Talk:Richard Neustadt

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Comment[edit]

I can't understand why you keep removing information from Richard Neustadt so it is now protected. Please discuss it on the talk page. You can not continue reverting pages and refusing to discuss your reasons or even giving an edit summary explaining what you are doing. Angela 04:53, Nov 2, 2003 (UTC)

I only removed Lir's nonsensical wikification of words like died (and thereafter reverted to my version after he reverted; he should know better than to add information during an edit war; he will ultimately have to re-add this information on the basis of my version). Sorry if that is not obvious to you. I note that you're taking sides here, accusing me of reverting when I just made a normal edit and the first to revert was Lir. --Wik 05:05, Nov 2, 2003 (UTC)
You didn't just delink death; which is arguably quite valid (this is a wiki, wik...); you removed valid information, whole sentences describing aspects of the man's life, removed valid and notable dates; and, for some reason or other, decided that each president's full name should be written out. Lirath Q. Pynnor
Good you're discussing it. I've unprotected it now. Angela 07:40, Nov 2, 2003 (UTC)
And as soon as you did, Wik reverted again. RickK 08:32, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Born in NYC or Philadelphia?[edit]

Hmm, I didn't realize this little revert-war was going on when I expanded the article a bit. On a more serious topic, does anyone know whether Neustadt was born on June 26 in New York City, as the AP reports or on June 27 in Philadelphia as the JFK library puts it? --Minesweeper 13:04, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)

This page looks like an American flag![edit]

Lir, I know Wikilinks are a Good Thing, but don't you think it has gotten a bit out of hand in this short article? There is more linked text than plain text. As far as dates go, according to Wikipedia:Make only links relevant to the context, only birth and death are essential; otherwise only "epoch-making" dates should be linked. Also, some simple English nouns like professor and government and the book titles don't need to be linked. What do you think? Can we "quiet" this page down a bit visually speaking? -- Viajero 09:53, 3 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Well, first off, the Make only links relevant to the context page is not official; many people disagree with it. Second off, why wouldn't every date be valid; or, why are "birth" and "death" essential? You might not think professor is valid, but we do have an article there. Certainly book titles should be linked, that way people can go create an article on the book. Lirath Q. Pynnor

You didn't answer my question. And you missed a few: the, decade, degree, a, it, home, marry, die, I mean, if you are going to overdo it, you might as well do the job properly. ;-) -- Viajero 15:57, 3 Nov 2003 (UTC)
He did wikify home, marry, and die. I reverted those. You blamed me for it, remember? --Wik 21:51, Nov 3, 2003 (UTC)

No, I don't think things are out of hand. The fact that Im not linking "it" or "a" or "the" is a good sign that things are not out of hand. I don't think I am overdoing it. Lirath Q. Pynnor


Once this page is unprotected, it might be good to add that his wife was the Baroness Williams of Crosby, PC, and that he was her second husband. -- Someone else 02:37, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)


If the Richard Neustadt article said something more about just what he accomplished with all those years in all those jobs, the link density would be a lot lower. He was presumably a historian in the Navy - did he work with Samuel Eliot Morison perhaps? What kind of advice did he give to all those presidents? This article is a good start, but it's completely colorless (figuratively speaking :-) ). Stan 07:28, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)


I started adding some more in-depth material to fix up this article, but it would be dirty pool to add it while it was still protected, so I've stashed it away in a text file for now. Will the edit war resume if I unprotect the page now? (And to allay concerns :-), some of the rewriting removes redundant links and obviates the need for others - after all professor emeritus is just a fancied-up term for "retired".) Stan 19:42, 7 Nov 2003 (UTC)


Point of factual accuracy unrelated to edit war: the news reports say that he died in London. I'm going to make the change under the assumption that it is uncontentious. If I am wrong, please drop me a note on my talk page, or get another sysop to revert. -- Cyan 23:29, 7 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Some state that it is unknown whether he died in London (at his apartment), or at his home just outside of London. Lirath Q. Pynnor

I was aware that my edit was in violation of policy, but thought that it would prove uncontroversial. Since I was wrong, I have reverted myself. -- Cyan 02:22, 8 Nov 2003 (UTC) P.S. source for my edit: Guardian article.

