Talk:Ann Katharine Mitchell

Active discussions


@SchroCat: What's the problem with the infobox? Looking through the article history, you've reverted three different editor's attempts to add one - @KidAd and 1Veertje: and myself. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:54, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

P.S., please 'undo' edits so that the editors get notified that their edit has been undone. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:56, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There are a few things wrong with them, but there again, there is no need to add one - not unless there is good reason, and there is no good reason here. Do you have any reasons to change the status quo? - SchroCat (talk) 17:58, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Agree with the above comment per WP:DISINFOBOX. I tend to add infoboxes to pages without much thought, but if it provides no added reference or information, I'm fine with removal. KidAd (talk) 18:04, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I find it useful as a summary of the article. I would like to add it back, please, unless there is a specific reason why you don't like it. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:05, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
As I am sure you are aware, you cannot overturn the STATUS QUO on the basis of WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Do you have any arguments, based on policies or guidelines, relating to this specific article that should be taken into account? If not, then the status quo remains. - SchroCat (talk) 18:08, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
The status quo seems to have come about accidentally here, as there was no previous discussion, and all editors in this discussion only started editing the article yesterday at the earliest. Referring to the infobox in this version, the infobox significantly adds context to the article beyond that included in the lead, giving a quick summary of things like the birth/death place, the age at death, the alma maters, and relationships. I think it significantly adds to the article, and does not count as a "disinfobox". Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:20, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Please refer to this Arbitration report on infobox policy, specifically in liberal arts-related pages. KidAd (talk) 18:20, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I think that's a rather odd way to try and define status quo. It doesn't matter that there are only three of us discussing things now: the article was started in February 2017‎ without an IB. An editor made a conscious choice then not to include one. None of the other editors since February 2017 have tried to include an IB until today. That's the reality that has to be overturned. Regarding the attempted version, there were several problems with it, but as there is no consensus to add one, that all seems a bit moot. The important information about Mrs Mitchell can be gleaned from the lead, which does a much, much better job of providing the key points about her life. - SchroCat (talk) 18:27, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Please can you back up your claim that the decision not to include one earlier was a conscious choice by those editors? At the moment, I can't see how you have a consensus not to include it - beyond your own removal of it three times. Without a significant rewrite, the lead does *not* cover all of the key points of her life - e.g., it doesn't even mention her life in Edinburgh. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:31, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
It was not included, so that's the starting point of the discussion: that's the status quo. (Translate: "the existing state of affairs"); until today the existing state of affairs is that the there has not been an IB on this article; that is the WP:IMPLICITCONSENSUS. That's the point you need to start from is you want to argue to change it. There is no consensus to change from that staus quo at present and no consensus to add one. You were right on the lead missing her life in Edinburgh: this has now been added. - SchroCat (talk) 18:36, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Re the infobox and that one is needed to dumb down this excellent article to our readers, Mike whose opinion? Please see WP:BRD, WP:IDLI and the infobox section of the MoS. Oh, and oppose one being forced on. CassiantoTalk 18:42, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
OK. Let's see what others think. Pinging past editors of the article: @Ammienoot, Yoshi24517, Katharineamy, Victuallers, Mais oui!, Dawkeye, Ethanbas, Kvaratschelia, Dl2000, Edwardx, Arjayay, Timrollpickering, Kleinzach, MumphingSquirrel, Ikamborden, Alsoriano97, Helper201, Editrite!, Neverbuffed, Bagumba, Materialscientis, JavaHurricane, Kj cheetham, GiantSnowman, Spicemix, JHunterJ, Luis9595, and Tbhotch:. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:47, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
As you've berated Cassianto on his talk page about putting words in your mouth, I think you can strike "OK, you don't think it helps", as I have not said that anywhere and it is an untruthful statement.
To all the pinged editors in this rather unusal step, please note that this is not !vote and any arguments must be based on policies or guidelines, relating to this specific article, not general comments about the use or otherwise of IBs. - SchroCat (talk) 18:55, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
@SchroCat: I'm happy to strike it, or you can do so yourself if you want, but does that mean that you think the infobox *does* help? I'm also curious as to how you expected consensus to be reached here without involving other editors? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:00, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I have asked you to strike it as it is not something I have said. There are no conclusions to draw from that except that I do not like being misrepresented. For the second time, please strike it. - SchroCat (talk) 19:04, 18 May 2020 (UTC)−
I've removed it. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:08, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Thank you. - SchroCat (talk) 19:12, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Frankly, seeing that it's a fairly large article, an infobox would help a quick summary, although I do not think that her relationships and descent is really important. However, I wouldn't complain if it's removed either. Alsoriano97 (talk) 19:32, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
