Talk:Penguin/Archive 1

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Material archived here is originally from Talk:Penguin (word)

Looking at the references, this material all seems derivative of a single source already online, and authoritative (the OED), just paraphrased here. I really think this should be deleted, but will leave it here for now, and ask for comments from others on this issue. Russell Potter 06:19, 27 May 2007 (CDT)

I just came upon the section you'd placed in Penguins in the northern hemisphere on this issue -- that seems to me the best place, and the right way, to address it. Russell Potter 07:00, 27 May 2007 (CDT)
I don't see how repetition of material elewhere on the web should count for deletion, and anyway I've added one other link. I also think this material could've stayed at Penguin until that page had developed more substantially, but you've already moved it so I decided to edit this version. John Stephenson 04:08, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
Hi John -- good to read your post. As someone who teaches History of the English Language every semester, I quite enjoyed your entry here. But here are/were the problems I see for its appearance on CZ:
1) Stuck on the end of the main entry for Penguin, it made the article a rather odd portmanteau -- half about penguins, half about etymology. That's why I moved it here. (The pop-cultural references there also probably ought to be moved from that entry, if somewhere into Penguins in popular culture.) The presumption is that the main entry is on the animal, with other meanings cross-referenced.
2)Since much of this same information is available to word-sleuths via the OED's page you cite, the question would be, what can CZ add to this? If it can't offer something substantially different or more extensive, then why should we have an entry on it?
3)Most importaint -- this entry raises issues for our policy CZ:Maintainability. If we are, for instance, to have an entry on Kinowa County, Kentucky, this implies that eventually we'll have an entry for every county of every state in the US, which would be too many stubs and short entries to maintain, ergo, we do not have an article on any county of a US state unless there is something remarkable about it that makes it clearly *not* about the county per se.
So, unless we plan to have a CZ entry on the etymology of every English word, or (at least, I suppose) a CZ entry on the etymology of every English word whose origin is uncertain, we should not have an entry on Penguin. The mention of the etymology in context, and footnoted, as you already have done in Penguins in the northern hemisphere, is fine, but something this lengthy, where 90% of the statements are replicated in the cited source, doesn't stand on its own, and would be inappropriate in an entry on penguins.
I hope that makes sense, and makes it clear that the move of the material here wasn't a matter of prejudice, just policy. Russell Potter 06:31, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
It seems to me that almost anything could be deleted on these grounds. An article on quantum mechanics could bed marked for deletion on the grounds that it is not "maintainable" because many, or most, authors do not know quantum mechanics. Or to take a different tack, consider an article on climatology: Are we going to say it is not maintainable because the subject is incompletely understood? In my opinion, the policy needs to be better articulated. Greg Woodhouse 10:27, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
Greg, that's not what the policy says. It's not incomplete understanding that triggers it, it's a level of detail or granularity that would (potentially) create too many articles to maintain at that level. As an example, years ago, Mad Magazine spoofed coin-collecting scams by offering a facetious set of coins depicting "All the People on Earth." The catch was, you had to order the full set of (then) 4 billion coins in order to get the coin depicting yourself. Just so, with many millions of words in the English language, the question is, can we afford to have an entry on each one -- and/or isn't that the function of a dictionary, as opposed to an encyclopedia. Russell Potter 10:42, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
I don't see how having an article on a particular word necessitates or implies an article on every word (paradise as that would be to English scholars...); penguin is here because it's interesting. Its etymology brings together history, linguistics, Welsh, popular culture, biology, etc., in a way that Dog (word) probably wouldn't. John Stephenson 20:34, 29 May 2007 (CDT)

My suggestion

Please make this a section in the article Penguin, I have to do something now, but I promise that before today is over I will write lots more in that article, so that this really is just a section. Please. Nancy Sculerati 10:47, 29 May 2007 (CDT)

Nancy, thanks for the suggestion. I agree that some mention of this would be ideal for the Penguin entry -- but have a look at the reference to it in Penguins in the northern hemisphere by the same author. This, I think, could be easily moved into Penguin, and even expanded somewhat. But if you look at the OED page which is the source for these paragraphs, it seems to me so close that what we have here verges on paraphrase (this would be a separate issue from Maintainability).
In any case, I will move the shorter version into Penguin, and I would encourage the author to expand it slightly if he likes -- but I still feel three paragraphs are a bit much! 10:58, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
Update -- I have moved a slightly-condensed version of this entry back to the main entry for Penguin. Assuming the main entry grows long enough so that this linguistic material doesn't overwhelm the bird, I'd be satisfied with this solution. Russell Potter 11:07, 29 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree to moving this back into Penguin, and have made minor edits over there to remerge the material. I think we should avoid the pages being overlong by keeping Penguins in the northern hemisphere in a separate page. John Stephenson 20:34, 29 May 2007 (CDT)