Talk:List of articles every Wikipedia should have/Archives/2009

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Yerpo's suggestions

Some suggestions for demoting: en:The Beatles, en:Middle East, en:Reptile, en:Olympic games, en:Cuba, en:Portugal, en:Grammar, en:Letter (alphabet) (important, but no sense in having both this and en:Alphabet bolded), en:Astronomy, en:Rock (geology) (too similar a concept to en:Mineral to have both bolded), en:Calendar and en:Energy (society) (in fact, I propose the latter to be removed completely, see discussion). There. --Yerpo 08:46, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks a lot, I've proceeded for The Beatles, Middle East (as not a continent), Cuba, Grammar, Letter and Rock (229 to 223). On Energy, I still hope for en:Energetics as quite important. For others (en:Reptile, en:Olympic games, en:Portugal, en:Astronomy and en:Calendar) I'd like to have more arguments first. Mashiah Davidson 19:08, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Reptile: they were a dominant group a long time ago as dinosaurs, but they are much less important now (ecologically and in terms of the number of species) than other listed groups, except en:Amphibian which could be demoted as well.
Since we are to create the list of most important things, we should take into account, both current and historical role if that is valueble. I would prefer to leave this item as is. Mashiah Davidson 22:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Portugal: same as reptiles :P Once a great colonial force, now just another country. Inclusion on this list is enough recognition of its past, I think
The world has been divided by Spain and Portugal Empire and this is still reflected in Portugal language distribution. Maybe the good choice is to rename to en:Portuguese Empire? Mashiah Davidson 22:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Not too shabby idea either. --Yerpo 19:29, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
But this way we will have questions like why Spain, not Spanish Empire, why Russia, not USSR or Russian Empire and so on. How we could distinguish between choices? Mashiah Davidson 21:52, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
In any case, for a country to be among 200 most important topics, I would expect it to still have heavy influence on the world's affairs. Russia does. Spain... well, arguably less, but still considerably more than Portugal, judging at least by its occurence in news. But I wouldn't mind too much if Portugal stays bolded. --Yerpo 07:37, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I completely understand your point and I think this might be a temporal solution till we discover a well-understandable criteria for inclusion. Others could say, news is the upper part of things and historical view might form the underlaying part or the ground idea. I wouldn't say that's my point of view, but I can imagine people looking this way, thus I propose just to wait for better (means clearer) definition of importance. Mashiah Davidson 14:06, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Olympic games: sport is bolded, competitions aren't nearly as important as the concept as a whole (even the most important competition of all)
Thanks, now I would agree. I've looked through the topic and seen Sport bolded is pretty enought. Mashiah Davidson 22:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Astronomy: under the scope of Physics which is bolded. If we keep this, then all the physical sciences should be bolded.
Calendar: similarly, not in the same category of importance as Time, for example.
I consider Calender and Wheel as most important human's inventions, and of course, in this case the calendar is a product of Astronomy. If you like Astronomy could be just a part of Physics, however, in SPb State University it is a part of Math, and in far past it was just completely separate. Mashiah Davidson 22:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
IMHO, of course. ;) --Yerpo 21:00, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Andejons's suggestions

I'd rebold Beatles. Right now, there's 5 classical composers, but no modern music. Beatles is probably much more influential with regards to what many listen to today than Chopin and Tchaikovsky together.
I think Astronomy can be kept, both for historical reasons and since it's probably a subject of more public interest than, say, thermodynamics. I'd also suggecst to remove "month", which is just a handy chunk into which the year can be divided. "Day" and "year" at least are relevant for other planets than Earth.
Andejons 09:28, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea to unbold Month, it is a bit too much to have both, Calendar and Month bolded. Talking about Beatles I'd say, there is no much influence on music at all, just pop music is influenced much and rock music a bit. Mashiah Davidson 15:27, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Mashiah, both on month and The Beatles. The latter may seem big if you're a westerner, but to the rest of the world they are practically unknown. The bolded classical composers, on the other hand, created what is universally accepted to be the greatest music of all times. --Yerpo 16:24, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I think your view of what people listen to is a bit odd. I took a look in a few articles about Asian music (e.g. "Music in Thailand"), and while they all had at least some kind of section for "pop music", none had a section about "european" classical music. I'd say that it's actually pop music gets around more of the two genres, and that it's classical music that's the more specifically "western" of them.
Andejons 16:52, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

ancient history

Saying that en:Greece and en:Italy are important enough to be bolded do we really mean great importance of present-day countries or en:Ancient Greece and en:Roman Empire instead? If so, we already have the second pair in the appropriate section, so I propose normal font face for both. Mashiah Davidson 20:24, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

I have now removed the bold marking from those two entries. --Boivie 09:29, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Geography terms

Why are there 30 bodies and water, and only 7 mountains, valleys and deserts? (what about swamps?). Why, for example, is the Baltic see more important than the Kalahari or Gobi deserts?

I don't think there should be more than 20 bodies of water in the list.

dov t. 17:57, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

You have a point, although judging by it's economic importance (fishing, trading routes, etc.) I think that the Baltic is more important than the two deserts you mentioned. Aside from that, I agree that Gobi should be included at least. Perhaps instead of en:Carribean sea or en:Lake Tanganyika. --Yerpo 08:58, 15 January 2009 (UTC)


I have seen a couple of strange entries in the organisms section, and I'd like to suggest a couple of changes:

  1. remove arachnid, add spider – people are more likely to look for a common name than for the name of a clade (on, "spider" was accessed almost 4 times more than "arachnid"). Even though arachnid and spider are not synonys, the latter is likely to be much more useful.
  2. remove ape, add primateprimate has a greater potential for expansion than ape, and is a more comprehensive group.

It may also be worth finding some place for the immune system in the anatomy section. What do you think? --Leptictidium 12:30, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the primate suggestion. As for arachnid, I don't know. Maybe is would be better to leave it, because other groups of arachnids (such as en:Acarina) are extremely important as well. --Yerpo 14:14, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the three suggestions of Leptictidium. --Meldor 19:17, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
So, how to proceed? Should I wait for consensus to be reached here, should I move the question somewhere else, or should I be bold and change "primate" for "ape"? Leptictidium 06:51, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I already changed "ape" to "primate" after nobody objected in more than a week. As for en:Spider, I told what I think, but if you go ahead and change it I will not mind (and looks like noone else will, either). --Yerpo 06:59, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I'll wait a couple of days and then change it if no-one is opposed to it. Leptictidium 14:21, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
As you wish. But I doubt that somebody will if they didn't in a month. --Yerpo 20:01, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Reset indent – Done. I'd also like to suggest changing "biological classification" for "taxonomy" or "alpha taxonomy". Leptictidium 09:44, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

I think en:Biological classification should stay. Like the article on Alpha taxonomy says, the term "taxonomy" is ambiguous, while Alpha taxonomy itself is too uncommon term to be included here, IMO. --Yerpo 16:14, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Section names, numbers and order

  • Geography is a science
  • Biography is very subjectiv on a worldwide level, so putting it first and with 216 entries seems to help impose cultural bias, I would use as next target 200, maybe later 150.
  • History 40, I would use as next target 50.
  • Food, compare has "Health and fitness"
  • IMO, the categories and their order should be reviewed.

TalkChat 16:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the subjectivity of biography is a problem. (Among the composers, Smetana, for example, who doesn't belong in any reasonable list of even the twenty-five most influential Western composers, especially in the absence of Dufay, Monteverdi, and perhaps others whose names professors of music history could readily supply.) Is there a reason the list isn't following, say, the plan of en:Dewey Decimal Classification? If so, it could reasonably have equal numbers of entries for each of the ten main classes
000 – Computer science, information, and general works
100 – Philosophy and psychology
200 – Religion
300 – Social sciences
400 – Languages
500 – Science and Mathematics
600 – Technology and applied science
700 – Arts and recreation
800 – Literature
900 – History and geography and biography [as a topic]
Following this plan, it would list biographies under the primary topic for which the biographee is known; for example, A. M. Turing's biography would go in class 510, "Mathematics," and Nelson Mandela's would go in class 324, "The political process," a subset of "Political science" (itself a subset of "Social sciences"). 22:39, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like an interesting plan. I don't know if dewey's classes are of comparable sizes; it's always difficult comparing importance between so different categories. But if noone find any big disadvantages, I think it could be worth a try, --Boivie 22:44, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
When looking into it, it seems like UDC is more universal and less US-centric than DDC. Among the top level, the only big difference between them seems to be that UDC has merged languages and literature into one category. That makes sense to me, but it leaves UDC with only 9 top categories, which would give us about 111 articles per category. Well, it's a possibility anyway. --Boivie 23:01, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
They started out roughly even. Then, some became huge (900 and 000) while some shrank notably (400 and 800). In any US library, a good 20-25% of the nonfiction books are in the 900s. Almafeta 00:44, 1 March 2009 (UTC)


I believe, as many others, that antibiotics was the most important invention in the XX century medicine. It saved, by conservative estimations, about 2 billions of people, and significantly changed the life of mankind. Many social changes are derivatives of invention of antibiotics. Therefore, Alexander Fleming should be included into the list. I propose to exclude Chomsky. Yes, he invented Chomsly normal form and Chomsky hierarchy, but these are far less important than invention of antibiotics. His other linguistic ideas proved wrong or, at least, doubtful. There is nothing original in criticism of American politics; lots of people critisized it.

Alternatively, Chomsky could be replaced by Gregor Mendel. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Blednotik (talk) 05:35, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

In general, we prefer concepts over people here. So antibiotics should be included, not Fleming (who, according to historians, wasn't even the first to describe the effect). It would be a good idea to include en:Antibiotic instead of en:Noam Chomsky, tho. --Yerpo 07:41, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Or antibiotics in place of penicillin -- the general as opposed to one case. Almafeta 16:59, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh, right, I forgot that we have penicillin listed. It would definitely be a good idea, yes. --Yerpo 18:45, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Mathematics suggestion

For mathematics, I suggest this:

  • Replace the three shapes with a link to the article Shape -- there's many more shapes than three, and not just in 2D (why is a circle more important than a sphere?).
  • Replace the article for Pi with the article for Constant, which would appear as a type of number, not as a footnote of circles, which can cover other sorts of important constants (e, i, 1, 0, etc.).

You'd then be 2 short of 1000 -- I don't have suggestions for extra articles to add in its place. Almafeta 00:28, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

... well, one: en:Four Great Inventions of ancient China -- I don't know where it'd go, though. Almafeta 00:30, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
For mathematics, I would remove Square, and add Ordinal and Cardinal, which are quite more important: they generalize the notion of number to infinite, so in fact they have relation with some really fundamental concepts in mathematics. If it is a problem that there are two concepts, instead Square could be replaced by en:Transfinite number, though a general article is not that useful. --Meldor 14:24, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Problematic translations, or: Bad luck, if your language is too rich of words

Moved here from Talk:List of Wikipedias by sample of articles#Problematic translations, or: Bad luck, if your language is too rich of words


I accidentally found the article on wikipedia:behavior. I sincerly do not find a translation to any of the Ripuarian languages. Once every few months, I try to pick a missing topic and write a Ripuarian stub or better for it. For "behaviour" I believe, it would have to be a disambiguation, but of a non-word.

We have a bunch of possible translations for behaviour. The English version of the article says: "Behavior … refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. Behavior can be conscious or unconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary." Well said. This is a wide field, and some of our specific translations (briefly) are:

  • Benimm - Social behavior, or conduct, of humans (and sometimes domestizided animal and pets)
  • Benämme - similar, but seen from a different viewpoint, also well-behavedness
  • Donn - willfull action
  • Refläx - unconscious involuntary reaction
  • Räsong - obedient behaviour (also including drill, and (possibly unwillfull) subordinaton)
  • Hüre - listening, including obedience, and reactive or responsive behaviour
  • Jehorsche - another set of flavours of obedience
  • Kujonneer - willfull treatment or mistreatment of subordinates or dependants, pestering, etc.
  • Ajeere - to act, both consciously and unconsciously, visibly, in a noted way.
  • Hanteere - to manually do something, to handle, etc. (There are dozens of excessively more specific words describing human (but not necessarily only human) handling, and similar activities. They all comprise some sort of behaviour)

I'll stop here. The list is by far not complete. We lack a concept, and a word for it, summarizing all these interesting aspects into a topic such as "behavior". If we talk on "behavior" as in "behaviorism", we use loanwords. Those are, of course, much more specific than their originals.

One of the downside of the possible translatons is that they are not very systematic. Mostly, we cannot take one ot the qualifiers of the English description and then have, say, two translations. "Behaviour of an organism" and "behaviour of an object", do not translate either. So, we cannot easily make a list, and say: the sum of all this is behavior, anything else is not. It would be too fuzzy.

There are lots of afterthoughts. The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis comes to mind, and more philosophical questions like whether or not a concept, such as behavior, is useful and valid, even if a language has no word for it; and can people who lack the word indeed not use the associated concept in their thoughts, as Wittgenstein suggests?

Likely, there are more samples of words missing for translations to various languages. I just wanted to exemplify one a little bit, giving some background data. --Purodha Blissenbach 11:23, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree that en:Behavior is a problematic entry. But I think this should be discussed at Talk:List of articles every Wikipedia should have. --Yerpo 12:00, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Thus copied. --Purodha Blissenbach 23:12, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
As it's in a section about social behavior and human activity, I think Benimm is the best match for the idea that wanted to be included in the list, despite the fact that the English term "behavior" is also applied to inanimate objects. Almafeta 21:55, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

A similar thing has happened with tax. There are much more concepts than the english 'tax', which is one article of this list. Please see Interwiki synchronization/Tax.--Meldor 18:25, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

No coments

There might be some errors, but the idea should be clear. --Ecelan 17:44, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Africa America N America S & C & Mex Asia Europe Oceania Population (mio.) 967 307 511 4052 736 35 Population (%) 14,40% 8,60% 5,00% 60,00% 11,00% 0,50%

Social scientists (philosophers, economists, historians and thinkers) 0 1 0 4 28 0 Inventors, scientists and mathematicians 0 3 0 1 30 1 Architecture and civil engineering 2 2 0 4 4 0 Film directors and screenwriters 0 3,5 0 2 4,5 0 Composers and musicians 0 2 0 0 21 0 Actors, dancers and models 0 2 0 0 2 0 Artists and architects 0 2,5 1 0,5 14 0 Authors, playwrights and poets 1 1,5 2 4 25,5 0 History 2 1 1 7 17 0 Explorers 0 1 0 1 10 0 Politicians, leaders and aristocrats 4 1 1 12 16 0 Revolutionaries and activists 0 3,5 0 0 1,5 0

Total 9 24 5 35,5 173,5 1 % 3,63% 9,68% 2,02% 14,31% 69,96% 0,40%

The idea being that most of the world's famous people are from Europe, and that although lots of people live in India and China very few of them have recieved world wide recognition? --Boivie 21:12, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the fact that this list should be universal, but if we go on with this argument of 'population=importance' to the limit, as this table suggests, then it becomes meaningless. That's as if we had to say "If we have an article about Plato and Aristotle, then this list is clearly biased to philosophers of ancient greece". --Meldor 23:22, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
You're comparing modern numbers to historical figures. This is a problem because in modern times, recent events have caused the population to skyrocket in some areas, and shrink in others, compared to the numbers you would get by plotting their populations in accordance with history. Additionally: What do you consider to be 'Europe', 'Asia', etc.? Almafeta 02:43, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
To Boivie: maybe its because we are not talking about "world recognition" but recognition in the "Western Hemisphere". To someone living in the Punjab or in Funan, Bach, Picasso and certainly Nightingale are irrelevant. I have been thinking that if the result is so skewed, it could be because even the classification is. For example, for two of the most important cultural worlds, the Chinese (China, Japan, Corea) and the Muslim (Arab and Persian cultures) the most important art is not painting or even music, (arguably) it's calligraphy. There is not a single calligrapher in the list. It is just an example, but I think it is a good an example of what I mean.
To Meldor: you are right, we should not equal 'population=importance', but what I have shown are very extreme differences. If we accept them just like that, we are implicitly accepting that people outside of Europe are less intelligent, creative, etc. (see w:en:Eurocentrism)
To Almafeta: Asia has always been the most populated continent. Europe was actually relatively unimportant compared to Asia until the 18th century.[1] The continents are counted geographically. If the table was made based on cultures, the results would probably be even worse.
I'm just trying to raise the awareness that maybe we should take more into account cultures outside the Western and continents outside Europe.
--Ecelan 17:41, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Would you please define what you consider Europe, what you consider Asia, et cetera? Almafeta 19:38, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
India and China have always been the most populous regions of the world. This should be clear. Europe's rise in population is recent, not Asia's. See for example:

As I said before, I might have missed some, and some are included in two continents (1/2 each), but this is it. --Ecelan 18:12, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Energy (society)?

I have just read the latest result of List of Wikipedias by sample of articles today. It seems that someone changed "Energy" (which has arround 100 interwikis) to "Energy (society)" (which has only 6 interwikis) on this list. As "Energy (society)" is a much more complicated concept, I do not think it is suitable to be listed on this list, so I suggest changing back "Energy (society)" to "Energy". Any comments? -- Kevinhksouth 15:21, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

en:Energy is still on the list under Physics. That put aside, I did notice that many wikipedias had problems with the concept as described en:Energy (society) and I had to clean a lot of wrong interwikis from that article which were pointing to articles about energy in the basic sense of the word (those, in turn, pointed correctly to en:Energy). Maybe it would be best to introduce something more universal. --Yerpo 16:45, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
I would agree here, the concept doesn't look 100% clear. Maybe en:energetics? Mashiah Davidson 18:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
I went ahead and replaced en:energy (society) with en:energetics, if anyone objects go ahead and change it back-- 02:34, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I do object. en:Thermodynamics would make sense, but en:Energetics?? -- 16:44, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
And what's wrong with energetics? It's broader than thermodynamics. --Yerpo 18:27, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Broader is not always better. It's not as popular; for example, I've never heard about it in either Catalan, Spanish or French (we only use the word as an adjective, never as a science). In fact, if you look its interwikis you'll realise it. I don't know if it is a popular science or subject in the USA, but outside the USA I think it is not at all. On the other hand the impact of energy in society (which it replaced) or thermodynamics are more wide spread items. Also, read en:Talk:Energetics and you'll see it's not such a central subject. -- 20:38, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
"Less popular" doesn't necessarily mean "less important", and this list lists articles by importance, not popularity. But I agree that people on the energetics talk page raised some valid points about the importance of this concept. --Yerpo 08:11, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I also object. I didn't know what it was, and had to look it up. And I'm not exactly a dope (but you might get a different answer if you ask my wife). -- Yekrats 00:35, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
I also prefer Thermodynamics, for the arguments exposed. --Meldor 23:08, 29 March 2009 (UTC)


This is sort of a odd split in the English wikipedia. We should use the more common term

These are not exactly the same, but "Large intestine" is both more popular and a superset. We even use the term in the actual list.

