User talk:Russell Potter

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Smallbone Deceased image

Hi, Russell! Thanks for your kind offer -- that would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, Stephen Ewen, who seems to be one of the image and copyright gurus around here, has given me a form that can, apparently, be filled out and emailed to Hodder Stoughton, asking for their permission. I will do that later today and send it off and will keep you apprised of progress. As you may have noted, I did indeed insert a cover image very briefly but then removed it at Stephen's behest. I would also like to put the covers of the two C & B books into the article on Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens but I will have to ask Stephen if he has a permission-asking form for Harper & Row also. Geez, what a pain all this is! I suppose it's best to be super-cautious, but even so.... I guess, according to Stephen, that the "fair use" definition here at CZ still hasn't really been decided on. I know that at Wiki it has been in a constant storm of change and modification and that it is being radically chipped away at.... Best, Hayford Peirce 13:28, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

Hello Hayford -- yes, it is a pain, but these old covers are quite lovely and it would be worth the irritation. Seems to me, too, that some of them may in fact be out of copyright, especially the early ones! The one I have of Smallbone is actually quite different from any other I've seen; it's a US Pocket Books edition from the 35 cent paperback era, with a drawing of the diminutive Smallbone's desiccated body crumpled up inside a normal US office-size file drawer! -- quite grisly! I will look into seeing whether Pocket Books or its heirs or assigns has any claim on it. Best, Russell Potter 13:37, 19 May 2007 (CDT)
It would certainly be nice if *everything* were out of copyright! And I agree that your own cover would definitely be the one to insert. But even this "out of copyright" business can be ignored by the Soup Nazi image removers if they're sufficiently motivated. While doing tennis articles in Wiki about old tennis players, I discovered that in Australia photo copyrights, such as those for pictures from newspapers, expired after 45 years or some such. So I found a bunch of old Australian photos dating back to the 20s and 30s and going into the early 50s that, according to Aussie law, were clearly out of copyright and were now fair use. I inserted them into many articles -- and a year or so late some image Soup Nazi set up a bot that systematically removed them all. To make it worse, he was, I believe, an Aussie himself. It was at this point that I decided to give up my interest in Wikipedia and move on.... Hayford Peirce 13:48, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

Chicago Historical Institute pictures

Hi, Russell! I was excited to see that Lincoln picture and all of your text about the picture. A couple of years ago I found some nice old tennis pictures that belonged to the Chic. His. Instit. and inserted them into various Wikipedia articles. I had lots of boilerplate similar to yours explaining the provenance, the granting of rights, the mention of the Chic. His. etc etc. It seemed to me that I was pretty much in the clear with these pictures. A while ago, however, one of the dedicated Wikipedia Soup Nazi image executioners came along and expunged them -- a move that hastened my departure for here. If I track them down again and upload them here, would you be kind enough to check out my boilerplate on them? I'll probably just try to copy exactly what you have done with the Lincoln picture, making any necessary modifications to fit the different pictures. I'll let you know when I have them uploaded and where you can find them. Thanks! Hayford Peirce 12:11, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Hayford, thanks for the feedback on that. I can't imagine why the Wikpedia folks would expunge such images, given that WP depends on a fairly liberal reading of fair use! Since these images, where they are hosted on the Library of Congress's American Memory site, carry explicit directions encouraging and authorizing fair use, they seem pretty safe to me. Let's ask the constables to have a look, and make sure they are satisfied -- if they are, then indeed, there is a trove of images to bad from the CHI! Russell Potter 12:13, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
I just checked some of my Wiki articles and I see, for instance, that on the Bill Johnston page two pix from the Chi. Inst. are gone. It really makes me want to scream! I can't imagine what's going through the minds of these people! In any case, I'm glad to see your thoughts on this. Could you be a pal and give me a link to the Library of Congress's American Memory site? I'm gonna try tracking down these old tennis pix from somewhere else, but maybe I'll be led there anyway. Many thanks! Hayford Peirce 13:18, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Hayford, you can start here, which is the colection in which I found the Lincoln photo -- be sure to select "Gallery View" when searching, then click on "Rights and Reproductions" to check on the image's licensing and copyright status. Cheers, Russell Potter 14:26, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Thanks! I had no luck in tracking them down otherwise. But the evil that men do lives after them, hehe: I found the Bill Johnston-Bill Tilden pix that were deleted from Wiki turning up in about a dozen mirror sites or similar Web articles -- all of them taken, obviously, from my edits at Wiki.... Hayford Peirce 14:50, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
I have just posted the following into Stephen Ewen's discussion page -- he appears to be the image Constable/guru:
==Bill Tilden hitting a backhand==
Hi, Stephen. I've been getting some help from Russell Potter about old photos from the Chicago Historical Society (which I had put into numerous Wikipedia articles -- and from which they have recently vanished) and I have now uploaded *one* of them, with, I hope, all the necessary info. I would appreciate it if you would take a look at this picture and see if I've done it correctly. If not, perhaps you could give me some tips to bring it into compliance. These Chic. Hist. Soc. pictures are what are turned up when one searches the Library of Congress, so according to *those* heavy hitters, it *is* permissible to use them.... I sure hope so! Thanks! Hayford Peirce 17:14, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Bill Tilden hitting a backhand

Hmmm, I'm really baffled. I if paste into any of my browsers box, then click, it takes me perfectly to the Chic. His. Soc. page. Why not here?! Hayford Peirce 17:23, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Hmm, let me try here. Russell Potter 18:13, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Try the link I just pasted in. My guess is, it won't work (though it works for me just now) -- reason being that the /temp directory is a transient one, and will only work for a while, or perhaps depends on some browser cookie. We'd need a permanent URL of some kind, but perhaps just best to mention the collection name & negative number, and then anyone can verify using these locators. Russell Potter 18:16, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Do me a favor, please

Russell, today I like to mention developing articles that need eyes and editors. Could you help? I think I'm going to start asking different editors to do that- and I'd like to start with you for several reasons. I'm going to be very concrete about how I have gone about this. I go to the main page, and by the big green checkmark I click "developed articles". Unfortunately, the categories come up first and so-scrolling down, I start browsing. I'm trying to think of Citizendium first, rather than myself or my friends or my interests. I click the "approved articles" and see a bunch of good stuff that is very selective. I'm looking for articles that are developed that might either help rpund out our selection of approved articles, or deepen our coverage of an area that we are starting to have a few in. Can you take a look using that scheme? Got any candidates?Nancy Sculerati 10:20, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Teeny *tiny* duplication in your CV page

Hi, Russell, I took a look at your CV page and right at the top found this: "Arctic," entry in in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World,

Two "in"s....

