Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Main page Discussion News &
open tasks
Academy Assessment A-Class
Contest Awards Members


Use of Nazi propaganda images[edit]

On 7 May User @Elektrofisch: published an article on German propaganda images from the Nazi era and how they are used in the Wikipedia, entitled Probleme mit Nazi-Heldenbildern ("Problems with images of Nazi heroes") in the de:Wikipedia:Kurier (the German equivalent of the Signpost). He explains how these images originated and what they were to convey, deals with problems of forgery by image editing (both contemporary and later), iconography and copyright issues. I won't go into the details of his argument, but his conclusion is that the use of these images in the German Wikipedia is neither responsible nor historiographically accurate. There is also a lively debate on the talk page. The argument has been made that other Wikipedia projects seem to have less problems in using these images. I know that some contributors here speak German, so I thought I would draw your attention to that article. Furthermore, it seems to me that two issues merit discussion here: First, I ran across an retouched image of Fedor von Bock. It's currently used most prominently in the article on Bock. While the German original is b/w, the image has been colored by some Wikipedia user in 2010. I consider that to be a distortion and would like to know, whether it is consensus in the English Wikipedia to use retouched images. Second, I noticed that propaganda images of Knight's Cross recipients are quite often used in the English Wikipedia with an additional description for the visually impaired. Some of these descriptions are considerably detailed and emphasize, for example, a "determined facial expression". Wouldn't it rather be appropriate to emphasize the propagandistic character and iconographic quality of those images?--Assayer (talk) 18:36, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

will answer your second point.
No, no more then any other similar image from any other nation.Slatersteven (talk) 18:42, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
Firstly, images are often retouched to improve contrast and clarity. I see no problem with that sort of retouching. Where images are retouched to change the appearance of a person, I would say that isn't ok. Secondly, alt text for images can be edited by anyone, and isn't even a requirement for images used in a Featured Article, last time I checked. The description should reflect what the person looks like as best as that can be conveyed by text. That could include a description of the person's expression where that is pertinent; laughing, crying, stern, grim etc. To a significant extent it is subjective, of course, but we are trying to help the visually impaired here, not write an essay on the use of propaganda. If you feel that the alt text isn't reflective of an image, feel free to edit it. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:27, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
I think a careful, lifelike colourisation isn't a problem - it's up to the community whether to use it or not, though. (Hohum @) 18:40, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
I am a little confused: Is colorization a kind of retouche which changes the appearance of a person and thus should not be used, or is it not? I think that it is a significant alteration of the original and thus such images should not be used, because the subsequent changes are by no means clear to the casual reader/viewer. Color photography was available in the 1930s and 1940s, so coloring b/w pictures makes it impossible to distinguish between genuine color photography and b/w pictures. Moreover, the approach of portrait photography in b/w is different from that in color. It requires a different technique and a different way of seeing (light & shade, texture). What's the community's take on that?--Assayer (talk) 19:35, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I find the Bundesarchiv captions to be helpful as it makes it easy to distinguish a properly licensed photo from a fair-use one. On the colourising, I don't quite get it. I consider it to be unauthentic and pointless. But apparently there's quite a cottage industry dedicated to colourising Nazi era photos: there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such images at Commons.
Sample: File:Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1990-048-29A, Adolf Hitler-colorized.jpg, which I can only describe as garish. I attempted (unsuccessfully) to get it deleted: Commons:Deletion Request, but it looks like a fool's errand. More examples: Werner Mölders Recolored.png or Kaserne der LSSAH, Recolored.jpg, etc.
My thinking is that if we are going to use propaganda images, we might as well use the original versions, without retouching. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:54, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree that only original images should be used. An article should not puff-up its topic by adding pretty colors or icons unless with good reason. A reason might be that a particular colorized image has been noted as significant in secondary sources. Encyclopedic content requires the use of authentic material and editors should not have to wonder whether a particular colorized image is "correct". Johnuniq (talk) 02:11, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
It is not just "Nazi era photos", which are being colorized; many Allied photos and even film is being done, as well; this to present it to a generation who have only grown up on color film and TV and give it more of an appearance of what it looked like in real life. That is the reasons I have read, anyway. And it gives the so-called "History Channel" reason to produce new shows. Seriously, I don't feel strongly about colorization, unless it really distorts and changes the original photo, but leave it to others to sort out. I must say I prefer the Bundesarchiv captions on the edge of the photos, as it clearly shows it is a free use photo; at least it should be on the original uploaded version on Commons. Kierzek (talk) 15:22, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I consider it a lot like using 19th and 20th century imagined portraits for medieval people - colorization isn't quite as bad, but it's still not the same as the original. As a photographer, you do approach black and white photography differently than you do color, and guessing what the colors might have been is at best a guessing game. I'm less concerned with using some of the "action" Bundesarchiv images - as long as we avoid using the original captions when they are in Nazi-terms/propaganda. I don't think we can totally outlaw using even the worst propaganish images, because there will be occasions when they are appropriate - some of the worst bits can be used to illustrate just how bad their thinking was, for example. As for using the portraits - it's no worse than using any photographic portrait - the lead image in Winston Churchill is clearly designed to show Winston in a pugnacious, fighting, etc mood as you would expect from something taken in 1941. Should we not use that because it's a propoganda piece also? All things need to be taken with care. It'd be nice to have the de:wiki essay translated for those of us with crappy German, however. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:49, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
B/W imagery, for example WW I footage, has already been colorized by contemporaries. That's a primary source by itself. But retrospective colorization, which has become popular for TV documentaries, not at least because of the availability of modern computer technology, is a different thing. Such documentaries have received mixed reviews, and much criticism was directed against colorization as such. As one reviewer put it, the viewers are being "cheated". Historians, however, generally do not deal with colorized images. The integrity of the primary source has to be maintained. Noone would seriously consider to change the language of a primary source to make it more accessible or less offensive for today's audiences. Thus Wikipedia should also consider colorization to be an inappropriate manipulation of a primary source.
I did not argue that propaganda images should not be used at all. But the problem is that photography renders a peculiar impression of realism that is often not appropriate. I would be happy if those photography would be handled with as much care as 19th century imagined portraits of medieval people.--Assayer (talk) 23:54, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
At heart, I'm a medievalist. That means I'm used to having few contemporary sources, often incredibly biased sources, no images that could even come close to realism, and the constant fighting with the general public's misconceptions about medieval life and culture. Sometimes I wish I had simple worries like whether someone is colorizing photographs! That said - I'm not making light of the issue either. I would oppose "modern" colorizations if I ran into them on articles I'm editing - just as I oppose the use of Victorian engravings of medieval topics or the backwards insistence on using coat of arms for periods when there weren't any. All you can do is your best and that's all anyone can ask. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:06, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
I find colorization offensive as a practise. It's changing the original artist's vision in ways the viewer can't appreciate without seeing the uncolored photo, not unlike a pan and scan. That deceptiveness, however subtle, should be avoided in an encyclopedia, when uncolored examples exist. If colored photos are being used, they should be clearly labelled as "artist's impressions", just as notional planet photos are. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 16:18, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Even if colour was not a choice available to them?Slatersteven (talk) 17:50, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I colourised a few photos several years ago, mostly American Civil War photos of famous officers – so they would be daguerreotypes – though I never uploaded them to Wiki or anything public, I was really just playing about with Photoshop and found it an interesting process for a short time. In those cases, however, the officers are wearing their uniforms, we know the colour of Union and Confederate uniforms, so it's not really an "artist's impression" in that case, it's more like remastering a damaged film and adding missing data based on what we know. Naturally, we can't be 100% sure if we're getting skin, hair and eye colours accurate, but like any kind of history, it comes down to interpreting the sources and translating them into something that is considered accurate. There's no such thing as "100% accurate" research because sources always vary in details, but there is such thing as coming close, and I think, in some cases, colourising can achieve a realistic result. The photographer would have been seeing his subject in colour, it's his machine that made it black and white. Colourisation is, in a sense, like translating a source from one language to another – some translators stick to a strict literal word-for-word translation, some embellish their translation a little to maintain the spirit of the source, while some go further to modernise the tone (e.g. Les Miserables Wilbour vs Denny vs Rose). The same can be said for the Bible and its many complete translations in English alone, which all vary in tone, grammar, wording and interpretation. Anyone approaching colourising a historic b/w photo seriously isn't just going at it like some "colour by numbers", and it would by wrong to imply that everyone who colourises photos for public use does not always research to see what colour uniforms should be, or what colour hair/eyes someone had, or what colour Hitler's suit may have been instead of just making it grey or beige because it suits him. It's only when those options have been exhausted and the artist has to improvise that colorisation becomes less reliable and artistic licence. If photo sources should only be used in their original/pure form, then that puts a lot of other things we do into question, such as using recreation photos of enactments, photos of replica weapons/armour, etc. Is it not the case that all dinosaur bones in museums are made from casts, that displays showing what a prehistoric environment looked like are recreated from evidence, that Wikipedia is full of maps that have been recreated "based on" original maps. Many of those add colours, topography and use the NATO Joint Military Symbology that wouldn't have been on Napoleonic, WW1, WW2 map – yet we accept them – we add detail so we can understand it more – based on some of the arguments here shouldn't we be scanning original maps and seeing it as commanders saw it back then. So there is a form of hypocrisy underlying any rejection of "all" colourised photos, given that we widely use other forms of imagery that were created by editors. I think it's a misconception that colourising photos is "wrong" per se. I think it has its uses and can have added value in limited situations, but it shouldn't be widely encouraged. To call it irresponsible is somewhat hyperbolic, but there should be some restraint – we don't need to see everything in colour, but in some cases it enhances the experience and can add a bit of substance to bland images. — Marcus(talk) 09:41, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "Even if colour was not a choice available to them?" I don't see a distinction. And I don't agree it's equivalent of remastering; that retains the original. (As opposed to the "remastering" of "STTOS", which added fresh material.) Would you colorize "Citizen Kane"? Why not? There's difference between photos of reproductions & colorized pictures, IMO: where originals don't exist, we use what's available. Colorized pictures imply original b&w ones are. Nor do I accept adding map symbols is the same; it's not like that's changing the borders or the place names. (Translating them isn't "changing".) Is it irresponsible? IDK. It should be unacceptable as encyclopedic practise, IMO. And saying "add a bit of substance to bland images" implies a b&w image can't have its own power or influence, which is a view colored (so to speak) by a bias against b&w, or, perhaps, a "currentist" (is that a word?) POV. I'd sooner have authenticity than color, because there's really no way of knowing how much "improvisation" has been done, nor how careful the research has been--& a colorized photo is nothing more than a particular person's guess; the viewer shouldn't be left thinking it's a more authoritative guess than anybody else's. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 13:17 & 13:19, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

ST:TOS is a different type of remastering which was done to bring the effects in-line with those of newer ST series' for the sake of remarketing it to younger audiences and for older fans wanting better CGI effects, since they were very dated and often clunky. I'm referring to standard remastering, not altering the content just cleaning the image - sharpening, removing scratches, gamma balance, and things that don't change the film, just make it clearer. Yes, there are plenty of old b/w films that could potentially be colourised, not with fake colour but by the use of chroma dots found on some film, as was identifed during the remastering of the Classic Doctor Who series. Several episodes in the Jon Pertwee era where only black and white film could be found were colourised using this technique because his era was aired in colour. A machine is able to identify real colours from the chromadots and covert the b/w to colour once it is digitised. Not interpretation, but rather a form of restoration. Couldn't care less about Citizen Kane, haven't seen it... what is considered "a classic" is subjective, I don't hold to this "purist" nonsense some people spout, it's a form of Ludditeism IMO and what led to undue attacks on George Lucas and him losing it with Star Wars fans, because a small number of nerdy virgin fans accused him of "meddling" and drove him nuts. Regardless, colourisation of some photos could be considered a form of restoration, bringing reality to an artificial image – since b/w and sepia are not how we see the real world, and colour is – what the camera was technically incapable of capturing, digital technology can attempt to apply, but should be done in moderation. As I said, colourising is not always a "person's guess" – at least no more than an editor weighing up a bunch of conflicting sources for an article and deciding which to apply. In reality, we're all subjecting Wiki to bias in some shape or form, whether you choose to accept it or not. As for my "bland images" comment, you took that out of context and mistakenly implied that I meant "all b/w are bland". What I mean when I say "in some cases" is just that: in some cases. For example, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of daguerreotype photos of American soldiers taken before and during the Civil War, probably by Mathew Brady, and the vast majority of them are stuck in the same pose... overall, it's a rather unimaginative and bland collection, and only the notable figures really attract attention. Seeing a handful of them retouched and colourised introduces a freshness, allows us to see clothing, uniforms, etc in colour. It's not like we're doing a mashup between a piece of classical Mozart and an Eminem song. Human eyes see colour and in some cases it's seeing things in colour that makes us appreciate the "romanticism" of black and white imagery. And that's what I think many people's love for black and white imagery truly is – it's quaint, romantic, an example of early technology, bygone times... but that shouldn't stop us wanting a limited number of coloured examples, also, because our natural sight is designed to see people and things from a coloured POV – b/w is not a natural concept – that's a fact, not a bias. Bias would be rejecting b/w for no good reason, colouring everything for the sake of just adding colour, and making history completely artificial. One of the most amazing pre-colour photos in existence is that of the Duke of Wellington as an old man. It's a very low-quality image, I've even sharpened and colourised it out of curiosity. But I still consider the original far superior, in this instance. — Marcus(talk) 14:36, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
An example can be found in Arthur S. Carpender. The black and white original is a scan I made from an 8"x10" photograph in my possession. Someone decided to produce a colourised version, for reasons unknown. Hawkeye7 (talk) 03:27, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
♠"ST:TOS is a different type of remastering which was done to bring the effects in-line with those of newer ST series'" Had that been all that was done, I wouldn't complain; the Doomsday Machine is much more dangerous-looking with the remastered "maw". The trouble is, footage was added to (every?) episode (sometimes only a few seconds' worth at a time), which amounts to re-directing, which is no different than a pan & scan.
♠That said, if we were discussing the development of "ST" or its history, I'd oppose using images from the "remastered" DVDs, except to illustrate the difference, precisely because they aren't period correct any more. At least with "TOS", you have the option to turn it off. Here? Not so much.
♠If it's possible to identify color, & restore it faithfully, I'd be fine with that--provided we're told it's been done, & it's not simple guesswork.
♠As for "luddite", no. I just can't imagine "Citizen Kane" or "Maltese Falcon" in color. I think there's an esthetic unity involved, & that shouldn't be tampered with, because it's tampering with the director's original vision. I'd no more take the color out of "Star Wars" (tho I happen to agree with the fans who think Lucas should've left it alone, after the fx shots were remastered... It starts to smell of greed, & it interferes with the narrative flow, the same way Marvel did "restoring" the unprinted pages of early New X-men...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 06:30, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Relevant FfD discussion[edit]

Can be found here: Wikipedia:Files_for_discussion/2017_May_31#File:Walter_Oesau.jpg. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:13, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

Are you seriously suggesting to use that, pardon my aesthetic POV, amateurish pencil sketch? I understand that this is not really the rationale for the FfD, which is about copyright infringement.--Assayer (talk) 09:01, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
As I raised in my comment on the page discussion, the "sketch is frankly a poor substitute for a photo for a bio article". I agree that it looks "amateurish". If the photo cannot be used, then hopefully the regular editors of that article can find another photo that is acceptable for the subject. Kierzek (talk) 11:51, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
I really don't see a difference between using a propaganda image and a sketch (drawn from yet another propaganda photograph) -- the photo is staged and probably heavily retouched, both done to achieve a heroic portrayal. If you go to Category:German World War II flying aces and scroll towards the bottom third of the page, you'd see a collection of such images -- all very similar, and in a way, so generic, as to not add much to the article apart to confirm that the subject was indeed a man in a uniform. In this particular case (Walter Oesau), a free image is preferable for reasons of copyright. Separately, it takes the ideolised portrayal to the next level, which seems appropriate. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:08, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
  • shall we remove the Austrian generals portraits too? Those are heavily stylized. see File:Johann Graf von Klenau Freiherr von Janowitz.jpg for an example. auntieruth (talk) 21:23, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
  • The Klenau image is in the public domain. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:57, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Battle for Caen review request[edit]

Battle for Caen I wonder if interested parties would mind taking a look at the article and the discussions on the talk page and offering opinions on the way the article is developing?Keith-264 (talk) 12:57, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

  • @Keith-264: I left message on talk page. It's developing but it's still not clear to me what these different operations were--were they all separate attempts to take Caen? I like the way you and your coeditor are trying to collaborate. good job. auntieruth (talk) 21:43, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
They made Caen progressively untenable by inflicting attrition on the Germans each time they contained an Anglo-Canadian attack but the attrition mattered more than the town.Keith-264 (talk) 22:57, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
Actually, these operations were indeed a series of separate attempts to take Caen - most of them unsuccessful and each one incurring as many British casualties as German casualties. The unhappy response by Eisenhower - Montgomery's boss - to each failed attempt to capture the town, and the fact that Eisenhower was in the process of sacking Montgomery for his repeated failures to capture the town, make it very clear that capturing the town mattered very much indeed. However there is a "movement" that seeks to whitewash Montgomery, and to make it seem that Montgomery never failed, by retroactively altering the objectives. Montgomery himself was a major member of this "movement". Wdford (talk) 23:19, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
as a result of reading that, I went and read the article on Ike's military career. The criticism section is modest in size and scope and could probably use addressing. GraemeLeggett (talk) 07:52, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
As you can see, WD has a rather 1970s conspiracy theory of the subject and is unwilling to address scholarship since then on the question of Caen. The need to keep attacking in the east because of the slow progress in the west is also being overlooked. I fear that the article is being twisted by advocacy and synth. Keith-264 (talk) 19:03, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
This comment is inaccurate to the point of mendacity. There is no “1970s conspiracy theory”, and my edits are based on the most recent scholarship. The need to keep attacking in the east is fully recognised in the article, but I also record the view of almost all historians that the stated objective was the CAPTURE of Caen, not the launching of repeated failed attacks on Caen. Even D’Este, probably the historian most favorably disposed toward Montgomery, states that the capture of Caen was one of Montgomery’s primary objectives. I also record the view of almost all historians that Montgomery was deceptive, and once again, even D’Este agrees with this theme. So please – where is the “advocacy and synth” that he is fretting about? Wdford (talk) 22:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
I have already mentioned on the talk page that I'm cutting my losses because I'm wasting my time. Consider this

Even D’Este, probably the historian most favorably disposed toward Montgomery, states that the capture of Caen was one of Montgomery’s primary objectives.

So were Carentan and St Lo; Monty was the ground forces commander not just the Anglo-Canadian commander. US failures in the east were his just as much as the successes on both flanks were.Keith-264 (talk) 23:23, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

The US forces were in the west, and it was the British who were failing in the east. Carentan and St Lo were part of the Normandy Invasion, but they were not part of the Battle of Caen, and are in fact far removed from Caen. Where is the "advocacy and synth" that you were complaining about? Wdford (talk) 06:07, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
This is a conclusion, not a description. Keith-264 (talk) 06:53, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Commonwealth forces were not failing in the east but were steadily destroying the German forces by attrition. The German Army contained the eastern offensives at the cost of expending their armour and mobile reserves when sound military tactics would have called for withdrawal before the inevitable catastrophe. The Battle for Caen ended with the German Army in France suffering a crushing defeat and near annihilation. It was Montgomery who commanded the victorious forces and it was his flexible strategy that led to victory. Damwiki1 (talk) 14:20, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I changed my mind about cutting my losses having fetched a few more sources from storage and tried another request here (see below) framed to avoid it being a content dispute but a survey of opinion about form. RegardsKeith-264 (talk) 14:28, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
The long-promised re-write of the Analysis section is done and interested editors are invited to take a look. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 15:04, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Great War official histories online[edit]

Regards, Keith-264 (talk) 19:10, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, Keith, I've added this to the resources section of the World War I task force. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 09:43, 29 May 2017 (UTC)


We hear on the news that one aircraft intercepts another, or even one boat intercepts another. Visitors must be arriving at Wikipedia to find out what this is. The newspapers never give a definition.

Interception goes to a football article. Interception (disambiguation) and Intercept are dab pages. We have Interceptor aircraft, but there is little about how it all happens in modern times.

Should we have a new article that talks about the procedure with boats and planes?

Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:49, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

Visitors often arrive at Wikipedia, only to find out that it is not a dictionary. Maritime and aviation usage differ enough for separate articles to be appropriate, for example the term is far more common in the context of aircraft. Speaking for aircraft, we already have Interceptor aircraft and it is nowhere near long enough to consider splitting. By all means expand that article and, if it ever gets too long, that would be the time to propose a split. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 19:09, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Would it be sufficient to define interceptor fighter by contrasting it with the zone fighter in pre-1939 thinking? Keith-264 (talk) 19:19, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't think you can do that, since even in 1939, the goal was to intercept, tho it might not have been described the same way. (And GCI, as a term, isn't really that recent...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:34, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
Interceptor had a specific meaning. Keith-264 (talk) 01:07, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Some information in a European context at Quick Reaction Alert. Alansplodge (talk) 21:33, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Battle for Caen layout question[edit]

To try to establish the semblance of consensus for the article, I would like opinions on the best way to combine the history of the fighting for Caen and the writing about it since. Are these really two articles rather than one? Should the description of events be more strictly segregated from explanation? Is it pointless to argue about the Aftermath without a Prelude? Are RS, NPOV, SYNTH and Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Military_history#Sources (and any others) being adequately adhered to? NB I have an obvious potential conflict of interest, which is why I'm asking about objective matters here. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 12:20, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Personally, reading the article and having a laymans knowledge of the debate, I think there is enough for an article on the dispute. It is a significant dispute in military historical terms and would, I would suggest, meet notability. This would allow stripping out a lot of contentious material from the article. But you may then have a tighter focussed dispute over how to handle a summary of the dispute in the article itself. Monstrelet (talk) 12:50, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I had the same doubts about the Schlieffen Plan but perhaps the "History of the Schlieffen Plan" section and the material being recondite avoided irreconcilable differences over content. I'm thinking that at least we could corral the controversy stuff in a "Histories of the battle for Caen" section under a 2nd level header? Regards Keith-264 (talk) 13:28, 28 May 2017 (UTC)Keith-264 (talk) 14:30, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Proposal for including Cullum numbers in Wikidata[edit]

There is a proposal to include Cullum numbers in Wikidata to improve authority control, etc. Please feel free to comment at TeriEmbrey (talk) 15:06, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

I voted to support the idea. I'm concerned that the on-line access is restricted to members of WPAOG. Does anyone know if the association would consider sharing content through the Wikipedia:Library?--Jim in Georgia Contribs Talk 22:09, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I've requested access to The Register of Graduates at Wikipedia:The_Wikipedia_Library/Databases/Requests#The_Register_of_Graduates.2C_U.S._Military_Academy. Comments welcome, at least by me, at that page/section.--Georgia Army Vet Contribs Talk 18:18, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Index of World War II articles[edit]

In the Index of World War II articles series, shouldn't people be listed by their last names?

It seems to me that this is one of those questions to which it is easy to answer "yes" (and I do), but who will assume the onus of doing it? --Lineagegeek (talk) 23:22, 2 June 2017 (UTC)
I'll start, maybe even today. --Georgia Army Vet Contribs Talk 15:55, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Australian War Memorial site[edit]

The site was reconfigured last night and there are glitches with accessing some collection item. The "old site" can be accessed at [1] while they are sorting things out. Regards Cinderella157 (talk)

Thanks - I was wondering what the issue was myself. It mostly seems to work in Chrome but not my old IE version. Anotherclown (talk) 08:21, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm in the middle of using it for a bio, and all the links have changed... I can't say it is a lot easier to navigate. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:10, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
It's certainly much less nerd friendly at the moment... Nick-D (talk) 11:10, 1 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I looked in it yesterday and found that the easy click click has been replaced by vagueness. Has it been commercialised? Keith-264 (talk) 15:44, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

It looks like it has been made more "social media friendly". There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the old functionality is also retained, which sadly is often not the case. From the banner at the top of the old site:

The Memorial’s new website is available at . The updated site features a new design, improved search functionality and better access to our collection and staff knowledge. This old version of the website will be decommissioned within the coming weeks.

Carcharoth (talk) 12:02, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Day and month of the Battle of Maldon[edit]

I have opened a discussion at Talk:Battle of Maldon#Day and month of the battle, and am notifying the WikiProjects identified on that page. Narky Blert (talk) 22:22, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

This is a dispute about date. Made a comment there. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 02:51, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
I found a reference which describes how the August date was sourced from contemporary records, which I have added to the article. The claim about Whitsun seems to be without foundation and has been removed. Alansplodge (talk) 21:37, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Damon Jesse Gause[edit]

Damon Jesse Gause doesnt appear to be particularly notable although claimed as s "Hero of World War II", ahould it be nominated for deletion? thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 22:29, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

I don't know if there are any other escapees from Bataan. That may be enought to make him ntable, but I'm neutral so far. --Lineagegeek (talk) 23:25, 2 June 2017 (UTC)-

Books about disinformation[edit]

Three new articles on books about disinformation tactics as used during information warfare :

  1. Disinformation (book)
  2. The KGB and Soviet Disinformation
  3. Dezinformatsia (book)

I've nominated them both for Good Article. If anyone wants to grab one of them for GA review, that would be nice. Sagecandor (talk) 01:56, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Added one more new one: Dezinformatsia (book). Sagecandor (talk) 17:48, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
These three above are now nominations for good article. Sagecandor (talk) 22:47, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Locator map template question[edit]

Would some kind soul point me towards a locator map (the sort that you can put red dots and place names on) of Normandy please?Keith-264 (talk) 15:38, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Gday Keith - is this suitable for your purposes? Relevant commons category is here I think. Anotherclown (talk) 23:54, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
BTW if you need some minor changes to the file above (like colours) I have some *very* limited experience with modifying .svg images so would be willing to have a shot for you if you tell me what is needed and can point me in the direction of a source. No guarantees though! Anotherclown (talk) 23:59, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

I managed this but I'm looking for a Normandy map. I found

Basse-Normandie region relief location map

this but don't know how it goes into the template (if at all). I tried Normandy, Normandie, Basse-Notmandie here {{Location map+ |France instead of France but no good. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 00:10, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Sorry Keith I'm out of my depth with this too. Is there anyone else able to assist? Anotherclown (talk) 00:24, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
How about:
This is "France Basse-Normandie" to the east would be "France Haute-Normandie"

Or the relief map:

Oooooh I feel such a berk! ;O) Thanks....Keith-264 (talk) 07:14, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
PS Vierville and Lion had the same coordinates [no they didn't] so I think I'll experiment with Ouistreham.Keith-264 (talk) 07:17, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Roy Godson[edit]

Roy Godson.

New page.

Expert on national security, covert operations, information warfare.

Please expand with more references if you like. Sagecandor (talk) 15:53, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Clint Watts[edit]

Clint Watts

New article.

Former United States Army officer.

Former Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Foreign policy analyst and has repeatedly testified on cyber security matters, before the United States Senate, and the United States House of Representatives.

Could use some work and expansion if anyone wants.


Sagecandor (talk) 20:45, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

Improved it more after a Prod [2]. Sagecandor (talk) 21:39, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
This is now a nomination for good article. Sagecandor (talk) 22:47, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Translation of German Wikipedia article "Sprengschacht"[edit]

In the process of translating the German Wikipedia article on the Bundesstraße 432 to English, I found an interesting article: de:Sprengschacht. I wanted to translate the article, since it refers to hatches built into streets during the Cold War which, when detonated, would slow the advance of Warsaw Pact troops. However, I don't know a suitable translation for the title of the article. When viewing a machine translated version of the article, it disagrees on what to call it, calling it "explosive bay" in the title and "blasting pit" in the first paragraph.

I have two questions. First, does English Wikipedia already have an article on the subject, and second, if it doesn't, what is an accurate translation of the German word "Sprengschacht?"


DraconicDark (talk) 23:34, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

  • Don´t know if there is an according article. However the U.S. Army manual "FM 5-102: Countermobility" of 1985, respective chapter available online over here, covers it as demolition shaft and prechamber shaft system. ...GELongstreet (talk) 23:50, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
  • DraconicDark (talk · contribs), you can tell if there is a corresponding article in another language by looking in the left column (menu) under "Other languages". In this case there is a n article nl:Springschacht in Dutch, but there is no corresponding article in English. I would call it Blasting Chamber (Cold War).... 16:02, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

How do you rate your historical interest?[edit]

Just want to encourage an informal discussion, here, for project members. How do you rate or view yourself in terms of your historical interests?

Consider your interest not just in relation to editing Wikipedia, but in terms of how you behave in relation to your prefered areas of history: collecting books, war films, documentaries, etc.

Do you call yourself a history buff, an armchair general, an amateur historian, a professional historian, something inbetween? Is it just a hobby or something deeper? Are you in a society or club that encourages learning and sharing things?

Do you attend reenactments or visit museums, castles, and similar historical places or special events often to expand your knowledge? Do you attend archaeological digs or go treasure hunting? Do you take trips or holidays to places with a historical relevance in order to learn rather than relax?

What drives your interest: just learning it, some kind of nostalgia, had a relative serve in a war, maybe you served yourself and want to know more about other wars?

There are people who say NASA and such space projects are a huge waste of money because there is too much to worry about on Earth to spend time looking at stars and galaxies, but there are also people who say looking at the past is a waste of time, that we should focus on the living, the present and future. How do you feel about anti-history sentiments? Is it an important and under-valued subject? Has it become a lost art that has faded from the curriculum of many schools due to political correctness, or an adversity to what is relevant to a country, or simply because governments and school boards can't decide what should and shouldn't be included? What should be mandatory, if anything?

Please feel free to discuss your background, feelings and impressions in detail regarding your interest, commitment and involvement in learning history and what it means to you personally.

Thanks — Marcus(talk) 19:07, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

I've been interested in history ever since I could read and at college in the early-80s, tended to a structural-functional perspective on society. I think that great man explanations are an embarrassment and treat class conflict as the main force determining events; perhaps unusually for someone who takes military history seriously, I'm an anarchist. After the late-80s, I had little time for serious research but after cutting my working hours in the late-90s, devoted more time to it and a little to my surprise, found that I had become interested in the Great War for the first time since reading Biggles in the late 60s. Having spent 16 years working in residential services, concentrating on the effect of structure and organisation on human behaviour, I found many analogies between my experience and the effort that Great War armies made to adapt to industrial warfare. I stumbled on Wikipedia when I joined the interweb in the early 2000s and after a slow start, taking out punctuation marks next to conjunctions, began to write as well as copy-edit.
I joined a small informal group which was going through many of the Normandy 1944 articles, adding the results of the scholarship of the campaign that had been written since the early 90s, some of which revised the revisionists of the 70s and 80s. After that, I got started on the Western front articles 1914–1917, with occasional excursions into obscure areas and I've been there ever since putting in description, which tends to balance facile explanations from the mediocre historians who give military history a bad name. Some newer publications have advanced our understanding of the war and I've been able to revise some of my revisions to articles; I've got more critical of commercially published hackwork as it's got easier to spot, especially with the centenaries to be cashed in on (not that I'm bitter that they've got the gig instead of me, obviously). Along with finding it interesting, writing for free on Wikipedia is a way of repaying the generations of British people who from the Somme in 1916, built the working class welfare state, which gave me a house to live in, the doctors and teachers my family could never have afforded and the chance to avoid the fate of Billy Casper. Keith-264 (talk) 00:02, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I was interested in history from an early age. I still read a lot of history books. I wrote my Master's thesis on the Great War, and later my PhD on the Second World War. I have contributed to some books. Living in Canberra gives you access to good military libraries and archives. Most of the military records are kept in the Australian War Memorial here. I do attend conferences when I can, and enjoy talking to historians, especially ones from other countries. I have enjoyed travelling to battlefields around the world. I started updating the Wikipedia in 2006.
Historians, like scientists, have always pointed to the usefulness of their work, lest it be considered on the same level (of funding) as the humanities. Military historians generally enjoy the support of the military, who appreciate the value of lessons learned; but are disliked by other historians, particularly those of the Baby Boomer generation. If I was allowed to put up a shingle and teach Military History 101, I could pack a lecture theatre; but universities are not run on the basis of what the undergraduates want to learn. Hawkeye7 (talk) 05:11, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
I've been interested in history since about Grade 6, thanks to Ned Beach's Run Silent, Run Deep. I've since gotten interested in the history of war (mostly) more broadly; the political (or grand strategic) is much less interesting to me. It's not just what was, tho; I'm also a member at an alternate history website, where we can examine what might have been (which bears on my other passion, science fiction, to which I came even before Beach; blame Tom Swift for that ;p ). I tend to concentrate on the WW2 era, but I'll look at anything that strikes my fancy, from Ancient Rome to the 100 Years War to Vietnam. (I've read all the Dorsai novels, too. ;p No Saberhagen, tho.) Why do I contribute what I do? Because I know there are people out there who are interested in the same things I am, & may not be able to find the sources I have available; at the same time, I hope to attract & encourage others with sources & material I don't have, so I can learn, too. For me, that's probably the key: I'll always learn something interesting. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 06:37, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Like other respondents, I have been interested in history since I was young. After some changes of mind, I wound up getting my bachelor's degree in history (perhaps impractical, but since I had been offered a commission and entry to pilot training, all I needed for the job was my AB. I'd guess that one influence was World War II (my father and two uncles were in the Army Air Forces, one uncle in the infantry and another in armor). Although my focus is on US Air Force (and predecessors) history, my current reading is two opposites The House of Truth (about a progressive/liberal salon in the early 20th century and its impact on liberal thinking) and The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America. Not always US, though, prior to that it was The Romanovs. --Lineagegeek (talk) 22:57, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I was on the leading edge of the baby boomers -- conceived in the joyous reunion of the boys returning from war to the girls who had waited for them. My earliest recollections were of the family reunions where my father and three uncles told of their various experiences on warships, in bombers, crossing the beach at Normandy, and time as a POW. There were more war stories from the fathers of my classmates, and from our male teachers. We wore our fathers' helmet liners and web canteen belts to school where we dug foxholes on the playground during recess. As a college engineering student, my professors included a dive-bomber pilot at the battle of Midway, and men who had built and tested the first atomic bombs in New Mexico. Vietnam seemed my generation's chance to gain a piece of the glory our fathers had enjoyed. The difference between my combat experience in Vietnam and the stories of our fathers gave me incentive to explore those differences and apply my engineering background to understanding the mechanisms of industrialized warfare in the era of plentiful resources. Thewellman (talk) 06:15, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

List of wars involving Bulgaria[edit]

I've temporarily protected List of wars involving Bulgaria to put a stop to the foolishness, but can some other people watchlist it for the stupidity that will inevitably occur from assorted range-hopping IPs and SPAs. For months now they've been editwarring to get versions of this text into it in which Bulgaria single-handedly wins every war of the 20th century, including WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War and even the Rwandan Civil War. You won't need any specialized knowledge of Bulgaria, as the edits are so ridiculously overblown they're very easy to spot. (Sample quotes: The Bulgarian Army Annihilates the Isreali Navy, Airforce and Army of Tanks, Bulgaria and the Central Powers Annihilate the Allies on the Entire Eastern Front, Bulgaria Commits Genocide to a Majority to The Rwandan Population.) ‑ Iridescent 19:41, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

The list is based on unreferenced 3 line stubs which contradict its content. Other issues include grammar and Bulgarian POV pushing in the Result section. How this simple list became such a disaster is beyond me.--Catlemur (talk) 20:13, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
What I know about Bulgaria could be written on a stamp; I just reverted the most obvious stupidity such as Bulgaria's defeat of the USSR in World War II and protected it to stop any more crap being added. I've no idea how far back the crazy goes here. (I know Middle Ages has had long-standing issues with Bulgarian nationalists pushing hyper-fringe theories about Bulgaria being the dominant power in Europe, so I suspect this is more of the same.) ‑ Iridescent 20:46, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
Also, the table at the top is a duplication of the bullet list below it, except that the table has a lot of POV pushing and at points sounds like Bulgarian nationalist propaganda. Kges1901 (talk) 20:53, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Two articles one project[edit]

Hi, I've made two articles that I think are relevant to the project, they are "RAVISGUR" which is some kind of supervisory unit of the Croatian police in world war 2. And a commander of the first US army, 173rd airborne brigade, etc. "James H. Johnson Jr." I do not know how to link these two articles to the project, can someone add them please? Factsoverfeelings (talk) 21:23, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

I added the necessary WikiProject tags to RAVISGUR. I suggest reading the following guidelines to improve the article: WP:CAT and WP:FOOTNOTES. Cheers.--Catlemur (talk) 21:38, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Merger proposal of Battle of Chamdo into Incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China[edit]

Merger of Battle of Chamdo into Incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China is proposed. It is discussed at Talk:Incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China#Merger Discussion, where I invite you to comment. --George Ho (talk) 03:23, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

WWI in popular culture.[edit]

The song A Small Victory has nothing to do with WWI, however the accompanying cover art and videoclip are WWI related does it belong to the WWI in popular culture article?--Catlemur (talk) 11:06, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

Hmmm... the soldier seems to be wearing a Mk IV Service Respirator (introduced in 1926) and is holding a clip of ammunition for a 40 mm Bofors gun (in British service from Sep 1939), so I'm going with the Second conflict. Alansplodge (talk) 12:56, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Apologies, this is more likely to be a US soldier, in which case the earliest it can be is 1940. Alansplodge (talk) 13:00, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
@Alansplodge: Well the music video seems to be depicting a mix of both wars, as the Germans are wearing WWI era helmets.--Catlemur (talk) 14:09, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, with some Roman legionaries for good measure. Alansplodge (talk) 16:23, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
The photo was used on the cover of LIFE magazine, September 18, 1939 issue, with the title "Britain Goes to War". [3] — Marcus(talk) 14:11, 5 June 2017 (UTC)
That explains the 1902 Service Dress tunic instead of the 1938 Pattern Battledress. Alansplodge (talk) 16:23, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

What is too much detail? What is enough detail?[edit]

Because K.e.coffman (talk · contribs) has started work on reduction of detail on another article (see Helmut Wick tags, and I've asked him to hold off on his energetic pursuit of details until we resolve the same issue regarding Werner Mölders. I suggested we move the entire discussion of the talk page and conduct it here. Assayer (talk · contribs) agreed. So here it is. I do not know how to adjust the discussion on the talk page to redirect people here, so perhaps someone better versed in such things can do that at Talk:Werner_Mölders#Deletions_of_details. Perhaps we should invite someone from biography to join this discussion? @WP:MILHIST coordinators: @Creuzbourg:, @K.e.coffman:, @Iazyges: & @Assayer:. auntieruth (talk) 21:33, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