--MarsRover 20:04, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Language, Linguistics, Literature

I suggest to replace Tamil with Hangul. Hangul is considered to be one of the most remarkable writing system in the world.--Jyusin 14:21, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

More people speak Tamil than write Hangul so I would lean toward not changing it. You probably need to describe more why its "remarkable" to convince anyone. --MarsRover 05:42, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Can we say that Tamil is clearly more important than Korean? But Hangul is recognized as the most excellent alphabet, and has worldwide importance in writing systems. There are many books, articles, and websites describing it.--Jyusin 08:13, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
It is remarkable. Not sure it a "corner stone" of an encyclopedia. To correct myself 78 million speak Korean versus 77 million speaking Tamil. Switching the language might be a more obvious change. Maybe someone else can provide their opinion. --MarsRover 09:08, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Hangul is considered important because it was probably the most rationally planned alphabet. A Korean emperor decided to switch from Chinese characters to an alphabet c. 1400. He created a commission to do this, and the result promoted literacy in pre-modern Korea. It also helped Koreans pioneer the printing press. However, Tamil is also remarkable. I know less about it, but the Tamil language itself is the oldest continuous written language in the world, since c. 200 AD. All other written languages have changed in some way (i.e., Classical Chinese, wenyan, to vernacular Chinese, baihua). Needless to say, native Tamil speakers need extensive education to learn how to read or even understand the news. I don't know anything about the Tamil alphabet or how it developed. I'll put it this way: as a language, Tamil is of great interest, whereas Hangul is of interest as an alphabet. Aghniyya 20:42, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd agree not with including Hangul, but with Sejong the Great, the creator of Hangul. As the creator of Hangul, he was one of the first modern linguists, describing the phonology and grammar of his language and writing a dictionary in an age where all the learned classes learned Chinese. More than that, he is credited with a good number of inventions, feverently supported technology and literacy, was an author of several classic works, and was a notable military leader in his own right. I'm not quite sure if Hangul is in the top 1000 most important articles (though it definately belongs in the top 10'000), but I think Sejong the Great may deserve a place. Almafeta 02:31, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
In general, we feel that there is too many biografies in the list already, so we prefer concepts over people (for example, en:Telephone instead of en:Alexander Graham Bell). --Yerpo 07:49, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you. This list seems to be a little biased toward people.--Jyusin 09:52, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Sejong the Great is also important, but I think Hangul has more influence as a writing system.--Jyusin 09:52, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I replace Ramayana with Hangul, because two major Sanskrit epics, Mahābhārata and Ramayana are both on the list. Ramayana is removed instead of Tamil.--Jyusin 20:50, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

This is fine IMO. While the en:Ramayana is of great importance, it's less so than the en:Mahabharata. And Korea is totally ignored by this list. Hangul is at least something for anyone who might be interested in Korea. --Aghniyya 00:54, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Serious Eurocentrism - and I can begin to fix it

I'm a PhD student in Islamic history at a major American university, and I feel like I am in a decent position to improve this article. I've also had a serious interest (linguistic and otherwise) in numerous other cultures.

This article is 80-90% western European/American, even though these populations are less than 10% of the world population and were probably less than that throughout most of world history. It's also important to remember that this list is a model for wikipedias in other (minor) languages, most of which will also be non-western languages (e.g., the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia). For example, African language wikipedias should certainly have some major Islamic figures.

It's good that most of these articles are about general topics, such as "biology," which are less culturally biased. And, it is inevitable that this list be SOMEWHAT Eurocentric and even Anglocentric, because the world is that way right now (and most Egyptians are not too familiar with China, for example, but they know the US). However, this list is very extreme. Even the non-Europeans that are there are present because they are known in the West. Historical importance should matter more.

The following are my (annotated) suggestions for the article. If you are American or European, you probably haven't heard of many of these, but neither do many mainland Chinese know Helen Keller, Herodotus, or St. Francis.

Zhu Xi (12th c. Neo-Confucian, philosopher of the qi)
Ibn Khaldun (c. 1400 Muslim historian and sociologist)
Maimonides (12th c. Andalusian-Jewish theologian)
Chanakya (4th-3rd c. BCE Indian political thinker)

Authors (Extremely Eurocentric. Why are there six ancient Greek and Latin authors, but one Chinese and no Indians, from all periods? Literature is certainly one field in which European never had a monopoly, not even in the 19th c. Since these are so many writers, I may hold off on a couple, though, e.g. Ghalib)
Cao Xueqin (18th c. Chinese author of Dream of the Red Chamber)
Kalidasa (5th c. Sanskrit "Shakespeare")
Ferdowsi (10th c. Persian/Iranian national poet, should probably replace Omar Khayyam, who is mainly famous in the West)
Lu Xun (20th c. Chinese writer)
Chinua Achebe (20th c. African novelist)
Ghalib (18th c. Urdu poet)
Rabindranath Tagore (19th-20th c. Bengali writer)

Explorers (the idea of an Explorer is possibly Eurocentric... what about "Explorers and Travelers"?)
Ibn Battuta (14th c. Moroccan world traveler)

Artists and architects (All of those on the current list worked in the West.)
Sinan (16th c. Ottoman imperial architect)
Hokusai (19th c. Japanese painter)

Musicians (All western again. Must they all be white classical composers? I hardly think Jimi Hendrix is the only significant non-white musician.)
Miles Davis
Umm Kalthoum (Everything breathing Egyptian/Arab knows her)
Amir Khusro (13th c. Sufi poet and Indian classical musician)

Avicenna should be put here (and Ibn Khaldun takes his place among the Thinkers)
-On the whole, this category should be more Eurocentric than others, because Westerners have been so dominant in the science of recent centuries. However, I'm not familiar with the history of Chinese science, and there should definitely be Chinese scientists on this list (e.g., Su Song?).

Prehistory and ancient world (Current list is fully Euro/Mediterranean centric)
Han Dynasty
Gupta Empire

Political Leaders
Harun al-Rashid (who is the greatest Islamic caliph, even famous in the West from 1001 Nights!)
Ashoka (Greatest Indian Buddhist monarch)
Taizong (Tang emperor)
Suleiman the Magnificent (Most powerful Ottoman sultan)
(I'm happy that Akbar the Great and Tamerlane are already included here. This list is easier to make less Eurocentric, it seems.)

Revolutionaries (This category is very weak. Truly important revolutionaries were generally also political leaders. Couldn't these figures be put under "political leaders"? And I don't think Mother Theresa is necessary for, say, the Hausa wikipedia.)
Rosa Luxemburg was a more important revolutionary than a thinker - which is where she is now - and more significant than Emma Goldman and Florence Nightingale, who are Anglocentric picks)

(A couple other possibilities overall: Ibn Hanbal [Muslim theologian], Chandragupta II [Indian monarch of the Gupta dynasty], Xuanzang [Chinese Buddhist traveler], Ibn abd al-Wahhab [Saudi theologian], Kabir [Hindi poet], Sundiata Keita [founder of the Mali empire], Hong Xiuquan [Taiping rebel], al-Mutannabi [most popular Arabic poet], etc. Very unfortunately, some of these world-historical figures are not even well covered in English, so I will leave them out.)

I can very much justify these figures in terms of deletion of other Eurocentric figures. Ibn Khaldun is more significant than Herodotus, let alone Giordano Bruno. The Wahhabi movement (of Saudi Arabia) is far more influential than Francis of Assisi, especially today (and the excuse for the Eurocentrism of this list is that the West is more influential today). Harun al-Rashid is far more significant than Mussolini, Ben-Gurion, or Bismarck. Suleiman was more significant than Charlemagne (whose empire was an impoverished corner of the world at the time). Kalidasa is far more significant than Jose Saramango. And so on.

Those "activists" at the end are somewhat dubious. Apparently the goal is to increase the number of women, but that seems to be happening at the expense of non-white peoples, who were in fact extraordinarily significant in world history. Florence Nightingale was not.

Again, I'm not trying to radically change the list, just to make it slightly less Eurocentric. I don't know much about sub-saharan Africa, and Africa's lack of written culture prior to colonialism probably makes it harder to include historical figures from that region. Nonetheless, the near total lack of African and Southeast Asian figures on this list is still a problem. And where are the black Americans?

I am going to wait a bit for a response, but I will start (slowly) adding these figures to the list soon. Aghniyya 02:33, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

I think the challenge isn't "who to add" but "who to remove" to make room for them. Some people you mentioned were previously in the list but were pruned out. The biography section was huge compared with the other sections and greatly reduced some months ago. The best way to keep the list at a 1000 articles is mention who you want to replace for each article you want to add. --MarsRover 05:54, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
OK, I did start a bit. I removed Sappho, Henrik Ibsen, Horace, and Omar Khayyam. Omar Khayyam was easy, because he is Persian, and Ferdowsi's Shahnama is the Persian national epic. Khayyam is mainly well-known in the West as a poet because of Fitzgerald's (inaccurate) translation. Persian culture is well-known in India and the Islamic world, and the Shahnama is very much beloved in those regions too; I put the epic under poetry. Sappho and Horace had to be removed because of an excess of Greek/Latin works. I can't imagine that non-western readers would want so many before other worthy writers (I've reduced it to 4 from 6). It's much better to add two Indian writers, Kalidasa and Tagore, since India was previously unrepresented. Tagore is the Bengali national writer (and the first Asian Nobel Prize winner), and Kalidasa is considered the greatest Sanskrit writer - Sanskrit being the language of India for thousands of years. Lastly, I removed Ibsen. Ibsen's role in western culture is relatively minor and not nearly as great as the multi-volume novel Dream of the Red Chamber in Chinese literature. This novel has brought about the Chinese scholarly discipline called Redology. I placed it under the novels, next to 1001 Nights.
I'll keep working later. But the point is that figures who are relatively minor in the West and not well-known globally should be displaced by non-western figures; the West is so overrepresented, and the rest of the world has plenty of figures of huge importance, particularly in the pre-modern era. The West was not dominant then, so there is no reason to privilege Western figures from that time.Aghniyya 06:29, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with MarsRover. Perhaps you could add the people you replace to Talk:List of articles all languages should have/Removed since that seems to be the purpose of that page. ...Aurora... 09:16, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Another comment: A chronic problem we have is one person adds something to the list and months later it is removed because no ones knows the reason it was added. If you can include a comment after the article link with a small rationale, your suggestion will survive longer. (ex. [[:en:Ashoka|Ashoka]] <!-- Greatest Indian Buddhist monarch -->) --MarsRover 16:34, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me the only way to make the list non-Eurocentric is to make it Asiacentric. Almafeta 14:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
As I've said, there's no way to make this list not Eurocentric (and I'm a Europhile myself). It will remain that way; the vast majority of figures will be European or American. I'm just adding the most egregious exclusions. And it's not a matter always of simply "fitting them in" because many of those excluded are more significant than any number of those who were included. Here's a clear example that I forgot. Al-Ghazali is Islam's most significant medieval theologian, and his role in Islam is certainly greater than St. Francis, Mother Theresa or Giordano Bruno in Christianity. So really, any of these could be eliminated.

I have added my removals to the page where those are listed. Below I'll list a few more removals with rationales.

Al-Ghazali for Giordano Bruno
Ibn Khaldun replaces Avicenna on the "thinker" list
Avicennna is moved to the scientist list and replaces Pascal (Avicenna wrote the standard medical work lasting for hundreds of years, as well as numerous other fields)
Ibn Battuta replaces von Humboldt among explorers (Ibn Battuta was a greater traveler than Marco Polo, in the same era.)
Chanakya replaces Emile Durkheim (thinkers). (Chanakya was the prime minister of the first Maurya king, who established the first pan-Indian empire. Chanakya then wrote India's most important works of political philosophy. He has been compared to Macchiavelli. The only Indian thinker on the list, despite India's incredible influence in China and esp Southeast Asia...)
Suleiman the Magnificent replaces Mussolini. Suleiman expanded a giant, extremely powerful empire and gave it its laws, and the Ottoman Empire dominated the Mediterranean for centuries. Mussolini was the incompetent ruler of a weak country for about two decades. There are already so many WWII era leaders, and Mussolini did not even make a big impact in WWII.
Ashoka replaces Hirohito. Hirohito was more a witness to history than a leader in it. Ashoka was in large part responsible for the rise of Buddhism to the status of a world religion, as well as determining the political history of India. He ruled probably the largest Indian empire.
Harun al-Rashid is added to the leaders list, and Emma Goldman is removed from the activists. As much as I love Emma, she's a relatively minor American anarchist. Harun al-Rashid was the most powerful Islamic caliph, ruling an empire from the Atlantic to western China. He was even made a central figure in the Arabian Nights, so he's possibly more famous even in the west, let alone the Islamic world.
Hokusai replaces I. M. Pei, who seems to be the "multicultural" choice of the list. Pei's article is short even in English, whereas Hokosai attracts more attention and made a much bigger impact, in both Japan and the West.
Sinan replaces Donatello. Donatello was an early Renaissance sculptor with a limited impact. Sinan is the most famous Muslim architect, and his buildings still stand throughout the former Ottoman empire. The article says: "He was, during a period of fifty years, responsible for the construction or the supervision of every major building in the Ottoman Empire" at the height of its power.

OK, that's all for now. Total, those are only a few out of 1000.Aghniyya 20:39, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Another point. There is a tendency that should be avoided here. It is common in the western (Anglophone) imagination to hype the importance of the "bad" or ridiculous leaders of other countries. Most people probably think that Mussolini is more significant than Garibaldi, who created Italy as a country. Cixi is on this list, but not Sun Yat Sen. Hirohito was there, but not Meiji, even though Hirohito's Japan generally followed the new imperialist path established by Meiji's Japan (neither had much power anyway). Part of this is natural since Hirohito and Mussolini were the heads of state in wars against the US and UK. But there's also a tendency to focus on leaders who are the butts of jokes and fascinating in their barbarity (e.g., the venality of Cixi).

This is a long lead up to one point (for now). I'm replacing Cixi with Sun Yat Sen. Yale prof. Jonathan Spence's standard work on China - The Search for Modern China - lists Cixi in its index only 6 times, but Sun Yat Sen is listed perhaps 50 times. She just isn't that important. Aghniyya 08:00, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for documenting your changes... it's becoming a little difficult to keep the lists in the various wikipedias maintained. Almafeta 13:26, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

A couple more changes...
Tale of Genji in place of Jose Saramago. The latter is a popular writer who recently won the Nobel Prize, but even in the West he is not as well known as the Tale of Genji. This is the world's first classic novel, and there is a quote in the Wiki article saying "The Tale of Genji in particular is the highest pinnacle of Japanese literature. Even down to our day there has not been a piece of fiction to compare with it." Gupta Empire in place of the Thirty Years' War. The Thirty Years' War is a direct political consequence of the Protestant Reformation, which is already listed. The Gupta Empire is considered, according to its Wikipedia article, "alongside with the Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and Roman Empire as a model of a classical civilization. The time of the Gupta Empire is referred to by some scholars as the Golden Age of India".
Han Dynasty in place of Mother Theresa. This was the first durable Chinese state, and it is just as significant as the Roman Empire. It was roughly as large, roughly as rich, and roughly contemporaneous with the Roman Empire. Without it, China might never have become China.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in place of Queen Victoria. Like Hirohito, Victoria was more a witness to history than a participant. The history that she witnessed already has an entry here, under the British Empire. FDR on the other hand won WWII (along with Stalin) and created the New Deal, which profoundly influenced the nature of capitalism. The New Deal is now more influential than ever, and even under Reagan or Bush, it was never really reversed. Aghniyya 20:52, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

I think you should reconsider the Thirty Years War. Well, maybe not the war itself, but what came of it: it ended the age where religion was a cause for war between Europeans, signaled the end of Spain as a world power, the negotiations at the end of it was the birth of modern diplomatics, and it created a system of thinking that would live on at least until the Congress of Vienna, or even until WWI. It's one of the largest singular events in European history. I think it's more worthy for inclusion than the relatively unimportant Spanish civil war.
Andejons 12:44, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you fully on this one. I will remove the Spanish Civil War and re-insert the en:Thirty Years War. The Spanish Civil War attracted outside attention, but its effects were mainly limited to Spain.
However, either the en:Holy Roman Empire or the en:Hundred Years War is also on my chopping block; this is just far too much internal European politics at a time when Europe was relatively insignificant in the Middle Ages. The Thirty Years War is in fact the crisis of the Holy Roman Empire, so perhaps that is sufficient. I am not sure yet. I think I'd like to add either en:Inca or en:Mali Empire to give South America or Africa one of its few mentions on this list. Disappointingly, very few languages have information on the Incas. --Aghniyya 07:51, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
However! I made the change, but I now remember why I removed it. The Thirty Years war did result in the creation of modern international politics, but it was caused by the consequences of the en:Protestant Reformation which is already on the list. Both are important, but there are a lot of important things in the world, and not just in Europe. For now, I will let it stand, because you are right that the Spanish Civil War was not necessary. But I will still wait on this. --Aghniyya 07:57, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I understand your reasoning, and I do understand that the Thirty years' war is perhaps not obvious as a kepper, but I do think there are a couple of other history articles that might be sitting a bit more losely - the Treaty of Versailles is a bit redundant as well (there's five articles dealing solely with the period 1914-1945 in western european history), and I'm not to sure about the Vietnam war either.
Andejons 07:25, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Three more changes
Chinese Philosophy for Sun Tzu. Chinese Philosophy generally is more important than one thinker.
Islamic Philosophy for Herodotus.
Indian Philosophy is added, Hippocrates is moved to scientists, where Tycho Brahe was removed.
Ali under religious figures instead of Florence Nightingale (under activists).
Abbasid Caliphate instead of "Viking". The Vikings were a few poor explorers and warriors on the margins of the world... The Abbasids led an empire for centuries (750-950), and when they lost their military power, they remained as something like Islamic popes (but definitely not exactly) until 1258.
Umar the Great instead of Harun al-Rashid. Having added the Abbasids, I felt I could omit the greatest Abbasid (Harun). Umar led the first Islamic conquests of Egypt, Persia, Syria and Palestine, so he is a world-historical conqueror. He also helped determine what character Islamic rule would take.
I may still want to add Galen, who is probably the most important ancient physician (and a philosopher), in place of one of the other Greeks on the scientist list (eg Pythagoras or Hippocrates). --Aghniyya 07:18, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I think you have made some great changes! Thanks! --Ecelan 09:47, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Yup, great work Aghniyya. ...Aurora... 11:28, 14 April 2009 (UTC)


In Physics, I suggest to change Visible spectrum to Electromagnetic spectrum, since we already have Light in the list. --Boivie 09:57, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

We also have en:Electromagnetic radiation in the list. According to this en:Talk:Visible spectrum#Merge with Light, it is technically the same as en:Light. I think we have a lot of overlap in the EM/Light/Spectrum area. Maybe we can just remove en:Visible spectrum. --MarsRover 00:49, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, sure we can remove it. But then we need another article to keep the target of 1000. Any suggestions? --Boivie 11:13, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
en:Antibiotic. Falls under biology instead of physics, but at least it's a science topic. --Yerpo 12:03, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Or en:Thermodynamics or en:Condensed matter physics. The former is important as the foundation for all discussions about energy use, the latter is the currently most active field in physics.
Andejons 12:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Returning to this, I'd suggest we remove all the four spectrum-articles Gamma ray, Infrared, Ultraviolet and Visible spectrum, and replace them with Thermodynamics, Condensed matter physics, Particle physics and Antibiotic?
Andejons 07:40, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that would be too few spectrum articles. How about we remove Visible spectrum since it overlaps Light. Also, remove Magnetic field since its highly related to Magnet. Of your four choices I would only include Thermodynamics and Antibiotic (Condensed matter physics has only a small en.wp article, Particles physics seems too technically specific). --MarsRover 03:51, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, they all overlap Electromagnetic radiation, and from a physics point of view, they are not that interesting. My reasoning for wanting to include Condensed matter is that it is the largest field in terms of research today, and Particle physics is a high-profile field that I think many people have some interest in. I do think both fields deserves a bit more attention, but I'm not sure what else could be included -- perhaps standard model and superconductivity or semiconductors?
I do agree that Magnetic field could go, especially as we also have electromagnetism on the list.
Andejons 19:42, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps en:Gamma ray could go from the list. We should keep en:Infrared and en:Ultraviolet since they have a big articles in en.wp describing features and uses. Both of them are not as cutting edge as some of your choices but useful for everyday life (night-vision googles, motion detectors, causes skin cancer, CSI blood detection, etc.). I was surprized Semiconductors is not in the list but we do have Transistor. en:Integrated Circuit which is more important is not really cover at all except with CPU. --MarsRover 21:45, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
The more I look at the list, the more I despair - there's so many overlapping and not very important articles on there - but replacing them seems impossible as it would make mean that well-known concepts would be treated in more general articles (speed and acceleration are good examples; I'd like to replace them both by en:kinematics, but I know that would only be confusing). I think the current 10 articles on electromagnetics/light is way to much, there are good technical applications of stuff from other fields as well - there's even more inmportant part of the spectra from a technical POV. Sterilisation by UV pales when compared to the radio. And then there's stuff like nuclear fission or laser (also electromagnetics, but it doesn't overlap so much with the spectrum-specific articles) or particle accelerator.
To sum up: replace Gamma ray, Infrared, Ultraviolet, as well as the too general Alloy. Replace them with semiconductor, nuclear fission, particle accelerator and something else (not sure if we should change the balance between physics and biology). The list will be more diverse, and hopefully still contain articles people will want to read.
Andejons 09:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I removed Gamma ray and Alloy now, but since there were protests before about Infrared and Ultraviolet, I'm hesitant to remove them without further discussion.
Andejons 06:36, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

David Lynch

Also I think so article David Lynch should be in every Wiki. He is one of cult directors. And creator of my best film Twin Peaks:)--Ole Førsten 11:02, 9 April 2009 (UTC)Ole Førsten

A few things to delete

There are the three main abrahamic religions: en:Judaism, en:Christianity and en:Islam. I'd remove then en:Catholicism.

