religions, so I think Zoroaster's full importance is not reflected in that number.) As cool as his religion is, Bahá'u'lláh is pretty darn minor on a world-historical scale. — goethean 19:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
The meta list lists Paul as a philosopher/thinker, not as a religious leader.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Jedravent (talkcontribs)
The expanded list has him as #23 under religious figures. — goethean 14:14, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I was admittedly being glib when I said "Paul built a church," but I remain unconvinced that he should be on the list. For one thing, the numbers argument collapses on itself. If it were a pure numbers game, the claim you make about Zoroaster would be irrelevant. And if the claim to Zoroaster's importance is relevant, the numbers argument is irrelevant. Now, Bahá'u'lláh probably is the least vital of the figures we have on the list. But if we were going to go beyond literal founders and include other major figures (as the expanded list does) then I would support replacing Bahá'u'lláh with Vishnu, Rama, or Krishna (putting a Hindu figure on the list). Or if we were going to stick to founders, Mahavira might be a good choice, too. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:44, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Just because I use numbers doesn't mean my argument is "a pure numbers game". But I think that you are being extremely foolish if you say that numbers of adherents are meaningless when evaluating the relative significance of various religious figures. And why stick to the founders of religions in the first place? What is the rationale? Baha'i is not a major world religion, its influence on the world has been slight. Bahá'u'lláh does not deserve a place among the 10 most important religious figures of history. He should be removed. — goethean 16:21, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
There is a very important word in my last comment: "if." You'll notice that, vis-a-vis numbers, it is used twice. The point was as follows: the numbers suggest that we should remove not Bahá'u'lláh, but Zoroaster. You do not believe we should remove Zoroaster. Therefore, there must be a factor that trumps numbers. And indeed there is. So if I am being foolish, so are you. However, I prefer to assume that neither of us are fools.
You'll notice that the word "if" also appears in my discussion of religion founders. As it stands, the list includes only religion founders. You want us to add Saint Paul, not the founder of a religion. If we were to do that, we would be going beyond the religion founders. I suspect this is not a real point of disagreement. You'll notice that I have nowhere stated that we should stick to religion founders nor that Bahá'u'lláh should stay on the list. Indeed, I have said that Bahá'u'lláh is the weakest figure on the list, but that I am as yet unconvinced that the appropriate replacement for him is Saint Paul (more on this below). Sometimes we have to play Devil's advocate. It's a key aspect of maintaining WP:NPOV. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Krishna is already listed under Wikipedia:Vital_articles#Specific_religions, along with Gita, Upanishad, and Veda, which sums up Hinduism rather well in my opinion, along with Yoga (also listed). I might add Shiva, Ramayana and/or Mahabharata. (Or, alternatively, karma, bhakti, and/or jnana). Jainism is already listed (as is Baha'i). Doubling up on these minor religions by listing their founder as well as the main article is undue weight. Sikhism has three articles, which is two too many given that Hinduism only has five, (not including Gandhi, and not including yoga, which applies to Buddhism as well). Here's something amazing: Sin is not listed, and neither is virtue. — goethean 16:55, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I had not noticed that Krishna was on the Specific religions list. Thank you for pointing that out. We obviously need to prevent duplicate entries, but also significant information overlap. As such, I do not take it that Mahavira would be "doubling up" on Jainism. And given your comments about Zoroastrianism, isn't Jainism important given its influence on Buddhism? The two influenced each other greatly by way of philosophical critique. As for your reasons regarding the importance of Paul, shouldn't that information be available in Christianity or salvation? So Jainism and Mahavira are important according to the arguments you used to support Zoroastrianism and Zoroaster and Paul loses some (relative) importance according to the arguments you tried to use against Mahavira and Jainism. Again, I'm not saying "no," but I would like a better argument. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
You seem to be assuming that if a religion is 'vital', we need both an article about the religon and an article about its founder (and in the case of Sikhism, a third on its sacred text). This assumption results in giving undue weight to the Baha'i faith, which was recently founded (thus not affecting the world in the centuries prior to its founding) and has only 6 million adherents (approximately one one-thousandth of the world's population), which is one measure of its influence. Do you have any evidence that the influence of the Bahai faith appears greater by a different measure? Do have any reason for your assumption that there should be an article for each 'vital' religion as well as an article on the founder of each 'vital' religion? Do you have any reason for maintaining that we should include only those who are considered the founders of religions, rather than their exponents, which seems to be a completely artificial distinction? — goethean 18:08, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I am neither making the assumption that a vital religion necessarily deserves to have its founder and primary text listed (though it is quite likely), nor am I maintaining that only founders should be listed. In fact, if you read my first comment here, you'll see that I have said quite the opposite. Also, the comment of mine directly above seems to have confused you. Starting with the bit about Zoroastrianism, I took no position in it whatsoever; rather I demonstrated what your own arguments thus far have amounted to. The analysis I gave is a standard philosophical tool for understanding the validity of arguments and entails no commitments on behalf of the analyzer. My apologies if you did not follow what was going on, but that in no way excuses the the discourteous manner in which you have routinely responded to my comments in this section. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:28, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I think Zoroastrism should remain on the list because of its wide influence on world culture : the Zoroastrist concepts of good and Evil are significant in the three monotheism. To replace Baha'i, I would maybe suggest :

  • Saint Peter, who settled the bases of papacy or Saint Augustine
  • Calvin, who established reformation

Besides, I don't quite understand why Laozi is there. Is he a thinker or a religious leader ? Alexander Doria (talk) 17:13, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

  • I agree that Zoroastrianism should be listed, but I don't think that both Zoroastrianism and Zoroaster should be, which is currently the case.
  • LaoZi (aka Lao-tsu) wrote the Tao-te-ching, probably the most important Chinese religious-philosophical texts. Probably more of a thinker than religious leader in the sense we are using the phrase.
  • You think that Augustine is more important than Paul?
  • From a historical perspective, wouldn't you say that Luther is at least as important than Calvin? — goethean 17:23, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with you but I don't know which article should be deleted
  • The problem with Laozi is : if we include him, why should we not also include some greek philosophers which also stand as both thinker and philosopher.
  • Maybe, because Augustine created a lot of concepts that are significant in catholicism and protestantism (christian idea of progress, predestination…)
  • In fact, if Luther broke up wtih papacy he did not develop a lot of original theses : he mainly wanted to adapt catholicism. On the contrary Calvin was a more revolutionary theorician by instauring a kind of christian democracy. Some thinkers believed therefore that some Calvinists idea have partly influenced French revolution, capitalism or modern individualism. Alexander Doria (talk) 18:31, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The problem with Laozi is : if we include him, why should we not also include some greek philosophers which also stand as both thinker and philosopher.
  • We have Socrates, Plato and Aristotle for Greek thought. Or do you mean the pre-Socratics? Laozi is way more important than they are. He and Confucius are it for Chinese thought for centuries. — goethean 18:41, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I think Goethean is quite correct about the importance of Laozi. The pre-Socratics may not have all separated religious and philosophical concepts, but they did not create a system as historically important as Taoism. As for Augustine, it is quite incorrect to suggest that he is vital to modern Christian thought. While he was a brilliant advocate for Catholicism, many of his ideas have stayed within that milieu. . Paul, however, was influential at a more fundamental level. Certainly he is more important to Christianity than Augustine. And while Calvin was unique, that does not make him more vital than Luther, who has been taken as the one historically responsible for the Protestant Reformation (regardless of his intent). I am still unconvinced, however, that Bahá'u'lláh should be replaced by a Christian figure. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:06, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Few Protestants would take his works as representative of their thought : I'm not sure about this point, given the importance of Augustine in Calvinist theories. For instance the theory of predestination is merely Augustinian. Concerning Laozi, I admit his significance, but my problem is : should we consider him as a religious leader, or as a philosopher ?
Concerning the christian figure point : Augustine, Paul, Luther and Calvin are all more important than Baha' in world history, and I don't see any other major religious figure. Alexander Doria (talk) 18:25, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
While this is a rather complex and technical philosophical issue, Calvin and Augustine have rather divergent views on predestination. Augustine's view was that God's perfect knowledge means he knows who will and will not be saved, but that humans still have free will. Calvin believed that we do not have free will even in the sense defended by Augustine. Calvin was influenced by his reading of Augustine, to be sure, but they are not putting forth the same view. As for Laozi, I see no reason to move him from his place on the list of religious figures. While Taoism has been of great interest to philosophers, it is still regarded as primarily a religion (as is Buddhism). Finally, after a great deal of reading and thought I have come to the conclusion that you and Goethean are correct about replacing Bahá'u'lláh with a Christian figure. I was worried about biasing the list towards Christianity; but if anything, the current list obscures its importance. Either Paul or Luther is fine with me, though I am having trouble deciding between the two at this moment. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:46, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I would have prefered Augustine or Calvin, but as one has to make concessions… I support Paul : even if Luther broke up with papacy, he is not truly influential outside Lutherians.Alexander Doria (talk) 18:09, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
As St Paul was Goethean's first idea, and that Postmodern does not seem to disagree, I do the changes. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:10, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Good and evil

Good and evil should go under general religion instead of yoga or goddess or under philosophy instead of dialectic. — goethean 17:17, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I would put it under general religion, as they are moral concept. Dialectic is a logical concept that does not imply the idea of Good/Evil but the idea of Right/False Alexander Doria (talk) 18:28, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I know what dialectic is. I was not saying that they were equivalent, comparable, or even similar, merely that 'good and evil' is a more basic, widespread, important concept than dialectic. — goethean 18:54, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I misunderstood your writing. Nevertheless, the concept of Good/Evil is obviously a religious concept which is included in most religions, while a lot of philosopher ignored it and prefered the concept of fairness (Kant, Plato…) Alexander Doria (talk) 20:51, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Since we have deity, we might be justified in removing both God and Goddess. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:12, 9 May 2008 (UTC)


I suggest that under "Philosophers and social scientists," B.F. Skinner should be replaced with William James. James (co-)founded Pragmatism, influenced the psychology of religion and mysticism with his Varieties of Religious Experience and his The Will to Believe, and influenced psychology (and behavorism, I think) with his pre-Freud Principles of Psychology. He also coined the phrase "stream of consciousness". I appreciate that Skinner gives us more 20th century social scientists, but I submit that James is more influential (and besides, he wrote mostly in the 20th century anyway). — goethean 18:47, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

You are quite right. James is more vital than Skinner. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I would also replace Noam Chomsky with John Rawls or Jürgen Habermas who seem to be more significant contemporary philosopher. Chomsky is more known for his politicial views than for his theories. Alexander Doria (talk) 20:42, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree, and would lean towards Habermas. Chomsky's linguistic views are well-known, but and have been influential in that field, but that's a rather limited field. Although personally, I would suggest that Martin Heidegger or Jean-Paul Sartre or Henri Bergson is more influential than Chomsky, Rawls, or Habermas. And my understanding is that there is no requirement to have a contemporary philosopher on the list at all. — goethean 22:05, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
In fact I believe the best choice would be to add both Heidegger and Habermas, and supress Skinner and Chomsky. Bergson is quite good too, but I don't believe him to be as influential as Heidegger. And, Sartre is not frankly a great philosopher (As a Frenchman I know what I'm talking about), only a well-know intellectual. Alexander Doria (talk) 09:26, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I support those changes. — goethean 14:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I did them : we may still change once more if someone disagree. Alexander Doria (talk) 14:54, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I do not support those changes. Unfortunately, there was an edit conflict so you made your change before you could read my comment. Despite my dislike of Chomsky, I cannot support removing him at this time. For one, he is not on the list as a philosopher, so arguing that other philosophers are more important than him is rather a moot point. He is on the list as a social scientist, and as our only linguist. He is quite important in that regard and has, for better or worse, become one of the modern "public intellectuals." While I am wary of recentism, I don't see any reason not to have a modern social scientist on the list, especially one who revolutionized an increasingly important field. I considered suggesting Daniel Dennett as a replacement, but I'm not sure that's appropriate.
As for Sartre, he exemplified, explicated, and invigorated Existentialism—arguably the most important program of Continental philosophy, and one certainly better regarded than Postmodernism. Sartre is vital. (As a philosopher and a fluent French speaker, I know what I'm talking about. :p ) Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
While I am wary of recentism, I don't see any reason not to have a modern social scientist on the list, especially one who revolutionized an increasingly important field.
You know, when I mentioned that there weren't any African cities on the list, I was told that I was being "politically correct". Now we are told that contemporary social science needs to be represented, even if the representative may not measure up to the intellectual figures of the past. Does anyone else sense some cognitive dissonance here"? — goethean 15:18, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
While your rudeness is always appreciated, you'll notice that I did not appeal to political correctness. Linguistics should be represented not merely because it exists, but because it is an important field. Moreover, it is becoming more important. Chomsky is the key figure in that field, and is important in other respects as well. Ergo, he is a good candidate for this list. No cognitive dissonance there. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:31, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I should have added that Durkheim, Weber, and (using a wider definition) Freud, James, and Marx are all social scientists. — goethean 15:47, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure what that is supposed to help. Durkheim, Weber, and Freud were all added as social scientists. James and Marx have the added bonus of being widely regarded as both philosophers and social scientists. So what? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
So what? It's another reason to remove Chomsky in favor of Sartre, Habermas, Heidegger, or Bergson. — goethean 16:27, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I see. That wasn't clear to me before, and thus why I asked. (Since tone of voice does not translate across the internet, let me assure you that the question "so what" was meant with all due respect.) The discussion I had with other editors regarding the philosophy and social scientists article was so long ago that I forgot Sartre wasn't on the list. For some reason, I was thinking he was there and that Alexander was trying to remove him. You are quite correct that he is more vital than Chomsky. I'll make the change now. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:37, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Okay. I should be less cranky now. The inclusion of Skinner and Chomsky was really bugging me. All you needed for the trifecta was Bertrand Russell. — goethean 17:09, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
And what trifecta would that be? ;) Regardless, even if any one us dislikes a particular person, that doesn't make them less vital from an encyclopedic standpoint. Imagine leaving Hitler out of a history of World War II! Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:13, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm a bit skeptical. You may keep Sartre (it is still better than Chomsky), even if I would prefer Heidegger who did not actually invigorated existentialism but, simply, created it. After all, I don't care and my national ego is rather flattered to see three of my countrymen in the list. Anyway I'm disappointed to not have any modern or living philosopher on the list. Why should we not replace James or Skinner with Habermas ? Habermas is a social scientist too, and stands merely as the most significant current continental philosopher. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:13, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Skinner is already gone. I have no problem replacing Sartre with Heidegger, but if we were to add a contemporary, who would Habermas (or Chomsky) replace? Leaving aside the question of Sartre vs. Heidegger, the weak link seems to me to be Durkheim. And then you have to ask who is more significant, Durkheim or Habermas (or Chomsky)? It's difficult. The one thing that I would say is that Durkheim and Weber seem to break similar ground, both being fathers of modern sociology. It seems sort of like having both Freud and Jung. — goethean 17:50, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not so sure that Durkheim and Weber has the same ground. They are actually the fathers of modern sociology, but their theories stands quite different, and it would be better to keep them both. The only name that may be deleted would be Nagarjuna, even if it is not very politically correct. The question is whether we prefer to have a Indian or a contemporary philosopher ?
Concerning Sartre, he seems strangely enough much more known as a philosopher abroad, than into France, where he stands rather out-of-date. Therefore I no longer object anything to his presence Alexander Doria (talk) 18:26, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
We should definitely keep both of the sociologists. The list is at risk of becoming "Philosophers, some of whom were also social scientists," which would be contrary to the intent of the category. We don't have to have a living or recent philosopher, though. Even if it would be nice. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:30, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Nagarjuna should definitely not be removed. He was a strong influence on Buddhism and many schools of Hinduism, like Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism. Perhaps Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita also. — goethean 18:42, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree. In fact, that's why I added him during the recent major overhaul of this page. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:47, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
If you want to keep the Indian, what do you think about deleting John Locke ? There is already David Hume as an English philosopher, and Locke is not truly as great, as a political philosopher, as Rousseau or Hobbes. Alexander Doria (talk) 21:00, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I suggested here that Rousseau replace Poe under literature. — goethean 21:13, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I considered removing Locke at one point, too; but I no longer think that is a good idea. Even though Locke was neither as original nor as good a writer as other English thinkers, he has been far more influential than them. He continues to be important to political philosophy (ironically, political groups of all stripes have claimed him as their founder) and generally as the first major British empiricist. Frankly, I think we should leave the list as it stands. I also wish we could put someone modern on, but I don't think it's in the cards. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:44, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I understand that you want to keep Locke, but many months ago you argued that if it came down between Locke and Hume, you believed that Locke should be cut. I happen to agree with this. And since Hegel is not on the list, you are obviously willing to make some pretty deep cuts. Maybe Locke is one of them. And to mirror my point made below with Homer, Virgil, and Ovid, do we really need all three Greeks? I understand why cutting any one figure from the Socrates/Plato/Aristotle triumvirate would be cause for heart palpitations among philosophers, but maybe this is a case where a deeper cut actually heals. What I mean is, what would you do if you had to cut two of them? Suddenly it's a lot easier, isn't it? You keep Plato and you cut Socrates and Aristotle. (And maybe add Hegel in that extra open spot!) Just a thought... Intellectual Soup (talk) 15:54, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Sartre is indeed better than Chomsky, and shares with him the status of a public intellectual (not a critical feature, but an aspect of philosophy that might be missed given the other entries). But allow me to disabuse you of the notion that Heidegger created Existentialism. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche sowed the seeds of Existentialism and Sartre was the first to explicitly take on the label. Heidegger agreed that the name was appropriate for Sartre's views, but insisted that Sartre had misunderstood his own work. While you and I might understand Existentialism in a way that includes Heidegger, this does not establish his creation thereof. Indeed, I worry that Existentialism may not have any true "creator," and thus Sartre (as the closest thing to a leader the movement has ever had) seems to be a fine representative.
As for Habermas, I would also like to have someone living on the list. And if we take my comment about recentism in context, I think it is clear that I do not think it would be the result of bias to do so. One caveat, however, is that it is difficult to say who among the living will prove resistant to the broad brush of history. Restricting ourselves only to people who could appear on this list, Habermas, Dennett, Chomsky, Blackburn, and Nussbaum are all good candidates. But who knows? Meanwhile, William James has already been enormously influential (and the scope of his influence includes Habermas given James' influence on Dewey and American Pragmatism). For now, I believe the list should stay as is—but you are welcome to try and convince me otherwise. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd add Charles Taylor to your list. — goethean 21:53, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd strongly add Rawls to your list, considering a lot of critics consider him as the greatest living American philosopher. I would nevertheless back Habermas's integration because he wrote on almost every philosophical subject (moral philosophy, sociology, linguistic, political philosophy, epistemology…). Alexander Doria (talk) 15:26, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Rawls died in 2002, so no one considers him the greatest living American philosopher. That's the only reason he's not on that list. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:49, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry I did not know. But I have another greatest idea : Claude Levi-Strauss. He is still living, and there isn't any ethnologist on the list. And, as you seem to appreciate my countrymen's philosophy… Alexander Doria (talk) 16:35, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I am no more a fan of French philosophy than anyone else's; there just happen to have been several important French people in philosophy. Levi-Strauss is a good choice, especially given his influence on Barthes, Derrida, Lacan, Foucault, Deleuze, etc. Are you thinking he would be a replacement for Sartre? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:58, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
We had maybe better to keep Sartre, as the existentialism ought to be represented (by him or Heidegger : no matter), as well as structuralism. I would rather delete James, Hume (as you want to keep Locke) or Aquinas. Alexander Doria (talk) 08:49, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
The fact that Rawls is dead is not really a good reason to exclude him, just as the fact that Chomsky is alive is also not a good reason to include him. Contemporary thinkers should be evaluated on their merits and their (likely) influence just like everyone else. — goethean 17:34, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
If you follow the thread, you'll see that we were discussing the prospect of including a living philosopher on the list. That's why I mentioned Rawls' death (as well as Kuhn's). It's relevant to that aspect of the conversation. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 21:58, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Charles Taylor is another likely candidate (I almost put him on the list, actually). But even still, I just don't think we can count any of them as vital yet. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:51, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Thomas Kuhn, also. — goethean 15:29, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Kuhn died in 1996, but even still I wouldn't put him on the list. In my estimation, he doesn't even come close to Dennett, Rawls, or Habermas. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 15:49, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Health and Medicine or Everyday life

