Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Succession Box Standardization/Archive 2

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This is the second archive of the main talk page of WikiProject Succession Box Standardization. It contains all messages from 21 January 2007 to 30 May 2007 (including a message from 21 June).

Owner of Lough Gur

I know that there isn't a policy or guideline in which cases a succession box can or should be used, but I'm sure, that the ownership of an estate or of a manor earns no-one (see Henry Fane, Charles Fane, 1st Viscount Fane and Charles Fane, 2nd Viscount Fane). Am I mistaken or am I right? Greetings ~~ Phoe talk 13:20, 21 January 2007 (UTC) ~~

Yeah, I'd agree that that's overdoing it. Choess 18:21, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
(Nods) Alci12
Thanks for the answer and for the removing. ~~ Phoe talk 15:01, 25 January 2007 (UTC) ~~


S-new and S-non

These templates, denoting the creation and abolition of some office, title, or what have you, should be roughly symmetrical to one another, and generally usable. At present, S-new reads: New Title, and has a "reason" parameter which appear beneath in italics. S-non, on the other hand, displays the text of the "reason" parameter in bold. I propose to make the two of them symmetrical by adding an optional parameter, "text", which would default to "New Title" in S-new and nothing in S-non. This is mostly compatible with the templates as they exist except that the "reason" in S-non would now appear in italics instead of in bold. There are 180 articles using S-non, so I anticipate manually changing them to accommodate the new format once the change has been made. After they have been switched over, I'd like to consider changing the default in S-non to "Extinct" (given the high proportion of succession boxes denoting hereditary titles), but that can be considered separately of the above.

I'll give this proposal a week to attract comment here; please register any objections you have and I'd be happy to wait and discuss them. Choess 00:27, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I would be much in favor of the bold-to-italic change and the "text" parameter. I'm less sure about using "Extinct", since that term seems applicable only to hereditary titles and not to the multitude of other offices succession boxes are used for. Still, I might be convinced otherwise, if there's enough support for the change. Alkari (?) 07:00, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Anything that makes for a more consistent box format tends to have my support. Alci12 13:54, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Just to be clear, things should look the same as at present when I'm finished cleaning up: bold text saying "New creation", "Extinct", or whatever, and, if necessary, a short explanation in italics under it. Currently, we do things differently for Parliament, where these messages are bold and italic and in parentheses, because someone (BrownHairedGirl or Phoe, I don't recall which) suggested that it was helpful to set off such messages for screen readers so as not to be confused with links. Perhaps we should discuss exactly what our Accessibility policy for this should be, since we can use the new templates to deploy it uniformly for Parliament, titles, etc. Choess 02:50, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Names

Masking a name like x y, the Baron of Z by just calling them "The Baron Z" is anachronistic. They were never called "Baron Z" is their lifetimes, but always referred to as "x y, Baron of Z" or something analogous. This form of linking serves no purpose. Wjhonson 20:52, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

What on earth are you talking about? Peers are normally just called "Lord X" in their lifetimes. "Lord Salisbury is the prime minister," one might have said in 1900. "The Earl of X" or "The Lord X" (there are no succession boxes where anyone is called "The Baron X") is simply a more formal variant. john k 21:38, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Even in other countries (for example France and Germany) British barons are called "Lord X". ~~ Phoe talk 22:49, 4 February 2007 (UTC) ~~
Can you give any examples from the 17th century, citing primary documents, where a person was called "Lord X" solely without reference to their proper name? I should add that I mean from official documents, not personal documents. Wjhonson 00:21, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
OK I'll start see www.a2a.org.uk which is the National Archives for England "LEASES - ref. C99/III/26-211 - ref. C99/III/29 - date: 1 August 1694" citing "Rt. Hon. James, Lord Chandos Baron of Shudeley" As you can see he is not called "The Lord Chandos" Wjhonson 00:24, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
What do official documents have to do with it? john k 04:38, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Just to note, I replied on your talk page with the first source I came upon that used "Lord X" without a name, before i'd read your demand here that only "official documents" count. But I have no idea why we should be limited to official documents here. On official documents, Bill Clinton is always "William Jefferson Clinton." So what? john k 04:42, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
So your insistence that they *must* be referred to in this fashion is the issue. You insist your way is the only correct way and it's not as I've proven. That's all I need to prove to show the fallacy of your argument. Wjhonson 04:50, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I have no insistence that they "must" be referred to in any way, nor that this is the only correct way. I merely insist that it no less correct than any other way, and that there are aesthetic reasons to prefer it, in that it provides the simplest and shortest name that is also recognizable. john k 06:39, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
There are a small number of titles specifically created in the patent in the form Lord X, baron of Y.[1] Without seeing the patent for the creation it's perfectly possible that this is such a title. Looking quickly at the Commons records they use the form Lord Chandos Baron of Sudeley thereafter Lord Chandos Alci12 13:31, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Every document is dependent on the precision of its writer, copier or translator and unfortunately the older a document is, the more the faults occur increasingly. Therefore it is nonsensical to insist in the notation of some old documents to create your own standard. By the way you can check Alci's statement at [2]. ~~ Phoe talk 14:08, 5 February 2007 (UTC) ~~
  • Undent* I don't know how the Commons records are supposed to be related to this argument. But here you can see that Cecil, Lord Baltimore, in fact writes his own name as "Cecil, Lord Baltimore" not "THE Lord Baltimore". Wjhonson 17:00, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
And Phoe your argument seems to be that we today know better than the person *themselves* how to write their own name. That's a bit ridiculous. The person always has the highest claim on knowing what their own name is. Wjhonson 17:01, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Again, that people sometimes refer to themselves by "Joe, Lord X" is not to say that they aren't also called simply "Lord X." Nobody is disputing the former. Your claim was that the latter is "anachronistic" and was "never used" in people's own lifetimes. That claim is simply wrong, and it'd be nice if you could admit that instead of moving the goalposts. It is correct to refer to the 2nd Lord Baltimore as "Lord Baltimore," as "Cecilius, Lord Baltimore," as "Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore", or whatever. All of these are perfectly correct ways to refer to somebody. It is bad to just use "Lord X" with no context, but the succession box gives context, in the form of a date. There is also going to be piped text that the person can overlay if they want to see the full name. So the dispute is purely aesthetic, and your preferred way is ugly, and conveys no particular advantage. john k 17:35, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
In fact, our peerage naming involves vast anachronisms: i.e., it names articles after what historic persons are called now, not what they were called by their contemporaries. This is a feature, not a bug; see WP:COMMONNAMES. If you can find a single contemporary document speaking of Roger de Mowbray, 1st Baron Mowbray (or even of his son as John de Mowbray, 2nd Baron Mowbray) I will be astonished; the whole concept of a Peerage of Parliament has evolved since the thirteenth century. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:38, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Wjhonson, if you would write a letter to your parents/children, you would surely sign it anyway differently as if you would write to a politician, wouldn't you? The same applies to a peer, therefore many versions exist as he can have described himself and of course we can decide which one the official is (for our time). ~~ Phoe talk 19:34, 5 February 2007 (UTC) ~~
I don't believe in giving people names' to suit ourselves that they never took. There are a few exceptions, for example citing The Complete Peerage stating that so-and-so was "Baron Maltervers, de jure", so he wasn't called Baron in his time, but today we'd say "Yes he was a Baron", would be acceptable. However, the underlying issue here is that a few people have decided that they can determine what to call a person, *without reference* to *any citation whatsoever*. That is a problem. The purpose of the articles should be to clarify the situation not make it conform to some 19th century or 21st century version of what we think they should have done. And when another editor comes along with a citation showing that the naming is wrong, the fallback should not be "that's the way we've always done it." Which is what's going on here. If some editors are going to try to force me to cite the names the peers actually took, then I challenge them to cite the form of the name they are using as well. That seems patently fair. However requiring me to justify each change, without requiring the same from the editor who wants the *other* version is not. Wjhonson 20:53, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
In this letter [3] John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough has signed as "Marlborough" - so we should now rename his article and use this in succession boxes? Sorry, but if we would use your method, we would have a motley hotchpotch. ~~ Phoe talk 21:50, 5 February 2007 (UTC) ~~
There is no reason to give them any name other than their article name. The arguments so far are not compelling. The main one being aesthetic. Why do succession boxes have to be "beautiful" ? They should be accurate and useful. Currently they are not. They are confusing. Wjhonson 07:02, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Why is the format used a "19th century or 21st century of what we think they should have done"? I agree that de jure post facto peers should generally not be described by titles they were never known by in their life times. But that's not what we're talking about here. I have to say, I am completely unclear about what your point even is here. You seem to be all over the map about this. By way of reference, I will here insert my discussion of what I think we should do, and why:

  1. To give the full names of peers in succession boxes is both unnecessary and ugly. It is unnecessary because in most cases these people are known as "Lord X", and nobody really knows their first names, surnames, or ordinals, and because, in most cases, it is fairly obvious what individual is meant. It is ugly because the full form is very long, succession boxes are small, and forms of names with commas and ordinals and unfamiliar surnames are usually going to confuse and to delay a person from realizing what individual is meant, since they have to wade through a bunch of information before they get to the "Palmerston"
  2. The form "The Duke of X" or "The Earl of Y" or "The Lord Z" are all perfectly correct ways of referring to the person for the time they held that title. For time before (or after) they hold a given title, we do not use these forms. Similarly, the forms "Earl A," "Viscount B," and "Lord C," are also perfectly correct, and more convenient to use for peers without an "of" in their title.
  3. As such, I propose we continue the current format of listing peers in succession boxes under their peerage title. I would propose, on the basis of point 2 above, that for peers without an "of" in their title, we do not include "The" in succession boxes.
  4. Another problem arises on occasions where a peer is preceded and succeeded in an office by different men bearing the same title, or, alternately, when a peer is preceded in an office by his predecessor in a title. In such cases, as Septentrionalis suggests below, I think we should include the ordinal. I would not object strongly to including the ordinal in all cases as a compromise, but I don't think it is necessary in most cases.
  5. There are occasional cases that are more complicated, such as a courtesy peer being succeeded in an office by his successor as courtesy peer. This happens sometimes with Commons seats, for instance. As courtesy peers don't have ordinals, I'm not sure the best way to deal with this, and perhaps it ought to be discussed.

Perhaps Wjhonson can now propose his favored solution, and the rationales behind it, in a clear manner. john k 21:34, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Sure, my preference is to use their full article names. That is clear, accurate, informative and not confusing. It matches exactly to standard practice on other pages. I don't find it unaesthetic. I would also mention, in contrast to the claims that this is the common usage, that on genealogical chats and email lists nobody uses a form like "Lord X" since no one would know who they were talking about without the full name of the person. Wjhonson 07:06, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Wjohnson's preference would appear to be 9to pick an example from Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford :
Preceded by
Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
1601–1621
Succeeded by
William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke
This is not contemporary usage; the 2nd Earl of Pembroke was called Henry, Earl of Pembroke or Pembroke, without the Herbert or the 2nd; those are modern conveniences.
John's would appear to be:
Preceded by
2nd Earl of Pembroke
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
1601–1621
Succeeded by
3rd Earl of Pembroke
Also an anachronism, but I mildly prefer it; either is better than what we do now. (And, as long as we as reforming; This box is under {{s-hon}}, which is wrong; Jacobean Lords Lieutenant were not honorary titles.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:53, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
It's worth noting that Wjhonson wishes to change the way we do things for all cases, not just for ones where there might be confusion. john k 18:39, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Preceded by
[[Henry Herbert,
2nd Earl of Pembroke]]
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
1601–1621
Succeeded by
[[William Herbert,
3rd Earl of Pembroke]]

By the way the opinion that Earls never used ordinals is I believe false. I'm fairly sure that I've encounted ordinals in reading some of the documents in the A2A and the CPR. Wjhonson 18:27, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Wjhonson - what do you want to do in cases where the person did not yet hold their highest title at the time they succeeded to the office? Do we pipe, then? Spencer Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, for instance? john k 18:38, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
For reference, we do use Marquess of Hartington in succession-boxes now; it's probably somewhat disconcerting. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:23, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I think the pedantry about direct articles is obnoxious, but otherwise I think that we should certainly use the title the person held at the time. john k 22:44, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree with User:John Kenney. The system used is fine as it is and there is absolutely no need to change it. Tryde 06:54, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Likewise. It's fine how it is. Proteus (Talk) 00:23, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Proposals

But while we're on the subject, some changes in usage would be good.