Also, from the religious figures, 5 out of 6 are from Abrahamic religions: en:Abraham, en:Ali, en:Buddha, en:Jesus, en:Moses and en:Muhammad. I'd remove the 6 of them. There are already too many biographies, and if we have the religions, we don't need also their founders.

We have en:family. Is en:marriage really needed?

There are four related articles about: en:reproduction, en:pregnancy, en:sex and en:reproductive system. Shouldn't we reduce them to just one or two? And yes, there are also articles about en:sexually transmitted disease and en:AIDS, but those are important enough, I think.

There are 12 mammals out of 21 animals (and no plants? well, just as food) Isn't it too much? Also, we have en:human, under animals, but also en:man and en:woman elsewhere. Three articles about the same animal.

en:Diamond. Does it really deserve to be on the list?

In food, cereals, meat, vegetables, honey, fruits... are ok. But en:chocolate? Really?

In beverage, there are en:beer and en:wine. Wouldn't it be better replacing them with en:alcoholic beverages?

Under arts there is the en:Cannes Festival. Is this a joke? Vandalism? or is there any explanation about this?

About using the word en:film for cinema, I think it can be misleading. I know in en: they call film the article about cinema, but the interwikis are all mixed up, some link to articles about cinema, and some to articles about films.

For thousands of years of literature we have 31 authors, playwrights and poets. For a little more than one hundred years of Cinema we have 10 film directors and screenwriters. Isn't it too many?

If we have en:classical music, do we need also en:opera and en:symphony?

There are 23 composers and musicians. Almost all of them white Europeans. From England (W) to Russia (E) and from Germany (N) to Italy (S), plus two from the USA, Presley and Hendrix.

18 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Latin, Persian, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish. 11 of them indo-european ones. No African native languages (what about en:Swahili or any other en:Bantu language? or maybe en:Haussa, or en:Mandinga, or en:Amharic...). And of course no Native American language. Also, is en:Esperanto worth being here? And if there's en:Latin, do we need also en:Spanish and en:French? If there's en:Sanskrit, do we need en:Hindi and en:Bengali? And two Germanic languages?

From the 40 history articles, not even one related to South America (what about Incas) and just one (apartheid) from black Africa (Zimbabwe? Ghana? Songhai? Mali? Swahili people?...)

Do we really need 48 articles about countries and 44 about cities?

In the political leaders I'd maybe add en:Mansa Musa.


Well just my thoughts. I don't mean to delete them all, right now, but maybe if some one has some interesting addition, you could use them to be replaced. -- 21:44, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Another repetition: we have en:Human rights and en:Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Just one would be enough.
Also, we should have to clarify, in Astronomy, what do we mean by en:Moon. It is in a list with "planet", "star", "galaxy", "comet"... so I would asume it means en:natural satellite, but in fact it links to the Moon.
And what about biographies of living people? I'm talking about en:Tim Berners-Lee. I would not have him on the list, we already have en:World Wide Web.
I suggested removing Opera and Symphony. We could instead add en:Chinese opera, at least one non western music genre? -- 13:46, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Many good ideas, I have some objections though. Jesus and Muhammad are each the most important person for a large part of the world's population. Spanish is the most important language in South and Central America. France is the most important language in large parts of Africa and also an important language in other parts of the world (including the European union). Don't just delete articles because there are too many from one region, think about how relevant the subjects are for people around the world. Since the colonialism lots of European topics are more relevant for the world than topics of other origins. --Boivie 06:23, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
(About Jesus) But then we have three articles about very related topics: Christianism, Catholicism and Jesus. Ough, and also en:Paul of Tarsus. Four, in fact. Similarly, I'm not sure we need to have both en:Karl Marx and en:Marxism. What's important, about him? His life or his ideas? If someone is known by a single theory, invention or innovation, I'd rather have the theory, innovation or invention, and not the biography. -- 13:46, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Just because articles are related doesn't mean there is redundancy. A person trying to learn about en:Spanish will find the en:Latin article unhelpful for that purpose. Also overview articles are going to be like reader's digest version of the real article. A person who want to learn about en:Wine would find an article about en:Alcohalic beverages lacking. IMO, we do have room for a thousand articles so we should mostly include the detail articles. What articles do you think are more important than the ones being removed? Btw, we are trying to keep the list balanced so if you removed en:Chocolate what foodstuff is more important. --MarsRover 18:00, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
While I was/am on a crusade to make this article less Eurocentric, I find many of these suggestions bizarre. Should there only be one article relating to Christianity? This is a religion followed by almost 2 billion people. It's not a unified singular phenomenon, but rather a complex tradition. If anything, Christianity is fine and MORE articles on Islam should be added, e.g., Sunnism/Shiism/Sufism. And your example of an African leader to add is understandable, but probably not a good one. I certainly agree that the pre-modern Malian leaders would be the best pre-modern Africans to add - but look at how little attention this leader has attracted even in English. However, SOMETHING about Malian history could be added. Perhaps the en:Mali Empire article could be added to the medieval section of history? That's a very nice article right now.
Are you seriously suggesting that the Spanish and French articles be removed? Spanish and French are the official languages of more countries than any language but English. That is really crazy. Likewise, Hindi is quite distinct from Sanskrit. Both are of immeasurable importance. Swahili may be an African language - and perhaps it should/could be included - but it is the native language of 5 to 10 million people. Hindi is the native language of hundreds of millions. It would be the height of absurdity to remove it. --Aghniyya 20:19, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

A couple more things: Marxism is absolutely distinct from Marx. Marx famously said, "I am not a Marxist." In scholarly literature, anything relating to Marx is called "Marxian" rather than Marxist. Marxism is a tradition of thought starting with Marx's successors and attaining great importance as the de facto religion of the Soviet bloc. Some famous Marxists include: Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Gramsci, etc. Few things are more important in world history, especially modern history.

And are you seriously suggesting removing the article on sex? The most basic human behavior after eating? --Aghniyya 20:27, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Cannes Film Festival

It was proposed on 2007 [2] and added two days afeter [3] with absolutely no response at all.

It's abasolutely odd. Under "The Arts" you find:

«The arts »At least three sentences on: » 1. Culture » 2. Art »» 1. Comics »» 2. Painting »» 3. Photography »» 4. Sculpture »»» 1. Pottery » 3. Dance » 4. Fashion » 5. Theatre » 6. Festival de Cannes»

So, please, remove it.

Someone talk about en:calligraphy as the main art in some cultures. It could be a good replacement.

Also, about layout, why are not Dance and Theatre at the same level of Painting or Sculpture?

-- 19:49, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

You seem to be on target here. Calligraphy is actually an excellent choice. --Aghniyya 20:21, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
I went ahead and made this change. --Aghniyya 17:45, 12 April 2009 (UTC)


I don't think en:chocolate deserves being on the list, and I'm missing lots of more important foodstuffs:

-- 20:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Chocolate is more globally popular than most of your choices. Maybe Onion would be good replacement. We already have en:Salt (chemistry) and I don't think we need two Salt articles. Vegetarianism might be good but its not really a foodstuff. --MarsRover 20:21, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
As someone who has lived in non-Western countries, I can say yes, chocolate is more popular. It's everywhere globally, and it also has an interesting (non-Western) history. --Aghniyya 20:22, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes... but is chocolate more important than salt? Wars have been fought over supplies of salt... I've never heard of a chocolate war (besides the popular juvenile lit book, naturally.) Almafeta 01:40, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Chocolate now fuels war in West Africa? --MarsRover 04:04, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


I never got to make changes to the music article. Or rather, I did, but they were reverted because they were too controversial after the discussion, I think we have more of a consensus on how this section should be changed. No one has disputed that the article is too Eurocentric, the only question is which articles should be put in. So, I'll propose some changes again.

  1. Louis Armstrong replaces Hendrix. Louis Armstrong was the pioneer of jazz, the first global American genre, whereas Hendrix came as one of multiple 60's rock stars. Hendrix is a very popular black musician among white Americans, but that is neither here nor there. Armstrong changed history, and there are already some rock musicians on the list.
  2. Musical instruments replaces Schumann, Robert. Having an article on musical instruments is allows for less Eurocentrism, because you can talk about various instruments from various times and places.
  3. Edith Piaf for Hector Berlioz. This section is so heavy on 19th century musicians and it needs some more 20th century musicians, especially non-Anglophones. Edith Piaf was more famous in her day than Berlioz in his anyway. She is maybe the best known non-Anglophone singer of the 20th century and is a national hero in France.

Now, I don't know where to go from here. I will let Elvis stand because he is just too well known. I don't think people liked my suggestions like en:Vladimir Vysotsky or Indian Music - which attempted to make the section less Eurocentric. I could add en:Vedas, en:Torah, en:Bible and en:Quran to replace these the four music articles listed below, or I could add some non-Western music articles. Personally, I would like to do the latter. There is already so much on this list about religion, but little about non-western pop culture. My suggestions would be en:Vladimir Vysotsky, en:Umm Kulthum, and then Tango and Salsa under "Dance" (or maybe Latin American Music and Music of India). In any case, let me know what you think about the music section (and the possible addition of a section on religious texts).

Brahms, Johannes
Rolling Stones, The
Smetana, Bedřich
Bruckner, Anton

Some more changes that were mentioned above, but which I now want to act on:

  1. en:Galen for en:Hippocrates. I can say categorically that Galen was the most influential medical scientist/doctor of antiquity, not Hippocrates.
  2. en:Cai Lun for Fibonacci. If you want to fit in Fibonacci or Fibonacci numbers somewhere, try it. The ancient inventor of paper is more significant than the medieval transmitter of some mathematical concepts to Europe. If Fibonacci is just that important, perhaps Pythagorus should be removed (because "some have questioned the scope of his contributions to mathematics and natural philosophy," as the wiki article says).
  3. en:Tang Dynasty replaces Haile Selassie. There were already two other 20th century African nationalists on the list, so I thought that Selassie is probably redundant. The Tang Dynasty was probably the height of Chinese power, and it has an excellent article. I remember fondly reading this history when I was in school. Selassie has Rastafarianism, but that is rather odd. --Aghniyya 21:54, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Hm, more possibilities to replace those four. en:Enka, en:Fado, en:Son (music), en:Flamenco or en:Samba as musical genres that are non-western. Well, Flamenco is Spanish, but still. --Aghniyya 00:26, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
No comments at all? Well, I would like to finish my edits to this list sometime soon (assuming that happens... and maybe I could help on the translations.) So, I will go ahead with some of these. Here's what I did:
  1. en:Galen replaces en:Hippocrates.
  2. en:Cai Lun replaces en:Pythagorus. I thought it would be most fair to exchange an ancient for an ancient. Pythagorus is more mythical than anything else, and even the Pythagorean theorem pre-dated him.
  3. en:Tang Dynasty replaces Haile Selassie.

Here is the music part. Since people objected to my non-Western musicians, I decided the replace the excess classical composers with two non-Western musicians and two music genres that are somewhat more diverse.

  1. Louis Armstrong replaces Hendrix.
  2. Edith Piaf replaces Hector Berlioz.
  3. en:Flamenco replaces Schumann, Robert.
  4. en:Samba replaces Rolling Stones, The.
  5. en:Umm Kulthum replaces Smetana, Bedřich. As the German Wikipedia article states, her status in the Arab world is similar to the Beatles in the Western world.
  6. en:Vladimir Vysotsky replaces Bruckner, Anton.

I suppose Vysotsky and Umm Kulthum may still not be consensus choices, since Arab and Soviet cultures are not exactly well-known in the West. But as a measure of their importance, the articles of both state that at least 1 million people attended their funerals. These outpourings could be compared to the death of John Lennon. Let me know if you have an objection, but I am going to enter this into the list so that I can move on. --Aghniyya 03:27, 15 April 2009 (UTC)[

To be consistant

If we have en:Domestic sheep should we have en:Domestic pig (instead of en:Pig)? --MarsRover 21:46, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure. If you type in en:sheep on Wikipedia, the article "Domestic Sheep" comes up. This may be because the sheep that most people are interested in are all domestic, and there are few non-domestic sheep. There doesn't appear to be an article simply called "sheep" at all. In contrast, many wild pigs are very famous, e.g., en:warthog. My two cents. --Aghniyya 21:58, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
en:Wild Boar is a example. en:Warthog is sort of odd classification where is not part of the en:Pig genus. But I know what you mean. --MarsRover 22:21, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


I want to make some changes to the religion section. For example, I think en:Spirituality should be removed in favor in specific forms of spirituality. This is a good example of an overview article which isn't very interesting. The English version has some basic, New Agey information and that's it. In contrast, en:Sufism and en:Yoga have great articles that are already in more Wikipedias than en:Spirituality. To make room, I would remove en:Indian philosophy. Yoga is actually the most famous spiritual form of Indian philosophy and while I like overview articles as a way of including non-western cultures, the Indian philosophy article hadn't really attracted much attention, unfortunately.

I also want to remove en:Ali, who I added to the list of religious figures, in favor of en:Shia Islam as a subset of Islam. Ali is the central figure in Shia Islam, so his story is a part of that broader story. For various reasons that I could go into, it's not necessary to include en:Sunni Islam (That is the majority denomination, so Sunnism has few practices that are distinct from Islam generally, in contrast to Shiism). --Aghniyya 09:34, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm thinking about eliminating those philosophy overview articles altogether. I will not go ahead and do it yet, but I am thinking about removing en:Islamic philosophy and adding en:Zen under spirituality (since Islam is already well represented among the thinkers and in the religious section), and replacing en:Chinese philosophy with en:Zhu Xi. I brought him up before, but didn't add him because his name isn't very well-known. That is still a problem, but he is the founder of Neo-Confucianism which dominated Asia for centuries as a de facto state religion (His article says: "From 1313 to 1905, Zhu Xi's commentaries on the Four Books formed the basis of civil service examinations in China"). He philosophized the en:qi (aka "chi") and the en:taiji (normally spelled "taichi"), which are well-known concepts. The obvious alternative to Zhu Xi is en:Mencius. Well, I will consider about this. Any thoughts? --Aghniyya 10:11, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the above points. I think an article about philosophy is fine, but a "_____ philosophy" leaves me a bit cold. I'd much rather see a prominent figure from that philosophy. Ali and Zhu Xi are great examples which should yield more dynamic articles. -- Yekrats 14:37, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, well, here is what I will do. I think the consensus is that overview articles (like "____" philosophy) are not as useful as specific concepts. Therefore, I will remove Chinese and Islamic philosophy, in favor of en:Zen under "Spiritual practices" and en:Shiva under religious figures. Islamic culture is already far better represented on this list than India, and Shiva is, according to the English article, often seen as the "supreme God" of Hinduism (though only sometimes). I wanted to include Zhu Xi, but I just think the name isn't famous enough outside of Asia, whereas Zen is. --Aghniyya 01:36, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I think "Agnosticism" should be added to that list. --- 23:35, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

A Proposal: Current Events and Recent History

While I now feel much more satisfied with the article generally, I still have one more idea. I've noticed that some of the most popular articles are not listed here, mainly because they are too recent. For example, I imagine that every Wikipedia should have something about Obama, Bush, and the conflict in Israel/Palestine. Why not have a section for "Current Events and Recent History"?

So, my proposal is to take out 10 cities and 10 countries, and add a new section at the end called "Current Events and Recent History" or something like that. As the section on countries already says, the countries listed are just some basics, and ultimately all countries should be included. In addition, obviously, only the most world-historical events and leaders of recent years and decades could be added to this new section. Here are some ideas:

  1. Obama
  2. George W. Bush
  3. Bill Clinton
  4. Ronald Reagan
  5. Thatcher
  6. Sarkozy
  7. Gorbachev
  8. Putin
  9. en:Deng Xiaoping
  10. en:Lula (or en:Hugo Chavez)
  11. Suharto
  12. Indira Gandhi
  13. Nasser
  14. Israel-Palestine Conflict (or Arab-Israeli Conflict or Yasser Arafat)
  15. September 11 attacks
  16. en:Late 2000s recession
  17. Saddam Hussein
  18. en:Iranian Revolution
  19. en:May 1968 in France
  20. en:Prague Spring

Some more...