Death is not listed. I'm not sure what should be removed to make room for it, however. — goethean 15:43, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Politicians + leaders

I suggest that Martin Luther King, Jr. replace Nelson Mandela. MLK has a more secure, larger place in history than Mandela. I don't want to make the list US-centric, but frankly I think that with neither Roosevelt, no Reagan, no Kennedy, and no MLK, it is closer to ignoring the US.

I agree with you. On the other hand, Cleopatra could also be deleted, as she is more well-known as a mythic figure, than as an active politician. Alexander Doria (talk) 18:33, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
History has been going on for a lot longer than the 200+ years America has been around to influence it. Two American presidents seems pretty good considering we are picking from all of the leaders in history. Mandela, meanwhile, was the first democratically elected president of South Africa and has influence across the continent and the world. (Of course, American presidents have influence across the world, as well. I suppose the real point is that Mandela is more unique in his achievements than most presidents.) I'd like some time to think about Cleopatra, though. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:44, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
While your condescension is always appreciated, I just specified that I did not want the list to be US-centric. Interestingly, I just calclated that there were about 30 million black South Africans in 1990 (80% of 39 million) and about 30 million African-Americans in 1960 (12% of 250 million). I had thought that the number of African-Americans would be higher. — goethean 18:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I was not being condescending. Rather, I think you are reading attitude into my comment so that you might have an opportunity to turn a phrase I have used when you have given me attitude. I am not sure why you feel the need to do this, but please stop. We have been getting on quite well these last few hours and I should rather like it to continue.
That said, my point about the 200+ year history of the US was only to drive home the point about the long perspective we need to take with this category. It is an easy perspective to lose, and I frequently have to remind myself of this fact. WP:NPOV is one of those things that we all must reinforce in ourselves. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Cleopatra might be silghtly mis-categorized, but should not be deleted. She is one of the most famous figures in history. — goethean 18:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think you are correct. Any thoughts on where we might re-categorize her, though? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Purpose of this list

The first sentence in the article says "This is a list of basic subjects for which Wikipedia should have a corresponding high-quality article, and ideally a featured article". If that is the main goal, wouldn't it be best to delete all the featured articles (and maybe the good articles) from the list? That way there would be room for more topics, and the goal of guiding people to "subjects that need high-quality articles" could be fulfilled better. I think there is no way we'll ever agree about which are the 1000 "most important" topics in a general sense, as seems to be the problem in some of the discussions above. But we can perhaps agree on 1000 topics that are "pretty important" and deserving good/featured articles, and which would be removed from the list as soon as they achieve that status. (Note: the articles that are removed due to being featured/good could be moved to a separate list, in case someone needs them to "track progress".) --Itub 06:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Great idea! StAnselm 06:50, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
You know that GA and FA aren't permanent and some articles will miss this position.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 12:31, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  • True, but at the moment we're just going in circles. There's a constant cycle of articles being added and deleted from this list. StAnselm 12:38, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
No, Wikipedia isn't paper, if we need more room for articles we can just use the expanded list or even increase the article limit on this list and wrangling over articles to include isn't going to go away just because we remove all of the decent articles. The primary purpose of this page is to list the most important encyclopedia topics. Feel free though to make a seperate list of "Vital articles needing improvement" or the like, if you think it would be useful. Cheers —dv82matt 16:20, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
In that case the purpose of the list, as described on the project page, is not clear. And also in that case I would agree with the poster below who says it doesn't have any useful purpose. --Itub 06:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

What is the point of this page?

It seems to me that this page is an exercise in POV and that it should be deleted. What is the point of it, especially given the existing of its big sister at Wikipedia:Vital articles/Expanded?

It came to my attention when a point of order was raised by WikiProject Cricket in this discussion and it does not surprise me at all to find that there is an American bias at work here, as per several of the sports-related selections and discussions.

Unless there is some useful purpose for having this list and unless it is going to be done by a working group which is able to take a completely objective view of what is vital and what is not, then the whole thing should be scrapped. --BlackJack | talk page 06:04, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it is a good question, what the point of this list is. However, I don't agree that the POV policies necessarily apply to lists in Wikipedia space, as opposed to article space. Pages in this namespace are for internal purposes, and many of them have non-neutral points of view (just look at all the essays!). --Itub 06:28, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

This list is useful in many ways. It can serve as a centralized watchlist. It can serve as a guide for selecting important articles that need improvement. It can serve as a browsing guide for readers. So there's several useful purposes.

As for POV that is a problem (essays may not be intended to be NPOV but this list is) but anything specific that is brought up can be dealt with. The list of individual sports is a very minor part of the overall list so the idea that it should be deleted because of a problem with that is excessive.

As for your requirement of a working group to administer this list that would run counter to the open informal editing process that has characterized this page. This page provides a more accessible format and style than the core topics lists. —dv82matt 19:03, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

The PoV is not a problem because this is a priority list for those who choose to view it as such. You're perfectly free to create your own, or to encourage the improvement of this list. I completely disagree with the notion of having it deleted. — RJH (talk) 18:46, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
If this is just a WikiProject, it should list its participants, rather than pretending to be some kind of official endeavour of the foundation. It should be clearly stated that the list is a POV by a negligible minority of WP editors, or where, if at all, it has been sourced from. Otherwise, I would probably find myself disagreeing with RJH on the deletion question. Samsara (talk  contribs) 21:13, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't get the impression when I read the project page that this is an official endeavor of the foundation. I disagree that it should be made into a WikiProject; I think that it is fine as it is. --Iamunknown 21:21, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it seems fair that a list of participants should be published. I wasn't around when it was first created, but for the most part this seems like a reasonable approach. It does seem to undergo edits from time to time, however, so perhaps it's open to revision? Maybe there should be a review committee? — RJH (talk) 19:14, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I can see a central purpose of this is to help readers to make decisions about whether all entries on the List of Wikipediasare really up to being called "Wikipedias". Take, for example, the Volapuk Wikipedia - this is in the Top 20, but when one reads about it, one may doubt whether it is really a comprehensive encyclopaedia. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 21:55, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Bias towards Philosophy and "Social Science"

This list is getting ridiculously biased towards Philopshy, philosophists and "social scientists" - is a figure of 20 philosophists/Social Scientists, 12 articles under the general heading "philosophy" and 28 different schools of philosophical thought really merited? That's 50 of the 1000 "vital" articles - more than we have on countries of the world for example. 20 Philosophists and only 16 authors or only 9 artists? Let's start to purge some of the lesser schools of philosophy first - we've got Metaphysics, so perhaps drop the 5 articles of "Metaphysical philosophies". Same with "Epistemology". I know this is going to raise the heckles of perhaps the most regular poster here, but really this article needs to be re-balanced. - fchd (talk) 19:02, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I take it the "most regular poster here" is me? I am, in fact, only a recent joiner to this project. Regardless, I have pruned many a philosophy article and we have fewer here than when I started editing this page. As such, I am not quite sure that your contention that this page is becoming biased is at all warranted (though I think the philosophers and social scientists category may be at risk of having too many philosophers and not enough social scientists). As I mentioned some time ago, philosophers and social scientists covers two categories. So while nine artists may not seem like very many, consider that we might also have only ten philosophers and ten social scientists (though again, it is slightly unbalanced in favor of philosophers right now). Still, I'll take another look at what might be trimmed from the philosophy articles.
(For what it's worth, I did not choose the number of articles for each category. Instead, I have largely worked within those numbers. Also, "metaphysics" and "metaphysical philosophies" don't overlap in the way you suggest. What have been misleadingly labeled as "metaphysical philosophies" are really just positions within metaphysics or world views that have metaphysical theses at their core.) Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:13, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

At first glance, we can probably remove philosophy of science (though it is under science, not philosophy). Romanticism was supposed to be removed ages ago, and the article on modernism is not particularly philosophical (though it should perhaps be replaced with contemporary philosophy). There are definite pruning candidates, but I would appreciate if you would give me some time to think about what should be replaced with something else and what can be flat out cut. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:23, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

I would like Romanticism to stay. It is a major intellectual movement of Western Civ. Maybe logical positivism can go?
Logical positivism is rather important to philosophy, and Romanticism is not a philosophical movement in the sense of the particular list at issue. Maybe Romancticism should be moved to Arts? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:16, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I would like to have more articles on literature. Gilgamesh is absent, for example. I also think that something like Hamlet should be on the list in addition to Shakespeare. And I have already advocated above for the inclusion of pop culture figures like filmmakers, actors and athletes. — goethean 20:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
You are quite right about Hamlet, and I hope you will join the discussion about adding a literature list below. For now, I must reiterate my skepticism about adding pop culture figures: insofar as we are supposed to be taking the long historical (and encyclopedic) view, pop culture is just too fleeting to include a long list of actors or athletes. I can't really think of any actor off the top of my head who it is reasonable to think will be as important for as long as, say, Mozart. But that doesn't mean there isn't one. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:19, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Here are the philosophy articles I think could be easily removed from the list of vital articles. Most are from the philosophy and religion section, with one exception from the science section: Philosophy of science, Reality, Gnosticism, Monism, Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism, Reductionism.

The entire section on movements needs to be rethought, in my opinion, but that's another project. Goethean mentioned that he thought Romanticism should stay, but if it stays it should probably be moved to the Arts section. The articles as written is not about philosophy in the sense embodied on this list. Even if we keep one spot for a replacement in the philosophical movements section and move Romanticism to arts, however, we're left with a net gain of six spots to fill. All of these could be moved to arts for the literature list we are working out right now. We could get some more spots for that list from articles that were suggested for pruning that never wound up being cut. Pluto, for example, might not be considered vital anymore since it is no longer categorized as a planet. I also would suggest that the list of colors under Everyday Life might be dispensable, "Green" not really being an article vital to an encyclopedia. But obviously this is all up for debate. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:19, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

I completely agree with your propositions : we delete Philosophy of science, Reality, Gnosticism, Monism, Modernism, Postmodernism, Reductionism, which are all too specific, and we transfer Romanticism to the art section, which sounds quite logical as it was merely one the main artistic movement in occidental culture. With Pluto, we will have seven articles, which seems enough to begin the literature section. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:54, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd be a *LOT* more drastic. I'd remove Thomas Aquinas, David Hume and William James at the very least from the people section, and then - Truth, Dialectic, Reality, Empericism, Rationalism, Reductionism, Dualism, Idealism, Monism, Modernism, Confusciusism (keeping Confuscius in the people section), Platonic Realism, Theism, Gnosticism and Pantheism. I'd use the "spots" created for more additions to literature, or adding extra countries to the list e.g. Philippenes, Myanmar, Ukraine, Colombia etc. - fchd (talk) 17:15, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
I already propose to remove Aquinas, Hume and James higher (in the Actors and Filmakers paragraph), and therefore I'm not against your drastic changes. Alexander Doria (talk) 08:33, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
My earlier suggestions were just some first thoughts on what I thought would be entirely uncontroversial cuts. I am not opposed to further changes. That said, Aquinas is an entire era of philosophy and Hume is widely considered to be the most important English-speaking philosopher ever. James, while important, could probably be cut, though. Why people are dead set on removing Hume is beyond me. Early modern philosophy has six major figures. In order of importance they are: Descartes, Hume, Locke, Leibniz, Spinoza, Berkeley (though an argument could be made for reversing Spinoza and Berkeley). So I would suggest cutting Locke before Hume.
As for the other articles mentioned by fchd, I already mentioned cutting both Reality, Reductionism, Monism, and Modernism. Truth is a going issue in philosophy and the article is developing as a philosophical one. Existence, however, is redundant with Ontology, so I would suggest keeping Truth and removing Existence. The desire to keep Materialism and remove Dualism and Idealism seems to reflect a rather academic bias. While idealism was perhaps never a truly popular alternative, dualism came first and has never gone away. So I could assent to removing Idealism, but removing Dualism seems POV to me (and I am a materialist, for what it's worth). Empiricism and rationalism have been part of the philosophical landscape pretty much throughout all of history—sometimes warring and sometimes coexisting, but always there (often explicitly, occasionally not). And dialectic is both one of the first and one of the longest lasting philosophical methods there is (and the article covers ancient and modern dialectic, as well as dialectic in the East and in the West). I have no objections to removing Confucianism, however. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 13:26, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Postmodern Beatnik's behavior

First of all, there is no policy that edits to the page must have consensus or your personal sign-off. Secondly, if you are going to insist on personally approving every change to the article, then you at least need to respond to comments on the talk page within seven days. You do not own this article. You are not in charge of this article. Every editor has the same standing as you, whatever academic credentials you would like to off-handedly reference. One more trigger-happy reversion of a good faith edit, and I will see you at Administrator's noticeboard for violating WP:OWN. — goethean 16:42, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

