Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive31

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FA category tallies[edit]

FAs as of September 16 2008 Count Pct chg since
June 26
Art, architecture and archaeology 72 0.0%
Awards, decorations and vexillology 26 0.0%
Biology 155 11.5%
Business, economics and finance 19 0.0%
Chemistry and mineralogy 31 3.3%
Computing 17 0.0%
Culture and society 48 2.1%
Education 34 3.0%
Engineering and technology 37 2.8%
Food and drink 11 -8.3%
Geography and places 158 2.6%
Geology, geophysics and meteorology 90 13.9%
Health and medicine 36 5.9%
History 154 2.0%
Language and linguistics 15 -16.7%
Law 34 13.3%
Literature and theatre 134 4.7%
Mathematics 14 -6.7%
Media 171 1.8%
Music 182 7.7%
Philosophy and psychology 13 0.0%
Physics and astronomy 82 10.8%
Politics and government 67 6.3%
Religion, mysticism and mythology 44 12.8%
Royalty, nobility and heraldry 90 3.4%
Sport and recreation 162 12.5%
Transport 74 21.3%
Video gaming 96 11.6%
Warfare 173 6.8%

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:21, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

I, as head honcho of all things video gaming, thus declare war on the insidious threat of state highways and tropical storms! ...I kinda almost feel guilted into writing something about food, but then I realize I wouldn't know where to begin and then go back to my pop culture and history. :) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 04:24, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Food. Casu Marzu. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:29, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Dammit, I know you just want that for the flippin' April Fools! :P Are there any good food FA's to base the format on? Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 04:39, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I prefer Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116; btdt. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:48, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I was going to do Cobb salad at one point; perhaps Caesar salad might be a better candidate. Gary King (talk) 17:34, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, casu marzu sounds like an appropriate replacement for a recently delisted April Fool's main page. Pagrashtak 18:24, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
can I just interject here with an uncultured eeewwwww. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 22:19, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Mathematics went down!? The only delisted mathematics article I can find is this. That means that no mathematics article was promoted in some three months; what a shame. Nousernamesleft (talk) 21:34, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Bump, just to make sure this archives with the other related conversations (I Hate Automated Archiving). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:03, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Actually, no it was me [1], and I'm not a bot :-D. I didn't see any activity on this thread so archived it. =Nichalp «Talk»= 19:07, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I know; thanks for the manual archiving, but I want to keep this in the same archive as the notability, FAC backlog discussions, so I brought it back and bumped it. I have developed an intense hatred for automated archiving since it was installed here, as I now find it impossible to locate anything in archives. Thanks again for the manual archive; I just wanted to keep this piece out. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:09, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Notability, etc[edit]

I have a couple questions. First, when did notability and length become part of the FA criteria? I've gotten two opposes on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Tropical Storm Erick (2007) because the article is too short, and the subject is non-notable and not deserving of a featured article. It's quite unfair, as I nominated an article that met or was near meeting the criteria, and it ended up failing because of personal preference. Second, is there really a limit to what can become featured? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:56, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Notability is a requirement for every wikipedia article, nothing to do with FAC. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 13:19, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but the article meets the notability requirements. So I am still at a loss. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 13:25, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps it does, but that wasn't the question you asked. ;-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 13:26, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, true. I guess my question was when did "Wikipedia's best work" become "Wikipedia's most important work"? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 13:28, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Short articles like these are what GA is for, as they can hardly represent Wikipedia's best work (I speak as someone who focuses on Singapore-related articles). --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 13:53, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Why do you believe that short articles can't represent wikipedia's best work? The only length-related issue I am aware of is comprehensiveness. I guess there's a natural length limit imposed by the availability of reliable sources. So far as I can see, the only question to be asked so far as length is concerned is "Is this article comprehensive?". The same question that is asked of any article in fact. Length per se seems irrelevant to me. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 13:58, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that the length is a problem on this article or should be an issue for an FAC; ignoring the sourcing issue for the moment, the article is comprehensive, and it is too large to merge elsewhere (looking at the format of the FA hurricane season articles, a single storm doesn't get that much coverage in those unless it landfalls). Thus, for all purposes, it meets specifically the FAC guidelines. As long as any article comprehensively covers its topic, size should not be an FAC consideration. Notability, as noted by the FAC, however, is a valid concern here, and that is presently what appears to be the point of failure for this FAC. --MASEM 14:05, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Notability is not one of the FAC requirements. It is assumed that notability concerns will be addressed elsewhere (either at AFD or through a merge - and yes, occasionally a featured article is deleted). If the article appears here, and meets the FA criteria, notability is not an actionable oppose. Karanacs (talk) 14:30, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid that people make up new rules as they go along. I got an unchanged oppose for a bird article on the grounds of comprehensiveness on the carefully reasoned basis that "there are thousands of field guides out there". Never mind that field guides only tell you what they look like like. "Short" doesn't automatically mean not comprehensive. Opposers should indicate what is lacking if they believe that an article fails under that criterion. jimfbleak (talk) 14:38, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Right on. Going through the Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria archives, restrictions on subject matter have been discussed several times (mostly concerning popular culture, in-universe articles and obscene subjects), and always deliberately left out, just because they are not actionable opposes. Raul's stand on this, which seems to be generally accepted, is that any article worthy of inclusion is also worthy of shaping into FA status. Reviewers are supposed to ask themselves "how can this become featured?", not "can this become featured?". I actually think that many of these oppositions might be based on a fear of a flood (npi) of hurricane articles (as well as in-universe articles or porn actor articles) on the main page. But, as Raul has pointed out, FA and TFA are different things with different criteria. To appear on the main page, articles must not only be featured but also "have a lead section suitable for the main page", and both importance/notability and time since a similar TFA are among the points at Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests. -- Jao (talk) 14:50, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I have seen, albeit tongue-in-cheek, opposition to shorter hurricane articles for fear of a flood, so I suspect you're right about that. Also, what I have read in this thread confirms my theory that length, notability, and fear of a main page appearance are no reason to oppose FACs. However, I don't think there's a way to stop people from having their personal opinion. But it might be beneficial to create a guideline page documenting what you should and shouldn't base your !vote on? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:03, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
That's what we have WP:WIAFA for. If someone posts an oppose comment that is unactionable, calmly explain under it why that is not appropriate. Sandy/Raul understand the criteria and will know what to weigh. Karanacs (talk) 15:20, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I would quite like to see a four line article, with two references and a single photo of something that scrapes into WP:NOTE being up for FA, meeting critreria 4 in full, but I cant think of any possibile candidates out there ... Fasach Nua (talk) 15:31, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
New York State Route 164 ranks pretty high up. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:44, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I submit .... Justus. Unfortunately, it has more than two references. Does have a photo though. Nothelm is shorter, and minus the photo, but still has more than two references. Wulfsige of York has no photo and only one reference. I might try for Wulfsige... that'd be ... interesting. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:46, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
As long as you can prove it's comprehensive, I see nothing wrong with nominating Justus... –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:49, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I second that! Fasach Nua (talk) 17:48, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
That's going to be interesting. Gary King (talk) 18:04, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

I know that Ealdgyth (probably) wasn't serious about Justus as an FAC, but it does nevertheless present an interesting counterpoint to the Tropical Storm Erick (2007) article which started off this discussion. The relevant FA criterion in each case is obviously "comprehensiveness", not length per se. My dictionary defines comprehensive as "complete; including all or nearly all elements, aspects, etc.". There's a considerable difference between that and "all known, available or documented elements, aspects etc.". By that dictionary definition Erick appears to pass the FA criterion but Justus does not, as there are many aspects of his life missing, either because they were not recorded or records have been lost. But that interpretation clearly disadvantages articles on medieval bishops, or on any other subject where records are sparse. Is that really the intention behind the comprehensiveness criterion? Or is an article considered comprehensive when all available sources have been consulted, even though the end result may be unable to say anything about important aspects of the topic because no information on those aspects exists? I'm beginning to confuse myself now, but I hope that at least I've succeeded in making the cause of my confusion clear. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:13, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

It is my knowledge that "comprehensive" means the article uses all known information, but I share your confusion somewhat. The Tropical Storm Erick (2007) page uses all information possible, whereas Ealdgyth's bishops use all documented information, so I think common sense applies to that particular part of the FA criteria. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 19:17, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I think there's also an as yet unspoken subtext. "I had to work my socks off to get XYZ to FAC status, whereas these johhny-come-lately road/hurricane/pop culture articles can simply be churned out." Not saying it's true that they can be rolled out, but it's clearly a lot easier to get a hurricane through FA than Samuel Johnson for instance. Or dare I even mention the Roman Catholic Church. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:23, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't MIND taking Justus or any of the other medieval bishops to FAC, I just have always assumed that there was a minimum length requirement. I could probably flesh out Justus some, he was involved in the mission to the English, so it could easily double with context information and such like. In terms of bare facts known, he's not THAT sparser than Augustine of Canterbury, when all is said and done. A bit more is written about Augustine, but not THAT much more. I could get a doubled size article from Justus. Wulsige of York though.. that's compreshensive. Context might add a paragraph, if that much. Would that be an FAC? We'd have every single thing known about him, practically. He doesn't even rate an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. But he did exist, the PASE lists a few entries on him, but we don't have secure dates for the letter addressed to him. What does everyone else feel about these sorts of articles? Ealdgyth - Talk 19:24, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
For me, they satisfy the practical interpretation of the FA "comprehensive" criteria, which I loosely interpret as "would you be likely to find a better encyclopedia article on this subject elsewhere?" --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:29, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with this approach. I would oppose both Justus and Wulfsige at FAC right now, because as Ealdgyth says they can both be fleshed out somewhat -- but if there were fleshed out they would be fine with me, short though both would still be. I don't particularly want to see a sudden rash of "easy" FAs, done on obscure topics with almost no sources in existence; but I can think of worse outcomes for Wikipedia than an imprimatur of approval on a bunch of very short, accurate, well-written and comprehensive articles on notable topics. Mike Christie (talk) 01:51, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

