Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome

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Requested move of Fabius Maximus[edit]

I've proposed moving Fabius Maximus to Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, to bring it in line with how he's usually referred to in secondary sources, and with other Wikipedia articles on members of his family (I counted eleven or twelve, all of which give the full name except this one). Notably we have an article titled Quintus Fabius Maximus without any disambiguation, but it's for the consul of 45 BC, which I think is a rather unexpected result. Comments are requested at Talk:Fabius Maximus. P Aculeius (talk) 16:31, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Cyclops in legends of the Caucasus[edit]

There is a discussion at talk:Cyclops#Cyclops in legends of the Caucasus concerning whether this section belongs in the article. or not Any thoughts would be welcome. Paul August 18:27, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Rewrite of "Roman tribe"[edit]

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article on the history and significance of Roman tribes, and I've helped improve and maintain the article since that time as an active member of this project. It wasn't exhaustive of every possible aspect of the subject, but I like to think it was concise, readable, and covered the subject nicely. Yesterday, and without warning, the entire article was replaced by 020amonra, under the edit summary, "Expanded the article, resolved inaccuracies and wrong info. Deleted comitia curiata & tributa sections as pertained to other articles + contained wrong info or very outdated views. Incorporated some of their info into the relevant articles." The new article is three times as long, and strikes me as a wall of text, or more accurately, a long series of walls of text, much of which is, in my opinion, confusingly written and very repetitive.

The editor in question has made no prior edits to this article and is not a member of this project, although he or she shows a keen interest in the area judging by other edits. There are many more citations, although there are long and important passages without any clear authority, some of which appear to be the editor's own deductions stated as clear and inarguable fact, rather than the statements of other sources. Some citations were retained from the article I wrote, although it is no longer clear what they pertain to. The lead section now contains nearly nine hundred words, beginning with a paragraph longer than the entire lead was yesterday morning, and is full of minute details that would be better dealt with in the body of the article. However, numerous paragraphs in the article as rewritten display a similar tendency to run off on tangents, providing more information than is necessary to understand the subject thoroughly.

The language of the article is quite repetitive, with the same phrases and wording given over and over. For example, twenty-eight sentences begin with "______ wrote" or a slight variation thereof, including "Livy wrote" five times (plus four slight variations), "Festus wrote" four times, "Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote" four times (with four additional variations), and "Varro wrote" three times. The phrase "Dionysius of Halicarnassus" is repeated seventeen times in the body of the article, occasionally in consecutive sentences, and often in consecutive paragraphs.

I understand very well that we are all editors, curators, of articles, not their owners, and anybody may edit anything. That's Wikipedia's way. But in my opinion the contribution as a whole has made a formerly accessible article a vast wall of detail, much of which consists of arguments for or against various views, confusing and repetitive passages, and opinion posing as fact. Out of respect for the amount of work that obviously went into 020amonra's version of the article, and more importantly, out of respect for the collaborative process, I've resisted the temptation to revert the article to its previous state, and slowly incorporate the usable and relevant information. However, I would like a third opinion, or perhaps multiple opinions, on the current state of the article, compared with what it was before.

I'm aware that it's much more exhaustive now, but I disagree with 020amonra's contention that the information it previously contained or how it was arranged was incorrect or irrelevant; indeed similar and lengthier sections on some of the same topics was added later in the article, while other portions were simply deleted without being incorporated into other articles, and much of what replaced it seems to have a very strong point of view. I think that much of what was added is salvageable, but in need of extensive revision, and I think it would be better to add what's salvageable to the former version of the article, than to attempt reforming the massive structure that replaced it bit by bit. But someone who hasn't worked extensively on the article would be a fairer judge. I'd really appreciate some input on this from other members of this project. P Aculeius (talk) 14:48, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

