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User talk:Donald Albury

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Welcome to the Citizendium! We hope you will contribute boldly and well. Here are pointers for a quick start. You'll probably want to know how to get started as an author. Just look at Getting Started for other helpful "startup" links, our help system and CZ:Home for the top menu of community pages. Be sure to stay abreast of events via the Citizendium-L (broadcast) mailing list (do join!) or via Twitter. You can test out editing in the sandbox if you'd like. If you need help to get going, the forum is one option. That's also where we discuss policy and proposals. You can ask any administrator for help, too. Just put a note on their "talk" page. Again, welcome and have fun! John Stephenson 10:18, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

Good stuff!

Good stuff, Donald! We like to see people getting involved quickly rather than just lurking. John Stephenson 21:13, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes, I was dropping by, as a fellow Floridian, to say the same thing. :-)  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 22:32, 28 August 2007 (CDT)

Florida state pages

Thanks for the addtion of items to the Florida RA pages. If you would like to do more, you can find population data from the U.S. Census Bureau pages:

US Census Bureau data for Florida

The link takes you directly to the Florida page. It is a search page from which you can get the cities from a drop-down menu. I have also been using "boilerplate" tefinitions:

A city in the north central part of the U.S. state of Arizona; 2006 estimated population 58,000.

That is for Flagstaff, Arizona. Obvious modifications can be made for other cities.