My comments at the FAC basically asked how a reader would feel if that was the TFA they were presented with one day. Any opinions on this stance - is it a valid one to have, and is it oppose worthy? Giggy (talk) 22:43, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Per an above post, Raul has pointed out that the criteria for FA and TFA are different. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:08, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Indeed. Wouldn't it be fun, though, to see for once a TFA witout a "(more...)" link? Waltham, The Duke of 22:58, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I've occasionally mulled over taking Space Science Fiction Magazine (319 words of readable prose) to FAC, just out of curiosity to see if there really is a shorter limit. I doubt one could add any significant referenced material than is there already. I figured I'd get around to gradually shorter and shorter magazine articles over time, and see where the boundary lay, but I am tempted to try this one, I must say. I think the shortest I've done so far is probably Beyond Fantasy Fiction, which is 1195 words of readable prose. Mike Christie (talk) 01:45, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
That article is an interesting marker. For one thing, I think the shorter the article the better it needs to be written, but are there no circulation figures available? Or any reviews or reactions to the magazine from anyone? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 02:20, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Circulation figures became compulsory for periodicals in the US in about 1961, but for magazines before that date, if there are no comments from the publisher or private correspondence then there's nothing. I went back through and cleaned it up a bit (thanks for the copyedit, by the way!) and found that I've acquired a more comprehensive reference since I wrote it; I was able to extract a few words about the genesis of the magazine from that. Reviews and reaction: both Ashley and the Nicholls article in the Encyclopedia of SF say that the John Jakes story is marginally the best thing in the magazine, so I added that. There's no contemporary reaction that I can find, and no critical commentary at all. Total size is now 411 words of readable prose. The shortest existing FA I know of is Hurricane Irene (2005), which was 791 words when promoted. Mike Christie (talk) 10:46, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, even shorter is 2005 Azores subtropical storm. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:45, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I haven't nominated articles like Mounseer Nongtongpaw and Maurice (Shelley) for FAC because they lack comprehensiveness in the sense that substantial sections of the article simply can't be written - information is missing. There just isn't much scholarship on these literary works and the articles rely on very few sources. In the case of these works, though, it is not that the information can never be found, it is just that no one has done the work yet. I don't really consider these articles of high quality because of this problem. They may be well-written and may contain more information on the topic than any other spot on the internet (go Wikipedia!) but that doesn't make them comprehensive explanations of these pieces of literature. I know that "comprehensive" has traditionally meant "covers all available published material" at FAC, but I have decided for myself that I don't want to nominate articles that are so obviously deficient. I suppose it is the scholar in me. :) (To be clear, I do follow the guideline in reviewing!) Awadewit (talk) 12:37, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
So, good point, but now the question is what to do about it. Wikipedia may be the only ones who have come to this roadblock concerning the Space Science Fiction Magazine, and really Mike Christie is the one who should be further researching it. Someone needs to give Mike a commission. Wikipedia needs to take advantage of these discoveries. However, before that happens there should be a way of pointing out what state the article is in and where it needs to go. It seems like Mike has done his job but it would be a shame if that wasn't made apparent.Homely Features (talk) 12:46, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
My two centimes. In any subject area, one can come up with ever shorter, but supposedly "comprehensive" articles. For example, in the area that I am devoted to, I could easily work on biographies of very obscure 16th century characters. But do we really want to divert precious resources to create huge number of these FAs that very few people in the world would want to read about? Don't we want to improve the "real" articles, the major ones we see on EB, ODNB, etc.? There are so many articles that ought to be improved in order for Wiki to have any sense of credibility as a true encyclopedia. In my opinion the FA criteria should be tightened to encourage people to work on those tough, difficult, long, comprehensive, neglected, large-impact articles. --RelHistBuff (talk) 14:44, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I'd be rather against such a move, which would surely require the FA criteria to be amended to define what is meant by "tough, difficult, long, comprehensive, neglected, large-impact articles". In fact I'd go further and say that one of wikipedia's strengths is that it does have quality articles on more obscure subjects like Space Science Fiction Magazine, and I see no reason to discourage that by adopting some kind of elitist system of classifying articles by their perceived importance for FAC purposes. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 15:05, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I certainly do not want to see Wiki as elitist and I am not a deletionist. Keep those articles, the more, the better. I am simply pointing out the weak point of Wiki which is the lack of quality on articles that need it the most. --RelHistBuff (talk) 15:14, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Um, since Space Science Fiction Magazine was mentioned as an example, the point I am making is that I would rather see work done on Analog Science Fiction and Fact or Galaxy Science Fiction instead. --RelHistBuff (talk) 15:50, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I think one reason Wikipedia is weak on these "big, important" articles is because it is so difficult to write them well. It is much easier to write Proserpine (play) than it is to write Frankenstein, for example, and much less time-consuming. Something like Roman Catholic Church requires a bevy of dedicated editors and someone with great organizational skill. Most people probably want a little quicker satisfaction than that. :) Awadewit (talk) 16:06, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Okay, so what is the consensus here? Should I even work on Justus? Would I get hit for the 'comprehensive' bit? I understand where Awa's coming from on the more modern stuff, but for those of us working on medieval, etc. articles, where is the comprehensiveness line drawn? Justus probably isn't a very good example, honestly, because I could expand it pretty well, the man was part of Augustine's mission, so a lot of the background material from Augustine is also applicable to Justus. Hecbertus is a better choice here, as an example. His PASE listing gives probably three charters, some episcopal lists, and a mention in another manuscript. We're not yet to Alfred, although we're in Offa's time frame, so there is some fleshing out to be done. Probably manage five/six paragraphs, maybe more. Is that enough to fulfill the comprehensiveness criteria? Ealdgyth - Talk 00:06, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps the question should be not if it meets 1b, but if we're happy with the wording of 1b as currently stated? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:22, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
In this case though, how do we define "major facts or details". Do we define them as "major facts/details that are given in any source" or "all major facts/details, whether they were recorded for the person or not". On the first, it could pass, because i can turn up most of the available and recorded facts. On the second though, it'd fail, because quite honestly, there will always be a lot we don't know about him. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:24, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I'd say yes. If there's nothing more known or ever likely to be available, then the article is by definition comprehensive. Any other interpretation of FA's comprehensive criterion would mean that very few subjects over 100 or so years old could ever become FAs. I think it's a false argument to juxtapose the Roman Catholic Church with Space Science Fiction Magazine. Neither do I think that it's the place of reviewers to decide whether Galaxy Science Fiction or Analog Science Fiction and Fact are more important than any other articles in that genre. I'd argue instead that a comprehensive article is the more important issue, no matter the perceived importance of its subject. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 00:27, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
So, per Wikipedia:Compare Criteria Good v. Featured and recent GA reviews I've seen, we're really coming down to the only difference between a GA and an FA is a few MoS pages, formatted citations and (theoretically, but not always) more eyes on the prose? Even though GA was originally set up for excellent articles that were short? Does that make sense? I'm less and less clear on why GAs are supposed to be different than FAs other than some MoS things and more eyes on the review. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:47, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that's why I was asking. I had always assumed there was a "length" requirement at FAC, so I hadn't thought of bringing the shorter bishops to FAC, but given Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Tropical Storm Erick (2007) (not picking on Julian, just using this as a recent example), I'm beginning to question that assumption. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:51, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
No, I don't think that's the case at all. Just look at the ongoing GA review of Horse for instance. There are quite a few issues I would/will raise at FAC, but they're not part of the GA criteria. Above all, FA demands as near as dammit perfection, with professional prose to boot. That's much more demanding than a few MoS issues and getting the citations right. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:04, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Initially, WP:GA was intended for articles that were too short to reach FA, but if Erick is promoted—and after 2005 Azores subtropical storm and Hurricane Irene (2005)—I suppose there is a sort of precedent for nominating short but comprehensive articles; then the question of whether GA is really needed comes along. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:58, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
The question is not whether GA is needed; the question is what does "comprehensive" mean. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:07, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think they are related. "Comprehensive" is a criterion in both WP:WIAFA and WP:WIAGA, in which GA demands the article is "broad in it's scope" or such. Thus, I think if an article is comprehensive and well-written, no matter how short, GA is not needed. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 01:10, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I suggest that you take the time to refresh you memory of the GA criteria, which simply asks for coverage of the major topics. I am disappointed that you have apparently chosen this venue to initiate yet another one of these tedious GA/FA bashing episodes. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:16, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I am not by any means turning this into a GA/FA bashing episode. I'm discussing the difference between GA and FA, and whether short articles like Ealdgyth's bishops can attain FA status, despite their length. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 01:19, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I caused that distraction because of confusion over a recent GA review gone awry and wondering aloud what the differences are intended to be: I still want to get at the question of whether we're happy with the current wording of 1b. SandyGeorgia (Talk)
Well, for one thing, what does length have to do with perhaps the most demanding of the FA criteria, professional prose? That is certainly not a GA requirement; GA simply requires that the article conforms to the major MoS issues. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:26, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Being reasonably well-written is indeed a required of a GA. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 01:27, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I didn't say "reasonably well written". I said "professional prose". Big difference. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:31, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) On GA: I think there are other differences than length between GA and FA, and I think GA serves a useful purpose. I don't think we need to talk about GA for this discussion; let's figure out the answer for FA and not worry about GA. On big/important vs. small articles: I agree that those other magazines are important, and in fact I'm the main contributor to both the ones mentioned as well as a few other significant sf magazines. I'd like to bring all of them to FA eventually; I have Amazing Stories at GA right now and hope to get it to FA this autumn. On Justus and other similar articles: I think the concern expressed about "biographies of very obscure 16th century characters" is legitimate, but isn't it the case that articles on sufficiently obscure characters would not survive an AfD? That would (or should) be the definition of "sufficiently obscure". Articles that don't get merged or deleted as a result of an AfD are worthy of a comprehensive article. On doing important articles first: in many ways it's easier to work bottom-up: start with the leaves of the tree and work your way back to the branches. Once all the sf magazines are done, I can work on the science fiction magazine article. Once all the obscure Mercian kings are dealt with, Mercia becomes a little easier to deal with. Finally, on the subject of Space Science Fiction Magazine itself, I am still tempted to submit it to FAC. I asked Sandy on her talk page if it would be disruptive to do so, since it might prompt debate that would be better here than in an active FAC. If I see a clear consensus either way I'll go with it; at the moment I don't really see a strong single consensus, though few seem strongly opposed to short FAs. I am on a plane to Texas first thing in the morning, but if I don't get a wild hair and submit it to FAC this evening, I will probably do so some time tomorrow afternoon unless I read a good reason not to here. Mike Christie (talk) 01:32, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

By that same argument (content that could be merged and AfD'd), has the question of merging 500 words on an inconsequential hurricane to the article about that hurricane season been raised or addressed ever? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:46, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
For the minor sf magazines I doubt that a merge is likely or desirable. The target would have to be something like Minor science fiction magazines, or perhaps Minor science fiction magazines of the 1950s. It would consist essentially of independent material on each magazine, perhaps with an overview of the publishing history of the period. What would the criteria be for deciding whether a magazine is "minor"? There are scores of sf magazines which published five issues or less, so the article would, I think, be unmanageably long, even if restricted by date ranges such as "the 1950s". The magazines would have no relationship to each other beyond genre, so the reader would not benefit from having them associated in a single article.
For hurricanes, I suppose the target could be "minor hurricanes of 2005" as well as the possibility of merging to the year article. There are a finite number of hurricanes so this might be tenable; I don't know those articles well enough to judge. I would suspect there is no relationship between the articles, however, so again there might be little benefit to a reader.
For obscure Anglo-Saxon kings, see Ceol of Wessex for an example. I suggested a merge to Wessex, and one other editor agreed, so I made the article a redirect to Wessex. Subsequently another editor recreated the article. In its current state it makes definite assertions that are really no more than speculation. Ceol is mentioned only in a genealogical list, and everything else said about him is guesswork. As with the other examples, a Minor kings of Wessex article might be possible, but might be rather disjointed for the reader. I would baulk at trying to make Ceol into an FA, and I still suspect the merge to Wessex was the better outcome here. Mike Christie (talk) 09:28, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Since the current criteria says nothing on length, I would suggest to go ahead and nominate Space Science Fiction Magazine. I assume it will get FA as 2005 Azores subtropical storm did. But it would be good that we think about how we can get people to think about working on the large-impact articles. The way the criteria is now, the "low-lying fruit" will always be the priority and the most difficult articles will be tackled last (or perhaps never get done). By the way, when I said "very obscure", I meant that the articles are still notable enough to exist, but they are not the ones that have impact. Some examples in the area I work on: Wolfgang Capito or John Frith. I guess if I wanted a lot of stars of WP:WBFAN, I would work on these, but I am one of these weird Wikipedians who like working on the difficult high-impact articles. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:15, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
(tickles Rel) I hardly think that Augustine of Canterbury is a low impact person! I'm not sure how to encourage more folks to work on the "big" articles. One problem is, the more high profile the article, the more you get POV pushers, cranks, etc. wanting to "help". Look at the issues folks are having with Cyrus the Great or Chiropractic. For that matter, look at the Equine Wikiproject's issues with Horse, which we are TRYING to get to FA at some point. We've been told by a number of folks that we should work on the "sub-articles" first and get them to FA then write the big article. (We're being stubborn and going with the big article first). So in some cases, the big articles are being tackled from underneath. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:24, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
We might think about the readers! What is the best way to present information to them? So, for example, I created Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men, which actually describes two works by Mary Shelley because the best way to describe those particular encyclopedic biographies was through one article. Sometimes merging is a really good idea - I think we do it too little. The fact is, we rarely think of our core audience: people who come and merely glance at our articles for nuggets of information (my students do this all of the time). Thinking about the needs of our various audiences should always be a top priority. (I'm sorry if I'm rambling - my fever-wracked brain wants to participate, but probably shouldn't.) Awadewit (talk) 14:52, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Sort of jumping in here, but to my mind one of the best things about the FA/GA processes are their lack of notability and size criterion. Provided the article passes Wikipedia's fairly lenient notability criteria, editors can work on any article that interests them, large or small, important or (relatively) insignificant, with the goal of getting the gold star that represents the ideal that the article carrying it is the most comprehensive internet resource on that subject. Editing Wikipedia is voluntary, and any attempt to pressure people into working on stressful "high interest" articles instead of "less important" ones is likely to simply result in fewer editors aiming at FA. As far as merging goes, I think Awadewit and Mike Christie are correct on focusing on the reader: articles should be presented in the best manner for getting the information across, whether that involves numerous small articles or one big merged one. A final note regarding the GA process - I have been quite heavily invovled in reviewing GA articles, and standards of MOS and particularly prose are far lower there than here. GA is no longer solely for article "too small" for FA. It is now an important stepping stone for many editors in acheiving FAs and the associated Featured Topics. For many articles, it may be the best peer review it will receive before it gets nominated here. GA is also a good stepping stone in newer editors developing their skills who may be intimidated by FAC, where reviews are of necessity much more thorough and reviewers can be more brutal in their criticism.--Jackyd101 (talk) 15:25, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
These responses seem to address the Kings and the magazines. Do we have an answer or precedent established via AfD re merging the 500 words of Tropical Storm Erick (2007) to 2007 Pacific hurricane season#Tropical Storm Erick? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:40, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
There was a discussion, which I started, on merging Erick 07 - located here. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 19:17, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
So it hasn't been thoroughly explored, and it hasn't been explored at all with a broader audience outside of the Hurricane Project? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:27, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm back in Texas and about to nominate Space Science Fiction Magazine. Once I've done that I'll start a new thread below as this is getting a bit unwieldy; I'll call it "Very short FAs" or something like that. Mike Christie (talk) 19:04, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Followup on 500-word FACs[edit]

The question of whether the 500 words in Tropical Storm Erick (2007) should be merged to 2007 Pacific hurricane season has not been addressed on the FAC or resolved here. I'd like to hear specific further feedback.

But, the brevity of the article highlights a different issue. A 500-word article should be as finely tuned, scrutinized and brilliantly written as a college application essay; it's short enough that there is no excuse for anything to slip by, and if a 500-word article passes FAC, others will scrutinize it a-plenty to see if it is worthy, compelling and brilliant. (Well, all of our FAs should be that finely tuned, but it's understandable if a few things slip by in a 10,000 word article, but not at all acceptable in only 500 words that can be read in a minute.)

When I (no prose guru, to say the least) can easily glance at the beginning and ending of the article and see prose issues, I have to worry about our standards of review and whether articles are being checked closely enough. Just a few samples, taking only the first and last paragraphs:

Tropical Storm Erick was the eighth tropical cyclone and fifth to attain tropical storm status of the 2007 Pacific hurricane season. Erick originated from a tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa, traveled westward across the Atlantic, and emerged into the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The wave spawned a small low pressure system on July 28 that, despite strong wind shear, managed to form into a tropical depression later that day. The next day, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Erick, and while the storm moved westward, the shear quickly tore the storm apart. The storm weakened to a tropical depression on August 2 and degenerated into a remnant low later that day. Because the storm never neared land, no effects were reported in association with Erick.

  • Although another reviewer did raise this, we still have the storm "emerging" twice in one sentence. "Managed to form"? What does Tony1 say about that?
  • Strangely, the paragraph concludes with "because the storm never neared land", yet we were told it started in the Atlantic and ended in the Pacific. Did it take the polar route, or was it given passage through the Panama Canal to avoid touching land?
  • "quickly" tore it apart? I see something like four days from the description in the lead: is that "quickly" in hurricane parlance? As a hurricane novice, I don't have any idea why traveling westward would make it tear apart at all, much less quickly.

That's the lead only, which theoretically is the strongest part of the article. Next, I jumped to the last paragraph to see how it's faring:

Because Erick remained from land, no effects, damages or fatalities were reported; no ships were affected, and no tropical cyclone warnings and watches were issued. According to the National Climatic Data Center, Tropical Storm Erick had an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of .8575, the second lowest of the season, behind Tropical Storm Alvin. ACE is, broadly speaking, a measure of a hurricane's power multiplied by the length of time it existed.

  • "Remained from land"? I wondered if that was hurricane terminology that I had never encountered, so I googled the phrase, and it only shows up on this article on Wikipedia. What is that and in an article this short, why has no one mentioned it?
  • The definition of ACE awkwardly comes after it's used. "broadly speaking"? Is that the best we can do encyclopedically?

If we are to list a 500-word article among our finest work, 1) please discuss whether content should be merged to the 2007 season article, and 2) let's make sure the prose will stand up to the scrutiny that will result in putting a 500-word article on our list of FAs. I haven't looked at the middle of the article yet, but the lead and final paragraph won't stand up to scrutiny IMO. Let's not leave our readers with any doubt about compelling and brilliant prose in an article short enough for anyone to pick over. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

As for whether the article should be merged to 2007 Pacific hurricane season: Absolutely not. Doing that would unbalance the season article towards what is in reality a rather boring storm, and would be IMO a breach of WP:UNDUE and/or WP:SUMMARY. As for the prose, although I'm not a professional editor (and hence I don't share the aversion to passive voice sometimes seen in these parts), I see some flaws in the examples you posted:
  • Strangely, the paragraph concludes with "because the storm never neared land", yet we were told it started in the Atlantic and ended in the Pacific. Did it take the polar route, or was it given passage through the Panama Canal to avoid touching land? - you're skipping the entire sentence that talks about the precursor tropical low, and thus the explanation: "Erick originated from a tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa, traveled westward across the Atlantic, and emerged into the Eastern Pacific Ocean.".
  • "quickly" tore it apart? I see something like four days from the description in the lead: is that "quickly" in hurricane parlance? As a hurricane novice, I don't have any idea why traveling westward would make it tear apart at all, much less quickly. - to paraphrase Einstein, speed is relative, and four days is nothing for any kind of storm, not just hurricanes. Also, moving westward didn't cause any kind of enhanced dissipation, and I think the sentence is fairly clear that it was the wind shear that caused it: The next day, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Erick, and while the storm moved westward, the shear quickly tore the storm apart.
  • "Remained from land"? I wondered if that was hurricane terminology that I had never encountered, so I googled the phrase, and it only shows up on this article on Wikipedia. What is that and in an article this short, why has no one mentioned it? - It should be "remained away from land"; somebody ate a word, and I'm surprised nobody had seen that yet (myself included, as I gave this article its original WikiProject assessment).
  • The definition of ACE awkwardly comes after it's used. "broadly speaking"? Is that the best we can do encyclopedically? - what's wrong with it? A more stringent definition of ACE belongs in the Accumulated cyclone energy article, not here. I'm afraid I really don't see what is problematic about the sentence, with perhaps the possible exception that it seems to be something that was tacked on when somebody requested a definition of the term to meet WP:1.0/B#B6.
So, aside from the "away from land" gaffe, I'm not sure I agree with your assessment about the lead section's and the tail paragraph's prose. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 09:30, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
In either case, I rewrote that paragraph to try to expand it a little bit. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 09:51, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Titoxd; the rewritten final paragraph is much clearer now. I haven't yet looked into the middle of the article, but I was worried that these articles aren't getting close enough scrutiny after I couldn't decipher these other items. But ...
  • We still have emerged ... emerged in the lead.
  • We're still left with the impression that it never neared land while somehow getting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
  • We still have the redundant "managed to".
  • For hurricane novices, context for how something that takes four days becomes "quickly" would help; there must be a better word choice.
With the "remained from land", I was really wondering if it was hurricane terminology I didn't understand; in a 500-word article passed by many reviewers, it's surprising to find this. If article writing becomes formulaic, those close to hurricanes may forget that each article needs to clearly lay out information that hurricane novices may not be familiar with. Particularly in an article this short, the prose should be very crisp and clear. If there is going to be consensus for featured articles of this size, they'd best be at standard. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that hurricane articles should be scrutinized for their terminology and wording. However, I also think some effort must come from the reader in seeking to understand the article. As explained above, the issue of never nearing land as a hurricane is explained. Just as it takes effort for the non academic reader to get through a highly abstruse, detailed and academic FAC on a subject of interest to only a few, so a hurricane article requires the reader to take time and effort to understand the article and terminology. Just because it is short does not mean it does not need to be carefully read to be understood. —Mattisse (Talk) 14:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
P.S. As far as repeated wording, that is not unusual in a FA. See Buckingham Palace. Not that I defend it, but in the case of Buckingham Palace there is edit warring going on and personal attacks made to editors making talk page suggestions. —Mattisse (Talk) 14:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Indeed; the "crossing Central America" problem boils down to how to write "A random clump of cloud formed in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and crossed the entire Atlantic without doing anything, and then, when it was in the Pacific, it started becoming a tropical cyclone" in an engaging, brilliant way. Emerged ... emerged is not a huge issue for me (but then, I subscribe to the Inelegant variation model and all that...) so I wasn't going to make a huge deal about it if it still gave the correct meaning. I'll see what I can do with the quickly issue. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 19:29, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
And I rewrote the entire damn thing. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 20:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

New Featured content IRC channel[edit]

Following on from the creation of #wikipedia-en-FL connect for discussing the WP:Featured list process, a new IRC channel for discussing all Featured content has been created. #wikipedia-en-FC connect. Please see WP:IRC for more on using IRC with Wikipedia. Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 20:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I left my snarky response to this over there. And what is this off-Wiki communication supposed to accomplish, btw? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:39, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Oh my God. Now the FA cabal is really going to gain strength and power. I don't know whether to be titillated or afraid. Maybe a bit of both. --Moni3 (talk) 20:41, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Are we? Do you 'spose any of us will even go there? Should we appoint a designated monitor to watch for canvassing and other nasty off-Wiki forms of behavior? I nominate Giano. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:43, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
(ec) What is the intention of these new IRC channels? Discussion of how to improve an article belongs on-wiki, where consensus can be properly measured and most of all visible (how else are the delegates going to know when there are outstanding fixes?). Discussion of whether an article meets the standards definitely belongs on-wiki (both for the delegates to measure consensus and most importantly so that there is no question that deals have been struck somewhere in the ether). Discussion of the process itself should likewise also be on-wiki. There are already a lot of people new to the process who think there is an FAC-cabal; this is simply fanning the flames of that. This type of process, which is supposed to recognize the best articles, needs to be as transparent as possible. I'm very disturbed that this has been created. Where is the discussion that led to its creation? Karanacs (talk) 20:44, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Ok, let me grow a set and express my fears. Will chats be held discussing which articles editors should support? Will the histories of the editors be discussed instead of the merits of each article? Or will it be used only for good, encouraging and instructing newbie editors who want to get an FA on the best ways to do that? Who's going to monitor the chat, in that case? Is it possible for four or five editors to support or oppose an article for reasons other than the article's content and therefore pass substandard work or block an excellent article from being promoted? Sure, it's possible that this is happening now in another part of IRC, but that's in a back alley, not in a Wikipedia sponsored living room. I fret. --Moni3 (talk) 20:45, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Answer: all of the above. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:48, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
please see the green box on the top of my usertalk page for my thoughts on this not very well thought out idea. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 20:46, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid any harm we can do in the FC channels would have already been done in the numerous existing Wikipedia channels, particularly #wikipedia-en connect. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
So 1) why is it needed, 2) what is the point, 3) and what do y'all plan to do there? I can't imagine any good answer to any of these queries. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:53, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
To answer #1, the current Wikipedia channels have over one hundred people at any given time, and talking directly and only about featured content is nearly out of the question. Same goes for #2, I suppose. And #3, we would just have general conversations about FC in general, and ask for feedback on particular articles (not canvaasing). Heck, you should join one day! :) –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:59, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
(ec x2) I believe very firmly that wikipedia should be governed on wikipedia, especially when the process in question relies completely on measuring consensus. Consensus happens on-wiki. I'm sure harm is already being done on IRC, but having a separate channel devoted to featured content processes is an invitation to people that yes, you should discuss these processes off-wiki. The creation of this channel, with no discussion and no indication of why it is needed, really, really disturbs me. Karanacs (talk) 21:03, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Followup to Julian - why can't you ask for review on-wiki, where there is an actual log that everyone can see and verify that it didn't cross the line into canvassing? By doing everything off-wiki, we have zero way to tell if a support or oppose is actually based on canvassing or not. Karanacs (talk) 21:03, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Julian, I believe you've evaded the gist of the question. What possible productive use could come from discussing featured candidates off Wiki, and who engages in such unless they *are* canvassing? That's pretty simple, and compensatory changes will need to be considered to deal with block !voting. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:12, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
(To Karanacs, as well) Well, for the same reason that we have the main Wikipedia channels. The channel is a benefit because there can be a non-significant discussion in real-time, and without the turmoils of posting numerous comments. In reality, no, there is not much that can be gained from it, but there is nothing lost, and if even the slightest bit of convenience comes from it, it was worthwhile, right? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:20, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Julian, can you give an example, please of a non-significant discussion? I am still very unclear on why this type of discussion cannot be done transparently on-wiki. Karanacs (talk) 21:22, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm using "non-significant" to indicate that there won't be any discussion regarding a change in rules, or anything else that requires a community-wide consensus, but rather simple discussions. For example, is the source of X article reliable enough? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:26, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
That's what I was afraid of. If that question was asked on-wiki, we'd have a record of the answer, and multiple people could discuss (if necessary), and eventually we'd get a consensus on whether the source is reliable. At the very least, asking on wiki gives other editors the opportunity to learn, because everything is documented. I would have no problem with wikipedia IRC channels if the logs were made public and could be searchable with the rest of wikipedia. When you segregate any discussion that impacts an article, it's doing a disservice to editors who come behind and want to know how a decision was reached. Karanacs (talk) 21:32, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
As of know, I cannot say with certainty what will happen in the channels. It's been open for an hour, and any talk about what sort of discussion that will take place is simply speculation. I suppose if it does turn out to be a problem, we can always close it. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:35, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
The sooner, the better. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:39, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Heh, but it hasn't caused trouble yet. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:41, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Wow, this has gotten very nasty very quickly. Okay, some people don't like IRC, but you don't have to be so nasty about it. -- Scorpion0422 21:01, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

How is it nasty to express concerns that a new process, opened without any discussion, can lead to abuse? Karanacs (talk) 21:04, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
IRC channels are cheap, and besides, surely no discussion of any significance shall take place there. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:05, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
That is my hope, but where's the guarantee? Keeping communication on-wiki allows a certain level of oversight. All kinds of crazy things could happen on IRC, and if no one leaked the logs, no one who doesn't frequent the channel would know. Karanacs (talk) 21:11, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Restating, Scorpion; it's not IRC that I don't like. It's people who conduct their business on IRC instead of keeping FAC deliberations transparent and on-Wiki. Anyone can ask me any time on my talk page for feedback on any FAC and get a straight answer; everyone knows where I stand on FACs and FARs. I'm suspicious of the very need, the very suggestion that anyone has to go off-Wiki to discuss FACs: to what aim? Yes, I'm aware that there are off-Wiki e-mail campaigns about some FACs, but this just puts the off-Wiki level of communication on a whole 'nother level, and I want anyone who participates in that to give me one good reason, please? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:16, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't use IRC, so even if everyone loved the idea, wouldn't participate. I suspect I'm not the only one. But chaps, (and chapettes) let's stay cool, please. We're all on the same side here. Hmm. Except when you oppose my FAC noms. Then you're the enemy. Especially when you're right. <gnaws knuckles> Do I sound like an FAC veteran yet? --Dweller (talk) 21:08, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm not particularly worried about abuse of the channel, but I do see it as a completely gratuitous addition. Splintering of discussions is a very real concern already, and adding another off-wiki venue with no clear purpose strikes me as simply adding to this problem. --erachima talk 21:17, 24 September 2008 (UTC)


I understand the fears it may bring, especially with those who haven't used IRC before. Anyway, let it just be said for the record that I didn't create either of those channels, though it was suggested in all good faith that -en-fc should be created since it seemed more "fair" than having one just for lists. Also, when WT:FLC was notified, it didn't raise any issues. But I understand that's not the point. Because I'm not a Crystal Ball, I can't really answer what the channels are to be used for, but -en-fl has just been general chat between people who regularly contribute to FLs. I've seen a couple of questions about the process, and they are easier to answer in real-time than back-and-forth messaging on talk pages. Anyway. Don't shoot the messenger. Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 21:24, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

No answer yet: where did this idea originate? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:31, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia_talk:Featured_list_candidates/Archive_4#A_FL_IRC_channel Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 21:33, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Scorpion, could you please clarify whether you were the one who created the channel, and if so, could you please respond to some of the concerns that have been raised? Thanks. Karanacs (talk) 21:35, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. OK, Gary, what were you thinking? What were all three of you thinking? I still don't know what benefit anyone thinks comes from discussing featured content candidacies off Wiki (we all know the bad effects, what is the upside?) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:37, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
No edit conflicts? ;p Karanacs (talk) 21:41, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I suggested it, but I didn't create it. It doesn't matter who did, but when I suggested it to that person, they created it immediately before I could get any more opinions. -- Scorpion0422 22:56, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't find this exchange nasty, but necessary to determining the purpose of the featured content channels. There is also the inevitable furthering of relationships, both for good and for bad on IRC. I was a moderator of a channel for two years back when IRC was an infant, so I have quite a bit of experience with it. Much like Wikipedia, it mirrors human interaction at lightning speed. We may go there and develop fast and warm friendships, and breach these professional and formal modes of communication we share here, and you may be regaled by my endless wit and charm. But that may also open us to suspicions of cabal-like behaviors - passing our friends' articles because we chum around on IRC. Just as dangerously, you may find my wit and charm dull and tedious, and find me full of myself and take an instant real-time dislike to me. What will you think of my next article up for FAC then? I choose to stay away from this channel for now. Too much can go wrong. --Moni3 (talk) 21:43, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
  • This is the pernicious secretive form of Wikipedia that needs to be stamped on heavily now. So I am squashing it firmly. An IRC channel to discuss featured content - what a hoot - and it's not even April 1st. The only interest IRC has ever shown in FA content is trying to dispose of the editors who write it. Who on earth would ever go there, and mix with such company? Giano (talk) 21:46, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with your first point, and bow to your experience with the last. IRC is pernicious; no good will come from this new channel and I for one will have nothing to do with it, or any other IRC channel. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 23:40, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
  • We should be discussing the regulation or elimination of existing IRC channels, not creating new ones.Proabivouac (talk) 00:14, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
    • Well? Where and how? I don't speak IRC, and this is over my head. Perhaps we were all (or at least I was, shouldn't speak for others) too complacent when this was happening to Giano, and I've learned my lesson more than once about sitting by with my fingers crossed when bad stuff was going down ... but this latest has the potential to corrupt the process by which we promote our best work. Where do I sign up? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:24, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
  • The only way of solving this pernicious creeping slime currently invading Wikipedia is to vote a firm "oppose" in December to any Arbcom candidate who is a user of IRC. Start the cure at the top and hope it percultaes down. Giano (talk) 06:18, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

What an absolutely terrible idea. If "no discussion of any significance shall take place there", then there's no point in it, and if any discussion of significance does take place there, then it should have taken place on the nomination page instead. Jayjg (talk) 07:03, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

(ec) Like Moni, I've used IRC before to chat with friends and I have enjoyed it. Like her, I will not be using it. My biggest concern is that featured content processes be as transparent as possible, and the creation of this channel leaves a giant question mark in that transparency. Hopefully, the advocates of this channel are coorect, and no abuse will occur. However, there needs to be a way to reassure the rest of the community that no abuse is occurring. How can we do that? Maybe finding the answers to these questions will help.

  • 1) Can the logs be posted somewhere on-wiki every week so that featured content directors/delegates who do not use IRC can monitor whether there was improper canvassing or collusion?
  • 2) Who is/are the moderator(s) of the channel, and how do they plan to curb any abuses that may occur?
  • 3) If people who do not use IRC become concerned about abuse, what steps can be taken to have the channel turned off?

Karanacs (talk) 21:48, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

First off, public posting of Wikipedia IRC logs is not allowed unless we have the permission of eevry person involved, so I don't know how possible that would be. To answer your next question, there are no "moderators" per se in such a small channel, but there are ops, myself included, that could kick somebody if they persistently and seriously abuse. I'm not sure exactly what "abuse" means in this context. Is it the same as any other channel, flooding and posting gibberish? Is there a limit as to what can be considered abuse? Personally, I think a user can be banned from this channel if they persistently canvaas to get their article reviewed. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 22:38, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Juliancolton, you are incorrect. There is no ban on the publishing of logs on the part of Freenode, the owners of the system; whether or not they are published is the decision of the channel owners. If they are publishable, then a notice is to be given whenever an account logs in. Who is the owner of these channels? Risker (talk) 00:21, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I have learned that. I am the creator of the channel, by request of another user, and after a bit of discussion. The topic now permits public logging. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:25, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
You created this, without so much as a consult on talk here? And you don't see the issue? Is it in your power, then, to make it go away? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:27, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I share Karanacs concerns, and honestly don't see what the point is. I am strongly in favor of keeping Wiki discussions on Wiki, and try very hard to keep email to a minimum, much less IRC. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:47, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Alright, I don't know if this has been brought up before, but the reason I would use the channel is to find a reviewer. It's a lot easier to go onto the channel, find someone who is familiar with the FA process, and ask them for a FA review. Their review would be on the FAC, and thus would be in the edit history. I could even ask for that person to specify they were asked to review via the IRC channel. The benefit of this is that it occurs in real time. Asking a user on Wikipedia might take some time, particularly if that other person was away, or did not check their messages for a while. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:58, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Would not that unfairly advantage those using the IRC? Not everyone uses it, or even knows how. Also, it furthers the atmosphere of a FAC clique, which is strong enough as it is, as some articles definitely get way more attention from the big wigs then others. Also, isn't it a form of canvassing? —Mattisse (Talk) 23:12, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Hink, an easier way to find a reviewer is to do some reviews yourself; what goes around, comes around. Mattisse calls it a "FAC clique"; well, if Ealdgyth is busting her buns reviewing every single FAC that appears here, isn't it likely that someone will return the favor for her when she puts up a FAC? Everyone who is high on WP:WBFAN might think about their give-take ratio. (What is it that Ruhrfisch called it in the recent Dispatch, the "Free rider" problem?) If someone rounds up a reviewer on IRC, I sure hope it's disclosed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:22, 24 September 2008 (UTC) P.S. And, what's wrong with posting here when reviews are lacking, where it's transparent and everyone can see it? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

It should be said that the channels is -en-FC for "Featured content", not -en-FA for "Featured articles". Why oh why this discussion is even being held here instead of at Portal talk:Featured content I can only guess. Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 23:15, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, then you haven't followed the featured portal page, which gets no traffic except vandalism; this is the busiest featured content page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:18, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Re. Karancs' point 1, I suggested in the channel that public logging be permitted, and after a bit of discussion, it now is. When you enter, the topic says "Welcome to the Wikipedia Featured Content channel, a centralized channel to discuss all Featured content. | Featured content main page: http://tinyurl.com/2yyp5r | Public logging permitted", so everyone will be aware of this. Giggy (talk) 23:28, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't really see the utility of such a channel. FA related comments should be made on the FA candidate pages, where there is a definitive record of everyone who comments, and everyone can see what's been said and what's been done. The only advantage of such a page over what we already have in place is that it takes place in real time. But the FA process doesn't need anything close to real-time responsiveness, so I don't really see any need for a channel to duplicate the functions we already have in place here. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not too keen on it. Raul654 (talk) 23:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Burn it destroy it smash it now. IRC is probably the very worst thing that has ever happened to Wikipedians (note that I don't count nationalist POV pushers, fringe-theory POV pushers etc as Wikipedians; they are vandals). It turns Wikipedia into a social networking site rather than an encyclopedia. The key problem: Quality suffers tremendously. Social factors are the only factors considered when !voting for admins, FA articles, etc. I graduated from high school many years ago; I have no desire to return. You'll say, "So don't participate then" No, it doesn't work that way. If IRC is used to build social networks, the social networks then permanently change the nature of the Wikipedia forum. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 23:57, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely right I think. It changes the whole dynamic, and not in a positive way. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 00:06, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
We weren't consulted, but it's done, so now we deal with it. At minimum, it may require more rigorous and more frequent reviews from transparent reviewers, assurances that reviewers are uninvolved and neutral, stricter enforcement on my end of neutrality of reviews, more feedback from experienced reviewers on issues like reliable sources and image policy, and a slowdown in the promotion rate. In other words, more work for those already doing more work :-) Anything else? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:11, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

(undent). yes, something else. Petition to shut it down now. Not joking. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 00:13, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't speak IRC; can that be done? If so, why didn't ArbCom already deal with it in the Giano situation? What do we have to do ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:15, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I have no idea. Who created it? Where do they discuss such things? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 00:17, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
How about giving the idea a chance instead of knocking it before it's caused trouble? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:17, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Because, Juliancolton, we are all experienced enough with what happens in IRC (whether or not we are users of existing channels) to reasonably predict what will happen. If you want to chat with someone, chat with them. It doesn't require official Wikipedia sanction to do so. I believe these channels that imply Wikipedia sanction should be shut down. And I say that as someone who is currently logged into an IRC channel or two. There will not be the traffic to keep it to anything but a clique, especially as the overwhelming majority of active FC participants have spoken out against the use of these channels. I understand the motivation, but there is absolutely nothing that could be done on IRC that would not be better to have documented on-wiki. Risker (talk) 00:27, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Isn't that a little like saying that one of "the axis of evil" only has the capability to deliver a small number of nuclear warheads a few hundred miles, so let's wait and see if they actually launch them? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 00:31, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Chatting was not the intention when creating the channel. The intention was having a place for FC regulars to talk about the process in real-time. I can honestly say I never would have suspected such a reaction to the channel would occur. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:30, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
One of the things I like about Wikipedia is that you can have open transparent discussions, and everything is out in the open. Having an IRC channel for FC discussions short-circuits that and I'm not in favor of things that take discussion off wikipedia. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:33, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm very concerned at the reticence here by the proponents of this channel and that they don't acknowledge the damage already done. The transparency of the process by which we promote our best work has already been diminished and damaged by the very fact that this channel exists. I'm also concerned that, in the face of such clear opposition and consenus against this IRC channel, that it isn't being immediately dismantled. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:32, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. Your argument has been convincing, so I am in the process of getting the channel removed from Freenode. My sincere apologies for the inconvenience this has caused. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:34, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
One problem though. Anyone, and yes, I mean anyone, can log into an IRC server and issue the command: "/join #wikipediea-en-fc" at any time, and voila, the channel is recreated. Whether or not it is advertised or trafficked, any possible channel name is possible just like any possible article name can be created on wiki. Imzadi1979 (talk) 00:38, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and did I mention that goes for any IRC server, not just the Freenode "official" ones. Imzadi1979 (talk) 00:41, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I think some people have overreacted to the IRC channel suggestion. IRC isn't evil - it's just that there have been some incidents (particularly as regards the en-admins channel) that have given it a bad name with some people here. I didn't care for the suggestion, for the simple fact that it duplicates the functionality of the candidates page, with less transparency. The only advantage it offers is of real-time feedback for authors, which isn't something that we need all that much. But I don't want to dissuade from taking the initiative in the future and/or bringing up suggestions here. So thank you, Julian. While I'm not keen on your idea, I appreciate you the fact that you set up the channel and brought up the suggestion here. Raul654 (talk) 00:42, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Which planet did you post that from? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 00:45, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
One which has some commons sense. :-) –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 00:47, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Obviously not the one that you live on then. ;-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 00:52, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
The one where people keep open minds, and realize that if you slap people down because you don't like their suggestions, pretty soon people will stop making suggestions all together. But since this is apparently an alien concept to you, you can just ignore it. Raul654 (talk) 00:52, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
In your ignorance of whatever concepts I may or may not understand, you presume too much. One day, when the irony of your own comment has had the time to sink in, perhaps you will reflect on your own understanding of what it means to "slap people down". I won't be holding my breath though. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:50, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Imzadil1979 is correct; however, removing it from our list of accepted channels is significant. Juliancolton, thanks for your actions. As a bit of background, I can personally think of five separate Arbcom cases in which one IRC channel or another was central to the problems being discussed. Some of them also directly related to the way content was being developed. IRC has also been implicated in questionable GA reviews in the past. On the whole, editors distrust IRC for anything other than socialising or very restricted applications (e.g., two checkusers comparing notes to ensure private information is kept that way). The Featured Content review process must enjoy the confidence of the editorship as a whole in order to be successful; it must not only be fair and consistent, it must be seen to be fair and consistent. Anything that has the potential to erode confidence in one of our very few genuine quality control processes is inherently a net negative. It's very clear that your collective intentions were good; I suspect that none of you have the knowledge of wiki-history that would have forewarned you of the problems that are inherent in that medium. Risker (talk) 00:51, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I hope I'm not being lumped in here with either side. I only learned of this channel's existence about 30 minutes ago and posted a comment. I've neither endorsed or condemned anything, just tried to point out a technical issue. I've used IRC since 1998, so I was only trying to offer my expertise. Imzadi1979 (talk) 00:56, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Since I've never been to IRC, and never plan to go there, most of the technicalities of the discussion are lost on me, but I gather that Raul is pointing out that the problem is not IRC per se (and that I needn't overreact to IRC in general). And Risker is saying that we don't need it in this case, it duplicates a process we already have on Wiki that allows for greater transparency, but that IRC itself is not the issue. So, thank you Julian for the attempt to help featured processes (we didn't initially understand or have the history here), but if it goes away as suggested, how do we know it's not recreated as pointed out by Imzadi1979? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:03, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
It's possible to prevent a channel from being created. I, um, forget how to, though, but I think someone more IRC-savvy than me would. Giggy (talk) 01:18, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I imagine that the IRC network, Freenode, needs to setup a bot in the channel to kick anyone who joins it. I don't know if they usually do that kind of stuff; it's like preventing an article from being recreated. Gary King (talk) 03:21, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
A freenode staff member has to jupe the channel; the only person who can do this is Sean Whitton, or any staff member under the authority of Jdforrester. This is also a bit of a symbolic move, since an abusive channel can just move to an "unofficial" location outside of the remit of Wikimedia group contacts, such as ##wikipedia-en-FC or ##FeaturedContentCabal. That said, IRC should not be used to determine the worth of contact - there is no time factor involved when reviewing FA candidates, and all decisions relating to articles (the single most important thing here) should be made transparently and in an open environment. I just put a couple logging bots in both the #-FC and #-FL channels, and promise to make it known if anything shady happens there. east718 // talk // email // 04:58, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
ah, don't know what you said, but thanks. I think :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:06, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
I'll try again then. :) Sean Whitton and James F. are the only people that can shut down a channel, but it's a bit useless since IRC-based abuse of the FA process can happen anywhere. I'm currently keeping tabs on these two channels and will check for abuse every now and then. east718 // talk // email // 05:14, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I can think of very few ways in which this proposal might be useful, but plenty in which it might become a source of contention - lets keep discussions on wikipedia. Burn it! --Joopercoopers (talk) 12:13, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Just another point of clarification, IRC was developed in Finland in the late 1980s. It's the grandparent of all internet chat rooms, IM clients and with the direct-client tools built into it, even peer-to-peer networks. While I appreciate the desire for transparency concerning FxC processes, I'm afraid that IRC is older than the World-Wide Web and wikis in general. The problem is not with the techonology, it's the application of it that's concerning so many people here. I'm afraid though that no matter what is said or done, you'll never find a way to completely regulate user conduct off wiki. The same issues with IRC could be applied to e-mails, Yahoo! Groups, Usenet newsgroups or any instant messenger client. You'll need to regulate all of them, not just IRC. Also remember, that Freenode isn't the only IRC network. There are several dozen out there. Imzadi1979 (talk) 02:54, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Imzadi1979, your facts are correct, and you are right that there is nothing that can be done to prevent editors from communicating off-wiki about featured content—with the possible exception of their own sense of ethics. The issue in this case was that the development of a channel with the name "Wikipedia" in it gives the channel an aura of acceptability, even authority. That is why many of us made our position known immediately. It also is an appropriate time for the community involved in the featured content process to deprecate the use of off-wiki communication for discussion of featured content. Will people still do it? Yes, some will. There are people who do all kinds of things that go against the Wikipedia ethic. There's nothing wrong with discouraging it, though. Risker (talk) 03:29, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

If I might chip in here, I don't think IRC is the monster it's thought to be here, but I don't see it being of much use for featured content, of all things. If Wikipedian discussion of Wikipedian featured content is not on Wikipedia, where else can it be? I can see the potential dangers of communication it presents, so I don't support the creation of these channels. bibliomaniac15 04:21, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

You don't need explicit permission from anyone for any kind of public logging, that's a silly myth propogated because of how some of the WMF channels on IRC do business with a lack of desire for accountability. Shove a permanent message on the FA IRC channels that everyone sees upon joining that says "This channel is publically logged. Anything you say may be recorded for public posterity" and that's a condition of doing business. rootology (C)(T) 12:51, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

This would be equitable, but both channels have since moved underground to locations outside the remit of our group contacts. east718 // talk // email // 17:29, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Meaning that those who frequented the place didn't want to be logged ??? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:17, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
People will obviously discuss whatever they like wherever they like, that's part of our "democratic" society. The important issue is that such IRC channels ought not to give the appearance of being offically sanctioned. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:26, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Very short FAs[edit]

The thread above about short FAs is getting a bit unwieldy, and since I've just nominated Space Science Fiction Magazine I think it's worth creating a separate thread to discuss the short FA question.

One type of article has occurred to me as a possible problem: currently many published authors are regarded as notable, but it is quite plausible that absolutely nothing might be known about the author. This might lead to an article on the author that would only be able to discuss their books. Say someone wrote three western novels in the 1950s and they receive 200 word reviews in half a dozen newspapers; the sort of review that says "good formula stuff, a pleasant read". The novels sold pretty well; maybe one of them makes the low end of a bestseller list. Can the article on that writer be turned into an FA? It's hard to see how. This is similar to Awadewit's concern expressed above: if you know there is more information out there, but there are no secondary sources (yet) that cover it, can it be an FA? Mike Christie (talk) 19:49, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't think so. For example, for an article about a writer to become FA at least some indication of a personal biography should be present (date/place of birth and death - and if this is unknown a discussion that it is indeed not known). Note that for trivial fact (like date of birth) primary sources are perfectly acceptable. Arnoutf (talk) 19:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
How about tackling this concern by starting a WikiProject that lists articles in which the subject needs more research, so that perhaps journalists and academics could use it as a guide to what kind of research they might consider doing? Homely Features (talk) 20:13, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I highly doubt academics will find the wikiproject and actually use it... Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 21:01, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I turned a lesbian pulp fiction author who lived incognito for 50 years into an FA. No one reviewed her books when they were released, and only perhaps four academic analyses of her works. But lesbians noticed her books for sure. And I found that there are pulp fiction aficionados who write about them. The same for Marijane Meaker, who wrote pulp fiction as Vin Packer (reminding me I should add more to her article). I should pay attention to this notability discussion and add more, which I will. --Moni3 (talk) 23:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Something is not right when there are stubs that are longer than an FAC. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:27, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Why? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 22:30, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I second that question. The assessment of a stub isn't entirely based on the size of an article, but rather the size of the article in relation to the subject. For example, Tropical Storm Erick (2007) is complete, and may make FA or GA, while Casserole is a well-known subject, and thus has more to write about it. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 22:37, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I feel like something such as Space Science Fiction Magazine is as comprehensive as can be, but not comprehensive (period), i.e. does not provide extensive coverage of the subject, although I might be wrong. –thedemonhog talkedits 23:11, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
That's what I think the problem with "comprehensiveness" being part of the FA criteria is. Everybody has their own interpretation of it. To me, being "comprehensive" means utilizing all available information. I can, however, see how other people could have other views of it. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 23:22, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Just to keep focused, WP:WIAFA currently says:

(b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details;

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:26, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I think we have to be careful when we say, "if you know there is more information out there, but there are no secondary sources (yet) that cover it, can it be an FA". The problem lies in the assumption that there is something more out there. If there is, then it's already covered. If you're assuming there is, when you cannot find it, then that's all you're doing...assuming. I can assume that Television Show's episode 67 must have some thematical elements about it, because I recognize the themes and thus some critic must recognize them. When I check, no critics talk about said themes that I recognize to be there. Does that mean that the article is not comprehensive because some secondary source has not identified something that I know to be there? Of course not, because I'm not an expert and I don't get to determine what people write about. The idea behind comprehensiveness is not regulated with time, exception when something is new. It's hard to assume that a topic that is a few weeks, maybe even a few months, could be considered truly "comprehensive" because we haven't given people the time to really discuss it. On the other hand, if a topic is a few years old, and all available sources (present) are being used to develop the article, then we have to assume that it is as comprehensive as possible. That being said, no one said that a comprehensive article cannot be added to after the fact. Jason Voorhees is a rather comprehensive look at the fictional character, but no one said that that article cannot be expanded, and it's FA. There is a new film coming out with the character, which wasn't known when the article was promoted to FA status. Does that mean that the article should have its FA status revoked until after the film is out and we can get information on that particular presentation of the character? Of course not. It doesn't change the fact that the article is still comprehensive. The definition (at least Wikipedia's) of comprehensiveness does not equate to "every possible thing we can think of connected to the topic), but that it "it neglects no major facts or details". It can fit that bill and still be expanded, as "major" is the key word in that definition. What you have to ask yourself with comprehensiveness is: 1. Are there major facts missing? 2. If "No", then of those major facts, do we know that sources exist that discuss them? 3. If the answer is "No" to #2, then has the article topic been in existence long enough that we can say that those major facts should have been covered by secondary sources by now? 4. If the answer is "No" to #2 and #3, then either those "major facts" don't really exist, or the article needs to wait longer before going to FAC. If there are no scholarly journals written about Topic X 5 years later, then the topic is as comprehensive as it's going to be. Maybe 30 years from now there will be renewed interest in it, and more information can be added, but we cannot (nor should we try) predict what could happen to an article topic in the distant future.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 23:31, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I understand where people are coming from, but think about actual use to readers. If a subject is notable, exhausts all sources and is barely more than stub class, we need to decide whether it wouldn't be better as part of a larger article. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 02:36, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I wasn't trying to say that just because you meet everything, but the article itself is small that it's still ok for FA. That's one of the very reasons why Smallville (season 1) was written the way that it was, because had all those episodes been broken out not only would their notability been in question, but they would have all been extremely small articles (like 6kb large, or less). Though, I don't know if the criteria for FA articles can really stipulate size requirements. If so, we're going to be revisiting a lot of FA pages. Not to say that I wouldn't be for at least some mention of size "recommendations", maybe saying something along the lines of "if article X is Ykb or less, determine whether or not there is a suitable parent topic that it could be merged into. If not, then continue on with the FAC"...or something to that affect.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 03:45, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
If short articles are going to be aceepted by the WP:FAC community, then I support the addition of a recommendation to the instructions. On another note, Erick does not look so bad when it is merged into the parent article, but it is longer than each of the other sections. –thedemonhog talkedits 04:28, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Not a huge deal. If the parent article was overly long, then we would certainly look to splitting Erick off first if he was the largest. Then again, it also comes down to readability. When you have lots of sections in an article, the extended reading time is less noticed because you have lots of stopping points, as opposed to an article that was 70kb (readable prose) with only say 5 sections - that would make those 5 sections awfully large and probably take a nice chunk of time to read through.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 04:33, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Aren't merge decisions made at AFD? Why should FAC instructions duplicate AfD functionality? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:38, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I bumped you because it would really start to throw things off if I respond to you, but still have an early comment after the fact. Anyway, I wasn't suggesting that merge discussions take place at FACs (and merge discussions are actually not supposed to happen at AfDs...or, at least I constanly see Admins and others clamoring about how they should be deciding if the page should stay or be deleted and not "merged"). I see this "recommendation" as more of an extension of the FAC's criteria on WP:SUMMARY - "Length. It stays focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style)." Why is it that we have to only discuss article length when it is too long? Why can't we say, "maybe this should be merged into a larger article, because, though it is comprehensive of the given subject, it's really only a footnote of a larger topic".  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 04:44, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) If "not notable enough for a featured article" isn't an actionable oppose, neither is "too short for a featured article". If we accept the idea that all featured articles should be long, that in itself sets limits on FA subject matter, a perennial idea that has been rejected by Raul654. szyslak (t) 05:34, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Not "long" but certainly not stub size. Otherwise, I don't want to hear any objections if I nominate an article with 120 kb of readable prose.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 05:39, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Doing my homework: szyslak, can you please link me to a discussion where Raul looked at the possibility of 300 and 400-word featured articles? Particularly in the case when there is a possible merge target? Has this been looked at before in FAC or FA archives? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:03, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it matters whether Raul or anyone else has "looked at the possibility" of featured articles being this or that length. What matters is whether "too short for a featured article" is a convincing argument that addresses WP:WIAFA. Leaving true stubs out of the equation as they are by definition incomplete, there is a reason why WIAFA addresses comprehensiveness rather than length. Not every Wikipedia-appropriate article topic lends itself to a "full-length" article, whatever that is. And no, merge-worthy articles should not be featured, but I think that falls under "stability". If it's disputed whether an article should even exist on its own, I'd say it's more or less unstable; how's about you? szyslak (t) 08:50, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Responding to the question about FAC instructions duplicating AfD: I don't think they should, but that doesn't mean an article is immune from AfD just because it's at FAC. I once nominated an article at FAC within a couple of minutes of creating it. On reflection that probably wasn't a sensible thing to do, but there's no rule against it. If someone else were to do so with an AfD-worthy article, I could see it going to AfD. I don't know if Sandy would terminate the nom until the AfD ran its course, or just let them run together. For short articles, a talk-page request to merge is more likely; and of course those don't have a five-day sunset as AfD does. As with AfD, that could theoretically be running at the same time as the FAC ran. Sandy, if someone stuck a {{merge}} template on Space's talk page, what would you do? Mike Christie (talk) 12:01, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
WP:TIND. I'd prefer to see things sorted here by consensus before promotion so we don't end up at FAR, but eventually some things get tested at FAR (e.g.; Spoo). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:32, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Some ancient persons are only known through brief mentions a century or two after their death. They must have been notable enough then to mention, but their legacy is lost, and now our entire knowledge of them might be expressed in one paragraph of 200 words or less. We might even be able to cite reputable historians saying our only known info are the mentions in works X and Y. Could an article like that make FA? If it can, GA would appear to be opposite its original intent. GA was originally for "short articles that couldn't pass FA". When long articles started appearing regularly at GA, the notices at GA said that long articles (over 20-30k) had to essentially meet FA requirements to pass GA. Now, long GAs are often quite far from FA, and if there isn't much difference for short articles, then GA becomes a review only for "long articles that are not yet FA-level." Gimmetrow 16:00, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I had raised a similar point: Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive28#1b vs 1c earlier this year. I have some historical articles Bandra Fort that I would love featured, but have run out on reliable sources to have them made more comprehensive. =Nichalp «Talk»= 16:10, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't believe reading a FA should necessarily be an endurance feat. Although normally a voracious reader, I can rarely make it through a FA. I wonder how many readers actually read the article rather than skim. Judging from FAC responses, most do the latter. Please consider those of use who appreciate a tight well-written, fascinating article. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:33, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Also, reading on a screen is hard on the eyesight. Perhaps there would be more editors willing to review FAC if the articles were not so exhausting to get through and not so bogged down in trivia that is important only to a few. Are FAC's meant for the general reader or only the elite? —Mattisse (Talk)

Maybe we could shoot for an FA so short the TFA blurb wouldn't need a "more..." - and run it April 1? Gimmetrow 16:45, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Like I said, I'm not advocating that all FAs be "x" length, but if an article is only 7kb large (including all the coding that is present in the article--i.e. non-readable prose) then I think we should really reconsider whether this article "needs" (I say "needs", because I think there is a difference between when an article "needs" a page and when it meets the criteria for having a page) to be on its own. I don't think we should have to spend an hour reading an FA article from top to bottom (though, if that's the case I don't think we should force a page to break apart just because it takes awhile to read), but I also don't think that I should be able to read an FA article in under five minutes.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 16:46, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I have not created an FA before but I thought it would be ok to comment. My opinion is that Tropical Storm Erick (2007) should not be merged as even though it is short I do not think it is short enough to need to be merged as it does meet the notablity reqiurement. Also I think the matter of it being merged is not for this part of wikipedia to decide. I think it could be a FA but for others I think it may have to be proved that no other info could be found on reliable sources. It is a very difficult decision but it may be best though to change the criteria highlighting the view on this issue. If any of the above has already been discussed and finalised then I am sorry. Thanks. 02blythed

That's kind of the idea we're talking about in that just because it meets the notability criteria, does it really need or warrant a page of its own? Someone has already shown that it fits in with the parent article just fine.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:05, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I think that any article that meets the notablity requirements should have its own page and should certainly not be merged unless all that is known is one or two sentances then a merge would be appropiate even though the subject is notable. Just because it is not as long as other articles that are FA the Tropical Storm Erick (2007) article would meet the B class requirements of most wikiprojects I would expect and therefore it is harsh for it to be merged as there is still information that the readers may want to know. if this debate was not going on and went for GA instead the issue of it being merged may not of been made. This debate may deter other editors that have similar length articles they want to become FA and will instead either not bother extending the artcile or go for GA instead even though it may pass FA because they fear it may be merged. Thanks. 02blythed

So, you're arguing that any section of any page that has multiple third-party sources should be split off into its own page? Because that is the criteria for notability, multiple third-party sources independent of the subject. If a parent topic is only 20kb large with the "split" article in it, why did we split the article off in the first place? Then your featured article is less than 10kb of readable prose, you probably don't really have all that much information on the page to begin with.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:47, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I am not arguing that any section of any age should be split off onto its own page at all. I am saying for some it would be better especially for hurricanes and others. I believe that things like hurricanes should have its own page if is notable. If it can acheive FA status is another matter. There is no harm in having an article like Tropical Storm Erick (2007) having its own page as I have said it would acheive at least B status in my opinion obviously though if it was a notable hurricane but only a few sentances can be written about it then no it should not be created. 02blythed

This concern about notable, but possible should be merged is what's keeping me from commenting on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/9.0: Live. The article just feels too short, and I'm not convinced it has to stand on its own; of course, notability is obviously not a question. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 13:05, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

To me I think if something is notable then it should not ever be merged whatever the length of the article. The only thing I am unsure of is if it should be able to claim FA status. 02blythed

Me so cranky, cranky, cranky. I vote a strong Just Say No on small FACs; I vote changing the wording of WP:WIAFA to reflect that fact. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 15:15, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
At some point an article can lack context and thus not be comprehensive if it's so short, and it's better to merge it even if it is notable. I'm not sure 700 words is featurable... I'm not sure if changing WP:FA? is the way to go though. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:38, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I started an essay at Wikipedia:Very short FAs, so we have a centralized discussion point at that page's talk. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:42, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Solution: set a minimum word limit of (say) 1000 words for featured articles. Then, create a new category of articles, "SFA" (Short Featured Articles) with the FA criteria minus the word limit. Such articles, if passed SFA, would be awarded a much smaller star, and would not be on WP:WBFAN but would be listed separately (WP:WBSFAN. SFAs could still qualify for Today's Featured Article. Surely, such an arrangement would make everyone happy? Brianboulton (talk) 17:04, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
We then have the issue of articles on the borderline. -- how do you turn this on 17:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I could go along with a 1000 word limit on FACs. Anything less and I just feel it's not long enough. Even though this means that many of my bishops will never see FA, I can certainly see that at some point you have to set a limit. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:32, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

That could make FAs subject to padding of the word count. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:37, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Agree. I don't think we should throw the bishops out with the hurricanes here. I understand where Julian is coming from, because I made many similar arguments when my own FAC was on the line (granted, it was 1060 words on promotion, and that was after a reliable source check gutted a couple paragraphs.) I would just say leave it up to the Wikiproject or editors to decide if it might do better merged somewhere, but I know that editors would be loathe to merge an article and in effect, lose a chance at a star. I'm not sure there's any really good solution here, but it's certainly not a bright line. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 18:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
(ec) I would also go along with 1,000 words (or even more), but GA is enough for those shorter, or every pop song will be coming along. Not every article has to have the potential to be an FA. It is up to reviewers to sort out padding, and oppose if it is not removed. The new FAC Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Utah State Route 103, on 1/4 mile of highway, is only 50% over the DYK limit, and 392 text words. Padding is not too serious an issue at DYK, although the count is of characters so voluminous verbiage of interminable vocabulary can sometimes help candidates out. There is also an issue of consistency of depth; obviously there will be a range but I feel FAC should be the place where the ideal range of level of coverage should be defined. Personally I would have opposed that FA on an Anglo-Saxon king about whom next to nothing is known on grounds of going into too much detail (sorry - I expect that was one of Ealdgyth's). Johnbod (talk) 18:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Nope, Mike does the kings. I do the bishops. Or horses. (grins). There has to be some sort of cutoff, honestly. I think most of us feel that someway, but the devil is in the details. What is TOO short? What is comprehensive? Ealdgyth - Talk 18:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I should make it clear that if Space Science Fiction Magazine doesn't make the cut, I wouldn't be too upset; and if it falls foul of a word count line that we decide on, that's fine too. I deliberately started that FAC to cause this discussion to happen, not to try to force short FAs into existence. Having said that, though, I am not sure it's necessary to have an arbitrary wordcount minimum. I think if an article shouldn't be merged, it should be made as good as possible, and doing so will avoid ridiculously short articles. A couple of comments on my current FAC have pointed out to me that more context is useful to people who know nothing about the topic. For Wulfsige, Ealdgyth, couldn't you write a couple of hundred words on the state of religion and the context in which Wulfsige must have been operating? There's plenty of sourceable material for that sort of thing. I suspect that if you require reasonable context and a notable topic the minimum is probably closer to 500 words than 1000 words. Johnbod, I think you're talking about Ælle of Sussex. I won't argue for it directly, but take a look at Cissa, the article on his supposed son, for an example of what sources can be dug up on the most obscure people. Mike Christie (talk) 23:21, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, Wulfsige's historical context would add a bit. Take a look at Stigand soon after GA status and Stigand when he got his star, adding context really does flesh out the article. (My GAs tend to be the skeleton of the article, with all the information possible given but not necessarily fully fleshed out with all the surrounding context.) But how much addition is important and how much is padding just to reach an arbitary length, which is a valid concern Sandy brought up. On the other hand, I have to admit to occasionally feeling that all those road FAs are lacking context too. There are times when I'm adding requested information to articles at FA that I do kinda resent that roads/hurricanes/pop songs/etc. don't get the same demands to give context context context. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I was indeed thinking of Aelle, but looking at the article again it doesn't seem to fit my argument as well as I remembered, & maybe I would support. My point was that it would be possible to have an article, though I have no better example to hand, that was disproportionately detailed, ie verging on the length of a full academic paper on a small topic, and that such articles, though I'm not saying they should actually be compressed, should not be made FA in order to show some attempt at promoting consistency in depth of coverage here. I can think of many articles that are too long in that sense, but few good ones like Aelle - most go on for ever but hardly touch on important aspects. I agree about the road articles. Johnbod (talk) 23:38, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Difference in demands may be in perception, Ealdgyth and Johnbod. Song and album articles don't get an easy hearing. I expect not all roads are smooth and not all hurricanes a calm sunny day, either. Gimmetrow 23:45, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Let's see if short articles can make the cut. I'm testing it out with Manu Sharma. My rationale is in the nom. =Nichalp «Talk»= 18:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

That would be the fourth test on the page (which may be related to why people are complaining about the length of the page :-). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Heh :) It also has significance to the above topic on notability as it survived two AFD noms over the past month. =Nichalp «Talk»= 18:20, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Should FAC be the place for all this experimentation? Off you go, Nichalp, to review my very long FAC: Stonewall riots. --Moni3 (talk) 18:41, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Ultimately I think the question is, are we awarding FA stars for very good articles, or for very good contributions to Wikipedia? If it's the latter, well small articles mean small contributions and I think that's the reason people oppose short FAs, because in a sense it cheapens the larger FAs. I personally would support FAs whatever the length, as I think that having an article's rating reflecting that article's quality is more important than having it reflecting the size of the contribution that went in to getting it there. Or to put it another way, simply that Featured articles should reflect quality, not quantity. If an article is notable enough to exist, it should be capable of getting FA.

Also I would generalise the argument going on here to GAs and FLs as well. Ultimately I would like to scrap the "limited subject matter" bit of 3.c) of WP:FT? - rst20xx (talk) 19:25, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

This discussion seems to have more talk than action right now. Editors are saying that they do not want to support short FACs because they cheapen the longer FAs; others are jumping on the opportunity to nominate short articles; others are defining "comprehensive". Can we start supporting or opposing the proposed 500 or 1000 word count minimum requirement? –thedemonhog talkedits 23:52, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Personally, I think a better indication is readable prose. An 800 word article has approximately 5kb of readable prose. Is that really enough prose content to even begin to engage the reader? I'd like FA articles to be at least 10kb of readable prose. If 30 kb isn't even close to split status (per WP:SIZE), why are we so much below that? 10kb of readable prose would be about 1600 words (estimated of course). You're talking something around this size. That's a rather short article, but it's certainly not skin and bones.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 23:56, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
By my count, the Smallville pilot article is over 15kb of readable prose (characters with spaces?). –thedemonhog talkedits 00:07, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Per Dr pda's script, it's 15Kb readable prose (2661 words). Mike Christie (talk) 00:21, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't claiming that was 10kb exactly, I was using it as a reference for "here's a short article that isn't too short".  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 12:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

So what's the problem?[edit]

There's been plenty of discussion over whether "very short" articles deserve featured status. However, one question hasn't been answered in a direct way: Why are such articles bad? Because we don't think their authors worked hard enough on them and/or they're too easy to write? Because we're afraid of a flood of highway and hurricane articles that would overwhelm FAC? Because we just don't like them? Also, if we as a community decide to reject "very short" featured articles, is there a way to do so without making changes to WP:WIAFA? szyslak (t) 15:18, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

  • It seems to me we haven't sufficiently divided the discussion about comprehensiveness from the discussion about length. I thought the discussion about comprehensiveness was quite important and revealing - it was helping us figure out how we were going to define the criteria (were we going to change the definition of "comprehensive" or keep it the same) - but I don't think that arbitrarily setting a word-length for an FA would really help anything in the long run. We would have no real principle on which to base this decision. Awadewit (talk) 16:53, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with this. Comprehensiveness is the real issue and merits more thought. It is not clarified by defining an arbitrary minimum length. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I also agree with Awadewit's point. It seems to me there's been quite a lot of muddled thinking on this issue, and I too would like to focus it back on what FA's definition of "comprehensive" actually means in practice. Then worry about what to do with short articles, or even if anything at all needs to be done. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 17:29, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
What I've gotten out of the discussion is that there might be a question of whether a topic "needs" its own article. An article of 350 words might be fully comprehensive for its topic, but should that content actually better reside as a section in a larger article with a slightly broader topic. I tend to agree with this argument, but I don't believe that FAC is necessarily the place to be making those determinations. I really think we need a better way to nominate articles to be merged, but that's outside the scope of this page. Karanacs (talk) 17:26, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I think the answer here is "horses for courses" I have frequently written about huge famous buildings with so much information I have had to hawk it off into several other sub-pages and still been left with a FA that is probably too laborious to anyone only half interested in the subject, by contrast I have written some (this sounds twee) pretty little pages on small buildings, and thought: That's like a miniature FA, but then have not bothered to nominate because I can imagine the "it's too short" comment - but often there is not a lot more to say! Trying to find the happy medium is impossible - some pages need every detail, others don't have the detail available, and sometimes the detail when available is plain dull. So each page needs to be assessed on interest and value - rather than length. That's my view. Giano (talk) 19:09, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

FAC is bursting at the seams; new scheme[edit]

Is there a shortage of reviewers at FAC? That may be one way to look at it. But I count 46 FACs at bat at present. To my way of thinking that is simply too many. FAC's size is (mostly) a healthy result of Wikipedia's growth. But growth requires structural change. I have a proposal... but will forfend any "Ain't broke, don't fix it" replies with a soul-searching question:

How often per month do you investigate FACs by doing extended research... digging deeply for sources to see whether 1(b), 1(c) and 1(d) are really fulfilled?

I suspect we have a hidden problem with reviewers looking at the prose, counting the number of references, and if the prose is semi-grammatical and the refcount is high then it's hi-ho and Promote we go. I don't blame the reviewers; I blame the system. There's no time for in-depth shtuff on any more than one article per week, if that!

So for my proposal: a two-part list of nominees. The first part would be "Active Reviews" and the second part would be "Review Queue". Let's say, 15 or 20 articles in the Active list, and everything else in the Queue. No one reviews articles in the queue; those merely wait in a quiet and orderly fashion for their turn at bat. Only the Active list gets reviewer attention. Whenever any FACs are closed, the same number of articles are popped off the stack at the "Review Queue" and placed in the "Active Reviews" list. That way we have the same number of articles being reviewed at any one time.

Really, I think this is the only sane way to handle the growth at FAC.