@Auntieruth55: Thanks for the ping. There are two related issues here. One is the amount of intricate detail dedicated to minor topics, such as the subject's early service in the infantry (in an article about someone known as a pilot). Other examples include names of non-notable siblings, or dates of attendance in elementary school, etc. The other matter is whether these details are being given due weight. Please see WP:DUE:
  • "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. (...) Undue weight can be given in several ways, including but not limited to depth of detail, quantity of text, prominence of placement, and juxtaposition of statements."
The article in question has been tagged as possibly containing unreliable sources; please see: Talk:Werner_Mölders#Tags. Given that only apparently questionable source provide this information, the weight given to such details becomes undue, IMO. Perhaps Template:Undue weight would be more appropriate in this situation? K.e.coffman (talk) 00:41, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Looking at this, I would agree with the detail on the Iron Cross (& go further {& IIRC, I've done it on other pages}, taking out what's left behind, as still OT; that belongs on the decoration's page), but not with removing the translations; keeping those for foreign-language awards (& other items) is pretty routine & not an excessive amount of detail. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 01:40, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I agree on the translations. If they were routine, then we'd expect Russian translations of the award names in the articles that show up in Category:Heroes of the Soviet Union. I did a spot check, and it's not the case. Besides, interested readers can click on the link if they would like more information on the award, including the name in the native language. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:14, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Simply because something doesn't show up in a similar category doesn't mean it shouldn't show up. It may be because no one has done the comparable translations. This isn't automatic, as well we know. It requires an interested party to do that. KEC, you are quite welcome to provide the translations for the other category. auntieruth (talk) 17:58, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
This is yet another example of K.e.coffman trying to impose his ideas on "intricate detail" on en WP against consensus. As I pointed out at Talk:Werner Mölders, the level of detail included in a quality dictionary of biography is a minimum standard for a comprehensive WP article, especially as that would be only one source of information about the person. Other sources will provide more detail, of course. At that discussion I linked an example of a WWI Australian Brigadier General, Raymond Leane, not a very high-ranking officer in global terms, a one-star. I'll repeat what I said here. Leane's Australian Dictionary of Biography entry includes such things as his father's occupation and religious beliefs and the fact that he was a lay minister. It also mentions what his maternal grandfather's occupation was. It also states what schools he went to, what job he did before joining up, and describes his career after military service, as well as when and where he got married, who to, and how many kids he had. It also includes anecdotes from his service, lists his brothers by full name, and includes all notable awards he received. These details are all a part of the rich tapestry of his life and contribute to an understanding of the man. Judging from the pattern of his actions over a long period, K.e.coffman is hell-bent on deleting all of that type of information on any subject who was a German who served in WWII on the basis that is is "intricate detail". As I say, my view is that something like the detail in an ADB entry is the minimum standard for a comprehensive WP article, and I think that is borne out by military history biographical FAs on people from all countries. Attempting to enlist UNDUE, NPOV and RS to justify deletion of details about a person's life is mere empty and tendentious wikilawyering, and he is obviously manipulating any policy or guideline he can find to support his campaign to remove all such details from German WWII biographical articles. It doesn't matter to K.e.coffman how many editors disagree with him, as shown with his continuing of his campaign at Helmut Wick when the discussion at Werner Mölders is ongoing. He blindly carries on regardless, pointily quoting WP policies and guidelines to obfuscate the issue so he can continue with his campaign. That is the opposite of what is expected on en WP, which is editing collaboratively and respecting consensus. K.e.coffman shows no sign that he is even interested in consensus unless he agrees with it. If he is opposed, he claims it is only a "local consensus", so he forum-shops elsewhere or just carries on with his campaign regardless on other articles (a la Wick). I have already provided a large number of diffs in an ANI thread about K.e.coffman's tendentious editing behaviour, and am happy to back them up with more. I am sure that I am not alone in being heartily sick of the negativity and drama created in the Milhist space by this editor. At some point his limited positive contribution to en WP at articles like Battle of Prokhorovka is outweighed by the negative. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
No, you´re not. But this whole situation is nothing new, isn´t it? I see little chance for a positive change without administrative intervention ...GELongstreet (talk) 02:53, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Agreed, GE. My inclination with this is to leave articles that have a achieved a status (such as Featured) alone. The level of detail in these articles reflects a broadly based wiki-wide consensus. A-class articles at least reflect a project wide consensus. I'd prefer to leave them alone too.
FWIIW IMO if an article has reached FA based on the content, then there would need to be something of substance to warrant significant changes to the article. Further, I agree regarding a "broad coverage" being given. Things mentioned by Peacemaker67 are not unusual details. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:17, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
When Peacemaker67 referred to the various national/state dictionaries of biography as examples of what is the minimum detail required to be comprehensively encyclopaedic and took the Australian Dictionary of Biography as an example, I pointed to the standard German dictionary of biography, the Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB), which features a much shorter and more concise article on Mölders. Others, however, were quick to point out that Wikipedia was not a paper encyclopedia and not constrained by any means in relation to the level of details. So it is easy to cherry pick a national biography which is more talkative than other national biographies, declare that to be "minimum standard" and then move beyond that to allow even more details. So far I haven't read any attempt to define "intricate details", but the pervading attitude seems to be anything goes as long it is "reliably sourced". Any detail may interest someone, so the rationale goes, and whoever does not want to read those details, may skip over them. I objected that details have the potential to trivialize a biography and hamper accessibility and readability. To give an example from Hans-Ulrich Rudel: On the morning of 12 August 1943, Rudel and Hentschel respectively completed their 1,300th and 1,000th combat mission. Hentschel was the first air gunner to achieve this mark.[37] On the morning of 9 October 1943, Rudel and Hentschel respectively completed their 1,500th and 1,200th combat mission. Rudel was the first pilot to achieve this mark.The event was celebrated at an airfield at Kostromka, south of Kryvyi Rih, and was attended by General der Flieger Kurt Pflugbeil, commanding general of the IV. Fliegerkorps (4th Air Corps). This reads repetitive and this is how you celebrate anniversaries. Is it encyclopedic information to know when Rudel took a few days off, where he spent his vacation with his wife, or which mountains he climbed as a privateer? This "rich tapestry of his life" was given about the same weight than his post-war political career as a leading Neo-Nazi. It seems that there is no definition of the appropriate level of details, except that no details should be removed of any biography. If I would want to give that argument a mean spin I would suggest that this is a laissez fair-approach particularly for German WWII biographical articles.--Assayer (talk) 09:32, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
From what I can tell, what constitutes "Intricate detail" on German WWII articles appears to be exclusively defined by K.e.coffman (with a cheerleading part played by you), and no correspondence will be entered into as he bulldozes all opposition in pursuit of whatever it is that drives him to do this. I chose the ADB because that is the dictionary of biography that I know best, because, strangely, I am Australian. I did not "cherry-pick" it. It provides a good baseline. The OBL and DBL are admittedly shorter on detail that the ADB, which is also written in a prose style, unlike the Austrian and German ones which are almost in shorthand, but the detail found in the ADB is completely unexceptional as far as I am concerned. Your quoted example from Rudel's article is entirely encyclopaedic in my view (although the prose could probably be condensed slightly) as it is about important moments in Rudel's flying career that he shared with his gunner, who was also celebrating an important personal milestone on those dates. Whether someone was on leave or not may explain why he wasn't flying, creating a gap in the chronology. I would probably only include it if it was useful as part of the overall narrative. Explaining where he went on leave may also be relevant, as it shows the reader that despite a huge number of individual missions, pilots got a break from the front line. Few casual readers would intrinsically understand that all soldiers periodically get leave at various stages, even during a war. The same goes if he was wounded or attending training, and therefore away from flying duty. If Rudel's post-war career as a leading neo-Nazi needs expansion, why don't you find some reliable sources on that and add it? I am sure no-one will object. But doing that does not require the wholesale deletion of other material. And finally, as I have pointed out here and elsewhere, it is not a "laissez faire" approach, it is all about comprehensiveness, a Featured Article criteria. Something that K.e.coffman apparently has no appreciation for, despite the clear consensus when these articles were promoted. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 10:15, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
There DOES need to be a consensus as to what the definition of "intricate details" really is and is not. There is always room for edits for concision, but is a matter of discernment (and good faith) that must be used when removing parts from an article. There must be enough detail to give a well rounded presentation of the subject. We are here to present subjects and biographies of persons (no matter who they are or if someone might consider them "good or evil", so to speak) in a WP:NPOV way; those who are notable for general readers. Good examples of well presented detail in a GA bio is Heinrich Himmler; a good example of detail for a FA article is George S. Patton. An example of an article with need for editing as to detail (and also relies heavily on a primary source is Herbert Werner. Kierzek (talk) 13:06, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
I think I can say "here,here" to this though without having read Herbert Werner. Tagged for too much detail, it is only C-class and it relies primarily on an autobiography, which is perhaps too close to the subject to be considered reliable without other confirming sources - as tagged. A quick glimpse, it looks like a blow-by-blow summary of his war-time career - only avoiding how often and when he went to the head. Cinderella157 (talk) 13:24, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Peacemaker67: Do you want to have the discussion become ad hominem? You are Australian and find the details in the ADB completely unexceptional, I am German and do find that level of detail exceptional. But as others have pointed out, Wikipedia is a different kind of encyclopedia.

So let's talk about "comprehensiveness" for a minute. That remains an empty phrase unless there is no established standard against which to measure what that actually means. Some have argued that Wikipedia adresses both a general audience and the specialists. Both may have different standards of "comprehensiveness". I would insist, however, that Wikipedia was not conceived of as a specialized reference work for military history.

Moreover, all these details convey a certain image and fit well into a certain narrative. Take Rudel's case: It's basically his own narrative, an endless account of numerous missions, devotion to duty, comradeship and even a close escape. "Important personal milestones" means "important" from Rudel's POV. Why should we follow that POV? The details lend authenticity to the whole narrative, and many of those details are aptly referenced to Günther Just, Rudel's biographer and collaborator. Now you may want to argue that these are only facts and that Wikipedia is committed to NPOV and does not lecture people about certain POV. But, firstly, the notion that "casual readers" need to be informed about some things is lecturing from a certain POV, secondly, there is no narration of facts that is not also an interpretation, and thirdly, an indiscriminate wealth of details puts undue weight upon Rudel's narrative, thus distorting the way Rudel is actually represented in scholarly literature. The NDB article, e.g., puts at least as much emphasis on Rudel's post war activities and scandals as on his wartime exploits. Therefore, I can hardly imagine that this problem can be helped by adding even more details.--Assayer (talk) 17:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

  • It seems to me that the lack of detail in such sections of the Rudel article as his post war career as a notable neo Nazi is no reason to decrease the amount of detail in the sections on his career as a Nazi. I agree with Peacemaker67 (talk · contribs) that you, K.e.coffman (talk · contribs), are welcome to add such detail from a reliable source, but that the lack of detail in this section doesn't mean the destruction of the other sections. I thought the GA bio on Heinrich Himmler was a good example of the GA level of detail, however, it should also be noted that detail about Himmler's career is also available elsewhere in the related articles. This is not true of much of the Moelders material. I didn't think there were many articles on the German squadrons, etc., and consequently that info has to be included in the bio article. I thought the FA article on Patton was also very informative, however, --and this is a big however-- as an American general he lacks the "controversy" of a German flyer. Fundamentally, I don't see much difference in the level of detail on Patton and the level of detail on Moelders. What is lacking is the translations (which make the Moelders article seem more detailed) and the parenthetical details that explain things specifically German. auntieruth (talk) 17:58, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
♠"Leane's Australian Dictionary of Biography entry includes such things as his father's occupation and religious beliefs and the fact that he was a lay minister. It also mentions what his maternal grandfather's occupation was. It also states what schools he went to, what job he did before joining up, and describes his career after military service, as well as when and where he got married, who to, and how many kids he had. It also includes anecdotes from his service, lists his brothers by full name, and includes all notable awards he received. These details are all a part of the rich tapestry of his life " Yikes. I'd call most of that way OT. Unless it has a material influence on the subject's career, leave it out. Are we going to include Chris Claremont's grandfather's job? Bob Glidden's? Doug Thorley's? J. K. Rowling's? I can see including it for Barack Obama, maybe; Martin Luther King, Jr, yes (for context, at the very least); maybe Donald Trump's. Otherwise? Show cause or leave it out.
♠As for the "anniversaries" on Rudel's page, that's a bit redundant, I agree; date of his "mission milestones" isn't essential. (Mention of the peak number might do it; maybe ever 1000?) Date & location of leave, IMO, is better suited for a longer work than an encylopedia article, where there's space to deal with the issue, & an expectation (& acceptance) of greater detail.
♠There is an issue here, IMO, of balance between what's of interest to the specialist & to the general reader. I'm not convinced so much would be of interest even to most specialists.
♠As to the translations, I agree, if they were available for Russian, I'd leave them in. (Actually, I'd probably use them in preference, transliterated to Roman & linked to the English-language page, but...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 01:15, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
  • ADB is not the only biographical dictionary to include such details. For example, most of the Soviet and Russian biographical dictionaries include social background as well as the subject's education level and what he/she did before joining the military. The more recent ones that used previously classified archival documents as sources are even more detailed. They also include the subject's post-military career, but not family life. However, I think that including family life in an article is not intricate because that's a significant event in a person's life and as long as its reliably sourced contributes to article comprehensiveness. Kges1901 (talk) 07:54, 7 June 2017 (UTC)


I would like to suggest that we leave Featured Articles out of the discussion, Coffmann, unless something comes up (a new source, a new biography), that would significantly change how the person is viewed. Such an instance might, then, warrant an additional section on the person's place in historiography, or something of that sort. But I do think the German aces articles that have achieved FA should be left alone. That achievement in itself represents wide consensus on the level of detail appropriate in the article. I realize that this means at least two other complications:

  1. restoration of the article to its Featured Article level of detail
  2. restoration of the "mentioned in Wehrmachtbericht" materials.

What do others think? auntieruth (talk) 17:58, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

This is a complex issue for an outsider to be fully across; however, my opinion of what should be included in a biography probably lies fairly close to Peacemaker67's example of entries from the ADB. That said, in all fairness I also agree that in some of the articles in question there has been a number of examples of intricate detail / minutia that has probably rightly been excised. Certainly though I am opposed to the bold removal of referenced content from articles that have been deemed to be GA/A/FA by the community and think that if editors have issues with specific aspects of these articles at first instance they will need to raise a discussion on the talkpage and develop consensus if material is to be removed. This is clearly too contentious an issue for WP:BOLD to apply. At the same time there may need to be some limit on the number of such discussions that are ongoing at one any time, as they are clearly becoming a burden on the community to the point of becoming disruptive (perhaps even focus on one article at a time). The fact alone that some articles may lack details about the more controversial aspects of a subject does not seem reason enough to me to remove other details. Indeed I'd say the solution here is to add the missing details (assuming the reliable sources are available for them) and as far as I can tell there would probably be broad support for this approach. Anotherclown (talk) 00:26, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
I find myself in support of Peacemaker67's position here. There's always room for debate on what should and should not be included in an article, of course, but I think that a good portion of the content being excised here is beneficial to readers. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 01:38, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
While I'm inclined to leave FAs & the like, with agreed-on content, alone until this issue is settled, I don't think they should have blanket inviolability, if the result is against including detail they contain (& wouldn't, were they re-assessed). (Am I being clear?) A page rated FA must, IMO, continue to conform to the best of the latest standards, not to what was in place when originally rated or assessed. (That may be contrary to policy or guidelines; it's what I think...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 06:39, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with this, Trek, with the qualification that wholesale changes of articles should cease while we address the underlying issues K.e.coffman has. auntieruth (talk) 16:34, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I agree entirely, or it's just going to mean a mess of rv'g for no good reason. (I took that as given...) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 11:55, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

I guess all we're asking for is a degree of correlation and equivalence between bio-articles of German & Russian pilots and those of the Western Allies, where they have far more readily available source material published in English. If the same standards and rigorous examination regarding detail, reliable sources etc can be applied to all such biographies then we can see consistency and fairness. Are the Western pilot biographies also being put under the microscope with the same scrutiny and objectives of article-improvement? I guess it also wouldn't hurt to add further references to these GA / FA / A-class articles to show the facts & details cited are paralleled from a variety of sources and not just one or two publications, which could be singled out as potentially problematic thereby calling into question the whole article. Philby NZ (talk) 00:56, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

GA / FA articles[edit]

The key issue here is GA / A-class / FA pages based on (what I perceive to be) questionable sources. I raised this issue with the community over a year ago: WWII Content: Otto Kittel & other FA/GA articles; warning: very long thread. The discussion was inconclusive, but produced an article on Franz Kurowski, one of the leading pulp writers on the German war effort of 1939-1945.

I've had a list of such articles on my user page for over a year now, and I've been quite open about how I view them: Special mentions, including GA / FA articles. This came up again at the Joachim Helbig GAR where I offered to compile a list of articles that were using potentially problematic sources: [4]. There was no response to my suggestion.

What I'm currently doing is merely tagging the articles with sourcing issues & undue levels of detail. I've also removed redundant citations to a dated source (Gerhard von Seemen) & the Wehrmachtbericht, etc; sample edit: [5]. The matter of the Wehrmachtbericht has been discussed close to a dozen (?) times already, so I did not believe it was a controversial action. But I'm certainly open to discussing it again and / or can provide links to these past discussions.

The tags (a combination of "unreliable sources", "undue weight", "overly detailed", and "one source") have not yet been challenged. Perhaps we could discuss them, for example: Talk:Werner_Mölders#Tags, Talk:Adolf_Galland#Tags & Talk:Erich_Hartmann#Tags, among others.

I'm again offering to compile a list of articles I consider problematic and provide a summary of associated issues, so that we could discuss these articles as a group. Would that be helpful? K.e.coffman (talk) 02:43, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

KE, you're welcome to do that. I think generally that the tag of undue weight comes about when the biographies used as sources talk about wartime service, but don't go much past that. Thus, we have the emphasis on war time service. As for unreliable sources, Let's start with those, okay? Because I think therein lies the crux of your problem with what has been written so far. As for tagging, please stop until we resolve this. It's not helpful and it's extremely frustrating for the coordinators to keep track and try to address this. So hold off on the tagging please. auntieruth (talk) 16:32, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The more I read about "too much detail" as a justification for removal of material, the more I believe it is a mask for removing material because of POV issues. As far as this article is concerned, I ultimately agree in principal with User talk:Auntieruth55 and User_talk:Peacemaker67. I'd even consider major changes to articles other than FAs requiring consensus. --Lineagegeek (talk) 23:55, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
although it's not entirely clear with whom @Lineagegeek: is agreeing .... I think LG means that 1. removal of the material is a mask for the removing editor's POV issues; 2. Lineagegeek agrees that changes to FAs and other articles require consensus. Have I read this correctly? auntieruth (talk) 15:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
That's what happens when I put too much between double brackets (edited). And yes, that is what I am saying. To clarify "other articles" I refer to highly rated and detailed articles, whose quality might be impacted by the maojor change being made--Lineagegeek (talk) 16:27, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Great, I will provide such a list. Please give me a day or so. K.e.coffman (talk) 19:10, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

List of tagged pages[edit]

As promised, here's the list of the articles currently tagged. I included the year when the article was first promoted to GA; links to relevant Talk page discussions where the issues are articulated; and the tags themselves (I provided a legend for them below). Where available, I also included the subjects' entries in the Neue Deutsche Biographie. I noticed that there were two types of entries: one that provides a biographical sketch, and one that only provides a name / year born & died / profession and links to other repositories of sources. I linked the latter ones as "Index only".


Year GA Article Tagged Relevant Talk page posts NDB entry, if available
2008 Hans-Joachim Marseille RS
Unreliable sources tag
Overly detailed article
Length of article
Index only
2008 Erich Hartmann RS
2008 Heinrich Bär RS
OR & fringe sources
Extremist publication
2008 Jagdgeschwader 1 RS
Excessive intricate detail
2009 Helmut Lent RS
Unreliable sources
Intricate detail
Index only
2009 Werner Mölders RS
Update on literature
Recent edits
Bio sketch
2009 Walter Oesau RS
Tags Index only
2010 Friedrich Geisshardt RS
Tags N/a
2010 Adolf Galland 3P
Tags Index only
2011 Helmut Wick RS
Sea of blue, etc.
Helden Der Wehrmacht
Index only
2013 Hans Waldmann (fighter pilot) RS
Tags N/a
2014 Joachim Müncheberg RS Tags Index only
2014 Hans Philipp RS
Tags N/a
2014 Hermann Graf RS
Tags N/a
2015 Rudolf Frank RS
Tags N/a
2015 Theodor Weissenberger RS
Tags N/a
2016 Hans-Ulrich Rudel RS
Intricate details
Bio sketch

@Auntieruth55: & anyone else who's interested -- once you had a chance to review, how would you like to proceed? K.e.coffman (talk) 01:03, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

