Niagara Falls, from the American Side

Niagara  - the most famous painting in the series according to the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Niagara Falls, from the American Side - the most famous painting in the series according to Hafspajen.

Frederic Edwin Church (1826 - 1900) painted a series of views of the Niagara Falls. The first (or at least the first notable),  now titled simply Niagara ,  was painted in 1857 and was an immediate and extraordinary success, eventually selected for the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Church went on to paint a number of other views of the falls, of which Niagara Falls, from the American Side  dates from 1867. This latter painting  was apparently commissioned for the 1867 Exposition, but in the event the original Niagara  was selected for exhibition.

This page details Hafspajen's article start for Niagara Falls, from the American Side. At the same time we  examine the early contributions of her co-editors Sagaciousphil and Xanthomelanoussprog.

Niagara Falls, from the American Side  (we shall call it "American"  from now on, to distinguish it from the original 1857 Niagara ), hangs at the National Gallery of Scotland and it seems that Hafspajen saw the painting on her way to visit Sagaciousphil. In fact Hafspajen put a note on the Talk page to the effect she has seen the painting. It's worth noting from the outset that when our editors corrected her assertion on the Talk page that American's  accompanying plaque  says the painting was exhibited at the 1867 Exposition, we were trolled by the mysterious Randy from Boise, who broke a two year silence to do us that favour.

Regarding Sagaciousphil, we affirm once again  that we are well disposed to her and sorry to see (June 2016) that she has retired from active editing. Xanthomelanoussprog (the name plausibly translates to "auburn child") is much more problematic. This is the editor who initiated C1cada's ban, over C1cada's support of Fat Eric it would seem. From the start Xanthomelanoussprog was a fully paid up member of Aaij's editing cartel. We believe Xanthomaelanoussprog to be a sock of the Wikipedia Arbcom member Doug Weller.

At the same time we shall examine American's accompanying Featured Pictures nomination and its two Did You Know (DYK) nominations: 1, 2.

Regarding Hafspajen's article starts, we can begin by observing that she dispenses with the usual convention that articles should be developed either in User space ("sandboxes") or in a special Draft space reserved for this purpose. Effectively she treats Wikipedia itself as her personal sandbox. It's true that there is a template available to indicate that an article is in creation, and Hafspajen began to use this later. The stated purpose of that template is to facilitate collaboration, but we think the real reason Hafspajen does this is to up her edit count in Article space, in preparation perhaps for a future request for administrator status.  Hafspajen began her article start at 18:20 7 October 2014 and over the following two hours made some 35 edits at the article. Other editors would have made all these edits in their User space and made just the one edit in Article space when they transferred their article start. The following is a snapshot of Hafspajen's first edit  - this is what a reader would have seen had they happened to research Wikipedia on this painting at that time:

This really is the most extraordinary production, even by Hafspajen's lamentable standards. In the first place the "alt"("alternative" - used to faciliatate searching for images on the web) description for the missing image in the infobox seems to refer to an entirely different painting, and indeed this is from Sagaciousphil's start for Leighton's Cymon and Iphigenia  she had been working on all day. Presumably the pair were enjoying a cozy edit-a-thon together. What more pleasant way for two old friends met from across the sea to pass the time of day!

Then the painting's date in the information box is given as 1884, whereas in the first sentence of the lede it is given as 1857. Both are wrong of course .  The infobox was corrected a few edits later, but the error in the lede survived all Hafspajen's edits and was still there two hours later. It was Weller who eventually corrected that.

