Where Are They Now? Fifth Edition
Rides and lights at a traveling funfair
The year 2013 has come and gone, adding 50 new WikiProject Reports to our long list of projects we've had the privilege to meet. Last year saw the continuation of our Babel series, featuring WikiProjects from other languages of Wikipedia. We also expanded our selection of special reports, offering readers a growing collection of helpful tips and tools as they participate in WikiProjects. We plan to continue both of these features in the new year, but could use your help translating and interacting with Wikipedians at other language editions of Wikipedia. We also need your feedback to understand what new special reports you'll find most useful.
When I wrote my first "Where Are They Now?" feature in 2010, the WikiProject Report already had a small collection of previous interviews, but the Report appeared in the Signpost infrequently due to difficulties in finding editors with the spare time to conduct interviews and write the Report week after week. In 2010, I was part of a cadre of new writers joining the Signpost with high hopes for a renewal. We took turns writing the Report, resulting in weekly editions released with the greatest quality and consistency the column had seen up to that point. However, as real life took its toll on the time that other editors were able to commit, our weekly schedule was shouldered by fewer and fewer writers until only I remained. I have gladly held the torch for the past few years, but it was a huge relief when Buffbills7701 offered to carry some of the burden during the past five months. The Signpost could use many more writers like Buffbills7701, in this column and others. I welcome anyone willing to give it a try. Drop a note at the WikiProject desk and we'll find a spot for you in the schedule.
Following in the footsteps of our 2007—2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 retrospectives, today we're revisiting the projects we met in 2013. Where are they now?
Scholarly pursuits took center stage last year, ranging from the humanities to the physical and social sciences. WikiProject Linguistics introduced us to voiceless pharyngeal fricative sounds and the wide world of diaphoneme. WikiProject Heraldry and Vexillology showed us a variety of escutcheons and warned of the dangers of bucket shops. Meanwhile, WikiProject Psychology played on our darkest fears by calling out Wikipedia's articles about human intelligence as embarrassingly feeble minded.
Scientifically speaking, WikiProject Astronomy insisted that colorful pictures can't cover up the project's sourcing issues and typos galore. The experts at WikiProject Biophysics ran a contest and showed us how complicated an article can get. From Elements to Earthquakes, we had no shortage of sharp Wikipedians sharing their studies.
We turned to WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome for all the latest gossip on Nero. For their seventh consecutive year of WikiProject Report coverage, WikiProject Military History focused on their preparations for the 70th anniversary of D-Day coming this summer. The legal and philosophical musings of WikiProject Freedom of Speech opened our eyes to issues world-wide. In search of deeper meaning, we stumbled upon WikiProject Religion where editors touch upon a wide array of interrelated fields.
For the fun of it
For a project bridging the realms of technology and entertainment, WikiProject Television Stations spent a surprisingly long time discussing legal matters. For a more dramatic interview, WikiProject Soap Operas brought us a topic in which the British are clearly more enthused than their American counterparts.
In the world of computing, WikiProject Computing may be the oldest, but WikiProject Apple Inc. is king. On a software level, nobody can contest the success of WikiProject Square Enix.
For athletic pursuits, WikiProject National Football League brought the gridiron to life while WikiProject Mixed Martial Arts fought for attention. Handling the most grueling competitive sport we explored in 2013, WikiProject Chess showed they had what it takes to make it through the endgame.
Our forays into music were twofold. WikiProject Composers reminded us how passionately Wikipedia's editors defend their most prized material while our second visit to WikiProject U2 showed us a project where enthusiasm continues to grow even as activity waxes and wanes.
For a fun ride, WikiProject Amusement Parks won't disappoint. The hobbyists at WikiProject Philately have certainly put their stamp on Wikipedia's international coverage. WikiProject Wine offered us a taste of their struggles keeping articles about emerging wine regions on par with the traditional wine countries. WikiProject Fashion confided in us that they actually do a better job covering historical fashion than contemporary trends. And then there were the pictures from WikiProject Dogs, which really need no introduction.
Around the world
The WikiProject Report has a long history of traveling the world and 2013 added more destinations to the passport. From Norway to South Africa to Indonesia, we found Wikipedians hard at work. In the United States, the city of Pittsburgh and the state of Tennessee brought us local flavor while WikiProject U.S. Supreme Court Cases brought precedents with wide-reaching implications. In the Commonwealth, WikiProject Wales showed us an often overlooked side of the British Isles while WikiProject Australian Roads gave us an excuse to talk about roadsigns for kangaroo crossings. Tying all of our travels together was WikiProject Airlines, where the journey is as important as the destination.
We continued our Babel series, seeking out active WikiProjects at other language editions of Wikipedia. We played baseball with the Japanese and football (soccer) with Spanish-speaking parts of the world. We discussed politics in Turkey (but not exclusively Turkish politics) and mixed our nationalities with the French WikiProject Tunisia. We're on the lookout for other strong WikiProjects in other languages, so drop us a line if you know of one.
Each year, we find ourselves interviewing more and more WikiProjects that work behind the scenes, improving Wikipedia as a whole rather than focusing on a narrow subject matter. This year, six projects showed us how important these less-glamorous aspects of Wikipedia can be.
From the meta-data and usability standpoints, we learned plenty from WikiProject Infoboxes, WikiProject Geographical Coordinates, and WikiProject Accessibility. For infoboxes, the greatest concern was finding consensus regarding when and how infoboxes are used on articles, a concern that some editors feel very passionately about. With geographical coordinates, the big question is how to make the addition and correction of these useful bits of data more user friendly for the average Wikipedian. Meanwhile, the accessibility project shared their frustrations regarding the inconsistency of browsers and screen readers, but held hope for better standardization by organizations like W3 and WCAG as well as improvements to Wikipedia's interface.
WikiProject Good Articles gave us a detailed interview, highlighting the tireless work both by editors who write Good Articles and by those who review them. Today's Article for Improvement offered an interesting initiative to give greater attention to stub and start-class articles. WikiProject Editor Retention shared their efforts to make Wikipedia a more inviting place for editors to call home.
This year, we paid special attention to a variety of interesting topics. Our biggest splash was extensive coverage of what was then a little-known concept called WikiWork offering a way to measure a WikiProject's workload. Our coverage caught the attention of the Version 1.0 Editorial Team, and now you'll find WikiWork statistics included by default at the bottom of article assessment tables for nearly every WikiProject.
We solicited questions from our readers for a Frequently Asked Questions feature in April and presented lessons gleaned from inactive and defunct WikiProjects in October. Our final Report of 2013 featured the return of a popular special we originally ran in 2011, showing great project logos designed by the creative Wikipedia community.
Next week, we'll interrupt your local programming for a project with broad appeal. Until then, rediscover our wide coverage of WikiProjects in the archive.