  • My observation re claims of (not) a reliable source is largely directed at a particular source and then others by inference. The "questioning" of reliability comes back to a review. These sort of tags relate to "lend[ing] undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies". The question then, is: are there certain ideas, incidents, or controversies which have been given undue weight and what alternative analysis is offered? I am seeing these tags being used in a way which is "marginal" to their intended use and frankly, tendentiously. Personally, I believe that tagging is a bit of a cop-out. If you know enough to tag an article then you probably know/have access to sources to collaboratively improve the material in question. Broad tags don't really help anybody. For example, Garland has been tagged as 1S where it does use several and because it uses an "approved" biography. But what specifically is questionable or has it been tagged "just because you can"? Cinderella157 (talk) 03:17, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
  • This sort of drive-by tagging is unhelpful and tendentious and is too often used as an excuse to later "trim" articles to suit the taggers POV. I say, get in and edit them yourself, improve them. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 05:49, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
  • improving them doesn't necessarily mean wholesale deletion of material. If someone thinks that there is too much emphasis on one aspect of an Ace's career, then find information to add about another aspect. Deleting material doesn't necessarily improve and article: it can be, and often is, a form of censorship. auntieruth (talk) 19:03, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
Just took a look at Friedrich Geisshardt. The talk states:"The article is largely sourced to a WP:QS catalog of Knight's Cross winners: Obermaier, Ernst (1989)... Most of the citations are to a single page from the source (p. 51) so one wonders how the article could be a summary of that one page ..." The article basically recounts the military career briefly. It expresses essentially no analysis, opinion or similar and where it does, it is from another source and is a negative perception of the subject. There is no statement as to why the source should be considered questionable and more specifically, why it should be considered questionable WRT the material being drawn upon. The article cites 11 references of which nine are citations are from the aforementioned source out of 22 (I hope I can count). I have not been following this but IMHO these tags seem most inappropriate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cinderella157 (talkcontribs) 07:53, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
  • First, sources: I don't have a problem with a source the discusses one aspect of a person's life, especially when that source focuses on military careers. How is this unreliable? And if the article relies on that source, and not a lot of other sources exist, how is this "undue weight" to either the subject or the source? If the source itself doesn't extend past, for example, WWII military career, then how can we expect an article to discuss post-war career? And if the subject died in the war (as Mölders did), then how can we expect much more than his youth and military career? I think, actually, that the Mölders article is one of the more balanced articles in this category out there, because there is a lot of material on his pre-war life. auntieruth (talk) 18:57, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Second, re overly detailed. Again, this is a matter of personal perspective. I'd rather see an article as "overly-detailed" rather than under detailed, especially when there is material available to source the details. The random tagging of an article as overly detailed, need of trimming, etc., is a point of view. The difference between these articles and articles on, for example, Goebbels or Himmler, is that G and H created policies etc. that warrant spin off articles in their own right. Since there are few spin-offs for the articles in question—even most of their units don't have stand-alone articles—the level of detail does not seem untoward to me. When possible, these articles refer to other campaign articles, unit articles, policy articles, etc., and if something those articles is mentioned, it is simply mentioned in the context of the article, not fully explained. auntieruth (talk) 18:57, 10 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I think, although I'm not sure, that the argument has been raised that "Heroes of the Soviet" doesn't have similar articles, and that perhaps the English wikipedia's many articles on Luftwaffe aces of WWII is out of proportion with the similar articles about the Soviet Union aces and heroes, and that this gives undue weight wiki-wide to the Nazi aces. This is, of course, a facetious argument: the lack of articles in one subject area is not related to the multiple articles in another area. It is a matter of editor preferences, not of wikipedia or project policy. Furthermore, the mention of an ace is "index only" is hardly giving undue weight to a flyer. It may mean a lot of things, including a dearth of reliable sources when the article was written. auntieruth (talk) 18:57, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

@WP:MILHIST coordinators: are there additional comments on this? auntieruth (talk) 18:59, 10 June 2017 (UTC)

These are things that fixed one piece at a time. I suggest identifying and working on the perceived specific problems rather than engage in general tagging. North8000 (talk) 00:33, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't see an easy solution here to be honest. Some of the articles tagged as being "overly detailed" are long and indeed some of the material that has been removed probably is not necessary. Yet at the same time in amongst these edits I also find material that seems relevant (to me at least) that is being removed, whilst the rest probably falls in the grey area of "editorial judgment" and could go either way. However, as a general statement of principle I see no problem with a detailed article as long as it is accurate, and indeed that seems preferable to me than the opposite. So unless there are clearly established issues with a source being used I don't see an article's level of detail being sufficient reason to remove information. Ultimately though, given that there does seem to be a variety of opinions as to what information is relevant, it seems to me that Bold, Revert, Discuss really needs to be applied to each article where there is disagreement, with the editor/s proposing changes self-reverting any changes that are in dispute, making a case for said changes on the talk page and then discussing each of them with the other interested parties. If a local consensus cannot be established to support the specific changes made and / or tags applied then I think it reasonable that the articles be restored (if necessary) to their last stable state (e.g. potentially that following GA/A/FA review). In order for such a process to be done in good faith though there probably needs to be a mutual agreement on how many discussions there will be open at any one time and how long each discussion is given to establish consensus. Otherwise this will very rapidly become unsustainable and disruptive (if it is not already). Anotherclown (talk) 00:48, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with much of what is being raised here (if not indeed all of it). Firstly, I feel it is important that we recognise that regardless of whether something is GA or FA, it doesn't preclude it from further improvement. Scrutiny is a good thing. That said, extra care should be taken in how this is achieved as the goal really needs to be to make the articles better than what they were to begin with (and what is an improvement is often subjective, so therein lies the rub, I guess). Many people will have put a large amount of effort into these articles, and their efforts deserve to be built upon, not dismantled. Additionally, many of these articles (the FAs at least) are likely to have a higher amount of views, so it becomes a reputational issue for Wikipedia as a whole if disputes become too public, or if changes aren’t completed in a coherent and deliberate manner.
Anyway, to the issues at hand (at least, the ones that I perceive above)… Regarding tagging: IMO, tagging should only be done sparingly (if at all), and the tags should really only remain for as short a time as possible. (The focus should be on fixing the problem, and the tag is really only necessary if there is consensus that the problem exists and that no one can easily fix it. If there isn't consensus that the problem exists, then a tag serves only to privilege one view of an article, to the exclusion of other views). Some of the tags I looked at above I agree with in principle, while others not so much. Some of the one source tags do not seem right to me (for example Hans Philipp which clearly has more than one source).
Regarding concerns of too much detail...this is complex, IMO, and difficult to provide a generic solution. Some of the information that I have seen in similar articles is too detailed, IMO. For instance, some articles I have seen provide exact timings for an aircraft being shot down or airframe serial numbers, etc. For an ace with a small number of aerial victories it might be ok to include a good level of detail about each victory in narrative form, but this should be pitched at an appropriate level for a lay person and where some aces have hundreds of victories, a more succinct overview style is probably more effective. Equally, some of the articles seem to provide extra details in an incidental way, which imply that they are really not necessary and potentially hinder easy comprehension of the article's main aspects. That said, some finer details add to the reader's understanding. For instance, details of a person's upbringing and family of origin can help us understand them better. Additionally, while a biography of a military officer should no doubt focus on what they are notable for over other more minor aspects, it is still important in my opinion to provide a reasonable coverage of their personal life etc. as ultimately no one is one-dimensional and failing to cover things like education, family background, etc. risks painting an incomplete picture of the subject. But it is subjective, I agree.
So, how to resolve this? With difficulty, no doubt. Like AC, I pretty much feel that each case will need to be handled on a separately through BRD and maybe FARC and GAR, and I would see this as an incremental process so as to not overwhelm editors or the system. Having said this, perhaps there is an opportunity to develop some sort of project guidance on what should generally be included in a military biography, through a central discussion? This could then be captured in a separate section of WP:MILMOS/C. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 08:32, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
I'll pick up one of the issues passed over rather quickly above. As auntieruth put it: I don't have a problem with a source the discusses one aspect of a person's life, especially when that source focuses on military careers. How is this unreliable? And if the article relies on that source, and not a lot of other sources exist, how is this "undue weight" to either the subject or the source? The fact that a source focuses on certain aspects of a biography is not per se a problem, but it also does not mean that this source is per se "reliable". Most of the sources we are talking about plainly do not qualify as historical scholarship. Maybe Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (history) is only an essay, but it seems that Milhist does not even remotely subscribe to the idea that Wikipedia should be based upon historical scholarship. Rather the notion seems to be that there is a popular demand for these kinds of biographies and therefore available sources are reliable, regardless of author, means of publication, reputation for fact checking or bias. If the MGFA is asked to provide résumés on certain Wehrmacht soldiers like Mölders or Marseille they routinely note that there is no historical scholarship available. In the case of Marseille the MGFA explicitly noted that attempts by "popular literature" to suggest an ideological distance between Marseille and Nazism were misleading. Still Wikipedia closely follows the narrative of that popular literature, quoting it at length. If there is no historical scholarship available, but only popular literature with a certain POV, and if that popular literature is used extensively for even the most minute detail, I call that "undue weight" and "unreliable". The knowledge that we have about a certain person is then misrepresented and substituted by a certain image, because that kind of literature follows a certain POV, incorporates certain notions of militarized manhood and follows a political agenda. Military historian Christian Hartmann has aptly called these books "galleries of heroes" and that's also what Wikipedia has become. Wikipedia even listed articles as GA and FA featuring the standard phrase The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, with its higher grade Oak Leaves, was awarded to recognise exceptional battlefield bravery or military leadership. Well, you could just have written, that the subject was an extremely brave German former Luftwaffe fighter ace who exhibited exceptional military leadership, because that's what is implied anyway. To be clear, I am not making a case that I do not like those biographies. If historical scholarship is available, everyone should make full use of it. But if it is not available, popular literature should not be allowed to fill the void with its POV. It is misleading to provide the casual reader with GAs and FAs on historical figures like Himmler and Goebbels based upon historical scholarship alongside GAs and FAs based upon dubious popular literature. --Assayer (talk) 15:18, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Just as a quick aside, regarding your Knights Cross comment - as a matter of course, when I've been adding information to articles, I have added to that standard phrase the following "For the fighter pilots, it was a tangible measure of their skill and success". The levels of award were commonly used initially as a marker-point of victories, and to add to the German public's 'cult of the hero-figure' at the time. Indeed it was not uncommon for some pilots to have suffered from "throat-itch" impatiently waiting for their award, having well-passed a perceived victory tally given to former awardees. Philby NZ (talk) 01:18, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Scholarship is about a critical analysis and not simply about the reporting of detail in either a popularist context or otherwise. To say: "The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, with its higher grade Oak Leaves, was awarded to recognise exceptional battlefield bravery or military leadership." vs "extremely brave German former Luftwaffe fighter ace who exhibited exceptional military leadership" is a matter of detail. Is the former a matter of fact? Is choosing not to report the former an "editorial" POV? WP makes a clear distinction between "fact" and "verifiable" sources too. This is not an issue of MILHIST but WP "policy", if anything. Furthermore, in a WP context, reporting the former of the two examples over the latter is not a matter of POV (or being popularist) but a matter of detail - of which the actual facts are not in dispute. To say that such detail should not be reported, IMHO represents a reactionary POV. A "poularist" source may be criticised wrt to opinion or analysis and, if it is in error in detail, this should be pointed out but, if it satisfies WPs essential criteria of editorial oversight, then it is a reliable source - as distinct from a scholarly source. The matter of "weight" is one in dealing with opinion or analysis, so more "weight" might be given to scholarly sources in the matter of analysis or opinion. The "proponents" here (ie those arguing "unreliable sources" or "undue weight" appear to be arguing a "minimalist position" in reporting on all "notable" Germans of the Nazi era (regardless of sources) and this appears to be a matter of their "POV" and their position is that everybody else has a biased POV. This is my observation as somebody that has no specific interest in the subject matter. Regards Cinderella157 (talk) 17:06, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I would add argue this: simply because a work is designed for popular readership does not make it unreliable, nor does it preclude a basis in scholarly research. There are a lot of "popular" histories that qualify for inclusion among reliable sources because the authors themselves have done some serious scholarship to make them so. When my dissertation is published, it will probably be as a "popular" history because there is a market for such works in French Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars/German history. Popular history is a marketing choice. For example, the Osprey Men-at-Arms series are popular history, yet they are generally reliable and widely cited. Would you tell me that anything written by Otto von Pivka is unreliable simply because it's "popular" and doesn't have Digby Smith's name on it? I agree with Cinderella157 above that classifying popular histories as inherently unreliable because they are not scholarly qualifies as the definition of bias. auntieruth (talk) 16:07, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
The idea that popular histories are unreliable as a matter of course is a non-starter. If you and K.e.Coffman can point to specific problems with specific books, we can deal with those, but blanket statements about popular histories or, what is K.e.Coffman's standard MO is to simply label a source as "WP:QS" with no justification whatsoever, are frankly unacceptable. Parsecboy (talk) 17:23, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm guessing that Parsecboy meant Assayer, not me.  :) 17:52, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Indeed I did. Thanks for clarifying, Ruth. Parsecboy (talk) 17:55, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have read through the first seven articles on the list of tags above. In terms of (1) "overly detailed", I found none of them to be so. There are a very few places where they might be wordy, but wordiness is easily fixed without massive deletions of material, or of turning the article into a contest. (2) the one referred to as a fan site is a completely bogus claim. I saw nothing in there that warranted such a statement. The article reflected the material similar to articles on other units: I just read a plethora of articles on the Royal Air Force squadrons and none can touch this one for quality and sourcing. (3) Reliable sources? Which one? Why, and how? Again, it seems like a snipe to me, looking for something that isn't there, and making mountains out of molehills. I think that we need to accept that there were "notable" Germans of the Nazi era. They did not all agree with the party line, although some of them did. They were capable, individually and collectively, of heroic acts, notable and positive leadership as well as notably negative leadership. auntieruth (talk) 17:52, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

First of all, I have to admit that I do not fully understand what precisely Cinderella157 is arguing. But I do know, that I did not classify popular histories as inherently unreliable , because I referred to "popular literature" as the term is being used in WP:HISTRS. This essay does not claim that a work is unreliable, because it is designed for a "popular readership" (I would rather say: broader readership.) Instead, historical scholarship may include: Popular publications by non-historians that were reviewed favourably in explicit book reviews or review-articles by historians in scholarly peer-reviewed journals. Whereas historical scholarship generally does not include: Popular works that were not reviewed . So, to claim that I made a blanket statement about popular literature is a serious misrepresentation of my argument, all the more since I gave examples. If you want to argue that publications by Osprey are "generally reliable", because, I don't know, the publisher has a reputation for fact checking and its publications are regularly reviewed favorably in scholarly historical journals and recognised as sound scholarship by other historians (by review or discussion), that's fair enough. But I still think it is not too much to ask for some of those reviews and discussions for some works in question. For example, if a reviewer concludes that a certain work by Digby Smith was "marred by frequent factual errors", I would not consider that work to be wholly reliable and would refrain from using it for the Battle of Leipzig, where there is a ton of scholarly literature available. But we are not talking about Digby Smith's work, but about, for example, John Weal's work, who is Osprey's "primary Luftwaffe author and artist" and whose "passion for German aircraft", according to Osprey, "makes this work a treat for students of the subject".
The last statement concerning the alleged "bogus claim" leaves me a bit perplexed. There is a privately hosted website, welcoming the reader with a grisly self-compiled image of a Messerschmitt Bf 110 E under a brown banner with the inscription "Luftwaffe 1933-1945" in a pseudo German type and you saw nothing in there that warranted the statement that it was a fan site? There is even a thread in the forum, in fact, it's the first one on the list, with members describing their motivation. The Luftwaffe Research section features a study arguing "that Western air power defeated the Luftwaffe and therefore enabled the USSR to survive", which is a bold statement, or, as the author himself aptly describes the acceptance of his thesis, "yet this is still insufficiently understood by contemporary historians." Anyway, WP:RSSELF applies, i.e., (disclaimer) while I do not argue that every personal web page is inherently unreliable (end of disclaimer), I'd like to see more hard evidence than none can touch this one for quality and sourcing , particularly given the content of the Sources and Books, full of publications by Motorbuch and the like but conspicously lacking works by Horst Boog. As to RS, I don't know where to begin with: Maybe with Franz Kurowski. Does the MilHist Project still think that this Landser pulp writer, who has a really bad standing among WW II historians, should be liberately used to write Wikipedia GAs and FAs?--Assayer (talk) 23:52, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
I think the issue with the "fansite" tag is that the tag has been misused. The "fansite" tag refers to the WP article and not to sources. I believe that auntieruth's comments are about the WP article wrt this tag but Assayer (and other) are referring to a reference cited in the article. Cinderella157 (talk) 02:18, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
However, evidence exists that is not a fansite. For example, in Black Cross/Red Star Volume 2, respected military aviation historian Christer Bergstrom includes on a lists of sites that he says:

"In recent years, several Internet sites have evolved with a supply of high,quality information in the field of aviation history. The authors have received invaluable material for this book directly from and via the following Internet sites, whose owners have undertaken considerable research work." And Barrett Tillman also seems to have used as a source for a footnote here. If were truly a fansite like you claim, I doubt that these two respected historians would have used it.Kges1901 (talk) 08:34, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

To be clear, I do not consider Christer Bergström or Barrett Tillman to be "respected historians". They write "popular literature" in a different style and with a different approach than academic historians. I recognize that I view their work from a different perspective than you and I acknowledge that writers like Bergström have access to documents and other materials outside official archives, because they are on friendly terms with the veterans. But I also see that as problematic, because it makes it more difficult to verify their research and puts them at risk to loose their objectivity.
What I wrote about still relates to the problem of RS. As to the article as a fansite, I am not sure whether auntieruth reviewed the article as it was, before K.e.coffmann "attacked" it. Here's a diff from June 2016 [6]. I would consider something like The badge of 9./JG 1 depicted a flintlock pistol on a heart surrounded by the words, (translated from German) "Who Shoots first gets more out of life". After his appointment as Geschwaderkommodore Oberstlt. Walter Oesau introduced a new emblem on 12 November 1943 and used by all of JG 1; a red–winged ‘1’ inside a white diamond surrounded by a black circle. There seem to have been some disputes over emblem details, with one version enclosing the white diamond with a red circle instead of a black one to be comprehensive for "Luftwaffe artists" and model builders, but not necessarily addressing the interests of a more general readership of Wikipedia articles on WW II topics.--Assayer (talk) 09:41, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
Who would you consider academic historians? As for descriptions of unit emblems, Wikipedia is meant for enthusiasts and modellers, too, and information about unit emblems can be included as long as it is reliably sourced (or at least from a source that is considered reliable for the in depth unit history portion, not necessarily its conclusions on the war in general). As auntieruth said above, it isn't like the general reader is forced to read through more specialized unit descriptions, and can merely scroll down to read something that he is interested in. Kges1901 (talk) 00:52, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

Discussion of specific articles[edit]

Thank you to everyone for their feedback. Regarding sources, MILHIST has a recommendation in their Manual of Style (WP:MILMOS#SOURCES), which I generally follow in assessing articles. It states:

  • Articles on military history should aim to be based primarily on published secondary works by reputable historians. (...) Editors are encouraged to extensively survey the available literature—and, in particular, any available historiographic commentary—regarding an article's topic in order to identify every source considered to be authoritative or significant; these sources should, if possible, be directly consulted when writing the article.

When I started coming across flowery language and dubious claims in WW2 articles, I surveyed the literature and discovered the two genres that we are perhaps dealing with here:

  1. Landser-pulp literature, also known as Landser Hefte, which aims to heroicise the military men and strays into historical fiction while doing so.
  2. Deliberate historical distortions, published by authors such as Richard Landwehr ("writing from the fringes of the far right") and various authors affiliated with HIAG, the post-war Waffen-SS lobby group in West Germany, and its in-house publisher, Munin-Verlag. In the German language, these works are generally published by far-right and extremist publishers such as the Türmer Verlag (de), the Arndt Verlag (de), and the Pour le Mérite Verlag (de), among others.

The prolific Franz Kurowski, with 400 titles under his name and various pseudonyms, spans both, with the Panzer Aces & Infantry Aces falling into the first category, and Bombs over Dresden into the latter. The sources in the articles that I tagged generally fall into one or the other of these categories.

As far as the other tags go ("Undue weight", "Overly detailed"), here's is a good essay that aligns well with my views on the topic -- Wikipedia:Reliable sources and undue weight, -- so I'm just going to quote from it:

  • Reliability can help judge due weight: The reliability of a source can help you judge the weight to give the opinions of that source. The more reliable the source, the more weight you should give its opinion. For sources of very low reliability, due weight may be no mention at all.

