I know you know, but for the benefit of anyone else reading this, replied at WP:TFAR. If you're looking for peculiar FAs which haven't run yet, Charles Domery is still floating about (although it doesn't have the eye-catching images PFW has). To some extent, Domery has the same problem, that some people will consider showcasing it an attack on a particular group (in this case, the Poles and to a lesser extent people with eating disorders), but it doesn't have the same element of simultaneously being offensive to the Irish, French, Dutch, women, animal-lovers and the disabled which PFW brings with it. (Domery is part of a trio on 18th-century eating disorders, all of which have a high WTF-factor; I'd prefer Tarrare not run for the moment, and Daniel Lambert has already run.) Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway could be dressed up for the occasion also—from the title it sounds dull as ditchwater, but it's actually an extraordinary story of a showpiece event that went so disastrously wrong, the government and courts seriously considered banning locomotives. George Stephenson had a standing offer from the Tsar to take his newfangled steam engine to Russia and if he'd been banned from making or using them in the UK would presumably have done so, which would in turn have kept the United States a thin coastal strip (the locomotives which opened up the interior were imported from Newcastle) and made Imperial Russia an unstoppable force, able to use their new industrial power to swat aside any hapless Turks and Prussians trying to stop them. The OOTLMR is a turning-point that (outside of Liverpool and Manchester themselves) doesn't get the credit it deserves.
If the "never repeat a TFA" rule is ever relaxed*, Biddenden Maids, Halkett boat and the aforementioned Daniel Lambert would all be workable as April Fools TFAs. I have a soft spot for Halkett boat in particular, which really is a case of the truth being stranger than fiction.
Per my outburst at TFAR, in my opinion the April Fools/Halloween tradition is an embarrassing relic of Raul's tendency on occasion to presume that whichever idea he'd happened to have embodied The Will Of The Community, and should be shown the door. With the possible exception of that film last year, to the best of my knowledge every April Fools TFA (Pigeon photography, Cock Lane ghost, Wife selling, Museum of Bad Art, Ima Hogg, George Washington (inventor), Spoo) has led to a wave of lunatics hijacking the article, generally followed by the author of the article being blocked for edit-warring when they try to restore it to something approaching stability; ask Eric Corbett or Parrot of Doom just how well the system works. – iridescent 22:15, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
*I'd personally support a change to "never repeat a TFA within five years". The argument that it gives undue prominence to the topic is hooey, since nobody except die-hard wiki-obsessives will even realise the article has run before. The argument that "it prevents other TFAs having their day in the sun" is also baloney—many if not most of Featured articles that haven't been on the Main Page are either old FAs of embarrassingly poor quality, articles which their authors would prefer not run, or arcane articles like Quainton Road railway station which would be pointless to run since the only people who would find them interesting are people with enough of an interest in the topic that they've already read them.
Yes I think alot of mine are in the last category....Cas Liber (talk·contribs) 03:13, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
I will concur that Banksias did flit through my mind as I wrote that (along with extinct bat species), but it seemed a little churlish to pick somebody else's as an example, especially given that I have Wandsworth Bridge (which may hold the record for the highest significance/interesting-things-to-say-about-it ratio of anything ever built*) to my name—it even had DYK that there's nothing interesting to say about it on the main page. At some point I ought to ask Bencherlite to run it as TFA (it is eligible…) and see if it makes the usual suspects who whinge about boring content on the main page** self-destruct with indignation. – iridescent 11:45, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Spot the bridge
*As HJ Mitchell and Julia W had the pleasure of hearing me drunkenly trying to explain at great length recently, Wandsworth Bridge's single interesting feature is also a damn nuisance; it retains its remarkably effective wartime camouflage. This is a major piece of ironmongery—as of about five years ago the second busiest road bridge in the UK—but it's astonishingly difficult to take a photograph in which the bridge doesn't either blend into the background or appear to be much smaller than it is.
Just imagine it is Stephen Fry chatting about it on QI...it'll seem more worthwhile then - just been watching a couple of episodes of this with my kids....dunno, must have more intrinsic merit than Miley Cyrus or a Kardashian....Cas Liber (talk·contribs) 12:38, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Since QI's research team's methodology appears to be "go through the contribution history of myself, Eric Corbett and Parrot of Doom, share out the results between Fry's scripted questions and the guests' scripted answers, and pad it out with whatever happens to be on TIL that day without ever bothering to check its accuracy or credit the author", my opinion of it is not high. I've caught them previously passing off blocks of Wikipedia text verbatim (and uncredited, natch) as their own content. See this episode, where the chat about Tarrare is literally taken verbatim from Wikipedia, right down to the slightly awkward phrasing about "a toddler" I used to avoid close paraphrasing issues with "a child between one and two" which appears in every source other than Wikipedia. (Not as odd as it sounds that they'd all use the same wording, as they've all drawing from Percy's paper as a primary source.) While I'm on this tirade, if you're ever in Manchester then visit MOSI's new Revolution Manchester Gallery and see if there's something oddly familiar sounding about their showpiece exhibits on the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine and the Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. (I'm amazed QI haven't picked up on Eilley Bowers yet—possibly the single most peculiar biographical article I've ever written, and one which I keep hoping someone will find the sources for to flesh out and take to FAC. Given that she's "one of the most researched, written and talked about women in Nevada history"—and that's the University of Nevada Department of Women's Studies saying that, who presumably ought to know—I find it singularly difficult to find any of said research, writing or talking other than what I already used. @Dr. Blofeld, Rosiestep, did you find anything when you were writing Sandy Bowers?) – iridescent 16:37, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
I was on a game show once where Amanita muscaria was described as the quintessential toadstool and I could say, "haahahaaaaahaaaa" wonder where that came from! (chuckle) ...now I am depressed about QI....oh well....Cas Liber (talk·contribs) 10:11, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm trying to think of what game show could possibly have included the phrase "Amanita muscaria is the quintessential toadstool", and failing miserably. I think every assumption I have about Aussie TV must be seriously wrong.
That particular "Illness" episode of QI had Ben Goldacre, self-appointed arch-scourge of uncited statements and misuse of sources (incidentally his talk archive is the history of Wikipedia in miniature, complete with people demanding to include The Truth I Read On A Website Somewhere, a conspiracy theory about SlimVirgin, sarcastic comments from Andy Mabbett and interminable ramblings about reliable sourcing), as one of the panelists. Cut from the original broadcast, but retained in the extended QI XL version included on Dave's endless loop of repeats, is an impressively uncomfortable scene in which Goldacre says that in his opinion the QI franchise is the single worst offender for giving spurious legitimacy to untrue claims. (Personally I think that's an unfair statement in a world in which the Daily Mail and the laughably-named Independent exist, albeit the BBC is theoretically meant to be held to a higher standard.) The cringe on Stephen Fry's face is worth the licence fee alone. My personal opinion of QI books and programmes as a source is identical to my opinion of the Mail—if what they claim is true, then a genuine reliable source somewhere will have covered it, but they have far too much of a history of reprinting press releases, cut-and-pasting from dubious websites without fact-checking, and cherry-picking data to suit the story they want to tell (yes, I can give examples if someone wants to argue this particular toss—the reporting as undisputed fact of Klar's 2004 Excess of counterclockwise scalp hair-whorl rotation in homosexual men paper, which 'proves' that gay men and straight men are physically different, and whose results AFAIK no other researcher has managed to replicate in the subsequent 10 years, for instance) to be reliable in their own right. – iridescent 17:44, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
(talk page stalker) Since you mention the Mail, it's currently enjoying one of its perennial appearances on WP:RS/N, where it's being defended with the usual combination of "but the BBC makes errors too!" and "you just don't like it 'cos of your liberal bias". In my view, the evolution of these Mail reliability threads is indicative of the steady decline in aggregate cluefulness of our editor corps. Last time around, a prominent editor who's sometimes mistaken for a voice of reason told us that "most medical reporting is actually reasonably good" in the Mail. I was inspired to add #21 to the cynic's guide to Wikipedia as a result. MastCellTalk 19:17, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
@iridescent - The Einstein Factor - one had to pick and esoteric subject to be on. I was on three times - first time I chose horned dinosaurs, which is why alot my early edits were on these - I figured actively editing to buff up for a game show was better than passive learning. Second time I went on I chose poisonous mushrooms....(first time was banksias but that was before I edited here)Cas Liber (talk·contribs) 20:11, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
@Mastcell - aaah yes good medical research. I just checked - this article cites this paper (hint - look at the prerandomization bit). Now via the newer article it will end up in Review literature. Cas Liber (talk·contribs) 20:21, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
I used to struggle to articulate why the Daily Mail is hopeless as a source beyond "well obviously". That was until they plagiarised a Wikipedia article and still managed to introduce errors. Nev1 (talk) 17:49, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but the Mail is ever with us, so long as WP:RS/N threads on its reliability are dominated (or at least filibustered) by the same small but vocal set of clueless editors. (It's not that the Mail is the only bad source we use. It's just that if we can't even agree that the Mail is unsuitable, what chance do we have of dealing seriously with more borderline cases?) MastCellTalk 19:38, 8 April 2014 (UTC)