In previous editions of the WikiProject Report, the Signpost has generally focused on those projects which are large, active, and have a wealth of featured content under their scope. In this edition, we cover WikiProject Color, which has a mere seven members and three Good Articles (Color blindness, Green, and Pigment). Wrad is here to tell us about his experiences with the project and to try to generate more interest for this important work group.
1. Tell us about your history here. How did you become interested and involved in Wikipedia?
I got involved in Wikipedia when I saw an article that had some bad information on it. I knew it was wrong, and somebody had marked it with a POV tag, so I figured I would fix it. Later, I saw that the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight article had been featured in the news as an example of a poor Wikipedia article. Gawain is one of my favorite poems, so I worked to get it up to featured status. My work in that article led me into several interesting areas. I developed several of the articles related to Gawain, such as Green Knight, Long hair (the Green Knight has long hair), Girdle (especially the section on literature), and Green.
2. In working on Green, you have the unusual distinction of being the only editor to have brought a color to Good Article status. Can you tell us about your experience working on the article?
When I began the article, it was mostly just a list of anything and everything passing editors and readers had thought could be connected to the color. It was a real mess. I began with the top section, "Etymology", and worked my way down. I removed anything in the list which I either couldn't find sources for, or which didn't seem to belong. In the "Culture" section, anything which didn't directly add to an understanding of what green represented in human culture was removed. It wasn't enough just to list green things, the article needed cited explanations of what green symbolized in cultures around the world. The article needed to say more than "Ireland's flag is green." It needed to say why. After the "Culture" section, I did the Science section last, as I am personally less experienced in that area. The science section explains why different things might be green (e.g. frogs, fireworks) on a chemical level.
3. Why do you think none of the other colors have been brought to GA status?
One other article, Red, is close, but not quite there. It is pretty difficult to write about colors. Colors cover a very broad variety of subjects. If you know a lot about science, then you probably won't know much about their meaning in human culture, and vice versa. It's also very easy, while writing them, to get distracted and just write about things that are green, rather than about the meaning behind those things. Articles which are linked to thousands and thousands of times (I would say overlinked), tend to merely be lists of tidbits of information taken from all the linked articles. It takes work to make such articles a complete whole. Still, it's worth it, and you learn an awful lot. Articles that are so often linked to by other articles can become, if expanded, articles which provide a valuable context to wikipedia's content. Unfortunately, they are neglected more than they should be.
4. WikiProject Color has merely 6 members [sic], some of whom have been inactive for several months. Do you believe the project would benefit from the participation of editors with a wide variety of skills rather than just those interested in colors themselves?
Absolutely. People who are interested in color can only provide a small window of information as compared to what the actual scope of the project is meant to cover. The project could use some science-minded folks, especially, as well as those with humanities expertise.
5. Do you foresee Green, recent WP:ACID collaboration Yellow, or any of the other colors reaching Featured Article status any time soon?
Absolutely, but something would have to change. All it takes to get an article to a higher quality is a group of knowledgeable and determined editors. If enough editors decide to get together and improve content with a specific goal in mind, there is little that can stop them. I believe that many on wikipedia spend too much time arguing about little things, rather than the important things. Yes, the wording in that introductory paragraph may be a little off, but that pales in comparison to the gaping content and citation holes in the body of the article. And how can you write a good introduction—which is supposed to summarize the article body—without having anything good to summarize from! Anyway, as long as wiki-editors can keep themselves from getting distracted, anything can happen.
6. Thank you for your time. Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom for potential WikiProject Color members?
First, if you have a scientific mind, please consider joining the project. We need you. Second (and lastly), my work on color articles is part of a larger belief of mine that articles on more general, basic topics are ignored on wikipedia more than they should be. As I said earlier, they provide an important background and context to wikipedia's content, and add meaning and understanding to everything they touch. Take a look at WP:CORE and WP:VITAL and see if there are any articles there which you could add something to, even if it is only a small thing. I might even say especially if it is only a small thing.