@Alsoriano97: Infoboxes are not an all-or-nothing affair, as I mentioned below it's perfectly possible to put up a version of the infobox that doesn't not include all of the family stuff.--Pharos (talk) 01:38, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: I'm not anti-info-boxes per se (indeed I have added one to an article this very afternoon) but I agree with SchroCat that the one added here was an eyesore, hitting the poor reader's eye with unhelpful factoids. I strongly advise against re-inserting it. Tim riley talk 19:05, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment infobox as unnecessary. An infobox contains nothing that is not in a well-written lead section. If the facts in the infobox aren't in the lead then they should be added there. Jack1956 (talk) 19:14, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: While sports and politician bios can benefit from infoboxes, most articles in liberal arts fields, as here, do not. See arbitration report: "Infoboxes may be particularly unsuited to liberal arts fields when they repeat information already available in the lead section of the article, are misleading or oversimplify the topic for the reader". I disagree with including an infobox in this article because: (1) The box would emphasize unimportant factoids stripped of context and lacking nuance, in competition with the WP:LEAD section, which emphasizes and contextualizes the most important facts. (2) Since the most important points in the article are already discussed in the Lead, or adequately discussed in the body of the article, the box would be redundant. (3) It would take up valuable space at the top of the article and hamper the layout and impact of the Lead. (4) Frequent errors creep into infoboxes, as updates are made to the articles but not reflected in the redundant info in the box, and they tend to draw vandalism, fancruft and repeated arguments among editors about what to include. (5) The infobox template creates a block of code at the top of the edit screen that discourages new editors from editing the article. (6) It would discourage readers from reading the text of the article. (7) IBs distract editors from focusing on the content of the article. Instead of improving the article, they spend time working on this repetitive feature and its coding and formatting. See also WP:DISINFOBOX. -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:36, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
@Tim riley, Jack1956, and Ssilvers: You haven't edited this article before posting these comments, how exactly did you spot this discussion? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:45, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
As it’s on the front page and I have a ITN recognition on my talk page, it’s hardly surprising. No-one has asked how you managed to find it after all - and your first act was to edit war. - SchroCat (talk) 20:53, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I was looking through my Twitter feed, and saw an article covering her death, so I looked up her article. I saw it was missing an infobox, so I started to add it, but then I decided to check through the history to see why the article didn't have an infobox already. My bad. Mike Peel (talk) 20:59, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
Mike, I didn’t ask, and I’m not concerned how or why: it was just to illustrate that people get to articles in all sorts of ways, particularly when it’s linked from the front page (I made the assumption that’s where all the article’s editors had come from over the last 24 hours). I assumed good faith with all their visits, except that of the vandal. - SchroCat (talk) 21:25, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I check in on SchroCat's contributions occasionally, because he is an excellent, productive Wikipedian, and I occasionally assist him in expanding articles. In this case, I saw that he had been contributing to this discussion, and I had an opinion, so I gave it. Since you asked, it does not look like you have added any significant research or content to the article either, Mike. I think it violates the spirit of the Arbcom case to say that an article is "missing an infobox". That's like saying a person is missing a hat. Why do they need a hat? Sometimes a hat is useful, but usually not. -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:50, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
My dear Mr Peel, you may or may not have any friends on Wikipedia, but others of us do, and we keep an eye on the doings of our frequent collaborators. Are you implying some sort of sinister conspiracy against you? I realise that under the present lock-down conditions the advice to get out more is not merely a cliché but impractical, but even so... Tim riley talk 20:57, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
There is no cabal...probably. KidAd (talk) 21:33, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I was simply trying to improve the article by adding an infobox. Mike Peel (talk) 21:58, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
OK. The sobering addition below behoves us to move on, but I'd just add, Mike, that in WP we have a policy of assuming good faith on the part of other contributors; you may like to bear that in mind in the future. But meanwhile I feel we – jointly or severally, as the lawyers say – have, in conscience, some digging and writing to do for this article, and I'm happy to offer my services if wanted. Tim riley talk 22:58, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment The infobox looked ok to me. We might want to disable the family-related fields, though, which aren't so relevant here. We might also want to give more thought to other important fields to highlight for someone of her profession.--Pharos (talk) 16:05, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment Keep the infobox: infoboxes are helpful for readers who are looking for highlight information, and I always add infoboxes to biographies as they can be particularly useful and there is a strong case for quick access to information. Just because you don't like a particular feature, doesn't mean you can remove them when added in good faith by others (like editors who feel strongly about the use of galleries, or a large number of images). Smirkybec (talk) 17:53, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
A couple of things here: firstly it’s not a question of keeping the IB: the question is whether to add one; this has been made clear in the above discussion. The article was without an IB from the time it was created until someone added something yesterday (and something that flawed and against the guidelines). Secondly, it’s not a question of people ’not liking’ something: that’s entirely misrepresenting the points of view held by many people, but for many other varied reasons. Now, do you have any arguments based on policies or guidelines, relating to this specific article (not general comments about the use or otherwise of IBs), that you would like to raise in support of the addition an IB? - SchroCat (talk) 18:13, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@Smirkybec:, sorry, forgot to ping you for any response. - SchroCat (talk) 21:33, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
@SchroCat: As I stated, they help with different readers and users in how they want to access information, it also adds machine readability and information parsability. Articles that lack infoboxes rank lower in search engine results, which is a huge disservice to the article's subject aside from anything else. Smirkybec (talk) 22:00, 19 May 2020 (UTC)
That’s odd: searches on Google for both “Ann Katharine Mitchell” and “Ann Mitchell” both have this as the first article listed on Google, so I’m not sure about the search ranking point. As I’ve highlighted above, Arbcom have decided that arguments have to be based on policies or guidelines relating to this specific article, not general comments about the use or otherwise of IBs. But as the search engines pick up the factoids from the hideous nonsense that is Wikidata, rather than this article, that makes the IBs redundant from the point of view of machine readability, “parsability” etc. As to the information about Mrs Mitchell, the important information about her (rather than trivial factoids) is available to readers in the opening paragraph of the lead. It’s there without being stripped of context, background, etc. - SchroCat (talk) 22:38, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

