Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive15

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Featured Music Project

I'd like to announce the opening of the Featured Music Project, an attempt to encourage and facilitate successful featured article candidacies and peer reviews for articles on musicians and bands. You can help by evaluating articles, or by working on the articles that are already close to being ready for FAC. Tuf-Kat 19:28, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Common criticisms

Would it save some reviewing work if we were to add something up at the nominating procedure section that says, "The most common criticism of articles proposed for FA status is lack of inline citations," or something to that effect? (Assuming that this is in fact the most common objection). I haven't been following this page all that long, but it does seem to be a common problem, and even though it is explicitly mentioned at FA criteria, maybe we should emphasize it more. Kaisershatner 20:05, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Good idea... I'm sure we can come up with a list of the most common crits to add to the top (contributors are more likely to read it than WP:WIAFA). I'd say very common crits are: refs, lead section, length (esp. too long) and flow/structure... Mikkerpikker ... 20:19, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
It's already been done (twice) and is already linked from WIAFA. Raul654 20:21, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
And, no, I'd prefer not putting it here when the criteria are already linked (twice) from the top of the article. Raul654 20:23, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Those links are quite interesting, haven't read them before... I see your point but I do think Kaisershatner has a case - I've seen a couple of FA nominators who have not read WIAFA. It seems likely a "how to avoid common mistakes" link would be read more regularly than WIAFA because it will appear to be more utilitarian & "juicy". That said, I don't feel particularly strongly about this... just my 1/2 cent worth... Mikkerpikker ... 20:31, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Raul, I respect your preferences and I'm just trying to help. I'm not suggesting the criterion is currently underemphasized, just that it appears to me if it is being stated in a way that lots of people find easy to ignore. Listing it as the last point under how to submit a candidate would (IMO) make it unavoidable. Since around 10 of the 30 articles currently listed, and a high proportion of the "oppose" candidates, currently suffer from this flaw, my guess is that it would save labor to signpost this there, but I could be wrong, and in any case, you're the boss. If I were you, I'd try it this way as an experiment, but I'm not you(!!). Best, Kaisershatner 19:46, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
Here's what I don't understand - if people don't read the instructions in the simpler form as they already exist, why you think adding more will make nominators more likely to read them? Raul654 19:49, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Inline citations are not 100% necessary. A section can be coalesced from a plethora of sources. Use inline references if the data has to do with figures, can be controversial or pathbreaking. =Nichalp «Talk»= 06:44, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

If you are citing specific numbers, then yes, you probably should be citing a specific source. Raul654 06:46, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Raul, I have to apologize, since my goal is to create less work and here I am wasting even more of your time with this. My thesis is that the high proportion of FA nominees that do not comply with the WP:CITE requirement indicates that the current configuration of FA recommended criteria are written or presented in a way that enables people to ignore them. An alternative explanation is that no number of warnings or advice will prevent people from barreling through without meeting the criteria, but my view is that a more explicit emphasis on CITE, nearer to the "submit here" instructions, would cut the CITE violations down. But like I said, I could be wrong, and you may not wish to experiment with the process. Or it may not be enough of a bother to warrant a change in the instructions. Again, sorry to take up your time with this, I'm just trying to help. :) Kaisershatner 14:18, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Is it true that embedded links are an acceptable substitution for footnotes? Gflores Talk 18:24, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
No. They do not provide the date accessed, which is an important indicator so we can tell what the precise contents of the document cited were when it was accessed. Johnleemk | Talk 18:27, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I've seen several articles with little or no inline citations, but have several book references. Are inline citation required then? Gflores Talk 02:13, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
If by that you mean articles which just have a list of books at the end, then I would think that's more or less useless. What we need is some sort of indication which material in the article comes from which source. That indication could be Harvard referencing, or it could be ref tags- whatever floats your boat. Markyour words 02:37, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Quick question

How long should you wait before adding an article to FAC if it's received no replies at all on peer review? I ask because I've had Sydney Newman on PR since Monday, and nobody has shown any sign of responding to it. I have managed to get a couple of fellow Wikipedians to look at the article after I specifically requested them to, but I was wondering if I should give up on anyone finding it on PR now it's slipped so far down the page and just add it to FAC now? Angmering 22:57, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Feel free and move it any time, if PR isn't proving productive. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 23:44, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I shall do that. Cheers. Angmering 23:47, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

FAC is the new peer review, appen ;) --PopUpPirate 00:37, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Help me out here

I seriously do not understand HTML, and have no clue how to attempt to nominate a article. So I was wondering if someone else could do it for me. Who ever does, thank you very much . the article in question is They Might Be Giants. No, I am not being lazy, I'm just ignorant, thanks again. -Cody Schmidt 19:11, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

With all respect, I don't think the article would pass. It hasn't been peer reviewed, and was removed from the Good Articles list for lack of references. I suggest you request a peer review and work on adding inline citations first. If you need help with requesting a peer review, just ask. --Pagrashtak 03:05, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Apple Computers

Noticed it was nominated as a candidate by a guest, and promptly undone. Had a look at the article and it seemed rational for it to be featured. Not arsed greatly either way, but I think the nomination shouldve remained, the fact that a guest nominated it should be of no significance imho. And no it wasn't me! --PopUpPirate 00:46, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

According to [1], the link was red, so it was right of anyone to remove the addition. However, I would like to add that while WP:MAC is welcome to start or help a FAC, they have no right to take it down because "they" do not feel it is ready yet. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) Fair use policy 01:55, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Talk page length as criterion?

Some measure of talk page length or use may be useful as a measure of how well discussed an article is -- rather than being the impressively-arrayed (but potentially biased) ideas of a single primary talented (but potentially biased or directed) author.

The talk page of any truly high-quality article should be longer than the article itself, from the extensive discussion about what material to include, how to ensure that all important aspects are covered, verification of the contents, negotiation about how to appropriately represent different points of view, building of consensus over disputed points, etc. In all likelihood, there would be enough discussion that we'd already have archived it a time or two. Perhaps we should make this a requirement for featured article status. --Michael Snow 22:18, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if this should be a requirement -- it seems too random to me for that. But a useful warning sign, perhaps. +sj + 22:49, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I disagree strongly. Discussion can go on at user talk pages, peer reviews, in edit summaries, or any other number of ways. I don't think that all featured articles have to have talk pages as long as the article itself, or even close. — Scm83x talk Hookem hand.gif 22:56, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Not even close, actually. This is particularly true for articles on more obscure subjects, which sometimes are the "ideas of a single primary... author". —Kirill Lokshin 22:57, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

As a requirement, this is an awful idea. It's not even a good general indicator, because some articles, by their very nature, tend to generate a lot of talk, while others tend to be very quiet. Raul654 23:01, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

There are some articles where the talk page is a red link until the Peer review or FAC process starts, so I also like to suggest that this is a very, very bad idea. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) Fair use policy 23:16, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

The quality of the article is the only criteria. Anything else is a ridiculous idea --PopUpPirate 23:39, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, agree with what has been said against this proposal. We want great ARTICLES not great (or long) talk pages. Besides, if we add this as a criterion ppl will just talk for the sake of talking to get above the threshold. Mikker ... 23:42, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, it's not really relevant, but I often feel that the worst articles from the perspective of readability are those with the longest talk pages, simply because they are often the product of horse-trading amongst warring editors with little thought given to prose or readability amid the more contentious issues. –Joke 23:45, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

referencing

On the Talk:Big Bang page, someone recently warned that the article was at risk of being put up on WP:FARC because of poor referencing (actually, I just looked and someone has added references). Certainly, if it went up on FAC in the state it was in a week ago that would be a contentious issue.

I realize that referencing is an important issue for verifiability on Wikipedia, but in some high-level articles, I've always felt that the subsidary articles (i.e. for big bang these would be articles like cosmic microwave background, history of the Big Bang, big bang nucleosynthesis, dark energy, dark matter, ultimate fate of the universe etc...) are the ones that really need the references. Is it OK to omit references in sections that refer to a detailed carefully referenced article (in this sense, that article could act as the reference)? Moreover, nothing is in the big bang article that isn't in at least a dozen textbooks by now, so can't it be treated as more-or-less common knowledge? You don't need to reference the statement that "the colors of the American flag are red, white and blue" so why would you need to reference a statement like "oxygen has an atomic number of 92" which, while not known by everyone, is not exactly the sort of statement that anyone would claim is difficult to verify?

A good while ago someone added a tag to the physics article that it needed references, and I recall having a similar reaction. –Joke 23:59, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Mmmm... as the someone who recently warned the Big bang article, I should probably comment. Firstly, the best place to discuss this issue is probably Wikipedia_talk:Verifiability since as the policy currently stands ("Information on Wikipedia must be reliable. Facts, viewpoints, theories, and arguments may only be included in articles if they have already been published by reliable and reputable sources. Articles should cite these sources whenever possible. Any unsourced material may be challenged and removed") all articles need refs and changing that is a policy issue, not a FAC/FARC issue. Secondly, although I see your point wrt citing "obvious" facts, I don't think big bang falls into that category. I doubt very much most people know, say, "Huge advances in Big Bang cosmology were made in the late 1990s and the early 21st century as a result of major advances in telescope technology in combination with large amounts of satellite data such as that from COBE, the Hubble Space Telescope and WMAP". This is certainly not widely known and is unreferenced. Lastly, the cost of referencing is minimal (some time spent looking it up, add ref etc.) whilst the uninformed reader gains an easy way to find out more and check our accuracy. Mikker ... 00:19, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Referencing is a big deal, imo as long as it's proven to be verifiable then whether cite.php is used, or Harvard, or inline, whatever, it doesnt matter. --PopUpPirate 00:47, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Right, I agree with you. I don't care which style is used (for that is a matter of taste) but WP:V is non-negotiable wrt a FA candidate. Mikker ... 01:06, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Man, sometimes I lose faith when I ask a multi-paragraph question and get a one sentence answer. I'm not disputing WP:V, which I think is one of the most important policies Wikipedia has. I am wondering how it applies to well-known facts. For example, not one sentence of the leader of the article Canadian federal election, 1993, which was recently promoted to FA status, is referenced. This is all well-known for any Canadian, and it would be absurd to reference it. So obviously, there is some kind of a balance being drawn, between referencing to the point of absurdity and not referencing at all. –Joke 01:21, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Note: the one sentence answer was to PopUpPirate's remark, the response to what you posted is to be found above and below. And I realise you're not challenging WP:V, I'm just disagreeing with you about when a statement is obvious 'enough' to be unreferenced. I'd say your Canada election example does need a ref - we're not all Canadians. Hell, some of us are from all sorts of strange places and many of us don't know anything about Canadian politics. We're not writing for a Canadian or North American or even Anglo-American audience, but for anyone anywhere in the world. Mikker ... 01:34, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand that. Sorry, I was a little frustrated by PopUpPirate's remark. In any case, I don't know if the consensus of Wikipedians is that those sentences need an (explicit in-line) reference. In any case, I have posted at WP:V, following your suggestions, to solict some more comments! –Joke 01:41, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with some of this. I agree that verifiability is an issue of the utmost importance to make Wikipedia a credible source. I'm not disputing that, I'm talking about two very specific things here:

  1. If a "top-level" article refers to another "lower-level" article in a section, through, say the Main template, and that article is thoroughly referenced, does the top-level article need to repeat the referencing of the lower level article? Can Wikipedia draw on Wikipedia as a source, in this limited circumstance? This is not an issue of verifiability, if the lower-level article is carefully referenced.
  2. Academic referencing has two main purposes. The first is to reference statements the reader may not have heard, so he knows where to look for more information. The second is to properly attribute the work of others. Therefore, it is usually not necessary to attribute very widely known information. Can the same be said for Wikipedia?

