Talk:Simon Conway Morris

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Article format[edit]

Thank you Aphaia for the recent changes you have made to this article. I am sorry to say that I consider them to be a disaster.

If you have modified the article so as to conform to Wikiquote guidelines, then quite simply those guidelines need to change. There is, in my view, a decisive advantage to be had in organising quotations in a topical fashion, rather than in the utterly unimaginative format which we see here. Also, sourcing the quotations with sub bullet points is, I feel, very cumbersome and obtrusive.

I would be quite happy to work on some unobtrusive footnote references to the various quotations, and on a proper introduction which I see another user has now started, but in the meantime I am afraid that I am going to revert the recent changes which I consider to be nothing less than vandalism in the broad sense of the term.

Laurence Boyce 12:52, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Though they have been allowed to remain on some pages, often merely because of the effort it would take to sort them out, most of the regular editors at Wikiquote avoid creating "topical" sections on pages for people, and promote a chronological presentation of quotes, with extensive sections for works also arranged chronologically below them. "Topical" presentations, while not absolutely forbidden as yet, can be very problematic in many ways, and their creation has come to be increasingly discouraged.
Aphaia may have inadvertently removed some material in her edit, but the general preference for a non-arbitrary chronological organization rather than editor-chosen subject organization is one that has become increasingly clear here. ~ Kalki 13:08, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Kalki. I'm well aware that there are certain issues with a topical format, but then there's a cost to just about everything in life. If it's not "absolutely forbidden," then may I suggest that we leave it this way for the time being. Laurence Boyce 13:14, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I would prefer to begin to "stem the tide" of this tendency, because it has become a prominent problem on many pages. Though many quotes might clearly belong to some editor-created category on a page, they could also often belong to many others, and the problem of duplication of the same material on a single page becomes harder to prevent. The plethora of possible classification schemes that editors could come up with would become increasingly burdensome if regular editors here did not take some measures to discourage, limit, and if possible remove them.
Debates over what would be the best caption for images used can be held on the talk pages of articles, and while I do not absolutely object to your choice of caption to head the page, I would greatly prefer some definite citations be found for it, and I actually do prefer the one I added, which might be a bit less striking, but is ultimately a bit more representative of some of the author's major ideas.
I also wish to note that as Wikiquote is a collection of quotations, footnotes make the identification of sources more tedious for both the reader and the editor and have generally been avoided, as the quotes are not arranged within a composition where footnotes are convenient for preserving narrative flow. There are many issues at Wikiquote that are not absolutely settled, but a general preference for chronological and sequential arrangement of quotes with citations of sources directly below them, or within a section heading for a particular work from which they have been taken, remains an enduring one. ~ Kalki 13:44, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Look, I know there are issues, but why create a problem with this article when there was none in the first place? I know that I don't "own" any article on Wikimedia, but I do not believe that there would have been an article on Conway Morris at all, if I had not created one. It arose simply because I had been studying him for a short while. Absolutely nobody has said that they would like to add further quotations, but that the categorisation is impeding them in some way. But if they did, then we could discuss it. Yes, I can see the potential problem, but in my view the benefit still clearly outweighs the cost. With my structure, which sought to engage the reader from the outset, I think there is a real chance that people might actually read the whole thing through, as well as using the article as a source of reference.
By the way, I'm not that fussed about the picture caption or the introductory paragraph. My original heading of "awkward palaeobiologist proved wrong on multiple counts continues to spin out ideas even others find interesting," was actually Conway Morris describing himself in Nature magazine. The "fuck" quote has been attributed to Conway Morris in a number of sources, but it could quite easily be apocryphal. Next time I meet him, maybe I'll ask him if he really said it!
Laurence Boyce 15:41, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Why were the sources deleted? How do you imagine that the article can be used as a "source of reference" when none of the quotes are now sourced? - InvisibleSun 16:04, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
The sources were always there in the markup. Once again, this may not be standard procedure, but the sources have not been lost. I am more than willing to create footnote references if that is deemed acceptable. Laurence Boyce 17:26, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
The sources should be explicitly visible on the page, not simply in markup - and not in footnotes. The sourcing information also does not appear to be complete, simply listing titles of works and pages, without the dates and more information about the work (which Kalki's version had). I actually support Kalki's version of the page, sorted by work and echo many of the argumenst made above. I think we should stick to the accepted methods and templates that are already in use, and not move to pages divided by topic (which, as has been stated, can be subject to interpretation. I would prefer that we revert to the earlier version that Kalki created. ~ UDScott 17:35, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I think that the user Aphaia made most of the changes, and then Kalki made some further modifications. Anyway all I can say, once again, is that I disagree. I think that inline references are cumbersome, and that the possibility of a topical structure is what could really set Wikiquote apart from standard quotation dictionaries. Laurence Boyce 17:42, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I realize that you disagree, but I would suggest that the proper way to change what had already been established is not to change one article and continue to revert proper editing by others to match the templates here, but rather to raise the subject on Village pump or on the template's Talk page as a discussion or suggestion. The formatting of articles here should be decided through input from users and through discussion, not just one person deciding that the way they have edited an article looks better than others. That could potentially lead to a myriad of differently formatted articles. We don't want to stifle creativity, but there are proper ways to enact change, and I don't believe that your edits reflect this. ~ UDScott 18:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Well I'm all for talk page discussion, but the user Aphaia, who sparked all this off, has yet to put in an appearance. As far as I'm concerned, any substantial changes to any article should be accompanied by talk. That's what bugs me here. As far as I know, not one new quote was added to the article this morning. There was no problem to speak of, except that the article offended somebody's attachment to the rulebook. Laurence Boyce 19:51, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not just talking about this one page. I'm talking about what it appears you wish to happen, which is a change to the template for people articles on Wikiquote. Because we expect all people articles to adhere to the established template. If you feel this template is not the best way to present a person's quotes, rather than just using one of your own design for a given person, the best way is to suggest changes to the template at either Village Pump or on the template's talk page. That's what I meant - not just in reference to this one page. ~ UDScott 20:22, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I know what you mean, but the facts are that I have produced all of three articles for Wikiquote, having spent substantial hours of work on each one. I'm hardly going to sweep like a virus through all the articles overnight. If you wish to treat my efforts with careless officiousness then that is your right, but counterproductive is the word that springs to mind. Laurence Boyce 20:56, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that fact that I am taking the time to have this discussion with you demonstrates that I am not trying to treat your efforts with "careless officiousness." I am trying to convince you to work through the proper channels rather than just treat the many hours of work that each of the people that have talked to you about this spend each and every day on this site. We have worked tirelessly to keep this project under some semblance of organization so that it is not just another chaotic (and often inaccurate) quote site. Please appreciate that I am genuinely trying to help in this case. Bottom line is that all I am advocating is for you to bring any ideas for change to the community at large for discussion (the way that wikis are supposed to work) rather than just making a decision on your own about how an article should look - and then carelessly reverting the changes that an administrator or two made to bring the page in line with established practice. I don't think that is asking too much. ~ UDScott 21:02, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, fair enough, but just at the moment I don't have the time to engage with the village idiot pump. I don't do it on Wikipedia either; I just engage on talk pages. And I didn't carelessly revert; I felt and still feel that I was well within my rights to revert, and I provided my reasons. But obviously now that we've had all this discussion, I'm not going to perform another peremptory revert but I think that losing the present structure would be a crying shame. As I think you may have gathered! The reason there is any article here at all is that I cared enough to produce one. Laurence Boyce 21:28, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