Further materialEdit

Hi people, I'm her eldest child Jonathan. I'm not getting into editing this, as (a) given the relationship, I don't think I should (b) you obviously have all this in hand and (c) I find the process of adding references quite troublesome. But I've taken an interest in this page since Ammienoot set it up some years ago- see . So some comments; do with them as you will, with my apologies for the lack of formatting. First, can I just point you to some further materials; the Oxford University article about my mother at, today's obituary in The Scotsman at , and the references in my twitter thread at . There'll be some more in the Times and Guardian at least, this week. Second, I think if I may say so this article overstresses her work at Bletchley rather than her far more significant work in family law reform, which she always saw as her legacy, but that's up to you.

I know this isn't about her personal life, but you might like to note her husband, i.e. my father, who died in 2018. A couple of articles (there are many more) are at and . Lots more interesting people in her family- her mother started a family planning clinic in Oxford and was denounced by clerics who said this was "more shocking… than a brothel". And so on.

Her funeral's on Wednesday. Best wishes, Jonathan Mitchell (details in Twitter reference above) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:16, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

Jonathan, thank you so much for those additional links. I intend doing some more work on this in the coming days, so those will be most useful in developing this further. I am very sorry for your loss. You mother must have been quite an extraordinary lady - she certainly seems so from the little I have read of her over the last 24 hours. All the best. - SchroCat (talk) 21:22, 18 May 2020 (UTC)
I'd like to add my warmest sympathies, and also to thank Jonathan for a helpful steer, but the sympathies are the main thing. Tim riley talk 21:35, 18 May 2020 (UTC)

Further sourcesEdit


I've got the following to go through. The Blethcly angle is the one they all focus on primarily, so it takes a bit more digging to bring out the info on the latter, and larger, part of her career. I'll keep ploughing through the sources to see what more I can find on the research/divorce work. She produced an impressive amount of information which had a great impact, so there has to be something from areliable source I can find - I just need to find the right ground to work through. - SchroCat (talk) 08:52, 19 May 2020 (UTC)

  • "Obituary: Angus Mitchell". The Times. 28 March 2018.
  • "Tributes as World War Two code breaker Ann Mitchell dies aged 97". BBC News. 17 May 2020.
  • "Obituary: Ann Mitchell, Bletchley Park codebreaker, researcher and author". The Scotsman. 18 May 2020.
  • De Carolis, Paola. "Addio Ann, che decrittò Enigma (e cambiò il corso della guerra)". Corriere della Sera (in Italian).
  • "Ann Mitchell (1922-2020) - Codebreaker, Social Reformer and Oxford Mathematician". University of Oxford Mathematical Institute. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
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