First off, threats do not really scare me. Second, you have been posting comments willy nilly and it is unreasonable to think anyone could keep up with them all. Third, I have mentioned that I am working on an idea to fix the literature issue—one which I would certainly like your input on—and you could have easily waited to make your changes until we had discussed that (even if I did not put that proposal directly under your Rousseau comment). Fourth, you clearly recognize that you should discuss this on the talk page, yet made the change before anyone responded. Fifth, the claim that every editor has the same standing includes me, which means I have the right to revert changes that I do not think are appropriate. Sixth, it was agreed awhile ago that we should discuss changes here first to keep the page from getting out of control again. Seventh, it is not my fault that I have remained interested in this project while some of the others that I was discussing things left after we got the numbers down to 1,000. And finally, I happen to be on Wikipedia right now and so could make the reversion. It's not a hair-trigger; this is just my active time. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 16:51, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Anyway I have to admit that your behavior is a bit controversial : first you revert my changes, while Goethean agreed with me, then you impose your own philosophers without consulting me, and finally you claim, each time that I propose you any changes, that the list should remain untouched. Alexander Doria (talk) 16:55, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I take it you are discussing the changes of Skinner and Chomsky to Habermas and Heidegger. However, you explicitly noted on the talk page that you knew they might be reverted. If there is anything I would agree to in the inuendo that has been launched at me on this page, it is that I am particularly interested in the fate of the philosophy related articles. Reading that comment, however, I did not believe my revert would be so "controversial." And I would also note that those changes, after discussion, were not reinstated—and not just because of me, as far as I can tell. I don't know who you think I imposed on the list. Sartre? If so, it was accidental and you can revert the change and reinstate Chomsky if you feel it is appropriate. However, it seemed fairly clear that there was at least enough consensus that Sartre was better than Chomsky for that change. As for repeating my opinion that the list should (only for now) stay as it is, you have only re-asserted your opinion that we should put Habermas on. You haven't really responded to my reasons for disagrement. Why should I change my opinion if you haven't given me a reason to do so? Please understand, I mean this with all due respect. I am quite interested in this project being undertaken cooperatively and amicably (as I believe I proved during my conversations with Hemlock Martinis, dv82matt, and jwanders). Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:15, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I briefly answered higher concerning Habermas, and am still awaiting.Alexander Doria (talk) 19:37, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I believe I have responded to all of your comments regarding Habermas. Please point out to me any I have missed. Thanks. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:21, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Fourth, you clearly recognize that you should discuss this on the talk page, yet made the change before anyone responded.
I made the suggestion twice and waited seven days after my first suggestion to implement the change. If all changes need to go through you, maybe you need to put together a change request form. — goethean 17:02, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Suggestions, of course, do not need to go through me. We both know that. But if you made the second suggestion, you must have realized that your first had somehow gone overlooked. Why not give that one some time, then? As LeadSongDog said, there is no canonical wait time. You thought seven days was enough? Fine. You made the change, and I don't think you did anything wrong in making it. Then I reverted it and you got upset. You quoted point four above, but I would remind you of point five: just as I am no more important than any other editor, I am no less important, either. I have the right to revert changes I disagree with, and we have talk pages to discuss our disagreements. That's WP:BRD. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:21, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I do not agree that all changes must have prior agreement on the talk page. I was playing by your personal rule book because I wanted to co-operate with you. But you are not being fair. If you are the self-appointed administrator of this page, you need to respond to suggestions in a timely manner --- like within seven days. Otherwise, maybe we can edit this page without your supervision. — goethean 17:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I made a mistake here. I remembered a conversation between myself, Hemlock Martinis, and jwanders about not making changes without discussing them here first as having occurred on this talk page. But searching for it, I can only find one comment by jwanders to that effect. Perhaps the conversation happened elsewhere or perhaps I am confusing it with something else. In either case, I was wrong to hold you to a conversation you couldn't be expected to be aware of. That said, with a page as carefully negotiated and combed over as this one, it makes sense to discuss things here first. Otherwise, we get the BOLD, revert, discuss process which seems to bother you so much. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:26, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Second, you have been posting comments willy nilly and it is unreasonable to think anyone could keep up with them all.
That's because I wan to edit the article. But you revert anyone's changes that don't have your personal sign-off. Do you really think that is according to Wikipedia policy? No one told you that you had to keep up with my comments. Only your mission as self-appointed administrator of this page dictates that. — goethean 17:13, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I revert changes that I disagree with and then discuss it on the talk page of the article in question. I have also had my own changes reverted by people who disagreed with me and discussed it with them. This has been the case as long as I've been here and it's never been a problem before—regardless of whether I've "gotten my way" or not (and I've yielded consensus before even when not entirely convinced). That's just how WP:BRD and WP:CON work. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:32, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Lets play nice kids. We all know how the WP:BRD process works. Those who care about a topic have a watch on it. A change gets made and reverted, then the discussion starts. Multiple reverts are pointless in the long run. LeadSongDog (talk) 17:19, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
While I plan on responding to my interlocutors, this is perhaps the best and most succinct way to sum up the matter. Well said, LeadSongDog. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:32, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Reverting a change for no other reason than because you haven't personally approved it is completely unacceptable, more obviously so when the suggestion has been posted on the talk page for seven days. Postmodern Beatnik is the one not playing by the rules. — goethean 17:36, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
It may be less than the ideal approach to discussion, but "completely unacceptable" is strong language that needs to be backed up by a link to the policy that says so. And seven days is not exactly a long time around here. I've left changes on talk for months before closing the discussion and implementing them. It's a judgement call that rather depends on how broad the impact is and the effort it takes to reverse the change. Policy and MOS pages tend to have broad impact, so concensus counts more. Regular articles can usually have changes unwound quite readily, so concensus before editing doesn't matter as much.LeadSongDog (talk) 18:14, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
So you think that Postmodern Beatnik's policy of immediately reverting all edits, fillibustering some suggestions on the talk page, and ignoring others is hunky dory? — goethean 18:24, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I, of course, have no such policy. I revert edits I disagree with and I expect discussion and reasoning, rather than just assertions that someone should get their way, on the talk page. I see nothing unreasonable about not changing my mind when I have been offered no substantive reasons to do so, especially when I am willing to discuss the issues and do research on my own. (You'll notice, for example, I changed my mind on Saint Paul after some good points were made by Alexander and some research done on my own.) Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:37, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Article changes by different editors are reverted by the same editor for an extended period of time to protect a certain version, stable or not. (This does not include removing vandalism.)goethean 18:33, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Lists aren't articles in the normal sense and it is not unusual for them to need someone to act as a gatekeeper between the discussion and the list, ensuring that the list reflects agreement on the talk page. See List of accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft for example. While I've had some minor run-ins with him, particularly when I was new, Crum's efforts there have kept it in line with WP:ADL. I would suggest that function should be performed by someone who largely stays out of the substantive discussions, so any "fillibustering" in the talk would be left up to others. Got an example in mind? LeadSongDog (talk) 19:30, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I will not be participating in this discussion until Postmodern Beatnik undoes his most recent outrageous revert of my edit. I made the suggestion twice on this talk page, and Postmodern Beatnik ignored it completely for seven days. Then when I made the edit, he reverted it immediately with the claim that there was no consensus for the edit. His behavior is and remains contrary to Wikipedia policy and outrageously condescending and uncivil. I will not continue to enable a process which is transparently unfair, one-sided and contrary to the rules and spirit of Wikipedia. — goethean 16:10, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
It appears that you refer to your 3 May post under Poe. You will note yours was the only addition to that topic in the past seven months. To override the seven month position by posting one comment and waiting seven days you should at minimum expect to show that the editors involved in building the prior position were aware of your proposed change. Most right-thinking editors would at least consider reverting your bold change to bring about discussion. See WP:BRD. It's how wikipedia works, and not at all "outrageous", "condescending" or "uncivil" Please assume good faith: that PMB was working to ensure that due discussion was held before overriding the earlier editors' work. LeadSongDog (talk) 03:42, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't thinck the problem is whether PMB should have undone goethean's post and mine or not. I actually understand the old contributors' wish to not threaten a difficult agreement. Nevertheless, if those contributors want all posts to be previously agreed, they should keep an eye on this talk-page. Or, at least, they should warn the new contributors by writing they ought to contact them before doing anything (maybe by putting a list of the most significant contributors at the end of the talk page). Alexander Doria (talk) 11:00, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
With Alexander Doria's suggestion, it becomes clear exactly how absurd and outrageous the process here has become. Yes, maybe we should all ask Postmodern Beatnik's permission before editing this page. — goethean 13:59, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Not only : for instance, I'm still waiting your permission, your opinion and your propositions in the suggestions concerning literature. The list should actually not be edtited before all the main contibutors (that is to say, currently, you, me and PMB) agree with the changes. What goes for us, also goes for PMB : he should not edit the list without our agreement. I think he undestands this point, as he expound below his projects concerning literature. Alexander Doria (talk) 14:30, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Don't wait for me. I'm through with PMB's condescending attitude and ownership of this article. It is wrong, and I won't enable it. — goethean 16:16, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Moving to the left... At this late date, I'd like to point out that while Chomsky shouldn't be considered a philosopher, sadly there's no better category to put him in (a shortcoming of this project). Looking over the several discussions of him on this page, there seems to be a misconception that he is only a political theorist/activist (whatever). Chomsky's academic contribution is twofold - to political theory (specifically to media and policy analysis) and to linguistics, with key, even transformative implications for the science of mind, psychology, evolutionary biology, and related fields. His academic work transformed a gamut of fields (and continues to do so) from the mid-1950s, and his political analysis is without precedent or equal; both have encouraged a rethink of Enlightenment thought (e.g. Descartes, Hume, Smith, et al). Additionally, he has contributed hugely to modern political activism - the only part of his activity that seems to have been considered with regard to Vital Articles. Claims of recentism are based on a faulty and superficial understanding of Chomsky's work. Pinkville (talk) 01:28, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Chomsky is certainly considered an important philosopher by some.[4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Suggestions concerning Literature

In order to remain on a cooperative way to work , I propose that everyone give, from now on, their idea concerning a list of the greatest writing work of world history.

I propose : Gigalmesh, Faust, Don juan (or Hamlet), the Bible and the Comedie humaine (from Balzac)

Alexander Doria (talk) 17:04, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

I was thinking that a good list of writers would include: Homer, Gibran, Rumi, Li Bai, Shakespeare, Yeats, Poe, Whitman, Borges, Sophocles, Molière, Virgil, Ovid, Joyce, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Langston Hughes, Kafka. Obviously, this is two more than the list currently holds. We might take of Dostoevsky, then. Rousseau is an interesting suggestion, though autobiography is sort of "fringe literature."
But maybe we could include Confessions on a list I would like to add: a list of important literature. This would involve adding a list, but the arts section is far too small, and needs to be expanded. My early thoughts on this are: Dante's Inferno, Homer's The Odyssey, Eugene Onegin, Goethe's Faust, Joyce's Ulysses, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Tale of Genji, Don Quixote, A Room of One's Own, Hamlet, Ramayana, Journey to the West, Things Fall Apart, Layla & Majnun, One Thousand and One Nights, Canterbury Tales, Paradise Lost, In Search of Lost Time, and Gargantua & Pantagruel.
So what to take off? I have some suggestions for pruning the philosophy and religion section that I will put in the section on that above. All of those spots can go to this endeavor as far as I am concerned. And, of course, nothing about the above suggestions is final. To give credit where credit is due, I want to note that these suggestions are the result of conversations with my wife, the primary literary theorist in my life. ;) Thoughts? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:12, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Concerning the writers, there are my suggestions:

  • Neruda and Poe ought to be deleted.
  • I'm not so sure about Joyce (Musil might be greatest, but less known in the English-speaking culture) Virgil and Molière.
  • What about integrating : Racine, Voltaire, Thoreau, Rousseau (maybe a better philosopher), Hölderlin, Balzac…

I think that we could from now on agree on Faust and Hamlet. I'm also OK with The Odyssey, the Inferno,One thousand and one night, Paradise lost, Ramayana and In Search of Lost time, even if we can't, probably, put them all. Alexander Doria (talk) 09:03, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

The lists that Postmodern Beatnik put together are pretty good. They are very diverse and cover very important genres and ages. Still, I think it can do with some improvement. With regards to the list of books, why is A Room of One's Own—an essay—on with works of literature? Doesn't this open the flood gates to other non-literary works? And as important as Ramayana might be in India, is it really that important worldwide? Alice in Wonderland was a bit of a quirky surprise to me, too, but I find it an appealing candidate for inclusion. It is, perhaps, the quintessential example of its genre and was written by a fine author. Perhaps one of these first two could be replaced by the Epic of Gilgamesh, since it is probably the best known work of ancient literature.
As for authors, I think Langston Hughes is a magnificent choice. I am less thrilled by Gibran. Sure, he's one of the top-selling poets of all time, but that means he's popular. Popularity doesn't equal vitalness, does it? Also, do we need Homer, Virgil, and Ovid? Alexander Doria mentioned removing Virgil. Personally, it seems to me that we would remove Ovid before removing Virgil. But why keep all three? Or even two? Isn't Homer sufficient? It's not like the Aeneid or Metamorphosis made it to the literature list. And I strongly disagree that Dostoevsky is the most expendable of the authors on the list above. Other than that, it's good to see some poets made it onto the list.
Finally, I wanted to respond to Alexander Doria's desire to put Balzac on the list. Considering that we don't have Victor Hugo or Alexandre Dumas, it seems hard to justify putting on Balzac. I mean no offense by this, but might you be pushing for him on the basis of your own preference? La Comédie humaine is an unfinished series of linked stories that falls within several common genres for the period and almost everyone Balzac influenced is more important than him in the final analysis. I just don't see why you think he should be on a list of vital articles. Intellectual Soup (talk) 15:30, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Just two quick points. I don't think we can neglect ancient greek literature, considering the extremely wide influence greek literature had. And I don't only talk about occidental literature, which might well be only footnotes to the greek literature as the latter created almost all the occidental literate fields (tragedy, novel, comedy, elegy…), but also Indian, persian, and Arabic literature, which have all been strongly influenced by greek authors. On the other hand I agree with deleting latin (Virgil and Ovid) authors as they only influenced occidental literature, and only reused greek themon.
Concerning Dumas and Hugo, they have both quite well-known, but Balzac seems far more influential. Of course, Les trois mousquetaires, or Les Miserables, had, and still have a significant audience. But, without La Comédie Humaine, you will not have French Realism (Flaubert, Maupassant) and Naturalism (Zola), Russian novels (Dostoïvsky, Tolstoï), Faulkner… Maybe not Marxism, as Marx used to say that without Balzac he might not have understood how the Bourgeoisie came to replace with the Aristocracy. La Comedie humaine, is not only an unfinished series of linked stories, but a wide picture of a whole society, according to the Balzac's wish de faire concurrence à l'état-civil (to compete with the registry office). Besides, Balzac's novels are far more than common. I don't know if you read Illusions Perdues, which is a sharp criticism of journalistic and artistic circles, which is far ahead if its time. Balzac also wrote, before Poe, one the first detective novel, Une ténébreuse affaire. To say it briefly : Hugo and Dumas were individuals, a bit outside of the great artistic movements of their time (the one was in exile in Jersey, and the other mostly wrote historical novels), while Balzac partly created those movements. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:11, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I guess I am unclear on just how we should regard influence when deciding if someone is vital in themselves. Marx, for example, is important for his writings, but we don't seem to think that justifies including his law professors or Max Stirner (without whom we might also not have Marx or Marxism, though the relation is rather different). Why put Balzac on the literature list for his influence on Marx, then? Influence seems to be relevant when one is influential because one is "great." Take Postmodern Beatnik's argument in favor of Hume, for example. All of his points are about how Hume has been influential on philosophy as a whole, which makes Hume a major figure. His influence is due to his looming large over so many issues that have become central to historically important and ongoing debates. Of course, literary figures don't influence each other in quite the same way (there is no long-argued discourse over the proper way to write a story engaged in by Hemingway and Hardy and Stendhal), but it still seems that one's "vitalness" should not be parasitic on the accomplishments of another. In fact, it is often those who exist "outside of the great artistic movements of their time" who prove to be vital by way of their uniqueness. But again, I may be judging the importance of influence incorrectly. This is also not to say that Balzac is only important due to others. I agree that he is a wonderful author. But I wonder if he is vital by the criteria of this list. Intellectual Soup (talk) 15:16, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm more doubtful concerning Onegin (I would prefer War and peace, or the Kamazarov's brothers as russian novel). Nevertheless, what do you think of my early suggestions ? Alexander Doria (talk) 18:31, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Onegin can be quoted by people from memory in Russia and is important in comparative literature programs as well. This is not the case with War and Peace or Brothers Karamazov. That is why I prefer Onegin at present. As for your earlier suggestions, I am unfamiliar with Gilgamesh and would like your reasoning for including it. And while the Bible has been studied as literature, it is already on the list under philosophy and religion. I will look into and think about Comedie humaine.
Regarding authors, I agree that Neruda should not be on the list. I (or really, my wife) placed Borges in his place. I have several reasons for including Poe: his importance to American literature, his importance to the modern short story, and his invention of the detective genre. His relevance to science fiction is not inconsiderable, either; but I suspect that would be lower down on the list of his literary accomplishments for many people. But why are you so sure Poe should be deleted? Perhaps I am missing something. Concerning Joyce and Musil: I understand that The Man Without Qualities is very important as a novel, but Joyce himself is one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. And while any one of us might think Musil was "better," the question must be taken up from an encyclopedic standpoint. But perhaps you have thoughts about Musil I have not considered? As to Molière, there was a brief discussion earlier about him, Racine, and Corneille. The decision was to go with Molière due to his recognition and curricular importance. What are your thoughts on this? Finally, I am not positive on Virgil, either. He was already on the list, however, so I thought that it would be better to add Ovid than replace Virgil with Ovid. Maybe I was incorrect about that. It's worth considering. The other authors you suggest are all tempting, but I must think about it first before giving my opinion. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:03, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Considering the Onegin stuff, some old people can also quote in my country a lot of La Fontaine's Fables (I does not know the English equivalent, but as you claim to be a fluent French), but that does not mean that does not mean that those Fables are the greatest achievement in French literature. Then your point is rather fallacious. On the contrary, Brothers Kamazarov is full of high philosophical and metaphysical views that greatly influenced XXth century's philosophy (didn't a French philosopher named Sartre reused the Dostoievsky formula : Si Dieu n'existe pas, tout est permis (In order, for Goethean, to follow the debate I give him a translation : If God does not exist, evertyhing is allowed) ; I don't think Sartre nor any great philosopher or Writer used Onegin a lot).
Concerning the Moliere's point : I would replace him with Balzac, so I let you some time to examine the question.
Alexander Doria (talk) 19:35, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your response. The point about quoting Onegin was to demonstrate the work's importance within Russia. The point about comparative literature programs was to support the work's importance outside of Russia. That the work has both qualifications was really the point I was trying to make. But I will consider it again. Probably not until tomorrow, however. My apologies. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 19:41, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

About the Joyce-Musil's issue, they seem to be both as influential. In that sense, I would propose to put Joyce in the writers' list, considering he wrote more books than Musil, and The man without quality in the Works list. Besides, just a quick point concerning Poe : wouldn't somebody like Thoreau or Faulkner be better on the list, as an american writer ? Alexander Doria (talk) 09:10, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Thoreau (and Emerson) were part of a short lived movement that only really affected America. Poe's contributions affected literature worldwide and also literary theory (both as a critic and as a theorist). Faulkner is a better possible candidate for replacing Poe, but wouldn't that be putting a lot of emphasis on modernism (when you already seem to be okay with Joyce)? (Edit: I just noticed there's an article on this.) Intellectual Soup (talk) 14:47, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
In order to be less modern : what do you think of Hawthorne and Melville ? Alexander Doria (talk) 17:20, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
But wouldn't they fall into the same cul-de-sac as Emerson and Thoreau? I'm not very familiar with Melville (I never read Moby Dick), but Hawthorne is—rightly or wrongly—usually grouped with the Transcendentalists, right? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:36, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

From now on, I put below the literature works that we both agree to put in the list (finally as Goethean does not seem to give his advice from now on, I no longer wait him, and put the works we both approved, that seem the more likely to be in the list):

  • Hamlet
  • Faust (considering his wiki-name, I don't think Goethean will disapprove of this choice)
  • Inferno
  • Odyssey
  • One thousand and one night
  • In search of lost time (or the la Comedie humaine if I succeed in convincing you)
  • etc…

Alexander Doria (talk) 08:53, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't forget non-western stuff like One Thousand and One Nights and Journey to the West. Wrad (talk) 15:09, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't forget it (I have already accepted, One thousand and One Nights, and PMB already mentioned your titles both), but I'm still awaiting Goethean's opinion before putting them on the list. Alexander Doria (talk) 14:21, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
For whatever it's worth, I also think One Thousand and One Nights and Journey to the West are good titles to include. Intellectual Soup (talk) 15:38, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Philosophy Replacement Suggestions

While looking through the philosophy and religion lists for pruning candidates, I noticed a few things that might be good to change. For one, the entries under moral philosophy don't actually point to the intended articles. Nihilism, for instance, is not the same as moral nihilism and relativism is not the same thing as moral relativism. We could just alter these to point to the correct articles, but this is also an opportunity to reconsider the choices. Utilitarianism seems like a proper member of the list. It is a consistently proper position in ethics and has been vastly influential. Moral nihilism and relativism have not been as popular or influential on their own, but moral skepticism more generally (or moral anti-realism, really, but we don't have a separate article on that yet) has been. We would even be justified in changing moral nihilism over to non-cognitivism. If we made this switch in one fashion or another, we would have a spot for ethical naturalism, another major contender in the history of ethics.

