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WikiProject Report: WikiProject Ice Hockey

By Cryptic C62, December 8, 2008

Here we are with another issue of the WikiProject Report! Moving away from the sciences, this edition's interview highlights Wikiproject Ice Hockey. Resolute, a prolific sports fan and editor, discusses the role of organized collaboration within the project.

  1. Tell us a little about your background as a Wikipedian.
    I have been a regular editor since early 2006 after playing around infrequently prior to that. Having been a long time member of various discussion forums, the concept of sharing information has always been of interest to me and Wikipedia plays well into that, thus attracting me to the editorial side of the site. I have been an admin for some time, though I rarely use the tools, as I decided early on that writing articles is far more compelling than dealing with the drama of operating this place. I leave that to the people who are interested in handling it. My editing focus has been mainly on sports topics in Western Canada, in particular junior ice hockey and defunct teams and leagues throughout the west. I've always enjoyed research projects, and while nobody else may care about the history of the Calgary Tigers, I enjoy going back 80 years into the past and learning, not only about the topic I am researching, but about the world of the time.
  2. Besides being a resident of Calgary, Alberta, what attracted you to working on content related to Calgary's hockey teams and, more generally, the National Hockey League?
    I've always had a passion for the game, especially growing up in the heyday of the Battle of Alberta. Relative to the NHL's senior teams, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames are a young team at 29 years old, and I think people tend to forget that there was 90 years of history in this city that predates the Flames, showing that our history is as rich as any other. I enjoy learning about it, and sharing it where I can. The History of the National Hockey League series is much the same. There have been some amazing stories and incidents in the past that I find fascinating.
  3. In our previous interview with Ruslik0, he claimed that "the featured topic itself has not required so much collaboration. Creating a new topic is actually quite simple, providing you have enough GA and FA articles". You helped bring National Hockey League awards to featured topic status. Do you agree or disagree with Ruslik0?
    I suppose it depends on whether you treat the FT nomination in isolation. The nomination procedure itself I don't find is all that collaborative. However, in the case of the NHL awards topic, only two of the 24 articles in the topic were recognized when we started. Bringing those articles to featured status required a significant amount of collaboration. That effort was, I think, the hockey project at its best, as many of us were involved. We never would have gotten to the point of nominating the articles as a featured topic if not for the hard work of many editors.
  4. However, you appear to be working much more independently on History of the National Hockey League and its related articles, having brought two of them[1] through FAC on solo nominations. Is this series one that you intend to bring to Featured Topic status on your own?
    Yes and no. For the most part, I wrote the four articles myself, with Maxim coming on board to help write the articles for 1967–92 and 1992–present, and Wafulz wrote a good portion of the first. However, bringing those articles to featured status, and potentially the entire topic, is impossible to do solo. Many of the members of the project have made additions, suggestions and copy edits that have allowed me to bring the articles to FAC. FAC itself is something I would classify as adversarial collaboration, as the critical eye of many reviewers has allowed us to polish the articles off. It is through all of their comments and efforts that I've been able to improve my own writing to the point where I can write a featured article. So even though I tend to work independently in the actual research and writing of an article, I have been heavily influenced by everyone who's reviewed my work in the past, such that no effort is truly a solo accomplishment. If we bring the history topic to featured status, the credit for getting there will have to be shared amongst many editors.
  5. Some editors believe that it is best for one to work on subjects to which one has no personal attachment or connection, thus making it easier to analyze the information objectively. Clearly you don't subscribe to this belief. Do you ever find it difficult to remain unattached and objective when working on articles related to Calgary hockey?
    I think you need to have a passion for your subject to be an effective writer, and thus it is natural to gravitate towards topics for which there is an attachment. At the same time, and especially in the case of sports, the passion that fans put into their teams does make it challenging at times. (I'm pretty sure that half my edits are reverting "team I hate SUCKS!" additions to articles.) I feel that I am able to disassociate myself from the fan aspect of writing about my local teams without much difficulty as I often spend my emotional side of fandom on discussion forums. Where I can't we have many other editors who are willing to take a look and ensure that neutrality is being maintained. I also prefer that articles be as complete as possible, so minimizing or hiding aspects of a team's history I don't like defeats the purpose. I think the challenge of remaining objective for me is greater in teams I hate. I suppose it is hard to do justice to a topic you loathe.
  6. The Ice Hockey project page doesn't include a list of goals or priorities, any sort of monthly or weekly collaboration, and most of the task force talk pages haven't been edited since September. However, as you mentioned earlier, the NHL awards topic required a great deal of effort from many of the project's members. Would you like to see the more typical forms of organized collaboration incorporated into the project page in the future, or do you think they are unnecessary and not worth the time spent maintaining them?
    The NHL awards topic was interesting in that everyone jumped on board to build the articles, because it is atypical for our project, it seems. We have attempted collaboration of the week type activities, with varying degrees of success. I think that those subpages remain unused as we place most discussion in the main talk page. Given we operate more as an association of editors than anything else, I'm not certain formalized structures of collaboration will have a high degree of success. That being said, there has never been a shortage of assistance available, and several of us frequently receive requests for copy edits, sources and advice on improving articles. Most of our larger collaborative activities tend to be spontaneous, such as a recent case where several editors worked to replace a number of copyvios that were discovered.

Notes



Also this week:

From the editor — ArbCom elections — Virgin Killer — Editing stats — Drug comparison — News and notes — Dispatches — In the news — WikiProject report — Features and admins — Arbitration report


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