Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-09-08/Dispatches 1

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Dispatches: Featured topics

By PresN, September 8, 2008
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A Featured topic (FT) is a collection of inter-related articles that are of high quality. The minimum quality of the component articles of a topic, and the definition of a topic, have become more stringent over time. As of August 2008, the requirements specify that a featured topic must contain at least three articles, all of which must have been rated as good articles, featured articles, or featured lists. Articles in the topic which are not eligible for good or featured class—either due to instability or limited subject matter—must pass an audit including a formal peer review. The topic must have a well-defined scope, cover its subject comprehensively, and include an introductory or summary article to the topic.

To attain FT status, an editor can nominate a set of articles at Featured topic candidates (FTC) where reviewers determine whether the set of articles meets the FT criteria. Unlike some Featured content processes, Featured topics has no official director; Arctic Gnome does the majority of promoting and closing topics, but any user can do so. Some topics grow over time; as new articles are created that are within the topic scope, they can be proposed for addition to the topic at FTC.

When a topic expands to include articles that are not of sufficient quality, or when existing articles lose their good or featured status, a Featured topic has a three-month grace period in which to bring the topic back into compliance with the Featured topic criteria. Topics which do not meet criteria due to a change in that criteria, rather than through a change in the topic, have a six-month grace period. If the topic is not successful in aligning with the criteria, the topic can then be nominated for removal. This removal process typically last two weeks.

Recent milestones

Just over three years since it was initially proposed, Featured topics includes 438 articles in 56 topics across 15 categories, with 16 of the topics having every article either featured class or ineligible to be featured because of limited subject matter or inherent instability. The project promotes on average just over three topics a month, adds onto existing topics once a month, and has demoted four topics in the past year, one of which was later re-added. August was a record-setting month, with seven new topics promoted and two additions added to existing topics. Around five and a half percent of all of Wikipedia's nearly 8000 Good articles, Featured articles, and Featured lists are included in Featured topics.

History

Featured topics was first proposed in August 2005 by Violet/riga. The proposal was to feature groups of articles meeting quality standards, to encourage editors to write "good collections" of articles across a whole topic. Under the first criterion, articles included in the topic did not have to be featured, but were required to be of "decent quality", such as passing a peer review with no major complaints. The articles in the topic also had to be grouped around a "central" article, to help tie them all together.

Saffron was the first Featured topic, consisting of three Featured articles written by Saravask and promoted in April 2006.

The first topic nominated was 2012 Summer Olympics bids in November 2005, covering articles pertaining to the cities bidding to host the 2012 Olympics. Over the next few months, other Featured topic proposals were Music of the Lesser Antilles, which included the articles on the music of the Lesser Antilles region, Stargate, which was a nomination of the several dozen articles that covered the fictional Stargate Universe, and saffron, which included Wikipedia's three Featured articles pertaining to saffron. The first topic to be promoted was Saffron, in April 2006 and it remains featured; none of the other proposals were promoted.

There were no more promotions until seven months later in November 2006, when a handful of other topics reached featured status. Of these new topics, only Star Wars episodes and Solar System are still featured. At the time, the FT criterion were vague; in December 2006, Arctic Gnome began to revamp the project, creating nomination guidelines and codifying the general consensus of rules for topics that had been formed over the previous year. This codification included the first minimum requirement of quality for the included articles, that they had to be rated at least a "B" on the WP:1.0 assessment scale. His efforts were timely; a week after he began, the project was nominated for deletion. Largely due to the recent changes, the project was kept, although various proposals were submitted to change the name of the project to remove the term 'Featured'.

In January 2007 the project began to take off: the topics were displayed in templates rather than as a short list; all articles were required to be Good articles, A class, Featured quality, or an audited article of limited subject matter; the requirements as to what constituted a "topic" were more set; and the project covered eight topics encompassing 81 articles. The minimum requirements and size of the project have continued to rise since then; by June 2007, the 150 articles across 15 topics could no longer be A-class, as it was deemed to not be defined well enough; and a month later it was added that the topics had to include a minimum number of featured articles or lists. In February 2008, as the project included 293 articles in 32 topics, the minimum requirement was raised again to 20 percent of the topic with a minimum of two featured elements, and on September 1 that percentage was raised to 25, as the process passed 50 topics and 400 articles.

Samples

The Canadian Election Timelines Featured topic consists of all Featured lists except for one item too limited to reach featured status:

15 articles
Featured article Canadian election timelines
John A Macdonald election poster 1891.jpg
Featured list Canadian federal general elections
Featured list Alberta general elections
Featured list British Columbia general elections
Featured list Manitoba general elections
Featured list New Brunswick general elections
Featured list Newfoundland and Labrador general elections
Featured list Northwest Territories general elections
Featured list Nova Scotia general elections
Demoted article Nunavut general elections
Featured list Ontario general elections
Featured list Prince Edward Island general elections
Featured list Quebec general elections
Featured list Saskatchewan general elections
Featured list Yukon general elections


The 2003 Atlantic hurricane season Featured topic includes several Good articles, Featured articles, and Featured lists, as well as a link to a subtopic which is itself a Featured topic:

17 articles
Featured article 2003 Atlantic hurricane season
2003 Atlantic hurricane season map.png
Featured list List of storms
Featured list Timeline
A-Class article Tropical Storm Ana
Featured article Tropical Storm Bill
Featured article Hurricane Claudette
Featured article Hurricane Erika
Good article Tropical Depression Nine
Featured article Hurricane Fabian
Good article Tropical Storm Grace
Featured article Tropical Storm Henri
Featured article Hurricane Isabel (subtopic)
Featured article Hurricane Juan
A-Class article Hurricane Kate
Good article Tropical Storm Larry
Good article Tropical Storm Nicholas
Good article Tropical Storm Odette




Also this week:

Wikimedia UK — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches 1 — Dispatches 2 — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report


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