Most of what he added is sourced, but nonetheless there are clear signs of original research (a + b = c variety - some of which is reasonable, but still violates WP:OR. Also, the wall of text, lack of conformity with MoS as the page was, and poor prose, etc are good reasons to revert, so I suggest a reversion of his edit as you have said. Anyone can go through the page history later and properly assimilate portions of it into the article if they want. Psychotic Spartan 123 15:23, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
I've never edited the article, and agree to the proposed reversion. I don't doubt the editor's knowledge and good faith, but this is an encyclopedia article, developed collaboratively. The complete overwriting - or perhaps the drowning - of accurate, sourced existing text is seldom, if ever necessary; on this scale, it amounts to a mass deletion of well-sourced text. Problems (whether perceived or actual) with article content and sources are best approached one item at a time, ideally brought up at talk-pages and subjected to meaningful critique and source-based discussion before such drastic rewriting. In this case, no such discussion has been attempted; the result has been largely negative. Prior to the mass additions, the article was very much to the point, completely on topic, lucid and readable. The current, overwritten (in both senses) version drowns the reader in discursive detail, off-topic tangents and argumentation of sources. "Exhaustive" easily becomes exhausting - a summary style benefits our readership. As for the walls of text, I find them close to unreadable. And btw, the editor has overwritten other articles within the G&R ambit, with similar disregard for MOS. Haploidavey (talk) 16:03, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Just a further observation - reversion to basics and subsequent careful addition is a damn site easier than whittling back an inately difficult or impenetrable text. I've tried the latter at times past, with various articles. It can be done, of course, but it's a hellish slow, hard way to go. Haploidavey (talk) 23:12, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
@P Aculeius: Thanks for taking the time. I've deeply appreciated your contributions and the assistance you've given me. I agree with Spartan and Haploidavey. Can someone explain why the user has been editing since Nov. 2015 and has no user/talk page? I'm willing to lend a hand to incorporating the usable portions of the revisions after a revert.Informata ob Iniquitatum (talk) 19:43, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
As usual, I'm coming late to this conversation. (I just noticed it last night.) I'm not going to address the issue of Wikiquette, although it is an important one. What I want to address is the issue of inaccurate & out of date information in Classical Studies, & how to go about fixing it.

It's not an overstatement to say that the facts of Classical History -- Rome & Greece between 500 BC & AD 550 -- have not changed that much in the last 150 years. Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caligula was accused of engaging in some pretty kinky sex. Rome & Greece were slave-owning societies. Christianity went from a minority religion in AD 300 to the predominant one by 400. And so forth. Much of this is based on the fact that, except for inscriptions & non-literary documents like letters, few if any new important texts have been recovered in the last 50 years: the last one I can think of was a scrap from Livy's History comprising 20 words from his book 11. However, what has changed in that time is the interpretation of those facts. I'll limit myself to a couple different examples. One is that the majority of inscriptions are fragmentary, with many missing words that need to be restored; fortunately, most inscriptions are very formulaic, so it is possible to recover an entire inscription from as few as a dozen words, or parts of words. However, as experts find more inscriptions & compile more comprehensive prosopographies, these restorations are liable to be corrected, revised, & improved; so relying on how a given inscription was read in 1890 may result in a mistake. A second example is in how wars are reported; about 100 years ago, an account of a war would be limited to the events of the actual combat, the battles fought, who did what to whom. More contemporary accounts will include the social & economic effects of the war: how supporting an army effected the rest of the polity, how it disrupted the lives of the people, how the victory (or defeat) effected people. This allows us to investigate, & hopefully answer, questions such as why did the Roman Republic recover from severe defeats such as the early battles of the Second Punic War, yet the Roman Empire fall apart in the 5th century? I could offer more examples, but I hope my point is clear: often what we think of as being undeniably facts are often opinions instead.

Now this distinction is often forgotten even by experts: for example, all of the primary sources say that Caligula was a sexual degenerate, so the consensus amongst Classical historians is that he was a sexual degenerate, despite that it was a literary trope to accuse one's enemy of being one, & Caligula had managed to make himself the enemy of the Senate, whose members wrote the historical literature. Thus I find it important to not just accept the opinions of experts, but to try to understand how they came to those opinions, as well as to make myself familiar with the primary sources. (I've been surprised sometimes at how quickly some respected experts arrive at their conclusions; thus there are parts of the List of Roman Consuls where I am more conservative about identifications than the experts.) Thus, it is not safe to assume that the latest publications -- or the ones authored by the most respected expert -- are always correct; people make mistakes. Sometimes a 19th century reference has the best interpretation; sometimes experts like Mommsen or Syme are wrong. We can only know if this is the case by carefully reviewing the secondary literature & understanding the primary sources.