Oops, I didn't realize there had been edit wars over link density before I removed some. Well I definitely side with those who thought it was overlinked: it looked terrible, and clashed with wikipedia guidelines which suggest average of not more than a link per line. Babajobu 13:21, 1 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Heh, although I'm usually indifferent to year links myself, there are lots of little elves who will add them all back, so kind of a lost cause to target them... Stan 18:29, 1 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

President Clinton vs Bill Clinton or President Bill Clinton[edit]

I see no reason why President Clinton will not suffice, as opposed to Bill Clinton. Lirath Q. Pynnor

I changed to "Bill Clinton" because I think his advisory capacity may have continued after the Clinton presidency was over. (I may well be wrong about that but "Bill Clinton" is ambiguous enough to cover either case.) - Hephaestos 17:45, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Revert war[edit]

Now what's wrong? I've protected this again because edit summaries like "rv again, it's the weekend and I've got all day" suggested the edit war would have continued otherwise. Angela 17:33, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Wik is back at the auto-reversion of Lir changes irrespective of whether they're good. There doesn't seem to be any way of getting through to Wik. I would solve the problem by banning Wik, but that's because I'm not as nice as Jimbo :-). And thanks for protecting, I was about to ask for that. Stan 17:40, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The right approach is to post on the talk page first, not just to revert and make accusations of vandalism. Stan 18:26, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

For someone who just reverted with the comment "I've got all day" I wouldn't talk about what the "right approach" in such matters is. --Wik 18:37, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

Requirement to use full names?[edit]

As far as I know there's no requirement to use full names on first mention unless it involves the subject of the article (Wikipedia is peppered with references to authors, composers etc. by last name only, as long as the link works that shouldn't be a problem.) -- Hephaestos 17:45, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I'm not saying the word "President" should not be mentioned, so how does leaving out the first name emphasize his specialty in the presidency? It is common encyclopaedic standard to include the first name when a new person is introduced, except for extremely famous and unambiguous historic names (Caesar, Shakespeare, Hitler, etc., but not any U.S. president). --Wik 18:06, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

I think Hephaestos has it precisely correct. Wik's point about ambiguity is not an issue, because there was only one "President Truman", even if there have been many Trumans. Martin 18:10, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

There have been two Presidents Johnson though. And it is not only the ambiguity, otherwise you would never have to use the full name if the person is uniquely defined by the context. Wik 18:20, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

Google stats[edit]

aka, what do current writers do?

[using "President X"] is simply not the usual practice, not in the Britannica or other major encyclopaedias, nor even in the Wikipedia:

Google shows:

"president bill clinton" site:wikipedia.org - 353 "president clinton" site:wikipedia.org - 138

And the latter number includes all the undisputed cases of second, third, etc. mention, so that on first mention using the full name is clearly the rule. --Wik 18:20, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

Your interpretation is a little inaccurate, because the count is of number of pages, not of hits, and because some articles will have both "president bill clinton" and "president clinton", and some other issues. I think your expansion of this approach below, blending it with something of mine, is considerably improved. Assuming that you agree, I will reply to that. Martin 01:42, 22 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Here's the procedure - we search once for Clinton, to get all articles mentioning clinton. We add the qualifiers site:wikipedia.org "Discuss this page" -"User contributions" to focus solely on Wikipedia and to get rid of talk pages and user pages. Then we query again for "Bill Clinton" to get, from those articles, those articles which introduce him by his full name at some point in the article. We also search for Clinton -"Bill Clinton" to confirm our arithmetic. The results are:

  • Truman - 439 pages
  • "Harry S. Truman" - 226 pages
  • Approximately 49% of articles on Truman never use the phrase "Harry S. Truman"