  1. War in Darfur
  2. German Reunification/Helmut Kohl

A couple events, like en:Vietnam War and en:Cold War are already included in world history. Anyway, this is just an idea. --Aghniyya 05:54, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

We discussed this already. I still strongly feel that popularity isn't a measure of importance and that many events that seem crucial now will soon fade into obscurity. Like George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, most probably. Only future can tell who/what is world-historical and Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Besides me feeling that your list is out of this page's scope, it is also strongly western-centric and non-western entries are mostly of local importance. All in all, I strongly oppose the idea. -- 07:11, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. It will open up ton of debates having current leaders. IMO, Hugo Chavez is hardly required reading. It best to let some time pass to see if they are thought of as important by the historians. -MarsRover 10:35, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, sure. Such a list would certainly complicate things. I only added it for its obvious usefulness. All Wikipedias will want an article on Obama, Gorbachev, and September 11 for example. This is not Eurocentric... it's just a fact of world politics. Bush was more powerful than any Chinese emperor or any European king ever, in terms of world dominance. He certainly isn't popular. You could call him the conqueror of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he had troops stationed all over the world as well as political control over countries where no troops were. Regardless of what "the future" thinks, any Wikipedia here and now will want this info in the here and now because it does matter.
Nonetheless, yeah, this is a complicated idea and perhaps outside the scope the list. --Aghniyya 22:28, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
While I don't insist on this list, I think that just as Wikipedias will be and should be at least somewhat Eurocentric, so too should they be oriented more toward the present than "overall importance" might allow. This is how Wikipedia in fact works, and while this tendency should be tempered, it shouldn't be eliminated. For us today, information of George W. Bush is far more important than Charlemagne, who is merely of some historical interest (and Bush was, in any case, a greater conqueror and more powerful leader, if foolish). --Aghniyya 22:52, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Having George W. Bush in the list will reopen an old debate. Even when he was President people kept wanting to remove him. IMHO, we should have the current leaders of say the four most important countries. But if you add Obama, the argument will be what has he done so far to deserve to be on the list. --MarsRover 04:36, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, then the future can hold their own discussions about articles that need to be added to or removed from this list when the time to remove someone comes. We're not trying to create something that will stand for all of time, we're trying to create a list of topics which covers the things that people need to understand today. 22:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
And speaking of popularity being irrelevant, I still think Cleopatra should be removed from the list. She is of some cultural fame, but no historical importance. --22:52, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Cleopatra is of high historical significance, in my opinion. –Juliancolton | Talk 22:55, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


Currently, the article about Wikipedia on our main project appears in one hundred seventy languages versions, see List of most interwikied articles. Only two other articles appear in more language versions than the article about Wikipedia. Maybe it is a great idea to push the article about Wikipedia to the top of the list. Which list? The list of articles with the greatest number of interlanguage links. Dedalus 12:47, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

But en:True Jesus Church has the most iw links. Wouldn't it be more important to add to the list using your metric? --MarsRover 21:56, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I think Dedalus wasn't talking about the list here, but spurring people to write the article about Wikipedia in even more languages. --Yerpo 06:06, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Replacement suggestions

  1. en:Shitao for en:Frida Kahlo (There are only two non-Western artists on the list. I would like to add one more. Shitao is one of the greatest painter in Chinese art history.)
  2. en:Hafez for en:Arthur Rimbaud (Hafez is the most beloved poet in Persian literature.)
  3. en:Laozi for en:Francis of Assisi
  4. en:Adi Shankara for en:Shiva (Adi Shankara is one of the most influential Hindu philosopher.)
  5. en:Sima Qian for en:Cai Lun (Cai Lun is regarded as the inventor of paper, but there is little historical record about him.)
  6. en:Zhu Xi for en:Simone de Beauvoir (Zhu Xi is a key figure in Neo-Confucianism, dominating East Asian intellectual history for several century.)
  7. en:Cyrus the Great for en:Cleopatra VII
  8. en:Kangxi Emperor for en:Rosa Luxemburg

--Jyusin 17:00, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

  1. Well, it's just that Frida Kahlo is a non-Western artist (she was a mestizo Mexican), and there is very little about Latin America on the list. She's also more famous than Shitao. The Shitao article even in English isn't very good yet, let alone other languages. Chinese painting is extraordinarily significant, but is there another painter who is better known? We should be able to be both non-Eurocentric and to be able to choose 100% world-renowned figures.
  2. Sure, Hafez is good, but I really think en:Rumi is a better choice. Rumi is more famous and his followers founded the Mevlevi Sufi order.
  3. The problem with Laozi is that he probably never existed. But yeah, he is the most famous Taoist...
  4. Why remove Shiva? I had en:Chanakya under the thinkers and he was brought to the economists. I will undo this. He is not primarily an economist (The wiki article just implies this awkwardly). While I don't want to remove Shiva, Adi Shankara does seem significant.
  5. Sure, Sima Qian is significant, but I wanted one Chinese inventor on the list and Cai Lun is certainly famous. Will there by no Chinese scientists? China dominated scientific advancement up to c. 1500...
  6. Simone de Beauvoir simply cannot be removed. She is the key feminist thinker, and feminism is profoundly affecting our lives (Remember, this list is also necessarily biased toward the present rather than the past; not every century is going to get equal time). Zhu Xi is still significant and there should be more than one Chinese thinker. But why not remove another? My suggestion: Let's remove the en:morality article. It's partially redundant bc of en:ethics. Morality is different in that it deals with modes of behavior, but morality as such is uninteresting (as the article shows; it's a short article with little info). People are really interested in specific forms of morality, e.g., sexual morality, etc.
  7. I definitely support this one. Either Cyrus or Darius are both far more significant than Cleopatra, who did not do anything. She is just famous as a symbol of women's sexual power. This is not a very feminist symbol, either. There are already multiple Romans on the list, but no Persians.
  8. Kangxi is probably more significant than Rosa Luxemburg. However, she was the leader of the German Revolution of 1918 and a major Marxist thinker. And she's a woman. Would it be at all possible to find another to remove?
Your ideas are on the right track, but those are my thoughts. --Aghniyya 20:46, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with getting rid of en:Morality for your reasons. --MarsRover 05:25, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree partially. Biography section needs to be more balanced.
  1. East Asian painters are not well-known to the Western world generally. So I can't find someone better than Shitao.
  2. It is not easy to compare Hafez with Rumi, but I would like to add Hafez. He is described as a "poet's poet".
  3. We cannot talk about Chinese philosophy without Laozi.
  4. Shiva is not a real person, and there is no Hindu philosopher on the list.
  5. The problem with Cai Lun is that historical record is not enough to support.
  6. Your suggestion is good.
  7. You support it.
  8. How about Jawaharlal Nehru instead of Rosa Luxemburg? Two Indian Leaders, Gandhi and Nehru are both on the list.

--Jyusin 08:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

OK, Hafez is fine... Hm, let's wait just a bit longer on Shitao. His relative lack of fame is still problematic to me. One strategy I like to use on this list is not always to add non-western people, but sometimes non-western ideas or concepts. The west is more individualistic than others, so I feel like even the idea of long lists of "great men" is slightly eurocentric. For example, I think it was a good idea to add Zen before Zhu Xi, because Zen was a whole philosophical school and a collaborative effort (Still want Zhu Xi though). Likewise, Shiva has been a locus of Hindu religion that is more important than any one Hindu thinker. However, I still think Ada Shankara is an good addition, just not as good as Shiva. And Nehru cannot be removed, since he is the founder of the Republic of India, soon to be the world's most populous country.

I relent on the point about Cai Lun. His biography is just too spare. I removed him and added Sima Qian (under Historians). I also removed morality and added Zhu Xi. Plus, I rearranged some of the sections that had been rearranged among the "thinkers". Took Adam Smith from philosophers and put him among economists, took Chanakya from Economists and added him and Macchiavelli under Political Scientists. --Aghniyya 00:25, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

One thing, what if we removed Dali instead of Frida Kahlo? Dali is perhaps less famous than Frida, he's one of many Spaniards on the list, his artistic style is somewhat similar, etc. There are even two Spanish modernists on the list, Dali and Picasso... Frida's also the only woman and Latin American on the list. --Aghniyya 00:31, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

I also removed Cleopatra and added Cyrus. That's much better. One quick thing: the director's list is great, but I think George Lucas is out of place. Do we really need two blockbuster US directors (him and Spielberg)? What about Woody Allen or en:DW Griffith, the first film director of all? All Lucas's done is Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and he has done them poorly of late. And Spielberg worked on Indiana Jones anyway. --Aghniyya 00:36, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

en:George Lucus is mainly know for just Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I would replace him with en:Bollywood which is an important segment of cinema. Or perhaps en:Anime or en:Hayao Miyazaki for the animation popular in Japan and US. --MarsRover 01:20, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
All fine ideas. Film is not my strong suit, so do what you think is best. --Aghniyya 06:57, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I change George Lucus to Bollywood. If anybody disagrees, revert and make a comment. --MarsRover 15:39, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Is Bollywood a top priority article? I think Hayao Miyazaki is a better choice.--Jyusin 16:00, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Slumdog millionaire just won Oscar for best picture. Bollywood is going global. I would like to include Hayao Miyazaki partly because I love his films but we already have a Japanese director. He would probably get removed by someone. --MarsRover 20:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
MarsRover: How about replacing George Lucas with en:Animé? ( Seeing as Lucas has credited Japanese film and animation as inspirations for his Star Wars... ) Almafeta 19:15, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I think we should go with Anime then. Its a popular and influencial genre of Animation. But I still think Indian cinema coverage needs a boost. --MarsRover 20:24, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Jyusin: Of those suggestions, I agree with Laozi for St. Francis of Assisi. Almafeta 19:15, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


Why have any biographies at all? Dewey Decimal Classification sorts biographical publications under the topic that most pertains to biographees' claims to fame. Such topics presumably tend to be more general, and to have broader implications (hence more embedded links), than life-and-works articles. A biography, after all, is a form of presentation, not a discussion of a topic. Instead of en:Frida Kahlo (if the topic for which she's known is all that important), the list could have en:Painting in Mexico, or en:The Arts of Mexico, or en:The Arts of Central America, or en:The Arts of Latin America, or whatever; instead of en:Simone der Beauvoir, the list could have en:Feminism or some similar topic that would be much larger than the woman in question. Similarly with all the proposed biographies. —JWL, 00:28, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, some articles about persons are imo among the 1000 most vital articles. But on this list I think there are way too many; there are for example lots of people I've never heard of. --Boivie 04:51, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I've broached the topic of "painting in _____", "_____ literature" or "_____ philosophy" but these topics are distinctly unpopular on Wikipedia. For example, of nearly 3 million English Wikipedia article there is no article on "Painting in Mexico" whatsoever, or even "Mexican Art". For me personally, en:German literature generally is more important than en:Goethe. And yet, the actually existing overview of German literature is nothing but a list of links to articles on a few styles and numerous individual writers. The article on Goethe is quite good - even though few Americans have heard of him (the majority of English Wikipedia contributors). It's also been translated into roughly 3x the number of languages. In helping shape this list, my goal has been to respond partly to what has already been written, rather than re-writing Wikipedia from scratch. To some extent, the articles that are written reflect the needs of the readers.
It should surely be said also that the point of an encyclopedia is to inform. So it's quite right that there are some figures on the list that you may not have heard of. If you don't know much about Islamic history, you won't have heard of en:Umar. What overview would he fit under... well, most likely en:Rashidun, which even fewer people have heard of, and its article is shorter than and inferior to the article on Umar.
Since these overview articles are so unpopular and poorly written, the biographies are the only alternative. Many famous topics, like feminism, are certainly already on the list. I think the practice of this list relates closely also to how Wikipedia is used. I personally as a college student and now a graduate student use biographical articles all the time to get background on various subjects. Wikipedia - and encyclopedias generally - are different from libraries. --Aghniyya 06:20, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
That's all well put, and one can't disagree with any of it, except to point out the basic fact of its elitism: that self-selected experts have decided which thousand topics encyclopedias should cover. Two kinds of awkwardness arise from this fact.
    (1) Some of the experts aren't experts, and the resulting list is necessarily a bunglesome farrago (albeit one that's improving over time, as additional minds contribute). The survival of Smetana for so long among the set of European composers attests to that, as do the members of the present set: J. S. Bach, The Beatles, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Dvořák, Handel, Mahler, Mozart, Puccini, Schubert, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Vivaldi, Vysotsky, Wagner. The inclusion of a few of these is laughable. (Vysotsky? Really?) Many are problematic—the preference for Chopin, for example, over Schumann: Schumann composed equally compelling piano works, but has the additional notability of having composed important songs & symphonies & an opera, and having founded an influential musical journal, which he edited and in which he published reviews and articles of aesthetic criticism. If one had to choose the seventeen (and why that number?) European composers whose musical achievements were the most influential or representative of their times, a poll of the most influential professional music historians would almost certainly agree on most of these eleven, listed in chronological order: Perotinus, Machaut, Dufay, Iosquin des Prez, Palestrina, Monteverdi, J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Schoenberg, Stravinsky. Yet seven of them don't make the current cut! If one had the freedom to include their most notable contemporaries or near-contemporaries, one could add Leoninus to Perotinus, Handel to Bach, Mozart to Beethoven, and Verdi to Wagner. But why bother? It might be better to reduce the list to ten (striking Wagner), and thereby making room for influential musicians from the rest of the world. § Note that by starting the chronology in the thirteenth century, we've ignored a few highly influential musicians, like en:Guido of Arezzo, but their effects could be accommodated in more general articles, one of which, en:Gregorian chant, or, even more generally, an article (to be written?) on the (historically related?) cantillation of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, might well want to be among the favored thousand.
     (2) The project of the thousand important pages is a top-down enterprise: people at the top (the experts) dictate what people farther down (the less learned) should know. In this, it's no less old-fashioned than dead-tree encyclopedias. Is it possible to construct a bottom-up list? Can the current state of wikitechnology find the thousand most-searched-for pages? Those would be the topics that the world really wants to know about. To the extent that the whole wiki enterprise is involved in marketing (making available to the public a product that the public wants), that would seem to be a reasonable way to go, as soon as technology permits it. —JWL, 19:11, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the question of whether you "find the thousand most-searched-for pages". Yes, you can (See here) but you would not want to use that list unless you consider en:Miley Cyrus a top article. Being popular is not the same as being important. --MarsRover 23:28, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Fascinating! I'll start a new thread (below). JWL, 14:12, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Some very good ideas here. Your second point is a great one, but I don't know how to go about bringing that into practice. If you could bring such a list into existence on a totally different basis, then our discussions here would not be too relevant anyway.
As for the musicians, you are right that there don't seem to be any experts on music here, which is what such a list would call for. --Aghniyya 22:31, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

My Ph.D. is in music, I've taught courses in ethnomusicology & European music history, and I've edited one volume of a ten-volume dead-tree encyclopedia of world music. Not that that guarantees anything, of course. 14:05, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

However, the problem of all your points is that they are all fundamentally Eurocentric. --Aghniyya 22:31, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Maybe it was unclear, but I was addressing only the question of which European composers to include. The proportion of Europeans to non-Europeans, and which non-European topics to cover, are questions for a different day. 14:05, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

You make the point that the list of musicians should not be wholly modern. But why then, should it be wholly Western? --Aghniyya 22:31, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

It shouldn't. See above. When I get time, I'll toss you (below) some non-Western musical topics that are far, far, far more important than some of the European composers in the current list. 14:05, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

I say, far better to exclude the medieval than to exclude the non-Western. I have been actively editing these lists, and I did remove Schumann among others and added Vysotsky, en:Umm Kalthoum, Edith Piaf, etc. It's valuable to question that (no one did when I brought it up on the discussion page), but on principle the list cannot be purely Western classical composers, whose time has in any case long passed. Vysotsky and Umm Kalthoum's cultural positions in Eastern Europe and the Arab world respectively are roughly similar to that of the Beatles in America and the UK, particularly in the case of Umm Kalthoum, and they both have political significance, unlike most classical composers. The list when I found it was full of 19th century German(ic) composers who may matter to the world's classical music aficianados, but they aren't the whole story of world music. Perhaps using a better tack, I added some more diverse genres, like en:hip hop, en:samba and en:flamenco. But back to the biographies, 19th century Europeans are still in the majority.
If anything, these lists should be biased against obscure medieval composers, no matter how significant, and biased in favor of important recent musicians. Vivaldi is "better" or more innovative musically than en:the Beatles, but which one is needed by readers more? However, it should not be totally biased against non-Anglophone musicians, because these musicians aren't forgotten at all - they are in fact hugely famous and important, just not for Americans or Brits.
The ideal would not be to have one expert on European classical music, but rather a few musicologists who could come together to combine contemporary popular music, non-Western musical forms and Western classical music into one good list. We don't have that, so we make do, insofar as we believe that there should be a list like this.
As for some of the specific composers, Dufay, Perotin and Josquin des Prez certainly have not been written about very much in non-English wikipedias, so it would be quite awkward to add them. I'd guess that only a tiny handful of people has ever heard of them in any country. Perotin's article is only about 6 paragraphs long even in English, for example. Monteverdi has been written about, though, so he should perhaps be added. I'll let you respond to my comments first before discussing more. --Aghniyya 22:31, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