The example you give is a perfect one. Hypothetically, if Big Bang were up on FAC and someone mentioned the statement

Huge advances in Big Bang cosmology were made in the late 1990s and the early 21st century as a result of major advances in telescope technology in combination with large amounts of satellite data such as that from COBE, the Hubble Space Telescope and WMAP

is unverified, the nominator would probably google "COBE", "Hubble Space Telescope", "WMAP" and "cosmology." It would be trivial to find a reference, say to CNN.com. It would accordingly be added, an oppose vote would change to support and everybody would be happy. But does adding random references really benefit Wikipedia? The statement about "huge advances" is known by virtually every physicist and astronomer, and could be verified by any number of sources:

  • The popular press
  • An article in Physics Today, Science or Nature
  • Citing the original papers (HST, COBE, WMAP...)
  • Textbooks or historical books
  • Something more clever, like an of the number of academic papers mentioning cosmology over time

But the fact is that it is well known and accepted, and hopefully the reader that continues on and reads the whole article will come to accept this fact. From the standpoint of verifiability, it doesn't seem to matter which is used, but from the standpoint of the reader who actually looks at the footnotes, it probably does matter. Perhaps not everything needs to be referenced, or the encyclopedia would become unwieldy. It is already becoming somewhat confusing for editors not familiar to Wikipedia to edit highly-referenced articles, because of the profusion of Wiki markup.

Please don't take this as a rant against referencing in general. Anyone who has seen my editing knows that I write thoroughly referenced articles. My point is that there are a couple specific issues where guidance is lacking. Since they seem to come up occasionally, I thought I'd stir the pot a bit. Maybe I'll go over to WP:VJoke 01:00, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm not so sure it would be trivial to find a ref for the sentence I mentioned. I tried your google search ([2]) and didn't find anything that would count as a good ref for the sentence in question. Also, I'm not saying we should ref every single sentence, but we should cite all statements that are not widely known (or "surprising" or "possibly contested") even if there is a satelite article on this issue. (readers might only read big bang, not the other articles.). Besides, not referencing is problematic wrt NPOV. Mikker ... 01:17, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I think we basically agree, except that we don't agree on how "widely known" ought to be defined. I posted some remarks at WP:V, following your suggestion. –Joke 01:41, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree that we basically agree! :) Will go & have a look @ talk WP:V. Mikker ... 01:58, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Joke on this one. There are occasions where "common facts" are disputed and references are asked for even though the information is well-known to experts in the field. Encyclopedias are written differently from research papers which rely on citations to guide readers to research along the lines of the writer. Looking at other examples of encyclopedias, there isn't nearly the obsessive emphasis on citations as there is on Wikipedia. This is a major problem. Just because there isn't an inline citation for every sentence in an article doesn't mean that the article is poorly referenced. Wikipedia:Summary style could be seen to conflict with the general trend seen in Wikipedia of editors completely unfamiliar with material demanding references to summary style articles. --ScienceApologist 01:43, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

This clearly needs to be sorted out: does something not need a ref when it is "well-known to experts in the field"? I was under the impression that it was, but, anyway, I'll have a look again at WP:V, WP:CITE etc. to see if my interpreation isn't wrong... Mikker ... 01:58, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, clearly Wikipedia ought to have more thorough referencing than most encyclopedias make sense, because the editors are anonymous and the encyclopedia can only establish credibility through verifiability. Nonetheless, there has to be a line drawn somewhere! My rule of thumb is that things that are commonly known to experts in a field ought to be accessible in a list of standard references (such as textbooks) provided in the article, and can go without an in-line citation. Other, more obscure facts, or statements like "In 1984 X and Y did..." probably ought to be referenced. –Joke 02:11, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

This is a fairly big issue. Relentless use of inline citations is...ridiculous, it makes articles hard to read, and harder to edit. On the other hand, a reference work written by "anyone and everyone" poses its unique problem with establishing trust in the material. This is the same issue that is I think a core problem with the current Stable versions debate (locking/defaulting to "checked" articles)--where everyone wants to protect "good versions" but no one is clear or even really discusses how to identify them. Usually, non-fiction begins with trusted writers, and then goes through FORMAL editing, copyeditng, factchecking. This I can't see ever being the case for WP, as in the "formal" part, usually hired, specifically skilled, individuals who are accountable, and a publisher who is also accountable in a hard credibility=cash economic sense. So on one hand, we can let readers check just about EVERYTHING, with citations galore, and that becomes just what you get used to when reading (and editing) WP. Or, things are set up on more conventional lines, with a bibliography and inline citations only where really necessary (probably more in some subject areas than others) WITH the premise of WP made clear to the reader and they're on their own (much as it is in practice right now). Going the former route seems like things will get very complicated as citation density grows, broken citations multiply and so forth... Logically, the latter seems preferable, as I can't imagine people wanting to use an encylopedia where they actually feel they have to routinely check multiple pinpoint references in order to fully trust an article. It's a puzzle... --Tsavage 03:15, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I think this is a good rule of thumb. Use footnotes only for disputable or detailed information; anything commonly known in the field or just common knowledge can be corroborated by a single good text in the references. Johnleemk | Talk 08:08, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Use common sense. One of the worst overreferenced featured articles is Mark Felt. A glut of footnotes makes the article too scholarly and makes reading more difficult. =Nichalp «Talk»= 04:58, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, but "common sense" is...variable. And in any case, look at this fully-loaded current FAC, Cape Horn, or the recently promoted Schabir Shaik Trial, where the citations abruptly cease a third of the way through (the editor said he gave up). This is apparently what is being encouraged, inadvertently but nonetheless, by the current interpretation of the FA criteria. I don't know what if any the trend is at large in WP, but if FAs are leading the way... Maybe it'll pass... --Tsavage 05:24, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I ("Cape Horn dude") get your comment. Do you mean that Cape Horn overdoes it? When I put Panama Canal up, I got dinged for stating a couple of facts without references, and I had to go and add them in. I actually think that this is the right approach, because it certainly aids verifiability if the reference is attached to the fact, not just a "blanket" ref at the bottom. Also, I don't feel that citations (footnote-style) disrupt the text; plenty of books have lots of inline footnote refs.
Anyhow, I guess I feel I'm getting mixed messages from the FAC process. This is an area where I feel WP has a big problem: insufficient documentation of standards. MoS doesn't cover this half well enough, and I just found this discussion. — Johan the Ghost seance 14:38, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I think that even the top-level articles like physics need some references and citations, though probably not as many as other articles. Just to throw a specific example out there, see Music_of_the_United_States#Music_education -- I can't find a cite for anything in that section. I guess I really think there should be a cite or two (I would expect one in an equivalent section for Yemen, for example) but for the life of me I can't find anything to cite. Tuf-Kat 05:13, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

In my opinion top-level articles can reference general books, like text books. For more in-depth articles I would expect more focused sources, preferably online sources. I want to be able to fact-check things quickly and it is relatively easy to find a general physics textbook, and even easier to verify an online source. Every single fact in the article should be found in the references, but not every fact requires a footnote (only quotes, opinions, disputable claims). The biggest flaw, in my opinion, with the Wikipedia referencing system is that for that info that is not footnoted, it is difficult to find where the info came from in the refences. I would like to see annoted bibliographies with a sentence or list telling me what info I will find in that reference. I do not like wasting time reading 5 sources looking for something that is in the 6th. --24.65.161.43 08:06, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Yeah, annotating reference lists (when things aren't obvious from the titles) is very helpful, for broad topics especially. Christopher Parham (talk) 08:02, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Idea/suggestion: General References section

How about having a (required for FA) General references section (General+Other/Notes), where one or a few main sources that cover most of the material in an article, are listed. This would seem to have a couple of advantages over the non-structured approach. First, it is easier to check/discuss/debate the general verifiability of an article by having the core sources clearly indicated and available to be critiqued. Second, for some people at least, it automatically gives an article more credibility (references perceived as more comprehensive, comprehensible, accessible, than having only dozens or more pinpoint citations). I haven't thought through the various types of articles, but it seems flexible enough to apply across subject areas and article levels within them. And, even if an article were to be built from dozens of different, non-overlapping sources, there seems likely to be some source where the general principles of the topic are discussed, so finding that as part of the writing process can't be bad. And there's always special case flexibility, if some odd case comes up... --Tsavage 22:42, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I've been doing this fomr some of the articles I have written like Short-beaked Echidna. I use inlines for specific facts (in this case original research), and list general works I also consulted but didn't directly quote in a general refs section.--nixie 23:44, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes, that sort of thing! It might even be worth having an explanatory note in the ref section, like, "citing only original research", which would vary by type of topic. In any case, yeah, I find it does make it much easier to get a reading on the sources to have them clarified. Referencing isn't even that well understood by university students, to expect the general public to get something out of all this, things should be made clear!! I don't think that's "too much to ask" for FAs, if we're asking for refs... --Tsavage 21:56, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Unresponsive administrators

Does Wikipedia have a bias against certain topics? If I am wrong, someone please correct me. I recently nominated my article 1996 campaign finance scandal to the FAC page only to have it dumped in the archive only 5 days after submitting it. Other articles have remained on the FAC page for up to two weeks. I originally received 3 objections, but managed to convert 2 of them to "support". What is up with that? The article was removed by Raul654. I sent him a message asking him his reasoning, but he has neglected to respond to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jayzel68 (talkcontribs)

Raul is an administrator, a bureaucrat and an arbitrator so he's a pretty busy guy. I'm sure he'll respond as soon as he can. Mikker ... 18:13, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
...not to mention a graduate student with Real Life Problems (TM) that occasionally demand a lot of my time (like a project due this monday). Anyhow, I've restored the nomination. Raul654 02:23, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Isn't 5 days normal for most articles? Some stay longer but most discussions just last 5 days. I think you want to be a bit more careful about accusing the system of being biased - you appear to have jumped to this conclusion based only on your unfamiliarity with the process. Worldtraveller 15:13, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Reference Font Size

Is it a requirement that references be in a smaller font? Or is it just general practice or something. Is it okay to object based on references being in a smaller font size? Making the references smaller is bad for accessibility reasons and visually diminishes their prominence, IMO. Miss Madeline | Talk to Madeline 17:55, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

No, smaller font sizes is not a requirement, it is something of a general practice. I agree with you that font sizes can be too small (it should be at least 85% IMO) but I don't think you should object to a FA candidate based solely on the size of its ref font. Just enlarge it yourself (I've done this many times & I've never seen a complaint about such a change). Alternatively, simply recommend enlargement. Mikker ... 18:07, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I believe the practice developed as a result of concern that the "Notes" and "References" sections were getting too large. Another approach would be to avoid adding references to every sentence, [1] and clause [1] but it seems very much the vogue[2] [3] today[4]. -- ALoan (Talk) 19:39, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
With the new citing format, we could help compress the size of the references by compressing repeating references to 1abc, etc. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) Fair use policy 20:32, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't know that it's so bad for accessibility reasons. Don't most web browsers allow you to specify a minimum font size to use? –Joke 19:44, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

This is one of those things best left to the article writer's discretion. Using smaller font in the references section is good for some articles (the ones with 30, 40, or more references), but not for others. And no, I don't think an objection along these lines is particularly compelling. Raul654 02:15, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I think it would be better to tag all the references sections with smth like <div class="references">, and have the CSS or maybe the mediawiki do all the work behind the scenes. Such as reducing the font, maybe if some user preferences ask for it, maybe only for the screen rendering, but not for printing; maybe counting the references and doing this only if there are more than 5 references etc. The way currently each article that does the font change specifies their own shrink factor is really bad IMHO. --BACbKA 11:29, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. What on earth is the problem with notes and references looking large? If an article needs references, it needs references. Pcb21 Pete 11:39, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't really care either way. To me it makes no difference what size the references are, as long as they aren't excessively small or huge. I think it would be rather ludicrous, though, for articles to fail on FAC just because of intractable differences regarding font size, with one fellow demanding they be in smaller font, with another insisting that the font size be the same as that of ordinary text. It's ridiculous. Johnleemk | Talk 13:08, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Orphaned!

