Talk:Ada Lovelace

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Rearrangement of information; revisiting Ada vs Lovelace

I haven't changed any of the page's content as such, but I have made several rearrangements to the existing content. Before I did this, the article jumped back and forth through her life in a few places, and there was a lot of repetition. This gave the article an unpolished, amateur feel, and it was confusing to read. I think my rearrangements have put things in a more logical order and have hopefully clarified some of the sections I was initially confused by. I'm happy to discuss further if anyone wants.

I've also used the name "Ada" instead of "Lovelace" in some places. I did this initially before reading the discussion above (sorry - I'm new to editing Wikipedia and I didn't realise it would have been best to read the previous discussions first; I won't make that mistake again). I understand the points above about "Ada" appearing to be less respectful than "Lovelace", and about inconsistency with using both names at different places, however I think my name changes make sense, at least to some extent. Happy to hear disagreements. :) Here's my reasons for the name choices I made:

- When I first read the article, I was a little confused by all the different names and by who was related to whom (Lord Byron's affairs don't help with this!) I found it odd that Ada Lovelace was being referred to as "Lovelace" during her childhood when she only took on that name upon marriage. I felt that using "Ada" for her early years makes more sense.

- I started using "Lovelace" after she married, except where it wouldn't be clear whether "Lovelace" referred to Ada or her husband. For example, immediately after the description of her marriage, the article originally talked about "Lovelace" being sick, and about "Lovelace's mother". Nothing in the context made it immediately obvious without any doubt which Lovelace it referred to (e.g., it could have been Ada'a husband's mother that told her about Lord Byron's incest instead of Ada's own mother). I know that if her husband was being discussed, then he would probably always be referred to by a more formal title than "Lovelace", but people who are new to English peerage conventions might not realise this and hence might have trouble working out whether "Lovelace" referred to the husband or wife.

- I used "Lovelace" or "Ada Lovelace" exclusively when talking about her post-marriage work with Charles Babbage. I know this is inconsistent with using "Ada" earlier, but I introduced this section by initially using "Ada Lovelace", so I think the transition from "Ada" to "Lovelace" won't be too startling.

- The External links section has two references that refer to Ada Lovelace merely as "Ada". It seems that this is not an unacceptable naming convention for her in modern literature. Thus I don't believe that calling her "Ada" in the article is disrespectful, especially when it lends clarity to the article.

Lady alys (talk) 12:37, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Ada Augusta Byron married William King, the 8th Baron King. As such, her surname changed from Byron to King. If she had lived in America, she would have been known as Ada King or Mrs. King. When he was created the 1st Earl Lovelace, that title superseded "Baron King" and became her title as well ("the Countess Lovelace"). Since her husband was a peer, he would have been known as Lord Lovelace or merely "Lovelace", just as Ada's father (also a peer) was known as Lord Byron or "Byron". To refer to Ada Augusta Byron King as "Lovelace" is absurd; it was her title, NOT her surname. The wife of an Earl is called a Countess, and is addressed as "Lady Lovelace" not because "Lovelace" is her surname, but because it is her husband's title. She would never have been addressed as "Lady Ada", nor would anyone have called her "Lovelace". The prep-school attitude of Wikipedia, which calls people by their surnames even if those people would never have been called by their surnames in their lifetimes, only adds confusion to the debate. For the sake of clarity, she should be called "Ada". If that's too hard to swallow, call her "Lady Lovelace", just as we call her father "Lord Byron" rather than "George" or "George Byron". But don't, for the love of heraldry, call her "Lovelace" or "Ada Lovelace". Neither usage is correct.Munchkyn (talk) 22:58, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

How do we know that bloodletting was a contributory cause of Lovelace's death?

It says in the article that, "Lovelace died at the age of thirty-six, on 27 November 1852,[22] from uterine cancer and bloodletting by her physicians." Surely we cannot know that. Even if we have doubts about the process, and are sure that it cannot be good practice, we cannot know that it was a contributory cause of her death. There seems to be a number of bold statements in the article where the sentences might more thoughtfully have been qualified to allow for the lack of certainty. Just my view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I endorse this view. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:24, 23 January 2010 (UTC).

Should Ada Lovelace Day be included under the "Influences" area?

Hi, everyone. I wanted to bring up the question of whether Ada Lovelace Day should be added under the "Influences" section. My assumption is that cultural events having been influenced by the life of Lady Lovelace - and indeed named after her and continued in her spirit - should be included in this area. Ada Lovelace Day is a relatively new event, but one which has already garnered international participation and press. I had added something about it last year, but it was removed by an editor for not being influential enough. I can provide a bunch of sources from major media outlets that reported about the scope and success of the first iteration of the event if necessary (as well as plans for the second go for this year) that hopefully should provide some proof of the event's broad reach around the world. If that's not sufficient, I'm curious what criteria would be necessary for Ada Lovelace Day to ever be considered appropriately influential to include here...a certain number of participants? A certain number of media mentions? Anyway, thanks in advance for your input/thoughts/help! Girona7 (talk) 06:52, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

I think it warrants a mention - as Girona7 says, over a thousand people participated last year, and it got a lot of mentions in the technical press and at least some national papers e.g. [1]. Hannah dee (talk) 11:34, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Edit dispute over lede

user Cúchullain has altered the lede in a way that I think does not improve on the established version. The established lede states succinctly who she was and what she did. That suffices. What do other users think? Xxanthippe (talk) 23:24, 23 January 2010 (UTC).

From WP:LEDE, "The article should begin with a declarative sentence, answering two questions for the nonspecialist reader: "What (or who) is the subject?" and "Why is this subject notable?" Just saying she was the daughter of Byron hardly answers either question. Even the old version of the lead indicated that she is "mainly known" for her work on the analytical engine; as such it needs to go first. The rest should summarize the contents of the article, which I've tried to do with my most recent addition. If you can think of a way to improve the wording, please do, but these concerns need to be addressed.--Cúchullain t/c 17:06, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
As Cúchullain, I would prefer mentioning first her work for the analytical engine, because that's what she became famous for. I would however drop the second section of the lede (except perhaps its first sentence) and merge its contents with the following sections below the table of contents. --Cyfal (talk) 12:56, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Cyfal. On the rest of the lede, all articles need to have a lead that summarizes the article's contents. This may not be the best way to do it, but some summary of the important points needs to be there.--Cúchullain t/c 15:33, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Bold text — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:28, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Link to Reference Web Site

Question about this revert. The suggestion was that this is a link to a blog, but it's not. It's a link to the official web site for a book that was already listed under the References. I notice there are links to similar kinds of web sites under External Links. Any objections if I re-revert? Thanks! --Eekim (talk) 15:11, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Which Name First?