Did you ever know, or take courses from, Richard Poirier -- he came close to destroying my love for writing.... Hayford Peirce 23:22, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Hi Hayford,

No, I didn't -- sounds as though this is a good thing! Russell Potter 14:53, 30 May 2007 (CDT)


on Northwest Passage, great article. :) Nancy Sculerati 07:54, 26 May 2007 (CDT)

Have to add my dittos here. :-) ---Stephen Ewen 14:48, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

Lincoln image

"Sample credit line: Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society." We need to create an actual credit line, with the image#, and place it into the image box in the article. :-) See the beach play scene at Onslow Beach for example code you can quickly snatch. Stephen Ewen 03:50, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

Stephen, I did indeed use the credit line you suggest here -- but it was deleted by another user. I've given a fuller account on your talk page. Thanks! Russell Potter 07:04, 30 May 2007 (CDT)


Russell, I almost thought you hated cats :) Robert Tito |  Talk 

Well, I like cats well enough, but once they plant their paws on a Talk page, that's what gets to me!! ;=> Russell Potter 23:04, 31 May 2007 (CDT)
time for you to meet Garfield :) Robert Tito |  Talk 

Crystal Palace

I'll take a look- but, and there is a but- right now between vacations and meetings it is a terrible time for editors. Do you see anything on the wiki that you are able and willing to nominate? I don't know what I'll be announcing tomorrow!Nancy Sculerati 13:12, 4 June 2007 (CDT)

Nice job on Crystal Palace! Richard Jensen 14:53, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
Thanks, Richard! Russell Potter 17:24, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
Are you going to mention it is now the site of a sports complex? For me Crystal Palace and athletics go hand in hand; my bias perhaps. Chris Day (talk) 17:43, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
Yes, I suppose that should be mentioned, since nowadays "Crystal Palace FC" is far more commonly heard than "Crystal Palace" per se (I have 800 Google Alerts to prove it!) Russell Potter 20:47, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
I was thinking of the running track and sports complex not Crystal Palace FC. I don't think the football team is at the same site, the running track certainly is. See this google satalite photo, the site of the old Crystal Palace is on the left, it used to run roughly North to South. You can see the radio mast on the top left corner. The running track and national sports complex is situated in the grounds on the old Crystal Palace. Chris Day (talk) 22:40, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
You mean the National Sports Centre. Yes, I've referenced that in the article, as well as Crystal Palace FC, since their name derives from the Palace, and they use, or used, the old Stadium which as there before the NSC -- let me know if what I've added looks accurate. Thanks for the satellite pic, too! Russell Potter 22:45, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
Oh sorry, I must have missed it, or it has been added since I last looked at it. Just out of interest, where is the Sphinx? Is it guarding this stairway here? I had never noticed it before, it looks very cool. What a sad place the crystal palace is today (at least last time I was there 15 years or so ago), its a shame they did not use the site for a millenium project. Chris Day (talk) 22:49, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
The site is indeed a rather sad one, though with the dinosaurs renovated maybe they could at least fix up the terraces! The Sphinxes, two pairs of them, are on either side of the stairs going up from the topmost terrace to what were the Palace's doors; you can see the more northerly pair on the most close up satellite image here (not sure if this link will work for you). Russell Potter 22:56, 4 June 2007 (CDT)
Ah, that links works great. Not sure how I missed them in the photo now I know where to look. I will be in London in August, so I should take a chance to see the progress with the recent lottery funded renovations as well as tracking down the Sphinxes. Chris Day (talk) 23:48, 4 June 2007 (CDT)

Special characters

Yup, I have various ways of doing it (Windows gives you several means), but I got used to the years of editing at Wikipedia where all the symbols were right below the edit box. It's no big deal, of course, but it *is* a small annoyance. I dunnow why Larry was/is so against it. Hayford Peirce 17:56, 4 June 2007 (CDT)

responded to you at my talk page

Thanks for showing interest in my contributions! I responded to you at my talk page. Nathaniel Dektor 19:53, 7 June 2007 (CDT)


I agree, of course, that there are many qualities of copyediting -- like you, I imagine, I have seen the good, the bad, and the non-existent. And, of course, I think that I always had the last word. But even the *worst* copyeditor from a stylistic point of view at least did some valuable work in finding awkward phrases, minor points of grammar, etc., that even the most gimlet-eyed writer can overlook after innumerable readings and rereadings. In a project like this, which is supposed to be the anti-Wikipedia in so many ways, I imagine that it will take a while to work out precisely what amounts to useful copyediting and what is intrusive interference. From this one example here, however, I think I can predict that there are going to be (polite, I hope) arguments about author's "rights" vs. other authors' "improvements" to a greater degree than at Wiki, where "ownership" is ridiculed. I know a science-fiction writer in NYC who labored 10 years as a copyeditor at The New Yorker before finally quitting in disgust at their increasingly slack standards. It's too bad I can't get her interested in contributing to CZ -- she is both professionally methodical AND creative, a rare combination....Hayford Peirce 19:34, 8 June 2007 (CDT)