I'm trying to figure out what's happening with my FA nomination, Thrasybulus. It was taken off the page along with a number of others the other day [3], but it hasn't been either archived or promoted. I assume, based on the final state of the discussion, that it passed, but there's no way to know that for certain. Is this typical delay, or has it slipped through the cracks, and, if so, what should I do about it? RobthTalk 02:24, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

It was removed by Raul654, so it was either promoted or failed (if someone else had removed it, it should have been reinstated). If it had been promoted, he would have added it to WP:FA and WP:GO; since he did not, presumably it was failed. However, looking at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Thrasybulus, I think it should have been promoted: perhaps there was a mistake? It is worth asking him directly - we are all human.
I think Violetriga is currently the one who goes through after the event, adding the {{featured}} template to the talk page of the promoted ones. Presumably someone is also adding {{featured article}} to the articles themselves, to add the dinky star. HTH. -- ALoan (Talk) 10:53, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I seem to be facing the same problem - the Pink Floyd candidacy was removed from the FAC by Raul654, but not archived or logged, and it's still listed as a current candidate on the Pink Floyd talk page. Since being removed from the FAC one oppose has changed to support, and the 2 other opposes still haven't re-evaluated. I've left messages for Raul654 but haven't heard from him. I've really worked hard on the article, several hours a day addressing concerns since it was listed, and I'm a little worried it's just going to get lost in the shuffle. Any suggestions? - dharmabum 20:44, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

No worries, Raul missed my message, the article got lost in the shuffle, and I got panicky. :) - dharmabum 23:29, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Checking references as REQUIREMENT for FA promotion

With all of the focus on inline, pinpoint citations, I think that it should be practice for every FAC to have its references checked. At least one reviewing editor should state, "I've checked out the references, and they...check out." Online sources can certainly be directly verified. Books and other media may be more difficult, but at least their existence can be verified. What I'm suggesting is that, TO A REASONABLy THOROUGH DEGREE, references be EXPLICITLY vouched for for each FAC (especially considering the additional FA requirement of inline citations). Otherwise, we're only paying lip service to WP:V, by accepting appearances as reality (I can point out several recent FACs, some promoted, where checking the refs pointed up serious problems, including blatant misrepresentations of the source material, scholarly disputes, and more.) --Tsavage 06:11, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

In principle, I support a requirement for some formal references validation during the peer review and/or FA promotion. However, I am unsure if all the references could be checked without significantly increasing the time an article spends in the review phase --- some may be in different languages, some only available online by subscription, etc. Finally, this borders on not assuming good faith. What wouldn't hurt for sure, is a suggestion for the reviewers on the PR/FAC reviews to VOLUNTARY list the refs (or maybe the approximate percentage of the refs present in the article) that they've checked. If this works reasonably well, later a requirement in the spirit of what you've suggested might be worked out. --BACbKA 10:04, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
The best bet would be to do FAC review sitting at a university library, since a lot of these FACs use text book refereces. The trouble is, I do a lot of my reviewing during spare moments between work... which makes things tricky. Fieari 16:38, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't know if I'd agree with making it obligatory, but recommended would be nice. I've often considered coming up with a way to monitor which references have been double-checked, using the talk page. Tuf-Kat 17:16, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Good in theory - in practice, impossible to do. (see also Raul's 3rd law) Raul654 18:41, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I always do this for the online sources before I support any article. I try to use google to verify info that is not in the online references. Very few articles initially pass this test. --maclean25 19:58, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Agree with others. This is very desirable and so, as Tuf-Kat suggests, we should note when it has been done - it is a real bonus for a page. However as Raul points out, we are sadly not in a position such that is going to happen very often just yet thus to make it a FAC requirement now would destroy FAC :(. However I agree we should push verification as a good idea and then one day it can become a FAC requirement. Pcb21 Pete 20:41, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree this would be great to encourage, but not a good idea to enforce yet. Tuf-Kat's idea is a very good one, and a smooth system that could indicate the user that verified the source and the citation to it would be very valuable. Ideally it would autolink the the oldid version of the article that contained the verified citation so that later changes to the article wouldn't invalidate the verification. A subpage may work for this for now, but a better system could really help with accuracy in our articles. I considered asking for such a system to be added to m:Cite/Cite.php, but maybe there's a better way to do it. Ideas? - Taxman Talk 16:52, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Just a follow up to that, systems to check that citations have been used correctly are part of m:Wikicite that is in the planning stages. m:User:Jleybov, who is proposing the system also is willing and able to implement it. S/he is currently looking for input, but also pitch in on the code if you have the skills. I can't think of much more important to the long run reliability of the project. If we can demonstrate citations have been checked several times and by who, we can finally lift out of our current unreliable state. There's nothing wrong with being a work in progress unless we never take the next steps. - Taxman Talk 17:11, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't see any disagreement here with the principle of requiring for FAs inline citations that are actually accurate. Unfortunately, the "consensus" seems to be, nice idea, but...impossible!? Assume good faith doesn't apply much, because referencing is difficult on various levels (time-consuming, requires a certain extra degree of good editorial and academic judgement, and so forth); I'm not talking so much about deliberate attempts to mislead, but variously inept or sloppy use of citations, encouraged by the FAC requirements. To have a requirement that would seem to make FAs "better", when actually, without verification, only makes articles "look better", seems a little hypocritical, IF we already know that the citations are likely to be quite uneven. Of course, this situation CAN be addressed. A step forward in evolution would be to conform the requirement a little more to reality, like: General references covering the scope of the article are required. Inline citations are required as necessary to clarify controversial statements, direct quotes, and assertions that may not agree with the conventional academic understanding of the topic. It's a little less rigid, more realistic. The clearer and more practical the "rules" are, the better they get used... Just a thought... :) --Tsavage 20:44, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I do agree that it might be a good idea to refine the FA criteria. I don't agree with the first part (that general references covering the scope of the article are required); the second part of that is good, but I'd also add that any data (data, numbers, statistics and such) should be referenced. (E.g, if you say America was producing a liberty ship every 24 hours during during WWII, that sentence should have a reference). Raul654 20:50, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I think we all agree we are requiring accurate citations, just that you can't force people to do the necessary checking. Under 'trust but verify', it would need to be editors independent of the article's authors, and how can you force people to do that? If we could get a group of editors willing and able to commit to checking a certain percentage of the citations in every FAC that has a reasonable chance to be successful then we might have something. - Taxman Talk 17:11, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

question

How is it that people are always responding to stuff on this? Its great of you guys, just commending your dedication to making sure articles are great. Is there a crew of people who frequent this like the help desk, or is it just random who objects?--Urthogie 16:11, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

A little bit of both, methinks. Johnleemk | Talk 16:22, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
It's for everybody. It's not always the case that an article gets a lot of response; some are left rather in the shade (Olga Rudge recently comes to mind, as an example of a fine and neglected article), while more controversial or "noisy" articles may get a surfeit of attention. If you've got the time and inclination to help, Urthogie, plese read the short instructions for supporting/objecting on the project page, read the slightly longer but pretty manageable FA criteria, and jump in there! Bishonen | ノート 16:33, 22 February 2006 (UTC).

How does an article pass from candidate to featured?

The intro section to this page mentions what happens to failed candidates, but not the mechanism by which one can succeed. Is it simply a case someone observing that a candidate has been around for some time and all objections resolved, or is there a more rigorous system involving appeals to the gods? — Steverwanda 16:29, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

It's mostly a matter of addressing all actionable objections. If an article keeps getting objections, but also keeps getting worked on and the objections change to support, more time can be given. Once an article sits around for a while with objections that haven't been fixed, it gets taken off the list. If it sits for long enough with support, it gets promoted. Kafziel 16:35, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
This is a monotheistic system. There is one god, and his name is User:Raul654, and the articles whose every objection hath been resolved come spontaneously unto him to be beatified. Bishonen | ノート 16:39, 22 February 2006 (UTC).
LOL... "The Raul! The Raul decides who will go and who will stay!" Kafziel 16:45, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Wait so lets say no objections are raised but the article is crap...Raul won't promote it will he?--Urthogie 17:20, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Um, duh. Although I've never seen such a situation occur. Johnleemk | Talk 17:26, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Don't worry, Urthogie. There are always plenty of us around to object to crap. :) Kafziel 18:04, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Raul654 requires a minimum level of support before an article is beatified (canonised?). In any event, there is always WP:FARC. -- ALoan (Talk) 19:47, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Just as there seems to be a game amongst wikipedians, known as "Who can revert the vandalism first?" which is highly competitive and often difficult to beat the dedicated players, who I've seen revert vandalism in less than thirty seconds, there's a similar game with featured article candidates. Being more detailed, more specific, and finding more faults is a competitive sport around here, which accounts for the rising standards for featured articles. That isn't to say that we don't appreciate articles we don't have to object to... heck, we love those even more, because those articles increase the quality of wikipedia. But by sturgens law, as mentioned above, it's been pretty constant that roughly 90% of what comes through FAC isn't ready, and with those articles, nitpicking can be fun, and beneficial. Heck, because of our nitpicking, many of these articles then get improved, and become featured, so that can only be seen as a good thing! Fieari 19:14, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Urthogie - I'm honestly not sure what would happen. There's a lot of good article reviewers on the FAC, and your question presumes that all of them drop the ball at the same time. It's an unlikely scenario to say the least. I assume that when I review a nomination, and it gets a bunch of supports - particularly from the people I know are good reviewers - then I trust that they know what they are talking about. Raul654 19:20, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Here is a situation that is not hypothetical, [4] one non actionable objection is raised, (which really was silly) no other necessary criteria are missing (Peer review is not essential) or was the disinterest shown to this page just a one off. Please no-one feel the urge to re-nominate it - I haven't the time or inclination right now, it's just that it seems to me a bit tough to have FAC failed on a talk page that has not truly been FAC'd. Yep, I know I just write boring pages! - but at least they make me happy. I just wonder if any other page has had similar treatment and if others think the resultant FAC failed is fair - had she been a stripper - who knows? Giano | talk 19:40, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I'd say that's a great example of why peer reviews are important. They're not required, but that objection would have been dealt with in the peer review instead of the FAC, and you would have had all the time in the world to fix it (or not fix it, as the case may be). Not a bad looking article, by the way. Kafziel 19:46, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
That's actually the converse of the situation Urthogie asked about. Urthogie asked if there had been a situation where an article was promoted when it shouldn't have been (a 'false positive', what in statistics is called a type 1 error). I know of no such case. A false negative - an article that wasn't promoted when it should have been (statistical type 2 error) - has been known to happen occasionally. I know, for example, that several times Johnleemk nominated music-related articles that were more-or-less ignored. No one opposed, but few (if any) supported either - so I didn't feel comfortable promoting. While uncommon, it's not an unknown occurance either. Raul654 19:49, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Template:GAF nominated for deletion