The article refers both to "Ada Augusta" and also to "Augusta Ada." Which is correct? (Once we know that, the article can be edited for consistency.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bbrownspsu (talkcontribs) 17:35, 20 September 2010 (UTC)


Could we please get a description of the algorithm that Ada wrote down? What problem does it solve, how does it work, and is it still in use today?

I'm curious ... has anyone translated her algorithm into source code and run it on a modern computer? --Uncle Ed (talk) 20:58, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

See the section [#First computer program]] at the top of this page for a link to the Bernoulli program. More are given at [2]. Dmcq (talk) 12:15, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

The reason for differentiating between Lovelace's notes and the physical manifestation of a multiplication algorithm as the Leibniz_wheel needs to be explained. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:27, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

possible source

01:10, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Analytical Engine was never built in 1991 as stated; it was The Difference Engine No. 2

I came to this article after reading a current NY Times article ( and noticed the above discepancy, coflicting with statements in the first paragraph here. According to this article, the AE has not been built. (talk) 12:14, 11 November 2011 (UTC)David B. 11/11/2021. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:06, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

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The picture was placed on the Ada Lovelace page by an IP spa. if the photo is indeed of Ada, and can be sourced reliably (the source given by the spa (an obscure feminist blog) needs to be improved on and the age at which it was taken included) then I hope it will be kept. It is a far more plausible image of her than the previous one, which portrayed her as a tarted-up society flibbertigibbet. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC).

Effect on programming

It says as much above but maybe should be included in the article. Because she was rediscovered after actual programs for actual computers started being written, she had about as much impact on programming as Gregor Mendel had on genetics. None. Mendel, too, was rediscovered after someone else has stumbled on genes. Student7 (talk) 17:37, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Removing statement from "Controversy" due to misunderstanding of source

I'm removing the statement that Dorothy Stein "contends that the programs were mostly written by Babbage himself" because I read the original source and the author has misunderstood the source. Stein's actual statement is that all the examples of writing instructions for the machine in the Notes other than the Bernoulli number program were written by Babbage originally. There is no disagreement about Babbage's authorship of these examples, but they are not the "first computer program" or programs at all because of their simplicity. The Bernoulli number example is the "first computer program" and Stein documents Lovelace's extensive work on this example on pages 106 - 108. If another editor wants to add this claim back, please give a specific quote and a page number (the original cite included 19 pages, 92-110, most of which were not relevant). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Catavar (talkcontribs) 21:18, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

This article was edited as part of an edit-a-thon

We Can Do It!.jpg
This article was edited as part of the San Francisco WikiWomen's Edit-a-thon. The editor who attended the event may be a new editor. In an effort to support new editors & a healthy environment, please assume good faith to their contributions before making changes. Thank you! Sarah (talk) 21:52, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
Editors of Wikipedia are expected to edit competently in accordance with precedent. Those who are not able to may have their edits reverted. No dispensation is made for special interest groups. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:33, 31 July 2012 (UTC).
Is this a declaration that you will bite newbies? Sminthopsis84 (talk) 12:36, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
What newbies are you referring to? The editor who I reverted has an edit history going back to 2008? Xxanthippe (talk) 00:23, 8 August 2012 (UTC).
yes that is his mission Bhny (talk) 13:08, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, the editor makes no statement about gender on their user page, and I don't think that we should assume that over-active fangs⇒masculine gender. Nice male humans might be rare, but they do exist. :) Sminthopsis84 (talk) 15:44, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Facts and name

There was really no need to revert my entire edit. As I explained in the edit summary, I corrected several mistakes in the article unrelated to the name issue. For example, Ada was not born as the daughter of Baroness Wentworth. She was born to the Baroness Byron, who would become Baroness Wentworth many decades later. Her mother was not the "sole remaining representative of the Wentworth Viscounts", firstly because she was not a viscount and secondly because there was at least one other - Ada herself.