It's not clear what the source for "most famous" can be. It does seem that at this point Hafspajen was unaware how popular  Church's original 1857 painting was. Her reference to it is confused and she titles it Niagara Falls, whereas today it is titled simply Niagara, an error that likewise survived all her edits. That error in fact survived all  her cartel's editing until it was corrected 26 November 2015  by one of our editors (Marinka) trying to introduce some degree of coherence to the article. That was the first occasion the significance of the vastly more important 1857 Niagara  was described, after more than a year's editing by the cartel. Marinka also corrected the error that American  was exhibited at the 1867 exposition, introduced by Hafspajen with the fatuous source "Per description at the permanent exhitition at the Scottish National Gallery". What the plaque actually says is that Church was selected to represent America at the exposition and the painting may originally have have been commissioned for it. It would have been a matter of moments to search the catalogues to see what was  actually exhibited. As mentioned above, our editor (Dot) was trolled (very unpleasantly) when she corrected Hafspajen on the Talk page.

Hafspajen's final version after some two hours editing is reproduced below:

The source offered for "most famous" is the Scottish National Gallery's website description. But that says nothing about the painting being the most famous in the series, neither does it make a remark about the painting giving an impression of the constant motion of the water nor for that matter mentioning the rainbow you can see in the bottom right corner. These appear to be Hafspajen's observations.  Assuming that Hafspajen made an internet search, as she surely did, on the terms "Niagara Falls from the American Side", she would have been directed first to American  at the Scottish National Gallery (SNG) and then secondly to Niagara at the National Gallery, Washington (NGA). This latter source, which she must have looked at, devotes its final paragraph to a description of the phenomenal success of the 1857 Niagara  painting. Yet Hafspajen persisted with her description of the 1867 American  painting as the most famous of the series. Source [6] is available as a Google book and is presumably the source for the two  month observation about 1857 Niagara. This would also be the source for the title Niagara Falls, as the book gives that as the original title.  But the same source indicates the phenomenal success of the 1857 Niagara and goes on to say it was exhibited at the 1867 Exposition and that by that time it was known simply as Niagara.  It calls the painting "famous". It then goes on to describe the 1867 American, making some interesting comments about its composition and provenance that Hafspajen ignored, preferring her own trite unsourced observations about the water appearing to be in constant motion and the rainbow.

Hafspajen eventually added a blog as an External Link. This blog adds nothing to the discussion and shouldn't have been offered as an external link. It incorrectly calls the 1867 painting Niagara Falls  and we suspect this was Hafspajen's original source.

The remarks about aesthetics we shall leave to the DYKs, where the question of whether they were copyright violations was raised. But we can give an example of the problem right now with the sentence "Emotions like awe— especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities were new aesthetic categories, and very different from Realism and Classicism as a source of aesthetic experience." Conoisseurs of Hafspajen's unique literary style will recognise this lacks her distinctive touch, save perhaps in its minimalist punctuation. On the other hand there seems to be nothing in the sources offered that expresses those thoughts. In fact it's copy-paste from Wikipedia's own article on Romanticism.

We should look at Sagaciousphil's and Weller's contributions to the article. The in creation template we mentioned above stipulates that is should be removed if the article hasn't been edited for a few hours. For this article, that would have been after Weller's 17:57  8 October 2014 edit and we can take this as the cut-off point to judge how effective the collaboration was. This was the state of the article at that point, after some further 40 or so edits following Hafspajen's.

Nothing much has really changed. Sagaciousphil made what she described as a "very light" copy-edit. She left untouched the choice sentence commencing "Emotions like awe ...", possibly because she had difficulty, as we do, in construing it. Weller corrected the error of date we mention and introduced another source for Edmund Burke. Their contributions for the most part, however, were  essentially housekeeping, and indeed the article at 26 November 2015, when Marinka edited, was essentially the same article as Hafspajen left it 7 October 2014. At one point Hafspajen introduced a whole raft of strange stuff in the notes, eventually removed by a fresh editor (Mandarax) "with permission" (it would have had to be if Mandarax were to continue  entertaining ambitions of a peaceful end to life's great adventure, at least in Wikipedia).

The most notable feature is the strange reluctance properly to indicate the importance of 1857 Niagara, still one of the star attractions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Not even a link is provided. It would have been a matter of moments to correct. Here is Marinka's eventual edit:

The overall impression we get is of an exaggerated deference towards Hafspajen and a reluctance really to come to grips with her deficiencies. When we come to look at the DYK nominations we shall see that reluctance is indeed well placed, but it does nothing for the encyclopaedic worth of her articles.