{{GAF}} has been nominated for deletion. It just occured to me that I should mention it here, as the use of the template is directly affected by FAC outcomes. Pagrashtak 03:01, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Starship Troopers

This article is extremely close to FA status. It has had two peer reviews and was unsuccessfully nominated earlier this month. The nomination failed due to a lack of copyediting, which I and others have been working on without rest. :) Would any of you 'regulars' zip on over and take a look? I'm asking on the Talk Page because I don't want to nominate an article twice within the same month unless it's got a really good chance of passing. Palm_Dogg 06:21, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Featured Music Project

I'd like to invite everyone to participate in the Wikipedia:Featured Music Project. The Featured Music Project is an attempt to improve a large number of articles on musicians to make them ready to be a featured article. To sign up, put your name under one (or more) of the eight categories on the status page, such as the discography, format and style or lead section. No more than once a month, you'd be given an article which is getting close to being ready for WP:FAC, and is only deficient in a few categories. You'd do what you can in the section you signed up for (and, of course, anything else you like). If a couple of people specialize in each category, we should be able to take some concrete steps towards improvement on a wide range of articles. In addition, you can sign up as a "shepherd" to take articles that meet all the criteria through a peer review and (hopefully) successful candidacy. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a note on my talk page, or on the FMP talk page. Tuf-Kat 06:23, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

FAC Time

What's the normal time a FAC remains on the project page? We're approaching 40s FACs, and some have been there for a month. Temporary account 01:36, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I try to give all nominations at least 5 days on this page. Raul654 02:02, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
As I understand it, if objections are actively being met, or debate is raging with the potential for consensus to be reached, Raul leaves the page here longer to let things run their course. When the candidicy reaches stagnency, then it's removed. Fieari 02:31, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
That's a good way of putting it :) Raul654 02:34, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Several users have been complaining about unreferenced articles getting nominated and how to address this. This problem is directly related, as the slew of nominations that are obviously not going to succeed are bulking up the list. I'm thinking out loud here, but what if we had a template like this:
Thank you for nominating a article to become featured. Unfortunately, the article does not contain any references, as required by item 2(c) of the featured article criteria. If the article is still unreferenced 48 hours from the time this message was written, this nomination may be summarily removed. Once you have added a reference, please remove this message. Tagged by ~~~~.
The idea is that the first editor to review a FAC submission notes that the article has no references and adds the template to the nomination. If an article had a reference section without inline citations, the template would not be appropriate, as it would be quite feasible to improve the article. I'm intending this for completely unreferenced articles. If no one has the motivation (or ability) to add a single reference within two days from the first editor's review, I think it's a pretty reasonable assumption that the article will not pass.
This has two advantages: first, the number of FAC submissions that will most likely not pass will be reduced, making the page more manageable; secondly, this will raise the general awareness of criterion 2(c), a concern other editors have expressed, without creating a permanent duplicative link.
Again, this just popped into my head, so don't murder me if it's a bad idea. Pagrashtak 02:48, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Fieari's answer is an OK summary. I'd be more blunt and say that Raul654 determines how long a candidacy remains, and the reasons are in the end knowable only to him (he decides "consensus", which means determining what's "actionable", what's "actionable and has been resolved", and so forth). Also, a "..debate is raging with the potential for consensus to be reached" situation often (if not usually) involves fairly massive article revision, so it's not as if one or two sticky areas are being "debated". As time goes on—weeks, a month or more is not uncommon—new reviewers are commenting on different versions of the article, the nominators are commenting about their "fixes", original objectors (if they stick with it) are reassessing the article over and over, and this can tend to keep the "raging" going on. Sometimes Raul654 cuts if off sooner, sometimes later... That's how I see it. --Tsavage 03:48, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Does Raul simply count the votes and pass a FA? Or does he weigh in the importance and validity of each vote? And what if there's not much discussion going on for a FAC, does him read the article himself and then decide? Any editor in chief here? Temporary account 23:36, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

He looks for two things: (1) Are there at least a few people supporting it? (2) Are there any major unresolved objections? --Carnildo 03:41, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm sure he also evaluates comments by experienced FAC reviewers. =Nichalp «Talk»= 09:20, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Raul can remove Glacier retreat (which I nominated and has no concensus for promotion) and archive the nomination page. I have commenced a major overhaul anyway.--MONGO 09:24, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
If you glance up this page and the recent archives here and on User talk:Raul654, there are items relevant to Raul654's role in FAC, including his (IME rare) explanation of his decision (to promote) on one long and drawn-out FAC (Celine Dion). From observation and some of his comments, I'd say in tight situations (e.g. very few votes, strong and detailed objection by a minority, minority opinions of "trusted" nominators and/or reviewers), Raul654 in fact acts as an "editor-in-chief", by interpreting an objection and then applying his own judgement, which, essentially, means (a) his own view of what the objection is is about; (b) that his interpretaion of the objection has been met. Everyone has equal "rights" as an editor to decide stuff, but every other editor doesn't have the right to promote or close a FAC nom (hence, the "-in-chief"). Simple example, I say, "poor writing throughout, example X, Y, Z." Examples X, Y, Z are changed but nothing else, article is suddenly promoted, no further follow-up possible. It's a high-volume business and consensus is a difficult thing to pin down: "not unanimity, not a vote"... --Tsavage 16:39, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Our featured article of the day has legal problems

Triumph of the Will has a gallery of fair use pictures. There was a notice at the bottom of the article before it was featured on the main page asking readers to view Image talk:1936NurembergRally.jpg and the article talk for a discussion of the various images' copyrights, which appeared to imply the article's images are PD -- a rather poor excuse for not just tagging them as such and uploading them to Commons, which is for galleries (Wikipedia is not for galleries of images). However, the article talk only stated:

Now from what I gathered from discussing both with Riefenstahl and with producer at Synapse Films (they released Triumph of the Will on DVD in the early 2000's) copyright status can and has been avoided in various "versions" of the film (on DVD or VHS or in screening rights). These are versions that may have been held, like the one in the Library of Congress that Synapse utilized as 'public domain' or may have been edited slightly to avoid (is that the right word ?) infringement on Transit (or Riefenstahl for that matter). I have no idea how accurate these claims are but it may help explain why you have so many differing opinions on this matter of who, if anyone, holds the film rights.

The image talk page however, had the input of someone from the German Wikipedia, who stated:

In deWP we tag PD only images older than 100 years. The reason is the fact that nearly all pictures are to be evaluated as photo work and so a protection of 70 years pma is given.

Template talk:PD-Germany, which was cited by the discussion as evidence that the image was PD, has a notice at the bottom stating that the template was TfDed due to terribly inappropriate wording, and this was only rectified by altering the template's text. Furthermore, Image:1936NurembergRally.jpg is not even used in Triumph of the Will. From this, I believe we should assume the images are not PD, as there are very stringent laws pertaining to public domain images, especially in Germany. (There was a discussion on IRC earlier about whether the images are PD -- a British statute was cited, which stated that all German works imported into Britain between 1939 and 1951 were in the public domain, but the film was first released in Germany in 1935. Furthermore, as Wikipedia is hosted in the United States and the Wikimedia Foundation is based in Florida, I believe only United States law applies to it.)

Surprisingly, this troubling issue of fair use/weak claims of public domain, was not addressed by the FAC which passed this article. When it was first suggested for the main page, I brought this issue up. The article was nevertheless slated for the main page. Indignant, I complained in more detail on the TFA talk, and on the article talk. Now today, lo and behold, the article is on the main page, with my complaint having been totally ignored! Since apparently people think this can be just brushed aside nonchalantly because, y'know, them Nazis ain't ever gonna' sue nobody for using their pictures, I've made this excruciatingly detailed and long comment, and I will cross-post it to wherever I feel relevant. See also Wikipedia:Fair_use_review#Images. Yes, I know, some will scream m:Avoid copyright paranoia. However, we have insisted on removing fair use images from people's talk pages, even though there is a zero chance of being sued for their use (really, will the US Democratic Party sue us for using their logo in a userbox?), so why should we brush this off when an article supposed to be our best work and appearing on our gateway to the world so blatantly violates the provisions of fair use and/or the definition of a public domain image? Johnleemk | Talk 15:09, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Linkage between WP:TFA and WP:FAC/WP:FA doesn't seem to be too popular a concern... Or maybe it's just this subject? --Tsavage 18:37, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Wow

Opening Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Bulbasaur for editing, I see a sentence reading, "This page is 131 kilobytes long. This may be longer than is preferable; see article size" (emphasis added). I haven't even bothered to add up the previous FAC nominations. Keep going like this, and we'll surpass Talk:Bogdanov Affair and its voluminous archives. Anville 16:41, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Out of curiosity, what's the problem with the length? This concern was also just brought up in the review itself, again citing the article length/32K thing. I pointed out that the WP home page is over 160K by my measurement the other day. And this isn't an article. I think it's important to see the whole discussion. At times in "long ones", things do clearly veer off-topic (see the last Beethoven's 5th FAC), but otherwise, it should all be out there, and everything seems on point here.
The long discussions I've seen/participated in IMO needn't have been so protracted, but that's the process (as it's being handled). When Raul654 arbitrarily reset the last Bulbasaur FAC, it seemed only to slow things down even further (and was kind of unfair to the process, throwing out valid votes for "other" reasons). It would seem better to cut things off earlier, "erring" on the side any reasonable objections when necessary, then having a cooling off/revisions period of maybe a month or two before renomination. There's no rush to FA, these articles still reach the same audiences, often they're in the top 10 Google results for the topic... Nothing wrong with a shorter, sharper quality review for "the best that WP has to offer". --Tsavage 23:54, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with it, per se. (All right, I'm cheap enough to think that an article I nominated on a much more traditionally "academic" topic got less coverage just because fewer people were willing to scroll down past the Bulbasaur discussion, but never mind.) I'm just a little...boggled. That's a lot of text!
I agree, generally speaking, with your "no rush to FA" comments. Anville 08:42, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, my next adventure (time-permitting, and I seem to be making MORE TIME as the season's change...) is to nominate something here. And I suppose I too might be annoyed at scrolldown obstructions, depending on my thinking at that point. :) But isn't this more of an argument for moving the process along a little quicker, not overindulging article improvement at the expense of the overall queue? If an article generates a fraction of this debate over a significant period (like a couple of weeks), and one side or the other isn't clearly off topic, isn't that reason enough to decide "no consensus" and move on? Seems...practical to me. (And I'd like to spend more time on more FACs as well.) (Also, why not move B down to the end...it's had consecutive months of review already...) --Tsavage 16:43, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

I, also, agree. The FAC process should be more of a quick yea/nay vote. However, it appears the current FAC process is acting more like a Peer Review process. --maclean25 17:48, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

FAC is supposed to be a discussion, not a vote. Johnleemk | Talk 18:09, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but I think in this case that's just quibbling with words. What is the term for "a FAC review, preceded by 'support' or 'object'"? Around here, it usually seems to be called a "vote". Regardless, consensus may not be unanimity, nor majority, but whatever it is, it is still a determination of overall group opinion, and if that opinion is clearly divided along reasonably founded yea/nea lines, then non-consensus seems clear. Whether such a situation changes is mainly a function of time (discussion over time, editors engaging over time), and I think the time should be more explicitly limited (in practice as well as in the guidelines and "usually at least five days" comments). --Tsavage 18:29, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
It's not a vote because they aren't counted numerically. An artcle could have 5000 people supporting it for "featured" status, but if I objected due to image copyright problems, and the problems weren't fixed, the article wouldn't become featured. --Carnildo 06:42, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

FAC Director to make comments in "unusual" nomination situations

An improvement to the process would be to have the FAC Director comment when extraordinary actions are taken. I find, in my case, and in many comments here in Talk, and in the reviews, a major consideration is "What is the FAC Director thinking, how does this thing work?" Unusual actions isn't a long list, and could be specified:

  • super-extended nominations While "fixing actionable objections" to a degree seems a good thing, when wholesale revisions are called for and the nom is going beyond double or triple the current "five days" (i.e. beyond, say, two weeks), a specific explanation of extension should be provided. It is a consensus process, and the reasons could help that process...
  • promotions against standing objections The actual decision-making reasoning obviously has to deal with this, so noting the reasons shouldn't be much extra work (e.g. "finding: three standing objects all objected to poor prose, not founded [IMO, in opinion of several support, whatever"]).
  • promotions/failures with very few votes Cases where only a couple of votes are involved (I can cite recent cases).