Now, about the name. It is factually incorrect to call her Lovelace when referring to events that took place before she became Countess of Lovelace. It is impossible to speak of "Lovelace" as a child. That's not only common sense, but also a Wiki guideline. Now, there's also the issue of whether "Lovelace" alone is appropriate, and it is a genuine problem for many people that can be easily solved by calling her "Lady Lovelace" and "Countess of Lovelace", at least in instances when it's not clear that the sentence does not refer to her husband (as peerage territorial designation normally do refer to the holde of the peerage and not the holder's spouse). It also flows better than just "Lovelace" because it is much less repetitious. Surtsicna (talk) 23:14, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing the issue of the naming of Ada Lovelace to this talk page. There has been much discussion of the issue in the page above and it is appropriate to discuss it here before jumping in with major changes to a long established article.
Like many women of her class and time Ada experienced several modes of address during her life. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biographies states "A woman should be referred to by her most commonly used name, which will not necessarily include her husband's surname." In this case she is clearly known best as "Ada Lovelace" and this is the mode I would like to see used in the article. I would also think that "Ada" would be appropriate usage in many parts of the article particularly towards the middle and latter parts, but one editor thinks this is undignified (I don't see this myself). I do not support your scheme of referring to Ada by the style that held at various different times of her life, this just confuses the reader.
I suggest you leave the name issue until consensus is obtained on this page, and concentrate your edits one at a time on the "mistakes" that you claim exist in the article, giving an explanation of each of them, although I am not sure that all of them are mistakes. Xxanthippe (talk) 06:18, 31 July 2012 (UTC).
If they are not mistakes, feel free to explain how. It is a fact that she was not born to the Baroness Wentworth and that her mother was not the only representative of her line, for example. Anyway, Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Biographies#Subsequent use clearly states: "A member of the nobility may be referred to by title if that form of address would have been the customary way to refer to him or her; for example Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester may become "the Earl of Leicester" or just "Leicester" in subsequent mentions. Be careful not to give someone a title too soon; for example, one should use "Robert Dudley" or "Dudley" when describing events prior to his elevation to the peerage in 1564." It simply makes no sense to call her Lovelace when dealing with events that took place when she was a baby, decades before she actually became Countess of Lovelace. It is not my scheme - it is what's usually done. It's like referring to Elizabeth II as "the Queen" while describing her childhood. See, for example, the article about Laura Bush, who is called Welch in the first section and subsequently Bush. Surtsicna (talk) 10:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I also think it would be more appropriate to avoid using her first name, especially in the middle and latter parts because those parts concern a mature person who we can correctly call Lovelace. Then again, in the sections dealing with her early life, it is better to call her Ada than Lovelace simply because she was not Lovelace back then. I also think that calling her "Lovelace", "Lady Lovelace", "the Countess of Lovelace" and "the Countess" can only improve the prose by enriching it; I doubt it could confuse anyone, since it is properly explained that she was Countess of Lovelace in the very first sentence of the article and later in the section dealing with her marriage. For example, the article Queen Victoria alternates between "Victoria" and "the Queen", which is undoubtly better than using "Victoria" in every instance. Surtsicna (talk) 15:27, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
An authoritative source on the formal and informal usage of British titles is Debrett's Correct Form (Futura 1976) ISBN 0 7088 1500 6. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:28, 2 August 2012 (UTC).
I know. Since you don't seem to be opposed to my suggestions anymore, I'll try to fix more mistakes and enrich the prose a little bit. Surtsicna (talk) 08:43, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that "enriching the prose" is appropriate in an encyclopaedia. Maximizing accessibility is surely the aim here. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 13:53, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
Shouldn't the prose be engaging? Is it really confusing to call her "Lovelace", "Lady Lovelace" and "the Countess of Lovelace"? It seems quite clear that she was Countess of Lovelace. Isn't it better than using plain "Lovelace" in every instance? If it is, I don't mind that. Surtsicna (talk) 15:57, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
This isn't my area of expertise, but I think that there are novels where the reader is expected to know that characters with slightly different titles are different people, so here they might wonder if "Lady Lovelace" and "the Countess of Lovelace" are different people. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:43, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

My revision of 5 August of the article is intended to make it read as simply as possible for the new reader. I follow the convention adopted by all of Ada's biographers in referring to her by the same name throughout (usually Ada). This removes the difficulty mentioned above of wondering if the "Countess" and "Lady Lovelace" are the same person and who, for example, "her niece" is; a little mental calculation is needed to work out that it is in fact Ada. The new reader should not be expected to have to make this calculation himself. In one paragraph of the 4 August version of Surtsicna the same person (Ada) is referred to as "Ada Lovelace", "the Countess" and "Lovelace". This is clumsy and sows unneeded confusion.

There is, though, one usage that is indisputably incorrect. That is to refer to Ada Lovelace as "Lovelace". This abbreviated form is the informal way of referring the holder of the peerage, it is never, neither then nor now, used for the wife of the peer. Therefore, to attribute the mathematical work to "Lovelace" is not only to commit a solecism but, by implying that the work was done by her husband (which no scholar has ever contended is the case), reads as an insult to Ada's memory.

I have put back my own edits that deal with these styling issues, in addition correcting some errors that I missed on the first round. My last edit was reverted after four hours. I hope this one lasts the 24 hour cycle. Xxanthippe (talk) 07:15, 5 August 2012 (UTC).


In this section is the sentence "The acrimonious divorce, with allegations of immoral behaviour against Byron [10] that Annabella would continue to make throughout her life." which appears to have lost some meaning during editing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:01, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Also, the sentence, "Annabella did not have a close relationship with the young Ada and the child often left her in the care of her grandmother Judith Milbanke, who doted on her." which appears to have become garbled. The child left her mother in the charge of her grandmother? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:05, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Why don't you tidy this up yourself (making sure that content is consistent with the sources)? Xxanthippe (talk) 00:33, 17 August 2012 (UTC).

Photograph of Ada Lovelace

There is a supposed photograph of Ada Lovelace floating around the internet. See, for example here and here. There are two problems with this photograph:

  1. I have not been able to locate any provenance for it. Does anyone know where it came from?
  2. Portrait photography didn't start until the 1840s and was quite rare until the 1850s. Lovelace died in 1852.

Anyone have further information or opinions on the legitimacy of this photograph? Kaldari (talk) 19:16, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

This isn't a citable source, of course, but Sydney Padua has done the most research on original sources for Lovelace's life that I'm aware of and says there is no photo of Lovelace: My money is on it being of someone else so I wouldn't spend too much time looking for a source. Thanks for checking it out, though - it would be really cool if we did have a photo of her! Catavar (talk) 03:33, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
According to Padua, that photo is actually of Lovelace's daughter, Lady Anne Blunt. Kaldari (talk) 23:26, 28 October 2012 (UTC)


Today, a single edit WP:spa has linked[3] a blog entry on the story of Ada and Babbage to the article.[4] Usually, Wikipedia does not accept self-published sources like blogs as reliable sources, due to the lack of editorial oversight. However, this blog is persuasively and entertainingly written by Stephen Wolfram, one of the masters of contemporary mathematical computing. As well as giving a comprehensive account of Ada's and Babbage's personal lives, it analyses Ada's mathematical contributions with authority and finds that her concept of the possibilities of computing was superior to that of Babbage. The blog is a major contribution to the history of computing. It does full justice to Ada and should be read by all readers of the Wikipedia article (it also contains a better picture of Ada than the Wikipedia article does). Xxanthippe (talk) 10:04, 13 December 2015 (UTC).