I would also suggest replacing determinism with free will. That determinism is more important than its alternative libertarianism (metaphysics) seems rather POV, whereas the article free will covers the debate as a whole—including links to determinism and libertarianism (metaphysics). Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:32, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Are there any objections to these changes? Can I at least change Nihilism to moral nihilism and relativism to moral relativism, as seems to be the original intention? Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 13:31, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
If the links don't point to the correct articles, you should definitely redirect them. I also agree with your suggestion regarding the free will article. No opinion on what specific ethics articles should be included. Intellectual Soup (talk) 18:18, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Says who?

Hopelessly and irretrievably POV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

I do not quite undestand your point. Could you develop your argument ? Alexander Doria (talk) 11:30, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Time for a Second Great Revision

I know I haven't been to this list since we cut it down to 1000, but it's time to return. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to compose my suggestions into an omnibus bill so we don't get bogged down in the details and can instead look at the larger picture of this list. I've collapsed it cause it's freakin' huge.

To preserve the orderly fashion, I urge the community to weigh my proposal as a whole and not on individual parts. If you disagree with the manner in which I'm proposing this, oppose it. But I'm only creating an omnibus because if we labored and dwelled on every little choice we'd never get anything done. Once we have a firm structure from which we can work, commonly agreed upon and backed by consensus, we can sort out the details and tweak the tidbits. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 22:36, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


  • Support as proposer. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 22:36, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, quite a good idea. Alexander Doria (talk) 08:29, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: While I agree with Postmodern Beatnik about David Hume (I don't know enough about Wittgenstein to have an opinion), Hemlock Martinis' explicit willingness to "sort out the details and tweak the tidbits" later makes me think this is too minor a detail over which to oppose the proposal. Intellectual Soup (talk) 18:13, 22 May 2008 (UTC)


Very Weak Oppose - I agree with almost all of the proposal, but as we were asked to either accept everything or reject everything, and as there are two details that I simply could not agree to (removing Hume and Wittgenstein, who I think should make the list even if we were to pare it down to five entries), I am placing my vote here. I also worry that in the attempt to keep the people category down, we have forgotten that the philosophers and social scientists category covers two sets of people: philosophers... and social scientists. Moreover, in the effort to reduce the number of philosophy articles, we have taken more social scientists off than philosophers. While it has been my method to make minor changes and move slots from one category to another sparingly, I am not opposed to a major change such as this. Nor am I terribly opposed to philosophy being the category being singled out for pruning. Though I do think some editors have underestimated its historical importance, it does have more spots than it needs and at the expense of the arts. I would note, however, that science and technology have nearly 300 articles.

Still, my vote could be changed to a yes if we could renegotiate who we include in the People list. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 13:46, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

removing Hume and Wittgenstein, who I think should make the list even if we were to pare it down to five entries : frankly it sounds to me rather like a personal viewpoint. Although I agree that Hume, being the most famous English philosopher, should be kept, I'm not so sure about Wittgenstein. Actually, if he was influential in Linguistic (yet some critics have contested it) and it was not the case in other philosophical fields. I don't think we can afford to put too specialized philosopher on the list. Alexander Doria (talk) 16:19, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure why you think it is a personal view. Wittgenstein falls almost entirely outside of my professional interests and I must confess that I've barely read any of his work. Indeed, I could really care less about Wittgenstein. But that said, his importance was impressed upon me throughout my education and in the course of discussions and literature reviews. Wittgenstein is a giant on the philosophical scene, regardless of my own areas of research.
Hume, on the other hand, is someone I have read thoroughly. Still, I don't take it that I am trying to push "my guy" onto the list. Indeed, one of the reasons I have studied him so in depth is due to his importance. As mentioned, he is considered to be the most important English-speaking philosopher in history. He is also responsible for the problem of induction (which led to the falsification model of experimentation and is still influential to the philosophy of science), the is/ought gap (which remains a key problem in ethics), the notion of utility (again, a key concept in ethics), what George Boolos identified as "Hume's principle" (which was influential to Frege's philosophy of mathematics), compatibilism (regarding free will vs. determinism), and several arguments still used today in favor of atheism (including the argument against miracles). Hume sought to be the "Newton of the social sciences" and was instrumental to the early development of psychology out of philosophy. He also formulated many important critiques of social contract theory which are still debated by political philosophers. All in all, he's kind of an important guy. Vital, even. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 17:41, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm currently out of town and have only been able to edit intermittantly. Tonight I'll try to respond to your comments with the attentiveness they deserve. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 00:59, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate that. Intellectual Soup makes a good point above, though. Perhaps I have misinterpreted your "all or nothing" request. I could support your proposal so long as we can revist the changes to "People." Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 00:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
It's certainly possible to revise the choices. After all, we're not trying to forever ban Hume or Wittgenstein from the list. Once the omnibus is in place we're more than free to go back and revise certain portions of it. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 18:07, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Postmodern Beatnik, any last comments before I do the shift? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 23:17, 3 June 2008 (UTC)


I suppose moving Atheism and Agnosticism to religion is fine, but why not move Theism, Pantheism, and Deism, as well? Or if we want to keep some under philosophy, why not keep them all there? Without a principled reason for separating the two, it seems a rather superficial change to move a set of articles from one category to another just to make the numbers look more even. If we think the articles really fit better under religion than philosophy, great—maybe there is a principled reason for the move and it just hasn't been stated yet. But if not, we should categorize them where they belong regardless of whether or not it puffs up the numbers of some category. Some things may just be more vital than others from an encyclopedic standpoint, and it seems to me a bad idea to make changes for solely political reasons (particularly since politically motivated changes typically lead to politically motivated disputes and thus more politically motivated changes). Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 18:30, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

I see that someone tried moving Atheism and Agnosticism out from under Theistic Philosophies on the basis of neither being "theistic." Of course, in this context "theistic" means "about God"—something that atheism and agnosticism certainly are. Still, can anyone think of a better name? "Religious Philosophies" doesn't really seem appropriate to me, as that would be a much wider category than just theories about the existence and nature of God. Philosophy of religion is not my area, however, so I am not aware of any specialized terminology that might be a better fit. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 23:56, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree, we should move all five. But they are primarily known as systems of belief rather than philosophical positions, so it makes more sense to include them under Religion instead of Philosophy. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:35, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
No objections. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 22:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Comment to authors

There is no polish and czech personality's very often more important for history of literature than Pablo Neruda... Where is Joseph Conrad, Jan Potocki or Witold Gombrowicz? They was very influentals for english, french or spanish literature. Where is Milan Kundera (an adept of Gombrowicz) or Bohumil Hrabal? If you suggest the most monumental persons of litterature like Dante why there's no Camoens, Adam Mickiewicz, Cyprian Norwid or Aleksandr Pushkin? Pardon pour mon anglais. -- (talk) 18:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Neruda is very likely to be deleted, and therefore most of your proposals fall down. Anyway, I think we can keep Conrad and Pushkin in mind. Quant à votre anglais, il est suffisamment correct pour qu'on vous comprenne Alexander Doria (talk) 20:52, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Conrad and Pushkin is the best choice of my propositions but I think while Conrad and Pushkin are very famous in the west (Germany, France, USA..) Adam Mickiewicz is one of "the symbols" of literature in the east (Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, west Russia). I propose you to think over him because he was in fact the master for Alexandr Pushkin (même directement), Comte de Lautréamont, Guillaume Apollinaire or Cyprian Norwid. On peut dire qu'il est un "Goethe d'Europe orientale". Merci pour votre réponse.-- (talk) 09:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Conrad is a very good choice, but Neruda's main reason for inclusion was for a more diverse group of authors. If he is removed, I would prefer he not be supplanted by another Western author. But perhaps we could replace him for a more diverse set of writers by genre? Most of the authors listed were dramatic writers in either prose or poetry. Perhaps branching out to someone of a different genre would be more apropos? I would like to see someone along the lines of J.R.R. Tolkien, who is the father of modern fantasy literature and needs little introduction or Agatha Christie, the best-selling writer ever except for Shakespeare (who had a three century headstart) and the mother of the detective/crime thriller genre. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 00:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
the mother of the detective/crime thriller genre : in this literature field we have already Poe, who stands as the father (as well as Balzac). Besides, are you sure Neruda was not a Western author : he wrote in Spanish, and was brought in western and latin traditions. Of course, geographically speaking, he is not located in Europe (although he travelled a lot in that part of the world). But, aren't the north-American writers said to be westerners ? Alexander Doria (talk) 16:56, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
In my proposed list, Neruda was replaced by Borges. Like the much earlier addition of Avicenna to the Philosophers and Social Scientists list, this switch replaces someone who was only placed on the list for the purpose of diversity with someone who belongs there regardless of political correctness—yet satisfies such a desire anyway. It just goes to show that when we stop trying to mollify everyone and take an honest look at history, we still get a diverse list. That's because the basic idea behind political correctness—that the world has been shaped by the contributions of every race, culture, and creed—is far more sound than the movement it has created.
Moving on to the suggested authors, only Conrad and Pushkin anywhere close to being reasonable candidates for this list. Mickiewicz may have been influential on Pushkin, but Pushkin is universally recognized as a superior writer. What I think we all need to keep in mind when making this list is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of famous authors—most of whom any well read person will be familiar with. Our task is to whittle that list down to its most essential members. Authors is already the largest single category in People other than Politicians and Leaders—and there's nothing wrong with that. But we need to keep our personal favorites out unless they are truly of the utmost historical importance. To this end, I am quite fond of a thought experiment I came up with earlier on this discussion page: Imagine we were writing a text book on whatever category we were considering, and we kept getting our page limit reduced. Who or what would we cut first? Sometimes these cuts don't correspond to our personal preferences (very few of my personal and professional interests in philosophy get much coverage on this list), but that's the way it goes. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 00:39, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I understand but I can't agree. Mickiewicz was a writer who influented Russian, Polish, Belarusian and Lithuanian writers and poets. The western Europe know only Dostoevsky or Pushkin who were influented by Mickiewicz. If he wasn't on exile in Russia their litterature would be very different. Think about him, he is not one of the thousands or hundrets. He was in fact the "Goethe of slavic literature". I don't try to crowd in my personals authors like Norwid, Guillaume Apollinaire or John Ashbery but absolutely objectively I notice that Mickiewicz is the most influental poet of Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusan, Russian or Ukrainian litterature. He is just forgotten on the west. Pushkin is recognized as a superior slavic writer in France, UK, USA, but not in Belarus or Lithuania. Mickiewicz is there the greatest symbol of slavic romanticism. See on Wikipedias of that's languages. Besides Mickiewicz was influental on the west- Comte de Lautréamont, George Sand (see on french wikisource Essai sur le drame fantastique - Goethe, Byron, Mickiewicz), Guillaume Apollinaire... He had the most influences in the east- Alexandre Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Juliusz Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński, Antanas Baranauskas, Witold Gombrowicz, Czesław Miłosz, Joseph Conrad (even he learned Mickiewicz by heart during his childhood)... If you omit Mickiewicz it's just a sign that you don't perceive the true historical personality's of literature but only these who are visible from your west perspective.-- (talk) 17:26, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I made a comment earlier about how being influential on other writers is not necessarily the same as being vital, because "vitalness" should not be parasitic on the success of others. Mickiewicz's work itself should be what gets him on this list, with his influence only acting as a perhaps secondary reason to include him. And I do not think it is a Western perspective that makes people regard Mickiewicz as not being vital. I never came to the West until college brought me here. And I've only stayed because of an offer of employment. Yet without a Western perspective, I still don't find the authors you mention to be vital according to this list's standards. (What, by the way, is "an adept of Gombrowicz"? Someone who knows his work? Who imitated his style? What?)
Also, you list your Eastern European authors as if we should be including them all (with suggestive phrases like "Where is Milan Kundera," who quite frankly I've never even heard of), but surely that's not the case. That would make the list half Eastern European! This is not an infinite list. We have only a certain number of spots to fill, and not everyone will make it. Some of the greatest authors of all time will not make it. C'est la vie. Intellectual Soup (talk) 17:29, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
with suggestive phrases like "Where is Milan Kundera," who quite frankly I've never even heard of : Your ignorance is probably due to cultural boarders : Milan Kundera is quite well-known in France, and is often said to be the most significant Eastern European writer alive. On the other hand, I must admit I haven't heard of Langston Hughes until Postmodern, and you, mentioned it. Alexander Doria (talk) 18:04, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I find it rather presumptive to assume my "ignorance" is born of "cultural borders," seeing as you have no idea where I am from (I am not American and English is my third language). What I find wrong with the phrase "where is Milan Kundera" is that it implies he is as obvious a pick as Jesus would be to a list of religious figures. I find that a highly unreasonable position to take. I am surprised you haven't heard of Langston Hughes. His poetry also has worldwide importance, as the Harlem Renaissance led to the Négritude movement in the French colonies (as well as parallel movements in Spanish colonies). Intellectual Soup (talk) 17:29, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I just proposed my list of authors who might be in place of Pablo Neruda, that's all. I don't want to force a place for Gombrowicz or Kundera because their are quite new and less representatives authors. But I won't agree with your omission of Mickiewicz who is the greatest representative of slavic litherature with Pushkin ensemble. Certainly I propose only to add Mickiewicz that's all.-- (talk) 19:57, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
But it is already pretty much decided that Pablo Neruda won't be on the list. Your argument, therefore, makes no sense. Intellectual Soup (talk) 17:31, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Frankly, I don't think Poe is a very good choice for the list. He's the only American writer listed but he's hardly representative of American literature. I would argue for someone like Mark Twain, Walt Whitman or even Emerson or Thoreau to replace Poe. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:45, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Ya, I agree with you. My choice would rather go to Thoreau as he was not only influential americanwide, but Worldwide (for instance, he influenced Toltoï). But Emerson and Whitman are also quite good. My other idea was Faulkner. Alexander Doria (talk) 21:04, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Thoreau also influenced Gandhi with his ideas of civil disobedience. If some other editors agree I'll do the replacement. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 21:25, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Is Poe really on the list just as a representative of American literature? Above I mentioned that "Thoreau (and Emerson) were part of a short lived movement that only really affected America. Poe's contributions affected literature worldwide and also literary theory (both as a critic and as a theorist)." It seems there is a good reason to keep Poe on the list that has little to do with America. Intellectual Soup (talk) 17:21, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Thoreau was in fact much more than a "part of a short lived movement that only really affected America". As I and Hemlok noted it, he also had a worldwide influence by contributing to create the notion of "non-violence" (I don't know if it is the exact English translation). Walden is also said to be one of the American's literature masterpiece, and I can't think of any Poe's work that have been such praised. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:33, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Mightable objective criteria concerning authors

In order to have all the discussions above closed, I think we ought to define some objective criteria which would allow us to decide what would be the most important authors ever. I propose therefore five following criteria (but other can be added or other be supressed).

  • The author should have a wide influence which concerns a lot of authors.
  • The author should have writen one of the greatest achievement in world literature
  • The author should have made a consistent contribution to the developement of world literature (by creating a new genre for instance).
  • The author should be considered by some significant critics, as one of the most important writer ever.
  • The author should be representative of a major cultural area (I don't truly appreciate this criterion which sounds too PC)

In that sense, Misckiewicz would be OK with the first and the five criterion. It is more doubtful about the second (maybe Pan Tadeusz ?) and the fourth, and he probably wouldn't suit the third.

Alexander Doria (talk) 18:16, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


Besides his Dziady or Konrad Wallenrod were inspirations for operas (I Lituani-Konrad Wallenrod by Amilcare Ponchielli), symphonies (II Symphony of Gustav Mahler, influented by "Dziady").. The acting of "Dziady" by Kazimierz Dejmek was a direct cause of revolutions of march 1968 in Poland.-- (talk) 19:57, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

There are my answers :

  • I always agree with you concerning the first criteria
  • I am not truly convinced concerninf the second one. I have said higher that the author ought to have written one of the greatest achievement in world literature, not only slavic literature.
  • I must think it over. Could you give more details about Mickiewicz influence over Science-Fiction ?
  • I'm still doubtful about your critics, because, excepting Sand, there are not much first-rate critics.
  • Still alright.