  • Lord X is just as good English as The Lord X; it indicates a different level of formality, that's all. This is an encyclopedia, not a Court Circular; let's use Lord X, save three characters, and minimize surprise for monoglot Americans.
  • It would be useful to indicate which Earl of Y succeeded to an office. This should be required for Lord-Lieutentancies, where the second Earl of Y is often succeeded by the third Earl of Y (and when he isn't, the fifth Marquess of Z is often preceeded by the second Earl and succeeded by the third Earl. Indicating this by using the numbers (not the names) would be much less confusing; having the Marquess' article showing him before and after The Earl of Y is misleading.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:38, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I was given to understand (probably by User:Proteus, who doesn't seem to be around at the moment) that "The Lord X" refers to a substantive peer, while "Lord Y" refers to a courtesy peer, so there's a basis for the distinction. Courtesy peers also provide an instance where, if we indicate which Lord etc. succeeded to an office, we'd have to use the name to tell them apart (since they aren't numbered). I recall one instance where Lord X, the eldest son of a substantive peer and an MP, died; his next brother was returned at the ensuing by-election, and also became Lord X. Choess 19:09, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
"The Lord X" refers specifically to a substantive peer, while "Lord X" can refer either to a substantive peer or to a courtesy peer. Personally, I don't think it's necessarily that important to make this distinction, so I don't see any problem with just changing to "Lord X". I agree with PMA's point about Lord-Lieutenancies, in particular, and other similar cases - if different men in the same succession chart have the same peerage title, we should indicate which one is which. As far as courtesy peers succeeding each other, that is a bit of a mess. I'm not sure what to suggest. john k 19:29, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
And still, providing links in succession boxes, with no context to identify who the person actually is, is confusing and unhelpful. You may understand who "The Lord Calvert" is and perhaps the few people who monitor this board, but the vast majority of editors would not, let alone readers. I disagree that it's aesthetically more pleasing to say "The Lord Calvert" versus, John Browne, Lord Calvert (not a real person). It seems like a very subjective point-of-view to say that one is more pleasing than the other. I find calling someone "The Lord Calvert" very insulting to their memory, it completely denigrates their individuality in favor of something which sounds awfully pompous. Surely you can see how confusing it is to read that a person was preceded by "The Lord Calvert" and succeeded by him as well when really these are two seperate persons. And requiring people to understand the concept of mouse-hovering in order to clarify the matter is a bit elitist as the vast majority of web readers would have no idea to what you're referring. In addition, none of our other articles require the use of mouse-hovering to answer a simple question like that posed here. The only time, in non-British-peerage articles where this would be useful, is in the very few cases where a persons' notable children are referred to simply as "Mary" or "Joan" instead of "Mary, Queen of Scots" and then you *still* have a full reference somewhere in the article. These succession articles almost never give a full reference to the predecessor or successor of a office *except* within the box, where instead of helping the reader, it confuses them. Wjhonson 20:43, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Insulting to their memory? Oh, please. Can we please have a sensible discussion about this, rather than this kind of nonsensical garbage? john k 21:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Was rather extraordinary Alci12 16:56, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
PS. I disagree with the uncited opinion that there is a distinction between "Lord X" and "THE Lord X". Proteus is not an expert in this matter, and even should he claim to be, we should still cite a third-party, WP:RS on an issue like that. Wjhonson 20:45, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
[4] now can we stop trying to argue against something every decent source agrees upon - oh and proteus! Alci12 11:03, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
What exactly does modern usage have to do with period usage? Are you next going to claim that we have to remove all instances of "de jure" because obviously the modern usage is simply to call the person Baron X ? And you are wrong that "Every decent source agrees". I can cite primary sources which violate these "rules" right and left with impunity. And I think you know that. Wjhonson 18:20, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
An I know documents with spelling mistakes, titles that are entirely wrong, people shown holding the wrong office, the wrong dates. As with PMAnderson we're were writing for today with our present understanding of fact for our present audience. Alci12 11:08, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
  • What does period usage have to do with us? We are not writing for the seventeenth century, but to communicate with the twenty-first. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:18, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Should we list the de jure Earls of Devon, who never dreamed they were more than viscounts, as Earl of Devon rather than Viscount Courtenay? Why? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:18, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
It begins again (see [5]. Do not fell this under Wikipedia:Disruptive editing? ~~ Phoe talk 19:56, 8 February 2007 (UTC) ~~
You know what's disruptive? When people revert my edits without even attempting to understand what I'm trying to do. That's awfully disruptive. I cite primary and secondary sources. Others cite their own opinions. But no, call me disruptive, that's helpful. Wjhonson 19:59, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
What do sources have to do with this? It's a question of style, not of correctness. john k 20:44, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