Criticism or Defence

The quotation of Babbage's Autobiography "Passages from the Life of a Philosopher" (1864) should be placed under Criticism not under Defence. Babbage simply states, that he is the author of the "first computer program" (Bernoulli number algorithm). (talk) 11:42, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

Eugene Eric Kim and Betty Alexandar Toole: "From this letter, two things are clear." This letter should be cited. (talk) 11:58, 13 December 2015 (UTC) In general: It is always better to cite the facts, not the interpretations! (talk) 12:12, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

Ok, found that letter. Ada to Babbage: "Give me the necessary data & formulae". To realize what is meant by data & formulae, one should read Menabreas Sketch of the Analytical Engine (English Translation: Ada Lovelace). -- (talk) 02:37, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

The citation from Doron Swade book "The Difference Engine" should also be placed under Criticism. (talk) 12:02, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

"Kim and Toole dispute this claim: Babbage had written several small programs for the Analytical Engine in his notebook in 1836 and 1837, but none of them approached the complexity of the Bernoulli numbers program." The computer programs for the calculation of polynomial functions are less complex, but the computer programs concerning Gauss elimination are as complex as the Bernoulli numbers program. These programs were developed between 1837 and 1840. ("Some two dozen programs for the Analytical Engine exist dated between 1837 and 1840." Quelle: A. G. Bromley, Analytical Engine, Annals of the History of Computing, Volume 4, Number 3, July 1982 p. 215.) (talk) 12:47, 13 December 2015 (UTC) (talk) 12:52, 13 December 2015 (UTC) Typo (talk) 23:37, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

WP:No original research

In recent days an WP:Spa User:, who has edited for less than a fortnight, has made 23 edits to Ada Lovelace and its talk. The edits take the form of arguing about the degree of originality of Ada's contribution by quoting primary sources. This is a totally inappropriate use of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a tertiary source and should not to be used as a forum for a debate about matters relating to its subject, which would be more appropriate in a secondary source or a blog outside Wikipedia. I have reverted the edits on the grounds of WP:No original research. There is nothing to stop material from authoritative secondary sources that discuss this issue from being added. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:27, 17 December 2015 (UTC).

I've reverted the authoritative secondary sources Kim and Toole1999 and Bromley1982, you deleted unintentionally. The source Babbage Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864) (Autobiography) should be added, because Bromley1990 uses this primary source for his interpretation. So we have primary and secondary source. In my opinion it is allowed by "WP:No original research" to cite primary sources, but without own interpretation. Otherwise you have to delete most of the citations in the Wikipedia. -- (talk) 10:03, 17 December 2015 (UTC) -- (talk) 15:55, 17 December 2015 (UTC) -- (talk) 15:58, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
The quotation from Bruce Collier's PhD thesis is also no "authoritative secondary source", it's a polemic. So this quotation should be removed. -- (talk) 10:26, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
A Harvard PhD thesis that is a polemic? You will need a source for that opinion. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:44, 17 December 2015 (UTC).
The wrong quotation is in my opinion a polemic. The Harvard PhD thesis is of course a reliable source. We should correct this. -- (talk) 02:56, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
I've found Collier's PhD thesis: I can't find the quotation in his thesis. -- (talk) 17:27, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
A quotation from Collier's PhD thesis is "She made a considerable contribution to publicizing the Analytical Engine, but there is no evidence that she advanced the design or theory of it in anyway." -- (talk) 18:07, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

Lead versus Overview sections

At the moment this article has a sketchy lead section and an "overview" section. Now the manual if style on the lead section WP:Lede says "The lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic". Hence the Overview section is superfluous to a properly crafted led. The simplest approach is merge it into the Leda. Now I tried that but another disagreed, so we need to talk about this. GraemeLeggett (talk) 21:54, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

I agree they should be combined into a single lead section. Kaldari (talk) 01:12, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for bringing this to the talk page in conformity with WP:BRD. As you can see from reading this talk page, the article has become very contentious, and many people have axes to grind on it for reasons that I do not fully understand. So changes are best made gradually. My impression is that the current lede is concise, acceptable and non-contentious. The overview could be incorporated in the main text, but I don't see any problem with it at present. The structure is clear and WP:IAR. I don't think we need anything in the lede about "poetical science", that is too much detail. Maybe the thing to do is just remove the Heading Overview. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:55, 5 February 2016 (UTC).
Like this [5]. What do you think? Xxanthippe (talk) 04:19, 5 February 2016 (UTC).
conforming to the MoS for article layout is nothing to do with the merits of Lovelace as possibly the first "programmer" (or not). There is no intention to remove material from combining the two, save where there is duplication. Renaming the section to overview does not make it any less of a displaced summary of the whole article. As to poetical science, if it (or any item) is too much detail for a lede (and ledes can be quick big) its too much for an overview. GraemeLeggett (talk) 07:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree. It could go later in the main text. Xxanthippe (talk) 08:30, 5 February 2016 (UTC).

Recent changes

@J M Rice: Could you give me a little explanation as to the reasoning behind your recent changes? It seems like you removed some relevant information and made some strange formatting changes. R. A. Simmons Talk 00:03, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

"Explains, specifies, suggests, etc." are hackneyed. "At least a few..." is POV. Actually, the entire section is one-sided and polemical and the sources repetitive and rather obscure. It really should be deleted in toto, so my changes are minimal. Maybe you're someone who wants to plug his "Harvard" dissertation? J M Rice (talk) 07:10, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Hey, assume good faith, please. I was just confused by the changes you made. As for your reasoning, I don't think that words being overused makes them necessarily incorrect or not useful within an encyclopedia, but I agree with many of your changes. I think that it could improve the section of the article on controversy over her contributions if we added a little background to the quotes and their authors. "Eugene Eric Kim and Betty Alexandra Toole:", for instance, doesn't really provide much relevance or authority to the following quote. It's certainly not your fault, but could we do something about that? R. A. Simmons Talk 12:27, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Agree, context is everything. Commentators on her activities need to be given with background for the readers benefit. GraemeLeggett (talk) 13:45, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Collier's 1970 Harvard thesis is a reliable source ( The 1990 "polemic" is from a new unsigned PREFACE without pagination for a facsimile reproduction of the thesis. The contributor of the quote said to me, that she doesn't have the original 1990 source, but she believes the quotation is correct. I can't check that. (talk) 13:36, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
We should pick one of Collier's quotes or the other. They basically say the same thing (that the ideas in the Notes were Babbage's and not Lovelace's). Having two lengthy quotes from a single person seems undue especially since Collier was not a Lovelace scholar (he was a Babbage scholar). Kaldari (talk) 19:13, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
I think that in the absence of a Lovelace scholar, a Babbage scholar would probably be the next highest authority. However, the current quote format is very poor, regardless. R. A. Simmons Talk 20:48, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Betty Alexandra Toole is the Lovelace scholar (she wrote Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers), but she only gets 2 sentences in that section. I would favor expanding her quotation (as she does have more to say on the matter), and reducing Collier's quotations (just picking 1 of the 2). Kaldari (talk) 01:12, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
I want to point out, that Collier's 1990 preface is not peer-reviewed. It does not fulfill basic scientific standards in contrast to Collier's 1970 thesis or Bromley's articles. In order to improve the quality of this article, we should remove this quote. (talk) 21:56, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
I was unaware that such statements as made in a preface required peer-review, nor was I aware that there were scientific standards for them (it is a matter of history). Speaking of Bromley, though, the final quotation in the section (from Bromley) is totally pointless and irrelevant to the section. Or am I missing something? R. A. Simmons Talk 02:33, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Prefaces don't need a peer-review process. So you can reprint your thesis with an additional preface full of defamations. The claim by Fuegi et al. was, that Lovelace was the first computer programmer, the Bernoulli program the first program. Bromley states, that there exist several dozen computer programs before. So there is a controversy. (talk) 07:58, 5 April 2016 (UTC)