Alexander Doria (talk) 21:10, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

  • 2. He influented slavic literature which was in fact on emigration. And that's why Mickiewicz influented Lautréamont or Sand, or f.ex. Mahler and Ponchielli in musical scenic pieces. The "Dziady" of Dejmek was the great revolution in the block of communist countries.
  • 3. Mickiewicz's science-fiction shows in unpublished "Historia przyszłości" (The history of future). According to Antoni Smuszkiewicz, Mickiewicz presented there his view of technical future. The manuscript was destroyed but the relations proved that was in fact the first slavic science-fiction vision of future. See also A. Witkowska "Mickiewicz- słowo i czyn".
  • 4. I think the greatest critics which I mentioned are Sand and Georg Brandes, but others are of course very significiant f.ex. Jastrun in Poland, or Lu Xun in China. First-rate was for example Sand, G. Olivier or Anaïs Ségalas (voir:

-- (talk) 21:40, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

  • 2 I think you misunderstood my second criterion : it is not a matter of influence. When I said higher that the author ought to have written one of the greatest achievement in world literature, I meant that he should have created one of the major work which every man with some culture ought to have read.Take, for instance, Goethe's Faust, or Homer's Odyssey.
  • 3 It is maybe a bit far-fetched, as the manuscript disappear, and even if Mickiewicz created one of the first work of science-fiction, he cannot be said to be the father, as he influenced nobody.
  • 4 First-rate critics means some great figures like Goethe, Schiller, Marx, Zweig, Hugo etc… Excepting Sand, and maybe Brandes whom I must admit I have never heard of, I don't think Lu Xun nor Jastrun or Ségalas, although significant, can be said to be first-rate critics. Alexander Doria (talk) 09:08, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 and 3. But the influences was the best sign that Dziady had a signifitiant contribution in litterature. I could you explain the greatest contributions in "Dziady" for example that it was one of the firsts open works (term of U.Eco), besides that was an antiartistic, unable to acting piece. The inventions of Dziady for example unchronological play (structure II, IV, I, III and the fabules over this order), or philosophicaly proto-existencialism ideas aren't famed in the west but it was explored for example by Brandes. There are some opinions that Mickiewicz influenced by his inventions Pushkin or Lautréamont but the posteriors inventors of open work and antiartism like Jarry, Joyce, Beckett, Ionesco, Bergman, Różewicz profited by them by a second hand. However there aren't the reasons to take away from Mickiewicz his inventions.
  • 4 Goethe or Schiller never known Mickiewicz, but Victor Hugo admired him. Hugo never was a direct critic of Dziady or Pan Tadeusz but he recognised him as a one of the greatest poets in history. He said Parler de Mickiewicz c'est parler du beau, du juste et du vrai; c'est parler du droit dont il fut le soldat, du devoir dont il fut le héros, de la liberté dont il fut l'apôtre et de la délivrance dont il est le précurseur (voir Jean-Charles Gille-Maisani, A.Mickiewicz poète national de la Pologne, Paris, 1988). I don't mentioned Charles de Montalembert, who was also a critic of Mickiewicz's works who recognized him as one of the best ever.

-- (talk) 10:34, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Alright about the fourth criterion (Schiller and Goethe were only examples). I remain unconvinced about the second. My point actually was that Mickiewicz ought to have written a work that could be easily find in most libraries, and is often put on the lists of the best works in the world. Besides, it is a bit late, but I must warn you that, until now, nobody accepted my criteria, and I'm not the only one who can decide whether we can put Mickiewicz on the list or not. Alexander Doria (talk) 21:06, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I think the "battle of Mickiewicz" isn't the simple question but there is a lot of time. The second point is the question very extensive and there it would be a problem- the most signifitiants texts are written in polish and lithuanian and the new ideas don't pass in west because Mickiewicz aren't very popular there any more. I can't you explain the best fixings on that- my english is poor for that. But in summary the most importants inventions of Mickiewicz are- a new epic-mystical poem, structure of the piece- in modernity recognized as one of the firsts open works, creator of his own tipe of romantical drama (as a ritual of tragedy), inventor of turpism (admirations of deaths, live-cadavers, demons, folk tales, rituals of the horror), "dialogue with silent God", slavic messianism, proto-existencialism (Dziady, Liryki lozańskie). He created his owns theory's of litherature, art... Mickiewicz was also a great occultist- he was in fact a man of polish east where magical rituals like Dziady was organised constantly. His works- Pan Tadeusz and Dziady had a great reception in the slavic society, even as a greats politicals impulses (in Poland: 1863, 1918, 1944, 1968, 1980, 1989). The forms invented by Mickiewicz (inspired by old-polish, german, english and arabic litheratures) are very often the forms for all slavic romanticism from Pushkin to Norwid. I have only a hope that he will be on his place deserved -- (talk) 21:48, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
In brief, let's say that Mickiewicz's main problem is his popularity worldwide, and that the only criterion that doesn't wholly suit him is the second. I don't know therefore if we can include him in the list, even if he is a mightable candidate. Anyway an expanded list also exists (see here), and contain a lot of useless author but not Mickiewicz. I will add him. Alexander Doria (talk) 11:32, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
I think that's better but I think that on the place of Pablo Neruda would be Mickiewicz. The brief list of authors representing the greatest traditions and historicals events of literature could contain one author who's works arised all slavic literature- from polish (paralised by the occupation) to russian (then born on the great level). Of course Conrad is more popular but his works have the ethos of "Dziady" or especially "Król Duch" by Słowacki. I tryed to explain that Pushkin inspired very much by Mickiewicz, besides there are already two great russian writers who represent almost the same epoch. For slavic literature, written by the slavic people, Mickiewicz could be called a "father". Earlier slavic literature was known in the world only by some traveller and scientists like John Amos Comenius or Nicolaus Copernicus.. Thank you for your interesting.-- (talk) 19:40, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Michael Jackson

I do not mean to take an advantage here but this whole discussion is moot. Michael Jackson is level 3 vital article as well as Madonna somebody just forgot to list them. Thank you for your time. JTBX (talk)

As one of the worlds most famous living persons im supprised hes not here. Realist2 (Come Speak To Me) 23:19, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

We discussed the matter higher. The main problem with Jackson is that, although he is currently most popular, posterity is unlikely to consider him as one of the greatest musician ever (on the contrary of the Beatles or Schönberg). Alexander Doria (talk) 08:53, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
But lets be honest, in 100 years time Thriller will still be remembered as the worlds best selling album. Hes not a musician as such your right, however hes certainly more of a musician than Elvis Presley so your argument doesnt really hold water. — Realist2 (Come Speak To Me) 13:45, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore Jackson has raised hundreds of millions for charity, seriously hes one of the most generous people of our time, also worked hard to promote AIDS awarness when it was still controversial. He has 8 guiness world records, redefined the music video, ended racism on MTV, has the most famous music videos and the most expensive music video. He has 13 grammys (a hell of a lot more than Elvis at 0 i believe). His effect on the art of Dance is unmatched. His influence on popular music is more obvious now than ever. He had the worlds most famous trial too. Apparantly last year his article was in the top 200 most viewed despite not releasing any material since 2001. There are no black musicians on the list which seems odd. On top of that his article is in a much better shape that that of Elvis or the Beatles. It only failed its last FA because it needed a copy edit. It smells like US bias, everyone knows MJ has a bad rep in the US at the moment, MJ is an international figure however. With Elvis 65% of his market came from America, with MJ its only 25-33%. Elvis needed America to shift records, MJ doesnt. Seems like a load of MJ haters dont want him on the list lol. — Realist2 (Come Speak To Me) 15:42, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Concerning Elvis Presley : I agree with you Presley is not truly a great musician, and I already wanted to supress it. But it is not a reason to put Jackson in the list (I would have rather put Hendrix). Concerning all the following stuff, it sounds mostly as fanclub propaganda (he raised hundreds of millions for charity : Bill Gates gave forty billions and he is not on the list. He is not a saint). There are no black musicians in the list which seems odd : typically a PC argument (but there is no chinese, either, nor Indian, nor arabic…). Thriller will still be remembered as the worlds best selling album : fo how long ? Do you happen to know that Franz Liszt remained for fifty years the most popular pianist, and he is not on the list ? Finally it smells like US bias : I'm French and, as most of my countrymen, not frankly pro-US. In brief, all your arguments stand rather unconvincing. Alexander Doria (talk) 16:53, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

All my claims are sourced within the MJ article, i brought it up to near FA standard myself. I never said he was a saint, but i believe you just called him a peodophile which should be removed from this talk page as a BLP violation. I havent been presented with a good reason why elvis should be on the article over MJ. Like I said, if you think im lying about any of my claims feel free to pick up the sources from the MJ article. — Realist2 (Come Speak To Me) 16:59, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I notice from your userpage that Michael Jackson is one of your favorite artists. One of mine is U2. They've sold 170 million albums and have won more Grammys than any other band ever. They've been a powerful force for social justice and human rights causes around the world, and Bono's even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. We can all make cases for our favorite artists to be included. At just a glance, they sound "vital". But they're not. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 17:25, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
At least your not suggesting he shouldnt be on it because of child abuse accusations, cheers. Ill drop it as i dont care for the list that much, ive just noticed the Elvis article isnt even a GA while the MJ article is close to FA, clearly article quality doesnt have a part in the selection process. In the mean time I suggest that BLP violation is removed. — Realist2 (Come Speak To Me) 17:33, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
It should be noted exactly why articles aren't judged based on their status. It's important to clarify that this is a list of 1000 vital topics to the encyclopedia. The list is intended as a centralized watchlist for the progress in improving and enhancing these articles towards FAs, both individually and as a whole. It helps us monitor the quality of the encyclopedia. Adding articles because of their quality status skews this analysis. You know, we really should have an FAQ at the top of this page explaining these things...--Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:15, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Of course not he should'nt be on the list because of child abuse. But as one of your points was to claim Jackson ought to be on it, because of his moral behaviour (giving millions to charity), I judged this argument appropriate. I don't know why you suppressed it : I have only said what seem to be true considering he was condemned by justice because of that. After all I libeled nobody. Besides, it was only a weak point, and it's a bit a pity you focused on it rather than giving me a convincing answer to the others. Concerning the FA-GA point : it does not mean anything. I've myself made a FA of a forgotten greek philosopher that could'nt even be in the list of the 100000 vital articles. Alexander Doria (talk) 20:57, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion for changes

How should changes be suggested? My suggestions:

Opinions? / Yvwv (talk) 04:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

I like some of your additions, but it'd be better if you broke it down by section (i.e. People added and People deleted, Countries added and Countries deleted). I'd definitely support Olympic Games, magnetism, death, cell (biology), metabolism and virus. I do have issues with Michael Jackson (whom we already ruled out as a musician), Walt Disney (an artist sure, but not on the same level as the other guys), FDR (mainly because I don't want to have to fight people who want Reagan as a balance), and Victoria (who was mostly a figurehead). Terrorism is too much of a recent event in my opinion. Abolitionism and women's suffrage can go; slavery and feminism cover them already and it frees up some good slots in the History section. The American Civil War wasn't really notable over any other civil war. Singapore, Argentina and Finland don't really stand out to me, especially since I don't see any countries subtracted.
Your deletions intrigue me though, especially since some of them were previously discussed in the First Great Revision (I know for a fact we scrapped rail transport in favor of train then). I do like the cutting out of the Measurement category in part; I've thought for a while now that the whole thing was dead weight. I like most of your deletions (I would fight you on East-West Schism though, seeing as how that was not only religious but also had cultural, political and ethnic impacts still felt today), and I certainly agree with some of your additions (I can't believe we never thought of the Olympics!) but the People ones are disconcerting to me. I especially frown upon adding another World War II leader to a list that's already got four of them. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 06:21, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Edit conflict - Oh damn, you changed it around while I was replying. Again, few problems with it, although I would contest the removal of printing press (the medieval Internet!) and visible spectrum. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 06:21, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Allright, here comes a reviewed list broken down by subject:
83 articles to be added:
People (12): Ashoka the Great, Honoré de Balzac, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Walt Disney, Richard Feynman, Che Guevara, Louis XIV of France, Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Saladin, Victoria of the United Kingdom, Voltaire
History (3): archaeology, Incas, Thirty Years' War
Geography (12): Argentina, Black Sea, Burma, Colombia, Danube, Denmark, Finland, forest, Iraq, Philippines, Singapore, Ukraine
Arts (1): musical theatre
Philosophy and religion (1): paranormal
Society (6): communication, human rights, investment, nation, propaganda, social class, terrorism
Everyday life (5): alcoholic beverages, Greek language, Olympic Games, playing card, tobacco
Medicine (11): blood, circulatory system, digestion, hearing (sense), human sexuality, immune system, muscle, nervous system, respiratory system, skin, visual perception
Science (16): cell (biology), death, entropy, gas, ice, magnetism, metabolism, photosynthesis, primate, pressure, radioactive decay, season, tide, virus, water cycle, wave
Technology (10): automatic firearm, aviation, computer program, construction, fuel, material, rail transport, road, textile, ship transport, wood
Mathematics (6): algorithm, binary numeral system, fractal, information, integral, vector space
83 articles to be removed:
People (2): William James, Henri Poincaré
History (6): abolitionism, East-West Schism, history of the European Union, Iranian revolution, Spanish Inquisition, women's suffrage
Society (4): abortion, broadcasting, euthanasia, renminbi
Philosophy and religion (4): logical positivism, Platonic realism, pragmatism, skepticism
Everyday life (7): fear, black, blue, green, red, white, yellow
Medicine (10): aneurysm, bleeding, blindness, brain damage, burn (injury), electrocardiogram, frostbite, hearing impairment, inflammation, respiratory failure
Science (10): avalanche, cloud, geologic fault, kinetics, mantle (geology), Neptune, origin of life, Pluto, prism (optics), Uranus, visible spectrum, weight
Technology (19): abacus, candle, capacitor, diode, dome, geothermal power, handgun, machine gun, magnetic resonance imaging, metallurgy, motorcycle, printing press, pyramid, rifle, sonar, stove, sundial, train, typewriter
Mathematics (6): cube, integer, natural number, rational number, real number, square
Measures (15): mile, foot (length), pound (mass), Fahrenheit, Celsius, degree (angle), Metric system, litre, ampere, volt, ohm, kilometer, ton, newton, watt
You see that the great transfer here is from measures, primarily to people and geography. What do you think? /Yvwv (talk) 08:22, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

There are actually some good ideas in your list (I mainly think of the addition of Ashoka, Olympic Games and musical theatre and of the removal of James, the history of the Eu…). Anyway I'm a bit disturbed by three things: firstly, your list of people is rather Anglo-saxon-center (actually 5 English names out of eight). I don't want to be PC, but it seems to me that there are a lot of great figures which could be included before thinking about Victoria, or Reagan. The second point is that most of your removals concern Measures, which sound necessary to the list. Finally, if we except Denmark, all the countries you proposed are quite recent, and do not have quite a long history. It is not problem when those countries are quite influential, but it is not the case here. Alexander Doria (talk) 08:50, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your adding of Balzac. I have wanted to put him into the list for about a fortnight, and my colleague were quite hesitating. I'm happy therefore to not be the only one to be astonished by his absence. Tack. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:02, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
List reviewed once again. / Yvwv (talk) 16:08, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I think the move from measures to people is misguided. If we have to add to the already large People category, why not take some articles out of the gigantic portion occupied by science and technology? I am also curious as to why you think Imperial measures are not important for the list. Even if only a few places continue to use them, they are still important measures. The color removals I completely agree with, though your desire to include paranormal baffles me. I don't know about the rest of your proposals yet. Intellectual Soup (talk) 17:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
As a physics student, I think that information about specific measure units (SI or imperial), aside from definition and notation, should be regarded as trivia. Deep understanding of common physical phenomena and technical systems is much more important. I think that paranormal is an important concept, though a skeptic myself. Ideas of the paranormal are influential on society, and from a scientific point of view, they are often valuable case studies. /Yvwv (talk) 18:31, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
And once again, some very astute removals and additions. I do have some qualms, though.
  • All of your People additions (Saladin excluded). The addition of two U.S. presidents brings the total up to 4, which I find unbalancing. Victoria was a figurehead (an influential one, but a figurehead nonetheless), Che's impact is limited outside of college student t-shirts, Disney's impact was more as a businessman than an artist, Feynman's notable only within his field (as opposed to Einstein or Freud, whose notoriety is also found outside their scientific spheres), Brunel's impact was relatively limited, and Voltaire and Balzac would give us way too many French enlightenment authors. A case could be made for Louis XIV, but I would prefer substitution instead of straight up addition (i.e., Louis XIV over Joan of Arc). I would like to note that I would substitute Saladin as well, probably in exchange for Cleopatra, since her vital-ness isn't as great as his.
  • For History, I would not add Thirty Years War and keep East-West Schism, since the schism greatly affected the development of Western and Eastern Europe as culturally distinct entities beyond the obvious religious differences.
  • For Geography, I oppose the addition of any countries without the removal of some - we have to draw a line somewhere. Forest is an obvious addition, but Danube and Black Sea don't stand out as particularly noteworthy.
  • For Science, I'm opposed to removing Uranus and Neptune. Pluto maybe, but I strongly oppose removing the other two.
  • For Technology, maybe sonar and the printing press but that's a pretty weak oppose.
  • And I don't care about Mathematics or Measurement. Not my fields of expertise.
That's it. Good job on the rest! --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:32, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment on Science and Math only: Cell (biology) is already on the list, as Environment was removed (it was a disambiguation page!). As a biologist, I do not think that Death, Metabolism, or Primate are particularly "vital" for coverage of science, but think that the Origin of life article is. The relevant information concerning Death and Metabolism should be included in the articles on Life and Organism, respectively, and those are both on the list already. I throw my agreement behind HM, who opposes removal of Uranus and Neptune, and have qualms about removing Pluto. I also think the visible spectrum is a really important subject as well, although it could be balanced by the addition of visual perception under Medicine.
  • I am also shocked at some of the proposed math removals. Losing square and cube is no big deal, as they are specific shapes. However, the articles on integer...real number are far more fundamental and important in mathemtatics than information or integral (which should be included in any good article on calculus) or vector space. --EncycloPetey (talk) 22:11, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Seventeen free slots!