Thus, the statistics appear to show that writers are split approximately 50-50 on whether or not to use the full name (or rather, in around 50% of cases, use of the full name has been felt appropriate, and in the other 50% it has not). However, note that this will be skewed by the location of the articles (eg Bill Clinton) and writer's preferences not to use redirects are piped links. There are also issues of the completeness of google's indexing, and the existence of non-presidential Clintons and Trumans.Martin 18:57, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

"There are also issues"? That's the issue, you count all references to other Clintons. Let's do it correctly. We search for "President Clinton" or "President Bill Clinton", thereby ruling out any other Clintons. We'll first search for the full name:
"president bill clinton" site:wikipedia.org -"user contributions" - 238
Now for the short form, excluding the full name (to exclude cases where it's short on second mention etc.):
"president clinton" -"president bill clinton" site:wikipedia.org -"user contributions" - 74
That means in 76% of those cases the full name is used. --Wik 19:50, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

I just ran Truman Capote through the search and it came back with 5 instances - including one page that showed up twice. I have some real doubts about this method. Rmhermen 19:05, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

Oh, so do I, but I'm just following Wik's lead... :) Martin 19:14, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I think Rmhermen only referred to your stats, since the Capote effect doesn't apply to mine. --Wik 19:50, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

What do readers want?[edit]

Just to put my two cents in, I think it does read better with "President Kennedy" and "President Johnson"; it emphasizes Neustadt's speciality in the U.S. presidency. -- Hephaestos 17:45, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

In some circumstances it is best to give a full name on the first mention, but in this one I believe the version preferred by Hephaestos, Stan and Lir is superior. Martin 18:10, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

We have thousands of high-quality articles where we don't feel compelled to spell out every name in excruciating length. Sometimes one needs a full name for context, for instance when referring to a "Senator Smith" in an article on a US Navy ship, but for a person who spent nearly his entire life involved with the US Presidency, it's going to be pretty easy to tell who "President Kennedy" must be referring to, plus our readers appreciate the shorter and smoother-flowing text. Stan 18:26, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

And how do you know what "the readers" appreciate? The writers, as the statistics show, prefer the full name. --Wik 18:37, Nov 15, 2003 (UTC)

Thinking about the reader's experience is a basic part of writing; I learned that in high school English many years ago, perhaps they don't teach that anymore. The reader of a reference work wants accurate information as quickly and painlessly as possible, all the details derive from that one principle. There are so many bad writers on WP that it's not really a good idea to use WP statistics to choose a best style; better to refer to the authorities on the practice of writing, such as Strunk and White, who say for instance "Omit needless words". Stan 18:58, 15 Nov 2003 (UTC)

I've omited "Harry S.". I retained the full mention of President Johnson, as those words are useful for unambiguity. Martin
First names are not "needless words", otherwise we would never use them where the person is already unambiguously defined. --Wik 16:34, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)
First names are not always needless words. Sometimes they are, such as in this case. If you believe they are not needless, please tell us what the need is. Martin 16:40, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Same as in any other case. The first name is part of the name. It's up to you to explain what is different in this case. --Wik 16:44, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)
I don't see why the first name is needed merely because it is part of the full name. That doesn't seem to follow. Perhaps you could explain your reasoning? Martin 16:49, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)
It is part of the common name. The convention is to use the most common form. That is elementary for every encyclopaedia. Why do you want to deviate from that? --Wik 17:01, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)
The naming convention to use the most common form is for article titles, not for content, so is irrelevant to this discussion, nor am I deviating from it. By contrast, I am following our manual of style, which recommends reading external style guides like Strunk and White (as referenced by Stan above) to attain good style.
We already omit needless first names throughout Wikipedia, including in this article: "Born in Philadelphia, Neustadt received an A.B....". Omitting the needless first name and initial of President Truman follows the same convention, and is good style. "Let every word tell". Martin 17:10, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Now you're just silly. Neustadt's full name is given at the beginning of the article. Truman's isn't. We're talking about the first mention of a person here. De facto, the convention holds not just for titles, as the statistics show. So it's up to you to make a case for your deviation from established practice. --Wik 17:17, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)
I have. "Omit needless words". So it's up to you to expain why these words are not needless. Martin 17:19, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)
You haven't explained why they're needless, you just said so. Well, I say they aren't needless. So, we disagree. Which means we can't decide the matter by Strunk and White, as long as it doesn't explicitly say how to deal with names in encyclopaedia articles. The only objective yardstick, then, is our established practice. --Wik 17:30, Nov 29, 2003 (UTC)
I believe they are needless because neither I, nor Stan Shebs, nor Lir, nor you, have come up with any reason why they are needed. This seems like compelling evidence to me. Martin 17:35, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I don't remember voting on a policy of always using someone's full name; if you can show me the vote page, Wik, Ill be happy to vote against it. I urge you to read the wikipedia:manual of style: "Rules and regulations...cannot be endowed with the fixity of rock-ribbed law. They...must be applied with a certain degree of elasticity." Lirath Q. Pynnor