@Kaldari: You edited the citation Collier1990 (chapter=preface). Because of that, I assume you own that source. Could you please send a copy of the additional preface to me. Thanks. (talk) 01:01, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

No, I don't have it. I was just going on your statement above that it was in a non-paginated preface (and the fact that Google Books won't give a page number for it in snippet view (which would seem to corroborate that.) Kaldari (talk) 01:07, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
Thats bad. Nobody has the source. Not the original contributor, not you, not I. This is a clear case of WP:VERIFY and WP:RELIABLE. (talk) 07:34, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

"Work" redundancy

There seems to be a large amount of overlap between the primary text of the "work" section and its subheading, "first computer program". They're almost verbatim reproductions of one another. What should be done? Should one be removed? R. A. Simmons Talk 13:34, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

The William King mystery

Currently the Notes section has 2 contradictory statements:

  • "Sources disagree on whether William King, her maths tutor, and William King, her later husband, were the same person." (with no citation)
  • "Sources make it clear that William King, her tutor, and William King, her future husband, were not related." (with 1 citation)

As we only have 1 citation, I don't see how we can make any claim about the "sources". Perhaps someone could dig up some more references on this. Kaldari (talk) 19:10, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

The tutor was William King (physician), a connection of her mother through the early co-operative movement. This business should be cleaned up – I wouldn't say the "doubt"/"mystery" needs to be kept for NPOV.

A relevant reference is in Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan, which I have just written. As Sophia Frend, she was a tutor to Ada a couple of years before King; and there is a third name, Arabella Lawrence, whom I have not yet tracked down.

The current article here does not mention these other two, so the whole coverage needs work. Charles Matthews (talk) 07:09, 7 July 2016 (UTC)


Hi. Are you sure she died from cancer? As I know it's completely wrong. She had cancer indeed, until her last day, but the cause of death was different. Thank you. IKhitron (talk) 16:24, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Please give a source. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:29, 13 September 2016 (UTC).

Wolfram on Lovelace

Stephen Wolfram published a significant piece on Ada Lovelace: Kaldari (talk) 08:49, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for reminding us of this again.Talk:Ada Lovelace#Ada/Babbage/Wolfram. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:23, 6 October 2016 (UTC).

[Category:Programming language designers]

What computer language did Ada Lovelace design to put her into the category of "Programming language designers" ? - Bevo (talk) 18:10, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

I removed that category. Kaldari (talk) 17:26, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 8 February 2017


Change "As a result, she is often regarded as the first the recognise the full potential of a "computing machine" and the first computer programmer."


"As a result, she is often regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of a "computing machine" and the first computer programmer." (talk) 11:09, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Done Gulumeemee (talk) 11:25, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Mention of Enchantress of Numbers

@Rhain: I don't want this to become an edit war, but, per the notability guidelines—the entire first sentence, no less—"On Wikipedia, notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article". Further in the lead, they even add emphasis to make sure you don't confuse the guidelines for what you've confused them for: "These guidelines only outline how suitable a topic is for its own article or list. They do not limit the content of an article or list".

I'm fairly sure that you were referring, instead, to verifiability. While I would not expect something so benign, that a one second Google search could verify—and that anyone could easily add a citation to if they felt it necessary—to be considered "…material whose verifiability… is likely to be challenged…", I have no problem adding a citation to it for you. Would you prefer the author's website, Barnes & Noble's website, or Amazon? They should all be acceptable for verification, according to the primary source guidelines. R. A. Simmons Talk 01:55, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

@Rasimmons: Perhaps I should have been more specific about WP:N, and I apologise for quickly linking it without properly vetting—I should have referred to, at minimum, WP:NNC, though a more specific content policy (WP:BLP in particular) would have been better. However, I actually did refer to WP:V in my edit summary, though I appreciate you quoting it here for clarification. I also agree that a one second Google search can technically verify (though not signify the importance of) the information, so I would appreciate you taking the burden and doing so, and I thank you for offering. In saying that, I would not necessarily prefer any of those websites, as per WP:IRS, "Journalistic and academic sources are preferable", and per WP:IPCV, they "[do] not demonstrate the significance of the reference" (the "reference" being the book)—but if it's the best source you can find, then its inclusion may be warranted. – Rhain 02:21, 30 November 2017 (UTC)
What is required, at least, are authoritative reviews that demonstrate that the book is accepted as a significant contribution to Ada studies. This article does not have a trivia section. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:42, 30 November 2017 (UTC).
@Xxanthippe: The article does have an "in popular culture" section, though. In my opinion, that's exactly where this would belong. I'll make the edits when I have the time (not right now, unfortunately). Also, thanks to Rhain for being so understanding. R. A. Simmons Talk 02:26, 1 December 2017 (UTC)
Also, I really don't see a problem with an actual book about the article's topic being included in the in popular culture section, especially since it took until now for Xxanthippe to remove mention of a nonexistent, niche, only-relevant-in-name journal (which obviously met none of the criteria just mentioned) from the article. R. A. Simmons Talk 02:26, 1 December 2017 (UTC)

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Titles and styles

No reference is given for this whole section. As with everything on Wikipedia, it should either be documented with a reliable source or removed - unless it is Original Research, in which case it should just be removed). Agricolae (talk) 01:18, 3 February 2018 (UTC)

The matter is thoroughly documented in the biographies and DNB. You also may care to look at Hereditary title. Please follow the WP:BRD procedure and do not revert until consensus of other editors is obtained on this talk page. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:31, 3 February 2018 (UTC).
If these styles are thoroughly documented, then you shouldn't have any problem coming up with a specific citation to a reliable source for her being called "The Honourable Ada Byron" on 10 December 1815, and likewise with the other claimed styles and dates. However, your pointing to Hereditary titles, which does not name Ada Lovelace, makes me suspect that these styles are 'deduced' and that it represents WP:OR. If this is a mis-perception on my part, it is nothing a specific citation to a reliable source won't solve. Agricolae (talk) 21:27, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
If you think that a source is needed then add it yourself. You have been told where to look. Do not expect other editors to make your edits for you. Please do not make any more mass edits of this nature (adding citation-needed flags to articles involving styles and titles) until consensus is established that they are useful. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:23, 3 February 2018 (UTC).
WP:V thinks a source is needed for all information in Wikipedia, and thus it is up to those who want the material retained to come up with one. Information that is is not reliable (for which no reference can be provided) is subject to removal. Again, give me a reference that shows that she was called "The Honourable Ada Byron" on 10 December 1815, or accept that this is unverifiable. "Find it yourself"is not a productive response. Agricolae (talk) 23:37, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
The concerns that you have expressed here cover many more articles than this one. Another editor has suggested on your talk page that you discuss the matter on the appropriate project page Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Peerage and Baronetage before resuming your mass edits. Xxanthippe (talk) 02:55, 7 February 2018 (UTC).
So, you still can't provide references for this article's Styles section then? If not then it fails WP:V, and we all know what that means. Agricolae (talk) 09:17, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
WP:PROVEIT applies here "The burden to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing a citation to a reliable source that directly supports the contribution...Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed and should not be restored without an inline citation to a reliable source.". Richerman (talk) 11:34, 5 February 2018 (UTC)

Use of English

The term "English" used to describe the country of origin of people who live/lived in England seems to be surprisingly prevalent on this project (also other parts of the United Kingdom as well). This is not appropriate as the standard practice is to identify people by the sovereign state in which they are born, not the former state or the subdivision of the sovereign state. Lovelace is British, which is the ethnonym for the UK, as the term English (or Scottish) belongs to people from before 1707.--Mevagiss (talk) 22:37, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

An interesting point. Can you give a Wikipedia policy source, as these arguments are legion and it would be good to settle the matter? Xxanthippe (talk) 22:40, 7 February 2018 (UTC).
That's a rather categorical viewpoint of a nuanced topic. Nationality can be, is and has been used to describe ethnic groups (for want of a better term) as well as legal status. I can see an argument for describing Lovelace as British, but I think there is an equally strong - if not stronger - argument for describing her as English, given her family background, title, and the cultural and social climate of the time. There's an essay about nationalities of people from the UK (WP:UKNATIONALS) which I think is useful in pointing out the difficulties in trying to reduce English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh/etc. nationality down to a single point. Overall, we should follow what the sources say: if they say English, we say English. If they say British, we say British. Personal opinion shouldn't come into it. Marianna251TALK 22:54, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
As the essay says-there is no need to enforce uniformity. I suspect the many sources differ among themselves too. Xxanthippe (talk) 05:52, 8 February 2018 (UTC).
I was not aware of the essay, although I had tried to find one. I would say that it probably overstates the issue, but I can see that any attempt to attain uniformity would be mistaken. Are the sources consistent on describing Lovelace as English? I don't think they are. The primary complication is that many people fall back in speech and writing (including many people I know) into lazily using "England" (very common) or "English" when they are referring to the UK, not the former state of England. This was definitely widespread in the 19th century as well. WP should not promote this misconception.--Mevagiss (talk) 10:01, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
(FYI, I changed the indentation of my original comment back to its initial place, since my reply was to Mevagiss and not XXanthippe, and dropped the corresponding indentation on replies accordingly. I generally have no problem with others indenting my comments to make a clear line of discussion, but the indentation made it look like I was referring to Xxanthippe's comment, not Mevagiss'. Hope that's okay.)
I'm not familiar with a number of the sources used in the article, so I can't comment on what they do/don't say, and modern discussion does tend lazily say "England" when it often means "UK". However, I don't believe the laziness is/has been regularly used when referring to an individual's nationality. David Hume, for example, is never described as a British philosopher; his philosophical style is known as "British empiricism", but he himself is always referred to as Scottish, even though he was born after 1707.
I think there's a danger in projecting a modern viewpoint onto historical figures and underestimating just how pronounced national divides were - much more so than in modern times - particularly when (as in the case of Ada Lovelace) we're talking about a person born into the Peerage of England. All pre-1707 English titles, such as Baron Byron, are still considered to be part of the Peerage of England, while post-1800 titles are part of the Peerage of the United Kingdom and the ones in between are the Peerage of Great Britain. If we can't determine a consensus within the sources, then my opinion would be to continue describing Lovelace as English because her family heritage and peerage line are still considered specifically English; when that's combined with the fact that she was born in England, died in England and lived the majority of her life in England, I think it would be modern revisionism to regard her as anything else.
That is, however, just my opinion and if the sources consistently refer to her as British then that is what the article should say. Marianna251TALK 14:41, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
This come up regularly in discussions and I understand the last compromise was to not to change English/Scottish/Welsh to British (and the other way around) just for the sake of it. MilborneOne (talk) 18:18, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Makes sense to me. Marianna251TALK 23:02, 8 February 2018 (UTC)


This recently published NYT obituary may be useful. (talk) 23:50, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

The Infobox scientist's information

I think that in the information box, there aren't enough information about her jobs or her education. By reading the information box we can tell that she was married with William King-Noel and that she had children, but we don't know who were her teachers or her job or if she wrote a book, wich I think is more important to know about a scientist. Anonyme2308 (talk) 17:20, 15 July 2018 (UTC)Anonyme2308

This is something that should be raised at the talk page for the infobox. – Rhain 00:15, 16 July 2018 (UTC)

and Ada Lovelace has often been cited as the first computer programmer for this reason...

