Nationality in the lead of articles

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Nationality in the lead of articles

Carcharoth
One thing that annoys me about some Wikipedia articles is the tendency
for editors to argue over the nationality of a person in the biography
article about them. The classic example is Copernicus, which has some
justification in that there is sourced discussion of the history of an
actual dispute (though the dispute was long after Copernicus). This
kind of dispute was seen again in the John Michael Wright article that
Scott MacDonald mentioned recently.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Michael_Wright

The wording there is fine, but it can lead to convoluted writing, such
as in the Descartes or Copernicus articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus

"John Michael Wright (May 1617 – July 1694)[2] was a portrait painter
in the Baroque style. Described variously as English and Scottish"
"René Descartes [...] was a natural philosopher and writer who spent
most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic"

The current solution on the Copernicus article seems to be to omit
mention altogether from the lead.

I can't see any reason myself why Descartes can's simply be described
in the lead as French. Go into detail later, yes, but people tend to
be too sensitive about what is said in the lead and sometimes require
too much detail in order to achieve precision and accuracy.

Another one is Robert Boyle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Boyle

Again, the question of whether he should be described as Irish or
British or Anglo-Irish (or whatever) is avoided in the lead. Extensive
discussions have taken place on the talk page. But this is an example
of an article where the rest of it should be improved, while
resolutely ignoring the storm going on around that one small part of
it. I dread to think how many megabytes of discussion are spent on
discussing nationalities.

Carcharoth

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Re: Nationality in the lead of articles

Carcharoth
On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Descartes

Actually, Descartes may have been a bad example. The change was here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ren%C3%A9_Descartes&diff=next&oldid=407801169

Seems someone changed "French philosopher" (piped to French philosophy
for some reason) to the correct natural philosophy, but failed to
remove French from the piped link and restore it to the main text.

Carcharoth

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Re: Nationality in the lead of articles

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On 03/31/11 1:56 AM, Carcharoth wrote:
> One thing that annoys me about some Wikipedia articles is the tendency
> for editors to argue over the nationality of a person in the biography
> article about them. The classic example is Copernicus, which has some
> justification in that there is sourced discussion of the history of an
> actual dispute (though the dispute was long after Copernicus).

Copernicus makes one nostalgic for the days when Hilda was editing.

Ec

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