How exactly do we obey verifiability in the case of succession boxes then? No sources, no backup, no anything to support the use. Style trumps policy now? I'd better update WP:V to show this new concept to everyone else who has been used to actually using sources to support their edits. Wjhonson 20:47, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm placing an RFC on this issue. If I cannot verify the usage, I cannot see how this can stand. Wjhonson 20:50, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
What on earth are you talking about? What is it that you want verified? Are you really claiming that calling the Earl of Dartmouth the Earl of Dartmouth is incorrect? john k 21:46, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe that Wjhonson is overreacting a bit here. The issue we address has nothing to do with verifiability. Hypothetically, all the information in the succession boxes is already mentioned elsewhere in the article. If it is not, it should go in the source listing at the bottom of the page with all the rest. But generally speaking, the succession box is simply a means to summarize the data on the page in a way that makes it easier to observe the titles and positions and individual has held. I really see no need to check the verifiability of most succession boxes unless people have been editing without reading over the page first.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 23:28, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that the information in the succession boxes is generally NOT mentioned anywhere in the article. That's the problem. If John, 4th Earl of Warwick (not a real person) were actually mentioned in the article in any fashion at all, not even specifically as the predecessor of a title or office, but just anything, it wouldn't be an issue. When the casual reader reads that someone is preceded by The Earl of Warwick and no where has The Earl of Warwick been introduced as a character, you force the reader to either A) understand who The Earl of Warwick is or B) go to that page, and maybe back-and-forth to understand the situation. No where else in wikipedia do we have anything remotely like this mess. There's absolutely no way to understand what's going on without a lot of flipping about and a good memory. Wjhonson 06:52, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
So apparently you don't find these helpful, so nobody finds these helpful. I am sure that one of this project's members has already replied to the purpose of this site, but let me explain it simply by saying this: When I am searching for Robert the Bruce and find at the bottom of the page that he was preceded by a vacancy with the last king being John Balliol, this is helpful. Actually, the fact that he was succeeded by David II of Scotland and he was an Earl of Carrick and Lord of Annandale (with helpful succession list links for each) are helpful too. Ultimately, the point of making succession boxes is not to make every page an independent item because we've done those already. The point of a succession box is to show that everything (especially with nobility and royalty) are connected and even if one person dies, they will be followed by another. It is not our job to verify the pages and the facts we find on them. We don't just get our dates from the page the box is on, we get them from succession lists posted and sourced on Wikipedia, such as Lord of Annandale. Sure some people do not put the dates where they would be helpful in the page, but once again, that is not our job. This project is for standardizing all succession boxes from their previous HTML versions and various other poorly designed tables, and making them consistent throughout Wikipedia. This, I believe, falls perfectly within the bounds of what Wikipedia wants for its site. Wikipedia wants the site to be enriched with information, to look beautiful, and above all, be informative and helpful for those who use it. I use it regularly and without the succession lists, I would find it quite a bit less useful.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 07:18, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think you're understanding the nature of the argument. I do not object to succession boxes. I object to piping within them. It serves no useful purpose to the reader. The sole purpose espoused here is that it's "more aesthetic" which I dispute. I don't find it more aesthetic, and I find it creates unnecessary confusion, esp. when the persons named in the boxes have never been named in the article. Wjhonson 08:16, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Additionally having read your paragraph again, what do you mean "It's not our job to verify the pages and the facts we find on them" ? Yes.. it is our job. That's our job. Verification is an essential part of being an editor here. Any succession box that cannot be verified, should not be used. No one is above the policy, and merely waving your hand and saying "I trust editor x" isn't sufficient in my book and shouldn't be in yours either. By the way to the commentator who, previously, ask about titles the person hasn't *yet* achieved, I have no problem piping. I use piping myself all the time, but within reason and not in the pedantic fashion with which I encountered it in this case. If Queen Elizabeth became the Grand Poobah before she became Queen then I suppose it would be fine to pipe [[Queen Elizabeth|Princess Elizabeth of England]]. However what would be really silly would be to pipe [[Queen Elizabeth|The Princess]] which is essentially my arguement here. There is no context within which to understand who the person being piped is, and the piping just makes comprehension that much more difficult. Wjhonson 08:27, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Alright, then I can work with most of what you propose. I actually agree about your argument with many members of this project. I would prefer someone to write out "John Humperdink, 20th Earl of Somewhere" than "The Earl of Somwhere" because that does make it more clear. Royalty, as always, is rather the exception to all these rules because if you call them "The Princess," that does not take into account that she is now "Elizabeth II." So on that argument, I agree completely. Your second argument I can work with, although since it is suppose to be a summary (of information sometimes not on the page but from others, such as lists of incumbants), it is much more difficult to verify. First let me make myself a little more clear from before, I don't think it is right to place information in the succession list that is not listed elsewhere unless it is well cited. All I was saying about our project here is that if one of us runs across a page that has a poorly done succession box, we will fix it and replace it with the format agreed upon. Our project to a great degree is about aesthetics, and less about verifiability. If I am working on a page that is uncited, though, I will refer to the cited incumbant list to find the dates for the reign. What I hear you suggesting is that we source those additions from other pages or outside sources, and that I can do. I will try to pass a proposal through this project to add citations for outside sources if adding dates or unnoted individuals to succession lists. But, to warn you, there are many pages that we haven't even found yet that don't follow your standards and many that we have done and may not go back to. We generally work on a project and then go to another. But I will do my best, that is all I can promise.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 18:23, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The purpose of succession boxes

The invocation of verifiability here is a tremendous red herring. For newcomers here, let me try to provide some background about the peerage and succession boxes to explain why.

There are many way to refer to peers in the British Isles. All of the following can describe the same person, with varying levels of ambiguity: "Forename Surname, Nth Earl of Place", "Forename, Earl of Place" (or "the Nth Earl of Place"), "the Earl of Place", and "Lord Place". The first form is what we use for article titles, and is used to classify people in standard works of reference, because it has the least ambiguity. (Since N resets after each time the title goes extinct and is re-created, it can be ambiguous — see William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke — but that's very rare.) However, it's generally not used in running prose (or is used once, to establish the context): when that peer is repeatedly referred to, one of the shorter forms is usually used. "Forename, Earl of Place" and "the Earl of Place" have more ambiguity. One may, in the first case, or must, in the second case, know at what time the reference is being made to resolve it. E.g., saying "the Earl of Ranfurly" is ambiguous, but if whatever event involved the earl occurred in 1892, then it must refer to Uchter Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly, as he held the title at that time. "Lord Place" introduces somewhat more ambiguity than "the Earl of Place", since "Lord" in this case is a shorthand for any rank of the peerage (Duke, Marquess, Earl, etc.), and there can be an "Earl of Place" and "Baron of Place" simultaneously. Nonetheless, it's quite common in referring to 19th-century and later peers: Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, for instance, is almost universally known as "Lord Palmerston". The actual style used by contemporaries to refer to peers has varied widely over the centuries, running down from forms like "Ricardus, comes Cornubiensis" to "Lord Cecil". Nowadays, prescribed forms of varying formality exist, but determining a single contemporary form of address for earlier peers is difficult and fraught with uncertainty. By contrast, in reading pieces in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the forms "Forename Surname, Nth Earl of Place", "the Earl of Place" and "Lord Place" are variously used, usually with a single form over one article.

Now, to consider succession boxes. These are an artifact of hypertext, and convert what would be a prose expression such as "He was dismissed as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and replaced by the Viscount Lymington" into a compact and easily-digested linked form. In part because of this compactness, we're able to conveniently show a much more detailed picture of the offices and dignities held by individuals, who they succeeded and were succeeded by, and when, than is common in conventional encyclopedias. The other reason succession boxes are useful, of course, is that we can link directly to the articles of the preceding and succeeding individuals. When reading in a paper encyclopedia, "in 1714, the Earl of Nottingham took the Presidency of the Council," you have to go look up the Earls of Nottingham and see which one was alive in 1714 if you don't remember who he was; whereas in a succession box, you can simply click and read his article.