It may help, perhaps, to discuss articles individually. I'll add them as sections below. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:08, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

As you have quoted, the matter of weight goes to opinion. Yet, you appear to be applying this to details. Specifically, you appear to have misunderstood or are trying to misrepresent the concept of weight as it is intended to be applied herein. Cinderella157 (talk) 02:25, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, all sources are reliable for their opinions. If it's an opinion of the source that a particular pilot's "informal training was unique in the entire Luftwaffe bomber force", but the source is not reliable, do we publish such an opinion? K.e.coffman (talk) 02:31, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
The essay on weight deals largely with conficting opinions within sources or POVs - "should fairly represent all significant viewpoints". Not so well covered in the essay is the extent to which the opinion is controversial or otherwise. Your example is not particularly controversial and presumably, the source can reasonably justify the opinion and there are not other sources which provide a conflicting opinion. In which case, it is not unreasonable to publish such an opinion. However, if it were more controversial "his action single-handedly stopped the Russian advance" and other sources disagree on this, then it might still be appropriate to include and then discuss the disparity between sources, indicating the scholarly basis for disagreeing with the statement. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:02, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
The key statement for me is "For sources of very low reliability, due weight may be no mention at all". If only unreliable sources are available on a particular aspect of a topic, do we ignore WP:RS and use questionable sources instead? K.e.coffman (talk) 03:13, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
"... sources of very low reliability". Herein lies the issue. The essay does not indicate quantum choices - either in or out. It indicates a continuum of choices in how to deal with the issue of weight. A negative review on a particular aspect of a work does not render it questionable in all respects of that work (see below). Cinderella157 (talk) 03:40, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
It seems as if the burden of proof is routinely reversed. If a source is dubious because its author, its publisher or both have a reputation for historical distortions and a certain bias (e.g. heroication), I consider it unreasonable to be asked for sources which question specific dubious claims couched in flowery language and traced to those source. Exceptional claims require multiple high-quality sources, not just some. The whole situation becomes Kafkaesque, when any attempt to demonstrate how exceptional certain claims are, is struck down as "original research" with reference to WP:SYNTH. If there is only one source making a certain claim that does not necessarily imply that it is uncontroversial, it might just mean that this claim is exceptional or even plain wrong.--Assayer (talk) 10:03, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
You refer to the irony of WP with respect to truth or fact vs verifiability but I also think that you miss the mark if you refer to "flowery language" such as the distinction between: "The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, with its higher grade Oak Leaves, was awarded to recognise exceptional battlefield bravery or military leadership." vs "extremely brave German former Luftwaffe fighter ace who exhibited exceptional military leadership". I have struck issues myself but have had to work through them. But, just what are "exceptional claims", why are they just "plain wrong" or controversial? Why? Is this just a POV or can it be substantiated? Perhaps this is the conundrum of WP (it does not allow original research or synthesis) or perhaps this is (politely) just your POV. Cinderella157 (talk) 11:41, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
You are missing that I referred to WP:FLOWERY according to which peacock terms are to be avoided anyway. That's a question of language and style, not "fact vs. verifiability". Furthermore, I would rather say that I refer to the bad habit of Wikipedians to use sources indiscriminately, without proper evaluation, while ignoring their weight in historical discourse. Take, for example, how Wikipedia suggests at considerable length and with intricate detail, that Jochen Marseille was "openly anti-Nazi", despite the MGFA have found no evidence for that. Much of the "evidence" in Hans-Joachim Marseille#Marseille and Nazism is based upon a "popular" source. Among other things that source claims that Marseille had been asked to join the Nazi party, but declined. The problem with this is, that until late 1944 no soldier of the Wehrmacht was allowed to join the Nazi party anyway. For a more detailed discussion and more issues see Talk:Hans-Joachim Marseille#Marseille and Nazism. Is there any literature which specifically challenges those claims made by that specific source? No, it seems as if that bio has been ignored by historians. So while Wikipedia guidelines specify that sources are to be weighed for their reliability and that authoritativeness of a source should be demonstrable to other people, it has become a habit to assume reliabilty until proven otherwise. This becomes more effective, the more obscure the source is. This is not much of a conundrum, but a travesty of the guidelines.--Assayer (talk) 17:53, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

As a genuine question: should we then preface an article with a warning comment to the effect of "the information herein is primarily from a source that has not been proven reliable" or suchlike. Is 'some potentially unreliable information' better than 'no information'? Is it better to incentivize improvement rather than leaving an article as a stub or just the barest of details? I'd appreciate knowing what is acceptable practice in these cases? Philby NZ (talk) 01:33, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Erich Hartmann[edit]

The article is largely sourced to The Blond Knight of Germany (1970) by the authors Trevor J. Constable & Raymond F. Toliver (40+ citations). This book has been reviewed by both German and American and historians and received an unfavourable assessment, which can be viewed here: Talk:Erich_Hartmann#Tags.

The article originally passed GA in 2008. If this article were reviewed today, would it pass? It seems that the criteria re: sourcing and reliability has been significantly tightened. I would appreciate feedback specific to this article. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:08, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

The critical analysis of the source you have provided criticises Constable and Toliver for inconsistencies in their analysis of statistics, it lacks an analysis the political and social consequences of the Second World War and a bias with respect to the Soviet Union and communism that has been attributed to cold war attitudes. If undue weight is not given to analysis opinion or conclusion that have been questioned, then it is not unreasonable to use material from the source IMHO. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:31, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
You refer to reviews by American and German historians and yet the link leads to a review by a German historian. If you are referring to The Myth of the Eastern Front, it too has mixed reviews (ie negative too) and by your criteria is therefore not a reliable source that can be used to establish that another source is not a reliable source? Cinderella157 (talk) 03:53, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
Whether a source is reliable or not depends heavily on what it is being used for. Since I haven't read The Blond Knight of Germany and it's probably been 50 years since I read The First and the Last, let me illustrate from a type of source I've used in the past and received some flak for, unit histories prepared shortly after the end of World War II by members of the unit for members of the unit. Would I use that source for a claim that only one other group in the AAF shot down more German airplanes. No, even if the claim were true, there are sources higher up the heirorarchy of sources that provide this information. Would I use it for analysis (as opposed for statements of fact)? Again, no. Would I use it for a statement that the unit had moved to Carentan on 9 July 1944 (when the recognized historical sources merely say that it moved to the Continent shortly after D-Day)? Absolutely. Perhaps I digress too much, but my point is that works aren't unreliable per se. The material being used and the context in which it is used determines the reliabilty (along with the availability of mopre scholarly articles on the same subject). Deleting material solely because a source is "blanket unreliable" appears to me to be contrary to Wikipedia's guidelines. --Lineagegeek (talk) 23:29, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure that this discussion should be conducted here, as it is disconnected from the article which has been tagged. Having said that, in this case, the aspects of the Constable and Toliver book that have been criticised by reviewers (analysis of statistics, and discussion of the political and social consequences of WWII) should be avoided or only be used with care, attributed in-text and by noting the criticisms made. However, having been criticised for some aspects doesn't make a source entirely unreliable. Most books have their critics, including, as has been pointed out, Smelser and Davies book. I agree with Lineagegeek that uncriticised elements of the book can be used freely, especially for unexceptional information about Hartmann's career. For example, all of the information cited to Constable and Toliver in the Early life and career section is entirely unexceptional, and it is fine to use it for that material. It is also at an appropriate level of detail for a comprehensive biographical article. I have not gone through the rest of the article to check, but I daresay most of if not all of the rest of the citations to Constable and Toliver are also fine, as there doesn't appear to be any analysis of statistics or discussion of the political and social consequences of WWII that has been cited to Constable and Toliver. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 04:55, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
Let me still raise the question: How can Wikipedians determine the reliability of certain statements taken from sources which are problematic for certain reasons? For example, Waffen-SS general and cofounder of the revisionist HIAG Otto Kumm has written a history of its own unit. It is of course not wholly factually inaccurate and has been used by historians as a source. But it also follows a certain narrative and uses frequent euphemisms and distortions, e.g., that the division killed only "Partisans". It is by now a well established fact that the Germans counted civilian victims as "Partisans", too, so because of that context Kumm's number of killed "Partisans" is unreliable. How many Wikipedians do know that? Let's return to the Tolliver/Constable book. The critical analysis of their work is by a German historian who presented it at a conference. It's original research and he has certainly put some effort into it. How can we expect Wikipedians, who cannot turn to original research, to tell what material from Tolliver/Constable or others is fine to use?--Assayer (talk) 09:01, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
On that basis, let's turn to Smelser and Davies. Their work has also been negatively reviewed in academic publications. How are Wikipedians to know what of their book is reliable or not? And I'll bite regarding Kumm's estimates of enemy casualties, because I actually know the academic sources. Immediately after WWII, the Yugoslav government claimed that 1.7 million Yugoslavs were killed during the war. This claim was developed by a lowly statistician to conform to a claim already publicly made by the Yugoslav Partisan hierarchy. It is well established that this was basically made up. Academic estimates since then have agreed on a figure of a tick over 1 million at the high end. So the Yugoslav government overestimated the number of dead citizens of their own country by 700,000. With no evidence to back it up. Not a few here and there, 700,000. They overestimated the human cost of the war in Yugoslavia over a four year period by 70%, for political purposes. Partisan sources are full of outlandish estimates of German casualties in individual engagements. You claim Kumm's estimates of Partisan casualties in Yugoslavia are inaccurate. On what reliable sources are you depending? Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 10:23, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the critical element to determining reliability is in how the sources is used: documentation of statement of fact, or documentation of analysis. And of course it's all contextual. The best questions to ask are (1) how is the source used; (2) what reliance does the article make on the source; (3) if the source is used as analysis, how reliable is the author; and (4) if the source used is analysis, is it given appropriate weight given period, other historiography, author, and a variety of factors. We try to be fair, although certainly fairness is in the eye of the beholder. It would be possible, for example, to make a "note" on Partisans to explain that Germans usually termed many civilian victims as such. Partisans would likely phrase it differently, and claim that many killed were civilians. And the Yugoslav government would certainly want their own figures to reflect high losses. auntieruth (talk) 13:53, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
@Peacemaker67: I find it troubling that you suggest to treat the work of Otto Kumm on par with the work of Smelser/Davies. But maybe it is this attitude of mixing up historical scholarship (defined by the authors' academic training, academic or scholarly presses, peer review and so forth) with opinion pieces and non reviewed popular works, even primary sources, which is at the heart of the problem. Besides, looking at how their work is used at Franz Kurowski, e.g., I find it mostly used as a source of opinion, which is a different matter. I also find it troubling to argue that simply because Partisan sources are full of outlandish estimates of German casualties in individual engagements (which is true, and I have argued that years ago at Talk:Battle of Drashovica - in vain) it is reasonable to assume that Kumm's estimate is accurate, if that's what you are saying. That's a false analogy. Concerning Kumm I have presented my evidence at Talk:Artur Phleps#Roland Kaltenegger and Otto Kumm. So how do you sort out accurate and inaccurate details?
The points outlined by auntieruth seem fair. However, that's more of an historian's approach, whereas Wikipedia works differently, e.g., you cannot turn to original research to verify dubious or exceptional claims. (Thus I would even argue that it is more difficult to write Wikipedia than a scholarly piece.) Once a source has been demonstrated to be problematic, its claims should be taken with a grain of salt, instead of still presuming reliabilty in general and detail --Assayer (talk) 14:17, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure someone is turning to original research to verify material. Or, from the other perspective, scholarly work/academic research is, fundamentally, original research. Using a work to provide facts, not interpretation, is one thing and I suggest that some of the examples used above are a good example: a source is not unreliable per se, as Assayer (talk · contribs) maintains. It depends on how it is being used. auntieruth (talk) 16:09, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
To be clear, I maintained that sources are not "reliable" per se and I am arguing that sources with known bias and a reputation for distortion should be used less freely and with much more caution, since, for several reasons, it is hard for Wikipedians to distinguish facts from distortions. As I have argued elsewhere, facts or events exist as prelinguistic phenomena, but the way in which they are selected and represented imbues them with a certain meaning and thus their narration is also an interpretation. As Carl L. Becker has noted more than a century ago: "the facts of history do not exist for any historian till he creates them". It is the description, the way facts are rendered, the narration of facts, which matters. To say It depends on how [a source] is being used is a broad and ultimately vague statement to which we all can subscribe. But then let's talk about how sources like Tolliver/Constable are being used.--Assayer (talk) 18:30, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
To be clear, despite your spurious claim, Assayer, I'm not suggesting we treat Kumm the same as Smelser and Davies. I'm pointing out the inherent contradiction in your line of argument. Obviously, sources vary in reliability. Nearly all sources are criticised in some way or another. That doesn't mean they are equivalent, and I have not suggested that. What I am pointing out is that there is bias and lack of objectivity in most if not all sources, and that what a source is being used for has a direct impact on whether it is appropriate or not. Using Kumm for information about what operations his division undertook, when and where, is completely different from using Kumm's analysis of his division's performance or his musings on how unfair it was for his heroic and tough division to be accused of war crimes. No source is perfect, they are written by humans. And, why you keep harking back to Kurowski I have no idea, I thought we were talking about Constable and Toliver here. But in a more general sense, I think Ruth's questions (above) are a good basis for further discussion. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I would note what appear to be some misconceptions. Firstly regarding original research. Sources which "are" original research can be used as can the original research contained therein (subject to considerations of weight, POV and conflict of interest if the author being cited is also the WP editor citing their own work). A WP editor cannot write an article such that the article is the first report of some original research (as opposed to being published somewhere else). There is also the matter of using primary sources. It is acceptable to use these for facts but not for analysis or opinion - much as Lineagegeek refers to using unit histories above. If I can summarise, there appears that the proponents (Assayer and K.e.coffman) wish to discredit sources as being "less than reliable" for various reasons. Having argued that a source is of diminished credibility they then posture that the source cannot be used "at all" in WP articles and that any text that relies upon the sources must be removed. This is a position of absolutes. On the otherhand, not all editors agree that sources tagged by the proponents are unreliable. But, more importantly, they see that a lack of reliability in one or more areas does not make the source unreliable across the board. As Peacemaker67 points out, most works will receive some degree of negative criticism and no source is perfect. As such, material may be used, balancing how and why it has been criticised with what material is used and how it is presented. This is not a matter of absolutes but degrees. Furthermore, it appears to represent a consensus? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cinderella157 (talkcontribs) 03:49, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

That's a.) completely overdrawn and a serious misrepresentation of what I wrote. @Cinderella157: I'll strongly suggest that you use quotation marks to signify only authentic quotes instead of made up quotes. b.) I am not sure whether K.e.coffman would subscribe to my line of argument. They may speak for themselves. I was pointing to the problem how Wikipedians consider themselves to be able to distinguish fact from distortions, or, as PM67 put it that what a source is being used for has a direct impact on whether it is appropriate or not . So then let's finally talk about Toliver/Constable. About 1973 the German writer Dieter Kühn, who had already reviewed the Toliver/Constable book on the German Fighter aces, conducted an interview with Erich Hartmann to question him about Toliver/Constable's best selling bio of his. Kühn also used this interview for a piece in his book Luftkrieg als Abenteuer ("Air war as adventure", 1975), to which I am referring. It turned out that Hartmann considered Toliver to be a friend, but was not really involved in the writing process. He said that the book featured only few authentic statements directly from him. What may interest us, is the fact that Hartmann also acknowledged that several aspects in his bio were made up by the authors, for example, what he allegedly thought after his visit with Hitler shortly 20 July 1944. Thus we know from Hartmann himself that Toliver/Constable dealt with their subject freely and that their work contains elements of fiction, apparently to fashion a certain image of Hartmann. Who can tell fact from fiction? It is clear that Toliver/Constable's imaginary Hartmann (Kühn does indeed draw a distinction between the real Hartmann and the Hartmann of the book) reflects a variety of stereotypes: The hero seems to have trouble with authority (as nearly any German ace seems to have had), he nearly and daringly escapes captivity, he is deeply attached to his unit, and so forth. Who believes that "Bimmel" Mertens picked up a gun to search for Hartmann (alone behind enemy lines? and amidst Stuka attacks, as we learn shortly thereafter)? Who believes that Hartmann hid in a "large field of giant sunflowers" and received a shot through his trousers when he approached German lines? Who believes that Barkhorn, Krupinski and Wiese visited Hitler intoxicated and that Hartmann put up Hitler's hat (a jolly good story)? Who believes that Hartmann was allowed to carry his pistol while he received the Diamonds from Hitler personally? Since the beginning of the war no one who approached Hitler was allowed to carry a firearm. That was one of the reasons why the plotters of 20 July planted a bomb. In short, the whole article is full of such details too good to be true. In what context are these details permissible? What's the difference between Otto Kumm's musings on how unfair it was for his heroic and tough division to be accused of war crimes and Toliver/Constable's construction of a fighter ace they call "the blonde knight"? I may repeat what I actually wrote: "Once a source has been demonstrated to be problematic, its claims should be taken with a grain of salt, instead of still presuming reliabilty in general and detail."--Assayer (talk) 00:16, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
That's a very interesting comment about Kühn & his research, and I was not aware of it before this. I have read the Toliver/Constable book and I can say it is "of its time". Given that it is a relatively well-known book for people interested in the WW2 aerial war, should a comment/paragraph be inserted into the Erich Hartmann article critiquing the book? This lets the reader take it on board while reading the rest of the article. Its not excess detail, it is providing valuable context Philby NZ (talk) 01:51, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
There are number of ways in which inverted commas (single or double) and italics can be used. Direct quotation of a person is just one use. I have not directly quoted Assayer nor have I intended to, nor do I believe that this is what is conveyed (to most). I have used the double inverted commas for emphasis to identify what I have perceived as the key elements of the proponent's argument and my use of the double inverted comma is consistent with the nuances of English. Cinderella157 (talk) 03:29, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Now that you are getting down to "tin tacks", you are making a case with some substance. Certainly, some of this detail can be dealt with in a way that questions the weight that a reader should apply to such - notes are an effective way of doing so. Some material might even be deleted where it is particularly questionable. It is sometimes more appropriate to acknowledge a "story" and then explain why it is "fanciful" (quoting other sources) than it is to ignore the story - this is one way in which one might deal with weight. Having said that, there needs to be a consensus established on the course taken - and this might be through BRD but it should be undertaken with care, ie with the intent of obtaining consensus, and not in a way that can be viewed as overwhelming, not easily reversible or confrontational. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:04, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
It seems to me we may have two separate (& perhaps inseparable) issues. One, statistics fudged or outright fabricated, like Truman's "one million dead" to justify the Bomb; two, stats of dubious provenance, like Herodotus' for strengths of Persian &/or Greek armies. (Pick your own examples, if you prefer.) The first can be refuted; the second, maybe not... And it may be any "correction" has its own bias, pro/con a particular party; do we accept Red Air Force victory claims in the Far East against Japan, or IJAAF's? Or do we accept their own loss numbers (which may've been minimized for political reasons--or simple absence of surviving records...) What happens when enemy records don't support a widely-accepted claim, like the Bishop airfield raid? (Yeah, this is getting afield from Hartmann...but clearly, it's not limited to him.) How are editors to judge which sources don't have a POV (or simple unreliability/inaccuracy), absent intimate knowledge of the source & subject? I wouldn't trust Stinnett on Pearl Harbor, but there's a lot of people who don't know any better who have... So, without limiting statistical edits to "experts", how do we manage the problem? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 10:18, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • It seems clear that The Blonde Knight of Germany is not a reliable source and should be removed. Srnec (talk) 13:24, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Hermann Graf[edit]

Much of the subject's war-time career is cited to:

  • Jochim, Berthold K (1998). Oberst Hermann Graf 200 Luftsiege in 13 Monaten Ein Jagdfliegerleben. Rastatt, Germany: VPM Verlagsunion Pabel Moewig. ISBN 3-8118-1455-9.

Berthold K. Jochim is a pen name of Franz Kurowski, a known fabulist. He reserved his own name for "more serious work" and used his pseudonyms for largely semi-fictional accounts. Specific to the book in question, an editor, who is familiar with the source, noted: I own the 1998 version and I think it more or less a piece of s***. Quoted from: [7].

I was not surprised at this assessment as the source was issued by Verlag Pabel Moewig, the publisher behind Der Landser. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:52, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

I have the Bergstrom-Sundin-Antipov book cited often in the other sections of the article, and although I haven't gone through it extensively, I am sure that the references from Jochim can be co-verified or corrected from that book, or from a number of similar works. As a Good Article I hadn't thought this one would need further updating/review and my research has instead been aimed at less comprehensive articles Philby NZ (talk) 01:18, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Hans-Joachim Marseille[edit]

This article has been promoted to GA status in 2008. There are multiple discussions on the Talk page about the article such as Unreliable sources tag, Overly detailed article, Marseille and Nazism, and Length of article.

The page contains 38 citations to Wubbe, which has been published in the extremist publisher Verlag Siegfried Bublies (de):

  • Wübbe, Walter (2001). Hauptmann Hans Joachim Marseille— Ein Jagdfliegerschicksal in Daten, Bildern und Dokumenten [Captain Hans Joachim Marseille— A Fighter Pilots Fate in Data, Images and Documents]. Schnellbach, Germany: Verlag Siegfried Bublies. ISBN 978-3-926584-78-6. 

On Wubbe, here's input from an editor familiar with this work: "The book is 20% text and 80% pictures and copies of the original documents plus newspaper clippings." (Quoted from this post). I.e. it's about 80% primary material, including unreliable war-time propaganda, and 20% commentary, also potentially unreliable given the slant of the publisher. Separately, even with the recent reductions, the article is still 130K Bytes. If it were nominated today, I would believe it would have been quick failed on the length alone.