Hayford, your note here is one I can surely agree with. I'd just add that being a copyeditor is a professional skill; the more you do, the better you get at it, and there's no more substitute for experience than in any other field. My worry here at CZ with copyeditors is the same as with Editors -- if we get too few, or end up attracting too many of the self-righteous or self-absorbed of either, both content and copyediting standards will suffer! Russell Potter 19:43, 8 June 2007 (CDT)
let's freeze Crystal Palace now....there is a point where formatism seizes the soul and real progress stops. Richard Jensen 23:59, 8 June 2007 (CDT)
I agree. There will always be the opportunity to work on its /Draft page. Russell Potter 08:41, 9 June 2007 (CDT)

Brave New World

Since the Huckleberry Finn article was gotten rid of, can you take a look at Brave New World and see if it has any chance of being kept? Thanks! Yi Zhe Wu 19:29, 10 June 2007 (CDT)

Sure, I'll have a look. I think, generally, that entries on novels should be based on a careful reading -- Sparknotes might be of help in this reading, but we should be careful not to just repeat information they have -- but I appreciate your effort on the entry, and will work to keep the good parts of what you have written and (hopefully) expand on them a bit. Cheers, Russell Potter 19:39, 10 June 2007 (CDT)

Crystal Palace and Ancient Celtic music

Way to go Russell on Crystal Palace! Now that you have a few under your belt, you ready to learn how place the tag yourself on Ancient Celtic music? Go to this page and copy that template and put it on top of the page. I'll watch and make sure you got it right. If you have a question, just ask, I'll watch as you go.. Ready? --Matt Innis (Talk) 20:52, 10 June 2007 (CDT)

Matt, thanks for the challenge -- once I realized that the template did everything automatically that I'd tried to do with additional wikicode, it went very smoothly. Thanks for all your help on this and many other things! Russell Potter 21:32, 10 June 2007 (CDT)
Good job! You caught on fast! One thing though, the version is this:
and the "now" is:
  • 22:11, 4 May 2007
Can you figure out how I got it?
--Matt Innis (Talk) 21:32, 10 June 2007 (CDT)
Matt, you are a wiki wizard. I have never been able to figure out how to reference a current version, only older edits. As to the date -- is it the asterisk thhat does it? Russell Potter 21:42, 10 June 2007 (CDT)
It just looks hard. I think there are several ways, but this is how I do it. Go to history, then click on "compare selected versions or set status". That will go to the last "diff". Now click on the words "Revisions as of 22:10, 4 May 2007". That will bring you to the article version at that time. Notice up top where it says "Newer version" - click on that. That will bring you to the current version. The address bar will have the version number (copy and paste) and you can see the date (copy and paste). Did it work for you? --Matt Innis (Talk) 21:50, 10 June 2007 (CDT)
I think I got it -- hope so! Thanks again; next time I'll be an old pro ... Russell Potter 22:05, 10 June 2007 (CDT)
Okay - so next time you see an article you think is ready, just slap a tag on it! --Matt Innis (Talk) 22:05, 10 June 2007 (CDT)


I think that Julian Symons (to add to list) loved the guy and on his recommendation I bought a sort of uniform Penguin edition of three or four of them, oh, 30 years ago. Read all of them with growing bafflement, then put them on the shelf along with about 2,000 other mystery/thrillers, then finally got rid of them when I trimmed my holdings to a more reasonable number. Weird stuff, that's for sure! Hayford Peirce 12:18, 11 June 2007 (CDT)


Sorry about the Shirley Chisholm phrase, it was me trying to insert my personal views, I confess. Ironically myself is pretty a liberal Democrat except on abortion :-) In future I will try not to insert loaded phrases. Thanks! Yi Zhe Wu 15:59, 11 June 2007 (CDT)

You teach at Rhode Island College?

Hello Russell, I'm a student at Johnson and Wales University in Providence. Is it true you're actually a professor at Rhode Island college? I think it's great that we have college professors contributing to the project. Now if only I can get some of my professors to do the same thing :( Mike Mayors (Talk) 21:43, 11 June 2007 (CDT)

Hi Mike, yes, it's that RIC! I've been around Providence, lo! these many years, since I arrived as a grad. student at Brown back in '88. I don't know any profs at J&W, but certainly if any would be interested, let 'em know. With Brown, PC, J&W, RISD, CCE, NE Tech, and all, Providence is a veritable nerve center of education! One thing I would mention: Trying to make the best of local interest, I've started entries on Providence, the Providence Athneaeum, Rhode Island College -- and contributed to Gaspee Affair -- maybe, with your help, we can get additional local and regional entries started. Cheers, Russell Potter 22:18, 11 June 2007 (CDT)

Taking a break-need your help

Russell, Arne, the author of Ancient Celtic music has just removed the approval template. Clearly he did so because he is an excellent scholar- and he feels thye article is not "done". But (1) just as an author cannot put on an approval template-an author cannot remove it. (2) Approval does not mean finished. It means frozen. His further work (and others' work) goes on the draft page. Please remedy this. I am taking a break for the next two weeks and can only look in now and again. If I knw how to restore the approval template, I would. Nancy Sculerati 09:42, 12 June 2007 (CDT)

Thanks so much- yes Russell. Would you like a volunteer position as Assistant Approval Management Editor? I'd love to work with you on an ongoing basis. Nancy Sculerati 10:17, 12 June 2007 (CDT)
Sure, I'd be glad to take up the post -- perhaps the new and impressive title will help me spur folks to nominate and approve more articles! -- I do think it's important to keep more coming through the pipeline. Russell Potter 10:19, 12 June 2007 (CDT)

Gotta go now. I put you up on the staff page- we need to write out a category list and maybe come up with a better job description of how approvals management works. I'll tell Larry and if you e-mail me privately we can work on ot- no hurry. (After all, we are still figuring it out) :-) Nancy Sculerati 10:29, 12 June 2007 (CDT)

This is a GREAT Idea! And it should be fun! Russell, you know how to find me and Nancy, you have fun in the Bahamas/Cancun/Broadway/Paris? --Matt Innis (Talk) 10:57, 12 June 2007 (CDT)

Just let me know when you are ready for Ancient Celtic music. --Matt Innis (Talk) 10:32, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Since you are the editor, if you want to approve today's version, could you update the ToApprove pointer, just to keep it official. --Matt Innis (Talk) 10:58, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Electoral College

the Electoral College is moving along; it's good+ now. I made a couple small addition esp re 2007 developments. The article must have a bibliography. I think the title should be U.S. Electoral College. Can you sign me up as politics editor--I am one of the more active authors in that workgroup. Richard Jensen 11:51, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Tecum Umam

Yes! I've been waiting for an editor to show up on the wiki who would be qualified to help me get that article ready for approval. In fact, there are a couple of other articles that I can have ready soon that would likely fall within the same person's expertise.