Our need, then, to specify exactly which Earl of Nottingham we refer to in the text of the succession box is much less than that of a conventional encyclopedia, because it's considerably easier for our reader to make that discovery. If, then, conventional encyclopedias (specifically the ODNB) are willing to refer simply to "the Earl of Nottingham" and "the Earl of Godolphin", for instance, then it should hardly pose a problem for us to do so.

Our present usage, "the Earl of Place", is consistent with the prose used by other works of reference, is a form suitable for referring to members of the peerage in all ages (that is, writers use it to refer to both medieval and modern peers, whereas referring to a medieval Duke of Lancaster as "Lord Lancaster" is not an established usage), and strikes a balance between informativeness and brevity. Insisting that peers be addressed in succession boxes with the favorite style of their own century, a very ambiguous criterion indeed, in the name of "verifiability" is counter-productive, and contrary to the established practice of other encyclopedias and works of reference. Choess 06:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The entire section above is contested. No citations, which is the norm apparently, to back-up any of these opinions. I dispute that this manner of referring to peers was ever the norm in the time periods in question. And I strongly dispute that "style" can ever trump verifiability. Wjhonson 06:54, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Earl of Place is not the consistent manner of referring to Peers, rather X, Earl of Place is the more consistent manner. So instead of a work saying "He married the daughter of the Earl of Wentworth, it would say, he married the daughter of JOHN Earl of Wentworth". That is the entire problem, from beginning to end. The materials I use are fairly consistent in always using a proper name with the title. We are going in circles aren't we? And I would point you to the Complete Peerage which is the pre-eminent work in this area and which never or hardly ever uses this form to my knowledge. Wjhonson 06:57, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Choess - well put. Wjhonson - your arguments are, as always, completely incoherent. What does verifiability have to do with anything? What is all this about "the materials you use"? And of course Complete Peerage gives people's full names - that is what Complete Peerage is. The question is not whether in some contexts it's better to give a full name. Of course it is. The first question to ask is whether in other contexts it's appropriate not to, and to simply use "the Earl of Nottingham," or whatever. This seems to be uncontroversially true, despite your vague and indirect attempts to claim that such usage is "unverified" or "anachronistic," or whatever it is. Whenever you get called on your completely incoherent arguemtns on this score, you pretend you didn't make them, and then go on to make arguments about other things, until we let you off the hook and you go back to this nonsense again. It's tiresome and pointless.
The second question to ask is which form is better to use in succession boxes. I think Choess has done a good job of explaining why the shorter form makes sense. Obviously, this is a matter of taste and preference, not one of right or wrong, but I think in succession boxes there's good reason to prefer a shorter form, in order to make the succession box clearer and more concise. Any reader who wants to know what specific individual is being referred to does not even have to click on the link - they merely need to put their mouse over the link, and the article title will pop up. And having things like Daniel Finch, 2nd Earl of Nottingham in succession boxes just clutters them up unnecessarily. john k 18:37, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Good evening everybody. I've just read this section and I'm a little lost, though I do have some points to make.
  • Though this is an on-line encyclopedia, many of its users like to print some articles and read them. Writing the shorter form of a title in a userbox would then create the same need for them to go and look up the relevant articles, as it would in a paper encyclopedia.
  • Though I agree that it would be convenient to use a form in succession boxes that is not restricted by the century we are referring to, it doesn't mean that we cannot use a unified standard based in our own time if it suits better other purposes, given that lists of peers are usually made by the standards of the age they are written. The contemporary styles of each peer can be better demonstrated in their article's text, but not necessarily in the succession boxes.
  • By the way, a duke is never referred to as "Lord X"; this convention only applies to the other four ranks of peerage.
  • "Lord X" doesn't create that much of a confusion between different titles (but not different people with the same title), as two peerages with the same name can only exist if they belong to the same person. That happens because peers sign with the name of their title alone, and so confusion must be avoided (there are even conventions to distinguish between substantial and courtesy peers—if you can tell two peers by their signature, which is just the name, why should there be a problem with longer styles?).
That said, I am inclined to think that it might be better to use shorter titles in succession boxes, even though this only applies to succession boxes, and there might be some issues with this as well.
I'm still a little confused. Please forgive the newcomer.
One last thing I'd like to clarify: when a person is named in a succession box, they are given the title they had at the time the office changed hands, right? -- Waltham 17:40, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Your point about people printing off pages from wikipedia is exactly on-spot. It's been a trial trying to teach people to use the <ref> form of citation instead of in-line citations for this very point. People, in general, are not all internet-addicts and don't in general, understand concepts even as simple as "mouse-hovering". We are trying to create an encyclopedia that can be used by the general public, not just each other. If you read some articles you will find some of the editors who post *here* are using the form "Lord X" even *within* the context of articles (in the body) where the character has not even been introduced. So readers get lost. Am I a voice crying in the wind here? As to your last point, yes I believe the idea, of those who propose this short form, is to use the title the person used at the time of their accession to that office. Luckily for us, we *now* have a method of citing *within* the succession boxes, so I sincerely hope that those who are doing these edits will use it so we can actually check their statements. Wjhonson 18:04, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Though I agree that clarity and disambiguation between peers is important, I have two objections as far as your arguments are concerned:
  1. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. Frankly, I am quite tired of this constant request for references, especially since references can be badly used or may be variedly interpreted. And, besides, Wikipedia itself has some pretty well-developed articles on the matter, two of them being Forms of address in the United Kingdom and Courtesy title. (This whole argument seems to explain what initially mystified me: succession boxes with references!)
  2. You cannot use whatever title you want for a peer just because it exists. I happen to know that the distinction between the titles of substantial and courtesy peers is an important one, significant enough for mistakes to cause great confusion, and occasionally great problems (protocol, precedence etc.). I am referring, of course, to the use of the definite article. "The Marquess of Humberland" (one of my subsidiary "titles") is a substantial peer; "Marquess of Humberland" is a courtesy peer. That would apply to longer styles as well. In my opinion, we should avoid usage of titles like "Christopher, Marquess of Humberland", as such titles would imply that Christopher is the eldest son of the real Marquess of Humberland (and a Duke); in other words, a courtesy peer. Instead, "Christopher, 7th Marquess of Humberland" would show clearly that the title is a substantial one, as courtesy peers are not numbered. "Christopher Chandler, 7th Marquess of Humberland" and "The Marquess of Humberland" are for exclusive use of substantial peers, and should be prefered over other titles if what we want is a long title. "Lord Humberland" can be used for substantial and courtesy peers alike; "The Lord Humberland", however, is for exclusive use of Barons and Lords of Parliament, so the use or not of the definite article is of essence here as well. Full formal reference are also different, as a coutesy Marquess is not entitled to the style "The Most Honourable".
Conclusion (addressing everyone here): every word matters in titles, and the distinctions can be very fine. I don't want to sound like a know-it-all, but things can be more complicated than they look.
I am eagerly waiting for feedback. Waltham 18:05, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok, no feedback here. There does not seem to be a conclusion for this particular thread of conversation, and I do not know how apparent it is that a certain course of action has finally been taken. In any event, the standards used in succession boxes as far as titles are concerned are those of WikiProject Peerage. I am intending to include those standards in the new /Guidelines page (so that one will not have to leave this project to find them), which I am currently preparing and the working version of which you can find here. Waltham, The Duke of 11:17, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