Wik, if I thought you'd read the talk page there might be a point in talking to you on it. Anyone who takes a look at what's already there can make a simple determination on consensus:

For Wik's version: Wik For the version Wik keeps reverting: Lir, Stan, Hephaestos, Martin

What does this tell you, Wik? My guess is you can't make heads or tails of it. - Hephaestos 02:34, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)

The opinions of 5 people are not as significant as the statistics I posted, showing that my format is used in 76% of all cases. --Wik 02:56, Jan 9, 2004 (UTC)
And it somehow never occurs to you that the 24% of the cases in which this format is not used is probably because of stylistic concerns exactly like the one in this article. - Hephaestos 03:00, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
What stylistic concerns? Can you describe them in any way other than just saying "it reads better", which you might say in any such case? You'd have to explain how this case is different from any other. --Wik 03:05, Jan 9, 2004 (UTC)
I don't have to do anything of the sort. Your own statistics prove that this form isn't universal; all that is required in this case is a consensus decision, which has been made and which you consistently ignore. - Hephaestos 03:22, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
No, just saying something without justification is not a basis for any consensus. By the only objective standard we have, my format is to be preferred. If you can't make a case to show how this case is different from others, your 4-vote consensus is more than outweighed by the 76% consensus of actual Wikipedia practice. --Wik 03:42, Jan 9, 2004 (UTC)
Your notion of an "objective standard" is ludicrous. Should we cut the articles down to stub size because most of them already are? - Hephaestos 03:52, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
There are reasons for different article lengths. You haven't provided reasons for the different treatment of names you propose. --Wik 03:56, Jan 9, 2004 (UTC)

"Give me your reason." "No that's not reason enough." Just have it your way, I'm sick of your circular argument bullshit. I'll wait until you're banned to change it back. - Hephaestos 04:04, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Dear god, this is the stupidest edit war I've ever seen. I'd tend to agree with Wik that it looks somewhat better to have the first name. But for god's sake, who really cares? Now, I know Wik gets all on about stuff like this, and he and Lir have this whole fighting thing going on, but what's the excuse of the rest of you? Is it really so offensive to have "Harry S." mentioned that it has to be constantly reverted? (The same applies to Wik, of course, but a) he probably can't be reasoned with about this; and b) the article originally had the first name). This is complete ridiculousness. john 05:06, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I agree it's a stupid edit war; it's not the stupidest I've ever seen though, this is. This one at least has the benefit of the principle Stan mentions (the article didn't originally have the first name, but Wik's reverted it so much one needs to click "next 50" to find that out). - Hephaestos 07:22, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Yes, you're right, that is by far the dumbest edit war I've ever seen, since it was an edit war where nobody actually disagreed about anything substantive. john 22:22, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I also agree that Wik's version looks better, but all you people are wasting your time. Who cares? --Jiang
Principle of the thing, gotta stand up to bullies. I'll bet if Wik followed you around to blanket-revert all your edits on bogus technicalities, you might care a bit more about his activities. Stan 06:47, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I've certainly had irritating run-ins with Wik, but the best thing is to leave it alone when it doesn't matter much. As in this instance, where it matters not at all. (Although, of course, I'm probably biased on this one, since I think Wik's version is better anyway.) john 22:16, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)

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