@WP:MILHIST coordinators: Would this article be a suitable candidate for an individual reassessment? K.e.coffman (talk) 00:04, 15 June 2017 (UTC)


I don't see the point in adding additional articles to the process. We should have enough information to develop a consensus here. Cinderella157 has tried to sum up the discussion thus far, and I'm signing each paragraph so that it it clear who posted it when it gets broken up for discussion: auntieruth (talk) 15:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

  • Sources which are original research can be used, as can the original research contained therein (subject to considerations of weight, POV and conflict of interest if the author being cited is also the WP editor citing their own work).auntieruth (talk) 15:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
    • Sub argument of this: The WP article should not be the first instance of use of someone's original research. It should be published somewhere else; theses, dissertations, habilitations, and equivalents would probably be an exception since these are de facto and de jure peer reviewed; they are available online, etc.auntieruth (talk) 15:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • There is also the matter of using primary sources. These are reliable for facts but not for analysis or opinion. Examples would probably be unit histories, per Lineagegeek.auntieruth (talk) 15:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • As part of the larger disagreement, most works will receive some degree of negative criticism and no source is perfect.
    • Challenge: (Assayer and K.e.coffman) wish to discredit sources as being "less than reliable" for various reasons. Having argued that a source is of diminished credibility they then posture that the source cannot be used "at all" in WP articles and that any text that relies upon the sources must be removed. As Cinderella157 says, this is a position of absolutes. auntieruth (talk) 15:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
    • Counter argument: Cinderella157 summarizes another side of the argument thus: ...not all editors agree that sources tagged by the proponents are unreliable. But, more importantly, they see that a lack of reliability in one or more areas does not make the source unreliable across the board. As Peacemaker67 points out, [and with which Auntieruth55 agrees] most works will receive some degree of negative criticism and no source is perfect. Consequently, they propose that such material may be used, balancing how and why it has been criticised with what material is used and how it is presented. As Cinderella157 summarizes, This is not a matter of absolutes but of degrees. In other words, material may be used to cite facts but not necessarily for analysis and opinion. auntieruth (talk) 15:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Do we agree on this so far?
We may agree that this summary includes an inaccurate representation of my argument and is thus not an authentic summary of the debate.--Assayer (talk) 00:26, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Explain, please Assayer how this is inaccurate. auntieruth (talk) 13:37, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Would this be more accurate? Assayer (talk · contribs) and K.e.coffman (talk · contribs) wish to discredit eliminate sources as being "less than reliable" for various reasons: self-published, right wing conspiracy theories, POV. Having argued that A source is of diminished credibility they then posture maintain that the source cannot be used at all in WP articles and that any text that relies upon the source must be removed. As Cinderella157 says, this is a position of absolutes. auntieruth (talk) 13:47, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
Cinderella157 summarizes another side of the argument thus: ...not all editors agree that sources tagged by the proponents Assayer and K.e.coffman are unreliable. But, more importantly, they others see that a lack of reliability in one or more areas does not make the source unreliable across the board. As Peacemaker67 (talk · contribs) points out, [and with which Auntieruth55 and others agree] most works will receive some degree of negative criticism and no source is perfect. Consequently, they propose that such material may be used, balancing how and why it has been criticised with what material is used and how it is presented. As Cinderella157 summarizes, This is not a matter of absolutes but of degrees. In other words, for example, such challenged material may be used to cite facts but not necessarily for analysis and opinion. auntieruth (talk) 13:57, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'd like to add this to the general mix: Wikipedia articles are required to present a neutral point of view. However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject. I understand this to mean that the article must be neutral, but the source need not be neutral. See Identifying reliable sources. this page leads us through "reliability" in specific sources and for specific instances. auntieruth (talk) 14:44, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

I would take this to mean:
That such wikipedia articles as those above must be neutral, but the sources themselves do not have to be neutral.
The source must specifically support the item cited. In other words, context matters.
Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight. Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely acknowledged as extremist, that are promotional in nature, or that rely heavily on rumors and personal opinion. Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publication. auntieruth (talk) 18:20, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── if we follow the guidelines that Wikipedia offers us, then the citations (38) in the Marseille article to Wubbe are not problematic because they cite facts not opinions. The publisher of the item may be a right wing publisher, but that does not necessarily change the facts. It is possible that Wubbe omitted some facts and included some others. Out of 36 total sources, Wubbe is cited 38 times, yes, but Maj (ret) Tate is cited 46 times, and Heaton and Lewis 34 times. So, although the publisher of Wubbe's book may be of the right wing, the citations appear to be to fact, not to opinion (although I did not look at them all). There is not an unreasonable reliance on Wubbe--others are cited with similar frequency. auntieruth (talk) 18:40, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Response by K.e.coffman[edit]
  • Comments -- Thanks for the summary, Auntieruth55. I have a small request: when summarising a discussion, please use neutral language and avoid an appearance of quoting people when such quotes are not backed by the discussion. Comments such as "[K.e.coffman and Assayer] wish to discredit sources as being 'less than reliable'" and "they then posture that the source cannot be used 'at all'" are not neutral. In both instances, the quotes are from Cinderella. So thank you for striking parts of that, however, some of this commentary still remains. "Conspiracy theories" seem to have come out of the blue as well.
I think I made it clear that I was quoting Cinderella. and By striking some parts, I tried to make the text even more neutral.
What's not clear to me from the summary is how we make a distinction between facts, opinion, and analysis. Let's take these statements cited to The Blond Knight of Germany: "Hartmann refused [to surrender his side arm] and threatened to decline the Diamonds if he were not trusted to carry his pistol."[1] and "Galland, valuing comradeship and seeing the merit in Hartmann's request, cancelled the transfer (...)."[2] Are they fact or opinion?


  • I think you are discarding toliver because you don't like it. The reviews I've read are far more positive than you have made them out to be. Secondly, although a publisher may be "right wing"does this necessarily mean the book is false, inaccurate? etc.?
Likewise, how do you know that Wubbe's statements are "facts" rather than his opinion? Are you able to independently verify them via known reliable sources? Or present 3rd party reviews that attest to Wubbe's accuracy and authenticity?
  • How do you know they are not?
You also quote "However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral..." (emphasis mine), and construe from this that "sources themselves do not have to be neutral." This is a misinterpretation. The sources need to be reliable to begin with; if they are questionable, this guidance does not apply.
No, I think you are generally identifying sources published by a particular publisher and/or author to be inherently unreliable, and therefore, the neutrality clause does not apply to them. This is a biased starting point. Other sources have maintained that Toliver (for example) is reliable. In writing about the Blond Knight, Dieter Kuehn's interview suggests that the assertions generally met with Hartmann's recollection, at least in essence.

Davon wird auch im Buch der beiden amerikanischen Autoren berichtet, das ständig in das Gespräch einbezogen wird. Freilich setzen meine Fragen bei Punkten an, die von den Autoren höchstens angedeutet, nicht aber ausgeführt werden. Dieser Bestseller beschränkt sich auf die Beschreibung äußerer Abläufe, schließt aber moralische und vor allem politische Fragen weitgehend aus. Dies könnte bereits einer der Gründe für den Erfolg sein. Und so spreche ich mit Hartmann kurz auch über die Entstehung dieses Buchs, dessen amerikanische Originalausgabe den Titel tragt: The Blond Knight of Germany. Der »blonde Ritter bestätigt, daß ihn mit Toliver, dem Piloten, Freundschaft verbindet, seine Mitarbeit an diesem Buch habe vorwiegend jedoch nur darin bestanden, Adressen und Kontakte zu vermitteln, das Buch enthalte nur wenige direkte Äußerungen von ihm selbst. Wir können aber davon ausgehen, daß er es akzeptiert. (Dieter Kuehn, here)

  • consequently, I'm suggesting that you are instead interpreting this book to match your own bias, rather than a possible bias of its author or its publisher. auntieruth (talk) 16:25, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
In general, I'm a bit confused about what I perceive to be a contrast between MILHIST's guideline of WP:MILMOS#SOURCES, recommending that articles on military history be primarily cited to published secondary sources by reputable historians, and this discussion. The guideline suggest that high quality primary sources may be also used (without straying into original research). My contention is that the sources we are discussing are not high quality and are not by reputable historians. What I'm hearing are suggestions that we cull "facts" out of questionable sources and use these "facts" in the absence of reliable sources on a given topic. I don't see this as a policy-based approach, especially for GA and higher articles.
In summary, it's clear from this discussion that the use of sources, such as Toliver, Wubbe and Kurowski, and the weight given to them, in the articles on the list is currently in dispute. I'd like to revisit the question of whether these articles are suitable candidates for individual GA reassessment. K.e.coffman (talk) 20:08, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • please explain how you've calculated "weight" vis a vis Toliver, Wubbe and Kurowski. If it's the # of citations, I think that is a false equivalency model: it matters what and how a work is cited, not simply the number of times it is cited. auntieruth (talk) 16:25, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
I have to ask. If Toliver et al are unreliable, how are we to know what part of the cited source can be relied on, if any? My sense is, if a source is unreliable in part, none of it should be relied on, absent it being confirmed elsewhere--& if it can be (is) confirmed elsewhere, why do we need to use the unreliable source at all? I would make the same argument for David Irving. Indeed, in some sense, I would make the argument for any post-WW2 official history, since many of them were whitewashing or outright ignoring problems within the respective services. (Holmes certainly was in his history of the Sub Force.) Does that make them unreliable? If so, by how much, & on what subject(s)? More important, how is someone who is reading (frex) Holmes, but is unfamiliar with Blair, to know Holmes is hiding anything? The same can be said, IMO, for any "unreliable" source. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 17:10, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Any source can have errors. They also can be biased. This does not make them unreliable in the Wikipedia sense. It just means that we have to use them with due care. And yes, Clay Blair's writings on the hydrogen bomb were a load of rubbish, because he wasn't an official historian, and therefore did not have access to the documents. Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:32, 23 June 2017 (UTC)\
"Clay Blair's writings on the hydrogen bomb" You'll pardon me if I don't see the connection to the issue I was raising, since the WW2 Sub Force wasn't involved in the development of the H-bomb. Nor am I saying mere error makes for unreliability; I was talking about deliberately misleading by omission or distortion. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 23:21, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Response by Assayer[edit]
  • Comments Given the way my argument has been summarized it seems necessary to adress some of the claims for clarification. I do not wish to "eliminate sources". How sources can be used depends upon the context. I never used the phrase less than reliable and I do not profess to know what that means. I did not rule out self published as such, never spoke of conspiracy theories, and I do not limit my concerns to right wing sources. The problems I am concerned with apply just as well to left wing sources, or to religious sources, or to any partisan sources. I did not suggest that any source "cannot be used at all in WP articles", or that any text which relies upon the source "must be removed". In short, my position is not one of absolutes.
Instead I maintain a relativist and constructionist perspective (in terms of the theory of historiography). It goes without saying that from that perspective there are no neutral sources. But that does not bear upon the problems that I think need to be discussed. May we agree that there are sources which can be considered to be factually more reliable than others (note the difference to "less than reliable")? I am thinking of certain indicators like, among other things, the use of notes to identify source material, third party reviews, critical approach, reliance on a variety of primary sources and so forth, as opposed to opinion pieces with no notes, publishers with low reputation, authors and publishers with identifyable ideological bias, reliance on only certain primary sources like interviews or private collections. Can we agree on the notion that the quality of publications does vary? If we do, the next question to be answered is, do we use all these sources alike? How does the process of source criticism work for the MilHist project? Particularly I am unable to follow the step from if we follow the guidelines that Wikipedia offers us to the citations (38) in the Marseille article to Wubbe are not problematic because they cite facts not opinions Those two things do not appear to be connected. How do you know that facts are really facts and not fabulations? We may even have to talk about the problems of primary sources and how they can be used to cite "facts", because that's more complicated than it seems. This is not simply about "facts" vs. "opinions". On the one hand, it's about "facts" vs. bias, about "facts" vs. claims, even about "facts" vs. fiction, and on the other hand it's about how the "facts" are used to construct a certain narrative. --Assayer (talk) 23:53, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
  • I understand, Assayer; I apologize if I misrepresented your statement in trying to summarize the contrasts. I should separate your objections, when I can, fromk.e.coffman's.
  • Here is my fundamental problem with discarding these sources, and potentially others: I'm objecting to throwing out the baby with the bathwater, just because the bathwater is dirty and the baby happens to still be in the basin. Assessment of sources is a fundamental problem for historians. auntieruth (talk) 16:25, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
I appreciate if we can have a differentiated discussion. First a few words to Kühn's piece. He states, and it's entirely his interpretation, that "we" ( i.e. the writer and his audience) can assume that Hartmann accepts the "it" (i.e. the book), which seems fair given that Hartmann considered Toliver to be a friend and did not do anything against the book (e.g., sue the authors) nor offered any critique. But Hartmann still describes his immediate input to have been only marginal. Moreover, Kühn was not really interested in dismantling the Toliver/Constable book. He wanted to talk with Hartmann about other things: How it was to fight in a war at that early age, what it meant to kill and see friends to be killed, when it was that Hartmann realized the war was lost and how he reacted. To suggest that the assertions generally met with Hartmann's recollection, at least in essence is an interpretation. But even if it was true, that's not the point in our debate which is not about basic biographical information, but about intricate details (with an emphasis on details) and the sources they are taken from. And the details are important, because they are used (and work effectively) to construct a certain heroic image also described by Kühn.You've mentioned positive reviews of the Toliver/Constable book. Could you give examples and offer bibliographic details? The "baby in the bathwater" is a rather vague image. To me it seems that you insist on digging for some gold in the mud and the question remains: how do you do it and what do you expect to find? That question is pertinent, because I did not find indication that you would agree on the notion that the reliability of sources varies and that sources therefore need to be used with due care, including a healthy scepticism towards what's so quickly and easily being called "facts".--Assayer (talk) 23:13, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
I find this discussion almost impossible to follow and that it is likely that it will continue forever in the same vein. All I can say is that where a source has been criticised for certain aspects, like Constable & Toliver, the source should be used with care for those elements that have been criticised, and in-text attribution used as needed. Other aspects of the book can be freely used. My understanding from the talk page discussion is that Constable and Toliver were criticised by a chap called Wehner (whose bonafides haven't been established so far as I can see, but let's take it as read that he's a scholar of some sort). Wehner apparently criticised their "argumentation concerning the statistics and the war situation on the Eastern Front", saying it was contradictory and (I'm paraphrasing here) lacking proper analysis? Specifically that their argumentation failed to take into account the propaganda aspects of the "flying ace" trope, and used stereotypes of the Soviet Union and communism. Also that they ignored the political and social consequences of the Second World War. Now, surely this is a biographical book, not an exposition on the political and social consequences of WWII? It seems to me that as long as we take into account the book's limitations (as pointed out by Wehner), the book is fine to use. I'm afraid this is an attempt to set a ridiculously high bar for what is permissible as a source. Should we go through the article to check that the book's limitations have been taken into account? Of course. Should we delete everything that has been sourced to it? Of course not. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:15, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So where do we go from here? There is a point at which this becomes ridiculous. A biographical article on Hartman is simply a summary of biographical information. I don't see this article as an attempt to rewrite the history of WWII, or the history of German-Soviet relations, the propaganda of WWII, and so on. It is simply a presentation of information about the man. the source has its limitations, to be sure, although I'm not sure it purports to be anything beyond what it is: a biography of the person. These were in operation for the subject of the biography, so should we not understand him in that context? It's far easier to stand at the distance of half a century and throw stones than it is to put ourselves in the place of a subject who operated within given social, political, philosophical constraints. auntieruth (talk) 14:42, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

If we do not agree that there is a problem, we cannot agree on a solution. I am seeing various kinds of response here. Peacemaker67 (and I think others as well) have acknowledged limitations of the source, in this case Toliver/Constable, but insist that as long as we take into account the book's limitations ..., the book is fine to use. I do not see how this can be done, given that this particular source freely blends facts with fiction, or, as Hartmann himself has put it, the authors used their "poetic freedom" (dichterische Freiheit) (Kühn, Luftkrieg, p. 117). I find these limitations to be fundamental when it comes to the many details and stereotypes that are used in this article to carefully craft the image of Erich Hartmann as an heroic flying ace, and this does also apply to sources which took their information largely from Toliver/Constable. Therefore I would speak of a ridiculously low bar for what is permissible as a source.
On the other hand, I do not see that auntieruth is willing to concede any concerns with the limitations of the source, because they think [a] biographical article on Hartman is simply a summary of biographical information, considers Toliver/Constable to be a biography of the person, and do, by their own reading, not find it fannish or overtly biased one way or another (although I would still like to learn what the positive reviews said) and, if I am not mistaken, they suggest that we should even understand Hartmann in the context of that biography, which means, I may conclude, we should present Hartmann as an heroic flying ace. It should be clear from all that I have written so far that I consider such an approach to be hopelessly positivistic and naïve.
Where do we go from here? At this point it seems necessary to note that the aim is to improve the articles, neither to disrupt the project, nor to squash criticism. What is perceived as "facts" should be constantly scrutinized, because the bona fide presumption that everything is fine actually nourishes complacency thereby effectively blocking improvement.--Assayer (talk) 22:18, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
I think "where do we go from here" has been answered pretty clearly. Your arguments are opposed by a number of editors on what are quite reasonable grounds, and so there is no consensus to remove Constable and Toliver from the Hartmann article. I think there is a general consensus for checking the use of that source in the article to ensure that it is properly attributed in-text where it touches on areas for which it has been criticised, but that's as far as it goes. This discussion should be continued on the article talk page. I've watchlisted the article to that end, but I don't expect to see a rehash of this discussion there, rather a point by point examination of the use of it in the article in terms of areas in which it touches on the criticisms that have been made of it. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 03:55, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Deletion of Waldemar von Gazen[edit]

On a related topic, Waldemar von Gazen seems to have been deleted. Does anyone know what and when this happened? And why? Was there a discussion of deletion? If so, where is it? auntieruth (talk) 16:25, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

It was redirected as a result of the Knight's Cross recipients redirect proposal, see the talk page of the redirect for coffman's reasoning. Kges1901 (talk) 23:26, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
I cannot find the talk page, only the redirect page. auntieruth (talk) 14:43, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
The talk page is here.Kges1901 (talk) 19:55, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Reassessment candidates?[edit]

Thank you for the continued discussion. My goal for it is to see if some of the articles on the list could be uncontroversially reassessed via an individual reassessment. @WP:MILHIST coordinators: & anyone who is interested, are there any on the list that you would consider suitable candidates for an individual reassessment?