This is certainly not an attack on the FAC Director (Raul654), or even a proposal to change the position, only a motion for clarity. This could be a on request thing. FAC seems to go through a black box, and if you agree/disagree with a result, it's really up to you to speculate or appeal somewhere else. Therefore, while the decision is the ultimate end, keeping its rationale uncertain doesn't contribute to refinement of standards, and if anything, creates confusion for every unclear, unexplained case. A bit of transparency in a consensus environment can't be a bad thing. (I'm also increasingly aware of, as much as I try to avoid it, the "swirling undercurrents" amongst various editors, and manipulation in various ways, not necessarily BAD ways, but to...prove points, I guess. This doesn't make FAC determination easier, and Director comments could be the basis for further turmoil, but that's only speculation. Clarity should trump all else...) --Tsavage 16:55, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Raul654 likely just doesn't have the time to explain everything. Maybe he could designate some other user equally experienced in FAC (Aloan, Taxman, etc.) and shares his reasoning style to provide comments and speak for him. This would cut down on the suspicion/stress/uncertainty accompanying FAC discussion/consensus-seeking. Saravask 22:38, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
<blush> I would not presume to attempt to explain the workings of Raul654's mind. Raul654 seldom does anything here that is that controversial, if you understand the following rules of thumb:
(i) Any nomination will be given a minimum period (around 5 days).
(ii) Nominations with significant actionable objections that are clearly not being resolved will be removed after 5 days.
(iii) Nominations where the nominator or others are clearly working to resolve objections will be given one or two more periods of around 5 days until it is clear whether a consensus to promote is crystallising.
(iv) Nominations with a consensus to promote (minimum of around 4-5 supports) with no significant actionable objections will be promoted; otherwise, eventually they will be removed.
Clearly those rules of thumb give Raul654 a significant degree of discretion (whether an objection is "significant" or "actionable", whether an objection has been "resolved" if the objector does not strike it out, whether there is a consensus to promote). Fortunately, it is difficult to wikilawyer with Raul654's head, although it does not stop people trying... -- ALoan (Talk) 13:05, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
The phrase "Raul doesn't have the time" is often used when this sort of query crops up on this page. Really this is a proxy for "Raul doesn't make that many mistakes, even though he works quickly. When he does make mistakes they are quickly rectifed and no damage is done. There is evidence from other areas (XfD) that committee decisions don't work any better, so why bother changing what essentially works?" I have some sympathy with this view, but it also smacks of that dreadful curse of reluctance of change which (amazingly, given the medium) abounds on Wikipedia. If having two or three people make decisions, and thus do with more documented care, makes for a better process, then we should go for it... and we will only know if we try.... Pcb21 Pete 16:06, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
The process at WP:FLC is much more collegiate (Filiocht and I did much of the admin initially; jguk took over for a while; now there are several people who do it, particularly Rune.welsh recently). As I understand it, WP:FPC also works on a collegiate basis, with no FPC-tsar. But I think both of those have much lower traffic and generally much clearer cases than WP:FAC. By way of counterexample, Jeffrey O. Gustafson has become the de facto WP:FARC-tsar, simple because he has done almost all of the admin work for a while.
On the other hand, WP:XfD and WP:RFA are both busy and often contentious, but they are closed but whoever gets there first.
Shrug. Is the FAC process broken? Do we need to fix it? -- ALoan (Talk) 16:34, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I think your last line is an example of what I was talking about :). Indeed there is nothing really broken about FAC. But that is not say its impossible to improve it here and there - if it were perfect we wouldn't get messages like the above. This all may be moot anyway, I can't imagine too many people would want the dubious privilege of all the extra work :). Pcb21 Pete 17:57, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't think FAC is broken, I do think that it can be improved. Is it such a delicate mechanism that it can't be touched, barely even questioned? My overall practical view after going on four months here is that a hand comes down and plucks noms out of the queue and some make it, some don't. The rules of thumb are quite clear (especially when listed as above), and many or most decisions seem straightforward, but in a number of cases they're not. In "unusual" situatons (as noted at the top of this thread), shedding a little light on how the criteria are actually applied would seem to be helpful to all editors. It'd still be a final decision, just with some clarity. Right now, I often feel that I'm arguing in front of a judge, rather than discussing with a group of editors. --Tsavage 21:21, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
  • The way it works is more or less in line with what Aloan has outlined above, and that's been discussed several times on this talk page in the past. I'd like to see a littl stricter holding to the 4-5 supports myself, but it's not a big problem. Overall I don't see the major problem. We could write up a more specific promotions guideline page, but that removes the flexibility, and replaces it with a rigid, useless system. Overall, I just don't see the major problem here, but I suppose it could be helpful in some cases if Raul added notes on why he made some of the decisions he made. - Taxman Talk 21:40, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I would argue that FAC is broken and in need of fixing. It doesn't seem to serve any valuable purpose beyond choosing articles to stick on the front page. Or maybe we just need another category of excellent articles. I've long been saying the same thing. Exploding Boy 21:45, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
You haven't said anything useful about what's broken. What would another category in addition to featured and good articles add, and why would the extra overhead be worth it? Even if it was only about choosing the articles for the main page, since those are very visible, it is important they are of a high quality. Many people's first introduction to the project is through the main page article. But the more important thing it does is get editors together to agree on best practices and standards for great articles. That helps make other articles better by improving editor's skills, including by offering specific things that editors can do to improve articles. Finally it is a motivation to make some truly great articles by giving some well deserved recognition to great work. Not everyone responds to that, but for those that do, they increase the quality of articles we have. - Taxman Talk 22:01, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Note how again, you say there is no "major problem", as ALoan did above. But you did concede there is possibility of improvement. The reluctance to try to make that improvement is, in some ways, quite extraordinary. If it (it = making notes occasionally) doesn't work, we can always revert.... Pcb21 Pete 13:29, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Shrug (again) - there is an opportunity cost to changing the process, and will be an increased overhead if extra requirements are added. Although the process may not be "broken" in the sense of not working at all, an "improvement" suggests that the process would work "better" if it was changed. I did not mention it above, but as Pcb21 says, Raul654 is always open to being reasoned with if someone thinks he has made a mistake. -- ALoan (Talk) 15:08, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
There's a kind of defensive arguing at cross-purposes here. Whether we say it's broken or not broken, "incremental improvement" to the process seems to be practical common ground here. This thread suggests providing brief explanations to clarify some FAC decisions. The thread below siggests tightening up on the nomination period to reduce drawn-out nominations that clog up the works. Many of the commenters I think are supporting these basic things, two IMO small tweaks, neither of which involve any change in rules or general process. Why so much talk and arguing, and little will to take some action? What is the opportunity cost of either of those? What we might be losing is 1-2 month, 100K+ FAC noms, for one... --Tsavage 01:42, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

What FAC is not

I am pissed off of recent flurry of poorly written article nominations, possibly done in haste and as vanity drive.

  • FAC nomination is not WP:AID
  • FAC nomination is not WP:PR

It is nomination.

IMO an article that cannot be improven by adding 2-3 extra commas must be rejected outright, as a misguided nomination, and directed to any avenues specifically designed for article improvements: the ones mentioned above and various notice boards and wikipedia portal announcements. Talk to collegues. Whatever.