Now that the Second Great Revision has been implemented, there are currently only 983 articles in the list. This gives us seventeen slots with which we can play with. There was discussion prior to the revision about expanding the Arts and culture section, which I wholeheartedly support. Here are my suggested additions:

In addition to the expansion, this would also move Photography from the Technology section to the more appropriate Arts and Culture section. Thoughts? This is a rough thing I threw together in a few minutes, so more input is definitely needed. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:54, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

And, what about the selection of writing works we discussed above ? Alexander Doria (talk) 21:14, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Which ones would you add and which articles listed would you remove?--Hemlock Martinis (talk) 18:57, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
I would remove Baroque, Folk Music, documentary, singing and great wall of China, and add Shakespeare's Hamlet, Goethe's Faust, Dante's Inferno, Homer's Odyssey and One thousand and one night. Alexander Doria (talk) 11:58, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Any rationale for those choices? Losing entire fields of art in favour of specific works seems a bit tough to justify. Should we trade Theatre for Hamlet? Storytelling for One thousand and one nights LeadSongDog (talk) 16:16, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I have to concur with LeadSongDog here. While I was originally in favor of specific works, I don't think it's feasible without sacrificing important cultural mediums. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:14, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't truly think my deletions were quite significant. I didn't actually advocate to replace theatre with Hamlet. Maybe should we keepsinging, and baroque, but I don't believe documentary, great wall of China and Folk music to be really vital. Alexander Doria (talk) 21:00, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
So we replace Documentary, Great Wall of China and folk music about Odyssey, Hamlet and 1001 Nights? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 00:45, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I forget to specify. My idea would be Hamlet, Faust and Inferno. Yet, including writing works was, at first, Postmodern's idea, and I would be pleased to have his opinion before deciding anything. Alexander Doria (talk) 10:32, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad we can all agree on Hamlet, at least. The main reason I'm uncomfortable with including Faust and Inferno is that it give us a very narrow slice of human literature - all three are Renaissance-era publications, and all three are from Europe. Including Odyssey would give us a great chronological range, and including 1001 Nights would give us a great cultural and geographic range. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 17:00, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Maybe should we therefore delete Inferno. Actually, with Goethe's Faust we've got a work of modern times, with Hamlet a work of Renaissance, and with the Odyssey a work of Antiquity. It would be fine also to add 1001 Nights. Perhaps a good idea would be to put the Maharabata instead of the Odyssey : we would have both a non-occidental and an antic work. Alexander Doria (talk) 21:06, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
If we're going to include specific works, and if we limit the selections to three, then it seems fitting to include one each from three periods and three genres. I could agree with selecting the Maharabata as the work from Antiquity and poem, especially since (as noted) it provides an occidental work in the mix. I also agree with Hamlet as the work from the western Renaissance and example of drama (I could agree with a number of other Shakespeare plays, but Hamlet is likely to be the most widely agreed upon choice). For the third work, a modern novel would complete the trio. While there are many great British novels, I would hesitate to include two works from the same nation in a list of three. Perhaps an American novel (e.g. Moby Dick), or else a French or Russian novel (there are many)? --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:58, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
From my viewpoint, I prefer Goethe's Faust, as long as it is focused on most modern times concerns (capitalism in the end of the second part, the rise of science with the creation of an andreid — Homonculus — the infernal pact the modern man accept in order to dominate the Nature), and had a truly wide influence on the ninentieth and twentieth centuries' literature (see Lenau's Faust, Wilde's Dorian Gray, Mann's Doctor Faustus, Bougliakov's the master and Margarita) and on Music (Berlioz, Gounod, Liszt, Boito, Henri Pousseur, Busoni). Anyway, in you still prefer a Novel, I would back Balzac's Comedie Humaine. War and peace would be a good choice too. Alexander Doria (talk) 09:38, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Most of the suggestions look good, but the musical genre list is very Western focussed. I'm not sure why Orchestra is listed under Opera, and am surprised that Theatre of ancient Greece does not appear at all. I do have one request: I've been having a discussion further down the page about the fact that Seed is (surprisingly) not listed as a vital article. Since it is the foundation of world agriculture, and thus of civilization itself, could one slot be set aside for Seed? I personally think it's far more important an article than Hip-hop music from a global perspective. --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:38, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

One article, which might go under a variety of categories, is tobacco. I'd also think that alcoholism as a subset of addiction is a worthwhile addition. On a completely unrelated subject, we have nuclear weapons, why not biological and chemical or at least WMD in general? I'd also drop frostbite, it's not a major cause of morbidity or mortality in humans. I'd replace it with just good ol' fashioned death. SDY (talk) 17:32, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

History of

Does anyone else find it odd that we have a history of Japan and history of the Middle East, but no history of Asia or something similar? I appreciate the need for history of China and history of India given their size but it seems to me we're missing out SEA, which afterall is significantly larger then Japan. Also while I presume Pakistan and Bangladesh are covered in India, what about Afghanistan, Nepal, etc? And then there's also Korea, Tibet etc which may get some coverage in China I guess. Nil Einne (talk) 17:47, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't truly think we can put an History of Asia, given the very notion of Asia is conventional : it designed the part of the Eurasian continent that is not in Europe. Alexander Doria (talk) 10:28, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Conventional? No, it's plate tectonics. They're divided by the Ural Mountains.LeadSongDog (talk) 13:51, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
And, what about Turkey ? Besides Italy in on the same plate that north America and, geographically speaking Europe is merely a collection of connected peninsulas. Anyway, I don't think we can group such different civilizations (Middle-east, India, China) into the same article, merely because they are not European. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexander Doria (talkcontribs) 17:50, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
History of Asia is not as well-defined, at least not nearly as much as the other continents. Ignoring the geography and focusing on the sociocultural aspects, the three primary cultural influences of Asia come from India, the Middle East/Islam, and China/Japan. Thus it is much more concise to list those articles rather than History of Asia. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:04, 17 June 2008 (UTC)


Since there is no procedure indicated for suggesting additions, I am posting here.

(1) I am surprised that the Health and Medicine section has so many articles on disease, and almost nothing on treatments. In particular, why is Surgery not listed? I think it qualifies as a vital article and should be added. --EncycloPetey (talk) 23:16, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

  • I agree with the inclusion of Surgery. How about removing Birth control? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:46, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
    • I agree that Surgery is probably the bigger topic, but Birth control seems like a key women's issue topic as is one of the few "treatment" articles. I think Respiratory failure might be a better removal. The article doesn't look like it will ever reach a significant content based on its current scope. --EncycloPetey (talk) 17:57, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

(2) Similarly, I was shocked that Cell (biology) was not listed under Biology. It should be possible to include it without increasing the article count by removing from the list Environment, which is a disambiguation page. (Why is a disambiguation page considered vital?) --EncycloPetey (talk) 23:22, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

  • I went a little IAR and removed Environment, since disambigs are definitely NOT notable. Included Cell to fill the gap. If anyone opposes this, feel free to revert. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:46, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

(3) Also, I suggest that Seed deserves to be considered a vital article, as it is the principal means of plant reproduction, is vital to human agriculture, and is a major source of food to both humans and animals. --EncycloPetey (talk) 23:31, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Another good idea. Under which section should it be included, and what should be replaced? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:46, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Under Science>Biology>Organism>Plant seems good. There isn't another article under Biology that I'd be completely comfortable with losing, and don't quickly see another good candidtae for removal elsewhere on a quick browse. I'll give it more thought, but Anatomy might be worth considering, since that article seems rather non-specific in its scope (human anatomy? plant anatomy? techinques?). While it is a major biological field, so are many others that are not listed. Another poaaibility would be to drop organism, which will likely (when it is fleshed out) double much of what is covered under life. --EncycloPetey (talk) 17:57, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

B-class icons

I noticed someone's started adding B-class icons, and I tried to contribute a bit. It soon became clear to me, however, that almost all articles that are not FAs or GAs are B-class. If we're bolding start-class articles now (which seems reasonable, considering there are probably no stubs left) wouldn't it be easier to say that all articles that are not FAs, GAs or in bold, are B-class? This seems preferable to adding hundreds of icons, cluttering the page and making it slower to load. As for bolding articles with cleanup tags, I'm not sure that's such a good idea, as it will be almost impossible to monitor. For instance, Homer, Virgil and Leo Tolstoy are all tagged for various reasons, but they're still B-class. I didn't put these in bold, as I think that should be reserved for start-class and lower. Lampman Talk to me! 16:40, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

The page explicitly says that B-icons should be used. Also, there is an impending move to create a new C-class, so a default will not necessarily be meaningful. More at issue: this page (and whatever project it is/was attached to) seems inactive. --EncycloPetey (talk) 17:17, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Don't believe everything you read: the page says so because a user unilaterally added it[5] about a week ago, without any discussion on the talk page. As for the C-class, that's still in the future. Let's not crystal ball, let's cross that bridge when we get to it. Apparently C-class has already passed. It will be quite a while before it's implemented to any meaningful degree, however. I doubt any of these articles have been rated C-class yet, I still think B-class icons are premature, and that a default position is preferable. Lampman Talk to me! 01:35, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Only 983 articles, so...

I'd like to have the old color articles, Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green restored, even if they are to be restored in place of black and white. Here's why. Red, Yellow and Blue are subtractive primary colors, and Red, Green, and Blue are the additive primary colors. These are the colors from which all other colors spring. Without green, for example, white would not exist to our eyes. Wrad (talk) 21:23, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm hesitant at restoring all of them, especially given that we've already allotted the seventeen slots to the Arts and Culture section, as seen in the discussion above us ("Seventeen free slots!" is the name). I'd be more supportive of removing something else in that section to add Primary color, which could summarize all of them. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 16:57, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Template up top tracking FA/GA noms?

Could someone please create a template for the top of this page that shows us articles on the list that are in: 1) WP:FAC, 2) WP:FAR, 3) WP:GAC, 4) WP:GAR and 5) WP:PR? --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 17:09, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

No Athletes

Can someone explain how no athletes like say Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens or Muhammad Ali are on the list in the people section?--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 17:15, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Maybe Pelé would be good too.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 17:37, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
There are a number of reasons I'd oppose including athletes. First, in the big picture they aren't that important. Within the span of human history, athletics is relatively new. Sure, they had the Olympic Games in ancient Greece but until the 19th century there simply were no organized sports or athletes. Even after the establishment of many modern sports, most famous athletes come from Western industrialized nations. To me, including athletes would be comparable to including actors: it's just too recent.
Second, the bias issue. We're limited in the number of slots we have, so we have to make every one count. This would mean we'd have to reasonably limit the number of athletes per sport. We can measure the impact of other people more easily: scientists by the impact of their discovery, authors and musicians by the durability of their works, leaders by their decisions and their roles in history. How do we determine the most vital American football player, or the biggest baseball player? Do we include coaches like Vince Lombardi? How do we get a truly global perspective? Which sports get "representation"? Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time, but does swimming deserve a spot over other sports like tennis or gymnastics? Athletics is simply too subjective.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, we don't have room. Since we're currently at 1000 articles, we'd have to remove others to make room for an athletics section. Even if we only add five athletes, we still have to take them from other biographies. Why is Pele more deserving of a spot on the list than many of the great world leaders we've had to leave off like Otto von Bismarck, Saladin, Rameses II or Louis XIV of France? How do we justify including Jesse Owens but not Voltaire?
While I wholeheartedly agree that Robinson, Owens, Ali and Pele are extremely important people who deserve featured articles, I can't bring myself to justify their inclusion when we've had to exclude so many other more impactful and historic people and topics. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:17, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
How about if you consider removing the articles that are not among the 200 articles that the Wikipedia:WikiProject Biography considers to be the 200 Top-priority biography articles on WP: Diego Velázquez, Hokusai, Salvador Dalí, Sophocles, Li Bai, Rumi, Molière, Pablo Neruda, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Roald Amundsen, Jacques Cartier, James Cook, Ibn Battuta, Gerber, Niels Bohr, Dmitri Mendeleev, Kurt Gödel, David Hilbert, Henri Poincaré, Alan Turing, Nagarjuna, Avicenna, Ibn Khaldun, Abraham, Guru Nanak Dev, Moses & Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Take any five of these out and add five athletes that they include among the top 200 such as the four above and Michael Jordan. It does not make sense that something could be among the 115 people articles in the Vital 1000 and not among the 200 most important biographies.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:40, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
Remove Moses for Pele?! Abraham?! Sophocles?! No. — goethean 19:33, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
It does not seem like you are thinking clearly. The way this is suppose to work, you are suppose to say. Of the list of 30 above that I presented, these are the five least important and I think they are all more important than the five athletes you have nominated. If you don't feel you can say that, you are suppose to consider adding athletes. From the list above who do you think are the 5 least vital? Do you think they are all more vital than the five athletes I nominated?--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 02:51, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
The top priority biographies list only rates its articles' importance as biographies per se. This list seems to use biographies as ways of getting representation for some important subject areas. For example, there's almost nothing about logic, but at least Kurt Gödel is on the list as a biography. One possibility would be to remove him but add Gödel's incompleteness theorems to the mathematics section. However, that article currently needs reorganization in my opinion. I'd personally suggest getting rid of the whole "people" section, and instead sprinkle some biographies into the individual subject areas, so that Gödel and Hilbert would be under "mathematics" rather than "people". Finally I notice that there are very few women on the list, which ought to be addressed. And yes, I'd include a few athletes who had significant cultural impact. (talk) 19:52, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Since you concur with adding athletes, the discussion should begin with any assistance you may give in saying which five of the 30 names I list above are least important. Can you give any advice on that topic.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 02:51, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I completely disagree with dispersing biographies throughout content sections. We should be weighing their vitality among their peers, not among subjects. I don't want us to have (as examples) argument weighing Copernicus versus comets, or Salvador Dali versus sculpture, or Alan Turing versus fractions.
You bring up a good point about women in the biography section, which should be addressed. I'm of two minds on the matter. On the more women half, there are significantly less: only four in a section of 115 (And personally I think there should only be three, since Cleopatra's hardly the model Egyptian leader). That alone should provide some impetus for us to consider some alternatives.
However (and that's a huge however), I'd oppose adding women just because they're women. Marie Curie, Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc all earned their spots on the list. They'd be "vital" whatever their gender may be. For any to be added, one would have to make the case for their vitality independently, just as we'd expect for substituting any other biography. There are some sections where I just can't see a female presence — no female explorers come to mind, and the leaders section is jam-packed as it is. The only remote possibility for leaders would be Elizabeth II, and there'd have to be one hell of an explanation to justify two English queens. I can't think of any female musicians or composers that would qualify, and I'm hesitant about picking one from the 20th century because that can be too subjective. The best shot would be in Authors — Mary Wollstonecraft and Emily Dickinson pop out especially. However, that would probably be better addressed in its own discussion section and not in this one. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 20:52, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Name some women and we can seriously evaluate your nominations.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 02:53, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I see there's already some effort at chronological and geographic diversity in the biographies per the FAQ. That seems reasonable from the point of view of wanting to write an encyclopedia that interests and inspires people from all different backgrounds. There's already entries like Portuguese language, of not terribly much interest to (say) English speakers. It seems ok to similarly make some special efforts to improve gender diversity for the same reason, at least away from the current extreme imbalance. Otherwise the list becomes a very subjective meta-article about the history of civilization or something, an academic approach that I thought went out of style in the post-ww2 era. And the selection of chemical elements is a little bit weird (sodium is missing?), I think I'd collapse them down to a single "list" type article. Anyway, women explorers: hmm, Amelia Earhardt, Valentina Tereshkova, Christa McAuliffe. Musicians/composers: Hildegard von Bingen, Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald. Scientists: Rosalind Franklin, Rosalyn Yalow. Mathematics: Sophie Germain, Emmy Noether, Julia Robinson. Politics: Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Golda Meir. Medicine: Florence Nightingale. Religion: Adam and Eve. I'd actually get rid of a lot of the existing political figures. As for moving biographies to subject areas, I think it would be more like Alan Turing vs. Turing machine rather than vs. fractions, and maybe I'd pick Turing machine. The trouble is that this format isn't too well suited for how Wikipedia is already split into articles. A book-length scholarly biography of Turing would discuss both Turing the person and his mathematical work. I'd squash several ancient philosophers into "history of philosophy" and insert Gottlob Frege. Re athletes: I don't think I'd add five (rather than one or two), unless the total number of biographies is increased. Anyway, you get the idea.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:56, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Your discourse was cogent, but not entirely actionable. You mention reducing political figures and ancient philosophers. I actually think the list of political figures to be the area of most vital interest. I am interested in your short list of the least vital political figures and philosophers. If you think one or two athletes are worthy, who are your most vital two?--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 14:26, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Even if I'm opposed to the purpose of adding women just because they are women, I think we should include some feminist writers (like Simone de Beauvoir) considering their significance for half of the humanity. I would also support Callas's integration, as she is easily one of the best classical singer, and maybe Alexandra David-Neel as a woman explorer. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:25, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
You should make the discussion of women a separate section.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 21:02, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Consider that athletes are not the only group of biographies not represented. There are no engineers, architects, actors, dancers, or linguists. There are no entrepreneurs like Walt Disney or Andrew Carnegie. There are only two playwrights, two American presidents, one British monarch and one British prime minister. In light of that alone, including three American athletes would be excessive.
In my opinion, a biography should be included not merely because the person of the article represents that field, but because the person has had a significant and lasting cultural impact on a global (or at least multinational) level. While an athlete like Jackie Robinson had a great cultural impact in the United States, I can't say that his importance extends to Germany, India, or Australia. Of the athletes mentioned, Jesse Owens might merit inclusion, but I would rather include an article about the particular Olympic games in which he competed or the topic of racial relations over the biography of a single individual for this particular case. --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you forgetting that Robinson's contribution affected all people of color throughout Central and South America. His impact was not just in the United States. My father grew up in Panama in the 50s rooting for him and then Latin American players who followed him. There is a reason why his number has been retired by every Major League Baseball team. I would gladly pit either Robinson or Owens against the least vital person of the list above. People are getting very defensive about the list with arguements like athletes can't be more vital than the least vital articles because so and so is not considered either. Possibly they are both more vital. Improving the list should consider Robinson, Owens, Disney and Carnegie. It should be based on a logic that if Disney isn't considered neither should Robinson.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 03:50, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I cannot forget something that I never knew. I also cannot learn something if it hasn't been included in the article. The Jackie Robinson article makes no mention of the impact you describe. If there is such an important and far-reaching cultural impact, then why has no one ever added that information to the article? The absence of that information argues that the article isn't as vital as you suggest. --EncycloPetey (talk) 15:36, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
It is not clear to me that article quality is relevant to a consideration of its vitality. Most projects have two scales for rating articles (class and importance). I think "vitalness" is an assessment of importance and unrelated to quality. I think many vital articles are below B/C-Class, which by your argument would make them non-vital.
The fact that I am a Dodger fan because I am one of the vast legions of baseball fans who roots for their father's favorite team is not really a notable claim. However, all blacks were beneficiaries of the breaking of the color line whether they were American or Panamanian like Hector Lopez, for example. All players of color throughout Central and South America were beneficiaries. The breaking of the color line relates to the worldwide labor pool, not the American audience. What needs to be changed in the article to make you realize this. Kids around the world could now dream of being Jackie Robinson.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 17:14, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
You did not respond to what I said; you discussed a separate issue. I did not comment on the article's quality at all. I noted that (1) I was totally unaware of the importance you acribe to Jackie Robinson, (2) the article in question does not ascribe this importance to hime either. Your personal stories are interesting, but your unsubstantiated personal claims cannot successfully argue for the importance of the article. --EncycloPetey (talk) 21:08, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly you were saying that Jackie Robinson only affected the U.S. in your 21:53, 27 August 2008 post. I responded by saying he affected all of Central and South America as well at 03:50, 28 August 2008. You responded that no such info was in the article and thus it is not a vital article. I responded saying that it should be clear that he broke the color line for the worldwide labor market regardless of where the games are played. I was attempting to state that regardless of how high the quality of the article and how clearly this fact is presented the fact remains that he opened up baseball for people of color in from many different countries. That is why I mentioned quality. It was my belief that most people other than you understand that the reason all the Black players from South and Cental America started playing in the major leagues was Jackie Robinson. The article may not be so great in regards to this topic, but it is clear to most I believe even if it is not clear to you. The question of whether his article is one of the vital 115 is of course still debatable, but an arguement that he only affected the U.S. is not a good one.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:35, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
RE: "If I understand you correctly..." Apparently you didn't. Please read what I wrote, not what you think I said. --EncycloPetey (talk) 22:18, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying that you understand he affected all of North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean region?--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:08, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
This is suppose to work something like how WP:TFAR works where people come by and attempt to compare things not on the list to things on the list. If you find something that is more vital than anything on the list then substituting will improve the list. If we keep doing this we will approach the most vital 115. I think there should be much more diversity on the list. We are not suppose to be comparing things not on the list against each other. Comparing women to Disney to Robinson to engineers is all a waste of time. Name the most vital woman you know that is not on the list. Find the least vital thing on the list. If appropriate substitute. Name the most vital athlete. Find the least vital thing on the list. If appropriate substitute. Eventually, the list will get better. Robinson is quite vital. He impacted half of the world in a way that has lasted three generations and will go on forever. He is not a passing piece of mid century Americana as you present him. Many people on the current list only affected one continent.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 04:14, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there's a linear ordering of "vitality" (whatever that is) that reaches all the way to the bottom of the categories. In each category there's maybe 2 or 3 that absolutely stand out (e.g. Newton and Einstein as scientists) and then a bunch more who are sort of second-tier, and can't really be ranked precisely, so it's ok to use other factors to choose among them. I don't think it's appropriate to construct a list like this around the Great man theory of history, and anyway, the encyclopedia is supposed to be a reference work and not an educational curriculum. It gets even weirder with the other subjects, e.g. helium is more vital than sodium? Niagara Falls is a vital body of water? Realistically a large wikipedia will have articles on all 105 (or whatever) elements, while a smaller one could have an article about the periodic table, listing all the elements. Finally different wikis will have different readerships. A reader of the Gaelic or Provencal wikis can certainly read English or French (respectively), so those wikis wouldn't need to have much academic reference material, but would likely concentrate on the history and literature of speakers of those languages. While a wiki in Pashto might well be used a lot for primary education and should have lots of reference stuff. Anyway this kind of discussion (and maybe the list itself) is possibly better situated on meta than enwiki. (talk) 08:27, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
As I understand it vital aritlcles is a project. Discussion of other wikis is sort of irrelevant. However, you are correct that it is a matter of opinion who the least important are in each section. I would probably vote in support of swapping sodium for helium if it were a proposal. I am not sure I would vote against Niagara Falls, but it depends on what your substitution proposal is. I was hoping you might know some particularly weak biographies in order to make a proper proposal. Recall that random gripes help us make no progress. We need to improve the list by proposing specific swaps of x for y. My ears are open on proposals as well as advice on weaker bios.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 23:30, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
The FAQ for this list describes it as a list of articles that should be in every wikipedia. Therefore, its relation to the contents and evolution of the non-English wikipedias is clearly on-topic. In the list, I don't propose swapping helium for sodium, but would rather get rid of the whole (partial) list of "vital" elements and replace it with "periodic table" with the understanding that a larger wiki would have a separate article for each element. Same thing for the list of planets. Similar things in other areas. For biographies, I'd remove Leibniz from the mathematics section and move him to philosophy. I'd replace him in the math section with Emmy Noether, a more influential pure mathematician and one of the better math biographies in the English wiki. In the philosophy section I'd replace Socrates, Aristotle and Plato with "Ancient Greek Philosophy" or something like that. In their place I'd add Gottlob Frege and/or Alfred Tarski. In Musicians I'd replace Elvis Presley with Maria Callas. I'd move Freud from "scientists" to "philosophers" and replace him in "scientists" with Rosalind Franklin. In "Philosophers" I'd replace Nietzche with Sartre. I'd frankly get rid of most of the mathematicians even though math is my favorite subject, since there are good articles about the related math topics (e.g. Turing -> Turing machine) and the biographies aren't that relevant. In Politicians, I'd combine Lenin and Stalin into "Soviet Union", replace George Washington (a military guy) with Thomas Jefferson (more of a thought leader), and replace Winston Churchill with William the Conqueror for his longer-lasting influence on the same country. Anyway you get the idea. I happened to come across this list because an article I worked on is on it, but at this point I have concerns about the validity of the whole concept. (talk) 01:15, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
You are starting to make some constructive suggestions, but have not truly proposed any swaps. Your commentary seems to be an indictment of the whole effort. I kind of think a page like this should be the result of mass input. I do think that less than 10% of the most important biographies in the history of the world are mathematicians. I thank you for noting the over representation of this group. I think probably no more than five or six articles should be mathematicians if we are trying to find the 115 most vital to the project. That gives me a starting point I guess of the 30 names I proposed above Kurt Gödel, David Hilbert, Henri Poincaré, and Alan Turing are mathematicians. Do you have any opinion of the relative order of vitality of these four?--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 22:36, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Better yet. If I were to give you a list of Kurt Gödel, David Hilbert, Henri Poincaré, Alan Turing, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali, Pelé, and Michael Jordan, which four would you say are most vital to the project.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 22:41, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion there are three of exceptional importance to the project Gödel, Poincaré and Turing; none of the others seem essential for the project in my view. Arnoutf (talk) 18:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Replacement proposal

