Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/Newsletter/December 2012

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The WikiProject Good articles Newsletter
Featured Editorial: "Drive-By Reviews": A Retrospective About Reviews During Backlog Drives
by ΛΧΣ21
Guidance is sometimes needed to keep the reviews at a desired standard. This is mostly done to avoid the so-called "rubber-stamp" or "drive-by" reviews that are commonly seen at drives.

Reviews are the process into which a selected user verifies that an article meets an specific standard. Inside the good article process, the task of the reviewer is to make sure the article is up and already meeting [at the time of its promotion] the good article criteria, which consists of six different elements: The article has to be well-written, factually accurate and verifiable, broad in its coverage, presents the facts in a neutral point of view, be stable and illustrated [if possible]. Usually, some of the nominations listed already meet these guidelines, and they can be promoted without further comment. Although, a pattern of dissaproval of this methodology has been widely seen recently between both reviewers and constant contributors to the process.

The main concern that those users arise is the existence of the so-called "rubber-stamp" [or "drive-by"] reviews. Rubber-stamp reviews are those in which the reviewers slightly review an article against the criteria, and overlook critical issues the article may have. This brings up to the promotion of articles that, one way or another, fail to achieve the necessary standard considered from good articles. As history has proven, and previous backlog elimination drives have showcased, criterion 4 [neutrality] is the most difficult to evaluate, and criterion 6 [images] is the one which gets overlooked more often. Several other criteria are measured differently from user to user, and some users may have higher promotion standards than others.

Because of this, promoting articles without leaving some comments, even if they end up being beyond the criteria, is highly discouraged and most users recommend against so. Why? The main reason for this is that leaving a review empty, only stating that the article is being promoted, can be confused with the rubber-stamp reviews mentioned before and does not demonstrate how the reviewer measured the article against the criteria. But, from where does the rubber-stamp review come? The origins of this peculiar type of review dates back to the beginnings of backlog elimination drives, and is the direct result of the existence of competition between the users participating in such drives.

This affirmation was successfully confirmed in the last June-July 2012 drive, when, after the addition of a leaderboard, users started reviewing a considerable amount of articles in a very short timespan, only to achieve the first position of the drive. So, one of the main reasons of the existence of drive-by reviews is competition. A first-place race that renders reviewers, in their attempt to achieve the highest number of reviews, unable to take the time to verify the articles against the criteria and spot all the possible failures that it may have.

How do we solve this? Drive-by reviews are not a big issue by themselves, and represent a small percentage of all reviews done inside the process. Several users may argue that the number is way above, others that it's way below, but in general, drive-by reviews are only a big issue when backlog elimination drives are running, and this have caused several never-ending discussions regarding the very existence of such drives, and all the undesirable phenomena that appears under their development. Currently, after the request for comment that ran for 15 days in November 2012, the new format designed for drives appears to have slayed drive-by reviews from them, although new challenges have appeared. This only demonstrates that the only way to find solutions is establishing changes and tweaking the current system, until we find one that perfectly fits what community asks for. Now, we have several balance issues regarding the highlighting of older nominations over newer ones, but that is just another issue that increased in popularity after community found consensus over issues that were darkening it before.

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  • A backlog elimination drive is being held now at GAN. It started on November 17, 2012 and is scheduled to close on December 17, 2012.
  • There are currently 16,198 Good Articles listed at WP:GA.
  • The backlog at Good Article Nominations is 370 unreviewed articles. Out of 481 total nominations, 28 are on hold, 83 are under review, and none are seeking a second opinion. Please go to WP:GAN and review an article! Even just reviewing one will help!
The oldest unreviewed articles are: Lynsey Nolan, Chad Griffin, Arturo Guzmán Decena, Reb'l Fleur and Evelyn Nesbit. Please consider reviewing these articles.
There are currently two articles up for reassessment at Good Article Reassessment. Please help out and go to WP:GAR and review an article! Remember that anyone can review articles that are listed under "Community Reassessment" even if another user has already listed their opinion...the more opinions, the better!

As of 04:42, 2 December 2012 (UTC)


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  • There are currently 227 members of WikiProject Good Articles! Welcome to all the new members that joined this past month! If you aren't yet part of WikiProject Good Articles and interested in joining WikiProject Good Articles, go here and add you name. Everyone is welcomed!
  • This WikiProject, and the Good Article program as a whole, would not be where it is today without each and every one of its members! Thank you to all!


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  • There is currently not much going on at this time but there is a very large backlog. We ask everyone to help out by reviewing nominations and helping other reviewers that may need second opinions or just have general questions about reviewing articles.
Results of the Backlog Elimination Drives Request For Comment
  • The following were proposals that will be introduced in the next Backlog Elimination Drive:
  • Proposal 3: Disqualifying process: Each user with more than 5 removed reviews may be disqualified from the drive.
  • Proposal 4 - Part 2: Drive duration: Drives will last for one month.
  • Proposal 5: Drive scope: Drives will only be aimed to review the oldest nominations. Older nominations are those with more than one-to-two months on the queue. Nominations with less than a month should be excluded from the drive until all older nominations are reviewed.
  • Proposal 6 - Part 1: Drive and barnstars, Part 1: Barnstars will now be given for users who reviewed 5, 10 and 25 nominations. There will be neither leaderboard or a number-one position race, and disruptive competition for holding the highest number of reviews is discouraged.
  • Proposal 6 - Part 3: Drive and barnstars, Part 3: Each user may submit up to two reviews for consideration to receive a special barnstar which will be awarded to the best three reviews of the drive. A vote may be held with coordinators, drive reviewers and participants voting for their favourite review in order to select the three reviewers who will receive the award [each reviewer may receive only one award].

For full details of the results, visit the RfC page.

GA's of the month (GA).jpg

The Gyromitra caroliniana is an ascomycete fungus of the genus Gyromitra, within the Pezizales group of fungi found in hardwood forests of the southeastern United States.
  • Church of the SubGenius: American parody religion that targets established faiths. It teaches a complex belief system that focuses on J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, purportedly a salesman from the 1950s, who is revered as a prophet by the Church. SubGenius leaders have developed detailed narratives about Dobbs, which are described by commentators as fictional, and his relationship to various gods and conspiracies. Their central deity, Jehovah 1, is accompanied by other gods drawn from ancient mythology and popular fiction.

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