First thank you to Laurence Boyce for bringing it up on the talk. Also thank you for good explanation of our established practice, Kalki and UDScott. I am sorry to hear Laurence Boyce calling "Village pump" wrongly, in my opinion striking is no good claim to "be civil". I hope Laurence Boyce behave nicely and respect both other editors and established rules and customs. To call the community discussion "stupid" is an offence to the community in my opinion. I would like you, Laurence Boyce, to cancel your word for civility.

Thematic sections have been, while not strongly banned, considered problematic on this project. Consensus says it causes easily to break the NPOV line, required for all Wikimedia project. I appreciate all the effort Laurence Boyce to create this article and expand, but it is not a reason he consider himself having a right to apply his POV for this article. Through several discussions, we Wikiquote community has reached chronological or arphabetical order are better to keep NPOV norm than thematic organization. I admit your organization looks fancy, but it is not a good reason to take a risk to allow your POV control this article forever. I would like you to remind you once agreed your edits would be possibly edited mercilessly later so you have no good reason to call mhy edits vandalism.

And also I would like you, Laurence Boyce to be aware of that no one support your favorite organization. Kalki and USScott support the custom, not your way. I don't say my edit was perfect, but it was at least nearer to the community consensus than your way. And I think it is not a good idea to call "vandalism" an edit following the established custom and consensus.

If you think your POV need to be kept, you are better to go to the other website and there construct your own collections of quotations. --Aphaia 22:34, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Aphaia. I think I'm going to have to leave you all to it. All of this reminds of an argument I had last year on Wikipedia. You'll get your way no doubt, and succeed in fucking over modifying the article, but the problem with your unreadable version is . . . just that. Few will actually bother to read it! Laurence Boyce 23:16, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
The creation of the article is appreciated, and I will attempt to build upon the structure created by Aphaia within the next week or so, but all those who have commented seem to be in agreement that your original structure was not satisfactory. One must understand that on most wikis one must be respectful of the fact that there can be many other views at work, and what one considers to be the best state of an article will not always persist. And of course on a Wikimedia wiki one also must be responsive to the fundamental requirements of the Wikimedia Foundation, and participate in accord with their policies and practices which always have involved a respect for decisions made by consensus. ~ Kalki 18:58, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Sure, I'm outnumbered, and I'm backing down. Bye everyone! Laurence Boyce 19:29, 27 April 2007 (UTC)