I find it hard to believe that over ten percent of the 115 most important people in the history of the world are mathematicians and feel seven percent for explorers may be high. I make the following one-for-one swap proposals with each article nominated to be replaced being an article that is not included as one of the 200 Category:Top-priority biography articles.

replace Roald Amundsen with Michael Jordan

Support as nominitor.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:01, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose. While I have doubts about the Explorer section, I would rather see it replaced by a businessman and entrepreneur section containing figures like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Bill Gates than a celebrity. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 21:43, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
    • Your vote is an invalid vote to jam up the works. The way to improve the list is to continually compare things in the list with things out of the list. Comparing things out of the list with other things out of the list jams up the works because it does not help us determine if the thing in the list should be replaced. The proper way to improve the list would be to assess whether Jordan or Amundsen is more vital. If Jordan is more vital we have improved the list regardless of whether someone else such as Henry Ford is also more vital. Voting against by comparison with other people is likely to keep both from getting in to the list. Suppose you think both Jordan and Ford are more vital than Amundsen, but that Ford is more vital than Jordan all you have done by casting a vote against because you feel Ford should also be in the list is keep Amundsen in the list. The proper vote would be a vote either for or against the proposal and a later proposal to swap Ford in for a specific person.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 03:48, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
      • I'm opposing the inclusion of any athletes because they aren't vital and their contributions to human history are subjective (which athlete is the "best" or "greatest"?) and limited (having only existed as an actual profession for the last century, their contributions cannot match those of an explorer or a scientist). I could've phrased it better in my original comment, but my point was two-fold — a) Athletes and celebrities as a whole are not vital enough to merit inclusion, especially at the deficit of far more vital figures; and b) I have doubts about the Explorer section, and just off the top of my head threw out a field (business) and some notable figures within that field that could be used to supplant it. My original point, that athletes are not vital, still stands. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 19:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

replace Kurt Gödel with Pelé

Support as nominitor.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:01, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose. I have doubts about the relative vitality of some of these mathematicians. That said, I would rather see them replaced by a businessman and entrepreneur section containing figures like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and Bill Gates than a celebrity no matter how fantastic a soccer player he may be. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 21:47, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose one of the most influential mathematicians of all time cannot be replaced by a soccer player. Arnoutf (talk) 18:40, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

replace David Hilbert with Muhammad Ali

Support as nominitor.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:01, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

replace Henri Poincaré with Jackie Robinson

Support as nominitor.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:01, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Comment only - Poincaré is sometimes credited with first putting forward the idea of relativity, since he did publish a paper on the subject before Einstein did. --EncycloPetey (talk) 08:57, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Opposed — He conceived Topology which is definitely one of the main field of modern mathematics. Seems to me a much more significant figure than Jackie Robinson. After all, will Jackie Robinson be still remembered in the next centuries ? I don't know, but Poincaré is sure to be.Alexander Doria (talk) 15:31, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Henri Poincare's contributions to science are vital. Jackie Robinson, while an important and interesting person, doesn't qualify as vital. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 21:38, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - While it pains me to say so, Robinson's impact was in baseball, a sport of little to no interest to most of the world. Poincaré matters to anyone who's ever set their watch by a radio, used a cell phone, or worried about World War III.LeadSongDog (talk) 21:42, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Who is Jackie Robinson???? Arnoutf (talk) 18:41, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

replace Alan Turing with Jesse Owens

Support as nominitor.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:01, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose - Turing is the father of computer science and pioneer in artificial intelligence, both of which are of core importance to the modern age. --EncycloPetey (talk) 08:48, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Turing is one of the most important mathematicians ever. His vitality and contributions are far greater than Jesse Owens'. --Hemlock Martinis (talk) 21:47, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The Berlin Olympics hardly compare to Ultra for importance.LeadSongDog (talk) 22:00, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Without Turing no computers....., and no Wikipedia..... Arnoutf (talk) 18:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

replace Nicola Tesla with James Clark Maxwell

Support as nominator. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:06, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

replace Los Angeles with Damascus

Support as nominitor. Damascus being one of oldest cities on earth (if not the oldest), the center of the first Islamic caliphate, and a major capital.--Yazan (talk) 13:28, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I support the removal of Los Angeles, but I think Cairo is a better replacement than Damascus. While Damascus is one of the oldest cities on Earth, I think its decrease in importance and influence should account for something. Cairo was also the center of a caliphate or two, and it is hands-down the most important city in the Arab world (and has been that way for several centuries). Granted, I should note that I might be a little biased, as I'm working on the Cairo article right now (although that's because of the importance I noted here). -- tariqabjotu 05:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
This truly is a tough one. I'm planning to work on Damascus in the next five or six weeks once another article I'm currently working on is finished up. Also, since we're talking about important Arab cities, wouldn't Baghdad being up for inclusion? I think I'm gonna need some time to think about this... all three have similar histories as capitals of caliphates, cultural/economic/political centers of the Arab/Muslim world, population size, etc. --Al Ameer son (talk) 07:13, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Noting my own bias (being Syrian), I feel that on a historic scale Cairo, and Baghdad are fairly recent cities. Baghdad's importance was only a short while under the Abassids. Damascus however spans a history of more than 10,000 years. over half of it, in which she was the central part of the middle east. Whether under the Aramaeans, The Romans, or later the Arabs. And even when it was not the center of an empire, it was a most important power-broker. Saladin could not consolidate his power over the Crusaders without Damascus, and this example could be said about many others. Yazan (talk) 07:26, 31 July 2009 (UTC)


Shock is now a disambiguation page. There are three medical conditions listed there. I suspect that you want Shock (circulatory). WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:57, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

talk page template

Hi all, I only recently discovered this list and I think it is a good idea in the quality drive.

However many wikipedians do not know it exists; which will make any improvements focussed on this list unsure at best.

How do you think about creating a talk page template, (which automatically adds the page to the vital article category) which states something like

This article is identified as 1 of the 1000 core topics (wikilink to this article) of the Wikipedia project. Each core topic should achieve Featured Article status. Any help is welcome

We could then make a bot removing or adding these templates to fit this list. Arnoutf (talk) 18:02, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Summary table?

Could we not include this table at the top of "Wikipedia:Vital articles" as a progress summary?—RJH (talk) 21:56, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Islam section

In the Islam section I think that Sunni Islam and Shia Islam be replaced by the articles Five pillars of Islam and another one. The article would cover major Muslim practices like: belief, 5 daily prayers, fasting in Ramadan, Zakat and pilgrimage to Mecca. As for the second article, it should be one of the following notable ones:

What do you guys think?Bless sins (talk) 22:01, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm a bit uncertain. Although I agree with you on the five pilars, I don't really think this list could avoid mentioning Sunni and Shia islam, which are both truly significant (particuliarly in today's world). Alexander Doria (talk) 17:36, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Firstly, I'd think the article Sharia also discusses an aspect that is important in today's world. Many Muslim countries stuggle with this in their legal systems as do Muslim minorities elsewhere.
However, if we want to discuss the Sunni-Shia issue in one article, how about Divisions of Islam? It would also note other major divisions, such as Sufism.Bless sins (talk) 23:10, 19 October 2008 (UTC)


how is burma a vital article? Nergaal (talk) 06:19, 21 October 2008 (UTC)


Church is a disambiguation page. Since Church (building) is considered of mid importance to one WikiProject, while Christian Church is considered of top importance to one and high importance to three, I assume that Christian Church is the article intended to be considered Vital. —Angr 15:02, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Replacing Turkish with Greek

I propose to replace Turkish language with Greek language. Although Turkish is currently spoken by more people than Greek is, Greek has played a much more important role in the history of Western civilization than Turkish has. Our "Authors" section includes two authors who wrote in Greek (Homer and Sophocles), the "Mathematicians" section has three (Archimedes, Euclid, and Pythagoras), the "Philosophers" section three (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), the "Religious figures" section one (Paul of Tarsus), the "Politicians and leaders" section one (Alexander the Great). By contrast, the only Turks I find in the People section are Suleiman and Atatürk. Any objections to the replacement? —Angr 13:24, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

None. I find it only strange that nobody thought about that before you. Alexander Doria (talk) 17:47, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Final Thoughts on Hume and Vital Articles

Having just returned from an extended wikibreak, I would like to note that I will be clearing my watchlist and starting over again. Still, as it is my personal policy to explicitly state any changes of mind—the ambiguity of silence containing too much potential to mislead—I would like to note that I no longer think David Hume is a glaring omission from this page. If we were writing the Wikipedia of Western Philosophy, the six philosophers we simply could not do without would be Plato, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. None of these were specialists, and each one left a body of work that inspired his advocates to declare all significant philosophical problems solved. But this is a general interest encyclopedia. And given this fact alone, I have come to the conclusion that the decision to include John Locke in place of David Hume is the correct one.