We write:

It is considered the first published algorithm ever specifically tailored for implementation on a computer, and Ada Lovelace has often been cited as the first computer programmer for this reason.[69][70]

but the sources for this are distinctly iffy (New Scientist and a rather populist-sounding book). And the "Controversy over extent of contributions" section rather disagrees William M. Connolley (talk) 10:50, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

Reading between the lines, that quoted article text says "Some people say this (but it's not a given)." Even if her contributions are not that great it's not incompatible with many people holding her up (erroneously) as the first programmer. And how "iffy" is the New Scientist? GraemeLeggett (talk) 11:51, 4 October 2018 (UTC)
The NS is really very iffy indeed for anything like this, which doesn't have clear sources. and if there were clear sources, we wouldn't be using NS.
Given the "Controversy" section, I don't see how "It is considered the first published algorithm" can be allowed to stay, unqualified William M. Connolley (talk) 15:43, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

BRD copyedit

Hello world. I've made a few minor edits to this article recently which have not been challenged. So far so good. Yesterday I decided to be Bold and I published a full copyedit of the Early life section, which was swiftly Reverted by a conscientious objector who didn't care for my contribution. According to the WP:BRD policy, I now have to Discuss here. All I can say is, "Trust me. I'm a professional copy editor!" I wish to improve this article, and I'm determined to go ahead. In fact it would be great if it could one day be reclassified as A-class or Good, but that's for the future.

I shall proceed slowly with detailed explanations of my every move so that each minor tweak can be questioned (yes tedious). No offence intended to any previous authors of this article, but there is definitely room for improvement. Let's see how we go. Feedback welcome (from more than five hundred watchers). I've arranged for a 3-month page protection so we won't be plagued by vandalism.

For a start, does anyone else think the Early life section should be called Childhood? It might be argued that "early life" extends beyond the age of 18... Rodney Baggins (talk) 10:22, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

If you break the copy edits down into smaller edits, with edit summaries explaining each, they likely will not be reverted en masse. With edits such as this, it is difficult to decipher what has been changed, which I imagine is why you were reverted though I cannot read Xxanthippe's mind. This is quite a high-profile article (3,000+ views p/day), so taking the copy edits slowly is preferred. Childhood and early life are probably interchangeable in this case, so either seems fine. Hrodvarsson (talk) 01:11, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
As I am making a number of small edits in succession, if you disagree with an edit lower down the list, please manually revert with appropriate comment so we can discuss as appropriate. Rodney Baggins (talk) 21:58, 6 December 2018 (UTC)

Restructure 1st/2nd/3rd paras (of Childhood section) into 2 paragraphs of roughly equal length. I've effectively split the middle (2nd) paragraph, moving first portion of text up to join 1st para and the remaining text down to join 3rd para. Resulting 2 paragraphs work out as follows: 1st para concerns start of Ada's life when Byron was still around; 2nd para concerns Byron's departure from England and what happened next (his character deformation, his non-relationship with Ada, his death).

The section below is copied from my talk page to here, which is its proper place.

Hi there, Have you checked my earlier copyedit to Ada Lovelace yet? As you reverted it, I thought I'd give you time to come back to me on it, but haven't heard anything from you yet. Please give me some feedback. As I stated in my follow-on edit, I'm a proofreader/copyeditor by profession, so I'm basically interested in improving the text and presentation of wiki articles. Ada Lovelace has been in the local news a lot lately as the people of Nottinghamshire are campaigning to get her on the £50 note, hence my current quest to improve her article. You should be able to see from my previous edits over the past couple of weeks that I can be trusted! So if you're not happy with my entire copyedit of the Early life section, then would you rather I did it in small stages (more transparent but also rather tedious)? By the way, I arranged for the article to be semi-protected for the next 3 months as it was being plagued by IP vandalism. Cheers, Rodney Baggins (talk) 21:49, 4 December 2018 (UTC)

An editor who is challenged after making substantial edits to an important and well-established article should follow WP:BRD and discuss the matter on the talk page of the article, not here: see the top of this page. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:43, 5 December 2018 (UTC).
You're the only person who's objected to my edits so I wanted to open a personal dialog with yourself, but failing that I will proceed more cautiously. I don't see the point in opening up a discussion on the Ada talk page that would basically just say: Any objections to me improving this article? What would be the point in that!? Rodney Baggins (talk) 07:55, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
The point is that it would be consistent with WP:BRD. There are many other watchers of the page apart from you and I. Xxanthippe (talk) 01:45, 7 December 2018 (UTC).

@Rodney Baggins. WP:BRD means Bold, Revert, Discuss. It is not WP:BRR: Bold Revert Revert. You have already breached WP:BRD by reverting a revert. Such behavior could be construed as WP:Edit warring which down the track could lead to sanctions. I suggest that you go back to stage zero and first obtain approval for any structural changes to the article you wish to make. When that is agreed you can then proceed to content changes piece by piece. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:17, 7 December 2018 (UTC).
@Xxanthippe. I am aware of what WP:BRD means and have followed it by trying to open a discussion here, where, as you can see, there has been no particular interest. Do you have a personal conflict of interest here? I have an interest in Ada Lovelace, it's not personal, but I'm keen on improving how she is presented on Wikipedia, which is basically what I do, and as far as I'm aware, what I am free to do. But you are making it very difficult for me and so far you seem to be intent on preventing me from doing so. I repeat You're the only person who's objected to my edits – which might be construed as disruptive editing. But I have been proceeding cautiously, making minor alterations for the good, and have invited the community to challenge each one, but so far no-one else appears to be faintly interested or concerned. And for the record, I'm not proposing to make any changes to the section/subsection structure, just to work on each individual subsection. Improvements therein may involve slight reworking of the paragraph arrangements, but nothing major.
Having said all that, I shall give you the benefit of the doubt, and call a halt now, invite a new discussion, sit on it for a week, then proceed as appropriate. Bearing in mind that Christmas is just round the corner, this probably means we're looking at January. What a shame to waste the vandalism protection that I arranged, for which I have received no credit. However, I shall not move the copy back to stage zero, as you have suggested, as I have spent rather a lot of time on this and have only made genuine beneficial changes which have not otherwise been challenged. Rodney Baggins (talk) 07:27, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Xxanthippe why are you hassling that guy? Why do you say there are substantial changes? I haven't microscopically examined the diffs but everything I see so far looks like generally good copyediting. Substantial changes imho means adding and removing information. Has that happened?