James F. Perry 16:33, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

I've added the rest of the State Universities and a number of private colleges and universities. According to Wikipedia there are 48 private colleges and universities in Florida. Some are well-known, some are large and some have a long and rich history, but others are not very notable. Has there been any discussion about how prominent a school should be to deserve an article? Another complication is that the state's community colleges have been renamed 'state colleges', and many, if not most, are now offering some 4-year degrees, but I don'I think we are ready for articles about the 28 colleges. The same question applies to cities. Some of the cities I added are well-known, but others are simply large (Miami Gardens has a population over 100,000, but I would be hard pressed to cite any facts about it, and I once lived just a few miles from what later became the city). -- Donald Albury 17:41, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
One of the most infuriating things about CZ is the impossibility of finding an official guideline or rule that you *know* is there buried somewhere in the structure -- you've seen it, but now you can't find it again. I *know* that in an official page about what CZ articles are and are not, there is at least a mention of the school question. Ie, do we want to have an article about *every* non-notable school, middle school, and high school in the country? The answer was No. But I doubt if this applies to universities, and probably not to colleges of any sort. But who knows? If I could *find* the damn place again, I could tell you.... Hayford Peirce 18:02, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
In constructing the Related Articles pages for the states, I have been guided not so much by whether CZ should have an article on the subject, but by my own personal views that the topic listings in the RA pages should include just the more important articles. So I ask myself whether an individual reading the Florida article would likely be interested also in the __________ article. On this view, the decision to include or to not include a topic on the RA page is one of personal judgement as to its relative importance.
By this view, the criteria for inclusion would be different for "inclusion in CZ" and for "inclusion on the RA page" Again, that is just my view. James F. Perry 19:05, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I remember reading a couple of years ago something to the effect that since it would be a long time until Citizendium could have articles about all of the more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. it should not have articles about any county. That rule obviously doesn't translate very well to other topics, like cities. Certainly, we should not be worrying about minor subjects when so much needs to be done on major articles. On the other hand, people will write about what interests them, and for now my interest is in topics related to the history of Florida, so I probably won't be writing articles on cities or schools in Florida or elsewhere. -- Donald Albury 20:35, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Although there are others at CZ who disagree with my position, I have always advised people wondering about what they should write about to write precisely about those things that interest them. It if interests them enough to want to write about it, that means there are probably other people somewhere who would be interested enough in the same subject to want to read about it. So write about what you want to, without worrying about its cosmic implications or importance, whether in the greater world without or even here at CZ. Hayford Peirce 21:02, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Here is the Maintainability policy you're talking about. However, that doesn't answer the basic question of "where to draw the line" for a normal school vs one that crosses the line to becoming something that sets it apart enough that it can be written about. Certainly FSU could have an article, couldn't it? I think that's why it's left to the editors. Constables should take direction from them on where they want the line to be drawn. D. Matt Innis 03:08, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the link, Matt! But this is a *perfect* example of what I was complaining about above -- here I am, a *regular* contributor for more than 2 years now, a Kop for more than 8 months, and I *still* can't find the reference I want. Why should such a *really* important topic such as this be hiding in perhaps the single most obscure text in all of Citizendium, Maintainability, instead of half a dozen other more logical places to put it?! You've gotta be either a genius or an idiot to figure out that this is where the answer to my question lay. Couldn't someone make an Index or Table of Contents so that Citizens can find what they want in the guidelines, rules, precedents, decisions, etc.? Hayford Peirce 03:49, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
And just what does that policy mean? It says that Citizendium doesn't have a 'notability' policy, but says we should not have articles about "undistinguished" schools, and then seems to say we should not have any articles about U.S. counties. The policy defines 'maintainablity' in terms of having enough editors to maintain a given class of article. I think another useful filter is 'notability' as defined here. In other words, if there are multiple independent published sources about a subject, we can normally presume that the subject is not "undistinguished". The existence of multiple published sources doesn't mean Citizendium should have a given article or class of articles, however. There are dozens of books about lighthouses, but damned few lighthouses about which much can be written (although Citizendium should have an article on Lighthouse). -- Donald Albury 10:43, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
In my humble opinion, which means nothing more than your own, I think the purpose of this policy is not so much to keep things out of citizendium, but to keep others from having an article on an obscure subject deleted just because the subject is not "notable" as long as workgroup editors decide that the subject matter is "maintainable." I would think that Route 66 is an example of a road that has a level of notability that sets it apart from other roads and that allows that class of roads to be maintainable. The criterion of notability is one criterion that can be used to determine the line for maintainability, but it is not *the* criterian. At least that is the argument that I would make to my workgroup editors. We could have articles about paving roads, interstate highways, suspension bridges, but to just have an article on my culdesac open it up to everyone's culdesac - and therefore be unmaintainable. I can see an article on the Autobahn and the Blue Ridge Parkway based on their notability, just as I can see and article on the Birdman of Alcatraz, but not my brother Joey Martucci who went to jail. The Astronomy workgroup will have to decide what level of stars to maintain. Surely Alpha Centari would have an article, but there wouldn't be an article on Star 100034578 just because I had it named for my wife. D. Matt Innis 13:43, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
It depends on what you mean by 'notable'. There are people over at Wikipedia who measure notability in Googlehits. Rather than referring to notability, I would say that the existence of multiple independent sources about a subject generally indicates that it is worthy of an encyclopedia article. Maintainability in Citizendium then goes to the question of whether there are, or are likely to be, sufficient authors and editors interested in creating and maintaining articles in a given subject area. So, I am sure one can point to multiple books and other sources about Route 66, but once we have that article do we then add articles about the Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, New Jersey Route 25 and the more than 50 other highways on the National Register of Historic Places? So, does the maintainability policy mean that we should not have any articles about named highways because we cannot maintain articles about all of them, or does it mean we have to apply criteria to determine which named highways are 'distinguished' enough to be included? -- Donald Albury 17:44, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Well, Drew and Howard have done a nice job on the Nimitz Highway in Hawaii, so that's a start -- and one that renders part of this discussion somewhat moot. I wonder, however, if the Nimitiz Freeway in Oakland that I drive on (at my peril) from time to time, merits the same treatment? Also, some time ago I did an article about Stravenues here in Tucson -- the local newspaper cited it as a source a couple of weeks later in their *own* article about them. So my little article helped raise CZ's profile, at least somewhat.... Hayford Peirce 17:57, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