I lost my high speed internet connection and access to Carleton's library when I graduated last weekend, so my presence on the wiki will be less common this summer but if we find someone who can help with Tecum Umam, I'll definitely spend my time here. :-) --Joe Quick (Talk) 14:45, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Joe, that's great. I will try to track down an appropriate editor, and have them leave a note for you. Russell Potter 15:17, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
One option is to recruit one from among the authors of the refs in the article. Stephen Ewen 22:30, 18 June 2007 (CDT)
I only just discovered Steve's post here (snooping about on talk pages). That's a pretty good idea. I'll look into it.--Joe Quick (Talk) 11:56, 29 July 2007 (CDT)


On the caption on the television page, you added a reference to receiving "VHS" transmissions. My guess is that this is supposed to read "VHF" for "very high frequency". Also, in looking more closely, the antennae appears to have both "rabbit ears" for VHF signals, and a rounded-rectangle loop element in the center, for UHF (ultra high frequency) reception.Thomas H. White 15:08, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Yes, thought I had typed VHF -- thanks for catching that. Didn't see the loop, but if one is there it's a UHF antenna for sure. Also dates it to the early '70's. Russell Potter 15:10, 15 June 2007 (CDT)


Hi Russell, thanks for jumping in. I would nominate the current version which is on Citizendium. I would also suggest 1 week as the time period. This way no one can make any innuendos; and, at this point, I don't think 1 more week will matter. Namaste, Gary Giamboi


Does he have authority to give permission to use a BBC photo? ---Stephen Ewen 21:46, 17 June 2007 (CDT)

A good question. I will contact him and see what the story is. It's quite possible that the BBC publication is out of copyright (1936 + 70 years would be 2006 for photographs taken in the UK, if considered as a 'work for hire' or corporate work. I'll let you know ASAP. Cheers, Russell Potter 22:02, 17 June 2007 (CDT)
And generally, as I am sure you are aware, whenever a photo holder is hush-hush about their sources, it should be a cause for heightened vigilance. ---Stephen Ewen 22:40, 18 June 2007 (CDT)

redirecting pages

Russell, I cried for help here[1], but in the meantime I see you did the needed redirection for Special Relativity. Can you provide a recipe at the forum for how to do that kind of operation? Nathaniel Dektor 12:51, 23 June 2007 (CDT)

Hi Nathaniel -- actually, I missed your forums posting -- but the solution is fairly easy. The "move" tab at the top of every wikipage enables the initial move and automatically creates a redirect from the old title. The only other thing I did was to pipe the terms in the entry for Einstein for both Special relativity and General Relativity. The last thing to do, I guess, might be to make a page for "Relativity" so as to direct users to the two pages. If you need to create further redirect pages, just create a page for the term to be redirected and make its content: <code>#REDIRECT [[Target entry]]</code> and that will create a redirect.
The main thing to keep in mind while doing the above is to make sure you've searched the relevant articles in which your term(s) appear, so that there aren't either terms linking to the wrong thing, or broken redirects. Russell Potter 13:31, 23 June 2007 (CDT)

Frederick Twort

Congratulations on another smooth approval! --Matt Innis (Talk) 20:55, 25 June 2007 (CDT)

Joan of Arc article

The Joan of Arc article is, I believe, ready for vetting. I have listed it on the requests for review page.

I recall a brief discussion with yourself some time back regarding the scope of the article and whether or not the material in the Historical perspectives on Joan of Arc article (since renamed) should be included. I hope that discussion and decision can be postponed until work on the perspectives article is much further along. Otherwise, it would delay without necessity getting the main Joan of Arc article approved.

Meanwhile, a similar discussion came up in re kilt and history of the kilt. See the discussion page of the latter article.

James F. Perry 16:31, 28 June 2007 (CDT)

Hi James, thanks for the note. Have you tried leaving a note with Margaret Maddox? She's a literature editor and an expert on Joan of Arc. She hasn't been bery active on the wiki lately, but she'd be a great person to give the entry a look and give you some feedback.

In the meantime, I'll have a look at it. 08:39, 1 July 2007 (CDT)

Thanks for the pointer. I'll leave a note on her talk page. James F. Perry 10:54, 1 July 2007 (CDT)

Bridgewater State College

I put it back, but are you sure that is the one you wanted? --Matt Innis (Talk) 17:00, 30 June 2007 (CDT)


Is that I word that I should be concerned about? --Matt Innis (Talk) 21:12, 30 June 2007 (CDT)

Hi Matt - not really, I don't think -- it's just the word I assumed the other fellow meant, which means "Ghost chap" in Cantonese, and is a low-level epithet used by Hong Kong folks to refer to Euro-American outsiders -- see this reference. My pal Larry Feign, a Hong Kong humorist, taught me the term. It's meant in, and should (I hope) be taken as a lighthearted jest. Russell Potter 22:10, 30 June 2007 (CDT)

Okay, I'm certainly all about jest, being a half WOP, half mutt, and now apparently totally Gwailo and all ;-D --Matt Innis (Talk) 22:24, 30 June 2007 (CDT)

"white devil"? lol That term has lost most of its negative connotations, but my mom still forbids us to refer to Caucasians as gwailos. She says "they're neither devils nor white". -__- --Yim Kai-mun 02:57, 17 July 2007 (CDT)
Hey, thanks for the comment -- as for the differences, check out the following cartoon by my old HK pal Feign:
from AIEEYAA! Learn Cantonese the Hard Way, © Feign

Russell Potter 11:21, 17 July 2007 (CDT)

lol, it's hilarious XD --Yim Kai-mun 11:26, 17 July 2007 (CDT)
HA! I can't tell the difference between the guy on the left and the guy on the right! We all look the same to me :-) --Matt Innis (Talk) 18:25, 18 July 2007 (CDT)

Long history

Russell, I think that it's probably a good idea to separate the discussion of the connotations of the Oriental from the term Orient. I'll stay back until you have a few passes at your edits, but I think the opening sentence is pretty hard on the eyes. ;^)

I'm referring specifically to "The adjective Oriental has a long and complex history." The article then lurches into the sensitivity guide references.