So I suggest that during the nomination only a version timestamped by the nomination date must be considered. If failed "as is", come back in one month or so. mikka (t) 21:07, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Just object and comment "refer to peer review". Enough of those and the nomination will get removed quickly. For articles that are very good, but need the last few things to be fixed, the fact is the FAC process is very successful at identifying those and motivating the nominator to fix those issues. In the end we're after better articles, not seeing how quickly we can get them through the FAC process, so I see nothing wrong with the way it is working. For the articles that aren't close to FA quality, yes, we should discourage those listings, but again, "Object refer to peer review because a, b, and c", works just fine. - Taxman Talk 21:31, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Taxman: I agree with mikka's suggestion, as far as moving things along more quickly, and disagree with your "works just fine". FAC reviews tend to drag on far too long. and there seems to be no limit on how much editing and rewriting is permitted in service of "fixing actionable objections". Tempers fray, editors are confused, good feeling and FA quality suffer. If we speed things up, quality and editor satisfaction ought to improve. --Tsavage 22:49, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Ok, now I get it. I see some of your point, as bigger changes are asked for/allowed, frustrations rise. You both seem to be requesting earlier removal, but if objections aren't addressed and clarified, how will they be fixed satisfactorially so the article doesn't come back with the same problems for the next nomination? I'm not sure quicker removal is the answer. Either way the problems need to be clearly laid out and it made clear the article is not there yet. But for that, the quote I gave above still is the way to do that. Give specific advice and recommend fixing them before nominating again. From experience I can tell you as practical advice, don't spend all your time upfront on a FAC review. Pick the highest priority issue that is the problem mention that and perhaps a couple others. If those are satisfactorilly handled, then dig in depth to see if there are more. If not, note it's not fixed and why. I don't generally get much flac on my objections because I've spent time with the criteria and I know right away what an article's faults are and I can back up how an article doesn't meet the criteria. That keeps the stress pretty low. - Taxman Talk 00:32, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Taxman: You've packed a lot into your answer. If you haven't been watching FAC over the last three-four months, check the archives, or look at Bulbasaur. Several reviews have lasted for weeks, and, including rapid renoms, even MONTHS. Celine Dion (promoted) and "Hollaback Girl" (failed) are typical examples of this, and there are more. The mind-boggling size and usually poor behaviour in these "long ones" affects ALL noms. How can some articles be left for a month or two, while others are removed more quickly if they're showing any sign at all of being "fixed"? This happens. Editors caught up in long reviews also have less time to review more articles. Keeping FAC review periods tight would likely eliminate all of this, and give each article its even break.
You also advise leading an objection with the biggest concerns, and then digging for more if they're answered. This suggests that some noms need major work, but under the "fix all actionable objections" approach, it becomes a game, where you wear out "opponents" by going after the various problems piecemeal. I've done this (and watched others do the same): concerns are stated, examples are provided, examples are fixed, more examples have to be furnished, and on as long as the nom lasts... That's like FA-by-numbers. It usually doesn't lead to quality, instead, to bloated, hastily patched articles. And it wears the hell out of determined editors. Tighter time limits (which the "rules of thumb" already indicate) would seem to solve this problem: objections presented up front, illustrated only as necessary, followed by a round of changes within the week or two, and if objections remain...fail. Renom another day.
Finally, you say, "I don't generally get much flac on my objections because I've spent time with the criteria and I know right away what an article's faults are and I can back up how an article doesn't meet the criteria." Flak from whom? I'm not quite clear on your full meaning: Is there an absolute "right" interpretation of the criteria, one which the FAC Director operates by, and others can learn? If so, I haven't seen it. I have seen several promotions made in spite of standing objections that seemed clearly stated, on point with the criteria, and actionable. The reasoning behind decisions to prolong, promote or fail are not made clear (such as, the reason for leaving, say, Bulbasaur on and on...despite what seems like obvious non-consensus). Requests for clarification are usually not answered (IME). FA criteria are in fact broad and open to interpretation: if we are trying to collaboratively establish practical standards, and improve articles while identifying the best, we need to know about the final interpretation that ultimately determines the result. Some decisions need a note of explanation.
I don't think FAC is broken. I do think observing stricter time limits (which precludes wholesale article revision while on FAC, unless it's done quickly), and more transparency in some of the less obvious final rulings don't seem like huge steps, should make things a lot more efficient and enjoyable all round. And I'm certainly not the only one suggesting this. Thanks for the time! --Tsavage 01:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Even more points to respond to. In short, I think Mark will read this and reallize more people are asking for ending the long dragged out noms earlier. For the other points, leading with the biggest concerns isn't to wear people out, it's a pragmatic time saving measure to see if the nominator will address it or not. If they do, then I spend the time on the detailed analysis. If I know the nominator is seriously interested and able to fix everything I can find, I won't bother with that method. In both cases I always mention a word or two on all the problems upfront, I just may not expand on them in detail until I see if they're being worked on. The way I wrote it above was probably a little unfair and misleading. The "perhaps a few others", should have had the perhaps deleted. As far as the flak, I mean what Temporary account is referring to below, the supporters arguing with your objection. There's not an absolute right interpretation to the criteria, but it's not nearly as nebulous as people think either. Maybe the only reason I think that is I have been doing this for so long and I have a very good idea of what Mark is looking for. Maybe we should develop a more detailed version of the criteria as a more in depth guideline, but I worry that will just result in a lot of wasted time working on the wording of that and not improving articles. As a limited version of that to focus on the most common problems, I have put together User:Taxman/Featured article advice. Let me know what comments you may have on it if you have time. - Taxman Talk 13:34, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, that's a nice ideal and I agree with everything (I'll reread it and comment there if I get a chance). But I suspect it's preaching to the pretty near converted. You should ask Kafziel for his opinion on it (see below). --Tsavage 17:48, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah some FACs just linger around for a long time. Personally I think a article that is nominated for FA should already be "almost" faultless in terms of content, grammer, citations, and references. But what I see here is that people just nominate sub-par articles here with obvious shortcomings, and then we have to make bunch of comprehensive objections and then worse, argue with those who support the article. The process just drags on and on. Temporary account 02:41, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
But that's the thing - you don't have to make a bunch of comprehensive objections. Nobody has to work this page at all. I do think peer review should be mandatory, but even then there are going to be plenty of articles that need fixing when they get to FAC.
By that same token, I think the standards some people use are a little absurd. These articles are written by committees of strangers with different opinions and no accountability to one another, they're frequently vandalized, they're edited by children and people who barely speak English, and they're almost never protected in any way, even after being featured. It's amazing that we can get anything done at all. The goal here is to recognize the best Wikipedia has to offer, not the best articles in the entire world. Relatively speaking, considering all the absolute crap on Wikipedia, even articles with a few flaws can be the best we have to offer.
If voting here pisses you off, why do it? Who wakes up one day and decides his life's goal is to put an end to all mediocre Internet wiki articles, to rescue the world from the horror of having to read a page that doesn't use the latest citation format? What disaster is averted by keeping articles from having little stars on their talk pages? The ultimate goal for any featured article is to be displayed on the main page... where hundreds of others will vandalize the shit out of it anyway. Kafziel 14:23, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Kafziel: Uh-huh. I read your comment like this: "If you don't like it, go home... Or if that advice doesn't work for you, how about: Don't take stuff like 'the best that WP has to offer' and 'compelling, even brilliant writing' too seriously. Do you think we really expect all that from a free-for-all zoo like this? We're just nice geeks having some fun with stars...what do you expect?!" Nothing personal (really!), but it's easier to take that view when, say, an article like Invasion is suddenly promoted with two standing objections. One of those objects was mine, and, while the improvements were good, I wasn't given a chance to respond, which I wanted to, and the determination was made for me, based on what? The article is better for the objection, but IMO it's not reasonably great. If this is just a club, post the membership requirements and we can get on with it... --Tsavage 17:42, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Though I must say, "edited by children and people who barely speak English" made me laugh out loud. Your view of the web — "middle-aged men pretending to be 14-year-old cheerleaders" (or something like that) — is quite hilarious... --Tsavage 18:56, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, it looks like you get part of what I'm saying. I definitely feel that editors here (and on other pages, like Requests for Adminship) take this all a bit too seriously. I know that sort of thing happens on the web all the time, when a cool project gets gummed up by self-important people who want to turn everything into a paramilitary group run by (who else?) them. People tend to be overly critical and even obnoxious in ways they would never dare in real life; the anonymity of the Internet allows them to throw common courtesy out the window and—a first for many users—feel like they're in charge of something or someone. So if you understand that I'm saying that, then you understand some of what I mean.
What you don't seem to see is that I'm not the one who's saying this is a "club" with "requirements". My whole point is that we shouldn't be so elitist as to tell people their articles don't even deserve a moment's consideration. That they're not worthy of our precious time. I've seen plenty of articles like that on here; but if an article really isn't worth my time, I don't write anything at all. Because it isn't worth my time. Chances are, someone who hates it less than me will post some constructive criticism and it will be improved. If not, and by some fluke it actually become an FA... so what? Am I going to scream and moan and rend my garments? No. It's a victimless crime.
If a featured candidate does need a little work, I'll often try to work on it myself if I can. If there's something you don't like about Invasion, go fix it. I didn't write it, I just nominated it and tried to improve it as best I could. The fact that it became a FA has no impact on my opinion here. It wasn't my article. Spawn Man's behavior on that FAC was a great example of just how rude people can actually be, but it wasn't the first time I've seen things like that and it won't be the last.
The same anonymity that allows you to tell people their articles suck also allows other people to decide that your opinion isn't important, and to promote articles along the lines of general consensus without consulting you. It's a two-way street. I'm definitely not saying we need to promote every stupid article that comes our way, but I also don't think it's right to make people jump through a hundred flaming hoops just to earn the right to be graced with your (or my) biting criticism. Kafziel 19:23, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Aaaaargghhh!!!! Just kidding... I understand all of what you're saying (it was all quite clear to me from your Bulbasaur support). I don't think any of us here really think that differently from one another. But, um, approaches, differ. I tend to be more of a literal pushing things to see what we can do type. You take a more...philosophical view. I think that children and marginal ESL students should still be "compelling, even brilliant" if they wanna get a star. Within reason... And, time limits should be tighter. And FAC Director should explain. --Tsavage 20:28, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the ability to write brilliant prose or speak flawless English is not a concern here. Grammer and word choice can be fixed very easily. What's more troubling is people (native speakers or not) who don't evaluate FAC critically or have biases for some subject or another, and that somehow blinds them into offering blind supports for FACs that are clearly sub-par. I don't want to name names, but please see Bulbasaur discussion to see what I am saying. Temporary account 00:55, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

The draconian measures suggested by mikkalai are a bad idea for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that they simply ignore the reality of the situation - that most of the articles that do end up getting promoted are not "within 2-3 commas" of being promoted at the time they are nominated. They also flatly go against the idea of using the FAC to get suggestions for improvement. While FAC isn't for the heavy duty jobs that peer review is supposed to take care of, there *is* supposed to be an element of feedback and improvement. His suggestion totally flaunts that idea, which is why his idea is a bad one. Raul654 16:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Raul654: My interpretation of mikkalai's proposal is not as literal as yours. I take it more as an extreme expression of a general frustration with certain types of noms, characterized by strong support for pop topics written along "media coverage" lines, supported mainly by media sources. These are usually, songs, movies, actors, musicians, vid games, and the like, and they do require a different approach, in writing and in criticism, than more standard encyclopedia fare. I don't think we need more rules or finger-pointing, just a tweaked FAC method. The two things I've been suggesting and requesting, as my...concern level rose as I participated in a few of "these" extended noms, is that the FAC Director enforce time limits more aggressively, and explain some of the decisions. They work together (and work for all FACs). Keep people in the dark, and create unsettling circumstances (unexplained extensions, promos, failures), and of course editors will get edgy and less effective. IMO. Thanks. --Tsavage 17:09, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
That's correct. Mine was not a proposed amentment of the policy here. It is just a voice of serious concern about what's happening here. Also, I see a great increase of self-nominations, read: vanity, and therefore a tendency to twist arms of reviewers by all means. mikka (t) 18:33, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I think setting a 1-2 week maximum is better, so it tends to "self-select" those articles that make to FAC. Compare to other former FACs such as Donkey Kong (arcade) or Sino-German Cooperation, by the time these two arrived at FAC, they were almost faultless in terms of having the necessary citations, contents...etc, except some minor changes or grammar fixes that were easily fixable within a few days. But some now just drag forever, and I think it undermines the whole point of FAC process. If a FAC has serious or obvious shortcomings that can't be fixed within a few days or couple weeks, take it down and open up a peer review or do something else. 40+ FACs on the page is becoming an eyesore. Temporary account 18:14, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Another thing to add is that keeping them up for too long makes it hard to keep track of objections that have been addressed, new objections, supports...etc. Fresh nomination is always better. Temporary account 18:21, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Ecaxtly. The ones who voted "oppose" have to waste their time to periodically review the shapeshifting article. I'd say, after getting 3-4 serious 'different objections, no matter how quickly the eager author fixed them, the nom must bail out into a second round, because this means that the article was cooked raw and who knowns what else sits there. It is just like buggy sofrware: if you see 3 bugs right away, you will need 7 weeks to fix remaining 30 which you don't see now. mikka (t) 18:33, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that a shorter time limit for articles on WP:FAC would be a good idea, actually. We should refer articles to WP:PR more often if they have obvious faults. The problem with that is that article on FAC get much more scrutiny than articles on PR. -- ALoan (Talk) 19:09, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I'll conceed that lately I haven't had as much time to clean out the FAC as I used to - blame my OS professor for giving us crushing assignments one-after-another. However, in the long term worst case, the situation should clear up within 2 months. Raul654 21:20, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I'd rather keep one person promoting in order to be consistent, but I'd be more than happy to remove the noms that don't have a prayer, and suggest that the nomination be listed at PR. I see 9 on the page now that are in that position. I also don't think it should be a free for all, just maybe a few people to take the load off you. - Taxman Talk 21:50, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I disagree strongly with the suggestion that the revision as of nomination time must be the only one considered. However, I like the idea of removing an article with three or four strong objections. (There should be no hard limit, of course, to avoid instruction creep.) I've never seen an FAC that passed after getting so many objections (presuming of course, those objections are well-grounded). Just send it on to PR in such a case. Btw, I think this satisfies Raul's non-heavy duty jobs ideal. Any article with three or four major objections is going to have to undergo a serious rewrite, so it's best off on PR. We need to be driving traffic there, anyway. Johnleemk | Talk 19:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I know we're talking in generalities here, but is this 3-4 objections or 3-4 objectors? Just to be clear. --Tsavage 19:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I'm making lots of typos. I did mean objections. 3-4 dudes may point at one and the same eyesore. mikka (t) 21:05, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that noms shouldn't be welded to the nom version, considering a reasonable number of fixes sounds fine. Not letting review periods go long should handle all of that. A link to the original nom version should be part of the nomination note, as a reference (a suggestion that I think was maybed accepted or at least not shot down right here a few weeks back). It's more transparency, editors coming in late can if they like more easily see what's gone on and make sense of existing discussion, even though they're reviewing the current version. --Tsavage 19:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Don't take the time scale so literally. I just think that for a good article that has "self-selected" to become a FAC, one to two weeks is a reasonable time frame to solve and fix any problems. Plus, when a nomination drags too long, the article tends not to be fixed at all; most of the actions (fix, discussion...etc) occur within the first few days of nom and then die down. Temporary account 19:12, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
If more people commented at WP:PR then this whole thing would be less of an issue. --PopUpPirate 21:52, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Seeking Specificity in Policy over at Wikipedia:Featured article removal candidates

