Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive17

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main article page icon for good articles

a new icon directly equivalent to the featured article star on an article mainpage has suddenly appeared, withoput prior discussion, on hundreds of articles marked as "good articles". please vote on the issue of whether it should be there (note the GA process is not policy, and was formerly restricted to talk pages only, putting an icon on the main article page itslef is the new development) at Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/2006 March 25, please vote, thx! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zzzzz (talkcontribs)

There is no "star" for the good article icon! The {{good article}} template places a small Good Article symbol (Plus icon) in the top right corner of an article to indicate that it is a good article on Wikipedia. —RJN 10:40, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
ok "icon". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zzzzz (talkcontribs)
I have proposed a better way to run the good article process which would (I believe) give good reason to place a small icon on Good Articles. However, the way GA is run right now (where one person can give an automatic GA status or one person can deny it) is so flakey that I would certainly not condone an icon on the article itself. At present, GA is a VERY weak standard. SteveBaker 12:46, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I have a superior idea - how about we follow policy and not add metadata to articles? Raul654 23:14, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
The GA process is supposed to be informal and "flakey". It's a weak standard because FAC is the real goal; making the GA process more formal will give sub-par articles (i.e., "Good Articles") delusions of grandeur. If it's a great article, it's featured. If it's clearly not, why should people have to jump through all the same hoops just to get an Honorable Mention? Kafziel 23:45, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm totally against having an icon for "good article" as the selection criteria is very loose and sketchy. =Nichalp «Talk»= 13:13, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, as the current process to become a good article with a single vote of approval makes having a "medal" attached to it very questionable. I like and very much support the star on featured articles. --Ataricodfish 19:55, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:WikiReader/Encyclopaedia of the unusual/Dev

Is the Encyclopaedia of the unusual really a featured article? I couldn't find the FAC on it. Шизомби 14:10, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

It is because they transcluded Exploding Whales, which is an FA, but also has a spoken version of it. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 15:40, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

What on earth?

  • 1. Check the featured article criteria and make sure the article meets all of them before nominating.
  • 2. Place UNIQ3955154a7002a5c3-nowiki1832cedd26bad27000000001 on the talk page of the nominated article.
  • 3. From there, click on the "leave comments" link.
  • 4. (If you are resubmitting an article) Use the Move button to rename the previous nomination to an archive. For example, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Television → Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Television/archive1
  • 5. Place UNIQ3955154a7002a5c3-nowiki1832cedd26bad27000000002 at the top.
  • 6. Below it, write your reason for nominating the article.
  • 7. Finally, place UNIQ3955154a7002a5c3-nowiki1832cedd26bad27000000003 at the top of the list of nominees on this page by first copying the above, clicking "edit" on the top of the page, and then pasting, making sure to add the name of the nominated article.

What's going on with this page? UNIQ...? Does anyone else see that? —BorgHunter ubx (talk) 22:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I see it. It looks like it's been happening for a few days now. Oy. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 22:30, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it's very strange. This revision is fine, this one breaks, but the diff shows nothing unusual. All of the UNIQ* strings correspond to nowiki tags in the template - presumable MediaWiki replaces them with unique strings, parses everything else, and then is meant to substitute the contents back... MD87 22:30, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Fixed it. Somebody used <ref></ref> tags in a transcluded discussion, and apparently that broke the formatting on the FAC page. Is this likely to happen often enough that we should put a note somewhere saying not to do this (or figure out how to make it not break the page)? RobthTalk 22:37, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Even though the error has been resolved, I never had such unusual text appearing on my monitor. Perhaps it was only active on a limited number of programs or a specific browser and/or operating system? —Eternal Equinox | talk 19:40, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't think so. As I understand it, all the parsing of the wiki-code is done server-side; all our browsers see is the html and css that's produced. But just to check, take a look at User:Robth/sandbox and tell me what you see. RobthTalk 21:05, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
It is distorted. Then perhaps I had not been logged onto Wikipedia at the appropriate time. Excuse my error. —Eternal Equinox | talk 14:27, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Specialized pages

My appologies if this has been brought up before, but I ran across an interesting case today that made me think about our policies. It seems a year ago the article Many-worlds interpretation was up as a FAC. It was rejected because it was written in a style only understandable by specialists. This article came to my attention because one of the authors cited in this article's reference section mentioned to me a few months ago that he had looked at the article. He went to the article with the intention of improving it and told me that the article was so good that he had nothing to add. This I take to be a ringing endorsement of the accuracy of this article. Now, there is no doubt that a non-specialist couldn't get much from this article. Readability by a wide audience is included in Wikipedia:The perfect article but not in Wikipedia:What is a featured article?. I think we ought to discuss the extent to which this ought to be a criteria. In particular, I can think of many articles in my area of expertise that simply could never meet this condition because bringing the audience up to speed on the topic would make the article simply to long (and would be off topic). Sorry so long... thoughts? --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 05:09, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I think the criteria already covers this in section 2 It is well written, comprehensive, factually accurate, neutral, and stable. The definition of well written may be a stumbling block for this type of article (a) "well written" means that the prose is compelling, even brilliant; in that use of complex terms doesnt necessarily make compelling prose for those that dont already have an interest. Maybe this should be redefined as something like - well written means that the style of prose is compelling to the articles audience, even brilliant in other words when you comment on a FA nomination you consider those that will chose to read the article, after all this is an encyclopedia not every topic needs to be understandable to the average 14yr old. Gnangarra 08:46, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the article is pretty good; however, its lead section is inadequate (presumably parts of the "overview" should become the lead, but they need explaining in much simpler language); further, it would be helpful to have a section for the layman at the start, before delving into the details, as recommended in Wikipedia:WikiProject Science#Proposed structure of articles. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:19, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. I didn't mean to start a conversation about this article in particular. I may nominate it for a FAC when I have some time to dedicate to improving it based on people's suggestions. What I wanted to talk about was whether or not we should expect a FA to be understandible by a wide audience. I have a few articles I'm working on that will simply never meet that criteria, and so I have some interest in whether this is taken to be a requirement. --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 19:20, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, this is an encyclopedia, so I would expect that certainly the lead section, and ideally a few sections after that, would be comprehensible to the interested layman without preparation. I would not be concerned if an article on a technical topic went beyond a layman's comprehension to give a proper treatment of the topic (indeed, I would expect it). -- ALoan (Talk) 19:28, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

(Edit conflit with Aloan) I believe in the past (especially with regard to the hardest articles to undestand - math articles) we have interpreted the criteria to mean a total neophyte should be able to understand (at least) the introduction, so that even if he doesn't understand all the fine nuances, he can at least get a general understand of what the article is referring to. Raul654 19:32, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Yep, I was thinking about this when reading quite a few articles in various biology, math., etc. topics. IMO it would be good to request "Article title" for Dummies section in hi-tech articles, written in the Manual of Style. What do you think? `'mikka (t) 21:10, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Ugh, no - there's a fine line between writing for non-specialists and infantalizing them. Your proposal is too much the latter. Raul654 21:47, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
In some areas, Wikipedia's depth is the same as a specialized encyclopedia in that area (i.e. far more in depth than any general encyclopedia). These articles can not "start from scratch". They _have to_ rely on other articles as building blocks. So the best we can do for the total neophyte is to link all the relevant keywords, give as a close to real world application as possible and make sure the sentence structure and grammar is good. Some Feymann-esque simplifying real-world analogy would be ideal. More mundane idea: a little sidebar saying "For more accessible articles in this topic area, see [[...]]". Better to get a wider pool of FAC reviewers than throw out great articles just because they are too specialized. Pcb21 Pete 21:42, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we should be throwing them out, but I don't think asking for at least the introduction to be accessible is asking too much. Eigenvector has a perfect illustration in the introduction. Raul654 21:49, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree that's a great illustration and heartily encourage that sort of thing. Indeed, I think we should be using sidebars for text content more than we are in general. (Presently it is just images and template boilerplate stuff that goes there) Pcb21 Pete 22:14, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I do like the introduction to eigenvector, especially the illustration. This does give me some idea of what we're looking for. I should note, that someone who had not had any math beyond high school would be lost in the intro. Phrases such as "non-null", "vector", "transformation", and even "set" are not going to be well understood by many college graduates. It may only be the availability of graphical representations that saves this article from being over many people's heads. I'm not sure such representations are possible on all topics, but perhaps I'm just not creative enough... :) --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 22:54, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes I think Raul's point was that the illustration saves the day. I agree that even eigenvector is a "basic topic" in that it is taught in schools in most countries. However I do think the general technique should carry over to some extent to genuinely specialized topics (topics taught only to post-graduates in a relevant subject for example). Pcb21 Pete 07:42, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Ian McKellen

I wrote a message to the mailing list appealing for volunteers to overhaul former FA Ian McKellen following his criticism of the article. As its relevant to the FAC process, I thought I'd link to it - Sorry about the lack of line endings! Pcb21 Pete 21:24, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Proposal to stop people making 'me too' and checkbox support/object entries.

Can I suggest that it be a flat requirment for all support/object votes to come with a full reasoning and critique of the article. (All ones which do not should be commented out, and only used in close cases)

I raise this because of the amount of people who regularly post with just 'as with above', 'Unstable, see WP:WIAFA' or 'very good page'. This really isnt demonstrating the amount of critique that should have been applied to deciding if the page is FA quality. Not only should this dampen use of wiffle bats and 'I voted for it because I like the subject matter', but actualy provide much more usefull feed back to how an article needs improving. --Barberio 19:00, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

I think, as with other votes of this sort on Wikipedia, it's more important to have reasons for objections than support votes, so that editors can deal with the objections to improve the article. It is implicit within a support vote that the editor believes the article has met the featured article criteria, so I don't see the benefit of requiring them to mention which criteria have been met when it should be all of them. Because of the way the process works, ten support votes are of equal value to two - it's the presence of an objection, or lack of any support at all, that stops promotion. —Whouk (talk) 19:09, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
Would the page work better as a negative version of approval voting, 'dissaproval' voting maybe, with a requirment for a full critique in oppose votes? --Barberio 19:16, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
I think it effectively is the opposite of approval voting (not sure what the technical definition of that is, though). It would be ornerous to give a full critique for an opposition, though, because only one objection may be necessary. If I see that the article is not comprehensive, I can object based on that, and that's a perfectly valid objection, even if I don't check on image tags or brilliant prose or anything else. "Me too" voting is, I think, generally frowned upon, but it can also be helpful. If you and I argue over the neutrality of an article, it will probably not be possible to resolve the concerns of the objector and Raul may not promote because of possible neutrality problems; if a dozen people vote "me too" support because they think the neutrality objection has no merit, then Raul (might) conclude that the opposition is invalid (perhaps I'll object to anything that presents the side I don't agree in, for example). The vast majority of me too votes really aren't helpful, but I think Raul more or less ignores them anyway; I think most FACs have a pretty clear consensus one way or the other, so a few me too votes don't matter too much. Tuf-Kat 19:54, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
The problem outlined is what I call "drive-by" voting. It's especially common on the AfD pages where people vote based upon the tenor of the preceeding comments. I discovered this when I was trying to change a voter's mind in AfD and discovered by the reply that the voter apparently hadn't even read the article. It was quite a revelation, especially considering that the same person had voted on a number of other articles within the same time span. My own guess is that there was some edit-countitis related to a run for an admin position. My own suggestion (which no one liked) was to cap the number of votes at a certain level, say three to five votes a day. That way, the person voting can't run up the score and will presumably spend more time actually writing and editing articles (what I think were actually supposed to be doing) rather than getting their name out among decisionmakers and voting on stuff that he or she has not even reviewed. Jtmichcock 01:44, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
The problems you speak of are very real. But they are less of a problem for FAC than for AfD or RfA. All three are in theory not votes, but discussions combined with straw polls in order to elucidate information and gauge consensus, but — sorry to say it — AfD and RfA function for the most part like straight (evil) votes, and the main value of stating a reason is to try to sway other voters to your side. Not so at FAC, where one very clear objection can overcome any number of support votes, and any votes made for reasons that have nothing to do with the featured article criteria are ignored by Raul. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 01:55, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
The term mission creep seems applicable here, with the mission of some people being to open their mouths and spout vapid and conclusory dismissals of articles in order to sway opinion and make themselves look important. Instead of trying to suggest improvements or (heaven forbid) making the improvements themselves, articles are often met with perfunctory dismissals. I have been reading Wikipedia Signpost off and on and the number of new featured articles has been steadily declining while the number of removal candidates has been on the increase. The sad reason is that too few see any obligation to help; it's all about making themselves look better. The FAC process is turning into a contest to see who has the sharpest tongue to villify the submissions. I never vote on FAC for good reason: I'd rather expend my efforts actually writing good articles. The caution should be expressed that there's only so much abuse anyone will tolerate. Jtmichcock 03:32, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I rarely vote on FACs, basically only if I am familiar with the article and the subject matter. Whenever I have objections, I am quite specific. But voting "support" is not just a matter of not having active objections. It means I really think the article stands out. "Support" all on its own should be enough to indicate that. - Jmabel | Talk 21:55, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

I think for FAC at least you're seeing problems that aren't really there. It may seem like they are, but they aren't because of the way FAC really works. Raul654 is doing a better job than you think. Bare object votes without reasoning are discarded here because they need to be actionable. Me too votes aren't all bad because they lend credence to the original comments. If someone objects based on X and no one agrees, maybe the object reasoning is flawed. On the other hand if several people agree, it's probably something that needs to get handled. And me too support votes don't do much because as Bunchofgrapes mentioned, a single well reasoned objection will keep an article from being featured until it is resolved. - Taxman Talk 22:36, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

As usual, Taxman has stolen my thunder. Raul654 23:37, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

"Support" is enough, assume good faith and all that. --PopUpPirate 23:33, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


A consensus seems to be emerging on Wikipedia talk:Featured article removal candidates for some kind of merger between the review process on WP:FAR and the removal process on WP:FARC. More ideas and points of view are welcome. -- ALoan (Talk) 16:12, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Page moves after Featuring

Some pages like today's featured picture article White's Tree Frog have been moved after it was featured. During featuring it was White's tree frog. So now the discussion page of White's Tree Frog does not link to the FAC discussion of this page. So if there is no problem can that page be moved to Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/White's Tree Frog?--Raghu 15:16, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Done. Pcb21 Pete 17:27, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Best practice in these cases is to create a redirect at the subpage for the new title, or move the old discussion subpage to a subpage named for the new title. Moving an article can also disconnect if from the discussion at WP:PR or WP:FARC or WP:FLC, for example. -- ALoan (Talk) 22:24, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Forgive my ignorance...

Dear wikipedians,

I was searching for some information about consensus in the nomination process, and what I found is

Consensus must be reached for an article to be promoted to featured article status. If enough time passes without objections being resolved, nominations will be removed from the candidates list and archived.
  • What's the exact criterium for consensus? Does it mean that a nomination lasts months, until all objections are answered?
  • How long does a nomination last?
  • Has an unobjected nomination ever happened?
  • Has an article ever been ignored?

And finally, which leads me to conclusion, is it a problem if I didn't find the answers written out in this project page? - εΔω 13:53, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

P.S. On it.wikipedia we are actively discussing to update the policy for nomination, so I'm studying your mechanism. Thank you in advance for any kind reply ...magari in italiano...