You might find it curious to note that although I'm opposed to antiquating the term Oriental, I support referencing "sensitivity guides". This is because this will mark the discussion as silly to some readers. ;^)

Additionally, I think your transition sentence referring readers from the Orient article to Oriental is a little awkward. I think perhaps "Oriental" is too broad a title for this article but I don't have a good alternative to recommend. "Oriental, Connotations and Perceptions of the Term" seems a bit long.

Anyway, I look forward to sparring (in a friendly way) with you and cooperating on a fair and honest article.

Will Nesbitt 10:13, 3 July 2007 (CDT)

Hi Will.
There are still a few loose stitches showing -- will work to clear those up -- but I do think it's much better to have the geographical-historical term Orient discussed seperately from Oriental. We could, if you like, change "Oriental" to "Oriental (word)," that wouldn't be too awkward.
I think that very few people anywhere are offended on a personal level by "Orient" as a geographical term with a long lineage, or the adjective "Oriental" when applied to broad fields of study, also with long histories, such as "Oriental Art" or "Oriental Studies." There are historical critiques of "Orientalism" by writers such as Said, and the best place to discuss them would be in Orient.
But the fact remains that, if some people do feel offended by having themselves referred to as "Orientals," then we need at least to mark this, and consider their views. Just about anyone I know here, whether from Hong Kong or Singapore or Vietnam or Cambodia, would be offended by such usage. The extensive references on the term, though, show that there may well be variations in degree of offense taken (in, say, the UK or the EU), and even usages of the term by one group of Asian people about another, so the detailed discussion on the word, which would be too long an appendage on Orient, is best off on its own, with Linguistics and Sociology as its guides, I think. But let's see how the entries evolve -- nothing is written in stone, at least not on a wiki! Best, Russell Potter 10:27, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
p.s. on a humorous note, see my friend Larry Feign's cartoon here. Russell Potter 10:51, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
Russ, I agree that many people find the term offensive, but I primarily think they do so out of ignorance. Please allow me to bore you with some unimportant personal information that may clue you in on my perspective.
My wife (of twenty something years) was born in Korea, raised in California. When I met her she was a self-described Oriental. I distinctly remember using the word Asian in her presence for the first time and she bristled under the term. She couldn't explain why, it just wasn't what she or her mother or her family thought of. Asians were Arabs and Indians but not Orientals. Then came FACE magazine, a Glamour-type magazine about Asian coolness. She then adopted Asian and came to feel that Oriental was out-of-date ... only old people say it. We voted for Mondale (twice) and Dukakis, but we ripened. After losing on Perot (twice) we became more conservative (thanks to Clinton). I'm now a Reagan Democrat (though I never voted for Reagan and hated him when he was in office). She's off the chart conservative.
When she learned that "oriental" wasn't politically correct, aka left-wing approved, she decided to start using "oriental" just to spite what Marc Levin would call "the Libs". I, on the other hand, prefer to think of myself as a creature of logic. (I hope she never reads this ... logic would dictate that she kick my butt.) I did a great deal of research on the subject and came to the conclusion that there is nothing the matter with "oriental" and that the entire controversy is the manufacture of a political machine. I don't have the credentials to state this assertion from authority. I can't point to someone who has written a book to support this exact position. But I can point to author's like Diane Ravitch and Robert Bork who have taken on political correctness in general. I can also point to where I think the change started: a university political group that started in the Seattle area.
At any rate, I respect the rights of others to call me a big windbag. Still, I think it is our duty to explain why the word has no history of racial politics. Thanks for your work on the article. I think it's making progress ... despite the fact that I have to sit on my hands not to rewrite "long history". Most English words have a long history. ;^) Should we report the fact that it starts with the letter "O"? Will Nesbitt 13:11, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
Many issues here -- too many to unpack! I don't see how one can say the word "has no history of racial politics," not the least because as a linguist and cultural historian myself, I regard all words for human ethnic and cultural groups (including both potentially offensive terms and the ostensibly "PC" terms used in their place) as having histories of racial politics. But then again, I see "political correctness" as a chimera invented by the right wing, a conspiracy theory of sorts, which imagines dark plots and mind-control schemes where there nothing worse than a (possibly at times excessive or self-righteous) desire to treat others with dignity. The very best that can be achieved, to my mind, is no more and less than common courtesy; it's not politics that will see us through, but ethics. If people are offended by a term, why not use another, if available. I know many folks from all parts of Asia, and the least offensive term for them is usually the term that's most specific to them -- be that Japanese, Singaporean, Korean, or what have you. "Asian" can itself be offensive because it's just as much a "catch-all" as "Oriental." As your article originally points out, "Oriental" has its roots in an era when the "West" (another silly term, to my mind) knew almost nothing of the "East." Now that that's no longer the case, why cling to the word? Cordially, Russell Potter 14:30, 3 July 2007 (CDT)
Why cling to any word ever? Why not reinvent a new language with every generation to better represent our new found understanding of the world? It's hard to think of any subject, be it sociological, scientific, political, biological, about which we do not have a better understanding now than the understanding we had in the past.
I respect your right to believe that "political correctness" is a chimera. Is there room on Wikipedia for those who think that preserving the English language is of some import? More specifically, why do we still call "China" .. "China"? We now know that this name generalizes a good many ethnics in Eastern Asia under a name that is perhaps less accurate than Oriental.
Quite frankly, I think it's an outrage for any editor to argue by deletion. It's evidence of a lack of argument, rather than any evidence of authority. Eliminate that which is unsubstantiated or untrue. Don't eliminate that which does not support your personal POV. Will Nesbitt 08:05, 5 July 2007 (CDT)
I'm a big fan of the English language -- have taught a History of English class for 15 years, and prefer the lyrical to the mechanical whenever possible. But as I tell my students there, change in language is a good thing -- the only languages that don't change are dead ones. A lively debate over usage is another perfectly fine English tradition; I don't think much of the grammatical quibbles of the Edwin R. Newmans and Bill Buckleys of the world, but am happy to cross etymological rapiers with them anytime, with enthusiasm but not rancor.
But in any case - what's happened with these entries is the sort of thing that happens on any wiki -- one can work at loggerheads, or work together (even if sometimes grudgingly), the trust is that the back-and-forth, in general, will lead to improvement over time. An added ingredient here is that scholars in various fields have, sometimes, their own traditions, their own professional quibbles, their own terminology which is different from that used by everyday folk; sometimes we seem to be speaking different Englishes!
Lastly, yes, we all want to avoid POV, but there are times, such as this one, where what one person sees as POV another sees as neutral, and vice versa. It's harder to sort through, but assuming that we're all acting in good faith will make it easier. Russell Potter 08:53, 5 July 2007 (CDT)