New Succession Box Citation Form!!!

I have stayed up far too late to do this, but it is finally done as I said it would be. I have created for all our pleasure (or horror) a special template for citing succession box entries. It can be found at Template:s-cite, which I figured was convenient. This template can currently store up to five separate citations and be placed at the bottom of a succession box. It even replaces the {{end}} command as it is included at the bottom of this infobox. Please, everyone begin citing any succession boxes that you create. Edited ones you can pass on, but if you have time, find out a reliable source for it. I have a sample up at William I of England if you want to see what it looks like.

That succession box also features another new creation, simplified from what is being plastered all over the Spanish monarchy pages, a three generation family tree. It is very simple but shows the source person, his or her parents (with titles), and their parents (without titles), and the royal house beneath each grandparent (if any). I made it pretty flexible if a name is not known (though, come to think of it, I need to make both parents with that capability). Please tell me what you think. I have only applied it to about five pages currently, but I think it makes an excellent addition to the s-boxes because it shows decent to a small degree and summarizes some more information from the page (or not featured on the page). As with the succession box, make sure to cite your sources if you use this genealogical tool on a page. It can work independently with the s-start or s-hou (or s-hno) templates. Ah, it feels good to be making s-boxes again!
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 08:38, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The citation template is great! I'd like to thank you for all the work you've done for this project. I'm less sure about the family tree – it's a good way of concisely conveying the information, but I think it should be separate from the succession boxes. Would it be possible to put it just below the s-boxes, instead of inside? Alkari (?) 01:50, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I rather want it to be seen as an extension. I have never liked disconnected boxes on the page just because they look messy. I tried disconnecting it, but it didn't look so nice. It can work independently, but I think it goes with the whole theme of Royal House (s-hou), titles and jobs, and ancestors (s-fam). But it is up in the air. Obviously it only links with the concept of dynastic succession. I want more discussion on this, really but I also like how it shows a better connection to other articles.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 02:12, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Project (re)organisation? The impressions of a newcomer.

In order to understand what's going on on this project, I've had to wade through tens of A4 pages of text (I've had to copy everything I'd found into Word files because my PC is falling apart and I can't work off-line without page History), mostly discussions. It's taken me some time, I can tell you. Though there are guidelines for the use of succession boxes, there are no guidelines for the format of titles or other specifics concerning the exact content of the boxes, at least as long as nobility is concerned. Or, if there were, I haven't been able to find them. I can understand that this can be so partly due to the fact that these guidelines are still being formed, but even the relative discussion is split up between the talk pages of the Project's several subpages, and is hard to follow. Moreover, the project itself seems to have no centralised plan of action, and is practically not even on the map (among other things, it has no shortcut—and the whole long name has to be typed for someone to access this page).

Though it does seem interesting in its scope and could even be described as important for the encyclopaedia's improvement, this WikiProject is seriously undermining its own growth potentials. It is understaffed, and unless something is done to make admittance of new members easier, it will remain so. I can assure you that, at the beginning, I didn't know what people were doing here apart from bickering about details. After a long reading of the talk pages, I could only surmise that that each contributor would just look for pages with old succession boxes to substitute them, and if questions would ensue, they would turn to the mother page for instructions (I suppose that there was also the creation of new boxes to be handled with, but this process seems to be all but finished now). It is confusing, and it looks less like an organised project and more like a bunch of people only loosely associated with a faltering common cause. I felt stupid, and I don't like feeling stupid.

Personally, I think I need some assistance and guidance from an older member of the Project right now. As this cannot be expected to be done for all new members, however, I think something should be done to address the problem—not many people have the time and energy to contribute to a project that's so lacking. And I suggest that action should be taken fast, before individual contributions to succession boxes become too many to keep track of in case that someone has a change of heart or a better alternative is found at the end of a long, fragmented, self-repeating argument.

I hope that I will be able to help with this process, as well as with the proper goals of this Project. But I will need some help myself to begin with.