My new approach to Wikipedia does not include continuing to work on projects like this one, so this will probably be my last edit here. It's been a pleasure to work with such dedicated people, even if only for a short time. Postmodern Beatnik (talk) 02:28, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I have also been pleased to cooperate with you : even if our debates stood sometimes sharp, they always were done in a constructive and efficient way (that's how all debates in Wikipedia should be). I wholly agree on your list of the six essential philosophers of western culture. I, all the same, wish you bon voyage even if I nevertheless hope we meet once more. Alexander Doria (talk) 16:16, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Replacement/discussion of Musicians and Composers

Elvis and the Beatles both represent rock and roll, but there is nobody from jazz. Louis represents jazz, blues, and modern popular music (dare I say rock? - well consider Mack the Knife and Blueberry Hill which were on the Rock charts). It's noted above that there are no blacks on the list. How can we possibly consider a music category and not have any blacks? Louis certainly beats out the suggested Micheal Jackson. If you had to have a single representative of black musicians to represent all of them, the only competitor to Satchmo might be Duke Ellington, but in this comparison - it's Satch all the way.
  • Musicians/Composers in general. The list seems very biased to "Classical Music" but of course there are many traditions that can be considered "Classical" to their followers. Here we have 5 German/Austrians, 1 French Pole, 1 Russian, the Beatles and Elvis. Quite unbalanced. I'm not qualified to suggest any Chinese, Indian, or African M/C's, but will say that there has to be 1 of these as important (from a world-wide perspective) as the 5th most important German/Austrian. I think there is at least 1 and probably 2 Americans that are at least as important. My list of best American M/C's is Louis Armstrong, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Elvis, but everybody would have his own list. Louis should be on all of those however. Smallbones (talk) 01:42, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd say, replace Arnold Schoenberg with Louis Armstrong and leave Elvis Presley on the list. Schoenberg is important in the realm of 20th century classical music, but had little influence outside that field, and of course in the 20th century, jazz and rock completely eclipsed contemporary classical music. As for replacing some of the Europeans/Americans with non-Europeans/Americans, it would be nice if the world had worked out that way, but it didn't. European and American musicians are the ones with worldwide influence; Chinese, Indian, and African musicians just don't have the same kind of international impact. Ravi Shankar, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Miriam Makeba are all just of mid-importance on the global scale compared to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. What does surprise me is the absence of any Italian musicians - I'd say Giuseppe Verdi should replace Richard Wagner as the representative of grand opera. Also, if we're going to have only one Russian, I think Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky outranks Igor Stravinsky. —Angr 07:02, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll replace Schoenberg with Armstrong in 7 days, unless further discussion indicates otherwise. I'd support Verdi for Wagner, but I'm pretty much out of my league on this. I prefer Stravinsky to Tchaikovsky. Smallbones (talk) 16:50, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
While Elvis Presley's fame is indisputable, I'd trade his originality and influence in a heartbeat for Lead Belly..LeadSongDog (talk) 18:18, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I personally oppose to replace Wagner with Verdi : Wagner was much more than a grand opera composer. He created, notably in Tristan, a whole new musical language, which inspired most modern musics, including jazz. Supressing Schœberg is OK with me, even though I put him once on the list. I'm a bit more dubious concerning Armstrong : surely was he an immense interpret, but he didn't compose anything (Mack the knife, for instance, was composed by Kurt Weil, an other Austrian/German composer, much influenced, strangely enough, by Wagner, Malher and Schubert). I would actually prefer Duke Ellington. I would also replace Elvis Presley with Ravi Shankar or Bob Dylan : Presley is more, I think, a generationnal phenomenon than an immense musician. Concerning Stravinski, I would suggest the mightable replacements : Franz Liszt (preeminent composer, who had a large influence on dodecaphonism, Debussy, russian music and folk music), Alexander Scriabin (the greatest russian composer of the XXth century, along with Stravinsky), Claudio Monteverdi (created opera), and Guido d'Arezzo (buildt the tonal system which prevailed in the occidental music till Schœnberg). Thoughts ? Alexander Doria (talk) 18:30, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Talking about musical preferences might be an endless task - but I don't know the technical requirements to be on this list. I'll just say that Armstrong certainly was a composer, especially in his early years. Just picking up a CD (Hot 5 and Hot 7, 1925-28) 9 of 23 tracks list him as (co)composer. They do distinguish between him and his then wife Lil Hardin Armstrong. Titles include jazz classics (of course) "Struttin' with some barbecue," "Potato Head Blues" and "Cornet Chop Suey." Probably more important in establishing his "composer" bone fides are that he recreated almost every song he played, e.g. taking a folk song and making "St. James Infirmary" out of it, or taking a Kurt Weil song (Mack the k) and turning it into a Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame song. His style of re-creation is the basis of most modern popular music, and his popularization of solo improvisation is the heart and soul of today's jazz. (Sorry if I get carried away by this).
AS far as your other suggestions: I'd almost agree with Dylan for Presley. Liszt fits too much in the Austrian/German mold (the Hungarians will kill me for saying this, I know). I don't know enough about Scriabin to say, but the other obvious Russian choices are (sp?) Prokofiev and Rachmoninoff. The last 2 I never heard of (not that this disqualifies them). Smallbones (talk) 22:04, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I did check out the "technical requirements" which I'll summarize as "pinnacle of their field" "geographic diversity" and "chronilogical diversity (with anti-recentism bias)" I think the Armstrong for Schoenberg switch certainly fits with these criteria. An Italian for German switch might also.Smallbones (talk) 22:23, 12 November 2008 (UTC)


... should be on the list of countries. I'd propose removing the Democratic Republic of the Congo. England gets about three times as many page views. Jolly Ω Janner 01:52, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

How many of these page views of England are intended for United Kingdom (which is on the list)? Arnoutf (talk) 15:14, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to replace Kinetics (physics) (or Kinetics) with Newton's laws of motion

The way the list was before I went in to update articles (for status changes and page moves) had Kinetics as a Vital Article. However, as it stands now, Kinetics is a disambiguation page. I assumed this was due to a page move, and so I changed the link to Kinetics (physics). However, it turns out that Kinetics is considered an antiquated term anyway, and is rated of "Low" importance to WP:WikiProject Physics. After a bit of browsing, I have come to the conclusion that the most logical replacement should be Newton's laws of motion, as these are probably the most essential equations to mechanics (and the article is rated "Top" importance by the Physics WikiProject).-RunningOnBrains 16:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like a reasonable proposal to me. Skomorokh 19:16, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, as the person who set Kinetics (physics) to low importance for WP Physics, I'd tend to agree with you. A direct replacement would be Analytical dynamics (with the third pillar of classical mechanics being statics), but Newton's laws would be a better choice as they underlie the whole of mechanics. Djr32 (talk) 22:00, 20 January 2009 (UTC)


Section Current Number Target Number
People 116 120
History 65 60
Geography 106 100
Arts and culture 54 60
Philosophy and religion 78 80
Everyday life 77 80
Society and social sciences 88 80
Health and medicine 48 40
Science 178 180
Technology 119 120
Mathematics 59 60
Measurement 26 20
Total 1014 1000

Euhm, what do you mean with this list? Is this is suggestion? Arnoutf (talk) 20:18, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Only noticing now that this is not the official add/remove suggestions, where is the add/remove suggestion area? For comment, I wouldn't remove Elvis, Krishna, any of the "Geography", Great Wall of China (are you kidding etc.) but some "Add"s like Portugal, Chile, Maya etc. The adds are good. ~ R.T.G 00:49, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Problem is that we limit this list at 1,000; so for every added article, one has to go as well. Arnoutf (talk) 09:47, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Oh. Maybe I knew that before but it sounds much smaller now. I'll revert my edit as the opinion is less sure now, sorry about that. ~ R.T.G 03:03, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Utterly stunned over Martin Luther's exclusion

Really? Out of all the people this world has ever seen, I doubt you'll find many with as well-documented and well-noted importance and relevance to our current-day lives as Martin Luther. I personally cannot believe that the man behind the Protestant Reformation (which was arguably the single most important societal revolution in the past millenium behind the Renaissance/Enlightenment, and certainly the most important spiritual one) doesn't merit a spot in the Vital 1000. I don't want to step on anyone's favorite article but it seems to be the norm to nominate articles to be replaced by others... as an obvious one from People, I'll take Nelson Mandela as a great candidate for removal vis-a-vis Luther. Look at the societal change that Mandela brought about... now compare it to the Protestant Reformation and try to justify Mandela's inclusion over Luther. That's just from a societal perspective. Other than Jesus, Abraham, Moses, Paul, and Mohammad, there is no other person with as great of a spiritual impact on our current world. By numbers alone, there are more Protestants than any other denomination (or similar division) besides Shi'as and Catholics. And that's not even mentioning the enormous impact he had on the Catholic Church after the schism between Protestants and Catholics. Honestly, I would love to see any justification for not putting him in the list. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 03:47, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, chill out, and add it as a suggestion ? You will likely get more support by suggesting someone other than Nelson Mandela as the removal candidate, though. Wizzy 09:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)


Hi, What is the Methodology for vital article status? How about Methodology? ~ R.T.G 15:07, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Should be noted as Eurocentric in the introduction

This list is Eurocentric (particularly in the selection of people, arts and culture), which is fine and understandable for English and other European languages. This should be noted in the introduction. We at Tamil Wiki used the old list which had about 30-40% persons, which consumed some of our prolific contributors. Which is sad because we don’t have articles for many important concepts in science and technology. The focus on science, technology, mathematics, and everyday life is refreshing. As noted before, the list was bias towards arts and social sciences. --Natkeeran (talk) 13:55, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't know why we regard artists, authors, composers and musicians as "vital". Jolly Ω Janner 14:10, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
To be honest I think this list is Science and Technology centric; with relatively little attention to culture, arts, law and society. (it is western centric too). Science, Technology and Maths have over 250 articles (not counting 48 medicine and 25+ natural scientists i the people section). In other words science and technology related topics cover more 25% of the vital topics. Of course a science and technology centric approach is again to be expected in a computer encyclopedia; but I think the proportion should not grow. Arnoutf (talk) 18:07, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
This list is vital because it contains fundamental articles that most anyone would expect in a paper encyclopedia. Naturally, Wikipedia extends far beyond these bounds, but many times we focus on whats new and leave what we consider to be finished to rot. Wikipedia is never finished, and many of the most basic articles are of a subpar quality because they aren't in the spotlight. Of course we should consider artists and composers to be vital. The notion that they are not is just absurd. Artists and composers are some of the most written-about figures in history. Certainly more has been said about Dante than Britney Spears, for example. As for being Euro-centric... much more has been written about European figures than other figures. The threshold for inclusion here is verifiablity, not truth. The systemic bias of Wikipedia's policies coupled with the way the world works naturally mean that more information is available for articles about European topics than other topics. That doesn't mean that other figures shouldn't be included, just that they haven't had as much written about them. Themfromspace (talk) 21:30, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Note that the English vital article list isn't the same as the Meta vital article list -- it's what's most important to English speakers. Perhaps at the Tamil Wikipedia, you could create a list of what the Tamil wikipedia community considers to be the 1000 most important articles, and then we could compare notes? Almafeta (talk) 20:46, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad someone noticed how Eurocentric it was. I suggest Ghana Empire and Second Congo War be added. The Congo Wars have been (are) a major conflict in the world and I was upset they were not on the list; although I expected it. If they were to replace something, I would pick Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease. Farkas János (talk) 01:03, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

This gets at a fundamental problem with this list: Industrialized-west-centrism (I'd call it Eurocentrism, but it reflects a strong North American bias, with nods to generally-agreed-upon "great civilizations" in China, India and the Middle East. Africa and pre-Columbian and native America are conspicuously under-represented. It's probably a different project, but it might be useful to compile separate lists that apply "top 100" articles related to specific regions. The criteria of "articles you'd expect to see in an paper encyclopedia" presumes a great deal, then Encyclopedia Britannnica, Encyclopedia Africana and Encyclopedia Sinatica will all have similarly weighted "essentialness." While this may be true in terms of modern science and math, which do form an international community, it is far from true when it comes to cultural movements and figures. Themfromspace wrote above that "much more has been written about European [cultural] figures than other figures," and in terms of European languages that certainly is true. But what about Asian languages? Lots and lots has been written about cultural figures of India, China, and the Middle East, but comparatively little has been translated and even less has received wide circulation in the popular western press. The categories themselves contain a western bias: "artist" and "politician" may or may not have the same meaning as categories in other cultures. What of god-kings who serve as both religious and political figures? What of picture-makers who work under a religious structure that does not match to modern western ideas of "artist"? Seems to me, doing some kind of depth analysis of the relatively rich wikipedias could provide some surprising pointers to articles which are essential in non-European encyclopedias (or smaller European ones: note the discussion around Eastern European authors above. OK, I've gone on long enough. I don't see an easy solution to what I'm raising here, but think it's an important point...--Natcase (talk) 16:43, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Category:Unassessed Vital articles

What should I do with this redlinked category? Assess the articles? There are fifty of them, but I can do a few. What should be its parent category? Physchim62 (talk) 17:12, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

It has the articles that Category:Unassessed-Class Vital articles looks like it ought to have. The parent cat is Category:Vital articles by quality. No shortcuts around assessments, I'm afraid. Skomorokh 17:19, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
This category is populated because Template:WP1.0/assessments is not updated for C-class compatability. I have requested the change, since it is a fully protected template, but the problem should be fixed soon.-RunningOnBrains 17:21, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Of course, a few of these actually are unassessed, so I'd wait for the template changes to be made, then go through and assess the articles.-RunningOnBrains 17:32, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Seems like the problem's in good hands, so I shaln't touch it! Just thought that I ought to point it out ;) Physchim62 (talk) 17:35, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for letting us know! I'm sure that could've gone years without being noticed.-RunningOnBrains 17:45, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Cut out the measurement units

The articles on the measurement units waste a lot of list space. There are many scientific unlisted concepts more interesting than these. Keep measurement, international system of units and ditch the rest. /Yvwv (talk) 15:18, 26 March 2009 (UTC)


Not mention of smoking ( the number one cause of death worldwide ) in the health section. Maybe replace small pox which is only of historical and military significance unless the US or Russia decide to do something.--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:04, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Propose replacement of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with Pericles

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk gets only 1463 monthly hits [6] according to, which by far the fewest of anyone on the list. This number is almost an order of magnitude lower than the next, which is Simon Bolivar with around 9000. By contrast, Pericles gets over 30,000 monthly hits [7], which is the same order of magnitude as many other statesmen and women of the list. I appreciate that Ataturk was of colossal importance to the history of Turkey and to a lesser extent that of its neighboring countries, but his global impact is rather limited. By contrast, the era of Athenian democracy that Pericles ushered has had a profound impact on Western civilization, and therefore the world. --Athenean (talk) 05:02, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you. Another good suggestion of replacement would have been Cleopatra : she is assurely quite well-known, yet her concrete political impact seems rather limited. Alexander Doria (talk) 16:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I thought of that too at first, but then I looked on and saw that she gets a ridiculous number of page views/month, well over 100,000 and so I changed my mind. --Athenean (talk) 20:01, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Level - 3?

The vital article bar has been added to the Talk:Solar System page. It says that the article is a level-3 vital article in science. I came to this page looking for an explanation of the different levels. Doesn't seem to be here. Shouldn't it be? Talk:Jupiter also recently received this distinction for the planet's article. And it is also "level-3". What's that mean?  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  14:35, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I found this – Wikipedia:Vital articles/Level/1, and it leads to an understanding of the different levels. I clarified this in the lead.  .`^) Paine Ellsworthdiss`cuss (^`.  09:37, 7 June 2009 (UTC)


Just stumbled across this effort & have to say, I applaud the work you're doing & it seems like a really good idea. Might give a hand if I can occasionally. Feel free to display this on your userpage if you wish.

Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
To anyone who contributes often to Vital Articles, keep it up! Dotty••| 18:38, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


English Wikipedia is approaching 3 million articles and we still have 43 vital articles marked as Stubs. The meta list of vital articlesis out of sync with this list which is probably the reason for the oversight but we should still flag every article less than 10000 characters which is the meta definition of a stub. --MarsRover (talk) 17:59, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Ural Mountains

Should be vital. One of the widest know maintain ranges. The border between Europe and Asia. SkyBonTalk\Contributions 10:20, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, but, one of the most important 1000 topics in all of humanity? If you can make a case for it being more important than some other topic, I'd be glad to entertain it, but in my opinion it's really hard to make a good case to change this list. -RunningOnBrains(talk page) 22:21, 14 June 2009 (UTC)


Highly important, yes, but more than, say, Tchaikovsky or even Bob Dylan? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:12, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Agree completely. Removing this and the explorer addition, pending discussion. Smallbones (talk) 03:03, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
My proprosals for replacement would be :
Personnally, my preferences would rather go to Liszt or Shankar. Other ideas ?
Alexander Doria (talk) 08:59, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree with removing Madonna and putting Bob Dylan instead. I feel that the Rolling Stones should also be in the list. Laurent (talk) 09:50, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure that everybody is on the same page. I think our job, if we want to add somebody, is to also delete somebody in the same category. The addition of Madonna broke this rule and I reverted it (See Wikipedia_talk:Vital_articles/FAQ#How_do_I_add_articles_to_the_list.2Fremove_articles_from_WP:VITAL.3F). See the discussion about 5 sections above as to how it was done before. Here is the current (pre- and post- Madonna list)

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Frédéric Chopin
  • Giuseppe Verdi
  • Richard Wagner
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Elvis Presley
  • The Beatles

Also note that there is an anti-recentism bias built into the selection process. The only living people on the list of 120 are Nelson Mandela and 2 of the Beatles. So you have to ask not only "Is Madonna more important than Wagner?" but also "Is Madonna more important than Obama?" (I'd answer no to both questions)

So who do you want to remove and who do you want to add? Smallbones (talk) 12:00, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Concerning the anti-recentism I consider it quite normal. We cannot actually have a solid judgement of our times : only posterity is able to define which one is valuable and which is not. Had wikipedia be made in 1850, Eugène Scribe would be seen as a major writer, and Baudelaire's article would probably be deleted. Besides, there are 3000 years of major political, cultural and scientific achievements behind us : the realisations of the past decades may not, therefore, be to highly considered. Alexander Doria (talk) 21:43, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I'd say Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Tchaikovsky, Franz Liszt, or even another giant in jazz or 20th century classical would be perfect to add if the list will have 11. Not the Stones, though. -- (talk) 02:12, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

That is the whole idea. The total list cannot ever expand. There are two options. Replace a music entry with another music entry, or expand the music list at the cost of one of the other lists. Arnoutf (talk) 18:40, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The two weaker points in the list seemed to be Giuseppe Verdi (assurely one of the greatest lyric composer, yet, on the contrary to Wagner, he did not have much influence on other fields of culture) and Elvis Presley (even though his impact on modern popular music cannot be over-estimated, this figure lacks of depth). Then, there are two possibilities of replacement :

  • Replace Liszt or Tchaïkovski or Ravel or Debussy or Schoenberg with Verdi
  • Replace Ellington or Ravi Shankar or Miles Davis with Presley

Other suggestions ? Alexander Doria (talk) 21:51, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Alhazen and Avicenna

Shouldn't they occupy positions here under philosophers, scientists and/or mathematicians? --Sherif9282 (talk) 16:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

At least Avicenna should be part of the group, he has so many wide reaching effects on European and world thought, and the would get away from the Systematic Bias of such a list.SADADS (talk) 16:02, 3 November 2009 (UTC)