Russell, I couldn't agree with you more. I also am willing to concede that I might be wrong-headed at times. Personally, I prefer that someone prove that I'm wrong rather than tell me I'm wrong. ;^)

I love the English language for the reasons you state above, but more so for it's incredible versatility and depth. The ability to convey complex and nuanced ideas, like the one two sentences back, in a relatively sparse number of words never ceases to amaze me. For this reason, and so that our great grandchildren can read our literature, I'm a defender of "archaic" words. I don't want to simplify the English lexicon because of what we would lose, and because of what our grandchildren's grandchildren will lose.

That said, I am in complete agreement that is is perfectly natural for words to die out or fall into disuse. I understand and accept this. I don't understand or accept academic boards issuing proclamations to terminate word usage. Or to put it more succinctly, ginormous is now a part of polite lexicon, but oriental is not?! As John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

In editorial sincerity,

Will Nesbitt 10:01, 13 July 2007 (CDT)

Fear not, insulting words and nasty epithets do not disappear from the language. They get used by pornographers and gangs and naughty boys. Richard Jensen 15:09, 13 July 2007 (CDT)
Compare and contrast the sentence above with the cartoon posted on this same page and tell me this is fair. Last time I checked there is no American Gwailo Society, but there is an American Oriental Society. There has never been a government EOE document with the word "gwailo" but Oriental is a self-identify option on DC forms. Oriental is not and never has been a nasty epithet. Will Nesbitt 07:15, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

Oriental troubles

re Oriental: CZ is not the place for polemical debates. The article is now heavily POV and not encyclopedic. Who does it offend? It offends a scholar like myself. I have tried to remove some of the more contentious parts and added some scholarship. The fact that groups keep old names (like the U Chicago "Oriental Institute" (1919) is NOT evidence for current usage. The article needs a full coverage of Edward Said and his role in this major debate. It will either get improved or get dropped. Richard Jensen 16:26, 3 July 2007 (CDT)

I'd prefer to see the entire article dumped now, simply because it doesn't inform the reader about the Orient, but rather focuses on the political and social opinions of a particular scholar without much challenge to that scholar. Will Nesbitt 07:17, 24 July 2007 (CDT)
Keep the article. it accurately reflects the real world and the best scholarship. Richard Jensen 10:41, 24 July 2007 (CDT)
I agree we should keep the article; it's an acccurate reflection of current scholarship in this field. For the time being, why not turn our attentions outward, though; there are many aspects of the Near East, its cultures, and histories that aren't much covered here at CZ yet, I think, and our energies could be better spent there. Once a wider range of related subjects is covered in depth, the somewhat specialized nature of this entry will not, I feel, be an issue. Russell Potter 12:32, 24 July 2007 (CDT)
How does one define "best scholarship"? Will Nesbitt 12:36, 24 July 2007 (CDT)
That scholarship which has had the deepest and most lasting influence on other scholars in a particular field of study. Russell Potter 12:50, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

I would like to ask you gentlemen to "go meta" and think about an extensible process whereby the problem you're struggling with can be systematically solved? Would it help, as one Executive Committee member has suggested, to have an editor "referee" who is not working on the article? Or might it help, as I think, if we first have a discussion about what the scope of the article is, and in other ways not just debate but settle on general principles (i.e., the purpose of the dialogue is not the process of dialogue but to settle a debate)? But how do we do that, i.e., what process might we institute for coming to community-accepted agreements? And remember that this process must be extensible, i.e., it must withstand the pressures of growth.

This is The Hard Problem, as far as I'm concerned, about CZ. I've known it was a problem ever since the first weeks of the project. It's one thing to have experts be able to settle relatively simple controversies. It's another thing to settle difficult controversies where there are no clear experts, or where there are several debating experts. What then?

Maybe we could take this to the Forum? --Larry Sanger 12:53, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

Felix now approved! What's next? --Matt Innis (Talk) 08:57, 4 July 2007 (CDT)


I took a look at it, and by all rules, I had no choice but to approve it. Any changes can go on the draft and maybe we should get Gary to re-approve the better article. Other than that, I suppose the Editor in Chief could pull it. Unchartered territory again. Anyway, mechanics performed according to the rules.. --Matt Innis (Talk) 11:01, 4 July 2007 (CDT)

Pilgrimage article

Hi Russell, thanks for your note, and the contributions to the article.