Waltham 17:24, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Hello Waltham, I am Derek Whaley and I founded this WikiProject. Your problems with it are duly noted and I can do nothing but agree wholeheartedly. I started this project on some principles I believed in, among them being:
  • Document all successions of individual people on their respective pages (being monarchs, MPs, or TV talk show host)
  • Replace all former HTML succession boxes with the newer format, as well as replace all variants of it with the internals of the master templates.
  • Document the spread of families by documenting their houses using Template:s-hou
  • Separate titles according to their positions within the structure in which the person served.
  • Cite all sources (thus making it mandatory to go to external sources to support entered data).
While not all of these principles were there at the start, they continue to be what I believe. I created the entire succession system in place using templates I liked and merging them with other templates. Others have helped to diversify them and make them stronger with more options. Since the first series was created, I have expanded the succession boxes to be able to include royal houses, pretenders, genealogies, citation fields, and headers, and all I have implemented across Wikipedia.
For a long period of time, the only problems in this project revolved around complete versus only year dating, and the use of &ndash: or just –, but lately things have become complicated. Since the debate began, and I have been following it throughout, I have sided with listing the name of the individual over the official format, whatever that may be. The entire reason I began doing succession boxes is to make pages easier to read and easier to jump between. And while the hover option is available, I teach in the inner city of San Diego and I know that most kids there (the people most consider the most tech-savvy) have no clue what hover means, even if they do it. This encyclopedia is for the people, and I am constantly fighting to keep it easier to understand and read. When I work on pages, I put links wherever I can to make it easier for connecting. When I work on succession lists, I do it to make successions easier to understand. And frankly, when it comes to reading the succession box for Winston Churchill, I am at a loss to determine who on earth half of his predecessors and successors are because they have no name. This debate has been going on for so long between members that support the use of the proper peerage titles and those that prefer alternatives, including mine, that I am not sure if anyone will compromise. I wish things were not that way, but currently I see nobody bending on the issue. I generally will go with the majority vote, but on this issue, I see no majority, only a lot of loud voices shouting.
Concerning your idea of campaigning to make this a more...welcoming WikiProject by cleaning up the page and making it more known, any suggestions would be appreciated. I have not worked on the project page for quite some time, mostly because I find the page messy and I would much rather prefer cleaning up articles than cleaning up project pages. I think our first priority should actually be making the Template:s-start/doc page look better and more readable. I made that page when the succession box world was much smaller, and others have added and edited since then. It has the proper mechanics, but I think it needs to be more readable and I am more of a mechanical person and visual when it comes to those pages. Once again, anything you can do for this project I would appreciate, but some issues you may have to take up with the individuals themselves. There is a lot of fuss over many things and I do all I can to mend the faults, but somethings are specific issues that I am at a loss to fix. Thank you for your concerns and ideas, and I look forward to your feedback.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 22:34, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I will do my best to help. I need to warn you, however, that, due to the complex situation as far as the Greek educational system is concerned (you might have heard something in the news), I have just learned that I have exams coming in one week. For the next one or two weeks my contributions will unfortunately be minimal. I will, however, try to think of some ideas that might help. I will try to contact in the meanwhile, but I can promise nothing at the moment.

Thank you for taking my criticism into consideration. I do understand the reasons for the present situation, and I appreciate the work you have done so far. You have inspired me even more to participate, and I am sorry for not being able to help right now; the whole situation with the exams is extremely annoying, even though not exactly unpredictable. Waltham 18:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm back. It has taken me longer than I had initially thought, and, frankly, I've been afraid that you might think that I ran away as soon as you told me that I had to do some work myself! In any case, my second semester has been chaotic so far, and time has been a resource pretty valuable until now. Thankfully, I've found some time to dedicate to my hobbies. I'm working on a new Template:S-start/doc page, which I believe will be ready within a few days. I will post it in a subpage of my user page and will give you a link here, so that you can see it and comment on it. I hope you'll like it; I've written "manuals" before, so I'm pretty confident.

Update: This day has found me more inspired and industrious than ever. That is, the page is ready. I've posted it here. I'm eager for feedback.

On another note, how does WP:SBS look for a shortcut for the WikiProject? It hasn't been taken by anyone, and it's pretty catchy (TLA and all). It also happens to be the initials of the project. Waltham 10:01, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I've been doing a bit of this

So I decided to work on this a bit for a few of the French monarchs. I think the most complicated one I've made is Henry IV, and I want to make sure its accurate to the standardized whatever and all. Here's what I got:

WikiProject Succession Box Standardization/Archive 2
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: December 13 1533 Died: May 14 1610
Preceded by
Henry III
King of France
August 2, 1589May 14, 1610
with Marguerite (August 18, 15721599)
Marie (December 17, 1600May 14, 1610)
Succeeded by
Louis XIII
Preceded by
Jeanne III
King of Navarre
June 9, 1572May 14, 1610
with Marguerite (August 18, 15721599)
Marie (December 17, 1600May 14, 1610)
Count of Foix
June 9, 15721607
with Marguerite (August 18, 15721599)
Marie (December 17, 16001607)
Title merged into King of France
Preceded by
Antoine
Duke of Vendôme
November 17, 15621589

Any problems with it? Atropos 02:46, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Well I think it looks beautiful, but the use of full dates is generally not used unless a precedent was already set before this group formed (ie the Russian Czars). Also, the regent option is not for consorts, it is for someone who is ruling with or for the current monarch due to some problem (age, gender, disease). So you do not actually have to put the consorts on the lists either, although that would be an interesting addition to the list. The rest of it looks good, but you may want to add an Template:s-cite at the bottom of it to make it look more professional. ESPECIALLY if you are planning to keep all the dates and change all the French monarchs to full dates.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 03:02, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I completely disagree with the inclusion of consorts. They had no real power (or at least they were not supposed to) and they were usually insignificant. The template exists for regents, and this is not the case. Waltham, The Duke of 16:52, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Over 100 edits to succession boxes

User UnitedStatesIndia (talk · contribs) has changed one hundred succession boxes today, from this edit at 00:01 through this edit at 03:16, 16 March 2007 (UTC), moving the "served alongside" information out of the senate term sections in each succession box to the end of each succession box.

After reverting what I perceived as damage to the succession box on the Lyndon B. Johnson page, I viewed the user's contribs, saw 100 or more such changes, and posted a query about it to the user's talk page.

