Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/News/December 2012/Op-ed

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The year in review – a personal look

By Ian Rose
Holding up the mirror to Military History...?!

As the New Year approaches, I thought I’d take the opportunity to briefly reflect on the past 12 months in MilHist...

Beginning with the production and assessment of high-quality articles, A-Class Review has continued to attract a strong field of nominations, and the 106 articles (by my count!) promoted to date in 2012 is close to par with the 110 promoted to the end of last year.

FAC bade farewell to long-time delegate SandyGeorgia in February, and it took two new delegates – GrahamColm and yours truly – to replace her. The 93 articles promoted to FA under the MilHist banner so far in 2012 compares favourably with the 82 promoted to the end of last year.

A-Class continues to be a valuable way station on the road to Featured status; while having a successful ACR under your belt is no guarantee of a trouble-free FAC, it's a big plus, not least for having exposed the article (and the nominator!) to critical scrutiny of content by a panel of assessors. This takes you a significant step beyond the one-person Good Article review method, useful and well-patronised by MilHist though that is. An ongoing lesson from ACR and FAC is the need not simply for more reviewers, but for comprehensive reviews that really address the criteria for promotion.

Peer Review seems to be languishing somewhat across Wikipedia as a whole, but it remains a great, relatively low-key, way to glean comments before going onto GA, A and FA assessments. We should all be keeping an eye out for articles we can review there, and chip in wherever possible.

In the September project coordinators election, it was good to see four new names getting the nod, along with a returning old hand. Uniquely, three people tied for the most votes, with those three co-lead coordinators agreeing to split the responsibility into four-month blocks.

At the Bugle we saw a changing of the guard with long-time editor Ed saying farewell in October to concentrate on his role as editor-in-chief of the Signpost. His contribution to the Bugle was enormous and he is missed, but we were fortunate to have Nick-D – already well-versed in the newsletter's production as the backbone of the Book Review section and an occasional guest editor – ready to step into Ed’s shoes.

While the monthly article-writing contest rarely boasts more than seven or eight entrants at any time, it continues to attract fresh blood, and a new name (Zawed) was added to the winners' circle in November. On the subject, and to wrap up, how have we done nurturing new editors and retaining old talent? Without getting into statistics, it seems to me that most of the names from last year are still contributing, and several newer editors have the light shining on them. Significantly, some of those are working in fields that have been under-represented in MilHist to date (cross-reference our recently and quite spontaneously created award for Newcomer of the Year, with our interview this month with editors in neglected fields).

The upshot of this brief survey of some key aspects of the past year is that I think we've good reason to feel positive about the next 12 months. If we perhaps err on the side of conservatism in our discussions on possible changes, it's because most of us genuinely feel that MilHist is a great place to "work", and we want to ensure that we don’t muck that up. Personally I think we'll be able to sustain things as long as we keep up our assessment standards, always try to interact in a collaborative and collegial manner, and continue to recognise and encourage new talent. Thanks to all our readers and members of the project, and good luck for the coming year!!

P.S. The foregoing is by no means exhaustive, so please feel free to add your thoughts below on the highlights or lessons of the year...

Ian Rose is an RAAF brat who's been with Wikipedia since late-2005; for his sins he's been appointed a MilHist coordinator, Bugle editor, and FAC delegate.
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Nice roundup, Ian. It was a pleasure editing the Bugle with you. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:39, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Pleasure was mine, mate. Tks/cheers, Ian Rose (talk)