I've got a good deal of material on the hajj, and will be happy to work that up shortly. As far the structure of pilgrimage, I ran across a number of articles proposing some common elements typical in pilgrimage accounts--a precipitating event, preparation, doubt, danger and hardship, a "mountaintop" experience, return and reflection. These are particularly useful in connection to some of the literary contexts. As far as political pilgrimage goes, my reading turned up a lot of stuff, both secular and sacred, where the act of being seen going on pilgrimage was an important political feature. And, for instance, a number of writers observed that the reason the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage was so important in Europe was as a rallying point for the struggle with Spanish Islam. I also wanted to include a section on ways in which secular pilgrimages (Disneyland, Graceland, etc.) show connections with sacred counterparts.

Of course I'm delighted that you think the article would be approved fairly soon. I fear, though, that you're in a hurry to get this out there. I wasn't aware that there was any particular time pressure involved, so I'm a bit surprised. I think I could substantially wrap up the material I'd intended to contribute by the end of July. Some of the info you've added, though certainly accurate and relevant, is stuff I'd like to tie in to the larger article a bit more carefully and thoughtfully. What I'd like to avoid for the article is the "list" syndrome--a list of various pilgrimages. That's not what I had in mind when I sketched it out. --Robert

John Franklin

Approved! Another really good article, great work Russell. --Matt Innis (Talk) 11:07, 5 July 2007 (CDT)


..waiting for input from Richard. --Matt Innis (Talk) 11:07, 5 July 2007 (CDT)

I approved Terrorism in the version dated today (which had a few small changes). For the record, I have edited a paper encyclopedia that covered the U.S. war on terrorism, and I wrote the entire CZ article on 9-11 Attack. Richard Jensen 16:28, 5 July 2007 (CDT)

.. Approval mechanics performed, keep 'em coming. --Matt Innis (Talk) 22:30, 6 July 2007 (CDT)


Okie, on more reflection, I cede your point. I wish there were a *third* word, however, in that "civilian" to me implies people on the "home front" while the soldiers are off at war. But, of course, words are slippery eels, hehe.... Hayford Peirce 21:45, 5 July 2007 (CDT)

John Logie Baird

John, I have read the article, and it's very nicely written. Well done. I am willing to nominate it, however I cannot attest to its accuracy, since I really don't know him. Do you think that will be a problem? - Jared Grubb 11:15, 8 July 2007 (CDT)

Joan of Arc

Approved! --Matt Innis (Talk) 09:56, 10 July 2007 (CDT)

Hey, thanks Matt! Russell Potter 10:38, 10 July 2007 (CDT)

Oriental / Orientalism

Russell, I hope I don't seem impossibly argumentative. Although I was (I think I righteously) indignant on personal attacks, I am quick to concede facts. I sincerely appreciate your Oxford reference, and I do not dismiss this reference (lightly or otherwise). I'm very frustrated by the fact that my discussion seems to be ignored and my edits are deleted. If that's the way it works, then what's the point of trying to contribute? Will Nesbitt 19:38, 18 July 2007 (CDT)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

WOW, what did Bork say about Orientalism? Thankfully he's not on the Supreme Court, otherwise we would be in the Middle Ages now. Yi Zhe Wu 22:44, 18 July 2007 (CDT)

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

A comment here was deleted by The Constabulary on grounds of making complaints about fellow Citizens. If you have a complaint about the behavior of another Citizen, e-mail It is contrary to Citizendium policy to air your complaints on the wiki. See also CZ:Professionalism.

I want peeople to come to CZ because it's based on scholarly expertise with minimal POV. Richard Jensen 10:21, 19 July 2007 (CDT)
I agree with your sentiment. Will Nesbitt 16:10, 19 July 2007 (CDT)


Go, Russell! Aleta Curry 22:40, 22 July 2007 (CDT)

name fixes

see my talk. --Matt Innis (Talk) 15:21, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

Clinton vs. Bush

Russell, before I edit, I'd like to call your attention to comments on the George W. Bush page about the vote counts. Compare and contrast this with the Clinton page / discussion. If the popular vote is so important that it is mentioned in the opening paragraphs about Bush, then I think the same can be said about Clinton. If it is unimportant for Clinton, then I think it is equally unimportant for Bush. I don't care how it's done, so long as both men are treated the same. Will Nesbitt 07:08, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Gay (word)

Nice job on the etymology section Russell. --Ian Johnson 11:41, 28 July 2007 (CDT)

Catalog of rock bands

When I started the catalog, I didn't know that it will get unmanageably long if it included all rock band articles and planned articles. I would like to ask if it is better to split it into several catalogs? Thanks! Yi Zhe Wu 10:42, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Say it ain't so

Russell we don't want you to go. Will Nesbitt 14:42, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

I would definitely second that - I am extremely new to the Citizendium but thought your contributions on the Gay article I started were invaluable. --Ian Johnson 14:54, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
Thirded - you have provided an amazing amount of authoritative support to this project since October 2006, on a very wide range of subjects - my favourite admittedly being penguins in popular culture. We need you to carry on so we can provide an effective source of knowledge to web users worldwide. John Stephenson 01:32, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

Wishin' and hopin'

I so hope you may stay Russell. I had popped in to ask if you felt inclined to pass your expert ways over the origins of the word "Homo-sexual" at the Homosexuality article as I could do it, but am in awe of how thorough your etymology work here is. I hope you might reconsider and return soon. --Ian Johnson 14:54, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Do please come back! I've been blown away by the contributions you've made to this community and have been hoping to find a project that I could butt my way into so that I could work with you.--Joe Quick (Talk) 15:42, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

CZ needs you along with all of its committed contributors and I ask you to reconsider your decision. The implementation of the neutrality policy is a problem, but it will not be aided (or hindered) by your departure. Please stay. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:48, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, all, for the vote of confidence. I really appreciate it. But I'd urge everyone who posted a note here to have a look at the underlying issues (there's a link to one of the forum threads on my user page). I'm leaving -- at least for now -- because I find, on careful consideration, that I cannot support CZ's Neutrality policy as it is currenly written and applied. I had made some proposals toward refining the way the policy would be implemented, but Larry made it quite clear that he thought my proposals violated the "letter and spirit" of the policy. He's committed to his iteration and interpretation of this policy, and I find I cannot support it. Therefore, according to the statement of Fundamental Principles, I can't continue to participate in this project. I urge everyone to read the thread, look at the policy, and make their own judgment on the merits of the points made. Russell Potter 18:20, 29 July 2007 (CDT)
I respect your position, Russell, and I won't try to talk you out of it. If you really believe you can't support the neutrality policy, but instead insist on excluding unscientific views from certain articles, you might be making the right choice. I leave this to your conscience, as I have been doing. --Larry Sanger 23:42, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Two bob's worth from me


I appreciate your following the dictates of your conscience, and your commitment to personal integrity.