I'll have to admit that I have trouble with maintainability vs. notability. For example, several Vietnamese highways are actively maintainable because there's economic development along them. That doesn't mean, however, that a road that was utterly critical during the war, is multiply source, but has no new "maintenance activity" doesn't belong here. Perhaps the Drafting Committee can coe up with a better word or phrase.
If my memory is correct, aside from being a major commuter road, the Oakland Nimitz was the place of catastrophic collapse in a recent earthquake, just in the sections where the new reinforcing technology had not been applied.
Good point on the stars -- we have quite a few stub entries that have never been updated. Should they stay? Presumably, if we get an active astronomy writer, there is new research. In some cases, perhaps these should be lemmas or catalog entries. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:01, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I think the "notability"/"maintainability" stuff is the purest nonsense. CZ would be well served if any reference to either were removed entirely. How many hours have we spent arguing over this issue that is both incomprehensible and undefinable to any two people? My own feelings can be summed up easily: Why on earth would we want to *limit* the number of entries in an encyclopedia? We should *encourage* the maximum number of articles about the maximum number of subjects. Somewhere out there is a true expert (and nut, of course) about the old U.S. 1 that wanders more or less along the coast from Maine to Florida and that I used to ride on a gazillion years ago. Why shouldn't he write a 10,000-word article about its history, route, development, contribution to American history and culture, its submersion in the Interstate system, etc. etc.? And maybe with some great old postcard pictures to illustrate it.... Hayford Peirce 18:11, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
But there are issues to deal with. Should Citizendium have a lot of stub articles that will never be expanded? Should Citizendium have articles about obscure subjects that will interest almost no one beyond the author? -- Donald Albury 10:33, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
My feeling is yes. Howard's feeling is no. That's what makes horse races. As to what makes CZ, I dunno. Hayford Peirce 14:53, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
A slight variant on the Distinguished Gentleman from the State of Arizona. I am far less opposed to stub articles that are not "orphaned", and are in a sequence of Related Articles pages that eventually lead to major or core articles, or to the front page. With that constraint, they should eventually draw editor review, and are positioned such that other have a better chance of finding and expanding on them.
Increasingly, I find I'm putting Related Articles pages even on Lemma Articles. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:57, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I will cede some points to the Distinguished Gentleman from Massachusetts (incidentally, why isn't he running for Senator?) in that let's say someone wrote a short, 100-word article about each and every one of the short stories by the old, once relatively well-known but now totally forgotten, science-fiction writer Murray Leinster. It would certainly be a tedious business, and it would probably be tedious reading. Okay, I don't think that they should be removed, but -- and here is where I find common ground with Howard -- I do think that they should first be linked to Murray Leinster, obviously, about whom an article should be written. There should then be prose, in either the Leinster article, or each of the individual articles, showing how this particular story related to the overall development of science fiction. Ie, Leinster began, I believe, in the 20s and wrote SuperSpectacleScientifiction for Hugo Greensback and others who were just developing the field. By the late '30s he was writing for John W. Campbell, who, almost all by himself, had created what is now called the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Leinster wasn't an important writer like Robert A. Heinlein or Isaac Asimov but he was more than a journeyman and you wouldn't have embarrassed yourself in 1949 if you said in public that Heinlein, Asimov, and Leinster were three of the 10 best S.F. writers. In the 40s and 50s he was a prolific part of Campbell's stable, generally with stereotyped stories with medical themes (among others), but still managed to turn out stuff like the absolutely classic First Contact, still the model story in the field. So *all* of the Leinster stubs could fit into various other articles, eventually expanding to the major article, still to be written, about Science fiction, along with a ton of others.
As to whether we want to have someone written 2,000 stubs about every street in Tucson, Arizona, I have mixed feelings: maybe if John O'Hara and Sherwood Anderson wrote the articles, they would put in enough human interest to make them "maintainable".... Hayford Peirce 17:31, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Leinster's Nerves, to me, is superior to RAH's Blowups Happen. I think I was rereading Plague Ship not long ago.
And my first thought was Plague Ship was by Pohl, but that was Slave Ship I was thinking of. -- Donald Albury 01:19, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
C.S. Forester has much more of a reputation, and I hope that both the author article and the book subarticles do hold together, as do the Honor Harrington derivatives. Not an orphan in sight. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:46, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I thought I had a couple of Leinster's books on my shelves, but I just took a look and and don't see any. Yeah, he should have an article. I'm not so sure about having a separate article about every one of his stories if the reason is just so we have a complete set. If someone wants to discuss his stories as part of an explication of the development of his style and/or his contribution to the development of science fiction, I think (and I think I'm agreeing with Hayford here) that would be better incorporated into an article with that theme. i.e., as a section in his article, or in something like Murray Leinster's contribution to the development of science fiction. -- Donald Albury 01:19, 9 September 2009 (UTC)