I have one more point to make on this: sometimes the major difference between what an older authority & one more contemporary is a subtle one. Maybe one simply of emphasis. It is easy for an amateur like us to get the nuance wrong, & in effect misquote our reliable source. On the other hand, in a very complex article like the one P Aculeius brought up at the beginning of this thread while there may be errors of some sort in it, fixing them without enough care results in making the article worse. By "enough care", I'm not just talking about research, but also of presentation. I've worked on a couple of articles recently where I am not happy with how the content is organized, but I'm leaving alone for the moment because I consider them "good enough". They're "good enough" for the time being while I spend the few hours I can devote to Wikipedia to other matters that I can fix with less effort or are either more important. I suspect this is an attitude a lot of veteran Wikipedia editors have: if an article is "good enough", no need to spend hours of research that may end up doing no more than changing a sentence or two, & maybe replacing one source with another. And this is something any editor needs to consider before taking on a complex article, just because the editor believes the article "contained wrong info or very outdated views"; after all, unless someone has an advanced degree in the Classics & has been published, that person may be wrong in that judgment. It is up to that editor to explain the problem, & convince us they have done the research to make it better. -- llywrch (talk) 19:52, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Ah, well, thank you for adding your two sestertii's worth, Llywrch! It's very much appreciated, as are the other comments above. After taking some time to think of a suitable reply to 020amonra based on the earlier comments, I finally took the step of reverting the article and explaining why, in detail, on his talk page. His even more detailed reply showed up on my talk page, making it even more difficult to follow the discussion, and then I replied to that, while he wrote another essay on the talk page of Roman tribe. After going through his suggestions in detail, and reviewing my sources, I decided that a few adjustments to wording were necessary and made the changes; I also found the missing source for one of the more interesting but less-well documented points, which had been tagged for a while. And then I replied on the article's talk page. So far, nothing dramatic has appeared to replace anything, but I expect it will sooner or later. I just hope that whatever it is will be added in a thoughtful and reasonably concise manner, and without carving up or dissecting the existing article again. I don't suppose I could convince any of you to keep the article on your watch lists? I may need help to keep things in perspective. P Aculeius (talk) 20:36, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Help wanted, potentially useful images on commons[edit]

More than 400000 images of objects from ancient time found in UK are now available on commons, released by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. See Commons:Village_pump#400.2C000_photographs_of_archaeological_objects_found_by_members_of_the_public_in_England_and_Wales. Ask also User:Fæ, User:Pigsonthewing.--Alexmar983 (talk) 11:48, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

I would love to contribute, but am having a difficult time figuring out how. Or, how to best use my time. Sorry to be so dense. Please advise. Informata ob Iniquitatum (talk) 21:07, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
I am not them, I was mainly leaving messages here and there.
So many pictures take years i my experience to be processed. it is usually start slow and than after I while you see some patterns and you speed up a little. What I suggest is to open commons:Category:Portable_Antiquities_Scheme, take a look and think about 1) better categories to be inserted 2) how to reuse the file on some articles you know or you have worked on. Both steps increase the number of visits to a file, and integrating it in the workflow of wikimedians, further increasing the chance that it is going to be improved and reused.
It is always very risky to brutally insert so many files in one shot, I agree, but as long as they don't it again soon we should be able to "absorb" them. I assume that there was no other way to do it, per good faith.--Alexmar983 (talk) 12:10, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
There are some suggested ways of filtering the collection to help with sensible categorization at Searching. (talk) 20:38, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Eutresis (city)[edit]

I just changed a several links which used to go to Eutresis, a butterfly genus, to a redlink for Eutresis (city). If anyone's interested in creating that article, there are versions in Spanish, German, Greek and Russian Wikipedias. Thanks,  SchreiberBike | ⌨  22:30, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Atana, a.k.a. (Athena) move request[edit]

I'm requesting Atana be moved to Atana (raga) because it's currently an article on music of India, when Atana as known in the West is an alternate spelling of Athena, or a ‘proto-Athena,’ and there are also two or more other languages with the word having different meanings. The main page should be a disambiguation. If any page had the main article, I'd have preferred it be Athena. I've opened a move request discussion you can join.--dchmelik (t|c) 05:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)