These are just rough notes. I think this should at some point be said on the main policy pages though -- Tarquin
This is a glitch I've corrected quite a few times on Wikipedia. Consider this example:
- Emma was a novel by Jane Austen
Emma still is a novel. It was written by Austen. The following case blurs a bit, but IMO past tense is still incorrect:
- Emma was a novel written by Jane Austen.
This can be avoided since the "written" is superflous. However,
- The Tower of Babel was...
Since it's no longer around. And
- Emma was written by Jane Austen in 18--.
The distinction is that "was" above is used as an auxiliary verb for "written". In the earlier example, it's used as a copula. More on "why I hate E-Prime" elsewhere.
There's something to be said on use of the historic present tense too.