I could find no mention on the project page, or here on its talk page, of this being a currently agreed-upon change. Please enlighten me. — Athænara 07:12, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The user replied on my talk page:
"Massive Edit Related
"Hi, I am editing U.S. Senators and whom they served with during their term. All these edits are legal given that it is their "political offices" addition. UnitedStatesIndia"   [20:17, 16 March 2007 (UTC)]
It seemed to me that "served alongside" names belong within the Senate term sections in each succession box, not bumped to the end as in your edits, which is why I am asking here about the current standard. — Athænara 20:53, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Second reply from user:
Re: Massive edits
"Yes, that is how they were before, but they looked odd, and this box idea was originally in the area of Sen. Patrick Leahy. Therefore, I modeled it after that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by UnitedStatesIndia (talkcontribs) 21:01, 16 March 2007 (UTC)"
Dr who1975 commented also ("The way in which you've changed the succession boxes is very confusing to people reading the page. Please stop.") on User talk:UnitedStatesIndia—I've asked him to comment here as well. — Æ. 22:43, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Hey there, I think I got them all. UnistedStatesIndia, if I reverted any of your non succession changes I apologize. I want to stress here that no one is accusing you of vandalism. For it to be vandalism, you would have to knowingly do something against agreed upon standard (i.e. if you continue to do it... you will be guilty of vandalism). In any event, I want you to know that I apreciate how you were bold about this; boldness is good, but the caveat to boldness is that once a group of users has told you that you made a mistake, you heed them. And I'd say a group of users has done so. Myself and 3 other users have been working reverting the edits to the succession boxes. There are wikiprojects, such as Wikipedia:WikiProject Templates that decide these things... and one general tenate of the succession boxes is that information relating to that succession does not go outside the box. Any exceptions you see are just that... exceptions, not the rule. If you have any more questions please let me know.--Dr who1975 23:17, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
In most cases, the "served alongside" information had been in the proper place before the edits which have since been reverted.
In a few cases, the information had not been there before, so I'm going through those to add it properly. This is just a note to let you (Dr who1975) know that they're not reverts of your edits. — Athænara 01:18, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
S'cool.. I considered doing that myslef but I've got other fish to fry.--Dr who1975 01:29, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Project rejuvenation

As you might have noticed, the project has a new shortcut, WP:SBS. Now you can reach the project's main page by typing six characters as opposed to fifty-two.

In addition, I would like to announce that the main documentation page of the succession box templates, Template:S-start/doc, has been renewed, allowing for a clearer set of instructions.

Ideas are welcome for further tasks for the reorganisation of the project. Waltham, The Duke of 13:50, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

The second part of the reorganisation effort is the refurbishment of the /Guidelines subpage. There is a working version at User:The Duke of Waltham/SBS, which you can tinker with. For very drastic changes, of course, I would prefer it if you contacted me first; I am still working on it myself.
On another note: as some people might have noticed, the s-ptd template is no longer part of this project's toolbox. Please start substituting s-tul for s-ptd when you find it, so that we can eventually delete the latter. It would be a better idea still, however, to have a bot (e.g. Snowbot) do the job. Please someone who knows about bots do the contacts. Waltham, The Duke of 15:11, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Cultural offices box?

I busy myself with contributions about the (London) National Gallery and have noticed that there isn't an appropriate type of succession box for the office of Director of the National Gallery. 'Honorary titles' seems to imply that the office is merely ceremonial, and that's not the case with museum directors. May I suggest that we create a new type of succession box that could be used for the directors of museums, theatres and other cultural organisations, possibly titled cultural offices or something similar? Wham! Bam! Thank you, Ham 19:58, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I won't make an entire succession box for it, but I can make a header for it, if that would work.
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 20:29, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for letting me know that it's all right – and a header, rather than a separate box, is what I had in mind. I've now gone ahead and created the template myself at Template:s-culture. Wham! Bam! Thank you, Ham 09:52, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

s-off to s-gov

I have asked User:Kingboyk to cast his bot to convert s-off to s-gov. I could use some help in adding to the list of categories. - Kittybrewster (talk) 21:44, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Why exactly was this proposed? It appears not have been done, and in the absence of any stated reason, I'm rather glad that it has not been done. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:16, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

documentation?

Where can I find the most "official" general overview of how to use succession boxes?

Also, I have a specific question, pertaining to appointive government offices (usually senior or, sometimes, mid-level managers): suppose that the current incumbent was preceded by an "acting" officeholder, who in turn was preceded by an "interim" officeholder, who in turn was preceded by a regularly-appointed officeholder. Would I use the "acting" officeholder, the "interim" officeholder or the last regular officeholder as predecessor in the succession box? This situation occurred with the WMATA general manager.

Likewise, postmasters can be regularly-appointed, or "acting," or an "officer-in-charge." Suppose, hypothetically, that there was a postmaster who was promoted from the position of acting postmaster; her immediate predecessor was an officer-in-charge, who succeeded another acting postmaster, who succeeded the last regular postmaster. How would you write her succession box? 69.140.164.142 05:42, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

This is a difficult question and one that I am not sure if I can answer completely. What I think is that if the person is presumed to be the successor officially then there is no question that they should be listed as a successor. If they are an interim just until an election or decision, I do not think they actually qualify as a successor. The question has also come up many times in the question of regents. When does a regent rule so long that they should be considered monarch? The answer, when their son or daughter takes over they are generally reconsidered a monarch. Thus, during the Scottish Civil War, John I of Scotland was considered the first monarch after Margaret of Scotland despite the fact that Edward I of England was regent in the intervening years. He is not considered a canon monarch. But in business, it is more difficult to really decided. I'd say if they were in charge for more than a year as some form of interim officer, they are official; any other opinions anyone?
Whaleyland ( TalkContributions ) 22:44, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Your Scottish example is not terribly great. Edward was never the regent. He was simply the mediator in a succession dispute. The Guardians of Scotland, who consisted of the Bishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, the High Steward, John Comyn, and the Earls of Buchan and Fife, acted as regents. Beyond that, I think that we have never had any clear policy. Sometimes an acting minister, or whatever, can be around for a long time. In the Third Republic, an acting minister would often be in charge for approximately as long as a regular minister. The time it took to send out a replacement meant that acting colonial governors would often be in for quite a while. I'm not sure how to do it. I'd say we should have a bias towards not having red spots in the succession box. If the acting or interim figure does not have an article, we should never include them in the box. If they do...well, I don't know. For regencies in the absence of a monarch, I think the canonical case would be the Duchy of Brunswick, where there were 30 years of regencies, and where we do include the regent. But who knows? john k 15:12, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I can't agree with that. Some acting Colonial governors were in office for months, simply because it took that long to go over to England and back again with a new approval for the next guy. So in that case even though Joe Schmoe was "Governor" in name, he was actually sitting on the ocean and had delegated his power to his son-in-law Arnold Barnold. So who was Governor? The guy doing nothing or the guy with the power and the seal? Or do we list them both? I say include both, even if the other guy doesn't have an article, it may kick-start someone into *making* him an article.Wjhonson 15:22, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
True. It's generally a tough case. I'm not really sure how to do it. john k 15:59, 30 May 2007 (UTC)