I added Hermann Graf above and could add a couple more, if this would be productive. K.e.coffman (talk) 03:52, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

I think leave it at three here until we get a resolution on them. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:54, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes I agree with PM here, lets leave it at the three here so far. (To be honest given how detailed these discussions are I'd say even one at a time would be preferable, especially if the aim is to encourage non-involved editors to participate as it is pretty difficult to follow already, at least to me). Anotherclown (talk) 10:55, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
No need to add others at this point. A general consensus of the issues (succinctly summarized above) needs to be reached and then followed. Kierzek (talk) 14:29, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
There have been concerns about the discussion being difficult to follow. But the key question is rather straightforward. The discussion is not about how we extract "facts" from potentially questionable sources. It's about a specific set of GA articles that use authors such as Toliver, Wubbe and Kurowski. These articles are included in the list above. The question for the @WP:MILHIST coordinators: remains: knowing what we now know about these three specific sources, do you believe that these three articles meet the GA criteria -- verifiability, coverage, neutral point of view -- at this time?
I would reiterate that the use of such sources is not in line with the project's Manual of Style that recommends that articles be sourced to "reputable historians". Srnec, who is surely not my sycophant, stated above: "It seems clear that The Blond Knight of Germany is not a reliable source and should be removed." This is short and to the point.
My goal for this discussion has been to assess whether the use of the Individual GA reassessment is feasible, to avoid lengthy discussions as took place at Joachim Helbig GAR. It only took 8 months for it to close :-), with a delist, I might add. If the community, including the MILHIST coords, believes that further discussion is pointless and we won't be able to arrive at a consensus in this forum, then the community GAR process might be an option. I am open to feedback or to discussing how to best implement this. K.e.coffman (talk) 15:03, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I would be opposed to deleting / changing anything based on the assertion that Wübbe's book is (1) controversial; or (2) unreliable. I've read a few pages of it, and found it completely unremarkable. I've read a few pages also of the Blond Knight and found it equally unremarkable. I didn't think it fannish or overtly biased one way or another. Second, I'm opposed to letting GAR handle it randomly: such a decision would simply give an unscrupulous editor the opportunity to turn these articles into whatever he or she wants to do. Although I'm sure you, K.e.coffman (talk · contribs), would not stoop to such a level, I suspect there are others who would not share your scruples. My take on all this is that we are making far too much out of the discussion. This is an online encyclopedia, constructed by volunteers, not professional historians. Although some of us are professionals, generally this kind of work wouldn't qualify for academic promotion. I don't use my editing here as part of my portfolio; does anyone else? My tendency toward this would be to address anything blatant, either by eliminating the blatant part or turning down the volume. I think also that the unit article should be restored, plus I would like to see several other things happen. Shall I make a list and coordinators and interested parties who have contributed to the discussion thus far have a look? auntieruth (talk) 20:05, 20 June 2017 (UTC) 19:59, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Deleting, changing, etc.[edit]

@WP:MILHIST coordinators: K.e.coffman, Assayer

(1) As I said above, I would be opposed to deleting / changing based on the assertion that Wübbe's book is (1) controversial; or (2) unreliable. I've read a few pages of it, and found it completely unremarkable. I've read a few pages also of the Blond Knight and found it equally unremarkable. I didn't think it fannish or overtly biased one way or another. I really don't want to have to (re)argue every sentence, every word, every detail, every book ad nauseum on the talk pages of the various articles. Can we accept that these are generally reliable, and move from that point? auntieruth (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
(2) I'm opposed to letting GAR handle re-evaluations randomly: such a decision would simply give an unscrupulous editor the opportunity to turn these articles into whatever he or she want. Although I'm sure K.e.coffman (talk · contribs) would not stoop to such a level, I suspect there are others who would not share his/her scruples. Can we establish some procedures, or perhaps a committee, to proceed with this? auntieruth (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
(3) My take on all this is that we are making far too much out of the discussion. This is an online encyclopedia, constructed by volunteers, not professional historians. Although some of us are professionals, generally this kind of work doesn't qualify toward academic promotion. I don't use my editing here as part of my portfolio; does anyone else? I don't believe we should insist on an excessive level of scholarship. My tendency toward this would be to address anything blatant, either by eliminating the blatant part or turning down the volume, depending on what needs to be addressed. Is this acceptable? auntieruth (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
(4), I think also that the unit article should be restored, plus I would like to see the FA articles and GA articles restored to their previous level of detail.auntieruth (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2017 (UTC)
Finally, and at the risk of revisiting an old discussion, I still think that "mentioned in the Wehrmachtsbericht" is important--at least it was important to them, regardless of how we think of it in present time. I would equate it with Category:United Daughters of the Confederacy or United Confederate Veterans, (which has its own category Category:United Confederate Veterans for example. auntieruth (talk) 20:05, 20 June 2017 (UTC) 19:59, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Repeating an argument even verbatim hardly improves it. There are still a few things in here which should not go unchallenged.
1.) If a source is reliable or not cannot be determined by the personal impression of an anonymous Wikipedia editor. (And saying this, I am strongly tempted to quote at length from that book about that "unseen and unheralded hero of the Cold War", this "natural leader", one of "the best of German manhood in terms of character, will power and endurance", wearing an "armour of love", the "seemingly indomitable Erich Hartmann", whose "modesty is as much a part of the whole man as his blue eyes and blond hair".) It is also not advisable to assume that sources are "generally reliable", Otherwise WP:RS could be shortened to a single sentence: Sources are reliable when certain Wikipedians say so.
As opposed to saying they are unreliable when certain wikipedians say so....? auntieruth (talk) 14:18, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
As opposed to published third party reviews of some quality or other published comment to scholarly standards by historians. Like the review in New York Times of 19 July 1970, which described the writing to be "cloying and fawning" and found the book "disagreeable". Other comments about the Toliver/Constable bio has been cited above and elsewhere, including, in this case, Erich Hartmann himself, who even admitted that the authors had employed "dichterische Freiheit", i.e., had blended fact with fiction.--Assayer (talk) 21:39, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
2.) A warning of unidentifed "unscrupulous editor"s is assuming bad faith and a kind of fearmongering. As an online encyclopedia written by volunteers Wikipedia is not intended to be governed by committees. That falls short of WP:OWN and entails an attempt to extend and maintain control about the GAR process. Besides, even if the idea is to establish special rules only for certain articles, such a "committee" could not be established by local consensus, because it affects GAR as such.
3.) Who took the discussion to the MilHist project and is suggesting to "establish some procedures"? That's what I call making too much out of a discussion.
The fourth issue is unsupported by any argument, so there's nothing to comment on. But, no, the Wehrmachtbericht is nothing like the United Daughters of the Confederacy or United Confederate Veterans. Those are more akin to veterans' organizatios like the Ordensgemeinschaft der Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes e.V. or the HIAG. Interesting example, though.--Assayer (talk) 00:37, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
@Auntieruth55: you've stated at the start of this discussion: it's extremely frustrating for the coordinators to keep track and try to address this (emphasis mine). Could you clarify if you are representing the MILHIST coordinators in this discussion or speaking strictly for yourself? K.e.coffman (talk) 01:56, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Can you please stop wikilawyering. No-one is expected to keep arguing the toss with you just because you aren't happy that others have a different opinion. As I've pointed out elsewhere, you clearly don't have consensus for wholesale deletions from Hartmann based on your claims about Constable and Toiliver. This thread is already TLDR. I suggest you use the FAR/GAR processes, one article at a time, and flag each one here so others can chime in. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:24, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree this should be handled by the already established procedures, i.e. GAR and FAR. Whilst GARs can either be "individual" or "community" in this instance I do not feel an individual GAR would be appropriate, as this is clearly not "uncontroversial", so ultimately these will need to be "community reassessments" (not an issue for FAR which is always a "community" process as far as I'm aware). This really should be done piecemeal, with a limited number of articles up for review at any one time so as to not overwhelm the process. In fact one at a time sounds perfectly reasonable to me. These reviews should also be limited to a commonsense attempt to fix "gross" errors, not to nitpick over details or sources (or policy for that matter). They should also apply realistic standards to the articles in question, as it is not only unreasonable to expect doctoral levels scholarship, but also counter-productive to our overall mission as a project. By all means if there is unambiguous evidence of a source being unreliable / biased then that should be presented and where agreed acted upon, but in its absence I see no issue with assuming a source is reliable until proven otherwise (also long as it meets the basic requirements of WP:RS at face value). In short this process should be transparent, concise, and deliberate (i.e. slow). Anotherclown (talk) 10:19, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Agreed with AC, community GAR and FAR is the process to follow. That will at least establish consensus either way. Also agree that this should be a slow and deliberate approach that doesn't overwhelm either system. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 11:22, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm okay with AC and AR's assessment, as long as it is slow, one (maybe two) at a time, and deliberate, and done by the community, not by a single individual. If we get toomany at once, I for one will get confused as to what we are discussing. auntieruth (talk) 14:18, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Second point- are we starting from the articles as they are now? or as they have been "improved", trimmed, cut, etc.? auntieruth (talk) 16:48, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I'd be inclined to start the reviews from when the respective articles were in a degree of relative stability and lack of to-&-fro change. For example: Hartmann March'17, Graf April'17, Marseille March '17 Review the ensuing edits and what they were attempting to remedy/update in line with a degree of consensus from contributors, and then going forward Philby NZ (talk) 00:48, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Philby NZ. auntieruth (talk) 14:08, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

References/Bibliography question[edit]

Would someone point me to a WP that describes the layout for references being single column pls? I can't find it. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 10:58, 17 June 2017 (UTC)

Not seen myself and I have thought about the alternative as being more user friendly. Cinderella157 (talk) 11:04, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
G'day, Keith, H:REFCOLS provides guidance about columns and implies that there isn't a requirement for a single column. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 11:10, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, it isn't the page I remember but it's a start. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 12:55, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
: Where there are many footnotes plus a page-width Bibliography subsection, this is something more like it.Keith-264 (talk) 12:58, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
Found it: [8] it's with sfns, "The reference list is formatted by placing the citations in an unordered list using the * markup. Entries may be sorted by the author's last name. The text size may be formatted with {{refbegin}} and {{refend}}. The references list is normally displayed in one column with no indenting."Keith-264 (talk) 13:04, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
"Normally" - fwisw Cinderella157 (talk) 13:32, 17 June 2017 (UTC)
It is often set to a width like 35em. The existence of a template like {{reflist}} with parameters for column width implies that it is an acceptable option. I think that it is not always rendered in columns - depends on the browser. Fixed width columns uses the column width parameter as a minimum, and will not force a fixed number of columns on a display which is too narrow. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:06, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
Once footnotes get to a reasonable number, 30em or even 20em are often used, but as far as full references are concerned, columns are ok, I've used them in FAs. {{refbegin|2}} is the way to do it at the top, with {{refend}} at the bottom. You can also use something like {{refbegin|40em}} instead of forcing the number of columns. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 10:40, 18 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I asked because I wanted to see what support in the WP there was for keeping the Bibliography/References in a single column so that each line stars with the author surname. (I think there might be a bit of terminological exactitude here with the word references; I use it as a synonym for bibliography [because I copied the term when I started writing articles] and use footnotes to refer to the list of citations above.) Following the links that people kindly offered, I've found the bit I was looking for but it seems limited to articles using the sfn format. Regards Keith-264 (talk) 11:53, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Opinions requested for rename of Danish Frogmen Corps[edit]

Opinions requested on proposed renaming of Danish Frogmen Corps at Talk:Danish Frogmen Corps#Requested move 17 June 2017 • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 09:57, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

War of the League of the Indies[edit]

This article seems to be mostly OR (incl. the title). It does not appear to be a hoax, however. But there appears to be little secondary literature. Srnec (talk) 00:27, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Great War weather from divers sources[edit]

Regards Keith-264 (talk) 10:43, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Military Times Hall of Fame[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The site has re-organized its directory/file structure (example is for Bernhard Jetter, fixed):

Old and wrong:

New and right:

Is there a bot that can fix this?

--Georgia Army Vet Contribs Talk 00:34, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

The place to go is Wikipedia:Bot requests. I have re-posted your request there. Face-smile.svg Hawkeye7 (talk) 02:22, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

@Hawkeye7: Although I thanked you through the "thanks for the edit" utility, thanks again. I not only learned about another corner of Wikipedia, the job is done already!--Georgia Army Vet Contribs Talk 19:00, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Battle of Tora Bora (2017)[edit]

  • Hi, Berean Hunter the correct place to request an assessment is at the Requests for assessment page. The link to it (not only here), is in the Project box to the left side of this page at the top. List your article there, and someone will review it and let you know!  :)_ auntieruth (talk) 18:51, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Thank you but I didn't write it and not asking for an assessment. Recently there were socks writing about similar topics, as above, so I was looking for more eyes to check out the veracity and accuracy.
 — Berean Hunter (talk) 12:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Potential good topic needing attention[edit]

G'day all, if you've got a sec, Wikipedia:Featured topic candidates/Royal Yugoslav Navy/archive1 has been open for quite a long time and hasn't attracted much attention. All comments, positive and negative, will be appreciated. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:54, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Removal of flags and insignias from multiple info boxes[edit]

User:Huberthoff has been getting around these past couple of days with his newly created account, and seems to be on this mission to remove flags and insignia from numerous articles, mostly those of American military people. This users cites a guideline about flags in infoboxes (which btw says nothing about insignia), but ignores the fact that every guideline stipulates "It is a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow, though it is best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply.". Famous military people are such exceptions. Other editors have taken exception to this apparent mission to remove flags and insignia, mostly from the articles of prominent Americans, as evidenced on Huberthoff's Talk page. Imo, we should return these items to the infoboxes. Some of these articles, like George Washington,  Abraham Lincoln  Ulysses S. Grant,  William T. Sherman, etc had these items in their respective infoboxes when they were approved for GA and FA status, with no issues all of this time. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:41, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, what he said. :( I said it before, it feels disrespectful to remove these icons to military service. — Myk Streja (who?) 21:54, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
(ec) Good for him. So many of these flags and insignias are just blobs of color that most readers will have no clue about. See this diff where the various flags of the branches of the armed services are present, but so incredibly small that they can't be distinquished, thus negating the whole "identify at a glance" object. And how many readers would be able to tell (even if the images were large enough) at a glance which flag is for which branch? Its worse for the Leadership section - the chances of most readers being able to identify the flags of the Secretary of Defense or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is... very very remote. This leaves aside the issue of using anachronistic and incorrect "flags" or "banners" or "coats of arms" for periods when they weren't in use as we do now. (An example is currently at Talk:Battle of Hastings, where I seriously was told "it was not necessary to use an absolutely historic banner or emblem, it could possible to use a flag of hypothetical look, because I saw similar flags in the British documentary film about the battle at Hastings, also historical books sometimes using hypotetical pictures as an illustration, and from my point of view using hypotetical picture is maybe better solution than nothing. It depends on how much we want it to be accurate." I wonder how many OTHER flags/banners/COAs/etc are just put in with the same regard for accuracy?) As for disrespect, I run into far far far more problems with accuracy and anachronism. We need to stop thinking of these flags as useful to the majority of our readers. To take a small sample - my husband, who was in the Army and does use Wikipedia often, cannot say that he ever used the flagicons/insignia to help him identify things in infoboxes - and he could be expected to at least be familiar with the various insignia. We're better off making sure we have the text correct. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:03, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I find your reference to flags a bit curious. Flags are hardly "blobs of color" to anyone above the 1st grade level, and I have no difficulty distinguishing them. We need a valid reason to go through all the military articles and start removing flags and insignia. No one editor should take it upon his/her self to do so, as is the case in question here. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:12, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't have issues telling a flag apart from another at a decent size. But at 15 to 30 pixels, they are useless. Quick - look at Hundred Years' War and tell me if the coats of arms actually tell you who the combantants are. Can you identify ALL the flags in Seven Years' War? (I'll note that File:Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg is attached to the "Austria" entry but strictly speaking that's not flag for Austria during this period, its the flag for the Hapsburg Monarchy ... which included quite a bit more territory than Austria. See what I mean about problems of accuracy?) Or do the flags in Ottoman–Persian War (1775–76) help most of our readers? And File:Zand Dynasty flag.svg has a tag on it noting there are NO sources for the fact that this is the flag of the Zand Dynasty... the query on the talk page got a "this is well known" reply... my, that makes me trust the accuracy of the image to apply to this conflict...) Note, I haven't gone around removing flags or other similar icons through all the military articles, but it's very clear that MOS:INFOBOXFLAGs exceptions are NOT for biographies. To be quite honest, Grant should never have passed FA with the flags in the infobox because FAs are supposed to comply in ALL respects with the MOS, which the flags prevent it from doing. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:27, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I also support removing them. It is surely for those arguing to keep them to justify what good they do. --John (talk) 22:15, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

These items have been in articles for years. If you feel there is something 'wrong' with that it is incumbent on you to substantiate it before removing them wholesale. You didn't even say why they should be removed. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:27, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
I often remove typos or unreferenced sentences which have been in articles for years. Mere longevity is not a good argument for keeping features with no purpose. Flags in infoboxes have no purpose, and I agree with the issues Ealdgyth raises. Remove them. --John (talk) 22:33, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Typos and unreferenced sentences get overlooked for lack of activity. Removing the flags from George Washington's infobox just tugs at something visceral. It feels wrong. How many editors have visited that article and felt no need to remove the flags. So we have a hardliner with a week's experience who has decided to edit every infobox that has a flag in it. And he's been doing it from day one. You can keep citing chapter and verse, or complaining about the size of the images, but it still requires common sense and flexibility to edit a guide for human beings. — Myk Streja (who?) 22:43, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
  • @John: Agree with @Myk Streja:. You are comparing typos with flags and insignias and have only offered an empty opinion as to why they should be removed. "...have no purpose". Hundreds of contributors disagree with you. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:46, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
  • "...have no purpose". Hundreds of contributors disagree with you. Do they? What is the purpose then of these flags then? --John (talk) 23:11, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Flags show the national symbol for the country, insignias do the same for military rank. We need more than the opinion that they have no purpose. If you are asserting some 'wrong' here, it's up to you to substantiate it. i.e.guilty until proven innocent? If you object on the grounds that one of the guidelines say flags are "discouraged" in infoboxes, fine, but this sort of talk is contrarian and appears to be no more than arm wrestling with another editor. Easy to see. We should be addressing the bigger issue at this point, per the Statement below.-- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:03, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If you are asserting that flags in infoboxes have some purpose, it should be easy for you to state what that purpose is. What is that purpose? --John (talk) 06:29, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
  • @Ealdgyth:, again, I have no difficulty with the images, and anyone who wants to get a better look simply has to click on the image. Many images are too small to view in the first place. Also, no one image is supposed to tell you who or what a person or country is, all by itself. That is what the article is for. They are a historical reference, and are valued by most history buffs, and the 100's of editors who have included them in articles. Also, GA and FA articles are usually passed on their content and inclusiveness -- the most important consideration for the readers, who are our primary concern, or should be. Certain guidelines, like page length, are sometimes waved in the process of FA approval, as was the case for the Barak Obama and Ronald Reagan Featured Articles, (very long) which is why they are guidelines -- common sense and exceptions apply. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:46, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
  • anyone who wants to get a better look simply has to click on the image Really? Try it. --John (talk) 23:11, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
As I said, all one has to do is click on the image. Which 'it' are you referring to? Sounds as it you're referring to them all. No doubt there is an icon image out there that is still small when you click on it, but most, if not all, flags and insignias can be viewed in full. Hope this doesn't come as a disappointment for you. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 23:36, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
But often clicking on the small flag icon doesn't take you to a larger version of the image, it takes you to an article instead. Try clicking on the Ottoman flag in Ottoman–Persian War (1775–76) or the flag next to "Bavaria" in Seven Years' War. That's because they use Template:Flagicon, which is set up to link to the various articles. And sometimes it isn't a link at all. Try clicking on the flag next to "Ireland" in the Seven Years' War article. So, no, you can't always just click on the flag icon to see a bigger image. On the Seven Years' War article I'm using as an example - ALL of the flags in the infobox are produced with the various flagicon templates except for Austria. So only one of the flag images is capable of being enlarged by clicking on it. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:49, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Okay, if an icon takes you to an article instead, fine, that is the way the editor set it up. Every image can be viewed in full. If you feel there are issues that need to be addressed in a given article, then you should bring it to the attention of editors on the respective Talk page, and not try to use one example as justification for removing the contributions of 1000's of editors in 1000's of articles, if indeed this is what you're doing here. That would be a 'solution' far worse than this assumed problem. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 00:14, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
So you don't know what you're talking about and haven't done even the most basic research yet still have a strong opinion. I think you've made a fool of yourself. I think you should do your homework and have a proper think about it before you come back here. --John (talk) 06:29, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
No, I haven't checked each an every icon to see, but still know that, like all small images here at WP, most link to a larger image, per my original and overall true statement. Your "Really? try it" statement exposes you as one who assumed that nearly all icons didn't link to larger images, as well as an individual who didn't do his homework and is prone to hypocritical statements when exposed as such. Your false accusation and personal attack also shows us you're the one with a strong opinion, and again, someone who descends into a state of hypocrisy when confronted with simple differences of opinion on a Talk page. My main concern was that someone created a new account and started right in removing flags and icons from GA and FA articles, and others, with no discussions and no regard to the contributions of 1000's of editors made over the years. This should be something that concerns us all. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Most? See I don't think that is true. I take all your heat, anger and snark (Hope this doesn't come as a disappointment for you) as a sign that you are not as sure about this stuff as you make out. A lot of flags don't link anywhere useful, and I remain unconvinced that they have any utility for our users. It is for you to convince me I think. And I am fine with someone removing that which is useless and unencyclopedic from articles. I do a lot of it myself. --John (talk) 19:33, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Heat? Anger? Snark? You really pile it on for someone who accuses someone of having a strong opinion. The 'disappointment' comment was in response to your rather coy and ignorant remark that assumes, as you still seem to, that most icons, which are only scaled down images, don't link to the larger image. The only time that they don't is when an editor arranges for the image file to link somewhere else. And it's only your opinion that images of flags and insignias don't belong in an encyclopedia. You've yet to substantiate that claim either. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:52, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Statement: -- Going through and removing flags and insignias from the thousands of articles on military people would be a major disruption to Wikipedia!! Let the contributors for each article decide, which they already have. This whole issue, which was started by one editor with a new account, being used primarily for one purpose, is only going to create a lot of conflict between editors. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:56, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Let the contributors for each article decide, which they already have. By that logic nobody should be editing any article, ever. That isn't how we work. --John (talk) 06:29, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Anyone can contribute, and contested matters are decided by consensus. People can drive by and make deletions, but if they're challenged, then a discussion takes place and a consenssus arrived at. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Leave the flags and insignias alone. The flags show the nation of the military in which a veteran served -- some individuals serve in the military of a country other than their own.
Service flags show which component of the military a veteran served in, which among other things might be helpful to those who are not familiar with the different components.
Rank insignia can also perform the same function -- aid those who are not familiar with the military to put the rank of an article subject into the proper context.
Billmckern (talk) 00:40, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
What info is carried by a flag that cannot be conveyed by words? --John (talk) 06:29, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Flags should be used where space is at a premium, like in tables. Infoboxes aren't that space, as the countries have to be spelled out in any case. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:33, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
I wonder why they appear in the commanders section when this only repeats what's in the belligerents section above. Keith-264 (talk) 07:12, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If you're really so upset about the icon linking to the article instead of the image, break the link to the article & link to the image, instead. (Where you'd find it...? I'd guess on the article page...) This is an issue not unlike the Olympiad links, which mention the year's events, but the links go to the sport & not an annual report. If it bugged me enough when I ran across it, I'd have changed it (if annual reports existed, & IDK if they always do; I'd guess not.) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 08:46, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
I delete them from military people infoboxes as they don't convey any useful information and are frequently there just for decoration. In relation to battles/wars, I keep them for identifying the belligerents, but unless there are multiple belligerents, delete them for commanders, forces, etc. Mztourist (talk) 08:54, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
That sounds like a sensible approach. --John (talk) 10:15, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Use of flag icons (which I personally don't encourage) is a matter for consensus arrived at by the editors of an article, and can depend on a number of things such as the number of combatants in a battle article etc, where they may perform a function. It is not a matter for drive-by deleters (or adders for that matter). Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 10:25, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Mztourist is of the opinion that flags are for decoration. In reality, they're a visual and historical reference, and it is only opinion that says they are of no used to all of the readers. We really don't need no royal opinion carved in granite that says flags can't be used, and it's a bit troublesome to see some editors reaching for opinion to remove them wholesale from the many 1000's of military related articles they exist in. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Agree with Peacemaker67. It's not a matter for any one editor to routinely go from article to article removing these things with no discussion, esp after being contested on the matter. Again, this would prove to be a major disruption, and as we are experiencing here, will create conflict between editors. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:30, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Next to the fact that his initial efforts seemed to be American presidents infoboxes, was concern for speed of the edits and how quickly he went from one article to the next. How was a two-day newbie able to do that? It took me a week to understand that the placement of the infobox didn't correlate directly with the raw file. — Myk Streja (who?) 22:18, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

edit break[edit]

