This week, we located a ragtag band of rebels fighting for survival in Wikipedia's remote Outer Rim. Started in February 2006, WikiProject Star Wars has endeavored "to produce a succinct, comprehensive, general, and authoritative reference on Star Wars materials" while discouraging the inclusion of extreme detail (fancruft) and in-universe writing. The project got off to an energetic start with over 100 members managing to fill six archives worth of talk page discussions in the project's first year of existence. That enthusiasm dwindled each of the following years until the project's last roll call revealed that only six active members remained in January 2011. With the 35th anniversary of the first Star Wars film approaching on May 25, we decided to help the struggling project search for a new hope. We interviewed "Darth" Sjones23, Harry Blue5, and EEMIV.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Star Wars? Do you follow any other science fiction franchises?
Sjones23: The interest in improving Star Wars articles to FA status. I follow a lot of science fiction franchises, such as Tron, Star Trek and Ghost in the Shell.
Harry Blue5: Well, one of the most obvious reasons would be that I like Star Wars. A lot of the articles are also crufty and in-universe focused, so it's nice when you can try and help it reach a better standard.
EEMIV: Stumbled into the articles soon after I started editing Wikipedia. The franchise was a childhood passion, and picking up popular steam in 2005 when I joined Wikipedia (same year that the final prequel came out).
How does the project determine notability for the characters, locales, and technologies in the Star Wars canon? Does the project frequently deal with cleaning out in-universe language or fancruft?
Sjones23: We determine notability issues with the WP:GNG and WP:NOTABILITY. We frequently deal with cleaning out in-universe language and fancruft.
Harry Blue5: I can't speak for the project as a whole, but generally I tend to treat it like I would anything else: are there any reliable secondary sources? A lot of the articles have an in-universe bent, so obviously that's going to have to be cleaned out eventually.
EEMIV:WP:GNG is the starting point. I had Star Wars in mind when participating in discussions regarding WP:FICT as a special set of notability guidelines for fiction-related stuff. The supplement wasn't necessary; GNG is just fine.
What relationship does WikiProject Star Wars have with the Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia? How does Wikipedia's coverage of Star Wars differ from that of Wookieepedia?
Harry Blue5: The goals of Wikipedia and Wookieepedia are very different. Wookieepedia is primarily in-universe as far as I know, with any real-world info going in a "Behind the scenes" section. So, if there was going to be an article on some planet, Wookieepedia would have dozens of pages' worth of contents describing how the planet's history goes and what sort of life lives/lived there. This is nice enough, but doesn't match Wikipedia's style as much, which tends to describe how the planet was designed (by George Lucas or anyone else) and what impact it's had.
EEMIV: I don't do any editing at Wookieepedia, but I do sometimes turn to the wikia when looking for secondary sources: Wookieepedia in the last few years has started to expand its inclusion of the real-world, production-focused information that is also appropriate for Wikipedia.
WikiProject Star Wars is home to 6 Featured Articles and 16 Good Articles. Have you contributed to any of these? What are some challenges to improving Star Wars articles to FA or GA status?
EEMIV: A few. It's sometimes difficult to find significant coverage of a subject, or to click through a bunch of online sources at Google Books that are 95% stories and in-universe and 5% actual useful sources. I think there are, in fact, a few articles that meet GA standards but haven't been nominated. I've been reluctant to put a few more up because I know I don't have a lot of time in doing my part in reviewing for GA. As someone commented below, the SW WikiProject is small in terms of participants.
How does WikiProject Star Wars compare to the projects of other major franchises like WikiProject Star Trek or WikiProject Doctor Who? Do the projects share members or resources? Has there ever been a collaboration between these projects?
Harry Blue5: It's a shame to say, but we're probably a lot more inactive (at least compared to WP:WHO, I've never really kept up with Star Trek).
EEMIV: There's some participant overlap with Star Trek. I don't know about the other sci-fi franchise projects because I don't participate in them. Not a whole lot of overlap in terms of resources/sourcing.
With the 35th Anniversary of the first Star Wars film on May 25, are there any plans to celebrate on Wikipedia? What articles could use some help in preparation for this milestone?
Harry Blue5: I don't know if there's any celebration going, but the second question is easily answered. The books. Pretty much all the articles about Star Wars books. Personally, I'd like to see some work on Kyle Katarn, but that's probably just me.
Next week's project is a little more down to earth. Until then, dig into some other solid interviews in the archive.