Rodney Baggins, as far as I can tell you're doing good work.

Xanthippe, please stop reverting unless there's a significant concrete problem with an edit (in which case describe the problem on the talk page). If there's a small problem then just fix it.

Rodney, one possible compromise (as others suggested) is to break down large edits into groups of smaller ones so they can be reviewed individually. There's no need to wait long periods between edits though. It's fine to make several consecutive ones. Just write an edit summary for each one saying what it does, unless that's obvious. (talk) 21:48, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Thank you, much appreciate your support. I'm about to contribute again below. By the way, you really should register properly and give yourself a username as you seem to know what you're talking about. Rodney Baggins (talk) 10:45, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

Article improvement (continued) – inviting comments

I propose to improve this article by carrying out a major copyedit of the text, but with no substantial changes to the structure, other than minor paragraph alterations within the existing sections. As you may be aware, I've already made a start but progress has been hampered. See above section. I apparently need to gain consensus to proceed, so I'm now inviting tangible comments on my proposal. This should not be a vote, just a place to voice opinions. Please refer to the most recent edits that I've made to the article in the past couple of days to see the kind of alterations I'm talking about. I am not accustomed to this type of resistance so may not have followed the correct procedure for which I have been duly chastised! Rodney Baggins (talk) 07:47, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

If you haven't, you could "advertise" at some of the interested WikiProjects, sometimes it helps. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 11:26, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

Commented above. (talk) 21:52, 7 December 2018 (UTC)

WP: Copy editing

WP:Copy editing, when needed, is welcome but it must be consistent with the subtleties and nuances of the subject to which it applied. In the case of the popular and much edited Ada Lovelace article there are several complexities that are dealt with well by the formal biographical sources for the article, and those should be born in mind when editing. A particular issue is the naming of the many people that appear in the narrative, which has been discussed on the talk page. The complexity is exacerbated by the British system of titles that were frequent in the aristocratic milieu in which Ada moved. Ada herself had at least three different styles of address throughout her life, with formal and informal variants. Also did her husband and some of her relatives. In a previous version of the article, there was a list of these, which I will restore in due course to give clarity to the reader. The solution adopted by contemporary biographers, and in particular Ada's, is to used the same name for the same person throughout the narrative. Unfortunately, this is not done in the article. She is called "Ada Byron", "Ada Lovelace", "Lady King", "Lady Lovelace" and "Lovelace"(which is incorrect and sexist as that term refers to her husband alone and thereby attributes her achievements to him). They are all basically correct (except for the last) but are confusing for the new reader. The edit that I reverted [6] changes "Annabella" to :"his wife". Well, she was his wife as further reading reveals, but the use of multiple terms for the same person, confuses the reader and is inconsistent with modern biographical writing, where clarity is paramount. Also, why was the perfectly good blue link to Deed of separation removed? There are other issues that I don't have time to go into. I find of the edits proposed so far, a few detrimental, a few beneficial and many doing little but churn the article to minimal purpose.

[7] Remember that Wikipedia is a collaborative, consensus-based environment. Be bold in making changes, but if you find that your work has been undone by another editor, visit the talk page of the article and start a discussion before reinstating it. According to Butcher's Copy-editing, "The good copyeditor is a rare creature: an intelligent reader and a tactful and sensitive critic; someone who cares enough about perfection of detail to spend time checking small points of consistency in someone else's work but has the good judgement not to waste time or antagonize the author by making unnecessary changes.[1] Xxanthippe (talk) 05:59, 8 December 2018 (UTC).

Have you found any actual errors in Rodney Baggins' edits? If yes, what are they? That "Annabella" to "his wife" edit looks fine to me (it's obvious what the referent is). But if your issue in that edit is just with that one word, the thing to do is change that word back and explain the issue in the edit summary or talk page, not revert RB's whole edit. (talk) 07:40, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
First of all, thank you for your long awaited contribution to a meaningful discussion. Shame it took an ANI-notice to get to this point.
Secondly, thank you for tutoring me in the basics of copyediting, a subject about which I clearly know nothing, having only been familiar with it for the past twenty years or more.
Thirdly, your specifics are misdirected and confused.
  1. A particular issue is the naming of the many people that appear in the narrative... – I have not made any changes to the naming of the people in the narrative, other than to change "his wife" to "Annabella" (for instance) – note that Surtsicna did make naming changes yesterday, but you did not challenge it (see below)
  2. The edit that I reverted [6] changes "Annabella" to :"his wife". – it was your revert that changed "Annabella" to "his wife" – it was my original edit (which you reverted) that changed "his wife" to "Annabella" in order to prevent the use of multiple terms for the same person which confuses the reader – therefore your logic is inverted and you are crediting my changes as your own, and vice versa
  3. Also, why was the perfectly good blue link to Deed of separation removed? – I added the blue link myself [8] and you reverted it so again you have got your knickers in a twist. Interestingly, Surtsicna spotted the redirect and corrected it in his edit yesterday (see below).
  4. I find the edits proposed so far ... [do] little but churn the article to minimal purpose – the whole purpose of copyediting is to enhance the reader's understanding of the article, improve the word flow, iron out ambiguities, etc. etc. so making the statement "churning the article to minimal purpose" demonstrates that you just don't like it which is not an argument to use in talk page discussions.
  5. a few detrimental, a few beneficial – so challenge the "detrimental" ones individually, and give me some credit for the "beneficial" ones FFS!
Edits made yesterday by Surtsicna: (thank you Surtsicna for your contribution by the way, some of which I disagree with but we can sort that out later) – a large number of changes were made to the Childhood section in Surtsicna's edits, so how come that was OK with you, but my previous work has been repeatedly challenged? It is very difficult not to take this whole thing personally and my patience is wearing rather thin. I see that you have been watching this article for over a decade, but you have not made any substantial contributions to its content, you just seem to be intent on preventing others from doing so. Like I said before, I'll leave off for a good few days (I have plenty of other things I can be getting on with), but I shall be back at some point and I expect to be treated with a little more respect on my return. Rodney Baggins (talk) 11:03, 8 December 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Judith Butcher, Caroline Drake and Maureen Leach, Butcher's Copy-editing, Cambridge University Press, fourth edition, 2006, p. 4.
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