As usual with such lists, the criteria for inclusion govern the choices. An obvious criterion (obvious at least to one conversant with the history of music) is historical influence, and its prime question would be "Which composers have most affected the history of music?" And augmenting that: "Which composers best represent an era of profound historical influence?" Given those questions (but once again only in regard to European music, and leaving aside the question of non-Western music), the inclusion of Brahms, Chopin, Dvořák, Mahler, Puccini, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Vivaldi, and especially Vysotsky, to the exclusion of Perotinus, Machaut, Dufay, Iosquin des Prez, Palestrina, Monteverdi, and Schoenberg doesn't make sense.
But of course there are other ways of making sense, and "modern popularity" could be one of them. That brings us back to the bottom-up process. "What do people want to know?" is utterly different from "What should people know?" That's why it might be useful to discover which topics people are actually searching for.
On this point, thanks to a hint from MarsRover (above), see the new threads I've started below. JWL, 14:47, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
A third angle—in regard now to the whole list, not just the European composers—could be to study the linking that already exists within the English wikipedia, which has enough substantial articles that patterns among the links could serve as a criterion for finding the thousand most important articles. Presumably, for example, since Beethoven was historically a more influential & exemplary composer than, say, his near-contemporary Hummel, a huge encyclopedia will have more articles that have links to en:Beethoven than to en:Johann Nepomuk Hummel. You can probably see where this idea leads: find the thousand most-linked-to articles, and those will necessarily be the conceptual hubs around which the most sought constellations of topics revolve.
Side note, back to music: there's no good reason to include Vivaldi but to exclude (for example) Telemann, a similarly productive (but not especially innovative or influential) composer; or to include Chopin but to exclude Domenico Scarlatti, a similarly productive keyboard composer. And Mozart is often my favorite composer, but to include him, once you've admitted you must have Beethoven, is a waste of a valuable slot—and this example opens up another set of choices: if you're going to include Mozart even though you've already got Beethoven, you can't exclude Schuetz just because you've already got Monteverdi. Which you haven't yet got, of course. :) JWL, 14:05, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Ultimately, the criteria for inclusion have to be a compromise between what people want to know and what they should know. In fact, my normal method has been to choose only those figures or concepts that are both important and in high demand. There is really no other way of going about this. I'm a PhD student in Islamic history, and even though I consider en:Muhammad Ali of Egypt to have had far more important effects than the conqueror en:Saladin (especially on today's world), popularity has caused me to allow the latter to stand. For example, Celine Dion is nearly as popular as Mozart, and both are worlds more popular than Perotinus, yet which one of those three would make sense on this list? Your exclusion of Mozart is a very obvious sign that something is wrong with your criteria.--Aghniyya 15:56, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
A secondary criterion (not mentioned) is that no epoch should have more than one representative. For the period of, say, 1750 to 1827, that representative must be Beethoven. See next remark (below). JWL, 17:02, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Mozart has been very influential and is very important, and he is in very great demand on Wikipedia. Perotinus was important, but is not in demand. Adding him to the list would be something like re-writing Wikipedia, since his existing articles are so pitiful and need to be re-written. Adding Celine Dion is in demand, but is not important. This list cannot be filled with Celine Dions or Perotinuses. Simply put, you include Mozart because of his modern popularity and his huge role in modern culture.--Aghniyya 15:56, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
"Popularity" (or perhaps better put, "respect") isn't a creation of the year 2009. Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, Beethoven was the artist who loomed large—indeed, probably largest of all, The Most Important Composer Of All Time (tm). Brahms wasn't popularly called a second Mozart, after all; nor was his first symphony hailed as Mozart's forty-second (as it was Beethoven's tenth); nor did the three B's (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms) include Mozart. In Paine Hall at Harvard, the names of the most famous/influential composers parade from the back left around the wall to the back right, and guess whose name was contrived to stand in the middle, directly above center stage: Beethoven. In Symphony Hall, Boston, the name of one, and only one, composer stands above the stage: Beethoven. The best way of accommodating Mozart—and Haydn! and a host of others!—might be to abandon the biographies altogether (as suggested at the top) and cite the article on en:Classical period (music). JWL, 17:02, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
The same cannot be said for even Schuetz and Monteverdi.
As for some of your lists below, I think they could well be useful, but what you have so far isn't very useful. Those lists don't yet tell us much about what musicians/composers should be listed. The only other thing that I would add is that popularity is not always reflected by what has been written. My point here has been to make this less Eurocentric, and Wikipedia has some built in Eurocentric biases. People from developed countries have better Internet access and so are more likely to write articles, even though people from poor countries still use Wikipedia (The Spanish Wikipedia has the second highest number of "contributors" and yet far more articles have been written in German and French). So, beyond popularity and importance in the West, I would add that importance in other cultures is the third criterium, to counteract the inherent bias of Wikipedia.
Regarding Vysotsky, the disagreement here turns on the fact that I do not consider Vysotsky to be a "Western" musician. He is certainly not popular in the "West" (ie, Western Europe and North America) or even well-known. He is popular in the former Soviet Union, which we in the West have been utterly cut off from and implacably hostile to (esp in the US).
If you are familiar with non-Western musics, let's consider replacing him with another non-Western musician, perhaps from a culture that has been more neglected on the list than Soviet culture. I just had a hard time doing that. One seemingly easy choice would be en:Fela Kuti, who is one of my favorite musicians and as big in West Africa as Vysotsky in the USSR and the Beatles in the US/UK. However, he's not particularly in demand on Wikipedia, it seems (eg, translations). The same goes for the Pakistani musician en:Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Ravi Shankar could be a possibility, but his Western popularity makes me more skeptical: is he a Western phenomenon or was he really hugely popular in India? I don't know enough about India so I can't say, though I would be very open to an Indian musician. In any case, Vysotsky is more in demand on Wikipedia than any of these musicians. So, even if a musician is important, let's make sure we choose ones that have an established presence on Wikipedia.
As for Vivaldi or Chopin, they and others can be on the chopping block if you like (I certainly didn't add them). You definitely know more about classical music than others here, so go ahead. It will help to check the popularity of various composers though. I usually look at the list of translations on the side of the articles to compare. If you want to use a more "scientific" method, go ahead. The real question, though, is how to include non-Western musics. I mean, this list is just a starting point, so if it has Vivaldi and not Telemann, it's not a big deal. A failure to include non-Western musics generally, though, would be a bigger problem. --Aghniyya 15:56, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
To make the musical section of the list less Western, I'd cut the unnecessary composers and, for starters, consider adding some general topics, perhaps: for Africa, en:Music of Africa (a thin article, which needs extensive filling out); for China, en:Peking opera; for India, en:Music of India (which needs extensive filling out); for Indonesia, en:Gamelan; for Japan, en:Noh or en:Kabuki. For European music (again if the biographies, or most of them, were cut), add en:Gregorian chant—maybe the most popular European genre of all time, if popularity is regarded as extending across more than a millennium—and en:Chamber music and en:Concerto. To cover musical instruments worldwide, there should be a loooong article on organology, for which the present en:Organology is a pitiful squeak, not the full-throated roar that it should be. JWL. 17:19, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, I did have the thought of adding a number of those articles, and I even briefly added "Music of India" and "Music of Africa" (This wasn't a popular idea, though). But as you can already see, none of these articles are yet truly important parts of Wikipedia. All of this constitutes basically re-writing Wikipedia and going strongly against what people want and use. Yes, people should know about en:Carnatic music, but I'm not sure that they are that interested; Ravi Shankar would probably be a better choice. I also like this sort of scholarly approach to things, but I've been told time and time again that this "goes against the natural growth" of Wikipedia. The idea of strict chronological importance, whereby only one composer is listed from a single period is very unpopular and overly strict. If we were to be strict like this and ignore fame, then Western music would be dramatically reduced to only about 1/5 of the articles on this list generally, which would be fair but unrealistic. The reality is that certain things are more famous and in demand than others. The idea of leaving out Mozart is just silly and out of touch with Wikipedia and its users. --Aghniyya 17:38, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Remember also that even if the English article is good, it's telling if there hasn't been much written in other languages or if the other articles are thinner than the English article. This is the list of the most important Wikipedia articles, so we shouldn't usually have to choose between importance and popularity, I think. --Aghniyya 17:42, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Concretely, I do think it would be a good idea to include possibly Beijing opera, Kabuki, Noh, Gamelan or Gregorian chant. Each has little problems though: Beijing opera's article isn't very popular in non-English wikipedias; Kabuki and Noh are not strictly speaking forms of music, but rather drama;--Aghniyya 18:28, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, in the sense that Western opera is a form of drama. 19:38, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Gamelan is an instrument; --Aghniyya 18:28, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
"Gamelan" is an instrument in the sense that "symphony orchestra" is an instrument. JWL, 19:38, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Gregorian chant is one of many forms of Western music already on the list, and it's the least popular, if oldest etc. However, surely some of these should be added.... Everything that you're saying is musically and historically correct, just not always appropriate. We can't re-write Wikipedia from here, especially not in all its languages.
As for the philosophy though, remember the purpose of the list: to aid smaller (non-English) wikipedias in getting a base of articles. Myself, I tend to imagine one medium sized Wikipedia (Arabic) and one new, small Wikipedia (en:Egyptian Arabic). For readers of both of these wikipedias, having an article about Mozart will be much more important than having an article about Noh or Gamelan. The problem with these genres is that they are important in the eyes of western scholars, rather than average Westerners or average non-Westerners. For example, even in Japan, J-Pop or en:Enka might be more popular and more accessed than en:Noh. Even for the average Chinese reader, the article on Mozart will be more useful than the article on Beijing opera. So this is what I keep in mind. --Aghniyya 18:28, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
That's essentially an appeal to the bottom-up method (as discussed above & below), which will undoubtedly become more feasible as time goes along. JWL, 19:38, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
All I'm saying is that it's both popularity and importance (in terms of the God's eye view, as you're advocating); it can't be one or the other. It can't be Celine Dion or Perotinus. And I just want to warn against combating Eurocentrism by adding things that are famous non-Western concepts among Western scholars or other elites and not so much among actual non-Westerners. For that reason, Umm Kulthum is extraordinarily important, but Beijing Opera perhaps less so. Beijing Opera was important, but it doesn't attract much attention today, other than from scholars, and Western scholars perhaps more than Chinese. I've had some quite awkward conversations with Chinese people asking about this sort of thing. Umm Kulthum is still listened in every cafe in Egypt, and you will never have an awkward conversation about her (same goes for Vysotsky, etc.). Everyone hears about Gamelan through, guess who, en:Pierre Boulez. What really matters to actual Indonesians may be something different altogether.
Point taken about Noh and Gamelan, by the way. They seem like fine candidates, my points above notwithstanding. -- 21:05, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
I should say that the article about Mozart in the Indonesian Wikipedia is about 5x longer than the article about Gamelan. The article about en:Kroncong is somewhat better. Not advocating anything, but just putting things in context. -- 21:16, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Алый Король's suggestions

  1. en:Meiji Restoration for en:Vietnam War
  2. en:Age of Discovery for en:Great Depression--Алый Король 18:02, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I think both are good suggestions but would pick different articles to replace. Prehaps we a remove something from another category. I agree with below en:Light years is not much of a topic. And why is en:New Zealand in the list of countries. --MarsRover 15:48, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I sort of think that Age of Discovery has been covered by the various explorers. Meiji Restoration is the most important event of modern Japanese history. I don't know if it surpasses the Vietnam war, which is the major event of SE Asia. It might be possible to remove the Versailles Treaty, which is sort of covered by WWI. Another thing is that Nazism is covered and double covered by this list. Not only are Hitler, WWII and the Holocaust covered, but there is also en:Nazi Germany and en:Nazism. What if Nazism were removed, which is basically just the ideology of Hitler? --Aghniyya 23:27, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
I support--Алый Король 12:47, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I agree too. I made the change. --MarsRover 18:48, 22 April 2009 (UTC)


There really isn't that much to say about light year. Let's put speed of light instead. --Leptictidium 12:01, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Speed of light is already on the list, under physics.
Andejons 14:47, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Now have 1000 articles

Section Current Number
Biography 205
Philosophy and psychology 17
Religion 25
Social sciences 70
Language and literature 46
Science 298
Technology 72
Arts and recreation 76
History and geography 191
Total 1000

Count checked: 20:45, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Another question is why are things organized the way they are (ex. History and Geography lumped together, Religion seperated out). Are we following the dewey decimal system for the section numbers? --MarsRover 20:59, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

For reference, the primary Dewey Decimal Classification divisions are:
000 Computer science, information & general works
100 Philosophy & psychology
200 Religion
300 Social sciences
400 Language
500 Science
600 Technology
700 Arts & recreation
800 Literature
900 History & geography — JWL, 19:17, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand what happen to "Computer science" primary category. Where it is? --Jordirosell 16:56, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Most-sought-for topics as a criterion for inclusion in the list

Since news events will cause short-term spikes in interest, it would be best to use the longest-term statistics available. Information available here (after a few housekeeping or other short-term items are excluded) yields the top eighteen terms searched for during the past year:

140,550 [0.08 %]: Wiki
91,971 [ 0.05 %]: YouTube
76,624 [ 0.04 %]: Barack Obama
64,465 [ 0.04 %]: Sarah Palin
51,760 [ 0.03 %]: Facebook
49,945 [ 0.03 %]: Wikipedia
49,141 [ 0.03 %]: The Dark Knight (film)
40,672 [ 0.02 %]: United States
40,141 [ 0.02 %]: Sex
37,256 [ 0.02 %]: MySpace
34,846 [ 0.02 %]: John McCain
32,359 [ 0.02 %]: Beatles
28,627 [ 0.02 %]: 2008 Summer Olympics
28,237 [ 0.02 %]: Heroes (TV series)
27,386 [ 0.02 %]: The Beatles
27,234 [ 0.02 %]: Large Hadron Collider
27,221 [ 0.02 %]: Hotmail
25,738 [ 0.01 %]: Google

Eliminate more topics of short-term (event-driven) interest, and you've got:

140,550 [0.08 %]: Wiki
91,971 [ 0.05 %]: YouTube
76,624 [ 0.04 %]: Barack Obama
51,760 [ 0.03 %]: Facebook
49,945 [ 0.03 %]: Wikipedia
40,672 [ 0.02 %]: United States
40,141 [ 0.02 %]: Sex
37,256 [ 0.02 %]: MySpace
32,359 [ 0.02 %]: Beatles [see following]
27,386 [ 0.02 %]: The Beatles [see preceding]
27,234 [ 0.02 %]: Large Hadron Collider
27,221 [ 0.02 %]: Hotmail
25,738 [ 0.01 %]: Google

Not bad! But there may be an even more useful source for creating a bottom-up list (see below). JWL, 14:22, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

One problem is this is purely what is popular in English speaking countries and of them mainly the US. While The Dark Knight and John McCain are popular here. In Japan, Anime topics are very popular. (See here). --MarsRover 19:03, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
True, but the English wiki is much bigger JWL, 19:08, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Another factor is articles with links on the home page will have insane increase in page hits. Look at featured article Learned Hand and its spike in popularity. --MarsRover 19:03, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
That's why annual statistics, rather than daily ones, are preferable: so as to minimize the effect of short-term spikes in interest. Unfortunately, the program seems to display only the top 250 articles, rather than the top 1500 or more. Happily, many of the top 250 are actually in the list as it's currently constituted. JWL, 19:08, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Most-linked-to topics as a criterion for inclusion in the list

[4] gives us this list of the top fifty articles. As above, I've omitted some obviously unqualified topics (like "1980s"), and some (like "Population_density (42973 links)") whose presence in huge numbers probably reflects housekeeping necessities, though their topics may still be important and worth considering:

United_States (110348 links)
United_Kingdom (46615 links)
England (45691 links)
Canada (45309 links)
France (45266 links)
Census (38017 links)
Germany (37813 links)
Marriage (37684 links)
Per_capita_income (36259 links)
Poverty_line (36258 links)
Japan (35697 links)
Race_(U.S._Census) (35231 links)
Australia (32827 links)
White_(U.S._Census) (31315 links)
Native_American_(U.S._Census) (31208 links)
Asian_(U.S._Census) (31117 links)
African_American_(U.S._Census) (31098 links)
Pacific_Islander_(U.S._Census) (31029 links)
Latino_(U.S._Census) (30707 links)
Hispanic_(U.S._Census) (30614 links)
World_War_II (28259 links)
London (25211 links)
Italy (23964 links)
India (23177 links)
Spain (18981 links)
Russia (18830 links)
Europe (18800 links)
New_York_City (17958 links)
China (17064 links)
California (16286 links)
New_York (15984 links)
Scotland (15633 links)
Album_(music) (15395 links)
Sweden (14691 links)
Poland (13959 links)
Paris (13690 links)
English_language (13631 links)
World_War_I (12759 links)
New_Zealand (12524 links)
Ireland (12469 links)
Netherlands (12250 links)
Mexico (11852 links)
Television (11643 links)
Brazil (11414 links)
Animal (11289 links)
Soviet_Union (10824 links)
Ontario (10687 links)
Film (10603 links)
Norway (10376 links)
South_Africa (10311 links)

Perhaps somebody would like to go through the top 1500 to 2000 of such terms and try to boil them down to one thousand. JWL, 14:39, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

One problem is this list are partly influenced by how the navigation and infobox templates are written for the wiki. Every US city article links to the census articles so they're rise in the list is a bit artificial. --MarsRover 19:21, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Their presence is why I suggested starting with a list of the most consulted 1500 to 2000 articles and eliminating such items by hand. Maybe someday a program can be written to exclude them automatically. Apparently, about 35 of the articles in the list above are already in the list of 1000, and that's a good sign, right? JWL, 19:45, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Another point is this list will never be balanced. It will be about 80% geography articles since they are the easiest to write. IMO, this list will in the end have to be hand edited and with each edit a debate (sort of what we have now).
BTW, here's my effort to analyze what is popular among the current list of articles. I think are are about 35 articles that rise to the top no matter how you calculate popularity. --MarsRover 20:17, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

It seems odd that we have en:Energy (society), when we have en:Energy and en:Renewable energy, and en:Conservation of energy. In fact, I'm not really sure what Energy (society) is getting at. Would there be an objection if we removed it for something else? -- Yekrats 01:27, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

OK, since it's been about a month without protest, I've removed this one, so that would free up a space for another article somewhere else. -- Yekrats 13:13, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, I think there were 1001 articles on the list, so no new space -- but that is of course only good.
Andejons 13:55, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
We were at 1000 and with this change are at 999 articles. --MarsRover 14:52, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
OK. There was a suggestion above to add Antibiotics to the list, which I think sounds as a good replacement.
Andejons 06:06, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, made the change. --MarsRover 06:28, 21 May 2009 (UTC)


I added two subjects... including (Dutch language) which I think is more then significant enough to be included considering its enormous impact on languages all around the globe. 06:08, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that the list should be kept at 1000 entries. If you want to add two more, please suggest two other articles that you want removed instead, preferably in the same general area.
Andejons 06:41, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Another problem is that you are probably the only person who knows about "enormous impact" of Dutch language on "languages all around the globe". Which languages might that be (except Afrikaans) and where is this "enormous impact" documented? While you're at it, you should also explain in what way does Pier Gerlofs Donia measure up to the rest of entries in the biography section with his impact on history and society of the world. --Yerpo 11:30, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Dutch language is of great importance to naval terms... think about words such as "ferlorn hope" and "apartheid" (Dutch words)... :) 13:15, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Then add Donia instead of "Kwame Nkrumah" (who on earth knows that guy) or instead of "Rosa Luxemberg"... 13:18, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
who on earth knows that guy
That exactly could be said for Donia. Nkrumah's ideas are important for Africa as a whole, and Rosa Luxemburg is important both as a revolutionary and a social philosopher. What importance does Donia have for the world outside of Netherlands? As for Dutch language, I don't think a couple of naval terms and some more random words equals "enormous impact". --Yerpo 15:02, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

It has had a bigger influence than German... 12:54, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Source, please. --Yerpo 18:41, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Town or city

In July 2008, user Orri removed City from this list, and inserted Town instead. I think this should be changed back. In April 2009, City was viewed 66762 times, but Town was viewed only 27528 times. City is the longer article (62 kbyte) and has far more interwiki links. Maybe Town should be a longer article, but today it isn't. The article that provides the better description of a large settlement is City, not Town. --LA2 06:49, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Support. --Yerpo 07:02, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Support, most languages that only have one word for these meaning have interwikied City.--Ssola 06:43, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
The situation is completely different from 2008, when most Wikipedias didn't link to "city" at all. Now they do, so the change is ok. "Town" per se wasn't better in the first place: the problem existed mainly in English, not in other languages. -- 11:53, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Replacement suggestions (2)

In China, people often consider Mencius as the second important Confucian. Some of his articles were selected as high school texts.But after the Self-Strengthening Movement and Wei Xin Yun Dong(Hundred Days' Reform),the impact of Neo-Confucian have largely declined. Today Zhu Xi's influence is very limited.

Although their achievements are very similar, much more Chinese poets learn from Du Fu(including Bai Juyi,Huang Tingjian and Lu You) than from Li Bai.And Du Fu was ranked #27 on Daniel S. Burt's [ list_of_the Most_Influential_Novelists,Playwrights,and Poets_of_All_Time],Li Bai was not listed.--Biŋhai 03:35, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Ramon Llull (s.XIII) is considered a multifacetic wise and relevant writer, philosopher, mystic, theologian, missionary and also gived very influence as a scientist: mathematics, physics, technologics, etc.. He writted 265 books in Latin, Catalan (wrote the first major work of Catalan language literature), Occitan and Arabic. He is representative of the mediterranean middle ages. Jorge Luis Borges is an important writter in the 20th century, but Wikipedia shouldn't give more importance to the recent literature than old literature. If Jorge Luis Borges is in this list, all the writers from these categories could be in the list: w:Category:Generation of '27, w:Category:Surrealist artists.--Ssola 07:15, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

These seem reasonable changes. The third change switchs a South American with a European which undoes some work to make the list less euro-centric. Hopefully User:Aghniyya can comment since he recommended the original articles. --MarsRover 06:46, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

"World Bank Group" currently only has one interwiki link so we might want to change to "World Bank". --MarsRover 21:47, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree. --Meldor 13:45, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree too. Please change it before you run the program for List of Wikipedias by sample of articles. Leptictidium 16:08, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
me too.--KRLS 11:08, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Please revert this change. Actually all of the articles about this phenomenon in other languages than english have an English iw-link pointing to World Bank Group and not to the article World Bank on English wp. --Akigka 10:06, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
This appears to be a correct change to en.wp and the other wikis just reflect the way en.wp had it wrong for so long. They should hopefully be fixed by Bots so I would wait on this. --MarsRover 16:29, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Choice of cities

How were the cities in the current list chosen? What criteria was applied? This is what appears to have happened:

  • Population
  • Capitals were chosen over larger cities if that country already had a representing country.
  • Historically important cities
  • Social popularity


  • Kinshasa - capital of Democratic Republic of the Congo. 248,728 hits in 2008.
  • Lagos - largest city in Nigeria. 441,671 hits in 2008.

Not chosen:

  • No Canadian cities
    • Ottawa - capital of Canada. 690,528 hits in 2008.
    • Toronto - largest city in Canada. 1,582,973 hits in 2008.
  • Ho Chi Minh City - largest city and capital of Vietnam. 423,639 hits in 2008.

These were just a few I looked at. On a worldwide scope the chosen were more populous but I would say notably historically on an international level they lack significance over other cities. For example Ho Chi Minh City is a major economic center for Asia East and became politically important for Communism in China and the West during the Vietnam War and Cold War. Lagos and Kinshasa are really just big cities with much smaller world affect. Are populated cities really cities that every encyclopedia should have, or maybe things such as a cities importance to history and its global role be more closely prioritized. If not, then the same logic could be applied to other categories citing that because more people saw Wedding Crashers it should replace Citizen Kane (a film ranked for 50 years at the top of director and critic lists in film). 03:11, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree with removing these two. But I think it would be a better idea not to replace them with other cities, but to leave the space to expand other sections: History, Mathematics or even Biographies. I think that a full list of countries and specially, cities, is pretty much useless if they have no real worldwide influence, and even if they have, it seems much more useful an article about, for example, the en:Cuban Missile Crisis or the en:Cuban Revolution than a general article which speaks about the climate in en:Cuba. We should not take the present configuration as unmodifiable, I think that the next step is precisely to rearrange the sections. --Meldor 23:10, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Proposed changes in Biography section

1. I propose merging several categories into Visual and Performing Artists and judging their merits against each other for contributing to the world as we know it. This would free up a lot of space very quickly.