知者不言。言者不知。塞其兌。閉其門。挫其銳。解其紛。和其光。同其塵。是謂玄同。故不可得而親。不可得而疏。不可得而利。不可得而害。不可得而貴。不可得而賤。故為天下貴。  (except we're not really talking nostrils here unfortunately, though we don't doubt they were on offer as well).

The second nomination was for an April Fool DYK. Apparently the regulations are more relaxed for these. We don't care for these (they're elitist really aren't they?  the point somewhat lost when you know in advance that the authors are total twats who totally know fuck all about anything as Fat Eric would graciously put it). However, as these things go, "... that there is only one major public Church in Europe?" is tolerably amusing. A real wit might have added there are far larger Churches to be found in America, but of course that would have entailed an edit on Niagara apparently beyond this cartel to provide. Hafspajen, ever simple, wanted to include an image.

Our working theory on Hafspajen, which we were basically keeping to ourselves until we absolutely had to report it, is that Hafspajen was some kind of rentboy or something horribly done in at the beginning of the year for shaking down his clients.

We're cool with that. Honest. 

But for fuck's sake, Doug, can we just move on now? Seriously.

We turn now to the Featured Picture nomination. The nomination was made at the same time as the article start (although this is contrary to guidance, which advises waiting a  period of time) and likewise called American  the most famous painting in the series. At a later date we shall reflect on what exactly the point of Featured Pictures of artworks can be (in what sense exactly can a Google Art Project image, or indeed any image purloined off the web or scanned from a book, be really said to be amongst the best images Wikipedia has to "offer"?) Suffice it to say for now the nomination was rubber stamped by the usual clique - Woodrich, Sagaciousphil, Weller... No one queried "most famous".

Finally, we look at the two Did You Know (DYK) nominations for this article: 1, 2.  The point of DYK is to showcase new or expanded content. The rules are quite tight: new articles must be nominated within a week of entering article space while expanded content must be at least five-fold expansion unless the article has been upgraded to Good Article status, which latter is sufficient condition to merit a DYK.

The first nomination was made by Weller on 15 October 2014, and was in fact late under the rules.  At that time the state of the article was  as linked here. One might well think there is little to showcase. To be fair to Weller, both the "most famous" and "1876 Exposition" errors had been edited out by this time (they were reintroduced later by Hafspajen), but the article continues to make only perfunctory reference to 1857 Niagara  (the reader is left unaware that this much more famous and significant painting is a high point of the NGA collection) and its remarks about aesthetics are both infantile and incomprehensible. The DYK fact suggested was "... that the biggest public Church in Europe is in Scotland?", a tolerably witty reference to the fact that American  is the only large scale work by Church in a European collection. 

This first nomination was not well received and Hafspajen withdrew it in a fit of pique (although it was not her nomination to withdraw). The issue was in the first place the copy-paste "Emotion like awe ... etc." This was replaced by the sentence "Church was able to envisage the American natural environment as manifestly divine, considered representative of the importance of religion in american culture". This is at least a little more comprehensible (but it's still poor). To be fair to Hafspajen, it apparently has nothing to do with whatever it was it was designed to replace and needs a source itself. Hafspajen later replaced it.

But the shit really hit the Hafspajen fan (hah) when an editor (not one of ours for once, honest) basically dared to suggest that all the stuff about aesthetics was unnecessary and complete crap. Hafspajen fanny (front or back as the case may be) fans will know that there was only one possible outcome thereafter - a full blooded diva retreat. She was as unpleasant and disagreeable as it is possible to be (we would have glassed the cunt and kicked her in the tits and everything us). Weller diplomatically  supported Hafspajen's withdraw (Doug knows well enough we dare say which side of Hafspajen to lube or not as the case really is). Hafspajen's parting queef (whatever) was choice indeed: