Wikipedia:Guide for nominating good articles

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This guideline is intended to help editors in nominating articles at Good article nominations. If you want to discuss the decision of a Good Article reviewer, please see Good article reassessment.

The following are tips for avoiding common mistakes when nominating an article at WP:GAN. Additionally, it contains information about what to do during and after the review. Before nominating an article it is recommended that the article comply with the manual of style, meet guidelines set by related WikiProjects, and meet all of the Good article criteria.

Before nominating: review your own article[edit]

The easiest way to avoid problems with a nomination is to put yourself in the reviewer's position. Read the guidelines on reviewing Good articles and the Good article criteria, and check that if you were reviewing your own article, you would pass it. Do not think of your goal purely in terms of getting the article listed as a Good article: your goal is to get good feedback on the article, and hopefully, perhaps after some improvements, get it listed.

There are several problems which crop up frequently. Make sure you avoid them.

Clean-up tags[edit]

If there are valid clean-up tags on your article, including Cleanup, POV, Copyedit, Trivia, External links and multiple Fact tags, then you need to address the issue(s) raised before nominating the article.

Instability[edit]

If the article is unstable due to work being done, such as:

  • an edit war among regular editors,
  • frequent editing due to a current event,
  • a major expansion or reorganization (either underway or being planned), or
  • proposed merges and splits,

then the nomination might also be failed without a thorough review, and you won't get the feedback you need. Try to resolve such issues before nominating. Obvious vandalism, even at high rates, does not count against the article.

Article length[edit]

Although there is no set guideline on article length for GAs, it is best for the article not to be too short or so long that there is not enough focus on the topic. The article should be broad, covering multiple areas to give readers an overview of the topic.

Lead[edit]

The lead (introduction) should summarize the topic by touching on all of the various sections within the article. For articles of various lengths, guidelines recommend that the lead range from one to four paragraphs.

Images[edit]

Carefully scrutinize any non-free images against WP:FUC. Non-free images may be used only if their exclusion would impair a reader's understanding of the article. Non-free images must be low resolution (less than 300 pixels vertically or horizontally)[1] and include detailed fair use rationales. On the image page, ensure that the rationale specifies the article that the image will be used for. Look at similar articles that have reached GA/FA status for examples. The use of images should comply with WP:MOS#Images and WP:CAPTIONS.

If possible, use only free images that are available/applicable to the article's topic. Look for images already located on related Wikipedia articles or search Wikimedia Commons. If there are no images available, consider uploading an image of your own if you have the permission or ask the permission of an author of an image on websites such as Flickr.

Inline citations[edit]

Articles are expected to be well-supported by reliable sources. While it is not necessary to provide a source for every single sentence or any common knowledge facts, Wikipedia's verifiability policy requires a source to be named for all direct quotations and any statement that a reader is likely to dispute, such as statistical information (ex: 47% of all goods were sold; 3 million people attended the event; the city sustained $588 million in damages).

Editors may use any style of referencing and any method of presenting citations that they choose, so long as the article is internally consistent. Well-developed articles generally use some form of inline referencing, which allows the readers and future editors to identify which specific source(s) support any given statement. The two most common inline reference styles are footnotes and parenthetical references.

  • The footnote system uses <ref> tags to create a clickable link following the assertion that it supports. Either full citations or shortened citations followed by an alphabetical list of full citations may be used. The footnoted citations are collected with the <references /> tag in a section towards the end of the article. When using the footnote system, a source can be re-used by naming it: <ref name="Exampletitle">. This prevents you from having to retype the entire citation each time. See WP:REFNAME for more details.
  • The parenthetical system places the full citation in an alphabetical, bulleted list near the end of the article. Within the article text, a shortened citation names the author, (usually) year, and page number in parentheses, like this: (Ritter 2002, p. 45). If parenthetical references are used inline, then the footnote system can be easily used for any necessary explanatory notes.

Citations to online materials should be written out in full, in whatever style you are using, instead of simply including a bare URL. Whether you choose to manually format the full citation or use a citation template is your choice. Both of these examples (at lines #1 and #2) produce identical-looking citations for the reader (shown at #3):

  1. Tanner, Lindsey. (08 February 2008) [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-02-08-wii-rehabilitation_N.htm "Doctors use Wii games for rehab therapy"] at [[USAToday.com]]. Retrieved on 10 February 2008.
  2. {{cite news |last=Tanner |first=Lindsey |title=Doctors use Wii games for rehab therapy |publisher=[[USAToday|USAToday.com]] |date= 8 February 2008 |url=http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-02-08-wii-rehabilitation_N.htm |accessdate=10 February 2008}}
  3. Tanner, Lindsey (8 February 2008). "Doctors use Wii games for rehab therapy". USAToday.com. Retrieved 10 February 2008. 

Whatever method you use for formatting, providing full citations is strongly preferred to providing only a bare URL, which appears to the reader as either this: [1] or as http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-02-08-wii-rehabilitation_N.htm

When trying to find sources of information for an article, use a variety of resources such as books, websites, newspapers, journals, interviews, etc. Consider using a local library for researching information in printed resources. To find online resources, use websites such as news aggregators and Google Scholar, online databases, and search engine searches. If you find a dead link for a source, the Internet Archive may be able to provide an earlier version of the article. Other options for finding information include asking members of a related WikiProject, asking experts of the topic you are researching, or asking editors who have edited similar or related articles.

Brief fixes[edit]

Although the Manual of Style is comprehensive in improving every aspect of an article, a nomination does not need to meet every MoS guideline to reach GA status. However, the more accurately and uniformly the article follows these guidelines, the greater the benefit for its readers. A few common Manual of Style errors are listed below.

  • Avoid contractions (such as wouldn't, can't, should've, etc.) within the article unless they are part of a direct quote.
  • Measurements should include both the customary and metric units. Consider using the Convert template for easier editing.
  • When using abbreviations make sure they are explained at their first occurrence in the article.
  • When wikilinking, make sure that dates are only linked when relevant and avoid overlinking common knowledge terms and topics. See WP:CONTEXT and MOS:UNLINKDATES for guidelines. Also, ensure that the wikilink directs the reader to the correct article instead of a disambiguation page.
  • Single sentences or very brief paragraphs normally shouldn't stand alone. Either attempt to expand on them by adding more information or going into greater detail or incorporate the paragraph with another section.
  • Language use should be consistent. Editors contributing from different countries tend to use their own spelling conventions, which can result in, for example, use of "theatre" and "theater" in the same article. Analyze the existing prose and the topic's context to determine which variant should be used.
  • Ensure tense remains consistent. For instance, if you say "Bob said hi," then all future commentary should be in the past tense ("Jane agreed and said hello" as opposed to "Jane says hello").
  • Lists should only be included if they can't be made into prose or their own article. An article that is filled with a large number of lists can be difficult to read and will not flow very well.

External links[edit]

The WP:External links guidelines is not listed in the Good article criteria, and therefore compliance with it is, strictly speaking, optional. However, since you want the article to be in good shape, it's still a good idea to take a look at the external links.

Location of links

Such links belong either in an infobox or in the last section on the page, which should be titled "External links"; they should not be present in the body of the article. One common error is linking company websites or stock trading websites to the names of things mentioned in the text, like this: "Meta-Wiki is an organization that..." or "Apple Inc. (NASDAQAAPL) is a publicly traded company". Such links should be moved to the appropriate infobox and/or external links section instead.

Choice of links

If the subject of the article has an official website, that website should normally be linked. Otherwise, do not include too many external links, but consider providing enough high-quality links that a reader could easily find more information on the topic. Webpages that are used to support text in an article should generally not be duplicated in the external links section. No article is required to have any external links, and every external link must be justifiable. Common errors are listed at WP:ELNO.

Waiting for a review[edit]

Depending on the subject area, it may take up to a couple of months before a review starts. If you want to speed this process, you can contact any related WikiProjects to remind them that the article is in the nominations queue.

You can also learn more about reviews and help others by reading and commenting on the GA reviews that are underway for similar articles. Anyone may comment at a GA review, not just reviewers or nominators.

During the review[edit]

The only required job of a nominator is to nominate the article. All editors are welcome to comment in reviews and to help improve nominated articles.

Reviewers[edit]

The only way for a nominated article to be listed as a Good article is for a reviewer to look over the article and make sure that it complies with the GA criteria, such as having an adequate lead, correct grammar, and reliable sourcing. When an editor reviews an article, s/he can either pass or fail the article. If the article doesn't meet the GA criteria, it is normal (but not required) to identify the problems and then postpone the decision by placing the article "on hold", to give editors a chance to fix the identified problems. If an article is failed immediately, one or more significant issues need to be addressed before the article can be renominated for the same reviewer/another reviewer to look over the article. When an article is passed or failed, see below. If an article is placed on hold, the reviewer believes that the article is close to passing, but several issues need to be addressed before the reviewer will pass it.

Reviewers want articles to pass, but they may see problems or areas for improvement in nominated articles that conflict with the good article criteria. After putting an article on hold, the reviewer will mention issues/suggestions on the review page of the article that should be addressed by the editors at the article. Some issues may be raised concerning the GA criteria, MoS mistakes, or areas of incompleteness. If editors disagree with a particular suggestion, they should explain their rationales on the talk page, ask for further clarification, seek another editor's opinion, or, as a last resort, use good article reassessment.

It is best to be respectful to reviewers. Anyone can make a mistake, and the best way to prevent or solve problems is for all parties to assume good faith. Remember that reviewing articles can be a difficult task, and the number of reviewers is limited. Attacking reviewers may remove them from the process, which will extend the time for articles to be reviewed and reflect badly on the GA process.

After the review[edit]

Pass[edit]

If your article passes, there are several things you can do. First, make sure that the reviewer adds the article to the list of good articles at WP:GA, and all WikiProject banners on the talk pages are updated to reflect the GA status. Keep the article on your watchlist to watch out for vandalism, POV, or removal of content. Consider adding a GA userbox for your user page documenting your achievement, and alert WikiProjects related to the article. They may be interested in mentioning the improvement of the article within their newsletter or spotlight department.

Another option after the article passes is to improve the article further to reach A and/or FA status. For A class, related WikiProjects may have a department that can review the article to determine if it should be rated as A class. To proceed to Featured article status, a peer review may be recommended first, before looking over the FA criteria. The article can then be nominated at Featured article candidates if you believe it meets the criteria.

Fail[edit]

If the article you are working on fails there are several options available. If issues that a reviewer brought up were not addressed, consider fixing any problems that were raised and renominating the article again at GAN. For further improvement, have a few independent editors or volunteers from Peer review look over the article for you to give it a copyedit and point out where the article needs modifications.

If you disagree with a reviewer's assessment of an article, you can seek mediation at Good article reassessment. This process will have multiple editors look over the article and determine if the original reviewer misinterpreted the GA criteria or performed an improper review. Although it is possible that the initial review of the article may be overturned, it is also possible that several editors may agree with the original reviewer and believe the article does not meet the GA criteria. If this is the case, look to any improvements that the reviewers suggest, implement them, and renominate the article again at GAN.

Other tasks[edit]

  • Consider reviewing one or two (or more!) articles at WP:GAN, to help with the large backlog that exists there. Since you have now had experience in the GA process, and have had your article pass or fail, you can help other editors determine if their articles meet the GA criteria. You can review articles in the category that your article was in or pursue other topics that interest you. If you're new to reviewing, there are suggestions and tips at Wikipedia:Reviewing good articles. If you are unsure about the process or need help in reviewing an article ask one of the WikiProject Good Article participants or leave a message on the talk page of GAN for assistance.
  • If you don't want to perform a full review of an article, you can still assist with the Good article reassessment process. The review by multiple editors helps to ensure that articles meet the GA criteria, and determine if an article should maintain its GA status or be delisted.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This is the equivalent of 0.1 megapixels, as described here. Non-free images with higher resolutions must explain why this is necessary.