2. Helen Keller made the list as a political leader, but Thomas Jefferson did not? Are you kidding? He can also be included under Scientists.

4. Propose to add Cleopatra as a political leader. She was a very powerful leader in Ancient Egypt and her influence is felt throughout the world even today.

5. Propose to keep Political Leaders and remove Aristocrats. Aristocrats should have something to contribute politically to be included on this list or be moved.

6. When choosing people to be on the list, I think it's important to ask, "Did this person change the world?" In that context, Sun Tsu is much more influential as a strategist and a mathematician than some celebrities of modern day.

7. Under Religious Figures and Theologians, I propose to add Mary to the list, since a number of religions follow her to this day including Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Anglican Church, Islam, and certain Protestant denominations. USchick 02:35, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Make sure to also include who you want to remove (in the same category) to make room for who you want to add. Also, some of your choices like Cleopatra were talked about a few months ago. --MarsRover 16:44, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Propose merging the following categories into one under the title of Visual and Performing Artists: Actors, dancers and models, Artists and architects, Authors, playwrights and poets, Composers and musicians, Film directors and screenwriters. There are 83 people in this list combined, which makes it a very long list compared to other categories. Does the category of Visual and Performing Art deserve that much attention compared to other disciplines? It may, but it's something worth discussing.
One person saying that Cleopatra "didn't do anything" is not exactly a discussion. When you mention the name Cleopatra, no one says, "Which one?" She was the head of state, in charge of the military and a royal dynasty. She continues to be included in history books of just about every language 2,000 years after her death. Any person who can not compete with that record can be replaced including: Sarah Bernhardt, Marlene Dietrich, George Byron, Vladimir Nabokov, Vladimir Vysotsky, Helen Keller, Saint Paul (not a founder of a religion, if anything, he can be replace by Mary), Augustine of Hippo (also not a founder of a religion. Why is this Saint different from any other Saint?) USchick 01:12, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


Sorry for coming in so late on this discussion. Under Specific languages how were the 18 languages selected and why 18? With the help of a linguist perhaps? If not, should one be consulted? For example, how did Tamil, Sanskrit, and Bengali make the list? Is there something significant about these languages that make them worthy of inclusion over others? What about sign language?

18 is probably just happenstance. In general people seem to agree with the balance of topics so the category sizes have been constant. Of course a linguist would be useful but I think choices can also be made with common sense in the meantime. If a lot of people speak a language it is probably important to have in a Wikipedia. Tamil has 66 million speaker compared with 27 million Dutch speakers, Sanskrit is sort the Indian latin, Bengali is the fifth most popular language in the world. Sign language is a type of language (not really a specific language like American Sign Language or British Sign Language?) and isn't nearly a popular as the current choices. --MarsRover 06:43, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Health and Medicine

This is another category that can use a professional opinion. A medical professional would structure this category a little differently, such as: Infectious disease and Chronic disease and at the same time would make it much more accurate.

Professional Opinion

I propose that each category should be reviewed by professionals in that field for accuracy. For example, under the category of "Raw Materials" Wood is the only raw material. Paper (made from wood), plastic, and glass are not raw materials by definition because they have to be manufactured. Metal and stone on the other hand, are raw materials, but are not on the list. If this list is important, it needs to be accurate. USchick 02:42, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the category should be changed to just "Materials". We do have Metal in the list under "Physics". And do already have Rock so "Stone" would be sort of redundant. -MarsRover 06:51, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Since this category (Raw Materials) doesn't seem to serve any purpose, maybe it can be eliminated entirely. USchick 01:21, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
I renamed the category to "Materials"; describes what's in well enough and it's useful to have some heading. --Yerpo 18:06, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Food For Thought

For an English language Wikipedia to dictate to other Wikipedias what they "should" be doing is a very dangerous proposition and needs to be done very carefully, if at all. This idea is extremely Anglo-centric and rude. At the very least, the title of the page needs to be changed to something like "Suggested topics for Wikipedias in all languages" with an explanation of why this is important and how this list is limited in that it does not reflect local culture or history. It's not clear how much the current list represents a World View, and before it gets translated as a guide for other languages to follow, it needs to make sense in its original language, which currently it does not. Are there any editors here who are fluent in other languages? It would be very interesting to go to other translations of this page and to read their discussion pages to see what other people think of this concept. If anyone is able to do this, please report your findings. Is the rest of the world laughing at us for not knowing what Raw Materials are? Before we go around telling everyone else what they need to know, let's make sure we know what we're talking about, shall we? One more thing, at the top of this page, there needs to be a banner with a disclaimer saying that this page is under construction and that the information is disputed and controversial. USchick 05:51, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

The title may come off a little commanding but I think most people realize its just suggestions. I think your rephrasing to remove the hint of rudeness IMO is little too PC. I have yet to hear a non-Anglo say they were offended. I have read a few discussion pages and the complaint I saw was people don't speak English well enough to even want to debate the inclusion or exclusion of entries. Or they think since it discussed in English it has to be biased. Of course, people have to "try to fix things" otherwise it hopeless. BTW, there was a major redo of the list a few months ago to make the list less Anglo-centric. Check out the Archives. --MarsRover 08:03, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
My suggestion to rename the page has to do with international diplomacy and cultural awareness and not political correctness. There are many multilingual administrators on Wikipedia who will be very happy to get involved if they are invited to participate and become aware of this project. The dangers of dictating what the rest of the world "should" be doing is evident in the global financial crisis that is currently underway and is a direct result of the rest of the world adopting "the best financial system in the world that can not possibly fail" (ours). We do not need to be writing instructions for the rest of the world to follow and doing it in English behind closed doors. If this is a worthwhile project, I encourage it to be more collaborative and at minimum be based on generally accepted facts. USchick 12:43, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
  1. This is not English language Wikipedia, this is Meta-Wiki, the Wikimedia project coordination wiki. It happens to be in English language because most Wikipedia contributors have at least basic English knowledge, which is more than any other language.
  2. I think that phrases such as "may not reflect broad consensus", "is intended as a guideline" and "should not be viewed as dictating how important certain topics are, but only as a utility for smaller Wikipedias to start from" state clearly enough that this list doesn't intend to dictate topics.
  3. By what reasoning you proclaim making of this list "behind closed doors" is beyond me. Almost every local list (as far as I checked) has a link back to this page, so saying that there are "many" people who would get involved if we weren't so secretive is completely groundless.
  4. People that speak English well enough to translate this list into their language, also speak it well enough to understand the introduction and make suggestions for changes.
  5. If you bothered to read through some of the older discussions, you'd see that non-English editors contributed their suggestions, some of which were implemented if there was consensus. Myself and mine included. By what other standards you would know what "generally accepted facts" are is also beyond me.
So, if you have suggestions to improve the coverage of world-wide topics, please propose changes. If I understand correctly, you propose to add en:Raw material to the list. Interesting, but the term is generally viewed as too broad, which is probably why the article about it only exists in 20 other languages, and we have articles about many raw materials on the list. --Yerpo 16:15, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation about why this page is in English. I respect the fact that a lot of time has been invested in this page. You are correct when you say that I do not understand the difference between English Wikipedia and a Meta-Wiki. Is this explained somewhere? At the same time, I question the categories that have been selected and the lists that follow because they do not reflect generally accepted facts and principles of existing classification systems (in any language). Were they based on something? For example: under the existing category Raw Materials, the items listed are not raw materials. Under the category Health and Medicine, the list that follows does not reflect how classifications are made in the medical field. Under Weather, climate and geology, Geology is a science, which is not related in any way to weather and climate. Why is Architecture and civil engineering listed under Arts and recreation? Why are Foodstuffs and Beverages listed under Science? What classification system is being used here? USchick 18:54, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Meta, as the intro says, is dedicated to coordination and documentation of Wikimedia's projects (the other reason why it's in English, as Wikimedia Foundation is an initiative started by Americans). English Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, as you probably know well, and one of many Wikimedia's projects that Meta covers.
I understand now what you feel is wrong with this list. To be honest, it probably doesn't follow any formal classification scheme, because many people add and delete entries, and reorganize how they feel is right. I very much agree that the current scheme has many problems but I'm afraid nobody here knows enough about these things to propose a useful general classification. There were some attempts (see for example the top of this talk page), but nothing came out of them. Feel free to change listing order within categories if you have an idea how it should be done, but for larger changes, we'd appreciate if you opened a discussion here first. Thanks. --Yerpo 06:56, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
The answers to some of USchick's questions (e.g., "Why is Architecture and civil engineering listed under Arts and recreation?") may be found here: en:List_of_Dewey_Decimal_classes. --JWL. 14:14, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation. Does anyone object to saying that somewhere in the beginning of the article? It would be very helpful. USchick 23:51, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Is there an end in sight?

This page has been in production since 2004. Can I interest anyone in moving this project closer to completion? I understand it's an ongoing project, but five years seems to be a long time. Can we at least agree on the classification system? If the en:List_of_Dewey_Decimal_classes classification system is working, let's use that, but let's follow it. Or it can be even simpler than that, such as:

1. People (Biographies)
2. Places (Significant locations throughout the world)
3. Ideas (Including history, science, religion, etc.)
4. Events (Historical and modern events of great significance.)
5. Other?

Does anyone have any thoughts about what is working and what is not with the current list? USchick 00:30, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't think this article will ever be finish. This article is the result of various debates and there will probably be more debates in the future. There are published versions of the list such as Version 1.0 and Version 1.1. Perhaps we can make another version 1.2? I am not sure we should completely follow the dewey decimal system since it has a few strange organizational choices. Do we really want to lump History, geography, and biography together in one section? Or not have Computer Science under the Science section? --MarsRover 05:42, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Forms of Sexuality

"Sexual intercourse", "Homosexuality", "Heterosexuality", "Sexual reproduction" and "Asexual reproduction" have been removed from the list at 14:04, 27 December 2007. I believe that in view of discrimination against homosexuality in many parts of the world, it is necessary to require an article on it in each language-version. --Rosenkohl 10:07, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

First of all, this list doesn't "require" anything of anyone. Secondly, it includes topics on the basis of importance, not underappreciatedness (sp?). So if you feel homosexuality needs to be here, propose a less important topic to be removed, since the list is full. --Yerpo 06:36, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, the title of the page reads "should"; I understand that this project does not issue any presription, however I guess it is a recommendation for each wikipedia. I don't say that the topic of homosexuality is underappreciated in the real world, but rather that it is an important topic, partly because of discrimination against it. Since "Grape" and "Lemon" are included but not e.g. "Orange", both entries could be replaced by Citrus. --Rosenkohl 20:36, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I think the reason for the removal was just redundancy of sex related articles. I don't believe we should add them all add back in. en:Homosexuality perhaps could be included as a social issue. But IMO is not more important than the current 5 social issues: Abortion, Capital punishment, Human rights, Racism and Slavery. I wouldn't remove any of them to make room for this topic. But perhaps we could remove en:Baseball which was recently removed from the Olympics because its not popular in all countries. And for the suggestion of including Citrus instead of Grape and Lemon. I don't believe en:Grape is a en:Citrus so it just doesn't sound reasonable. My two cents. --MarsRover 05:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Sure, obviously had confused "Grapefruit" with "Grape", which are important for the production of wine. Perhaps "Baseball" could be removed, but perhaps the list should not depend too much on the arbitrary and most recent decisions of sports officials. It is a bit confusing to discuss unrelated topics such as forms of sexuality, fruit and sports the same time.
For an estimation of the status of the entries of the list's current "social issues" section, one could look at the table of contents of the Standord Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, which has about 2,000 entries. Among them are: abortion, punishment and legal punishment, race, human rights. But there is also an article on homosexuality. Of course this should not be the only source for this wikimedia list. I believe homosexuality could also fit into the "Family and relationships" section. --Rosenkohl 08:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)


Is Baseball and Cricket more important than Rugby?Why baseball is in the list?Is played only in USA and few countries. --Santista1982 15:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

To me, Baseball, Cricket and Ice hockey should be removed, and the same was being said in the above discussion. It is stunning how fundamental articles are removed to avoid eurocentrism, and then there are three sports that are played mostly only in USA and England. -- 06:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, cricket is popular in India/Pakistan. And Baseball is popular in Japan and some countries in central and south America. Ice Hockey is popular in Russia. Do you have better articles to add?-MarsRover 16:17, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
One idea: remove Ice hockey, add Greek mythology. --Meldor 21:24, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Meldor's idea that there are too many things in some areas and not enough in others (see below)...I would point out that also the Netherlands has a strong baseball tradition, and I can agree with the rugby argument (considering the World Rugby Cup is a bigger event than the World Baseball Classic. I say axe ice hockey for rugby. Purplebackpack89 15:22, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Rugby is popular in Europe, South America, Africa and Oceania, is the second most important sport of the world, and should enter in the place of ice hockey in my opinion. --Santista1982 14:29, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, two votes for tossing ice hockey for rugby Purplebackpack89 15:40, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with this switching ice hockey to rugby. Only issue I see is there are actually two type of rugbys so it may be a rather short and generic article. But it seems more globally popular than a sport that requires ice. --MarsRover 21:18, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I suppose it could be dealt with the same way you deal with the differences between F1, NASCAR, and endurance racing in the auto racing article. Purplebackpack89 00:14, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
I made the change. MarsRover 07:31, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Are you sure that en:Rugby football is the right term for replacement? It sounds to me like an umbrella term for different sports with different popularity. --Yerpo 13:15, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I know it seems weird, but on the English wiki, Rugby is a disambigulation page, and en:rugby football deals with the various forms of rugby, including rugby union and rugby league. On the Spanish and French wikis, rugby links to a description of the sport, and there is no such article as rugby football. The term "rugby football" comes as a quirk of using English (a language fought over between the Americans and the Brits) as the default language of this list. Purplebackpack89 15:29, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Unclear entries

Based on the iw-links some of the entries on this list seem to be a bit unclear:

  1. en:sex has links to articles in Scandinavian languages like sv:Kön, no:Kjønn, da:Køn etc. which mean biological sex or gender. On the other hand the same article links to German de:Sex which is rather the sexual practice. It seems to me that in languages of latin origin (incl English in this case) these two concepts are described with the same word and so are naturally described in one article. I think it would be a good idea to clear out more precisely which concept is meant to be included in this list, and then try to sort out iw-links. I find it difficult to sort things out myself as English is not my mother tongue, so I can't really tell the exact differences of all the concepts like en:Sex, en:Sexual intercourse, en:Biological sex, en:Sexual reproduction etc.
  2. en:Law had a similar confusion regarding iw-links, as some languages seem to understand rather the field of science, other a particular rule. It seems that this might have been cleared up and etymological related Scandinavian words like sv:Lag, da:Lov (jura), nn:Lov are now linked with German de:Gesetz, la:Lex (incl its derivations in modern romance languages) and many other languages not including English. There is anyway a tendency that people add en:Law to this circle of articles, introducing an iw-conflict. Maybe this is a concept that should exist also in the English wp?

These are just two examples, but I think there are also other unclear concepts on this list. Would it be possible for someone running an iw-bot to check all the articles on this list, and whereever there is an iw-conflict, we try to fix it, either by removing obvisiouly misplaced iw-links or by clearing out more precisely which concept is meant to be on the list? Wikijens 08:56, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Five Americans to add, in Purplebackpack89's opinion

Honestly, there have been numerous discussions about how Eurocentric this list is. And they're right. No offense, but it seems that any podunk European artist or intellectual can make the list (another note...HEAVY HEAVY bias towards intellectuals), whereas all but the greatest Americans (Washington, FDR, Edison, MLK Jr.) make the cut. And to my nominations

In the politicians category:

Reasoning--it's basically like this...if DeGaulle's in, Eisenhower should be too. He cleaned up the mess that men like DeGaulle couldn't, then served as President of a nation more powerful and populous than France.
I don't quite see the logic in picking Washington and FDR as America's two best political leaders, even though they did more on the world stage. Lincoln is viewed as a symbol of American freedom in many distant lands. Plus, most historical rankings of American figures put Abe above GW
Reverse logic here. Just add him to the list because he already has a Wikipedia article in over 150 languages, dozens more than Washington

In one of the intellectual categories

The philosophers and intellectuals lists are heavy on dead Europeans, while being light on dead Americans. I know both of these men were politicians too, but they were also two of the main founders of American political thought, as witnessed by the volumes Thomas Jefferson wrote on anything and everything


Make no mistake about it. I think Noam's a great thinker. But I don't think that he's worthy of being one of the 20-30 greatest social scientists in the history of the world, nor do I think he's one of the couple hundred people most worthy of a Wikipedia article in 100+ languages
You could get me to agree with you that Steven is one of the greatest movie directors in America. In a longshot, you might get me to agree that makes a list of the 2-3000 articles every Wiki needs. You CANNOT get me to agree that Steven deserves to be on this list more than Ben Franklin or Abraham Lincoln
  • A couple of more European artists/intellectuals