Ahoy all! There is currently a poll taking place on here about defining a set time period after an article's promotion to featured status for initiating a FARC. Thanks! --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 04:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh for the love of pete. There's no need for a poll. Keeping in mind that FARC is not FAC, just use your good judgement and remove rebound noms when they happen. Raul654 04:15, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

How about we open up a poll regarding how long a FAC can remain on the page? Temporary account 04:07, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

No, this is an awful idea. Raul654 04:13, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

(Edit conflict)

One: This isn't about length of Farc nomination (that standard is two weeks). Two: There does not need to be a set limit for FAC noms: by its very nature, putting a limit is pure Folly. --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 04:16, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

instruction creep --PopUpPirate 10:14, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Maybe we need to cut to the chase and have a policy that says "We will never have 1000 FAs" :). Pcb21 Pete 13:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh, but we will - the continuously positive ΔFA in Wikipedia:Featured article statistics shows that FAC has always outpaced FARC to date. But the ΔFA seems to be have been stuck at 30±5 articles since April 2004: perhaps FAC is not scaling well? -- ALoan (Talk) 15:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I think it is clear it is not scaling well. But hidden in that 30 number is the fact that articles that are clearly not going to make it do get removed quicker than they used to, as do some promotions. The FA rate is only declining slightly, from a high of .11% of articles to something like .09%. But the scaling issue is on the number of people willing and able to make accurate assessments of the nominations. Some nominations receive very little commentary now. I'm not sure there's a way to make it scale better--you can't force people to review articles more and more accurately or only nominate better articles. - Taxman Talk 15:37, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
The net change is a bad indicator. The gross number of new FAs has risen steadily per month. However, the number of de-featured articles has increased, as older unreferenced articles are removed, thus obscuring the absolute increase. I predict that the expectations for what constitutes a featured articles are levelling off, and that the number of FARCs will ultimately decrease. Raul654 15:44, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the levelling off prediction. This isn't the abyss we're approaching, just discussing how to get a little closer to the goal. The FA standards are high, the "average FA quality" isn't as. It'd be dismal if the two didn't keep approaching, but there is a practical limit to what an encylopedia article can/should ever be, and I don't see that as changing unless all of WP radically reshapes into something completely different. Requirements can't keep rising forever. At some point, FA process and quality should be just fine. --Tsavage 20:56, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm afraid I don't agree with you Raul, FARC is going to increase dramatically in the next few months as more and more page do not meet the ever increasing spec, take for instance George IV (ignore the obvious rubbish about which I left a message on the talk page today) It's a great informative page by Emsworth, no less, (could do with a tidy as Emsworth has not been back for a while) but would it pass FAC today in that state - no inline citations at all? So how long before pages like this turn up on FARC, OK this one Emsworth can attend to if he wants, but how many editors have just disappeared. Losing the high profile, that FA confers, of a page like this will benefit no one. Giano | talk 19:42, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
    • You evidently missed the part where he says that expectations of FAs are leveling off. I think he's right -- what's after this? A picture of the book cover for every book cited? Even better writing? A 100kb worth of detail? I can remember the time when you didn't even need references to pass FAC, and I don't think our standards have increased very much. Most articles on FARC are there because they weren't maintained after passing FAC or because they are hold-overs from brilliant prose/pre-references FAC. One should also recall that people on FARC are generally reluctant to de-feature an article just for lacking inline citations. Johnleemk | Talk 19:47, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
      • Maybe, but you could've made the same sort of arguments at any time since FAC was created, IMO. But as we have seen standards have continued to rise/become more strait-jacketed. I don't really see any reason why the next six months should be different. The argument seems a bit "640k should be enough for anyone" to me. Pcb21 Pete 16:26, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
        • I don't think so. Footnotes have been an established part of academic referencing for a long time. It makes sense that copyright policy (regardign fair use, etc.) would become more stringent over time. So it would not have been as ludicrous as one might think to have said at the time, "One day we're going to need to use footnotes and proper fair use images to pass FAC". But what comes after these things now? Is there some aspect of academic citation or copyright law we've missed? (Maybe one day we'll exile all fair use images from articles altogether...) These are the only areas where I've seen really increasing standards. Writing standards have generally been the same, and comprehensiveness has not changed all that much. Most FAC standards have remained almost the same as they were, say, a year ago. Johnleemk | Talk 16:54, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
    • I think the best thing to do would be to leave them as featured articles - they're not hurting anyone - and create a project page for improving crumbling FAs to bring them back up to where they belong. List articles with problems and start fixing them. It's the same thing being done in FARC, but it avoids the bureaucracy of the FARC and, later, the bureaucracy of going back through the FAC process again. The article stays featured, it gets a facelift, there's no arguing and voting... everyone wins. Kafziel 19:52, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
      • Gosh - if you think FARC is bureaucratic... -- ALoan (Talk) 20:31, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
      • I disagree with "protecting" old FAs. Once an FA, always an FA... Why? I say, let the process take its course. I agree that "expectations" will level off. Too many rules and protections and other support processes just gums up the game, soon we'll need wikilawyers for real, just to navigate. It's not going to turn into a revolving door, FAC-in-FARC-out. For one, that doesn't sound like much fun. For two, I do think the system will even itself out and if there's a short-term trend to this sort of thing, it'll be dealt with in the reviews. If inline cites don't mellow out, editors will start to defend a sane approach to references, a couple of reasoned objections in a FARC and...no consensus. And so on... I think it's important just to do the TWEAKS more responsively, the little improvements, so even the more fanatical editors keep at it. And more actively limiting nom periods and providing some explanation are not in the end not a big deals, IMO just little adjustments, particularly in the majority of cases. --Tsavage 20:44, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Promotions heldup

I understand that an unusual number of FACs are taking longer to resolve problems and develop consensus, but why is the promotion of a few already-set-for-promotion cases held up? Also, a lot of those having problems need to go back to peer review - no need to keep them here. Rama's Arrow 20:26, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Raul noted above that he's currently busy IRL with "crushing assignments one-after-another" in one of his college courses. I'm sure the uncontested noms will move on shortly. Slambo (Speak) 21:43, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

some articles appearing in current FAC have been archived, so why do they still appear in the current FAC? BlueShirts 02:11, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for addressing concerns and resolving the issue! Rama's Arrow 15:42, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
My article got more useful, valid, constructive feedback after 10 MINUTES on the FAC list than it got in two WEEKS on the Peer Review area...and that's despite me posting a request to Peer Review onto the talk pages of around a dozen related articles! If that's typical then realistically, sending a failed FAC back for Peer review is kinda pointless. If the editors couldn't/wouldn't/didn't fix the problems addressed by FAC comments, why would peer review help? SteveBaker 00:30, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
FAC isn't for heavy duty jobs though - it's for polishing a mostly-finished article, not tearing it down and rebuilding it. Raul654 00:32, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

lack of response from objectors

there is 1 object on the Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/The Illuminatus! Trilogy page. one by andrew levine has been addressed, but he now doesnt respond to the comment on the FAC page, or comments on his talk page, to see if all is good. one by jkelly - i requested clarification about the nature of the issue from jkelly, again on the FAC page and on his talk page, but zero response. i understand a single unstriked object will make a candidacy fail, so what to do in these situations where objectors dont respond?

A single objection need not sink an article. If it is fixable, fix it. If not cite your reasons clearly. If the objector fails to review your response after a set period of time, then the FA Director may consider the objection to be stale and ignore it. =Nichalp «Talk»= 14:22, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