However, Martin is right: nothing will be solved by your leaving at this juncture.

Your contributions over many disciplines and in the area of administration have been invaluable. The present impasse is just one difficult aspect of a very worthwhile project. Your loss will leave a void, and I'm sure Larry's big enough to admit that.

I add my voice to others: by all means take some time off if you need to, but I also ask you to reconsider.

Aleta Curry 18:35, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

I admit it! --Larry Sanger 23:37, 29 July 2007 (CDT)

Russell, You're the man now dog! Will Nesbitt 11:42, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

I will be really sorry to see you go.Gareth Leng 12:36, 4 August 2007 (CDT)


Haha, I have been waiting to say that for YEARS!!!! D. Matt Innis 00:30, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

[Old enough to 'get' that.] "Welcome back, welcome back, welcome ba-a-ack"! Aleta Curry 01:39, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Welcome back from me, too! John Stephenson 04:37, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I just found out. I'm very glad to see that you're back. I only wish we had been able to get ourselves in working order to lure you back in sooner. --Joe Quick 17:06, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

The best news I've heard today! (poor Gabby Giffords is my Congresswoman, :(....)

Strike-through textWelcome back! I'll find plenty of things for you to look at! And I'm sorry that I was never really a fan of John Franklin B. -- I had a number of his books, but gave them away or sold them when I had a massive clean-out of my mystery library about 20 years ago. I had an omnibus Penguin edition, as I recall. Hayford Peirce 01:27, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Many thanks to all of you. I'm very glad to be back! As to John Franklin Bardin, much of his stuff is not very good pulp, but The Deadly Percheron is a work of astonishing and brilliant twists -- one of the best mystery novels of all time, to my mind. Russell Potter 01:42, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I'll have to take your word for it and try to find another copy! Hayford Peirce 02:10, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

New user Thomas W. Reynolds

Russell, this new user has just joined us as a Literature author. Perhaps you may wish to leave a welcome message on his Talk page. Milton Beychok 19:09, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Milton, will do. Russell Potter 04:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Say hello to new editor in the Literature workgroup

Hi, Russell:

We have a new editor, Maria Cuervo, in the Philosophy workgroup. Please post a welcome on her Talk page. Thanks, - Milton Beychok 03:57, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Some music articles

Hi Russell:

A few music articles might benefit from your attention, being either new or much revised. They are Pitch (music), Note (music), Tone (music). John R. Brews 16:28, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

WB Yeats

There are some old comments, with which I agree, on the need for enlarging the WBY article. --Martin Wyatt 19:15, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Russell; couple of questions for you

Hi Russell, First -- are you still out there? I have returned to Citizendium and we are trying to make something good of it, very different from before. Hope you might check back in and look around some. Second question -- I ask you because you are the only English professor I know to ask: "A Canterbury tale" is very occasionally used slang that means a tall tale. It might be largely archaic by now, but here's the actual question. I read somewhere that it was probably/possibly in use before Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales, so that there was already a play on words there. How can I find out if that phrase "a Canterbury tale" was already in use when Chaucer wrote his Tales? Or whether it came along as slang after Chaucer? I was only able to find one instance of anyone using that phrase as slang, aside from Geogette Heyer novels about the Regency period (she used it often), and that was here:

Well, those are my questions. Please, come back! It's good here now.Pat Palmer (talk) 02:29, 1 September 2020 (UTC)

Lemme see tomorrow what my complete OED has to say about it. Hayford Peirce (talk) 03:25, 1 September 2020 (UTC)
Managed to peer at the OED enough to see that it says that in "later times", it came to mean a long and tedious story; a "friar's story", a cock-and-bull story; a tall tale or something else of that nature. Hayford Peirce (talk) 18:29, 1 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks a bunch, Hayford! If you're feeling really frisky, you could work that into the opener of The Canterbury Tales, along with an exact reference to the OED you have. I'll admit to a bit of envy that you've got one in your house. It was fun looking at that article because, along the way, I saw there is a film set during WWII in Britain called "A Canterbury Tale", which some people like and others don't and I know am resolved to watch soon.Pat Palmer (talk) 18:37, 1 September 2020 (UTC)
Years ago, sometime in the '80s, I joined some sort of Book of the Month club, I forget which one, in which I had to purchase, oh, four books in the course of a calendar year. As a bonus for signing up they GAVE me the two volumes of the OED! Which, if purchased by themselves, would probably have cost a couple of hundred bucks. A great, great deal! Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:53, 2 September 2020 (UTC)
Right now, Amazon is selling the two volumes (new) for $401, with cheaper ones available if you look. Hayford Peirce (talk) 17:55, 2 September 2020 (UTC)
You are a mind reader, Hayford. I was wondering exactly what you answered, which is, how you ended up with an OED! I wish I had a bigger house; but since we're so small, I now go electronic whenever I can (2 BR apartment, really, chock full with 2 home offices).Pat Palmer (talk) 17:59, 2 September 2020 (UTC)
Well, compared to the 22 neighboring volumes or so of the 1940 Ency. Brit., in which my father wrote the article about Byzantine art, the two OED take up hardly any space at all. About six inches wide by 14 inches high, I would say. Plus you've gotta keep the smallish mag. glass somewhere.... Hayford Peirce (talk) 18:08, 2 September 2020 (UTC)