Purplebackpack89 04:28, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Huummm, not so likely. Let me just list some arguments against.
1. adding 5 political figures, and removing none. Without explanation why political figures are more important than other people.
2. adding 5 Americans when a lot of people come to this discussion complaining it is too Western.
3. adding Obama merely because he is popular when the list is about importance (popular != importance)
4. removing Speilberg when he's the last big movie director remaining (just removed George Lucus)
--MarsRover 22:55, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Since you chose to poke holes, I'll poke holes in your holes by restating some of my points above, and adding new ones. For starters, I nominated Franklin and Jefferson as philosophers, which they were, rather than political figures. America is NOT well represented by philosophers, except for Noam Chomskey (yes, he's American). I feel that there are not enough world leaders on the list, and, as a political determinist, I feel that political events impact history (which biography basically is), and I feel that Abraham Lincoln had a bigger impact on both American and world history than most of the Americans on the list (with the exception of GW and Edison) and many of the political leaders on the list. Would you argue that Spielberg is more important, in or out of America, than Lincoln (especially considering that historians have yet to weigh in on Speilberg, and Hitch and Disney are still on the list)? And add Helen Keller to the boot list, at least out of the political section, to make space for Lincoln. I admit that the cases for Obama and Eisenhower are weak, but you've at least gotta admit that Lincoln, Jefferson, and Franklin deserve inclusion. Oh, and one more thing...I have not proposed cutting ANY non-Westerners, just replacing some (worse) Westerners with some better ones. Purplebackpack89 03:11, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
So in a nutshell, here's my argument:
Add Abraham Lincoln, delete Helen Keller (first of all, she's not a politician; second of all, although she has a compelling life story, she didn't change the course of American or World History like Lincoln did)
Add Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin and delete two Western thinkers, as there are no true American philosophers on the list.
Add Wright Bros, nix Euler...the airplane I believe to be more important to most cultures than a higher-level calculus equation Purplebackpack89 17:13, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Few interesting things...Lincoln makes the list in the English vital list, the Latin one and the Spanish list, yet Keller doesn't make any of those (even the one in her own culture)...and the French one has several current heads of state (as does, interestingly, the Wright Bros...also, while we're at it, let's bold John Locke and Beijing.
Emm... you do know that Euler was a pioneer in many areas of mathematics, probably one of the three most important mathematicians? There are certainly those on the list with a far less impressing resume to exclude before him. Also, it seems that rather than including the Wright brothers, what should really be added is en:fixed-wing aircraft.
I do agree that Lincoln would probably fit on the list.
Andejons 06:53, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I do seem to recall that Euler invented something in higher-level calculus called Euler's there something I'm missing about him? Please enlighten. My main point is that the list favor higher-level mathematicians over people who invented widely-known things, such as the Wright Bros and the airplane. Would you agree in my assessment, and perhaps suggest a better mathematician to toss? In the section devoted to transportation, aircraft does indeed appear, as all would agree it should. PS, thanks for the support on Abe. Purplebackpack89 15:29, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
If you do have to toss a mathematician, I'd say that Fibonacci is probably the least important of those on the list now. For a presentation of Euler, I think it would be better if you'd read his article: he's made contributions to so many fields in mathematics that it would be too much to present here.
Andejons 06:26, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I am not in favor of adding the Wright brothers, who seem to be mis-attributed in America as inventors of the airplane. They did invent *an* airplane, just not the first. See en:First flying machine for numerous examples. -- Yekrats 02:25, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes. I think it's enough with Aircraft on the list.
Andejons 06:26, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, so it's looking like the consensus is to NOT ADD the Wright Bros...but I've only received a couple comments on Lincoln or Franklin (mostly good), and none on Jefferson or the bolding of Locke and Beijing. Thoughts? Purplebackpack89 12:41, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
These yankies are very funny, I am Brazilian and I don't think this list is eurocentrist, who is Jefferson and Franklin and who is Einsenhover? These people just yankies knows, like only Brazilians knows Getulio Vargas, these people can have a importance in U.S.A. but not worldwide importance. And just to complete, just yankies thinks that Wright brothers are the inventors of the airplane, in Brazil is Santos Dumont. And for me this list is very yankiecentrist list, have articles of ice hockey and baseball, that are sports almost only played in the U.S.A. and don't have Formula 1 or Rugby that are worldwide followed, and just to finish, the list don't have Pele and Maradona, the two most famous football players in the world and famous in every country, and they are not in the list...let me see why...maybe because they are not yankies I think is that. --Santista1982 14:42, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay...well, for starters, I believe F1 is covered in auto racing, an article on the list that could also cover NASCAR (AKA the auto racing that we Yankees watch). As stated before, perfectly fine with tossing ice hockey in favor of rugby; not fine with tossing a sport also played in China, Japan, the Netherlands and the Caribbean. And I would note that there aren't ANY sports stars from anywhere on the list, though I acknowledge that if sports stars should be added (which they shouldn't), Pele would be near the top of my list. So I guess that's one vote AGAINST inclusion of Franklin and Jefferson (I retracted nomination of Ike). BTW, as I recall, Vargas was president of Brazil in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and came up with something called import-substitution industrialization Purplebackpack89 15:40, 28 July 2009 (UTC), a "Yankee" from California
Maybe Abraham Lincoln can be added in the place of en:Tamil language as en:Turkish Language can be out of the list too, have no worldwide importance. en:Hamlet can enter in the list, as well en:Volleyball in the place of en:Baseball. en:Afghanistan or en:Algeria can be placed by en:Colombia, as Colombia have bigger population, GDP and importance than these countries. Israel and Iran are in bold, Italy and Argentina not, is Israel and Iran more important than Italy and Argentina, I don't think so. Santiago, Milan, Praga, Montreal, Budapest are only few cities that should enter in the list, Dhaka, Damascus, Kolkata are few that should be out as they don't have worldwide importance. --Santista1982 18:15, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Whoa...little ambitious/off topic of this section's discussion! I've taken the liberty of copying yours to a new section (below), but you can still talk about Lincoln and the rest in this section. Purplebackpack89 20:01, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
OK, nobody is interested in this discussion anymore, so I'm closing it...the consensus appears to be to add Lincoln, nix Keller, and bold Italy over Israel (see also below in the next section). I am going to make those changes Purplebackpack89 23:19, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Santista1982's suggestions

Maybe Abraham Lincoln can be added in the place of en:Tamil language as en:Turkish Language can be out of the list too, have no worldwide importance. en:Hamlet can enter in the list, as well en:Volleyball in the place of en:Baseball. en:Afghanistan or en:Algeria can be replaced by en:Colombia, as Colombia have bigger population, GDP and importance than these countries. Israel and Iran are in bold, Italy and Argentina not, is Israel and Iran more important than Italy and Argentina, I don't think so. Santiago, Milan, Praga, Montreal, Budapest are only few cities that should enter in the list, Dhaka, Damascus, Kolkata are few that should be out as they don't have worldwide importance. --Santista1982 18:15, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

I know some of the choices don't make sense, but many of the Indian users, including a couple particularly vocal ones, noted the underepresentation of East Indians in many sections(and remember, there are over a billion people in India). Just saying. Agree with you on the Israel/Italy bold thing, though. Purplebackpack89 20:01, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Comment: I would avoid adding one type of article and removing another. Such as adding a biography and removing a language. There are two reasons (1) it is hard to compare the importance of two completely different topics (2) it will distort the proportion of articles in each topic and we will eventually have 1000 biographies. So if we are adding "Lincoln" which historical figure should be removed?
That said, I tend to lean toward adding articles about events or machines than people. For example "American Civil War" instead of "Abraham Lincoln". "Aircraft" instead of "Wright Bros". Also when figuring out importance, you have think historical importance, too. "Damascus", the city, has been around since 10000 BC. --MarsRover 20:52, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Just for you to know, Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Not important?
Earlier, you weren't okay with booting Speilberg for Lincoln, but would you be OK with booting Helen Keller (because she's not a politician and Abraham Lincoln did way more to impact American/World History)? And to Santista, I somewhat agree that it's counterproductive to try and change the whole system, and instead we should focus on little improvement (i.e. getting Lincoln or Jefferson or Rugby or Columbia on the list). That being said, I do think that there is a bias on this list to computer science and related fields. Purplebackpack89 02:30, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
By the way, if you want to toss baseball (and personally, I don't), here's what you should add: Boxing or Wrestling. Some form of these sports exist in almost every country, and people have been competing in them since before the ancient Olympic Games. Purplebackpack89 14:12, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Too big biography section

The composer and musician biographies are eiter about Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Umm Kulthum or some European (including Russia) composer/musician. If there aren't any important enough composer or musician from the rest of the world, then probably this section is over sized, and most of the entries can be removed and the places in the list be used for something else. There are similar issues with the Artists and architects section; 15 persons from Europe and North America, Hokusai, Sinan and Frida Kahlo from the rest of the world. --Jorunn 23:30, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, Umm Kulthum is from Egypt (africa) but I guess things can improve. Do you have any suggestions of non-western people to add? --MarsRover 23:59, 5 August 2009 (UTC)


I think that in physics it is more fundamental the concept of velocity than speed (just its modulus). So I suggest switching them, removing speed from the list and including velocity.--Gomà 07:19, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I can see your point, except that Wikipedia tends to be written more for Joe Avgs. than physicists Purplebackpack89 13:50, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps in English the word speed is more common than velocity but the article is writen in a clear phisics point of view focusing on the modulus of the velocity. In other languages the most common word is the corresponding to velocity (romanic languages) with the same meaning, the translaton of speed is a word similar to celerity that is a very technical word only used in phisics. Furthermore, the article is classified into Science/ Phisics. Then the article deserving to belong to the list of 1000 articles every wikipedia should have is velocity rather than speed. --Gomà 18:53, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Gomà. --Yerpo 06:35, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree, velocity is more important. Take a look at the English Wikipedia articles for each - speed has a very short article with very little important information other than the definition, velocity has a much longer article. That is to be excepted since there is little more to say about speed than "it is the modulus of velocity". --Tango 23:30, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. Not all languages use a word for velocity, but they all have a word for speed. Guido den Broeder 10:44, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
The issue is not the word but the concept. I am proposing the change becuase I think that the concept velocity is more fundamental than speed. I think that in the former list apears speed because of the word in english but I may be wrong. Do you disagree because of the word or because you think the concept speed is more fundamental than velocity?--Gomà 15:31, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Both, actually, but the main objection is language. The concept of velocity is a compound, of which I think only the speed element is key, and it is a compound that most languages do not have, so stating that all wikipediae should have an article about it is pointless: they can't. Guido den Broeder 18:22, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Thinking of the velocity as a compound because of its Cartesian (or any other coordinate system) components is like thinking of a point as a compound because of its Cartesian components. Velocity is a singular concept, even if it is a vector. Speed is a concept derived from velocity that cannot be explained without the aid of velocity. Wikipedia is about concepts, not words. If a language doesn’t have a single word to express a concept then can use a sentence. --Gomà 18:06, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
A 'point' does not have Cartesian components. A 'point in space' may have them attached, although many other types of coordinates could also serve. Speed is not derived from velocity and can easily be explained without it; in fact, the directional component of velocity is the part that cannot be explained in any way without the concept of speed. Guido den Broeder 19:59, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Paraphrasing your sentence: A 'vector' does not have Cartesian components. A 'vector' may have them attached, although many other types of coordinates could also serve. Speed in physics is derived from velocity and is explained as the modulus of velocity; in fact, the change in spatial position makes no sense without the directional component of velocity and speed only can be explained without the aid of the concept of velocity by reducing space dimensions to 1 (linear movement) and hiding its vector nature.
Instead of discussing about the fundamentals of the physical concepts I suggest you reading the articles as they are now. As they are, the situation is this: Speed article don't say anything else than: Speed is the modulus of velocity. If you can improve the article speed with external references in the way you point to then perhaps I could agree. Otherwise as the articles are just now I think you should agree with me.--Gomà 11:12, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
That's the current en:Wikipedia article. As you say, it can be changed. But that is hardly relevant, the page's question is should all language versions have the same? And the answer remains: no, simply because they can't. Guido den Broeder 15:56, 23 September 2009 (UTC)


I think "Mathematics" should be bolded; it is an absolutely critical topic to have. -- King of Hearts 04:37, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm going to bold it (pun intended) since there are no objections. -- King of Hearts 20:56, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Various suggestions



Regards, Guido den Broeder 11:38, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Could you please explain, why Johannes Gutenberg, Fascism or Philosophy should be removed? --Barras || talk 11:42, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Gutenberg never invented anything, fascism was influential only locally and for a brief period of time, and philosophy is too much a portal IMHO. Guido den Broeder 12:54, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Gutenberg invented the letterpress, Fascism is a very important part of the world's history and philosophy is something like basic knowledge. Just my thoughts. Barras || talk 16:33, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
An assistent stole the invention from Laurens Janszoon Koster (but Koster shouldn't be on the list either, it's just a single step with movable type printing presses already in use in Korea and China); nazism, not fascism, was of some influence (but still not enough for this list IMHO), and basic knowledge is not the target of this list, I think. Guido den Broeder 18:12, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
If anything, Philosophy should not be removed IMO. -- King of Hearts 20:58, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
AFAIK, Tolkien was removed from this list once or twice already. His influence on the contemporary fantasy genre (which in itself is not particularly important) is not enough for his inclusion, in my opinion. --Yerpo 05:23, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not, I believe, the encyclopedia of contemporary interests, but surely you must be kidding, right? Guido den Broeder 10:49, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Er, no, what makes you think that? --Yerpo 11:35, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Some more suggestions



Regards, Guido den Broeder 22:08, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Oppose, on most counts. Do you realize that you're suggesting to remove some crucial topics and introduce several that are just... trivial? Shamanism and Kalevala? Why? Look at en:Participation, it's just a disambiguation. en:Hieroglyph is likewise an umbrella term for many different writing systems.On the other hand, biological classification and species are central concepts in biology. en:Scientific method is a very important concept, but not nearly enough to be included instead of en:science (where it can and it does have a nice introduction). I suppose OECD could be included instead of the Commonwealth, but keep in mind we already have WTO listed which is a bit similar to OECD. In general, we would appreciate if you explained your proposals. --Yerpo 05:40, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Yerpo. You really need to include your rationale for each of these changes. en:Inflation sounds like it could make the list but I don't agree with your removal of any of those topics. --MarsRover 15:35, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you need to focus on just a couple of entries. A month ago, I nominated six people, but I had to trim it down to two, and only one of them made the list. Purplebackpack89 22:17, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Probably. I wanted to hear some spontaneous reactions first and then make a selection. :)
I feel though that typically for each topic added, another should be removed, or the list is likely to grow ad infinitum. Guido den Broeder 22:31, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
You mean like it's written in big bold letters at the start of the list? --Yerpo 07:02, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Erm... Removing science? Funny, it doesn't feel like the start of April... Almafeta 02:11, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

It is strange that among 18 languages the 6th most spoken it's not included? Japf 23:13, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Good point, some languages are there for historical reasons but I think we should replace en:German Language with Portuguese since for a modern language it not as popular (important). --MarsRover 07:09, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
No, it's not that strange. There is no one that speaks Latin as their mother language, but it is still included for historical reasons. Size is a criterion, certainly, but it is not the only one.
Andejons 07:53, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
And why Tamil and Turkish is in the list?Portuguese is spoken in many countries. --Santista1982 21:03, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
They are 19th and 21th in number of native speakers so they are not silly suggestions. My guess is there was a desire to avoid having most the languages be European languages (or even Romance languages). And try to have a broader selection. --MarsRover 03:29, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Purplebackpack's two cents:
The following languages should be on the list, in order of importance
  1. English
  2. (Mandarin) Chinese
  3. Hindi
  4. Arabic
  5. Spanish
  6. Latin
  7. Greek
  8. French
  9. Russian
  10. German (IMO, German stays; it is also more spoken than Turk, Tamil, or French as a primary language)
  11. Hebrew
Anything else you can take or leave Purplebackpack89 00:34, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I would like to keep Esperanto in the list, being a representative constructed language. -- Yekrats 16:14, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Kind of a hard sell for me, since Esperanto is a "made-up-language", and the first language of very few. It has between 115,000 and 2 million speakers total (let's say 1.5 million for argument's sake), not even a tenth part of either German or Portuguese. Also, on the English wikipedia, Esperanto had less hits than Portuguese, and considerably less hits than German. Mars, Japf, Santista, maybe toss Esperanto for Portuguese? Toss something else besides Esperanto or German? What do you think? Purplebackpack89 19:57, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Andejons that there should be more than one criteria so I am not sure it as clear cut as tossing the fewest speakers for one of the most. We should with the short list try to touch as many topics as possible. Esperanto is there to touch on constructed langauges. There are so many European languages already that if editors completed the list I am sure with 99% certainty they would have covered Portuguese. But the same cannot be said for Esperanto or some of the foreign languages like Tamil. Anyway I wouldn't disagree with the suggested change, or replacing Turkish, or just leaving it the same. --MarsRover 21:49, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I think the list is not to mention all the largest things, but a hint to write the first interesting content of a new Wikipedia edition. If so, Esperanto is good on the list, since one can write in the article something less banal than number of speakers and countries where it's official.
If it depended on my will, I would cut down from the 1000 list as much „template articles“ as I could. Adding (often with a bot, or even by hand but without much thinking) articles with a large template full of numbers is the weird way how many smaller editions now start. While we know very well that those editions look at this list, we might influence those new Wikipedias with a good advice on writing Wikipedia. Amikeco 06:01, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
In my opinion, Esperanto undoubtedly should stay in the list as as the most important representant of constructed languages, in the same way as Latin is there as a representant of important historic languages (although it is spoken by a small number of people today). --Petrus Adamus 17:11, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Replacing Pig

I think that the en:Pig entry should be replaced. This genus doesn't have much characteristics to distinguish it from the family en:Suidae, so if somebody will try to expand it in order to get it over 30.000 characters, it will invariably mean duplicating content from the Suidae article and probably also from en:Domestic pig as the english article does now. That's why I suggest replacing the en:Pig entry with either en:Suidae (as a more relevant grouping), en:Domestic pig (as the one pig species important enough to be here), or some other animal group alltogether (because we already have a lot of domestic animals in the list). Comments/suggestions? --Yerpo 08:48, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

the Suidae article is even smaller than the Pig article so that wouldn't be a good change. I think "Domestic Pig" makes sense since the animal is important for being domesticated. And it's match "Domestic Sheep" which is also in the list. --MarsRover 17:48, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Like I said, en:Pig is larger because it contains information that belongs to either en:Suidae or en:Domestic pig article. Suidae, on the other hand, has a lot of potential for growth because it's a very distinct and well researched group of mammals. en:Domestic pig is an option as well, if you feel that the abundance of domestic animals on the list is not a problem. --Yerpo 07:51, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Ok, since nobody objected to this change I went ahead and changed it to "Domestic pig". --MarsRover 06:32, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
It looked like Yerpo just objected... additionally, you forgot to add it to the list of removed articles above. Almafeta 17:04, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Yerpo, did you object? If anybody explicitly objects I will revert it back. I agree we do have a lot of domestic animals but IMHO they are more important because of farming, breeding, foodstuff, etc. If we have a domestic animal limit, we should poll which are the most important domestic animals (pick seven?) 1) cattle 2) horse 3) domestic sheep 4) domestic pig 5) chicken 6) cat 7) dog 8) camel. --MarsRover 19:01, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I didn't explicitly object, I just said that Suidae would be (IMO) a more suitable replacement. But I have nothing againts domestic pigs per se (plus, they're tasty :P). Out of those listed, camel would probably be the least problematic to remove. If we do it, I suggest replacing it with some other biology topic, such as Adenosine triphosphate (=the universal energy source in the living world) or en:Homeostasis (=one of defining characteristics of living beings). --Yerpo 06:43, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

General vs. specific

In general, there's a lot of math, science, and computer stuff on this list that's jargony and Joe Average has never heard of, but a lot of more common stuff that isn't. General observation Purplebackpack89 18:01, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

In general, the point of this project is to educate the Joe Average. A lot of common stuff Joe Average uses is inaccurate or has wildly different meanings, hence the confusion about some topics here (for example, see my reply to Guido's recent proposals and the speed/velocity debate). --Yerpo 16:25, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
This is not a project, this is meta. Guido den Broeder 18:15, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
I was referring to the Wikimedia as a whole. That aside, I thought of another crucial biology topic that could be here instead of one of the domestic animals - en:Sleep. I think this one satistfies Purplebackpack89's observation as well. --Yerpo 08:39, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The goal of the foundation is to freely spread knowledge. That is not limited to the Joe Averages of this world. Different projects may have more specific goals, e.g. to educate children. Guido den Broeder 11:55, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
That's true, but we are talking about a list that concerns Wikipedias in various languages. Perhaps we should open a separate debate if you wish to discuss its underlying concept. --Yerpo 16:44, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The various Wikipedia projects may also have different goals. However, none of them limits their target to average readers, AFAIK. Furthermore, this list is about what we meta users think the WP's should have, not what the WP users think. Guido den Broeder 22:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Their goals differ only in them being directed to speakers of different languages. Their basic goal is indeed to be a general reference suitable for general audience - meaning average readers (even if articles may also contain specialized information or be about specialized topics). This applies even more to the list of 1000 basic topics we are creating here. Specialized projects, such as Wikispecies, are separate from Wikipedia. As for your other argument, this list is by no means exclusive to meta users. I, for example, am primarily a (Slovene) Wikipedia editor, and speak from that experience when suggesting or commenting changes to the list. So does probably everybody else. Most Wikipedias have a translated local version of the list (see links at the top of the page), with the link back here. It's true that many people probably don't know about it, but anyone that comes across the link can come here and voice his/her opinion. --Yerpo 09:16, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Please try and provide evidence of where Wikipediae state to target the 'average reader'. You will not find it. Guido den Broeder 11:32, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
This is my personal observation, based on references of Wikipedia being a general encyclopedia - such as in en:Wikipedia:Five pillars ("Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that incorporates elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers"), and the article en:Wikipedia being included in the en:Category:General encyclopedias. Again, this doesn't mean Wikipedia cannot include specialized information, but it is nevertheless general reference, meaning it should be accessible to general audience. Why else would there be a bunch of articles on English WP tagged as "too technical for most readers to understand" or "too jargony" - see en:Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible? In any case, I don't understand what does this have to do with our list of 1000 basic topics. --Yerpo 12:03, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
'General and specialized' does not mean 'should at all times be accessible to average readers, might here and there include specialized info where it doesn't bother Yerpo too much', but rather 'general and specialized are both wanted'.
Now, this is not a list of basic topics either, but of key topics. Hence, for instance, Scientific Method would fit better than Science. Guido den Broeder 09:37, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this is a list of basic topics. To quote from the intro: "This list is intended as a guideline for those projects so that they will contain a minimum amount of basic, useful information". Even so, science is a more "key" topic than scientific method. Your other insinuations, ignoring all the references I presented, aren't worthy of comment. --Yerpo 11:36, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Information is not topics, and you conveniently forget about the useful part, etc., etc. But since you won't stay civil, this is the end of this discussion. Guido den Broeder 13:14, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Hear, hear, look who's talking about civility, mr. doesn't-bother-Yerpo-too-much. You might as well have ended the discussion with your comment from the day before yesterday, at least you wouldn't have to conveniently forget that I wasn't near when the guidelines for accessibility were written on :en. --Yerpo 15:54, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Judo vs. Wrestling