I will try to take your questions in order:
  • Consensus with regards to FAC nominations is traditionally defined as the article having several supporters (usually five or more) and no outstanding actionable objections. The exact definition of what is considered actionable has evolved over time as the community standards have evolved (referencing is much more important today that it was a year or more ago) but must be something that the article author can fix. When there is a dispute about an issue being actionable, the FA Director (Raul654) is the final judge.
  • A nomination will typically last between one and two weeks although there are examples of nominations that have succeeded in less time as well as nominations that have been active for more than a month. It is also common to see an article with a previous unsuccessful nomination be renominated several times. Specific time periods have intentionally not been made part of the process to allow flexibility in determining how long a discussion should last.
  • Successful nominations without any objections do occur and usually indicate a very experienced FA nominator who is able to anticipate and correct issues before an objection occurs or an article that has resolved any issues through a previous nomination.
  • It is rare, but there have been nominations that have received no comments after being listed for a week or more.
--Allen3 talk 14:35, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
(via edit conflict with Allen3) We have a FAC Director, Raul654, who makes all the decisions to promote and most of the decisions not to promote (others will occasionally remove nominations that are clearly inappropriate). I believe he always gives at least a week and will give up to five or six weeks if someone is actively working on meeting objections. There is no exact criterion for consensus. If ten people support and one person opposes with a well-reasoned objection, Raul won't promote. If the lone opposition is not actionable (because the opposer doesn't think the article is capable of being featured), he won't take it into account when deciding whether or not to promote. Articles used to be ignored totally or nearly so, but this hasn't happened in a little while. I think Raul usually required three supports at least, with no objections, to promote; if only two people voted, he didn't promote (that hasn't happened in a long time though, I think). These answers should not be written out on this page because it's important to remain immune to wikilawyering -- these aren't rules, they're just how Raul does things. Ultimately, nominations last until objections have been resolved, or it has become clear that they're not going to be resolved. Raul makes the decisions and doesn't usually justify himself. More formulaic decisions would make it easier to try and game the system to push an article through without consensus. Tuf-Kat 14:44, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
That explains why there are no admin guidelines for closing debates then! I did wonder. I'm a little troubled that one editor rules the show, but only for this reason: what would happen if - God forbid - he were hit by a bus on the way to work/college tommorow? The entire process might grind to a halt. --kingboyk 10:09, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I suspect that we would notice his absence and formulate a new procedure. WP:FLRC, WP:FPC and WP:FLC, etc, operate on a more collegiate basis, but since featured articles appear on the main page, it was thought that one person should co-ordinate the whole process. (How does WP:FPC choose the picture of the day?) -- ALoan (Talk) 10:39, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Sounds fair enough, and since it ain't broke don't fix it! :) Thanks for the info. Whilst I'm here, please don't close The KLF until we've had a reasonable time to look into licencing issues regarding 2 of our images. We are actively working on it but of course we have to wait for replies from various people. --kingboyk 10:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Featured pictures are apparently chosen in order of promotion - see Wikipedia:Picture of the day. —Whouk (talk) 10:55, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Are they usually promoted in order, like RFAs? There tend to be a lot of batch promotions here, which would make the schedule more unpredictable. Kirill Lokshin 13:15, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
From the POTD archive, which includes future POTDs, I am not convinced that they are selected strictly in order of promption, but I could be wrong. -- ALoan (Talk) 14:16, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
And while maybe there aren't many people that could do the job as well as Raul654, it isn't none either. Someone else could step in and do at least almost as well with it. - Taxman Talk 14:36, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Philosophical question

Do people see FA as defining standards that all articles should reach, and which if they fail to meet they are deficient, or it it about identifying a small number of articles which stand out above the rest, without saying that the rest are in any way bad articles? Worldtraveller 23:02, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I believe in the former. Raul654 23:04, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree. I think we should aim for all articles being featured eventually. It may be impossible, but it's worth shooting for. Tuf-Kat 02:35, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree as well. I think the number of FAs reflects the quality of a version of Wikipedia- the more FAs, the better the version. RyanGerbil10 03:34, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
And another agree from me. Featured articles set the grade for what all articles should be. The criteria - great writing, proper references, correctly tagged images, etc. - are things all articles ideally need. —Whouk (talk) 07:51, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree - I would like all of our articles to exemplify our very best work; to be well written, comprehensive, factually accurate, neutral, and stable; to comply with relevant style manuals; have images with good captions; and be of an appropriate length. -- ALoan (Talk) 10:17, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't know that all articles we currently include really can be FAs, though. We have articles on American towns with 15 residents... it is often difficult to find a reliable source that even explains the origin of the towns name and what year it was founded, let along gives you enough meaningful information for an article with the depth of an FA. Same with a lot of stuff labelled "fancruft", unless the creator happens to be a prolific usenet poster, I doubt there's ever going to be enough sources for an FA on nearly any of those topics. I do think that there are hundreds of thousands of articles that are just FAs waiting to happen, though, and we should strive towards getting them there. That doesn't mean their current state is a bad thing... there's just more work to do. --W.marsh 13:26, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

If the former, as seems to be generally agreed, then that would seem to mean that FA, rather than identifying articles that reach the highest possible standards, actually sets out the lowest acceptable standards. I am slightly concerned about this. If anything that is not an FA is considered deficient, then there are not even 1000 articles on Wikipedia that meet the minimum standards. 1000 articles that represent the highest possible standards would seem pretty good going, but 1000 articles that meet or exceed the standards expected of all articles seems like a woeful total, after five years. About one article a day is promoted to FA status - if FA really represents the standards that all articles should meet, the throughput needs to be hugely higher. At the present rate, Wikipedia will only have produced 50,000 articles meeting the required standards by 2140. If we want to reach this (fairly modest) total by the end of the decade, even, we'd need a system that can promote 40 articles a day. Worldtraveller 13:50, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

I believe you've accurately described the problem and that is exactly why I believe we need change. The current process is producing large quantities of average to poor quality articles and small quantities of very good ones. That's why I think a stable version with approved editors is needed so badly, so we can attract the type of talented editors that are currently unwilling to put up with the mess (vandalism, trolling, revert wars, etc) that we all deal with daily here. - Taxman Talk 14:30, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
"If the former, as seems to be generally agreed, then that would seem to mean that FA, rather than identifying articles that reach the highest possible standards, actually sets out the lowest acceptable standards. I am slightly concerned about this. If anything that is not an FA is considered deficient, then there are not even 1000 articles on Wikipedia that meet the minimum standards." And perhaps even far less than the number of actual Featured Articles. I have not had adequate time to devote to this, and my schedule won't settle down until maybe mid-June, but I am very concerned about the entire series of Venezuela/Hugo Chávez articles, how they came to be FA, how much they have deteriorated, and the need to clean them up or FARC them. It seems from the history of those articles, even at the point they were featured, the articles had little input from wide or varied audiences, were pushing POV, were too long, and although they were extensively referenced, many of the references were one-sided and/or from similar sources, with important sources for balance never included. They are not and don't appear to have been stable articles (reverts were possibly minimized by spinning off controversial topics in Summary Style). The articles suffer less from inaccurate statements (although those are also present) as they do from one-sidedness: major parts of the Chavez story are simply never told (e.g.; several editors continue to remove the abstention vote tallies, as the valid reason for their inclusion has not been sufficiently addressed). It is also a concern when controversial sections are moved to daughter articles, using Summary Style, so that the article can be featured (this seems counter to Wiki's intent, as it creates more daughter articles that need attention.) I am concerned that "a lot of references and inline citations" is interpreted as well-written and NPOV, which may not always be true. Systemic bias is a concern: both in terms of political orientation, and in terms of lack of local (to the country) editors, possibly due to ESL issues. I hope future political articles of such a controversial nature will be subject to more intense scrutiny. I'm not sure the best are really the best (I've noticed also the deterioration of Asperger syndrome. Sandy 15:14, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I just don't think that would work... we'd either end up with two separate projects, or we'd spend forever merging. We'd also undermine Wikipedia, since it would be seen as the place for non-"approved editors" to go play. I strongly feel that one Wikipedia is the way to go; let the experts continue to woirk here. (I think you may be underestimating the number of real expert editors here.)
However, I would support reasonable measures to reduce vandalism. — Johan the Ghost seance 14:37, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Some sort of stable version has to be the way to go, with an "official" foreground stable version and a background "unstable" wiki version, with the two compared and enhancements to the unstable version incorporated into the stable version at intervals.
I'm not sure I accept the dichotomies in Worldtraveller's original question. Just because we would like all of our articles to be featured articles - and indeed think that all of them could be in principle - does not mean that the rest are deficient: it just means that those other articles have not been accepted as meeting the featured article criteria (they almost certainly do not meet the criteria as they are applied these days: from time to time, I come across an article that is pretty close to featured status, but it is not worth the hassle of nominating it on FAC - inline citations - bah).
There clearly is a "lowest acceptable standard" for an article to be featured - but it is the lowest acceptable standard for an article to be considered in some sense finished. At present, that is only 1 in a thousand articles, and even 50,000 articles would be only be 5% - clearly the practical effect of "featured" status is that it does act as a badge of excellence (although that still does not say anything about non-featured articles). -- ALoan (Talk) 15:24, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Of course you'd end up merging a lot. But just think how fast articles would improve if there was no vandalism and only good changes were integrated. With good diff functions you'd easily be able to see the changes from the stable version to the unstable. With some advanced merging functions (such as being able to select or check the box on each diff block that needed to be integrated, keeping up to date with good changes shouldn't be too hard. - Taxman Talk 19:58, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
"Just think how fast articles would improve if there was no vandalism" ... do you really think that our "serious" editors spend that much time reverting vandalism? I've whined about the problem in the past, and I would support banning anon edits, which IMAO would cut right down on vandalism. But there's no way that vandalism is such a big problem that it would justify a total fork. The amount of effort that it would take to keep two Wikipedias in sync is just insane. Best case — the "stable version" goes the same way as Nupedia. Worst case — the whole project grinds into the dirt. — Johan the Ghost seance 22:54, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
You're kidding right? A huge proportion of the work admins have to do is dealing with vandalism, both reverting and blocking for it. Just look at WP:AIV WP:AN and WP:AN/I. I don't know the numbers but vandalism and reverting it makes up a significant proportion of all edits. And it's not just anons. But more than just the work is the people that are unwilling to deal with the junk in the first place. To be a truly great work we need them. And yes we do have decent evidence that we don't have very many truly highly qualified people editing. Some, but not enough. And those are the people most unlikely to put up with the junk here. - Taxman Talk 00:55, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not saying there's not a lot of work wasted dealing with vandalism — in fact, I've been making that point as hard as I can. But how does creating a "stable" Wikipedia reduce the amount of vandalism in the "unstable" version? What's being proposed, as far as I can see, is:
  • Keep the existing WP, and all the existing vandalism, and all the existing time-wassting dealing with vandalism (otherwise, the existing WP will become totally useless); plus:
  • Make a new "moderated" WP, with all the beurocracy of vetting editors, moderating, reviewing, etc.; plus:
  • Managing the mergers between two sets of over a million articles.
This to you is less work? If we want to deal with vandalism, fine, let's do so. Forking WP is not the way to do that. — Johan the Ghost seance 17:02, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I think the more important issue is content disputes, not vandalism. As an editor, I'd be fed up by more by content disputes than by vandalism - the latter is easy (if tedious) to tackle, but the former is both difficult and irritatingly complicated to resolve. Johnleemk | Talk 08:16, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I think I would say that "FA ... sets out the lowest acceptable standards" for an article to be considered excellent. That means that there are 1,000 articles on Wikipedia which we can claim, with reasonable justification, are truly excellent. The rest can be considered "deficient" by that standard, but that's a deliberately high standard, so I don't think it's fair to imply that the non-FA articles aren't (in the main) pretty darned useful.
Of course, we would love it if all our articles were truly excellent, and that's why I totally agree with the comments above that all articles should be able to get to FA. The FA process should be careful not to exclude classes of articles (other than redirects and dab pages); which is why we have Wikipedia:Featured lists, for example. (Maybe even dabs can be featured). Certainly it would be good to get a higher throughput, but I think it's a case of building momentum. The more people see articles with good in-line citations, for example, the more they will be inclined to include such citations in new articles they create. — Johan the Ghost seance 14:34, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure a pass/fail dichotomy can be used here, at least if usability is the measured characteristic; if anything, FA sets the lowest acceptable standards for excellence, as Johan the Ghost says above. The fact that an article isn't an FA does not make it unusable, as WP:1.0 recognized with its grading scheme. The higher non-FA grade, A-Class, says that the article is close to featured quality, but just needs a bit more work. When compared with Stub-Class, the lower categorization, it can't be said that both articles are deficient. Similar to what Taxman says above, perhaps what is needed is a deadline, to produce even more of an incentive for editors to work more on the encyclopedia and have their work ready. Version 0.5 is trying to do just that. Titoxd(?!? - help us) 17:49, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
I can see problems with deadlines, depending on whether the main editors were ready. Someone recently put Tourette syndrome up for peer review review/Tourette syndrome/archive1, catching me completely by surprise at a time I know I can't complete my substantial To Do list, which I've had to put off til mid-June because of extensive travel. I have not been able to interest other medical editors in working on the article. The article is fine, but I can make it better. I didn't feel the article was ready, and wouldn't want it to be judged on a deadline which was imposed at a time when I know I don't have time to work on the article. I guess a deadline could make sense for a "self-nom"? Sandy 18:15, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Taxman that the system produces a small number of excellent articles and a very large number of poor ones, and that change is necessary. I would be totally in favour of a stable version - I'd be in favour of starting to lobby for one right now. I don't see that keeping it 'in sync' would be a problem: it would be far less of a problem than trying to preserve articles that receive an incessant stream of bad edits from well-intentioned but ill-informed readers that continually erode their quality. Many scientific topics suffer from this.

But if a stable site was set up, we'd still have the problem of throughput here. Why does FAC only manage to promote one article a day? What could possibly be done to double that, triple that, or increase it by an order of magnitude? I think FAC works very well at identifying the very best, but very poorly at encouraging all article to meet the minimum standards, and was very surprised to see the general view that the latter is what it's supposed to do. As ALoan said, for many articles it's ...not worth the hassle of nominating it on FAC... - this is a significant problem, I feel. What I think is that FAC should continue to identify the very best, and encouraging minimum standards should be tackled in other ways. My controversial suggestions which stray from the topic under discussion but I feel like throwing them out anyway:

  • A ruling that only articles with references can appear on DYK (I did suggest this but there was not a great deal of support)
  • Make lack of references a criterion for speedy deletion for article created after today.
  • Delete all stubs which have been stubs for more than 6 months
  • Introduce far firmer restrictions on lengths of articles - I think 20kb should be seen as a sensible size to aim for, 32kb rarely exceeded, and only the most significant articles reaching 50kb.

The reason I think this is that the encyclopaedia has ended up being spread so thinly that the vast majority of articles will never exceed mediocre, and the important topics have been neglected. 1,000,000 articles, but only 2,500 people who have made more than 1,000 edits - these numbers are where the problem lies. Such a small number of editors can't realistically produce any substantial number of the kind of articles that FAC currently seems to encourage - 55kb articles about computer games and the like... Worldtraveller 01:33, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

I've suggested your second bullet point before, at Wikipedia:Deletion reform/Proposals/Speedy delete for pages with no citations. It got no takers, including, eventually, myself, I'm afraid. (In my mind the only real problem it has is that there is a tension between it and WP:AGF.) As for DYK, well, grrrrr, I've long wondered why we devote front-page space to new articles. We don't need new articles. We need better articles. It should be changed to highlight newly-inserted facts in any decently-written articles in my opinion. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 01:44, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, the lobbying for the stable version should go to the Foundation or at least to WP:1.0. I personally disagree with the proposal for changing FAC's scope, for reasons I've outlined before many times, but nominating for deletion unverified and forgotten stubs may not be a completely bad idea. I don't see what benefit having restrictions to article size has. Titoxd(?!? - help us) 04:38, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Longer articles mean editors spreading themselves more thinly. It takes far, far more effort and time to get a 50kb article to FA standards than it does to get a 15kb article there. I'd much rather write 5 15kb excellent articles than 1 50kb excellent article. Worldtraveller 01:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I think that references should be a must for anything we feature; all articles I've written for DYK have been referenced, and nearly all have footnotes. I dislike hard and fast length limits, however; the most important issue is readability. If an article reads well, it shouldn't matter how long it is. An inhumanly long article can be only 32kb if it has a very dry topic, and an enjoyable one can well reach 100kb. Johnleemk | Talk 08:16, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Wordltraveler, your first two ideas are gold. It would represent the switch to what we really need for a reference work. I also agree with bunchofgrapes that any cited fact to a reliable source should be eligible for DYK, for the same reasons he cites. But now we're not talking about FAC anymore, just good ideas for the project. I don't see the tension with deleting unreferenced new articles. It's simply saying we're serious about WP:V which is a bedrock policy and already allows removing unreferenced material. Doing that would represent a sea change in the right direction. Sign me up for anywhere that can help get either of those done. The other two I'm not as sure would be helpful. For certain topics 5kb of accurate, sourced text is very publishable. Less even for some. - Taxman Talk 13:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I very much agree that a 5kb article can be a great article - what I meant with article sizes was that increasingly, FA candidates are 50kb+, they take hugely longer to write and review, and they won't be read by as many people because of the sheer size of them. One could probably bring 5 20kb articles to FAC standards, or 20 10kb articles, in the time it takes to get 1 50kb article there. Some topics certainly deserve a huge article, but many don't - or at least, they don't until after we've got a basic encyclopaedia written. Worldtraveller 01:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
But, it should also be noted that a long list of references does not assure a neutral or accurate article. Wiki hopefully strives to be encyclopedic rather than a replay of current media bias, via a long summary of references, which may be from a common source. Considering the articles I'm currently working on, another concern about FA is when unstable articles are abandoned by those who got them to FA status. Should there be a project to oversee the FA list (or is there already one - I'm speaking of something other than FARC - something aimed at keeping the articles in shape)? It is alarming that FA can deteriorate in a few short months. Sandy 14:35, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
There's a proposal in the works. I'm just as alarmed as you are; after I write a featured article, I tend to move on. I only come back every few months, or when I see it pop up on FARC. As I said on WT:FA, the problem is finding Wikipedians dedicated enough to maintain featured articles. I fixed up Theodore Roosevelt some months back, but it's since deteriorated to a pro-Roosevelt mess of enthusiastic accolades for "TR". Likewise, I'm still in the progress of rewriting Coca-Cola (after Deepujoseh graciously withdrew the FARC), and already people are adding details and/or irrelevant material that, while not rubbish, certainly doesn't belong in the article. Even non-featured articles like Princess Beatrice of York need maintenance - after two random checkups on the article, I've had to revert the unexplained removal of footnotes each time. These sort of things are very tedious for editors - we can't even begin to think about writing new FAs when the old ones need maintenance. This is why - as Taxman said - we need stable versions. Soon. Johnleemk | Talk 15:50, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
After I write a featured article, I guard it like a hungry bulldog over a tasty bone... ;-) OK, I try hard not to discourage helpful edits, but I certainly keep a watchful eye, and I nuke anything that degrades the article. I've been very surprised to discover how many FAs are no longer being watched by a "presiding editor" (ie. someone who knows and cares about the subject), and it seems clear that this is the way to prevent FARCing. What do we need to do to encourage this? Or simplify it? How about banning anon edits to FAs?
The "stable version" proposal just makes no sense to me. Do you mean that we would then stop maintaining the quality of the "unstable" WP? Or are you staying that you will continue to do all the work you do reverting vandalism to the "unstable" WP and work on the "stable" WP? I doubt if many people would do that.
People like you would, presumably, focus all your effort on the "stable" version, and I can see that someone like me (someone who's prepared to make the effort to log in and build up a decent edit history) would do the same. OK, so what happens to the "unstable" version when the majority of edits are by anon users in high school classes? Doesn't it end up with every article being some variation on "STAN IS GAY"? In which case, what's the point of keeping it? No-one who cares will bother to clean it up, they'll just go work on the stable version. No-one will use it as a reference since it will be manifestly crap. It will just die.
So, what you're proposing is — effectively — to rename Wikipedia to "Wikipedia stable", and ban anon edits. Ironically, although I've been strongly resisting the idea of forking WP, this outcome is exactly what I've been lobbying for. — Johan the Ghost seance 17:22, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
No, silly. The stable version is uneditable, and the unstable version is. Anyone who wants to edit will still have to use the unstable version. The thing is, now we will actually have to check edits on a regular basis before syncing the unstable version with the stable version. This way, even if a featured article degenerates into a mess, the unstable version can be marked with half a dozen cleanup tags, while the stable version remains pristine. This reduces the stress on editors who feel the need to ensure the content they write (which is visible immediately) has to be perfect, and I'd actually view it in accordance with the wiki way (considering we are now an established wiki with 1 million+ articles rather than a brand new one comprising mostly stubs). What worked then doesn't work now. Banning anon editors is not a good solution to the problem because contrary to common belief, many anons do good work (some even revert vandalism). Besides, vandals aren't the only problem - otherwise life would be so much simpler. The problem is well-meaning editors who muck up a page by insisting every bit of fancruft be in it, or start a content dispute over the article's contents. Banning anon editors won't stem this problem. Johnleemk | Talk 23:37, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
The stable version is uneditable — and I'm being silly??? If it's uneditable, then it will never change, which is rather pointless. Someone is going to have to be merging content from the "unstable" version into the "stable" one. In practice that will not be simple. It won't just be a case of adding new articles, or even just new facts; it will be a case of carefully editing the "stable" articles to merge in changes from "unstable". Example (something I just saw): an anon in "unstable" changes Chay Blyth's circumnavigation from 392 days to 292 days. So "someone" decides to to a merge. Does he/she just cut and paste in the new number? Or go off and check references, do the research, and then make the change? So the concept that the "stable" version won't require editors is rather shaky, to say the least. It will, and with a million articles, that's going to soak up a lot of effort. Who are these poeple? People who, right now, are working on Wikipedia. People who will not have time to work on "unstable" after the fork. Which will mean fewer people making constructive changes in "unstable", and significant degredation of articles there, which makes merges even harder. In practice, as the "merge staff" find themselves increasingly chasing up references to validate a merge, they will increasingly just edit the "stable" articles. So, sorry, but I don't see how The stable version is uneditable can work. BTW, we should take this whole discussion to a proposal page somewhere. — Johan the Ghost seance 03:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you're the one being silly. The idea is that before syncing the two different versions together, we select a particular recent revision on the unstable side and go over it. (Sort of like how software developers work from a trunk - the equivalent of the unstable version - and branch when they have a candidate for a final release.) Once everyone is satisfied with the selected revision and all the errors, etc. in it are fixed, it's merged over to the other side. Nobody is supposed to make a unilateral merge. Furthermore, not every article need have a stable version. Some editors have crunched the numbers and determined that most of our million articles are crap. We don't need stable versions for those. Articles which need stable versions are featured articles and articles that will be of significant interest to the readers (e.g. George W. Bush). Johnleemk | Talk 04:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Goodbye Wikipedia, then. I really don't feel like devotimg much effort to something that's so overwhelmingly crap. — Johan the Ghost seance 13:50, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Physically is a stable/unstable version possible? who would decide when an edit warrants inclusion on the stable page, or when edits to remove information from the stable page should occur? It would require admins to maintain the updating, bots would be preferred but can they differentiate between a vandal edit and legit edits? Then what about images, sounds, maps, info box templates, etc all of these are elsewhere within various wiki projects each of these item would need the same level of protection. And does creating a stable(protected) version comply with GNU, GFDL, CC-by-2.5 copyright licensing, would a stable version be within and true to the ideals of Wikipedia. Gnangarra 00:07, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I am sure it's possible, and there's no real problem with sharing files between projects - anything on the commons can be used by any wikimedia project. Licensing would not be a problem at all - the licenses we use say nothing about allowing editing. And to my mind, the most fundamental ideal of Wikipedia is to produce an encyclopaedia; the fact that it's done via a wiki is secondary. If a stable version would help to produce a better encyclopaedia, it would be totally in accord with the ideals of Wikipedia. I think it would overcome at a stroke the significant problem that FAs, if not watched, do tend to decline in quality.
As for Johan's question as to what would happen to the wiki if a stable version were established - the wiki is fabulous for developing articles and bringing them to the highest standards, but not so great at keeping them there, so a stable version would not be used for creating articles at all, but only for preserving the 'finished' articles.
We're not exactly discussing FAs any more, but I do see this as a holistic thing - the attitude we have to new articles has a large effect on the general quality of articles and the number that are likely to reach FA quality in the near future. A failure to preserve the quality of FAs can also lead to demotivation of the people who write them. On a stable version, I just started a page on which to develop ideas about what form one might take: Wikipedia:Static version. Worldtraveller 01:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
As Worldtraveller said, there's nothing impractical about it. Oh, and I don't see why none of us have brought up (or even read) Wikipedia:Stable versions, which is exactly what I've been babbling about (even though all I know about the proposal has been gleaned from mailing list posts). Johnleemk | Talk 04:35, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
Because what's proposed in Wikipedia:Stable versions is different to what was proposed here and in Wikipedia:Static version. In fact, Wikipedia:Stable versions looks to me like not much more than FA with protection, which seems reasonable. — Johan the Ghost seance 13:59, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
(deindent) Was there ever anything different there to what was proposed here? The mechanisms are exactly the same. I think the problem stems from your total misunderstanding of what the proposal is. The idea was never to fork and create two different wikis. Johnleemk | Talk 16:03, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I've responded to this on your talk page. — Johan the Ghost seance 14:44, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

While we're saving the world, and we're on the topic, can people head over to DYK (Wikipedia talk:Did you know) As Worldtraveller mentioned, there has been some (strange to my mind) resistance to having the Did you know on the main page only allow referenced facts. For reasons I expanded on in that talk page and here I think highlighting unreferenced facts and articles on the main page is not what we should be promoting and violates the verifiability policy anyway. Please go there and comment so we can move to ecouraging the type of referenced work we need. Thanks - Taxman Talk 18:56, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

How soon is too soon for a second nomination?

I recently nominated Fujiwara no Teika; some valid opposes popped up at the same time as my own life grew a bit hectic, and so I didn't have time to address them. But shortly after the FAC closed, I had time to fix it up. What's the minimum acceptable time between nominations? --maru (talk) contribs 03:57, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

The most commonly discussed time is a month. You could go shorter if you got a few regular FAC reviewers to agree that you have done a very good job of correcting all the legitimate problems brought up before. That would nicely avoid a time limit and also the problem with repeat noms where the only person that thinks the issues are fixed is the nominator or otherwise involved editors. - Taxman Talk 19:53, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Guess I'll wait the month, then. I don't know any FAC regulars, and it's not like there aren't other articles I've been working on. --maru (talk) contribs 07:09, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Really? The other option seems the better one. There are plenty, just look at the fac page and see who's up there a lot. Johnleemk, Titoxd, Aloan, any of those would be excellent. - Taxman Talk 13:38, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, it all depends on the level of improvement the article received from its editor. If the improvements are immense and all objections about the article were corrected, it could even be in a week's time. --Siva1979Talk to me 20:20, 9 June 2006 (UTC)


The guidelines makes it clear that WP:SUMMARY should be applied to FAs, is it pertinent to expect some amount of quality from a FA subarticle? Say, if the subarticle has less information than the section in the main article, or if it has no reference whatsoever while its summarized conterpart is weel referenced, can we reasonably oppose the nomination? See for example my peer review for Cornell University. Circeus 01:09, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

We vote for the article in question, not the quality of subarticles; though some coherency should be maintained so that contradictions are not observed. If you plan to summarise a subarticle without sources, it mean that the entire section is unreferenced, thus violating a compulsory criteria of WP:WIAFA. As far as you nom is concerned, why don't you add references to the subarticle? =Nichalp «Talk»= 08:09, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Semi-protected pages

Re: the current United States FAC - is there any precedent for a featured article having protected or semi-protected status? I know that typically, articles put on the main page aren't protected in any way - it would be a bad reflection on us. But are there any FAs that are typically protected that anybody knows of? Cheers! The Disco King 19:45, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it's come up. The only other semi-protected page ever to arrive at FAC was George W. Bush, which was rejected not because of the semi-protection, but because he's still president, and thus the article isn't stable (he could do something of incredible note tommorow and the article would have to change to accomidate it). However, the general sentiment amongst most FAC reviewers I've seen, including myself, is that the stability requirement does not encompass vandalism at all. Since semi-protection has to do with vandalism, not good-faith edit wars, I see no reason why a featured article on a prominant, vandal attracting subject, couldn't be semi-protected.
If nothing else, we could always un-semi-protect the article on the day it's on the main page (and thus has more anti-vandal watchers) so that newcommers could still see that we allow people to edit even our best articles. Fieari 21:02, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

"We belong together": personal debate

By the way, I'd like to point out the following: the writing does not have to include life; this is not listed at WIAFA?. —Eternal Equinox | talk 23:01, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

This is absolutely ridiculous! Someone really needs to put an end to this. I asked you on your talk page to stop communicating with me, [1] yet you just don't stop harrasing me! I'm really at my wits end with you! I don't want to comment on this, just like I didn't comment on your request for adminship (which obviously failed miserably) because I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!! LEAVE ME ALONE! It's so transparent that you're doing all this (e.g. request for adminship, nominating this article for a fourth time) as a pathetic plea for attention that you can only get by antaganizing the community, no one can be this dense. No one. You have an uncanny talent for bringing out the worse in people. I actually have a question for the administrators, I know there's a rule that users can be banned for "exhausting the community's patience". I really think there would be a tremendous amount of support to ban Eternal/Hollow/Cruz, and all of his/her IP addressess once and for all. HeyNow10029 23:47, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Although this is not relevant to the FAC discussion, I shall respond: I have to warn you that media you uploaded is going to be deleted and therefore, I contacted you. I also contacted you to please provide input in this discussion since you objected last time. Everything else you've mentioned is really unusual. Of course I'll leave you alone; to be honest, you and I have never communicated on a friendly basis. And no, I am not nominating this article for attention; does anybody on Wikipedia do that? I've nominated it so it can become a featured article. And who is Cruz? o.o —Eternal Equinox | talk 23:53, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

ZOMG drama above me support My only content oppose was the graph, which was replaced by a more accurate scatterplot. With that done, the article as it stands now is featured quality, and the wait before nominating again assures me that the nominator respects community will and isn't just trying to force the nom past. Very comprehensive article. -Mask Flag of Alaska.svg 00:52, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Thank you! By the way, I removed the "z" in front of "omg" since... well, I think you know why. Feel free to replace it if you'd like for any reason! —Eternal Equinox | talk 00:56, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
I did re-add, it was meant to be satirical, internet slang and all that, I just found it inappropriate that someone is bringing those comments into a FAC. Should have gone to your talkpage :) -Mask Flag of Alaska.svg 01:00, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
I would also like to add that the nominator showed a large leap of good faith on my talkpage, which erases any issues that I had with previous conduct. -Mask Flag of Alaska.svg 01:00, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

how many votes to achieve FA?

How many support votes are necessary to achieve Featured Article status? Am I correct in assuming that even one unaddressed objection is enough to prevent it? Ideogram 18:30, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

See the above thread Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates#Proposal to stop people making 'me too' and checkbox support/object entries. =Nichalp «Talk»= 18:37, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
"Am I correct in assuming that even one unaddressed objection is enough to prevent it?" - depending on the severity of the objection, yes, this is possible. Raul654 19:00, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


I'm fed up with seeing peoples only reason for opposing an article as 'not many citations', when it is usually the case that the very fact that this article is up for potential FA status is that it abides by just about all the WP policies. Some articles are about the things where there is very little to cite, i.e. rules of a game, you do not need to cite, however if it is a historical, especially a political one, article almost everything needs to be cited, so using number of citations as criteria for how well an article is cited is wrong. I really get the impression some people scroll down an article and think 'ooh, a list, and only 15 citations, this article must be crap.' without actually thinking, well maybe there is something to be listed, and not many things requiring citations. I challenge every person who says not many citations as their reason to go down the article putting {{fact}} tags on everything that needs citing. So then they might see if the article actually needs more citations or not. Philc TECI 21:53, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Do you have a specific article in mind? -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 22:55, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
With regards to any nomination, if you believe an objection is invalid, state your case there. If you staunchly believe you are correct, feel free to insist on the point. Raul will judge your case, and if he agrees with you, then the objection isn't valid. Remember, FAC is not a vote. Fieari 07:22, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

1000th FA press release

With the coming 1000th featured article (en is currently at 997), I asked other members of the press committee to what extent they thought we should publicize it. The response was enthusiastic - as David Gerard succiently put it, this is an opportunity "to advertise the very best we have to offer."

To that end, I have started m:English Wikipedia Publishes Thousandth Featured Article, a press release for when we hit 1000. It's nowhere near finished - I think FAC regulars (the ones who will be seeing this on their watchlist) are probably the best qualified to write it. So, I welcome all the input you guys have to offer. Raul654 22:34, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Do we have to have access to meta in order to do this? -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 22:38, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Meta is open, just like Wikipedia is. You can log in to edit it, or do it anonymously Raul654 22:39, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
That's an excellent idea, Raul. I think this is a much more meaningful milestone for Wikipedia than 1 000 000 articles was. The Disco King 00:40, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Question one: are you subtracting out those articles listed under FARC? If so, based upon the most recent removals from featured article status, it appears that 1,000 may be unreachable. In the last couple of months, something like 2 featured articles are removed compared to one that is promoted.
Question two: If you are not pulling removed featured articles from the number, why not? Saying there are 1,000 featured articles on WP when there are not is misrepresentation.
Question three: If, for example, there are three articles that are approved at the same time, who do you decides who is 999, 1,000 and 1,001? I suppose a well-placed bribe could do the trick, but other criteria such as the person's toadying skills or past "favors" could work just as well.
I think the above questions have to be satisfactorily answered before anyone should place any confidence in the veracity of the outcome. Jtmichcock 01:13, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
In response to questions #1 and #2: I'm not sure if I've interpreted this question correctly. Have you been watching the FARC page? It's dead! There's only six active noms right now, and it's been slow as hell for the past two to three weeks. There was a flurry of noms a few months ago for articles that hadn't cited their sources after a year of prodding, and since then, activity at FARC has been virtually non-existant. On the other hand, if you're asking whether articles which have been removed are counted in the FA count, the answer is no, Raul updates the count every time he adds or removes articles from FA status. I'm curious (but not quite as hostile) about question #3, though. Cheers! The Disco King 01:19, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I've been reading the Wikipedia Signpost like a few others. This week's version has a list of the six articles that have been recently promoted and the eleven featured articles demoted. About 2:1 there. Contrary to your assertion, FARC seems to be quite busy. Jtmichcock 01:56, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
So let me get this straight - your judgement is based on a single issue of the signpost? (which happened to be the week they were clearing the FARC page out so it would naturally have an unusually large number of defeaturings). Raul654 02:24, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Reply 1: Where are you getting that information? It is totally, 100% wrong. Over the last few months, we're averaging about 45 newly promoted articles per month, and about 15 demoted - for a net change of about +1 per day. Wikipedia:Featured article statistics has net numbers. Or you can look into the promotion/demotion archives and count them, and you'll find the same thing.
Reply 2: See above
Reply 3: My intention was to promote two articles (to bring us to 999), then at some later point (figure a day or two later) promote a single one (which would look good on a press release for PR purposes). At the same time, I'm going to tell the FARC people to hold off on any demotions for a week or so, so we don't drop below 1000. Raul654 01:21, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Reply to Reply 1: See my answer to Disco King. Unless you are claiming that Wikipedia Signpost has been grossly inaccurate, then my comment stands. You are losing more featured articles than you are gaining.
No, the signpost appears to be accurate: The promotions/demotions listed for the month of May are: 11 - 5 + 11 - 0 + 7 - 2 + 6 - 0 = +28 net new featured articles. So I reiterate - where exactly are you getting your information? Raul654 02:09, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, lets look closely at some numbers. Here's May 29, which you don't cite:
Six articles were featured last week: V for Vendetta (film) (nom) Glacier National Park (US) (nom), Franklin D. Roosevelt (nom), Half-Life 2 (nom), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (nom) and Canada (nom).
Eleven articles were de-featured last week: Graffiti, Mail, Labour economics, Chetwynd, British Columbia, History of Scotland, Algorithm, Richard Feynman, Robert Walpole, Bible code, Goomba and Summer Olympic Games.
There's a net loss of five articles. You can cherry pick though dates, as can I, but that does not change the fact that the trend is toward more articles losing featured article status. That's just the reality. Jtmichcock 02:44, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
You are the one who is cherry picking - your estimate that we are losing featured article is based on the one week they happened to be cleaining out the FARC and defeatured a bunch. Please cite even one month where the number of featured articles went down - in nearly 3 years, it never has. Since you apparently did not follow my advice to check the statistics pages, here they are:
January 2006: +31 net new featured articles (Started the month at 848, ended at 879)
February 2006: +26 net new featured articles (started the month at 879, ended at 905)
March 2006: +25 net new featured articles (started the month at 905, ended at 930)
April 2006: +31 net new featured articles (started the month at 930, ended at 961)
May 2006: +28 net new featured articles (started the month at 961, ended at 989)
So where exactly is this great drop we are experiencing? Raul654 02:51, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Reply to reply 2: You didn't really address my specific inquiry and this is a shame: The fact is that the event with the person with the 1,000th featured article has already happened. The articles that were promoted (but later removed) were no less featured articles that the 997 you list. This sounds like Wikipedia giving an award to some article not related to addtion but to subtraction too. This distinction should go to the real 1,000th featured article.
That's a pointless distinction to make. We delete articles from Wikipedia all the time - does that mean in March when we celebrated the millionth article, it wasn't really hte millionth article? So yes, we might have *promoted* 1000 featured articles (some of which were demonted), but that's beside the point. Raul654 02:09, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Pointless? I can't understand the reasoning here. So a person or group of persons work their butts off to get an article to feature status and they is no different than someone who slaps a spam entry into the encyclopedia? For all the de-featured articles out there, there are people who worked hard at getting them ready for review and presentation. I'm certain you are aware that writing a featured article is not exactly easy. To lump those whose articles were defeatured into the same category as those who abuse the encyclopedia, that's beyond the pale. Jtmichcock 02:44, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Did you read what I wrote? It is exactly analogous to compare featured article promotion/demotion with article creation/deletion. If in March we celebrated the million article created - despite the fact that some articles might have been deleted and thus it's not really the millionth article if you considered the deleted ones - then why should we not celebrate the 1000th featured article, even if some were defeatured before? You haven't actually answered that question, but instead are trying to distort my words. Raul654 03:19, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
I read what you wrote and I think you reveal a tad too much. A number of articles were deleted before Wikipedia reached the million mark. In most instances, these deletions were largely the result of spammers, garage bands, someone's uncle who scored a hole in one, prank articles and often flagrantly unencyclopedic content. Your position is that those folks who prepared articles and attained (but lost) featured status should be treated the same as the former group when preparing the press releases: I say that's just wrong. By declaring a "1,000th article," you are telling those folks who, in many instances, worked their butts off that their contributions don't count. Whatever the number of featured articles has been, that number should acknowledge the contributions of everyone and every article designated featured quality, including those who - primarily due to more exacting standards and through no fault of their own - failed to maintain the status they once earned. You should not treat your writers like crap. Jtmichcock 03:40, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
It isn't treating people like crap, or disparaging the contributions of those who created articles that have since been defeatured; it's simply celebrating the fact that the project, as a whole, will have produced 1,000 articles that are currently marked as meeting the exacting standards we have created for FAs. It's an impressive accomplishment, consisting partly of developing the specific thousand articles in question but also of developing the process and standards, and it's an accomplishment to which not just the writers of currently featured articles, but also writers of past FAs and participants in all aspects of the FA process, have contributed. There's no harm or insult in noting the occasion. --RobthTalkCleanup? 03:53, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Reply to reply 3: I'm baffled as to "what would look good on a press release." Admittedly, some articles are a bit off the wall (Bulbosaur comes to mind), but since the credo is that any stable article that has met the quality standards can be a featured article, it seems dishonest at best to state that an article can become the 1,000th featured one but only if it looks good in our press release. I suppose that the recently promoted Detroit, Michigan would not make the list because. . . well, you know. Quite frankly, I'm starting to wonder if Pay Pal accounts might be involved in these transactions. Jtmichcock 01:56, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Woah there! Assume good faith! Unless you have any concrete evidence that Raul is corrupt in his promotions/demotions (in which case you should bring up a case at ArbCom), statements like this are entirely unwarranted. The Disco King 02:03, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Also, if I'm reading Raul's statement correctly, he's saying that it would look good on a press release to state that Wikipedia now has 1000 articles (rather than 1001 or 1003, for instance). I get nothing from that statement about the quality or type of the 1000th featured article. The Disco King 02:05, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
My statement was that I'd prefer our 1000th featured article to be of the notable type (looking at the FAC, something like Binary star, Myanmar, 'etc) as opposed to something that could be used to criticize us for system biases (like LOTR or Torchic). That's not to say I wouldn't promote them - I'd just stagger the promotions so that the 1000th one would be the notable one. Raul654 02:14, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for the misinterpretation. I disagree with that sentiment. As Jtmitchcock said above, if any article can be an FA, then why can't any article be the 1000th FA? I would have no problem with Torchic being the 1000th FA. There's plenty of room in that press release to talk about the more "notable" topics (as I see you've already done). Cheers! The Disco King 02:19, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, as a purely practical concern, the 1000th FA is likely to attract a great many well-intentioned new editors if it gets mentioned on Slashdot or the like. Something from popular culture might not survive the resultant flurry of "helpful" additions as well as something a bit more staid and academic might. Kirill Lokshin 02:24, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
So whatever is the 1,000th article will be the result of public relations, not actual acheivement? Wonderful. Jtmichcock 02:44, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Your behavior here has been out of line. The 1000th promotion has already happened. No reason to highlight it now, though if you want to go search through the history and find out which one it was instead of acting like Raul is doing something wrong. While we're about to hit 1000 currently featured articles we might as well highlight that. We know that is going to result in publicity, so given that, why not choose one to focus on that will not generate negative publicity? - Taxman Talk 17:17, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I apologize for any offense given. Problems in my personal life including a very sick parent have taken their toll. I certainly apologize especially to Raul for any accusations of menacity, I agree that was out of line. In all candor, I do think there's an attitude around here that people who contribute to this project are disposible. I took a great deal of exception - and still do - to Raul's equating of deleted articles with those articles who lost their featured status. People contributed and worked very hard to create featured articles should never be equated with vandals and spammers - but that's the attitude I see expressed. There is and should be a difference in counting the number of articles and the number of featured articles. It's not just a numbers game, people write articles, they don't spontaneously appear. Sadly, the level of critiquing on this page has gotten increasingly vicious. It's no longer about writing good articles, it's about making points so you can advance along in the social Darwinism of the system. How anyone could baldly accept baseless critiques from someone who has never even written a featured article is beyond me, yet it happens here on a regular basis. As to the number and how it is calculated, if you were the millionth customer in a store and the owner decided to declare the person in front of you the "winner" because he or she was white and you were not, how would you feel? What do you think of the owner? Anyway, I have had my say and again apologize to anyone I offended. Jtmichcock 21:59, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
The FARC room is anything but dead, and shows that WP can function well as a democratic process, at least temporarily. Heck, who cares about the 1000th FA? The number could bob up and down for a while, across the boundary. Are we celebrating base 10? Tony 01:42, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Just to clarify: I don't mean that the FARC room is dead in the sense that it doesn't work any more, but in the sense that it seems to be relatively inactive compared to the number of nominations it had a month or two ago. (BTW: I'm a big fan of base 10. Symbolism is important, and some people are impressed by big numbers.) Cheers! The Disco King
  • Well, getting 998 and 999, declaring the 1000th article a few hours later, and then promoting another 6 doesn't seem as incredibly macabre as it is made to appear, at least to me. Depending on the article, we may get a large influx of new editors, and one article may not be able to support the added attention, while another can. I'd say to Raul that I don't have any objections to him going ahead with this plan. Titoxd(?!? - help us) 07:00, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

If the 1000th featured article is not actually the 1000th because of subtraction, this means that at a previous time there must have been over 1000 featured articles. Since there previously were over 1000 featured articles, there already has been a 1000th featured article. This is simple maths and logic. --J.L.W.S. The Special One 07:51, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Then think of it as "1000 Featured Articles at one time". We have not reached this milestone yet. And, Raul, I fully support your plan here. Check your PayPal account. (insert eye-roll smiley here). — BrianSmithson 12:56, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Can we wait until the Truthiness article, which will shortly be nominated, gets FA status, so that Wikipedia can possibly get a mention on his show's "Who's Honoring Me Now?" ;) --kizzle 07:53, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Now that is the best idea I've heard all day. Granted, it's twenty till eleven in the morning here, but still, I think it's a superb notion. (-:
You know, sometimes 1001 is a more impressive number than 1000. If we work really hard and really fast on improving The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, can it be FA number 1001? Anville 14:44, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Venus is going to be ready for an FAC nomination very shortly - nothing more notable than a planet... perfect for the 1000th.... what's the paypal account details that I need...? Worldtraveller 14:53, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Raul, you've got me interested in writing a FA again. Do I have a chance...? =Nichalp «Talk»= 16:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea. I just put the disease cystic fibrosis up for featured article candidate as part of the medical collaboration of the week. If people like it and it gets featured article status, it might be a nice one to highlight a common medical condition and showcase the collaborative nature of things like the Medicine Wikiproject! Also, its 60 medical references might be nice to promote... InvictaHOG 22:42, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Or an article that highlighted our strengths before such as Hurricane Katrina might work too... Titoxd(?!? - help us) 00:54, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree, Katrina is a really nice article which would also highlight both a well-known storm/event and the collaborative effort of a very productive group InvictaHOG 02:03, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

In response to the request posted above, I have been able to calculate that the 1,000th article -- the article Raul or his predecessors tagged as "featured article" notwithstanding any de-featuring -- was mede on March 3, 2006 when nine articles were promoted. Immediately prior to these promotions, there were 994 total featured articles that had been identified; inclusive of 875 articles that were still featured and 119 other articles had lost featured status as of that date. As shown [here], the following nine articles were given featured status on March 3: Thomas Pynchon, Antarctica, Salsa music, Second Malaysia Plan, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, New Radicals, Chew Valley Lake, Donkey Kong (arcade game), and Western Front (World War I). If you assume a chronological order of "First In, First Out" (FIFO) as the criteria for counting (i.e., with the oldest submitted nomination being #995 and the later-posted nomination at 1003) the numbers work out as follows and the actual 1,000th featured article is:

995 Thomas Pynchon
996 Western Front (World War I)
997 Antarctica
998 Salsa music
999 Second Malaysia Plan
1000 Isambard Kingdom Brunel
1001 New Radicals
1002 Chew Valley Lake
1003 Donkey Kong (arcade game)

Likewise, if you do "Last In, First Out" (LIFO), Salsa Music is the 1000th article. 20:08, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Wow, interesting stats! If true, damn, I missed out by just one! :( (Second Malaysia Plan is almost all my work.) Johnleemk | Talk 16:02, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
The ordering within a group promoted at the same time (these 9 articles) really is meaningless - I copy the FAC to notepad, go through cut/pasting nominations around to promote or archive, and the order gets all mixed up to hell. Raul654 16:16, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Opening paragraphs (RFC)

Just an RFC, essentially. One thing I've noticed is that many featured articles still have opening paragraphs that just aren't as good as they could be. I've thus been planning to review mostly the opening paragraphs of FAC's, and (mainly) "object" to them on that basis.

Even though there are many opening paragraphs that I myself, not knowing the article matter (usually) cannot fix, I believe fixing the opening paragraph is usually a matter of minutes for the main contributors to a given article.


  • Is this wanted? I know I care about opening paragraphs, but does everyone else?
  • What's the best highlighted message? Object seems strong, since it's an easily fixable matter, but Weak object sounds like it's a weakly-held opinion, while I have the strong opinion that a bad opening paragraph alone should preclude an article from being featured. Bad opening para, maybe?
  • Should I write anything about articles whose opening paragraphs are okay? How about articles whose opening paragraphs are perfect, so much so that I want to point that out?

For the time being I'll go with "Object (based on opening para only)" and no message even for exceptionally wonderful opening paragraphs.

RandomP 01:14, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I think that Object is a fine way to vote, as it certainly holds the attention and forces the necessary improvement. InvictaHOG 02:04, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
As the person who has to use those paragraphs on the main page and rewrite them if they aren't very good, I care very much about introductory paragraphs :) . A simple object is fine by me. Raul654 02:08, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and a problematic lead is almost always followed by a problematic article. Tony 03:11, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
The problem comes when the lead has to be split into several paragraphs, and an objection is done based only on the first paragraph of the lead. Titoxd(?!? - help us) 00:36, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. As the opening paragraph (note singular) is given special treatment by various popup scripts, I don't think it's quite appropriate to think of it as being just the beginning of the lead section. I think that the very least it should do is give even an uninformed and confused reader a good idea of what the article is about (in particular, a reader who is looking for a different article should get to know as soon as possible. The end of the opening paragraph is really the latest acceptable point.)
should I write "based on the first opening paragraph only" in such cases where it's just reordering in the lead that I think needs to be done?
RandomP 16:33, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Criterion 2(a)

Torchic was just promoted despite three outstanding objections that its prose was not "compelling, even brilliant". Tony and I had provided numerous examples of why the article needed a thorough copy edit, and, looking at the article now, it appears that most of them were ignored. So, my question: Is Criterion 2(a) merely a suggestion? Is it impossible to prevent an article from being promoted due merely to poor writing? Should Criterion 2(a) be removed from the Featured Article Criteria? — BrianSmithson 15:01, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for raising this issue, Brian. Yes, I agree, it's not an article I'd want paraded as one of our best. Take, for example, the sequence of subtitles that start with "In the ..."; I guess they mean "Characteristics in the ...", since "Characteristics" is the preceding subtitle. Not kind to our readers.

However, I've seen worse get through in terms of wholesale breaches of 2a. Raul is sometimes placed in a difficult position with respect to 2a: he might be criticised either way, for passing or failing a candidate, and he can be forgiven for not wanting to engage in highly detailed, technical argument about the standards of prose in particular FACs. The prose of Torchic is banal, at times faulty, and looks pretty awful on the page, but aiming shots at it ain't easy. While it's relatively straighforward to assess whether complaints about image copyright, and even POV, have been addressed, 2a can be a sticky web that suffuses everything, like treacle.

Raul may also be relieved to see that the prose of the lead of a FAC is acceptable, since it falls on his shoulders to select a daily FA for exposure on the home page. However, nominators and reviewers have a responsibility to ensure that the standard of prose is uniform thoughout "our best".

I find that carrying the flag for higher standards of prose can be a laborious task in this room. The formula that I've developed for doing this is as follows.

  • an initial declaration that the prose fails to satisfy 2a;
  • examples from the lead or "at random";
  • a statement at the end that the whole text requires copy-editing, based on the density of problems in the exemplified prose, sometimes accompanied by specific suggestions on how to achieve this;
  • a second critique to reinforce the concern (where there appears to have been insufficient momentum to improve the overall quality of the prose)

It's very satisfying when nominators see the light and cooperate. It's a problem when they come to me (and others like me, I suspect) asking for a complete copy-edit. And worse, I receive grief from some nominators who are understandably frustrated to be told that what they thought was a good piece of prose is not. Most people, in my experience, overestimate their writing ability, and some are offended when their hard work is criticised without remorse. The latest episode occurred earlier today, in which I was accused of being snide and having unrealistic standards. I'm willing to put up with this, if I receive support as well. I'm most relieved when other experienced WPians chime in to support my stance or to implement a similar process as listed above; I'd love there to be more of this support. In particular, I'd like to dispell among nominators the idea that fixing the exemplified problems is enough to pass 2a.

If the standards of prose are not high, WP will fail gain the authority it deserves on the highly competitive environment that the Internet is becoming.

Tony 15:46, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Criteria 2a is very important, Articles should have excellent prose, always. — Wackymacs 16:05, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
While it's easy to make blanket assertions like that, in reality, "brilliant prose" is a subjective thing that is not so easily judged. Yes, 3 people did object that the article contained substandard prose - meanwhile, approximately 30 people supported it, and presumably they felt the prose was acceptable. Raul654 16:14, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
For an article of this nature, 30 supports does not surprise me. There are a very, very large number of Pokémon fans who write for Wikipedia. But when several specific examples of places the prose was faulty were totally ignored? It's just a bit discouraging to spend a couple hours reading an article and writing a review of it (as I did) only to have your concerns totally ignored and disregarded. Tony's the only person whom I regularly see objecting based on 2(a), and I'm frankly surprised he keeps at it. This is not the first time his objections or similar ones were ignored. — BrianSmithson 17:01, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
I second BrainSmithson here, and thanks for bringing this up. It seems criteria 2a is often ignored completely by most "reviewers". Most recent is the Football (soccer) article which has been nominated to FA albeit having a bad prose which I pointed out, but I was simply outnumbered by people who ignored me for the most part. — Wackymacs 17:36, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
The support to object ratio doesn't really say anything, since reviewers don't tend to do "me too" objects; after all, the theory here is that objections are judged on the validity of the argument, not the number of people making it. I suspect I'm not the only person who agrees with those objectors that the prose in that article is not good enough for featured status, but pile-on, me-too objects would have been bad form. --RobthTalkCleanup? 21:01, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

"Compelling" and "brilliant" are subjective and are oftentimes merely the opinion of the reviewer. I too agree with Tony1 that having well written articles is relatively important if Wikipedia is to be recognized as a reliable source. But this is but one of the criteria, and I do not see it is a more important one than those than demand we get our facts straight, that we are comprehensive in detail and that the article is neutral and stable. We will be recognized mostly by our ability to provide correct information and by ensuring our information is substantive...we are afterall supposed to be a pool of reference source writers, not poets. Looking over many FAs over the past week, few are compelling or brilliantly written...but I do find that they are oftentimes comprehensive, organized, well referenced and neutral. Most wikipedia polices fall in line with these core principles of no original research, neutrality, reliable sources, verifiability, and accuracy. Yes, let's demand that articles be well written, but we must do so in kindness, not in a manner that is insulting. Those that come to FAC tend to be editors that have worked long and hard for no pay to write an article that they feel is worthy of distinction. When reviewing such articles, we must remember that we will be more likely to get a positive reaction from them to improve their work if we treat them politely and with respect.--MONGO 20:36, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

i can't wait for the next identikit pokemon article FAC. will it be butterfree? or maybe magikarp? the suspense is killing me.... as confirmed by raul654, it just needs 30 "extreme support!!!!" votes from members of the pokemon wikiproject and it becomes an FA, so remember to vote-stack as much as possible. one well-argued object can't stop an article with a wikiproject behind it voting in numbers. Zzzzz 00:09, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

I very much agree that it can be incredibly demotivating when actionable objections are ignored and articles promoted anyway. I suggested recently that Raul654 add a little note to the nomination page if he's going to promote something despite objections, explaining his rationale. I had long been under the impression that FAC was emphatically not a vote, and that the number of supports really didn't matter if there were actionable objections, so I find it quite depressing that numbers alone are now apparently used as an argument in favour of promoting. I felt much the same when Half-life 2 was promoted, despite being full of overblown verbose prose which utterly repels anyone who isn't a serious fan of the game. These kinds of game/cartoon/pop culture articles often do, in my experience, attract lots of support votes from fans which, if I were the FA director, I would give a lot less weight than an object from a disinterested editor. More and more I get the impression that votes of the 'Support, yeah!' variety are given about as much weight as the objections I often raise, even when I accompany them with extensive critique and suggestions. Worldtraveller 00:34, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Raul, your statement that "meanwhile, approximately 30 people supported it, and presumably they felt the prose was acceptable" is, IMV, a significant problem. I don't agree that these general declarations of support equate to a declaration that the prose is acceptable. They could mean a lot of things, such as that the commenter hasn't even thought about the quality of the prose.

I had no idea that this process was a numbers game; next time I put forward an FAC, I'll just garner support from whoever for vague positive assertions; that will win the day.

WP is a great idea, but the fact that most contributors are amateurs (I mean this in a good way) requires a degree of expertise in critiqueing articles that are put forward as "our best". Otherwise, the whole project will sink into mediocrity.

Raul, do you actually look at the prose of the articles you promote, to check beyond the start that it's "compelling, even brilliant"? Have you thought of adding a comment yourself if there appears to be no momentum to improve the prose, rather than caving in and promoting?

Tony 01:54, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, this should NOT be a number game, but at the moment it mostly is. Articles should be nominated to featured status based on the criteria, and based on all the Object votes. If what people are objecting on what can be justified and changed, but hasn't been, but the article has 30 Support votes, it should still not succeed because it has failed the criteria, thankfully pointed out by a few careful reviewers. Most reviewers object/support articles based on wether they like the subject or not - in the case of Pokémon articles, the problem is that is has a huge fan base and they just instantly support because of the WikiProject, and because they worked on the article. — Wackymacs 05:57, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

You may be interested in this posting. Tony 07:26, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The level of prose is not up to standards, and many articles DO NEED to be summarised. I've got lame excuses when I oppose that the article won't be comprehensive enough if it is summarised. =Nichalp «Talk»= 07:42, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
It seems the FA criteria certainly does need tweaking slightly so that it is more strict and more explicit in its description of the requirements for featured articles. — Wackymacs 07:58, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Tony, the problem with that is that saying, "Oh, the article is horribly written" is as helpful as saying that an article is not notable (that is, not helpful at all). From the writer's perspective, the prose of the article is adequate enough for FA, and it probably was revised before, as I doubt any editor would send an article to FAC without it having had at least some significant copyediting (and if an irresponsible editor does send one article like that, the article probably doesn't have any references or has something even more glaring).
Usually, as a writer, I send articles through FAC only if I think they're solid, but I know I'm not perfect, so I try to address criticism as much as possible, if it is presented to me (I already copyedited it, so I believe that there are no issues unless someone else proves otherwise). Just picking one problem and saying that the whole article sucks usually ends up making the critic look like he is exaggerating and destroys his credibility, and when the critic brings the rest of the objections to the surface, it simply annoys me, as he could have brought all of them at the same time, and it feels like a game of cat and mouse. When I'm annoyed, I don't want to fix articles, and it is the same for other editors.
An ideal place to address these concerns is Peer review, but if we get inherently worthless reviews such as this one, then you can't expect writers to send perfectly-polished articles to the "next step" of the FA ladder. I think that the issue Tony brings up is due to a failure much lower in the ladder, and that should be fixed there, not here. Titoxd(?!?) 08:14, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
The problem with Peer review is that there are too many articles being added there and not enough reviewers/contributors. The problem with PR is a lack of maintenance and attention. — Wackymacs 08:23, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Any chance for a peer review "draft", then? I'd be willing to volunteer to be on a list of people who are "assigned" an article to peer review once in a while. Any other volunteers?
I have no detailed plan how the assignment procedure should work, no. It seems to me it should probably be limited to articles that are supported by at least one or two of the volunteer conscripts as potential FAs, which would limit the amount of work produced ...
RandomP 08:35, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
The problem isn't peer review. Torich's peer review was pretty thorough, in fact, it said that there was a need for a copy edit. I am guessing this was ignored before they nominated it for FA, so the problem there was more in the attitude of the nominator. I never nominate something until all issues brought up in peer review are resolved. As for the hurricane peer review, people need to advertise their peer reviews. For my recent review of Cane Toad, I posted the link on Wikipedia:WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles, and people's talk page if I thought would be interested. None of this was done with the hurricane article, and I doubt people who were interested were even notified. The problem is that the WP:FAC process is letting articles through which do not meet the criteria, it has nothing to do with peer review. --liquidGhoul 08:30, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
"Advertise peer reviews" - interesting concept. How would you go doing that, besides posting it on a noticeboard, having a discussion about which article to send to FAC, all after the article was assessed by several editors? Spamming random editors' talk pages? Or just following standard procedure (which was done)? We've had more review at WP:GA than in Peer review, so it isn't as easy as "blame the editor". Titoxd(?!?) 08:44, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Hurricane Mitch got through FAC with flying colours, what is someone who is going to peer review it going to say? You need to use an example which applies. --liquidGhoul 10:25, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
We must face the fact that there's a shortage of reviewers who focus on prose, and more broadly a shortage of good copy-editors for WP; there probably always will be. Those reviewers understandably focus their efforts on the FAC rather than the PR process, because that's where the crunch comes, where standards are established and enforced, and where our limited time can be allocated for the greatest impact.
There's nothing wrong with promoting fewer articles, to safeguard (well, improve) the standards of writing and to send a signal to would-be nominators. FA status should be cherished and revered, and not something handed out without very good reasons. I note that 45 articles were promoted last month, the second-highest number on record, aside from the initial backlog in October 2003. It might argued that the proportion of WP articles that are featured has declined—from 11 to 8.5 per ten thousand over the past few years—but I don't see that as relevant: as a statistic, it may be contaminated by the type of articles that are now being created in huge numbers now that the project has entered a more mature stage.
An accompanying strategy is to help contributors to meet the rigorous requirement of 2a by providing practical ways in which they can improve their writing/editing skills. This is by no means pie-in-the-sky endeavour; it underlies the thinking behind the articles written by Taxman and AndyZ (and the two articles listed within the criteria text, which, IMV, themselves need copy-editing). I've also taken tentative steps towards this goal, (e.g., here and here) by providing tutorial-type articles—however flawed they may be—in the skills of writing. I'd be pleased to see this type of infrastructure become more widely used as a way of nurturing the talent and expertise of this wonderfully democratic process.
But our efforts will be undermined if the currency is debased by allowing poorly written FAs to bask in the limelight. Tony 09:17, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I recommend we create a new level for those articles that are indeed the very best. How about Outstanding featured article and request that the participants at Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team determine which articles meet this level of excellence. Looking over many featured articles, a lot of them fail to meet the highest levels of excellence. In fact, if we are going to up the ante for articles to get featured, then a review of those currently on the list by those that profess to be experts, will result in the removal of a vast number of them from featured status. Again, there are very few Wikipedians either talented or dedicated enough to write articles of near perfection. By creating a new "outstanding" level, this may encourage those that have worked diligently on featured articles to make the improvements necessary to meet these new expectations.--MONGO 09:29, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that is entirely neccesary, or if it would work. Eventually, it will be diluted with sub-par articles. I don't know how, but if it has happened here (where it is meant to be Wikipedia's best), then it will happen there. What needs to be done, is for concensus to actually occur, Wikipedia is not decmocracy. This may mean that we need more than just Raul working on the promotion end, so that Raul isn't completely flooded with too many FACs and ends up counting instead of deliberating. If I were the only person, I can't see me reading over ten FACs, reading the long discussions that usually occur after an oppose vote, and then reading the article to see if it has improved. Also, if there is a good reason for an oppose, maybe we should have a pause period while the contributors of the article fix it up. If they haven't by the end of the period, then it should fail. --liquidGhoul 10:25, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

In my opinion the problem with this process starts with this condition Each objection must provide a specific rationale that can be addressed. If nothing can be done in principle to "fix" the source of the objection, the objection may be ignored. Maybe it should read

  • Each objection must provide a detailed rationale that can be addressed. Each objection needs to be "fixed" prior to promotion, If nothing can be done in principle to "fix" the objection, this needs to be explained, then the objection may be ignored.

Instead of creating another process consider making PR and even GA a requirement before nomination. This should address more of the technical image copyright issues, comprehensive detail, format (including lead) and stability issues earlier. By the time articles reach FA nominations it should be able to concentrate on the subjective style and prose issues. Ultimately FA should be about identifing and promoting "our" best not about popularity. For promotion the critical factor should be no "fixable" objections not how many support votes. Gnangarra 10:56, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

(after edit conflict, and I think what Gnangarra says is quite similar to what I was writing at the same time:)

I've been pondering recently whether FA is a bottleneck at the moment. If it's supposed to genuinely be about identifying the very best of Wikipedia, then the current rate of FA production is decent but there really needs to be much more effort put into identifying articles that are high quality but not necessarily among the very best. WP:GA is having some success at this. Many people, though, view FA as a status eventually desirable for all articles. If that's the case then it's really got serious problems. Only 1-2 articles a day pass, at which rate it will be more than a hundred years before we even have 50,000 FAs. Some radical overhaul will be needed if we're going to build a decent encyclopaedia in a reasonable time frame.

One idea I've been pondering would involve splitting the process into several component parts. At the moment, usually one person writes an FA, and that one person is expected to address all concerns raised at FAC. I think that does make for something of a bottleneck, and FAC inevitably is seen as something of an ordeal to go through. I have seen plenty of people who say they don't care about getting FA status for articles they write. As a result, there are hundreds of thousands of articles which lack references, are poorly written, use untenable fair use logic for their images, and so on.

What about if there was no adversarial process? How about a system in which I write an article to the best of my abilities, and then I submit it to a 'basic check' - It's checked for fundamentals like whether it's got references and whether images are properly tagged. If it passes that, it is sent on to 'fact checking' - references checked to ensure they corroborate what's written in the article. After that, 'prose review' - checks that the writing is good. And finally, 'style review' - ensuring that the MOS is followed. There would really be no need for 'support' and 'oppose' voting in any of these stages - editors would simply work with reviewers to ensure that comments were addressed. The onus would no longer be on the writer to copyedit before submitting - copyediting your own prose is notoriously difficult to do effectively. A 'pipeline' system could achieve much greater throughput, and the end product ought to be articles that have been more thoroughly reviewed and honed than FA can manage in the 5-day baptême du feu. As a writer, rather than having five hectic days trying to address objections of all types, you'd simply put an article into the pipeline and address comments at each stage. It could make for a much less stressful and much more productive system. Worldtraveller 11:04, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Let me get this right, Worldtraveller: who would do the copy-editing? Tony 16:20, 11 June 2006 (UTC) PS FACs take much longer than five days. PPS I want fewer, not more FAs. They're meant to be representative, not all-embracing in the project.

First point - whoever wants to - just like FAs are reviewed by whoever wants to review them. A group of people with an aptitude for that sort of thing would surely emerge. I'm sure I recall you suggesting a while back that there should be some sort of mechanism for getting articles copyedited.
Second - 5 days is normally how long my nominations take... unless there's significant problems to address it's always been 5 days between listing and promotion or archiving as far as I recall. If it's longer, it can be even more of an adversarial process.
Third - this is where there's uncertainty about what FA is. I agree with you, that I'd like them to represent the very best, the most exciting articles on the most fascinating topics, but according to this discussion they are supposed to be simply the minimum standards that all articles should meet. Therefore, we need vastly more of them than this system is able to give us. If they are actually the creme de la creme, then there is still an urgent need for a process to give us all the articles to make up the mere creme - hitting 'random article' 10 times reveals the depressing state of much of Wikipedia. Worldtraveller 17:07, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
While the goal of making FAC less stressful for authors is admirable, it isn't really feasible without either sacrificing quality or finding a huge group of people willing to do a lot of work on other people's nominations. Calling FA a minimum standard is a little misleading; the point of the discussion you linked to is just that the number of FAs isn't fixed at 0.1% of the total article count or anything like that; it can include as many articles as meet the standards. The thing is, a ton of work has to go into bringing an article up to the standard, and in most cases the only person who's going to be willing to do that work is a primary author of the article. A system where someone just puts an article into a pipeline in which reviewers have to work extensively on the article with them won't attract many reviewers. Although FAC can be a stressful few days (I was like a terrier on speed during my first FAC), it's the only way I can think of to bounce the articles that are well below standards and improve the ones that are close enough, without making unreasonable demands on the reviewers' time. And while you're right about the need for some way to increase the number of quality articles outside the FA realm, I don't think the FA process can answer that problem; the limiting factor there is the number of people interested in and capable of writing articles of that quality. --RobthTalkCleanup? 20:19, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't say my goal is to make things less stressful - that would just seem to be a possible side effect of introducing a different review system. My goal is to vastly increase the numbers of articles that have been through any kind of validation process - currently it's probably about 2,500. I don't agree at all that a less stressful system would mean lower quality. In the discussion I linked to, people definitely did say that FA is a standard all articles should reach, rather than a small selection of articles of exceptional quality, and if we're serious about that we need to enormously increase the number of articles reaching this status. If, as you seem to suggest, there's just not enough people capable of writing FA-quality articles, then that must mean Wikipedia is doomed to fail as an encyclopaedia. I really hope that's not true.
I think there are a number of factors which reduce the numbers of people willing to write FAs. One is the likelihood - almost certainty - that subsequent well-meaning but bad edits will slowly but surely turn a great article into a mediocre one. The more FAs I write, the more I see them degrade, sometimes rapidly and substantially. Herbig-Haro object hardly changes at all - I guess the average guy passing by is really unlikely to think they know more than is already there - but Sun attracts masses of edits, and definitely more bad than good. Same for Mercury (planet), and other major topics like that. To stop this disheartening degradation I really would like to see a static version set up.
Another issue is the highly adversarial and, for many people, stressful process. Personally I like nominating articles for FA, but standards are seen as unattainably high for most people. A third is that generally, FA is a tiny part of Wikipedia and many people are quite happy to accrue thousands of edits and never come into contact with a featured article. The colossal number of mediocre articles we have absorb a colossal amount of effort - if we had 250,000 articles instead of 1,100,000, average quality would probably be somewhat higher, but huge numbers of people prefer to write an unreferenced stub on an obscure topic than to do any serious research on an important topic. It absolutely amazes me, really, that only three people have written more than 20 featured articles. I'd guess that at least ten thousand people have made more than 500 edits - you'd have thought more than three of them would be capable of writing 20 well-referenced, illustrated, nicely-written articles. I fear that the systems that have evolved over the years encourage the vast majority of editors to work without the focus or direction that's needed to raise large numbers of articles to high standards. I think everyone who wants to build a usable, authoritative encyclopaedia really needs to think about whether the current systems will ever get us there, and if not, what kind of systems would. Worldtraveller 21:03, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
PPS I want fewer not more FAs. Second that sentiment, considering quality issues and deterioration of several FAs I've followed. But, with respect to Worldtraveller's ideas, and the comment that a system where someone just puts an article into a pipeline in which reviewers have to work extensively on the article with them won't attract many reviewers, it seems that the system used by the Wiki Physicians, Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Collaboration of the Week, produces quality work while also insuring references are current, accurate and reliable, because they receive peer review from other medical professionals. Perhaps Worldtraveller's idea could be adapted to include review by knowledge sources, according to category. For example, IMO one of the problems with the FA status of Hugo Chávez is that there was not enough involvement in the article by those who were really knew the issues (i.e.; what was not being said), partly because many who did know the issues had ESL difficulties in expressing them in English ... just my opinion, for what it's worth ... but in that case, some sort of sub-grouping by category (Latin American peer review?) could better review the articles, and might have a better sense of NPOV and reliable sources. It seems that, at times, a long list of references can mislead editors into believing an article is factual and NPOV, but a long list of references guarantees neither. Why not use a system similar to MCOTW, which produces quality work, even in their reviewed articles that don't attain FA status? Sandy 21:13, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Collaborations of the week work well, if there's a large enough body of committed and knowledgeable editors. Unfortunately, a large number of collaborations of the week are almost completely inactive, since they don't have that body of contributors. The article featuring process has to be one which can deal with articles on any subject, and get enough reviewers involved to ensure that each article gets a thorough critique. Subject specific peer reviews and collaborations are a good thing, but they can only succeed where there are enough interested editors on a subject, and as a result they can only complement, not replace, the existing process. --RobthTalkCleanup? 03:27, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
I want to echo one of the difficult things about brilliant prose brought up by Worldtraveller - it's really hard to watch a well-copyedited and flowing article go through a day on the front page. You feel like a horrible person if you revert a well-meaning attempt to add information that just doesn't fit, breaks flow in some subtle way, etc. I like the emphasis on 2(a), though, and think that more work can only make things better. I've learned a lot from going through these processes and reading Tony's comments. One thing that would be helpful, though, is to perhaps somehow acknowledge whether a requested copyedit has gone well - I've reviewed the FACs over the last month and don't see any withdrawn oppose votes based on 2(a), even when the included changes have been enacted and an independent copyedit performed. Especially if an actionable oppose vote becomes binding, it would be nice to have feedback after attempted changes have been made! InvictaHOG 03:08, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

I actually think this idea from Worldtraveller is pretty good. Reviewing articles by stages would surely give us a better final product, with a more thorough and systematic look at the various aspects of the article. Referencing, accuracy, POV, prose, and image quality. In addition to the general improvement in quality I suspect we would get out of system like that, it would also mean articles would be "certified" on several different stages—so it might be easier to motivate people to work towards it if they will get some credit for just making it through one or two stages, for instance, while increasing the degree of ultimate prestige that would come from making it all the way through the process. It's definitely something worth thinking about. We need to keep maximizing quality while keeping the system reasonable and accessible. There's a need to continually increase the number of FAs and also to increase FA quality, or at least keep the bar from being lowered; I think some kind of reform may be necessary to enable us to meet both those goals. Everyking 11:55, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Samples of prose problems that are not subjective, from a Dec. 10 featured article, Hugo Chávez:
  • altering Venezuela's economic and cultural landscape of Venezuela.
  • been significant drops ... in the government's definition of "poverty," The government's definition of poverty dropped? Or the index of poverty dropped? It appears the intent was to say that poverty dropped, according to the gov't definition. Who knows?
These seem to be basic errors in grammar. Perhaps when an article is extremely long, few people voting in favor of promoting to FA are really able or willing to wade through the entire thing? (Ties in with "sea of fans" issued raised by Tony.) Sandy 19:07, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Undermining our standards: another disappointing promotion

I was asked to copy-edit Indian Institutes of Technology, and did the lead, which required heavy editing (I've worked a lot on articles on the subcontinent—it's a worthy endeavour). However, I didn't realise at the time that it was a FAC, and now I see that it was promoted just two weeks ago.

I see that the one POV objection during the FAC process has not been thoroughly addressed, with remaining clangers such as "it had established itself as an excellent academic institution". Says who? In the lead, I see that there's an inline citation (prompted by my objection to the POV); yet when you follow up the reference, it's a Congressional document referring only to Indian graduates in the US, whereas the text to which it is appended says: "considered to be a benchmark of academic excellence in India and beyond". Sorry to be picky, but let's use the references precisely. A Congressional document is hardly going to be balanced or authoritative, given that US votes are at stake. Have a look at it.

Under no stretch of the imagination could the prose be said to meet the requirements of 2a. Here are examples from just one section from the middle of the article.

    • One paragraph starts with "As per ..." While we might start our reviews with "as per so and so", this latinism does not belong in the prose of our articles.
    • The Act "was suitably amended to reflect the addition"—how could it have been unsuitably amended for that purpose?
    • The Committee "laid strict guidelines"—as though they're eggs laid by hens.
    • "the the following seven colleges"—nice, and followed by a long list of bullets, too.
    • What are "discretionary residual powers"—are both epithets required?
    • The history "dates to 1946"—there's a word missing here.
    • Many parts of the article could do with more commas, both for meaning and ease of reading; this is not just a matter of personal style.
    • "The committee also felt that such institutes should not only produce undergraduates, but also researchers and academicians." Are two alsos a wise decision for this sentence? Unless you're referring to "a member of an academy, esp. of the Royal Academy of Arts, the Académie Française, or the Russian Academy of Sciences", the last word is inappropriate; what's wrong with "academics"?

Then under "Educational rankings":

    • "in the world in their World"
    • "The IITs strong only in their undergraduate programs ..."
    • "Another of the common criteria being the Social Science Citation Index, the rank of IITs suffer as they don't have large departments ..."
    • "Also, since the IITs do not get international students (except by exchange programs) and faculty because of paying in Indian Rupee which is ..."
    • "... there has been a call to boycott them." Well, this dramatic claim requires a reference: who made that call? It's not covered in ref. 34 that follows.

In case I'd just struck two bad patches, I looked at the top, and found "Their locations have been deliberately selected to be scattered throughout the country in order to ...". No, just about every sentence beyond the lead needs fixing.

Now, I have a great deal of respect for my subcontinent friends, but I'm afraid that this should NOT have been promoted. As a Good Article, it might have had a chance to gradually improve to the point where we're not embarrassed by putting forward its prose as representing "our best". Where are the reviewers to stop this kind of promotion happening? A few voiced serious objects; e.g.:

    • Nichalp—"it still needs a copy-edit [by other editors]" plus concerns about referencing.
    • Anwar: "... I am more concerned about absolute lack of information as to how/why IITs are considered superior to other educational institutions ...".
    • Spangineer—many, many examples of problems in the prose, including: "Hope this helps. Please look for these problems throughout the article and don't just fix these examples. If I only wanted the examples fixed, I would have done it myself." This was met by "If there are any more actionable concerns, please let me know." At one point, the response to Spangineer's advice was "That is just stupid." The question is, why did these reviewers end up supporting the article. Perhaps they're tired of a process that makes them work very hard to make an impact. Look at the sea of fans you'd have had to go against.

Something is very wrong. Lots of hard work went into preparing this article; why can't the prose be fixed? I'm listing this now for Major Review on the FAR page; it's most unsatisfactory to have to engage in the churning of a recently promoted article, but I don't see an alternative if we're to retain any semblance of dignity.

Tony 10:12, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good candidate for FA removal. Everyking 11:31, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Comment: I would like to add that Spangineer and Nichalp both gave it a thumbs up after changes were made. Tony's selective quoting makes it seem like they were against it becoming FA. That is misleading and I hope that it was done by mistake. Furthermore, "that is just stupid" comment was made by me but it is again funny how selective quoting works. I gave an example and was commenting on that example. I was not attacking Spangineer and I do not think he took it in that manner either but you would have to ask him about that. Selective quoting for the win? Good job being misleading. Finally, I strongly object you branding hard working wikipedians who supported that FAC as fan boys. I have nominated articles for FARC that I have worked for months because I did not believe they met the FA criteria. Attacking other users and their opinions in this manner is mean-spirited. --Blacksun 23:40, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, you're right with respect to that one instance, and I withdraw it. The rest, however, stands. Glad to see that you withheld the assertion that I'm "obnoxious" that you wrote on my talk page. Tony 01:31, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • shrugs* I don't know you that well to judge you in that manner. I meant to call the act of implying everyone else as fan boys as mean-spirited and yes, obnoxious. I am not really sure what exactly you are withdrawing and standing by but I have made my point clear. I think you could have stuck to pointing out what is wrong with the article without a) attacking other users b) using selective quotes to make it seem like some of the more well-known users supported it from some type of peer pressure. --Blacksun 05:55, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Mean-spirited and obnoxious I'll wear with a smile, rather than a shrug. It was the "stupid" comment that you're right about, above. Please don't take all of this personally—it's not meant to be personal. It's just about language. Tony 07:11, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I am not sure how your implications are not personal but ok? I would like to know from Nichalp and spangineer if they voted yes because they felt overwhelmed by peer pressure. Have you talked to them about this? Both of them seem pretty capable to me of standing their ground and have a proven track record to do so. Anyways, I will ignore the personal comments that were made by you and focus on comments related to the article. --Blacksun 15:30, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
It's problematic if the "sea of fans" aspect allows articles to be promoted in spite of unaddressed problems. I would support removal of FA status for the unaddressed POV objection alone. This article may suffer under the requirements of 2a, but even if met the requirement, brilliant prose can mask POV or poor references. Unlike 2a, NPOV is a pillar of Wikipedia, and even one unaddressed POV objection supercedes all other concerns. Sandy 11:14, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

FAs without inline citations

There's an ongoing discussion on the FAR talk page here regarding the abundance of FAs with no inline citations (by my count, about 350 of them). Right now, the proposal on the table is to leave talk page messages about the deficiency, wait a pre-determined amount of time, and begin weeding them out. More comments/input/suggestions/etc. is welcome. Cheers! The Disco King 16:38, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

It's an inevitable part of a dynamic, changing system that contributors to and custodians of FAs should be required to update their article when standards improve. Is there some way of doing this in a controlled, steady manner to avoid a tumult? Tony 11:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Those articles either need fixing/updating now, or they must have their FA status removed. — Wackymacs 12:13, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
{{sofixit}}. Rather than just telling someone to fix something, how about looking into the articles and helping to fix them up? I don't mind so much seeing the standards improve, but when one volunteer says something is bad without offering to help or at least offer specific actionable suggestions, it's going a little too far. If you think something is bad, then lend a hand and help to improve it. We've all got a limited amount of time to work on articles here. Let's spend that time constructively by improving and fixing things rather than arguing about them. Slambo (Speak) 12:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I have written quite a few FAs and have written them to the criteria required at the time. I have absolutely no intention of spending further hours re-sourcing various long ago borrowed and returned books and page numbers, just to satisfy the whims and fancies of the moment. If that were to be the case there would be no time to move on and explore new subjects. The important thing is that work is referenced - the precise how-so is unimportant. To FARC so many already adequately referenced pages would be ludicrous and serve no one well. However, If it is the consensus of the community to commit such an act of vandalism - then so be it, but it will be Wikipedia's loss. Giano | talk 12:26, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
It's a good point, Giano. Tony 12:33, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
"Wikipedia's loss" - you're acting like we're going to delete your precious writings and articles! Seriously, I *love* footnotes - they are very useful in articles, they show that it has been referenced and verified very well. I'm sure you spent a lot of time, but times change, and now the FA criteria and requirements are stricter. — Wackymacs 12:34, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
What bothers me is not the fact that inline citations are required or not, but the double standard between past and current FAs and FACs. It takes three times longer to write an article using inline citations than without using them. So potentially, you spend N hours to write a FA while you could write 3 of those. Why should new editors be disadvantaged? -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 12:55, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
This isn't a contest to see who can write the most. In point of fact, there is no double standard. Look at the top of WP:FAR (which is what the FARC became) - Insofar as requirements imposed after an article was promoted, the consensus has been to hold older articles to the current standards. It doesn't get much plainer than that. Raul654 12:56, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I totally approve the creation of WP:FAR. However, as far as I understand, FAs will be reviewed up to current standards, which is exactly what I suggest (I never proposed plain removal of them from FA status, let it be clear :) -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 13:07, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm so pleased you love them, and indeed we are now all writing current FAs to include them. However, please do not keep attempting to inflict your personal loves and hates on us all retrospectively, allow us all to make decisions for ourselves. My "precious" writings, as you call them, are not mine, as all pages here they are heavily edited by many others. If you can't take the opinions of others without vitriol and sarcasm, perhaps it's best not to offer your opinion in the first place. Giano | talk 12:48, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Problem is, what you're forgetting, is that footnotes are terribly useful for readers, and that's what an encyclopedia is meant to be, useful; just in-case you forgot. — Wackymacs 12:56, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Please do not be so presumptious as to try and guess what I am, or am not, forgetting. Stick to the proven facts not you imaginations about my memory. Proven facts are what are useful on an encyclopedia, more so than any one particular way over another of proving their source. Giano | talk 13:09, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, you've just basically said it yourself - and with facts, citations in the form of footnotes are necessary. — Wackymacs 13:13, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • No! If the only way you can win your argument is putting words into the mouths of others, that is a pity. I said, if you care to re-read "Proven facts are what are useful on an encyclopedia, more so than any one particular way over another of proving their source" IMO, so long as the facts are in one of the listed reference books that is sufficient. Sources can also be listed in the text itself in any number of ways, including Harvard style. I shall not be debating this issue further with you, as I object to your twisting of words, and method of debate. Giano | talk 13:22, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Well this argument/debate is going nowhere anyway because you are getting too stressed and are reacting too strongly over a small issue. Oh well, nevermind. — Wackymacs 13:27, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, now. I am a big fan of inline citations, but if you look at a paper encyclopaedia there are many articles which are a distillation of several cited sources with no individual fact being attributed to a single source. I'd like to see Robert Hooke as a FA; it has sources, but deciding to which of the sources each fact should be attributed, especially when they all agree, would be tedious. Or am I missing something? Just zis Guy you know? 14:37, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
It's true that few encyclopedias cite sources with footnotes. But most all academic papers do. And if you think about it, it makes sense for Wikipedia for the same reasons that it does for academics. WP is peer reviewed, so are academic journals. If sources are cited, it makes everything so much easier. Wikipedia is targetted both at general audiences and essentially academic ones, so while the World Book might not use footnotes, that's okay because it's just targetted at general audiences. Few readers are going to be peer reviewing the articles. --W.marsh 14:57, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Let's make this simpler: the form is not master of the content. The moment it becomes master of the content, we end up with Aspberger's-inspired indices and nothing to say. Further, "inline" does not mean "footnote." There need to be references, hopefully to pages as well as works, and anyone who allows his fetish for running back and forth to the bottom of the page to override the simple requirement that our facts be verifiable is no friend of the project and has very little business setting him or herself up as an arbiter of what should be featured. Secondly, it has long been the practice of print encyclopedias of the highest value (the DNB, for example, and our print rival, Britannica) to simply put in references from which the whole material was drawn, not footnotes or citations. Specific citations are a thing that we're introducing, and they come from peer reviewed journals, not editorially reviewed reference works. Given that we're asking ourselves already to meet a more intrusive standard than the most respected reference works in the world, going beyond that to demand one silly format over another is simply out of the question. I regard footnotes as far less useful as a reader because they are far more intrusive. As John Barrymore said, reading a footnote is like having to run downstairs to answer the doorbell on your wedding night. Citations in parentheses do the job of verification. Actual, honest-to-goodness emendations can work in footnotes, but we shouldn't have very many occasions where we need them. So, Wackymacs thinks that footnotes are better. I think they're worse. That's why we don't require one form over another, especially retroactively. Geogre 14:50, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Of course we don't—and shouldn't—regardless of anyone's personal preference for footnotes (which I'll admit I share). But the article must have some form of citation more exact than merely listing a five-hundred-page book at the bottom (particularly when the book is a general work not dealing specifically with the topic of the article). Whether the more precise references take the form of footnotes, parenthetical citations, or some other format is irrelevant; what matters is that they be somehow available to the reader. Kirill Lokshin 15:01, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
What Kirill said. For instance, when you quote a book on WWII to get just one casualties figure, you absolutely have to have some form of inline citation - not just mention the book. -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 15:04, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Agreed articles should cite sources, and it should be clear which sources support which parts of the article. But the parallel with academic papers does not hold up - we ar an encyclopaedia, not an academic journal, and encyclopaedia articles differ from academic journal articles in several important respects, including that they are intended to be read and understood by a reasonably well-informed non-specialist audience. I suspect that articles on newer subjects, more controversial subjects, and subjects which are in active discussion in the academic press, will have more inline references, and articles on historical subjects, those where the consensus is settled, or which are not considered controversial, would have fewer. In the Hooke article I'd expect inline cites for the picture, the Newton debate, and not much else; the balance is supported by common consent the several excellent treeware references cited. Just zis Guy you know? 16:10, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Just to make it abundantly clear: I have no beef whatsoever with Harvard-style inline citations. I think footnotes flow better, make the text easier to read, etc., but I have NO PROBLEM with Harvard-style, and my intent in creating this list was not to start a witch-hunt against FAs with Harvard-style citations. I am a firm believer that we should have high standards for what is basically Wikipedia's stamp of authority. Featured Articles are supposed to be the very best articles on this website, extensively peer-reviewed, well-researched, comprehensive, filled with compelling and brilliant prose, and well-referenced. As the project has improved, our standards have improved, and many articles don't meet these standards any more. This isn't about weeding them out; this is about improving them so that we can be proud of all of our featured articles. If doing this causes the quality of the average featured article to drastically improve at the expense of a few FAs (eventually) becoming defeatured, I'd say that's a good deal. Furthermore, adding inline citations will do more than increase the verifiability of any given article; it will likely increase the factual accuracy and overall quality of the article as well. I think that phasing this in gradually, focussing on the positive (i.e. - Let's make a higher-quality encyclopedia! vs. If you don't do this, your article will be defeatured), is a very good idea. Yes, I agree that the form should not be the master of content. But form has its importance as well. What would you say to an FAC which was brilliantly written, but not divided into sections? Or which wrote in the first person? What about an FAC which was absolutely compelling, but in a POV sort of way? Obviously, the content is the most important thing in an encyclopedia - the purpose of an encyclopedia is to accumulate knowledge, not to format it correctly. But the format in which it is done is what gives an encyclopedia its credibility. This is about improving the entire project, raising Wikipedia's quality, and making a better encyclopedia. The Disco King 17:07, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Disco King, could I ask you to walk a mile in our shoes first? I think you might find your perspectives on the whole FA system (how it should work and what benefits it has) changing if you wrote an FA or two. (Right now you have fewer than 250 main-space edits, and I admit that leaves me a little surprised.) It's easy to talk nobly about improving the overall quality of the encyclopedia and forget about another important facet of the FA scheme: it's an incentive system. There are few enough rewards for really doing the hard work of researching and writing around here. Leaving the authors and their feelings out of the equation when evaluating FA reforms is a mistake. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 17:29, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Brushing aside all ad hominem attacks, do you have anything to say about the points that I made? The Disco King 17:36, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I knew I was opening myself up to it, but I still take exception to the notion that I have made an ad hominem attack here. If someone applies for a job, but has no relevant experience and that is pointed out to them, is that an ad hominem attack? —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 18:00, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • I rather just think he has said it all! Giano | talk 17:38, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Just because writing FAs is hard and takes a lot of work doesn't mean we should put up with FAs of poorer quality. This whole encyclopedia is basically built on the incentive system. I'll ask again: do you have anything to say to the points that I made? The Disco King 17:48, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Are you discussing FAs of poor quality? I wasn't, and I don't think Bunchofgrapes was either. Giano | talk 17:51, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
If an FA doesn't have any inline citations, then it isn't necessarily of inferior quality to an FA that does. But it's more likely to be of poorer quality. In the absence of footnotes or parenthetical citations, any new information that's added to an article looks at first glance as valid as the material which was originally researched. Inline citations are a safeguard for quality; without them, the quality of an article can deteriorate, which is what has happened with many (but not all) of these older FAs. Adding inline citations will not only improve their form, but also their content. The Disco King 17:56, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • But this is the encyclopedia anyone can edit, so a fully referenced and cited paragraph, is only reliable when it has not been edited by anyone other than it's creator. Are you suggesting once a page is fully cited it is closed to further editing - Or that an FA is immediatly defeatured once it has been edited by an "anon" Giano | talk 18:26, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Piping in here. Of course not. Ideally, the primary creator(s) of the article will monitor it and will delete spurious material on sight. That's how I've been handling "my" FAs. — BrianSmithson 19:43, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Sadly "my" is the optimum word, even in inverted commas. Many editors cannot monitor pages on a daily basis, some not even on a weekly. There is no way of telling if there is even an "editor-in chief" still on the scene for many pages. It is only all too easy for an un-sourced anecdote, fact, or even deliberate attempt at sabotage to be edited in. I think the safest thing is if "in -line cites" for all facts becomes essential, then the moment a page passes FAC - it must become immediately protected and closed to future editing. That way we can all sleep safe knowing the integrity and referencing of the encyclopedia is protected. Giano | talk 20:50, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
First, I suspect someone is making a WP:POINT. Second, your concerns are exactly why we have WP:FAR. — BrianSmithson 21:00, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
He's making a point through satire; that has nothing to do with WP:POINT. It would be WP:POINT if he were to go through and protect all the articles, or similar. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 21:05, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
You're right. I was being sarcastic, too. — BrianSmithson 21:40, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Please come up with a rational response, do not hide behind WPs when you can think of nothing else to defy logic. It is a simple fact that the moment a cited paragraph has been edited by someone else it cannot any longer be 100% completely safe and trusted - can it? Giano | talk 21:10, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • That's silly; it wasn't "100% completely safe and trusted" to begin with, since (as far as I know) nobody actually checks the citations prior to promoting an FA. That is the point: it is much more difficult to check whether the changes are backed by the provided references if no specific citations to those reference works are available. Kirill Lokshin 21:16, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
  • If I cite a book and page number it is 100% safe and trusted. If someone interferes/edits the given text it is not 100% safe and trusted. I can only speak for my own writing. That is not silly, it is the truth. Giano | talk 21:23, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
    It's safe and trusted in the sense that a reader can look up the given page number. (And this is not meant to impugn your writing in any sense; but the fundamental purpose of citation is to allow others to verify the information, not merely to convince the author himself of its correctness.) I think you can see that citing a book and page number, citing a book, and merely listing a book in a bibliography at the bottom of the article are rather different in terms of how easy it is to do that. Kirill Lokshin 21:28, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I continue to maintain my stance: Use footnotes sensibly and judiciously. Footnotes should be used only if the text is controversial, path-breaking, or a quoted number. The disadvantage of the cite.php referencing style is that it is difficult to edit the text if used in every second sentence. My suggestion is that authors (and reviewers) should use their common sense to judge which of the text would need a footnote. I also don't see why inotes are discouraged these days for being "invisible". Put minor citations (which do not meet the above 3 criteria of mine), inside an inote like this: {{inote||Wikipedia}}. We need to balance proper referencing with easy readability. =Nichalp «Talk»= 01:49, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

It was my objection to FACs without references that led to that becoming a WIAFA requirement. However, I strongly disagree with the notion of retroactively imposing the inline cite requirement to FAs that are otherwise well-referenced. Adding inline cites while building an article is fairly trivial since you have the damn page of whatever book you are using as a reference right in front of you as you write. But having to go back, sometimes years later, and try to find out where the particular little fact was in a certain sentence among the 10 references listed often from books with hundreds of pages, is asking a hell of a lot of volunteer writers. I, for example, am the main author of 10 FAs that only have a ==References== section. Another five or so either use inote or have less than 10 inline cites. Going back to the numerous references that I used for each of those articles would take a great many hours; likely dozens. I would much rather continue writting future FAs offline as I am now. In short, adding cites after the fact is asking *more* of old FAs than it does of current ones. And that is not fair. --mav 12:47, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

I could not agree with Mav more. He is quite right. Giano | talk 21:43, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Selena FAC

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Selena I felt was removed and failed prematurely. It only got 3 objections, one of them fixed but the vote couldn't be changed because of the opposer becoming inactive. Another oppose vote was very questionable. Thanks Jaranda wat's sup 02:13, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Criterion 1

Having watched two recent FACs (Hurricane Irene (2005) and Hurricane John (1994)) pass, when in both cases the point was made that as they were so short they could not "exemplify our best work", I'm questioning what purpose criterion 1 of WIAFA actually has. Seeing how FAC only cares about actionable objections and when criterion 1 does give one of those it is better expressed through the other criteria is there any point to criterion 1? To me it seems like it is the short answer to "What is a featured article?" but the description on WP:FA covers that better. I think we should either remove criterion 1 or make it clear it is unusable in FAC.--Nilfanion (talk) 08:33, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't see why a short article can't exemplify our best work. Tuf-Kat 10:46, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I objected to both those nominations on the grounds of criterion 1. I'm simply mystified as to how the six paragraphs of main text that make up Irene's article, and the 12 in John's article, can be considered to rank as among the very best articles that Wikipedia can produce. Most FAs take weeks of effort to write; these look like they could have been done in an afternoon or so. They're simply not in the same league as most FAs. Worldtraveller 11:19, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps WIAFA should be changed from opening "A featured article has the following attributes" to "A featured article exemplifies Wikipedia's best work by having the following attributes", that preserves the intent of criterion 1 but removes the ambiguity in its status; objections based solely on it don't seem to have any status. Those 2 articles are significantly shorter than most, but I don't think we ever could seriously claim that all FAs are equivalent in amount of work put into them. Perhaps an idea for these less significant FAs is to expand {{featured}}, adding an option like was used for promoted GAs. This would put them into Category:Non-Main Page FAs (or similar) and put in the featured tag "This article is not appropriate for TFA because...". This would make the illegible FA list explicit as opposed to how it currently is.--Nilfanion (talk) 11:33, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
That slightly misses the point, though. There's nothing wrong with keeping criterion #1 as it is; the concern raised above really boils down to "I felt the articles' length prevented the from being our best work but other people disagreed." Unless we make all of the criteria purely objective checkbox-type ones, we'll always have differences of interpretation—and of opinion about the article in question. Kirill Lokshin 14:18, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I certainly agree that not all FAs have had the same amount of effort put into them, but I do feel FA should recognise editors who've gone the extra mile to make an article very good indeed. Giving this status to articles that surely didn't take very long at all to write seems to me to undermine the claim of FA to represent the very best. To make an analogy, my PhD thesis was good enough to get me a doctorate - not deficient in any way, met all the required standards, etc etc. But it would be totally inappropriate (even I would admit) to nominate it for a Nobel Prize. Worldtraveller 15:50, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that's wrong, FA recognises the articles whose editors have put a lot of work into them, not the editors. I suspect the amount of time spent on the articles is approximately proportional to its length (the major work on Irene took about a day). There is two parts to FA, its Wikipedia's highest level of quality validation (or should be) and recognising articles to be showcased. The latter function is truer to the name "Featured" but the former is what it is (and was when it was "Brilliant Prose").--Nilfanion (talk) 17:03, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I meant 'recognise articles whose editors have gone the extra mile'. Those are the sorts of articles that should be on the main page. I don't see much point in 'featuring' an article which even its supporters said was too short actually to be 'featured'. Worldtraveller 06:46, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
This is a problem I've always been quite annoyed about - articles which are too "short" to be an FA, but simply can't be added to because they're already at an appropriate level of comprehensiveness for an encyclopaedia article. I think we should make an effort to disassociate comprehensiveness from length, because people tend to confuse them a lot. (And FWIW, length of time from creation to nomination appears to have been used as GA criteria, judging from the articles they rejected, but not for FA; I nominated articles like Something and Second Malaysia Plan within hours of creation, and both passed.) Johnleemk | Talk 15:33, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Articles still fail alot because of size, see Jack Tatum for example a nicely written rather short article but failed because of it's size in FAC. Thanks Jaranda wat's sup 17:14, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, if we consider FA status as a quality benchmark (which is how I see it), then there is no reason why a short article can't be featured. Comparing to other articles that require longer prose is comparing apples and oranges. If an article meets all the quality criteria, particularly comprehensiveness, then it exemplifies Wikipedia's best work. There's two alternatives to that: giving short FAs a separate process, or not allowing them to be featured. The first seems wasteful and repetitive, and the second essentially takes away any motivation for the 1,000,000 articles in Wikipedia to be of the highest quality possible. Titoxd(?!?) 03:48, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Realistically, FA doesn't provide any incentive for those million articles anyway; it would take three thousands years for them all to reach FA status at the rate this process goes. I don't know if Irene and John will ever appear on the main page, but if they do I can't help thinking a lot of people will click on 'more' and be a little bit disappointed that there isn't much more. What would have been the problem with Irene and John being GAs, while Katrina and similar substantial articles about notable storms are nominated on FA? Worldtraveller 06:46, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Why is FAC slow? If you doubled the number of nominations, you would increase the output substantially. That may reduce quality, but I don't think anyone can know that for certain. I think FAC has a low turn-over because editors aren't submitting enough articles to allow a higher turn-over. The fact FAC is a hard process is a fundamentally good thing, but it could be that which deters the noms. Given the FA production of the cyclone wikiproject at the moment I suspect it is highly unlikely that those two will be on the main page, why pick one of those when theres plenty to choose from?--Nilfanion (talk) 10:21, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

GA Nomination prior to FAC

Since almost 50% + articles that end up in FAC will not become FAs and that the disappointed users will be rebutted by the amount of work there is to bring their article to the level FAC people want, then it would be a really good idea to nominate the articles for GA before. Doing this, the quality of articles in FAC will increase and the most obvious flaws of the articles FA dismissed will be changed in order to get their GA status. Creating a progression of quality for the articles (Stub->Start->GA->FA) and intertwining PR in there.

Also, it would be a great idea that FAC articles that haven't pass GA and fail FAC be brought back to WP:GAN so that at least the articles are seen in a good light though not the brightest light (called FA).

On this page, Wikipedia talk:Good article establishment there is a proposal to appose a star to the GA articles that will be less significant than the FA star and will be a step down from it. Lincher 15:41, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

But for many of the articles that do become FAs—particularly those which had flaws that were exposed by the extensive multi-person review of FAC—the GA process is basically useless, except as an excuse to stick another shiny template on the talk page. Kirill Lokshin 15:49, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Just for your info, the shiny template for the GA is being removed when the articles become FAs. As per the idea that articles that go straight to FA, they still can but it will be up to the FAC reviewers to decide what to do with the articles that will go straight to FAC as to bring it back to GA, or to pass it as if it had a GA template on it.
The idea is also to prevent doing the job twice by reviewing for GA and FA status at the same time like Homestar Runner and to give articles that don't stand a chance to become FAs to be brought back to a level where they can be reviewed and not smashed (by the FA gurus ... which I like BTW). Lincher 17:11, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I am concerned with writing FA's, not GA's (all squares are rectangles though, presumably). I don't really know the process involved with GA, and I'll selfishly admit that I don't want another hoop to jump through so I oppose this. I don't know how much it would help the failure rate... if you notice, it seems like 50% of nominations that fail could have been avoided if the nominator had just read a single other failed nomination and seen what the standards here are really like. Many people don't really do that much research before nominating though. So if we added the GA requirement, people'd still nominate articles that weren't GA's, and they'd still fail. --W.marsh 18:01, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with W. marsh on this one. Also the idea of having two reviews such as the Homestar Runner article is actually beneficial since different perspectives enhance an article. Joelito (talk) 18:32, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I can tell you AMAIK that people that will not read and go for the GA status instead of the FA status because it would be the first step in the reviewing of the article. The process of GA is in accordance with the assessment scale which everybody and his brother is using now to rate the articles thus bringing them to a stable (or so) version that can be published or regarded as WPs fact-checked and reviewed articles.
The GA is also another step to tell the readers that the article has been reviewed an meets the required article criterias on GA and on FA (but to a lesser extent). Knowing that if people that read the WP will have a way to know that the article meets some standards. (For one thing, it would let the one-time only visitors that we have a way to rate the articles and that the WP-system is trying to be less flawed with a progression of articles).
Just a little thing on the Personally, I am concerned with writing FA's, well maybe not all the contributors feel that way because more than half of them just create articles and these fact-like articles will probably never reach FA standard but if they meet the slightest of the FA criterias the can be brought to a GA standard.
A word on I'll selfishly admit that I don't want another hoop to jump through so I oppose this, then you don't have too but if it fails FA, you would be able to go to GA status instead. Lincher 18:57, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Oppose, it's more rules for rules sake, take each case on its own merit. --PopUpPirate 00:57, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

If "good articles" are going to have a permanent place in Wikipedia, then by any objective standard (there are only about the same number of FAs and GAs) that category is severly underpopulated. Perhaps it would be wise to require GA certification first to (a) weed out premature FA noms and, perhaps just as importantly, to (b) build up a decent corpus of GAs in preparation for the release versions etc.--Pharos 22:33, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

No, this is a bad idea for the same reasons I mentioned the last 17 times this was suggested. Raul654 22:34, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Calling all sharp people.

Our images are suffering from a great but preventable evil, but I need your help to stop it.

Occasionally someone observes that our thumbnails are rather blurry at times. This is usually blamed on high levels of jpeg compression (an example of such a thread can be found [2]). This theory is, however, incorrect.

The problem isn't caused by JPEG (although a higher quality setting would prevent artifacts and be a good thing). The problem isn't caused by our downsampling (We're using lanczos filtering which is pretty close to mathematically perfect). The problem is caused by a oddity of the human visual system: Our sensitivity to acutance decreases as transitions become smaller. So when you shrink an image you must artificially increase the acutance. This process is called sharpening, it can often be over done... but used correctly it is essential to maintaining the quality of a reduced size image. Sharpening must be done at the target display resolution, if you sharpen then downsample, you lose the sharpening, unless you sharpened excessively for the larger file.

I've been aware of this for some time, but it never really concerned me much because I didn't do any side by side comparisons. After uploading an image last week which looked like crud after thumbnailing, it came to the front of my mind, and as a result I mentioned sharpening on an unrelated thread on wikitech-l... I still didn't consider it an evil that we had to fight right away. But someone pointed me to that commons thread, and that caused me to do some side by side comparisons... and after doing them, my interest in uploading new images decreased a lot.

From left to right we see actual detail, mediawiki's thumbnail which looks out of focus, and a sharpened image. Sharp example 1.jpg Reston, Virginia - Lake Anne plaza.jpg Sharp example 2.jpg

At some point in the future we may gain the ability to set per-image sharpening settings. But that will be a way out. One thing we could do *today*, is set global sharpening settings. We've already measured the performance impact (none), and it would be a single line of code change. The problem is... what setting? There are two main parameters for sharpening, radius and amount. There are good rules of thumb for radius based on the expected DPI of the display device but there is no good rule of thumb for an amount... the amount of sharpening an image can take seems to depend a lot on how noisy the image is... fortunately 200px thumbs are usually not very noisy. :)

So what I'd like to ask people to do is to startup your photo apps, scale some bigger images to common thumb sizes (don't forget the ~650ish px wide image page images), sharpen using unsharp mask, set your radius between .8 and .5, and figure out what the largest amount of sharpening all of your test images look OKAY with. This number might depend on the size of the thumb, or the ratio of the start image size to the thumb size.. if it does, tell me that too. If and only if we are able to find a safe value which doesn't make images look bad, and makes some look better, then we could activate it on all the Wikimedia sites very quickly. Oh and feel free to restructure/reformat this post to make it easier to read.--Gmaxwell 03:59, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Interesting, but I have to ask a question: is built-in unsharping of thumbnails something that other websites or software programs have ever done before?--Pharos 04:09, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
So this is basically a test? =Nichalp «Talk»= 17:05, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Seems that at least some other sites do sharpen thumbs, but as best I can tell there is no established 'right settings', it appears that the amount was simply selected by the person writing the software. We could do that.. I could prepare a bunch of test images to convince Brion that some setting is 'right'. The problem is that if I do so someone will quite possibly find an image that the settings look ugly with... so I'd like to avoid that cycle by soliciting community input before we patch Mediawiki. --Gmaxwell 17:19, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Software programs? Sure. Light unsharp masking always makes digital photographs look better, so unless you're using a high-end DSLR camera and recording to RAW format, any digital photo you take is pre-sharpened by the camera. --Carnildo 06:14, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Carnildo is correct. Another point is that a number of automagic thumbnailing things (websites, browsers on OSes other than mac OS, etc) use low quality downsampling which tends to have a sharpening effect. --Gmaxwell 12:00, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, it certainly seems like a good idea to me. I don't really have the photo skills to help in implementation or even evaluate it professionally, but the demonstration images above are quite compelling.--Pharos 16:02, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Wee! I intended to put this at the talk page of WP:FPC. :) I guess I'll just leave a note directing people here.--Gmaxwell 12:00, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
The contrast is startling. It would be great to have some kind of guide (perhaps posted at Commons) to help people through the various issues involved in cropping and resizing jpg files. It isn't as intuitive as one might expect. Jkelly 17:25, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Great idea, but shouldn't this be directed at WP:FPC or WP:VP, or even somewhere on commons, rather than here? -- ALoan (Talk) 19:32, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Commons is very slow to discuss, the community is not so active. If we get traction here we can take it there to confirm that people there are okay with it too.. there is a not on FPC pointing people here. I posted to the wrong page at first.. DOH. :) --Gmaxwell 21:02, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
  • OK, this seems like a good idea. I've sometimes wondered why the thumbs look so fuzzy, when there's plenty of detail in the full-sized image. What is the setting in the somewhat over-sharpened example above? Half of that would be good, IMO. (In larger images, I usually use a radius of around 1, and set the percentage for the dersired effect.) --Janke | Talk 20:34, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
    I think thats 1px by 1.0 (100% in photoshop). I just picked a value with no mind to what it looked like to show the contrast. I generally hate oversharpening, but even I find the oversharpened preferable to the blur. --Gmaxwell 21:02, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Sharpening thumbnails - great idea! Here's my input:

Sharpness grid.jpg

I think that 40% is probably the best comprimise. But adding a filter with 10%, 30 px does a good "hazecutting" sharpen. See the comparison:

40% 1pix, 10% 30pix

See what you guys reckon --Fir0002 08:08, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

30px radius unsharp masking is a lot slower than 1px radius unsharp masking and may be too slow for us to use in thumbnailing. Further, I'm not too confident that we should be solving problems which aren't created by thumbnailing... i.e. the goal shouldn't be to make the thumbnail look better than that orignal, one picture's better may be another ones worse. It would be interesting to examine the effects of thumbnailing on aparent contrast some.. In any case, I agree that the 1px 40% looks fairly good for this picture. The question is, can we apply that automatically to all thumbnails and not end up with any that look terrible as a result? --Gmaxwell 13:34, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Need help with a possibly botched FA nomination

I am going through film articles, now looking at The Birth of a Nation. I look at the Talk page, and it says it is an FA candidate. It has a discussion page that has some comments on it, over a month old, however it is not listed on this project page, and it doesn't seem to have been closed out or even listed properly. What should I do with this? Just place it on the FA candidates page so it can get closed out, or does an admin want to just close it? Please don't hurl spoons at me - just not deeply familiar with the process for this type of thing. Aguerriero (talk) 22:08, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Someone forgot to tag the article as having failed its FA nomination. I have fixed the talk page. Raul654 22:14, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Footnote spot checks

I'm considering starting, in the next couple of days, inline citation spot checks on all articles on FAC that have a sufficient number of inline citations. Basically, what this would amount to would be picking a few inline citations, probably four or five from each article, and checking that the book or other source they cite does in fact say what it's being quoted as saying.

I'm planning on starting this because of a concern I've heard mentioned several times, namely, that we don't actually check whether the citations in our FAs lead to sources for the article's claims; obciously, this wouldn't establish complete reliability, but at least it would be a sort of quality control. I'm bringing it up here for several reasons. First, I want to know whether people think this would be worth doing, or whether the rate of errors is likely to be so low as to make this superfluous; second, I want to hear any suggestions as to what the methodology should be if I do start doing this; and third, if I start doing this, I will start at least commenting on and possibly objecting to FACs that don't have page numbers in their citations, since it would be overly difficult to perform a spot check in that situation, and I would like to know whether anyone feels strongly one way or the other about that. --RobthTalk 12:38, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes without page numbers are basically useless anyways, at least for printed works. I can't see any problem with objecting on that basis, just as one could object over other faults in the formatting.
As far as spot checks: hope you have access to a good library ;-) Kirill Lokshin 12:47, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm working part time in a huge library. That's what made me think of this. :-) --RobthTalk 13:00, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
It sounds very tough to do, and I don't have access to a good libary :-) But I feel strongly that this is needed, and should have been a routine part of FA review all along. I don't believe that checking five is enough (depending upon the article and the number of inline citations used - for instance, Hugo Chávez). I concur with the page number issue. (Example: Wikipedia:Peer review/Tourette syndrome/archive1. Some of my inline citations are from a book, and I have yet to include page numbers, because I only recently learned how to do it correctly. No one on a peer review -- not initiated by me, because I knew the article wasn't ready -- even noticed or checked. I was astounded when an editor suggested I complete the Lead section so it could be submitted as a Featured Article candidate, as I know it's not ready. Only this week did I learn how to cite page numbers with cite.php. Perhaps a more rigorous peer review by WP:MCOTW would have picked up the problem, but editors unfamiliar with the territory did not. I'm glad attention is being called to this issue.) And I hope you'll broaden this spot check to include an examination of bias in the references and sources used: this doesn't appear to be a routine item that is reviewed. For a glaring example of how an article with lengthy biased references became an FA, please see Wikipedia:Featured article review/Hugo Chávez. Good idea, needed, hard to effect. Sandy 13:14, 22 June 2006 (UTC)