It should be a matter of article consensus by the editors therein, as Peacemaker67 states. I believe they are helpful for general readers in military bios (under Allegiance and service branch) and Battle articles (under Belligerents). Kierzek (talk) 19:03, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
In what way do you think it is helpful? --John (talk) 19:25, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If it's your intention to remove flags and/or insignia from a given article on the basis that it is not helpful, it is incumbent on you to demonstrate this opinion. It's already been mentioned by at least two editors that they serve as identifiers for allegiance and service branch, or as historical references to country or rank. If this is not helpful for you, fine. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:52, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
@Gwillhickers: Clearly it was a mistake to raise the issue here. The gist of MOS:ICONS is that images are generally disallowed. There was some wiggle-room left in so editors invested in each article could express interest in keeping these flags and insignia. Reverting the removals and challenging the editor in question (perhaps a sock) on each talk page would have been the right move. You brought it here and now find a mixed-bag of responses. Chris Troutman (talk) 20:21, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Reverting more than three edits by this user, in different articles, by one user, would have involved 3RR and/or Hounding. The matter needed to be brought to light so others could act accordingly if they saw fit. As intimated by several editors, MOS is a set of guidelines, which, thankfully, allows for exceptions, and is not a license for any one editor to hop from article to article in a petty dictator like fashion making deletions, and then reverts when they are challenged. It was suggested to me that the matter be discussed here, seeing that it involved military articles overall. Seemed to make good sense at the time. As for the possibility of a sock, I can't help but notice the apparent new user in question has more than a passing familiarity of Wikipedia. That's another issue I'll let someone else pursue. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:50, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Guidelines are inherently meant to be followed. And the MOS:INFOBOXFLAG is incredibly clear on this issue. – Huberthoff (talk) 21:19, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
So is the stipulation at the beginning of every guideline, that common sense and exceptions apply. Why do you think that stipulation was included? Again, the guideline isn't a license to justify your sort of inconsiderate behavior. This idea has already been addressed here by several editors. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 21:25, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
There is nothing inconsiderate about following the WP:MOS guideline. – Huberthoff (talk) 21:32, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict × 3)@Huberthoff: Per WP:GUIDES, "Guidelines are sets of best practices that are supported by consensus. Editors should attempt to follow guidelines, though they are best treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions may apply." Your single-purpose account to remove images (which will mask you for only so long) is not well-received, even if many editors agree with you in principle. Your actions indicate to me that you're not here to build an encyclopedia but merely to step on others' toes (and believe me, I have stomped on toes before). Would you please stop tilting at windmills? This isn't the best way to accomplish anything useful. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:35, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It seems to me that the inclusion or not of icons, is one of the least important issues with almost any article involved, yet it attracts strong opinions and bad will. Perhaps take a step back and do something more useful. (Hohum @) 23:17, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Agree that it has caused conflict between some editors, as I said above, but the issue overall involved a bit more than just icons in of themselves. i.e.Use of a guideline to justify the routine deletions in numerous articles by one editor with a single purpose and rather questionable new account. A quick review will relate this for you. Hopefully these decisions will now be made by consensus, per each article. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 07:17, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Ducking the issue doesn't seem all that helpful, especially with a "guideline" so explicit. Keith-264 (talk) 08:49, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I expect we could get a guideline together for "which end of a boiled egg to open first". With as much polarized opinion and wasted effort, and as little benefit to content. (Hohum @) 15:33, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Just in case you missed it, it's been pointed out by several editors, several times now, that the images in question serve as identifiers for allegiance and service branch, or as historical references to country or rank. i.e.Much better to show a picture of a sunset than trying to describe it with "content". Once again, attention needed to be brought to the idea, among others, that guidelines are not policy, and that at the top of every guideline is the stipulation that common sense and exceptions apply. We also have WP:IAR for the same reason. Evidently the good folks here at Wikipedia were wise and gracious enough to include these things, and rightly so, considering how some editors will take a guideline and goose-step with the idea. Consensus is the way to go. That is fair to all parties involved. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 16:49, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

Action of Agagia[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Does anyone know why the picture in the infobox won't show? I've tinkered but no luck. Keith-264 (talk) 21:47, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

I made a quick change to the infobox as per instructions found in the template: "| image= <-- filename only, no "File:" or "Image:" prefix, and no enclosing brackets -->
Hope that helped because I saw two maps when I first loaded the page. Maybe you need to purge the page? Open the page for editing, go to the address bar of the browser and replace the last part, which should be edit, and replace edit with purge. Press enter and see what happens. — Myk Streja (who?) 22:10, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
Clicked on, no pic, clicked puge and back it came; thanks. Keith-264 (talk) 07:08, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Image and source review needed for Battle of Leuthen[edit]

Just FYI @WP:MILHIST coordinators: an image and source review is needed for Battle of Leuthen and source review for Battle of Rossbach, in A class review. auntieruth (talk) 14:05, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Discrediting historians[edit]

I'd like to bring this discussion to the attention of MILHIST members. An editor would like to discredit two Napoleonic historians who have been referenced throughout the Battle of Waterloo article and appears to want to disallow them as reliable sources in any article on Wikipedia. Given the huge scope of the Napoleonic Era, I think this warrants serious attention. Since I am not aware of Wikipedia having an active "banned authors" list, I am not sure how the editor hopes to achieve this. I feel that his argument comes across as a smear campaign to invoke some form of censorship against the authors rather than a justified distrust of their reliability and validity as citable sources. I think we'll need more opinions on the matter as I'm not 100% sure how to deal with this situation, besides opposing what I believe to be biased and unsubstantiated claims. Talk:Battle of Waterloo#Inclusion of citations to discredited historians. Thanks — Marcus(talk) 23:53, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

Inclusion of "Great Mosque of al-Nuri (Mosul)" in 2017 under discussion[edit]

Hello. The inclusion of "Great Mosque of al-Nuri (Mosul)" is debated at Talk:2017#Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, where I invite you to join in. --George Ho (talk) 00:12, 23 June 2017 (UTC)


Sock?Keith-264 (talk) 08:41, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

I've warned them for flag icon bombing. Let me know if you see it carrying on? Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:59, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
"flag icon bombing" ;o) OK, thanks Keith-264 (talk) 11:10, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

Request: John Clarence Butler[edit]

Could someone take a look at the article of John Clarence Butler, recipient of the Navy Cross for his actions in World War II and determine if the "tags" are really justified? If they are not, could someone please remove them. Tony the Marine (talk) 02:55, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

The unrefrenced tag was incorrect and redundant with the notability tag. I removed the unreferenced one. The article still needs some independent sources to prove notability. --Finlayson (talk) 14:05, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for your response. I just thought that since Butler was awarded our second highest military decoration and that a ship and airfield were named after him, that that in itself made him notable. I guess I was wrong. Thank you once more. Tony the Marine (talk) 03:12, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
@Marine 69-71:I'm not the most experienced editor here, but even I can see this article needs fleshing out. The problem is that the lead section is all from one reference. Surely there was some other mention made in other sources. Perhaps someone's memoirs that had fought beside him, maybe a report on the battle? Having everthing about him be in the lead isn't enough. Is there anything about why he joined the navy? Were his parents involved in his choice? Was he married to his high school sweetheart? Make him live for us. — Myk Streja (who?) 03:54, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Don't get me wrong, I too believe that the article needs additional substance. I just happened to visit the Buckeye Municipal Airport and saw that there was an "Ensign John C. Butler" airfield there. Then when I checked in Wikipedia I came upon his article which lacked references. As a good member of the Wikipedia community, I took it upon myself to add some references and made some minor edits. But, I do not have any particular interest in the article. I'll leave the addition of material to the creator of the article or anyone else who may be interested. I just wanted to know if the "Notability tags" were justified that's all. Once again thank you for the input. Tony the Marine (talk) 05:51, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

HMS Vulcan[edit]

Which HMS Vulcan was in service in 1838? Reported to be a steamship. Mjroots (talk) 07:46, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

I just checked Colledge and Winfield and they don't have a HMS Vulcan around that time. There was a British passenger/cargo ship launched in 1833 according to Miramar. Llammakey (talk) 17:45, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Not sure if this is what prompted the question, but our article, SS Archimedes says: "Archimedes made her maiden voyage, from London to Sheerness near the mouth of the Thames, commencing 2 May 1839. On the 15th, she commenced her first sea voyage, from Gravesend to Portsmouth, which was completed at the unexpectedly high speed of 10 knots. At Portsmouth, Archimedes was successfully trialed against one of the swiftest vessels then in Royal Navy service, HMS Vulcan, in the presence of some senior Navy officials, who were impressed by Archimedes' performance".
The reference for this is A Treatise on the Screw Propeller: With Various Suggestions of Improvement by John Bourne, London 1855 (p. 87): " At Portsmouth she was tried against the Vulcan, one of the swiftest vessels in Her Majesty's service". Alansplodge (talk) 00:57, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
HMS Vulcan assisted the refloating of the schooner Excel on 21 November 1838, which is what prompted my question. The Times described her as "the steamship Vulcan", whilst The Morning Chronicle named her as "Her Majesty's Ship Vulcan". I subsequently found the Archimedes connection whilst trying to pin her down. Mjroots (talk) 13:18, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Shipbuilding & Shipping Record: A Journal of Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, Dock, Harbours & Shipping, Volume 48 (1936) says: "Starting a demonstration cruise from Gravesend in May, 1839, she attracted great attention and did well, beginning with a decisive victory in a trial against H. M. paddler Vulcan". Alansplodge (talk) 14:05, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Eureka! HMS Vulcan (1835) - from The Morning Post, 30 March 1835, under the heading "Royal Navy, &c." - Promotions and Appointments - ... "Lieut. Connor, to the new steam revenue cruizer Vulcan, recently built at Cowes for the Bristol Channel station;... Mjroots (talk) 15:14, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Not sure she is a HMS.Slatersteven (talk) 15:49, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
The Morning Chronicle of 26 November 1838 says that she was. What else would she be? Mjroots (talk) 15:58, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
A " (Her?) majesties revenue cruizer" Or maybe revenue cruize er Slatersteven (talk) 16:05, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
HMRC Vulcan (1835) then? Mjroots (talk) 16:07, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
As I said I am not sure, trying to dig up what the coast guard name their ships.Slatersteven (talk) 16:08, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Well modern but it seems that HMRC is the correct title (talk) 16:15, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Concur, looking at contemporary papers mid 19th century His/Her Majesty's revenue cutter is the correct term. Nthep (talk) 17:19, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Google found me a result from Genes Reunited - Search British Newspaper Archive, for the Evening Mail, London, England, 4 Oct 1848: "Her Majesty's revenue cutter Vulcan, Lieutenant Commander J. A. Pritchard, came last night from Weymouth..."

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Wikipedia seems to use "HMS" for ships which were around long before the abbreviation was first officially used in 1789 (Royal Navy Museum - Frequently asked questions) - see HMS Mermaid for example, - so I think we may have license to use "HMRC" anachronistically. Alansplodge (talk) 21:14, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

I see that User:Mjroots has added HMRC Vulcan as a redlink on the disambiguation page - thanks! Alansplodge (talk) 12:50, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Split US Army Division's history section into new articles?[edit]

In the last few days I added all subordinate units to the articles of higher US Army Commands like United States Army Reserve, Army National Guard, United States Army Forces Command, etc. I noticed that articles about US Army units are mostly massive amounts of detailed history. Yesterday I split the endless amount of history in the National Guard article into its own article, and today I did the same for the 101st Airborne Division, which was 80% history. My question: Should this be done for all US Army division, where the history section exceeds 75% of the article's length? As it is, the history sections overwhelm the articles (i.e. 82nd Airborne Division), thus relegating things like missions, structure, equipment, traditions, etc. to mere footnotes. What do other editors think? noclador (talk) 16:49, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

This is generally governed by WP:SIZERULE, about the size of the article, not necessarily which sections are more prominent or not. If the article is approaching 100kB there's no problem splitting sections off, split by any appropriate theme. Where you have erred is removing, for example, the Army National Guard history section totally. The main article should portray a good overview of the entire subject, and you should not remove the entire history section. Make sure after you've finished your series of edits that a summary of the history is in place. Don't split the entire section off with nothing remaining. (Also, in my strong view, unit traditions arise as part of the history of the unit, and should be wound into the history. For example, the reversal of the Sam Browne belt by officers of the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers makes much more sense when you realise that European monarchs took their regimental colonelcy duties very seriously in the early 1900s.) Buckshot06 (talk) 02:22, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

Opinions on task forces? (Signpost request)[edit]


The Signpost is looking to publish an article on the state of task forces (or subprojects of other projects) and issues they face in 2017. As a project with lots of task forces, as well as special "Operation" projects, editors here might have some intriguing insights. Would anyone be interested in giving their thoughts/opinions, to be included in the piece? (It doesn't need to be long – just a paragraph or two will be fine, unless you want to write more.) If so, can you please leave a link to your submission at WP:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Submissions § The state of taskforces in 2017. Thank you, - Evad37 [talk] 03:06, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

G'day all, I've made some preliminary comments at User talk:22mikpau/Signpost/John Rocco edit-a-thon, which you might want to challenge, add to, etc. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:34, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Comparative navy officer ranks of Europe - inclusion criteria, and wider scope[edit]

I think I may have been arguing the toss with user:Skjoldbro on Comparative_navy_officer_ranks_of_Europe over whether the list should include in its tablular format countries that don't have navies, as opposed to listing them separately in the introduction with the reason why the don't have a navy (because they are landlocked or tiny). Anyone care to give me a steer on this one. There are a large number (from different geographic groups x three services) of comparative rank articles so it affects a fair bit of milhist project space. GraemeLeggett (talk) 07:14, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

I would cut out Belarus (which has always been landlocked and has no real independent history that includes ocean access), but consider leaving Hungary - which used to have a navy (and an admiral for a PM Miklós Horthy) and has some riverine forces. I probably would also lean to keeping Serbia - which had a navy until 1999 or so and has a riverine flotilla. Maybe also Austria. Probably not the rest (e.g. Slovakia or Czech Republic would be a clear no, as would various micro-states such as Lichtenstein, Andorra, and San Marino).Icewhiz (talk) 07:25, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
This seems to be a modern/current list, as it includes current insignia and references NATO equivalents. Maybe stick to countries that actually currently have a maritime force (even if it is riverine like Serbia's). This should be defined in the lead as only covering current forces (including riverine forces), but not historical ones. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:05, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
My mistake, after checking the official website, it appears that the current Serbian maritime arm is in fact a branch of the Serbian Army, not a separate maritime force. Cheers, Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:07, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
The question, is not only on this page, but on all 39 comparative pages, including Africa, Asia and the Americas. The way I see it, is that when you have a table with information, you have to present all the data, even if there is a zero value. It still has to be represented as a N.A. or a 0. This is why I believe that the best way, is to show all nations. Otherwise there would be a discussion, on the inclusion or removal of every single country on every comparative page. All countries should be listed just like countries with no militaries still are represented on the page on List of countries by number of military and paramilitary personnel. Futhermore I believe that the layout of the individual templates should not changes, since it is the same across all 556 templates. Skjoldbro (talk) 17:25, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
I would agree with Skjoldbro, all nations should be represented if any are. Moreover, if the page is "Navy officer ranks of Europe", & not "Contemporary Europe", including former countries, or former navies, should be included, also. Failing that, create another page for historical navies &/or former countries; this is probably the more sensible, since comparing the Laconian Navy to USN seems rather odd (if interesting :) )... TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 18:20, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
That NATO rank equivalency is used as the barometer for comparing them rather presupposes they are all contemporary lists. (are there agreements for rank equivalency between other defence treaties?) But that would still allow for East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia for recent Europe. GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:44, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't think it is desirable to have a line for countries which don't actually have a navy. That is pretty pointless, as they do not have any navy officers to compare ranks to, which is apparently the purpose of the list. The NATO equivalency is, as Graeme says, an indicator that this is a current list, not a historical one. One of the issues with going back too far is that the equivalency changes for some ranks in some countries. For example, Generalmajor (yes I know this is an army example) is a two-star rank since West Germany joined NATO, but it used to be a one-star. Generalleutnant used to be a two-star but is now a three-star. And, most of the discussions about inclusion would be pretty short. "Q: Do they currently have a navy?" A: No. Result: No entry." Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 01:09, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

On List of navies all countries are listed, and those who do not have a navy are simply listed as none. This is the simplest and most effective way of telling which countries do or do not have an army, air force or navy. Skjoldbro (talk) 09:03, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but that is completely counterintuitive. If the country doesn't have a navy, you would not expect it to be included on a list of navies. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 09:32, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
I can see two points here. Is there a list of countries with a navy? I can see that it is perhaps better for this list to defer to "such" a list since the primacy of this list is the contemporary equivalency of naval ranks and not whether they have a navy (nor for that matter, the historical equivalence). Regards Cinderella157 (talk) 10:14, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
List of navies is possibly complete for countries with a navy, but is definitely incomplete for countries without a navy - several (mostly landlocked) nations are absent. GraemeLeggett (talk) 11:31, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Just trying to find a solution. A list of NATO countries with a navy could indicate those without (and why) and is pertinent to that list and thereby simplify this problem herein. IMHO FWIIW Just a suggestion. Regards Cinderella157 (talk) 11:44, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
The comparative pages are not lists focused on the defence forces, but are lists of ranks. When there is no rank (due to lack of navy or army), it should then be stated that way, within the list. I see the comparative pages as normal tables, where some countries have a value and others do not, but the countries with no value still has to represented on the list. This is for example seen on pages like the Global Terrorism Index, where countries with a zero value still are represented. Also, who would you otherwise do it? As I see it, there still need to be information somewhere which informs the reader, of the reason half the countries are missing from the list. Due to the many countries with no army/navy/air force, it is hard to write all of them in prose, and would therefore just be another list on the page. Skjoldbro (talk) 12:00, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

RFC on the notability of flying aces[edit]

Have clicked on the notification at the top of this talk page and it appears to go nowhere? Regards Cinderella157 (talk) 11:51, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

That announcement was added with this edit. Perhaps Editor TomStar81 can speak to its currency.
Trappist the monk (talk) 12:09, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
The discussion is done and dusted, it's in the archive at WT:WikiProject Military history/Archive 139#RfC on the notability of flying aces. So the notice at the top of this page needs to be removed. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 12:51, 26 June 2017 (UTC)