Currently, judo is on the list; wrestling is not. Judo is essentially a type of wrestling; both sports involve grounding the opponent with various manuveurs. Judo is practiced mostly in Japan and is only a hundred years old, wrestling in its various forms has been practiced for millenia and is done all over the world. So replace judo (the specific) with wrestling (the general) Purplebackpack89

Judo is not a type of wrestling, and is practiced in many countries. The more general topic covering both would be hand-to-hand combat. Guido den Broeder 18:02, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Also known as martial arts, which is already there. I still believe wrestling (which is universal, from Ancient Greece to small-town Iowa to sumo in Japan) to be a more general and acceptable term than judo, for the reasons above. Purplebackpack89 18:19, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Judo presents more human knowledge, which happens to be what Wikipedia is about. Guido den Broeder 18:56, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
In what way does judo "present more human knowledge"? --Yerpo 09:17, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
In judo, you make use of your opponent's strength. That is an advancement in knowledge, while otoh many animals wrestle. Guido den Broeder 09:39, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
The use of the term "wrestling" for the animal (such as kangaroo) fighting is very obscure and we can easily ignore it for the purpose of this debate. --Yerpo 16:00, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
I did not mention kangaroos (they kickbox), and in view of your attitude I don't really care what you choose to ignore. It's pretty clear by know that you consider this a role-playing game. I don't, so let's avoid each other from now on, shall we? Guido den Broeder 17:41, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't consider this a role-playing game either, I consider this a place to express views about ideas. Which I did. If you choose to take it personally, that's your liberty. I can only assure other people reading this that it wasn't meant personally. I meant to say that "wrestling" (as well as kickboxing, now that you mention it) has a meaning specific to human activity in the most common sense of the word (reflected in the english article about it). More precisely, they refer to human activities with rules that are based on reason, not instinct. If you want evidence, do a Google search on "animal wrestling" and see what kind of hits you get. There's also the Merriam-Webster definition, which again fails to mention animal wrestling. You can also check Wikipedia articles in other languages, and you'll see that elsewhere animals aren't mentioned either (at least articles in languages I have a basic grasp of). --Yerpo 07:15, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

<--OK, let me clarify. When I said "wrestling", I was referring to the human sport that has origins in ancient countries, has been played at the Ancient and Modern Olympic Games, and has variations all over the world, such as sumo wrestling. To add it, I propose removing judo, which is only 200 years old and is not widely practiced outside of Asia, and (on the most basic level) is a type of wrestling, since both involving getting your opponent to stay on the ground. The amount of knowledge used to wrestle is a side point; the main question, posed to both Guido and Yerpo, is, "is wrestling more important on the world stage and therefore more deserving of a 1000 article than Judo?" Purplebackpack89 06:00, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I support replacing "judo" with "wrestling" for the reasons given. --Yerpo 06:56, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. The question is not the importance on the world stage, but the knowledge that an article woud provide. By the way, judo is practiced at top level outside Asia, too. Check the world champions and olympic medal winners. Where I live, judo is big, and wrestling is small. America is not the world. Guido den Broeder 10:15, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
I made the same mistake than you when I first heard of the term "wrestling", thinking about that American performance show that masquerades as sport - professional wrestling. Please, read the relevant articles. "Wrestling" is the broadest term, comparable in scope to "martial arts", which is in the list, and broader than "judo" which falls under martial arts. Therefore, it conveys broader (more "key" as you would put it) knowledge. --Yerpo 11:33, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Sigh. No, I did not make that mistake. Guido den Broeder 11:46, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, now that I think about it, it seems that it's me who made a mistake about what belongs where. Sorry about that. In that case, I think neither should be in the list, because if we include any of those, we raise an issue of all the other martial arts techniques - kung fu, karate, kendo, boxing, fencing, jujutsu, etc., etc. Who will decide which one's more important than the rest? --Yerpo 11:59, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
That is a good point, thanks for reconsidering. We currently have Karate and Judo listed. If we are to drop both, we have room for something else. That could, for instance, be Bow and Kata. Or something entirely different, of course. Any thoughts? Guido den Broeder 12:44, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
One way of doing it would be to put one "eastern" and one "western" martial-arts technique in the list, and try to figure out which two would be the most appropriate (in terms of popularity, knowledge, historical importance, etc.). But I'm afraid I don't know much about these topics, as I demonstrated before. Anybody else? --Yerpo 13:03, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

<--I agree, with the stipulation that they be general terms for sports that can, and are, played anywhere. Probably wrestling or boxing for the west and karate or taekwando for the east. Just my thoughts. It's worth noting that of those four, wrestling and boxing are ancient and modern Olympic standbys, taekwando has been in the Olympics for a few years now, Judo's been in since '64, and karate isn't in Purplebackpack89 17:40, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't see how entering two martial arts examples is 'one way of doing it', 'it' being listing no examples. Anyhow, a west/east division does not really exist. Martial arts spread mostly from port to port, where the air is rich, sailors have few weapons, and the poor can make an income by performing; this happened over long distances as well as short. Guido den Broeder 12:00, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
With "it" I meant "something else", more precisely, avoiding western bias that this list has been criticized for. At least in common usage, there's a widespread distinction between martial-arts techniques that originated in the far east, and those from the western world. Of course it ignores those that originated in the area between, but as far as I know, those aren't very influential anyway. Of course I might be wrong, and of course listing none is still an option. --Yerpo 12:09, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Where are the Nordic countries?

After removing Henrik Ibsen and the vikings, there are, as far as I can tell, three articles (Bergman, Amundsen, Linnaeus) in this list about anything from the nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark). Not a single article that says anything significant about nordic history, culture or geography (Except the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, none of which seems to be really all that important from a non-Eurocentric point of view). Also the baltic states seem to be forgotten. Are the nordic countries really so much less important than the rest of Europe?

  • Finland has played a great part in keeping Russia the Soviet Union away from the rest of Europe throughout the 20th century, without this being mentioned much in the history books (or on wikipedia).
  • Finland has a remarkable geography, with all its lakes.
  • The vikings were influential in most of Europe for a few hundred years[5]. Not any less historically important than the article about the Hundred Years' War, the American Civil War, the reformation, the Great Depression, the German nazis or Holocaust (there is already one on WWII). Norse language also had a great influence on the English language.
  • Norway has a remarkable coastline with all its fjords, none of which are mentioned on this list. The long "bodies of water"-section needs at least two or three fjords.
  • Norway is today an economically and politically powerful state, despite being one of the smallest nations in Europe. It is also ranked by the UN to be the worlds best country to live in. Scandinavian citizens are considered to have a higher standard of living than most of the world, including Northern America and the rest of Europe.
  • Norse mythology is as rich as any other kind of religion, and is, together with details from the norse language, even today used and explored by various people, for example musicians and writers.

In the "countries" sections, there are listed several European countries similar to the nordic countries in size and importance: Greece, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, New Zealand... But none of the nordic or baltic countries. It seems to be a random collection of countries.

A couple of proposals:

  • Remove Ireland, Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland. They share most of their history with other european countries that are already listed, and are therefore even less important articles than the nordic countries. Put Finland and some of the Scandinavian and /or baltic states into the countries section.
  • Remove some of the less remarkable /important bodies of water, like the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, Niger River, North Sea, Danube (only important in an all-European world), Rhine (not even top 100 of worlds longest rivers!). Put in the worlds two biggest fjords. (The Scoresby Sund and the Sognefjord).
  • Put in Greenland, the world's biggest island.
  • Remove Nazi Germany to get room for the vikings. We already have WWII on the list, as well as Germany.

That will be all for now. ;-) --Tannkrem 20:43, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

  • I wouldn't remove Austria, because it plays an important role in the world's history (WWI, multinational country, big monarchie during the medieval age). I don't really have an opinion to the rest. Barras 21:13, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Scandinavia is somewhat lacking in the list but not by much. Maybe the en:Vikings can be re-added to the list. Removing en:Baltic Sea seem counterproductive. en:Switzerland is perhaps the weak link that can be removed. Also, I don't think we have any mythology in the list so I wouldn't start. --MarsRover 03:26, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
I would support adding Vikings as well, perhaps instead of the Rhine. Fjords don't seem to me to belong here. I suppose Switzerland or Ireland could be replaced with one of the nordic countries, but not the others mentioned, since they are more important historically. --Yerpo 06:44, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Vikings instead of Ireland sounds fair (sorry Ireland, I love you, but the Vikings present a tad more key human knowledge). Earlier, I already suggested including the Kalevala. Guido den Broeder 09:28, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Switzerland should stay. It's a center of international diplomacy. Same with the Netherlands, not to mention they once had a vast colonial and trade empire. Purplebackpack89 06:02, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
You're right. Guido's version (Vikings instead of Ireland) seems the most reasonable. --Yerpo 06:59, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
Agree, Ireland actaully has a smaller population then Finland, Norway or Denmark and about half of Sweden, and has definitly played a smaller role in history etc then at least Sweden. And the vikings made a difference not only in the Nordic countiries but in the founding of Russia and England, and of interest for the history of many more countries, including Irelnad.Wanpe 09:53, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, I've removed Ireland and added Vikings under a new header: Civilizations. That may lead to other ideas, I expect. Guido den Broeder 10:09, 14 October 2009 (UTC)


The Nordic countries are one thing, but what about the entire continent of Africa? Granted, there are not that many widely known themes from Africa to put on Wikipedia; after all, even Ghanaians probably know more about England than they do about say, Cameroon. Still, Africa's near total absence is a bit worrying. One proposal:

Replace en:Thirty Years' War with en:Mali Empire. The Protestant Reformation is already listed, which was an event intimately connected to the Thirty Years' War. This is the famed empire of Timbuktu, also not listed.
en:Griots, en:soukous, and en:Chinua Achebe are also topics of interest.
However, especially en:Fela Kuti and en:Voodou are good candidates. In the case of the latter, most Wikipedias (e.g., French, Spanish, German, Arabic) merge the en:Vodun of Africa and en:Voodou of Haiti into one article.
The Mali empire is a schrödenentry; it keeps appearing and disappearing in the list. Almafeta 14:04, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
I support replacing Thirty Years' War (or something else) with Mali Empire. The empire had a major influence on the development of science, for one (the current en: article doesn't quite reflect that). Guido den Broeder 14:49, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
If we had to remove one, I'd suggest removing Backgammon. Almafeta 16:58, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Africa is covered fairly well compared to Nordic countries. I don't believe there is a "near total absence" when there are at least 28 articles:
  1. Umm Kulthum
  2. Ibn Battuta
  3. Mandela, Nelson
  4. Nkrumah, Kwame
  5. African Union
  6. Aswan Dam
  7. Giza pyramid complex
  8. Apartheid
  9. Africa
  10. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  11. Egypt
  12. Ethiopia
  13. Nigeria
  14. South Africa
  15. Sudan
  16. Tanzania
  17. Cairo
  18. Cape Town
  19. Kinshasa
  20. Lagos
  21. Nairobi
  22. Congo River
  23. Lake Tanganyika
  24. Lake Victoria
  25. Niger River
  26. Nile
  27. Mount Kilimanjaro
  28. Sahara
That said, I think there is a lack of articles about African empires so I agree with including "Mali Empire". --MarsRover 05:43, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Middle East

Having just written the article at one of newer editions of Wikipedia, I've noticed that in many editions the article becomes rather lexicographic. I mean, a large part of the article is about how the term is used, who has called Ethiopia or Lybia part of Middle East and how right he has been, etc. Since Wikipedia is not a vocabulary, I propose to change the (very English-centered btw) article en:Middle East by something more clearly existing (there are many proposals, I suppose). Amikeco 06:01, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

All wikipedias will get lexicographic somewhere, especially considering most languages are living languages with distinctions in meaning that change from century to century and region to region; that does not mean they are inappropriate for the list. Almafeta 19:26, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Something like "OPEC" is a list of countries but there is some history specific to the topic like decisions made about raising quotas. Middle East is just a list of countries. The en.wp managed to make it into a decently sized article by explaining how the term came about (which has an English/American origin), duplicating/summarizing information and using it as an outline article. Maybe there are so many events we need a summary article about the area but it doesn't fit this list's goal of having articles about specific topics. --MarsRover 20:45, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Amikeco, the thing to do would be to post your proposal on the talk page of that en:Wikipedia article. Regards, Guido den Broeder 16:35, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Isn't the list being discussed here? Amikeco 17:52, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I believe he meant the proposal to improve the article about Middle East. --Yerpo 07:39, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

State of matter

I believe that the article that should be in this list is en:State of matter instead of en:Phase (matter). This seems very clear to me, not only because the general use of the first one, but also because of the sublist that depends on this article. I think that the person who proposed initially this article was thinking in "State of matter". --Meldor 22:55, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I think "State of matter" is slightly more specific topic which I think makes it a more useful article to have than "Phase". --MarsRover 19:42, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Shall we change it then? --Meldor 18:57, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I am not familiar with the routines for chaning the list. I just wanted to say that I completely agree. --Kr-val 07:57, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Vedas, Bible, Quran

Does it not seem reasonable to conclude some of the most significant works of literature, such as the Bible (one of the most widely printed works ever), as well as other significant religious texts (Quran, Vedas)?Jchthys 04:35, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

The problem with adding religious texts is you'll be adding new articles for every religion (en:Vedas, en:Torah, en:Bible and en:Quran). Which four or five articles do we remove? IMO having the actual religion in the list is enough. --MarsRover 19:33, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Remove snow and rain, add precipitation (and wind)

My opinion is that the subjects of "rain" and "snow" are overlapping to much. To discuss how snow and rain are formed, much of the same has to be repeated since rain are often formed as snow melts on the way down from the clouds. All of this would fit better by discussing "precipitation" in general. Precipitation is also what is interesting in the water cycle. Snow has another problem, since it can refer to snowfall, snow cover or snow as material. Yet another precipitation related article is "acid rain". I suggest that precipitation should replace rain and snow as articles every Wikipedia should have. Doing this would make it possible to add "wind", which is a very basic meteorological subject. --Kr-val 12:27, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable. Btw, Precipitation at enwiki is a disambig. I suppose the relevant article is en:Precipitation (meteorology). --Boivie 07:18, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree. and it allows us to add wind which I was surprised was missing. --MarsRover 17:29, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I made the change since nobody objected. --MarsRover 02:13, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Don't you think the relevant article would be en:Rain? This is a list of the fundamental articles, I would prefer keeping Rain than removing it in favour of Precipitation. I don't object to the other change. Couldn't we keep Rain and Wind? --Meldor 16:11, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
"Rain" is a much more common term than "Precipitation" but when you compare the two en.wp articles the latter seems more useful. On the other hand having "Acid rain" and not having "Rain" seems a little odd. If one more person can give their opinion it would be useful. --MarsRover 17:15, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
precipitation is more generic, but that's a list of fundamental articles and rain is more common. --Mafoso 20:37, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
To me precipitation seems like a more encyklopedic subject than rain. But I guess it might be different for people who rarely see any other precipitation than rain. By the way, should we really have "Acid rain" in this list? Maybe we could remove "Acid rain" if we change back "Precipitation (meteorology)" to "Rain" and "Snow"? --Boivie 22:03, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
If precipitation won't be changed for rain, I agree with the "half-way" proposal of Boivie. --Meldor 20:01, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
What is the "half-way" proposal? Replace "Acid rain" and "Precipitation" with "Rain" and "Snow"? --MarsRover 07:45, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes. --Meldor 20:33, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree.--KRLS 20:44, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Good discussion. The final outcome (from my original posting) is that we replace "acid rain" with "wind", which I can accept, given the discussion. --Kr-val 09:32, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Some proposed changes to Geography

I know that these remove articles from some sections and add it to others, but all the changes are under Geography, so I think that they're appropriate.

  • Under 'Mountains, valleys and deserts', add en:Gobi desert. Remove New Zealand.
  • Under 'Mountains, valleys and deserts', add en:Great Plains. Remove Cuba.
  • Under 'Mountains, valleys and deserts', add en:Amazon Rainforest. Remove Vietnam.
  • Under 'Mountains, valleys and deserts', add en:Serengeti. Remove Thailand.

I realize that a rainforest is not a mountain, valley or desert, but I think it fits here. Perhaps the Great Barrier Reef should be moved here (as its not a body of water), but the sub-category should probably be renamed. How about 'Other specific geographical concepts'? (I know, that's terrible!) And I don't mean any offense to the four countries, but I do feel that the countries list is over-long. 21:40, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Another one to add would be the en:Great Rift Valley. Remove United Arab Emirates. 21:43, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Last one. Add en:Aurora (astronomy) under Mountains, valleys and deserts and delete either Mexico or Mexico City. 22:00, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't agree with the premise replacing countries with specific geographic areas is a good idea. Countries are core topics that cover many dimensions like history, geography and politics. For example we already have "Tanzania" which should talk a little about the "Serengeti". We have "Brazil" and "Amazon River" so "Amazon Rainforest" is sort of covered. The other suggestions just don't seem to be important enough. --MarsRover 02:02, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I think "Gobi desert" and "Aurora (astronomy)" might be good subjects to include. I also wouldn't mind if "United Arab Emirates" was removed. --Boivie 22:25, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure we should play around with the numbers in the subcategories. I want to be on record as being opposed to the deletion of Mexico, New Zealand, Vietnam, or any city. I would note that I believe "Rainforest", or at least "forest", is on the 1000, and that should cover "Amazon Rainforest". Purplebackpack89 22:47, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we could remove some biography articles? There were 74 articles about people contributing themselves to various art forms, too many. Although "Rainforest" should cover "Amazon Rainforest", "Country" should cover various articles about countries, too.--Biŋhai 06:34, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I suggest that we remove all entertainment figures, since en:WP:VA does not contain them, and there are some topics which are more important than them (e.g. en:Historiography and en:Leopold von Ranke).--RekishiEJ 05:30, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Should there be a Version 1.2 now?

Version 1.1 was released on 15 November 2008, and there are a lot of of changes between that version to the current one in more than one-year time. However, as the current one is not an official version, some Wikipedias (e.g. Chinese Wikipedia) still have to use Version 1.1 as refernces, so it is difficult to improve the score in List of Wikipedias by sample of articles (which uses the latest version). Therefore, I suggest that Version 1.2 should be released as soon as possible. -- Kevinhksouth 14:42, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

I think this list is so stable and without undicussed changes, so I don't really understand the need for numbered versions. But if making another numbered version make more people work with a more recent list, why not? --Boivie 17:44, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Please make Version 1.2. I'll translate it into Japanese. Japanese Wikipedia still use Version 1.1 as refernces too. Making numbered version is good for Non-english Wikipedian.--Afaz 07:27, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Norwegian Wikipedia also uses version 1.1 as reference, so an updated Version 1.2 would be much appreciated. As already mentioned, it is easier for non-english wikipedias to use a stable version. --Wikijens 14:47, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Four people agreeing should be enough to do this. --MarsRover 05:11, 8 February 2010 (UTC)