A question on Bulbasaur

This article has been promoted to FAC, I was wondering how it got promoted when none of the objections were addressed, only continously attacked in an attempt to dimish the objection, 8 different editors had raised objections. The objections included missing information and reference links that failed. There was 23 support votes, is this how FAC works Gnangarra 03:39, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I am surprised too, I am going to ask Raul on his talk page. Temporary account 03:41, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I see no problem with it being a FA, but that's just me :) Some of those fixable issues should have been addressed before promotion, true. Deckiller 03:45, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Anyone ever hear that joke about the teacher who passed a failing student so that he wouldn't have to deal with the student anymore? I sense a FARC in the future. A long, long, drawn out FARC. Pagrashtak 04:26, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I thought the idea was to find consensus, not take the input from all the helpful FAC reviewers, and then one person decides what's actionable, what's fixed, what counts and what doesn't. That seems more like a judge or an editor-in-chief than a...finder of consensus. The other problem is, on FARC "consensus" seems to work more like unanimity for removal, so once an FA, especially if the article has lots of support, it's...forever. And on to the front page... --Tsavage 06:11, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
This is definitely a new low in wikipedia history. It's ten times worse than the revert wars on controversial pages, because at least they are about something with evidence BlueShirts 06:24, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I really don't understand the decision. The page is ALL PLOT SUMMARY, with fan pages as references. Definitely still sub-par compared to other FA in my opinion. Any plan for FARC? Temporary account 07:06, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Get over yourselves. Bulbasaur passed FAC with more examination and criticism than any other article. If every single FA were subjected to the astronomically high bar the article's ardent objectors set, we would have maybe one or two articles left. Stop being bitter. RyanGerbil10 07:56, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
We're not bitter at all, at least I am not. I am just very interested in Raul's rationale. True the article has lots of in-depth examination, but it's not taken seriously in my opinion, and our objectinos are reasonable, and reasonably critical. Temporary account 08:06, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Did you know that the artist responsible for the design of Bulbasaur and other pokemon characters has an article about him on Wikipedia, Yet we requested that there be some information about the developement of Bulbasaur and the response was Believe me I have tried but it just isnt available. How did I find this out I went to Pokemon.com (one of the article referrences) bounced through a few pages looking for early information and a name was mentioned so I came back to wikipedia to see if he is mentioned anywhere and Voila. Maybe the rest of the information requested is also available. The editors should do some more research. Gnangarra 08:20, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
The quote Trust me - I've been trying but that information just doesn't seem to be available. Donald and Mickey have changed a lot over time but Bulbasaur just hasn't :(. --Celestianpower háblame 15:46, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't want to start a "thing" here, but if you found your objection so easy to fix, why didn't you? If you felt that the editors weren't properly addressing objections, perhaps you could have spent less time inflating the FAC to 131 kB and more time fixing the article. Sigh... I fear I've said too much. And perhaps beitter wans't the correct term. Perhaps obsessive is. 24.12.123.27 08:27, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I found it out of curiosity five minutes b4 this message was posted, My original objection was after reading the article noting that this information would be a enhancement to achieve FAC and remove the fan page feel to the article. When the editor responed that is ist available I accepted that on face value. In finding the information so easily without knowledge of the subject what else has the editors dismissed or omitted by being lazy, or was their intention purely to create a fan page and get it FA. Gnangarra 08:40, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, it's on FARC now. Feel free to bloviate or opine. Temporary account 20:13, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
FARC here. BlueShirts 20:47, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
As I have said on the FARC, it is totally out of process to nominate it there so soon after promotion. Ask Raul654 to explain his decision (as I see you already have done). Could it be that the article is good enough? -- 22:30, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
It could be that the article is not good enough, and that Raul654 unilaterally promoted it despite anything near consensus. Unless, of course, his personal opinion IS consensus. Otherwise, the situation is not complicated. A relatively large number of editors (compared to all other current FACs), objected with clearly stated, actionable reasons. Despite weeks and long review discussions, the basic problems remained. How much more in process and failing to reach consensus can it get? Isn't that, plain and simple, the final promotion/failure criterion: consensus/non-consensus? --Tsavage 23:12, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, FARC is de-listed now. I guess it's time to focus on other things for the time being. Anyways, I don't know if the person is admin or not, or is it legal to remove it. I WILL RE-NOMINATE it in a couple weeks. Temporary account 02:11, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Two cursory clicks would have answered one of those questions. --Jeffrey O. Gustafson - Shazaam! - <*> 05:49, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
A renomination in a couple of weeks is likely to go the same way as the first - wait a couple of months and your objections are more likely to receive a hearing.
No-one needs "special powers", nor indeed to be an "admin" to speedily remove nominations on FARC that are outside process, although Jeffrey O. Gustafson probably has the most grativas and auctoritas there at the moment. -- ALoan (Talk) 12:49, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
It's completely silly. I believe he has no special FARC powers. I imagine it can be replaced same as he can remove it, since there is no consensus in the FARC on "recently" (there are "remove" votes, not just the nom), and there is no definition of "recently". I won't replace it yet, because MAYBE Raul654 will step up and deal with this properly. Without some sort of understandable process, reviewing FACs seems fairly pointless... --Tsavage 02:53, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Without some sort of understandable process, reviewing FACs seems fairly pointless... --Tsavage 02:53, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree, I don't see the point of putting in effort to provide feedback on FAC nominations when substantial, reasonable, actionable and fairly methodical feedback is summarily ignored. I'll wait to see how this plays out before investing more time and effort in reviewing FACs. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 06:18, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
FAC and FARC the biggest farce i have ever seen, My comments were removed from FARC, ignored in FAC. Since I did find the information made i'll just edit the pageGnangarra 14:01, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Voice your concerns to Raul. I already did and am waiting for a reply. We all deserve some sort of explanation after long hours we've put in (I think we've put in a heck lot more than the supporters). This is definitely the most weird and controversial decision made, and extraordinary decisions need some explanations. Come on, it doesn't take that long to reply. Any time now... Temporary account 18:49, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

FA and Comprehensiveness

Hi guys. I was browsing through all the FA and looking for some really sub-par FA that "passed" the benchmark, and I did discover some, unfortunately. My concern is about "comprehensiveness" of the subject. Suppose you want to nominate an article on a barren subject for FA, and you exhaustively searched for all verifiable references, and put them all to the article. Almost all references are inconsequential mentioning of the subject, or even words, and you also put them into the article, try to tweak them to fit into your context. Here's the problem:

  • A rich subject (say, NFAT signaling or PI3K-mediated formation of pseudopodia) has lots and lots of sources, and it is likely that putting a few sources will not cut it to FA. Somebody's gonna object.
  • A barren subject has few sources (lots of citations from one source is few)and it is hard to oppose it because clearly almost all references good or bad are used up. Nothing can be done about the source issue, it's "unactionable" in FA terms.
  • Thus my concern is that for a barren subject, it seems that we need to LOWER our standards. Personally, I think it's not fair to both editors and the articles themselves.
  • Since FA criteria speaks nothing about the value (you can interpret whatever way) about the subject matter, I think it is necessary to modify the criteria, or a least have some taciturn understanding about this. Or else the rules will be strictly enforced in a dumb way.
  • By the way, how much coverage is given to Spoo, but how little is given to NFAT and PI3K, and we all need NFAT and PI3K for survival. Just to illustrate my point. And if you think there's no problem, and it's only my opinion, congratulations Einstein, of course it's my opnion. Temporary account 02:05, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Please please please write a featured article on NFAT signaling or PI3K-mediated formation of pseudopodia, or just PI3K or pseudopodia, or indeed anything else.
We have over a million articles, but less than one in a thousand meet the criteria that we have set for "featured" status. There are lots of very important topics that are not featured (Sun was only featured in the last couple of weeks; Moon is not; how many planets of the solar system are featured?). The very essence of Wikipedia is that people write about what they find interesting, and those things are very often not the same as things that are "important". But it is a Wikipedia truism that if any article is sufficiently notable not to be deleted, it is in principle capable of being featured if it meets the criteria.
So, yes, you are right: for a limited topic, it can be easier to get an article to "featured" standard (I'm not sure it helps at all to use a term like "barren" - how wide is the academic literature on exploding whales?). That limited article will have to meet all of the criteria in WP:WIAFA, of course (well written, comprehensive, factually accurate, neutral, and stable, complying with standards, with images where appropriate, succinct; in short, exemplifying our best work). So, for example, where part of an article is too long, it can be spun out into a subsidiary article, and there is no reason why the main article and the sub-article cannot both of of a sufficient standard to be featured. Perforce, the sub-article will have a tighter focus, but more detail, than the parent article: that is the essence of summary style. Similarly, it is possible to pick a topic with a narrow span, and write a featured article on it. Is that a problem? -- ALoan (Talk) 02:26, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
In relation to the comment, and reply, that you deleted here, I was going to say:
Fine - there is a lot of source material on PI3K - go and write a featured article then.
"Stop fussing over details"? I think you must be in the wrong encyclopedia if you think we are not capable of creating well written, comprehensive, factually accurate, neutral, stable, succinct articles on topics as large and the Sun or as small as spoo. -- ALoan (Talk) 02:33, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
By detail, I meant my figurative comment of multiple citations to "one" source and another guy's comment about "nooo..., it's 18 sources and blah blah blah..." Temporary account 02:37, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Of course I'll write a FA, and it won't be some crap that just passed (or missed) the criteria. No problemo. Temporary account 02:46, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

You are missing my point, systemic bias is severe, but that's another topic. My point is that we shouldn't lower standards just to let some clearly subpar go to FA status, and it seems clear that is precisely what we are doing. I think I am being reasonable here, but some people just don't get it, or are they not as bold as they can be. Temporary account 02:36, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think that concentration on a few sources is necessarily an indication of a poor article unless the sources themselves are poor. Certainly there are topics where a handful of key works forms the majority of published material. —Kirill Lokshin 02:39, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I have to disagree on this one. What you are refering is that there will be "key" sources, and then other sources. Similary, of 4000 published papers on PI3K, a few hundred will be important papers, and a little fewer will be "milestone" papers, but they are all "good" sources (unless their hypothesis is disproven by another paper of course). So, if you can't find good sources, and all you can get are "cursory mentionings" and "somebody's blog" or "somebody's fan page," I think then the source reflects the article. I think it's this simple. And my issues are not just with the sources. Temporary account 02:45, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
You're assuming that everything is a hard science topic with lots of nice citeable papers, though ;-) Historical topics—particularly obscure historical topics—tend not to be as well-documented. —Kirill Lokshin 02:51, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Look at BlueShirt's (one of Bulba objectors) article on Sino-German cooperation. NOBODY knows anything about the subject, because nobody would bother to go to the library to find paper sources. Look how many books he's got: two. And what are these books: secondary sources that contain VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of primary sources of news articles from 1930s, maps, historical documents...etc. Unless you are talking about very very obscure object, or that you are making an article on wikipedia based solely on one paper (in that case, that would be original research), I don't think your assertion is right. Plus, I am not even talking about historical topics, but rather the famous Bulbasaur and the like. Temporary account 02:57, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm quite familiar with the Sino-German cooperation article ;-) (As a side note, I was referring more to this one when I mentioned concentration on key sources.) As far as I can tell, though, the major complaint with Bulbasaur is the fact that the sources are not of a very high quality, rather than their number per se. —Kirill Lokshin 03:06, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I think one of the main point here is the issue of NOTABILITY. For the bulbasaur article the editors are just "milking gallons of vomit-inducing milk out of a sick old dead cow". The lack of trusted, published, non-commercial, non-cursory-mention references in that article simply means that the subject matter itself warrants very little serious discussion or input. That doesn't mean that non-science topics can't be expanded to FA quality. Lots of subjects, like famous pop stars or whatever, do have tons and tons of newslinks, media coverage, and pop culture references and their places in history that do have the capability of being promoted to FA quality without resorting to milking the sick, old, dead cow. On the other hand, my own topic of Sino-German cooperation has little published sources aside from one book, some mentions from more general books, and a couple papers appearing in academic journals, but the fact that each of them derive their conclusions from lots of primary sources do tell you that I don't have to milk the sick old dead cow just to pad it to quasi-FA quality. It is FA because I bothered to find trusted sources that are already there. BlueShirts 20:40, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Precisely, that's the most figurative and accurate description: milking gallons of vomit-inducing milk out of a sick old dead cow. If you have to do that to pad up an article to FA, and keep arguing and spinning that the references are good and we are too stringent, something's terribly wrong. Temporary account 21:20, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Apart from its shortcomings by the regular FAC criteria, Bulbasaur has the appearance of being forcefully shoved at all cost into FA "format", by adding on largely irrelevant bits and pieces, including references. That's how it reads to me, still. If I didn't know about FA guidelines, I'd think it was ridiculously padded, and with a strange attention to references. This is particularly not good, if FA encourages (by the appeal of the star, TFA, whatever), and then validates by promoting, what can be seen as a kind of "faked" article. It's one thing to improve based on suggestions, and quite another if articles are developed only meet the letter of a rule or to neutralize critics, in order to qualify for FA status. I think several editors came to similar negative conclusions in the review, over and above the specific objections (like fan sites as references). This, perhaps, explains some of the agitation around this promotion. Nobody likes to feel they were played for a fool, no matter how well-intended the underlying motivation. --Tsavage 00:05, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I second Tsavage's agreement with Temporary account's applauding BlueShirts' characterization of the Bulbasaur FAC process, but using somewhat fewer words.  :-) What happened to ignore all rules? There needs to be some substance behind the fluffery, not simply pedantic adherence to the letter, but not the spirit, of what it means to be a featured article. – Doug Bell talkcontrib 00:42, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Just discovered there's another discussion at FA criteria, seems subject matter matters in FA. BTW, I put some of my thoughts and synthesis of prev discussion on my user page, feel free to skim and criticize. I agree with Tsavage that we are played for a fool, or in street language, screwed over. Really, an explanation for the promotion is what we really needed. But as always, anytime now... Temporary account 01:19, 15 March 2006 (UTC)