This week, we jumped into one of the most important WikiProjects of them all, the Article Rescue Squadron. The WikiProject has an uncountable number of articles that have been saved from AfD. This week, we spoke with Dream Focus and Green Cardamom to learn more about what they do and how they do it.
What motivated you to join the squadron? Are there any articles that you have recently "saved"?
Dream Focus: I was there when everything changed, when massive numbers of Wikipedia articles were being mass deleted on a whim, and decided to try to help save some by following WP:BEFORE and looking for evidence of notability instead of just mindlessly spamming the word "delete" everywhere, as many often did back then. For the first years of Wikipedia you didn't need any references in the article, and then suddenly someone slipped in that requirement and then later on started enforcing it, more often than not refusing to do even a quick Google News Archive search to see if reliable sources even existed.
Green Cardamom: I've been active in AfD for about 2 years and over time noticed how much skill, time and resources are required when researching the notability of articles, not just Google but commercial databases and foreign language sources, plus an understanding of the nuanced notability rules. It is a constant learning experience, challenging and often humbling, but ultimately saving an article from deletion is highly rewarding.
What are the squadron's most pressing needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Dream Focus: Look over things up for deletion, and just pick something to check for sources for.
Green Cardamom: There are more articles being deleted than fairly should be.
Is there anything else you'd link to add?
Dream Focus: If people just followed WP:BEFORE, then a lot of articles wouldn't go through the needless AFD process.
Green Cardamom: Deletion serves a purpose and is needed but the process of determining that fairly is like freedom something not to take lightly. We can't forget there are real people on the other side of a deleted article (creators and subjects), with every unfair deletion - improper due diligence and misapplication of the rules - it erodes the project materially and the spirit of an egalitarian place.
Next week, we'll read about bugs from a Russian WikiProject. Also, if you have any suggestions for good WikiProjects, give us a piece of your mind at the WikiProject desk. Until then, check out the archive!