I hear the footsteps. I hear the footsteps of those who will say, "Gosh, didn't we wanna have at least X number of FA articles on enwiki by MM/DD/YYYY? I mean, I think I read that on the Wikipedia Signpost, or somewhere or other... so it must be true!"

No, we don't—not if a significant minority of them are promoted without serious, very serious reviewer attention. Feel free to dig up your favorite example of an FA that was promoted by a fan-club !vote, or by a really small number of !votes because almost no one seriously reviewed it. I mean, don't post those examples here; you'll offend someone. Offend them by taking it to FAR instead. ;-) But, tell the truth—is the current system straining at the seams? I believe it either is, or very soon will be. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:46, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

That's certainly an interesting idea; but then again, if you think 40-something candidates is a lot, we need to go through the oldids and find when it was exceeding sixty :P One point though, I do think you're right in a way about people just assuming claims are fine if the refs are reliable, but that's both AGF as well as convenience; unless someone breaks out a copy of the book and does a peer review (which this fine wiki does not have such a formal process) then we'll never know if everything is accurate. That's a lot of responsibility we're trusting nominators with. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 13:51, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Wouldn't that just add more process, rather than make it simpler? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 13:52, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't wanna make it simpler; I wanna improve the quality of the reviews. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:57, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
In that case, it sounds like a good idea, but I fear that we wold end up with the same lack of reviewers. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 13:58, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I remember it above 100 at one point. I think Sandy has done a great job at keeping it as low as it is. I don't think that adding more process is a way of reducing the perceived backlog; we simply need more expert reviewers with infinite time available to them. Personally, I have had to pull back recently from all facets of reviewing due to time constraints. Woody (talk) 13:59, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Thou sayest: "I think Sandy has done a great job at keeping it as low as it is.". I also believe that Sandy is doing a bang-up job. She'll soon replace Cliff Clavin as the patron saint of Wikipedia. But really, is "...keeping it as low as it is" our goal? Should we be thinking of FAc as weeds to be trimmed, or as a garden to be nurtured? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:05, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Minor nitpick on this proposal; could obviously not-ready nominations still be removed from the Review Queue, or would we have to wait for them to reach the Active Reviews list before telling them they're not ready? (I'm hoping the former. In general, I like it.) Giggy (talk) 14:10, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Good thought/good catch. I hadn't thought of that. Errrm.. I would be inclined to say "yes" as well.. but not sure how it would work in practice... Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:13, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, assuming I'm following what Giggy is thinking, what you would do is have the active "review review review" docket, and then the queue. People could look for quickfail criteria in the queue, and then remove them and leave a note on the talk page if the criteria obviously aren't met, it's a bad faith nom, whatever. While this would spare some half-review, it still means people have to look at the queue, which may defeat the purpose for some. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 14:16, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
But the Queue-Peek would be Strictly Surface. If it is mostly grammatical, has abundant cites, and doesn't say anything patently ridiculous (e.g., Obama plans to join the John Birch Society), then it stays in the queue. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:20, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I am so ill that I cannot assess the merits of any proposal right now. But I must say I agree that one of the weakest areas of our reviewing system is thoroughly reviewing the content - who is looking to see if the best sources have been used? who is looking to see if the articles really are comprehensive for the areas they claim to cover? When I was at Wikimania, the most consistent complaint I heard about FAC was just in this area. People asked me why FAC was just about MOS and prose rather than about content. There are obvious reasons for this (reviewer exhaustion, lack of experts, etc.), but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to address the problem. Thanks, Ling, for bringing it up and trying to solve it. Once my fever has died down and I am capable of rational thought again, maybe I can respond with something insightful! Awadewit (talk) 14:22, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I certainly have no problems with thinking up new ways to improve the reviewing process, but I'd like to point out some issues with the "best possible sources" problem. Look at the issues we've had with RCC at FAC and trying to improve the sourcing. Or what about obscure subjects? In all honesty, how many medievalists ARE there on Wikipedia? We will look like a cabal if we spend our time vetting each others articles, and frankly, we do need non-experts to read our articles too. We run into the problem of we just aren't a peer review journal type project. I'd LOVE to vet the sources in more depth, but as a general rule, I run into flak whenever I try to improve the sources past the "fulfills WP:V" variety. I'm not opposed to the idea, but I can't say I think it'll work that well either, mainly because there are plenty of reviewers who don't WANT to dig into sources, etc. They'll still do the "Support" reviews without digging in depth and will we now require that before a candidate can be promoted that it have so many not just prose or MOS reviews? Ealdgyth - Talk 14:48, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that we need non-experts to read articles - we need to know if we are communicating to the average reader. I myself often review science and math articles as a "lay reader", for example. However, it is imperative that articles that are going to become featured - the "best Wikipedia has to offer" - are based on the best research. If they are not, Wikipedia cannot aspire to become a legitimate reference source because the information in it will only be of the most superficial kind. A biography article based on one or two biographies when dozens are available suggests that there might be other points of view not represented in the article or even crucial information. I have come across the same resistance that you are outlining to doing more research and reading more (I come across it every day in my students!), but I do not believe that we should succumb to this resistance. (Controversial articles like RCC are a different problem and have to be solved in a different way.) We need to create a culture of reviewing articles in more depth. I myself always try to do this and, if needed, I point people to additional sources. We have to ask, at what point is the information and the research going to be systematically reviewed in an article? FAC seems like the perfect time. Awadewit (talk) 15:07, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I must pitch in here and confirm what several others are saying. When I am copy editing an article, I go back to any reference sources I can; it is easier if one needs to reword a sentence or two. I've often found that the reference sources did not support the statements being made. It's been a while since I've copy edited something that was at FAC, so I haven't felt the need to mention it here. I think that verification of as many references as possible (e.g., all web-based or google-book ones) should probably be considered, given that this has already been shown to be a problem at DYK. Risker (talk) 17:39, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
This is also a reason for using as many web-based references as possible to back up paper sources. A surprising number of books and other reference sources are online. Article editors should seek to include these. Obscure books that are not online are impossible for most of us to check. Further, when editors edit an article, they frequently add material that the reference does not cover, making the article's references misleading or wrong. I always check references and dislike an article that uses only paper references when online references are available for it also. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:59, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
We should use the best sources, not the easiest-to-find sources. For example, in writing the Mary Shelley biography, should we have used biographies that were available on google books or should we have used ones that were the most reliable, most respected academic works? The decision should be driven by the respectability of the work, not by its availability on the internet. It is of course a wonderful bonus if the work is available on the internet somewhere as well, but we should always, always, always, try to find the most reliable sources for our articles. Wikipedia will only rise in legitimacy if we work on areas like sourcing. If we use the best sources, our information will be solid. Good sources are the foundation of any good article. An article is only as good as its sources. Awadewit (talk) 18:05, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I prefer using solid paper sources before web based sources. Under no circumstances should we begin to require or even prefer that editors use web-based references over paper ones. Not if we want to be taken seriously and have articles comparable to academic articles. What is the actual worry here about these FACs? That editors are inserting OR and making things up? Can we state how often this occurs? I understand that there should be ways to make this less possible, but not at the expense of editors who actually care about writing the absolute best article possible. --Moni3 (talk) 18:08, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I understand your preference. The problem is that references are often incorrect, as stated by an editor above, and also in my experience. In articles written primarily by a few people using their selected paper references, it is impossible to know the accuracy of the references. Further, editors in their editing move sentences around and add addition material, often rendering the references no longer pertinant. This thread was about encouraging non experts to review articles for FAC. I am pointing out that it is not possible to do so if the reference sources are not available. All I am doing is advocating using online sources as an adjunct when available. More and more books are online. This is just meant as a suggestion to be more inclusionist if you really want non experts to review articles. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:46, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I really like Ling's idea. I would assume that the FA director or delegate would get to decide the number of FACs that can be running at any one time. Sandy is perennially stretched to deal with FAs and she has no control over her workload; she also cannot control the level of effort put in on FACs by the reviewers. She (and others) have also expressed concern about burnout of those reviewers who look at every FAC, or who review on troublesome topics. If Sandy could choose when to pull FACs from the queue into the active reviewing area, she would be in control of several of those workload levels.
I would also suggest that absolutely no reviewing be done on something in the queue; it should be actively discouraged, in fact, for resource management reasons. A related point: if the queue starts to get really long, then that is direct validation of assertions that FAC is under-resourced. It would also allow a multithreading approach; Raul has not been at all active in promotions anymore, but if he felt he could manage, say, ten FACs at a time, he could have his own reviewing area and pull ten FACs from the queue into that review area. That would allow arbitrary parallelization of FAC, since Raul could nominate further delegates to handle separate active review areas. It would be necessary to have the active areas pull their FAs strictly "first in, first out" to avoid any ability of a nominator to choose which FAC director/delegate reviewed their FACs. Mike Christie (talk) 15:51, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I think this is an m:instruction creep. If the FAC directors have a problem, then it might become an issue, but so far I haven't seen any complaints. Isn't Peer Review and GA supposed to be part of this 'queue' too? FAC reviews can be broken down into three types: 1. MoS, grammar and style 2. References & image licensing check, 3. Subject. How do we get more subject matter experts review the stuff? I think we need to tweak the process first. I usually notify relevant WikiProjects, and occasionally mail external reviewers. (For example I emailed the Amateur Radio Society of India to review Amateur Radio in India) And, if you are a subject expert, its very easy to pick on faulty sources. I'd like to hear from Sandy or Mark if they have any problems with the system. =Nichalp «Talk»= 16:07, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Is FAC at all driven by consensus, or are there bosses who decree criteria? —Mattisse (Talk) 16:36, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Raul654 is the Featured Article Director, selected long ago. He has general authority over the process; that authority was given to him by users and the last time I saw his authority questioned it was clear he still had broad support. SandyGeorgia is his delegate and has his trust. However, Raul and Sandy almost never use the authority they have, and go by consensus almost always. I view Raul's authority as a backstop, not as a mode of government. Mike Christie (talk) 17:04, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

If you go down this route, the result will be a never-ending increasing line of FACs. And when you nominate a FAC and have to wait a year for it to make its way through the queue to be reviewed, I'm quite sure someone will suggest going back to the old system! The current system does have problems but I don't think introducing a queue is the answer. How about kicking things off by being a bit more liberal with rejecting FACs if there's good objections, and go through rejections faster while still making passes take longer. — jdorje (talk) 16:50, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Another suggestion for keeping down the volume and lowering the time for FAC passes would be to require wikiproject support BEFORE a FAC is made. Each wikiproject (possibly discounting the inactive ones) should then be provided their own FAC system, which would work more like a peer-review to catch any holes in FAC articles before they got to FAC. The wikiproject can also, hopefully, provide some assurance that the citations are good. — jdorje (talk) 16:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
My opinion is that the worst problem with FAC is that it cannot scale; it has a structure that is fundamentally unscalable. We will never have a significant fraction of Wikipedia articles featured unless we solve that problem. Some form of distribution of labour is unavoidable if we want to make it scalable; even if your suggestion were to be adopted and had all the merit you suggest it might, it wouldn't increase the flow by more than ten or twenty percent. That's not enough. And I'd also suggest that if we did indeed end up with a long queue at FAC, and if under that system we assume that the FA director is doing a good job ensuring that the flow is the maximum consonant with a quality process, that implies strongly that without such a queue the process would not be good quality. That's the problem this solution might fix. Mike Christie (talk) 17:11, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
That would WikiProjects more power than they historically have had, and more power than what I would feel comfortable with. A few WikiProjects have fundamentally strong review processes in place, but they're the exception, not the norm. Having WikiProjects self-regulate themselves is a good idea, but that's a task that WikiProjects need to undertake independently of the FAC process. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:55, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Great conversation, glad this place is still alive, thanks for bringing it forward, Ling.Nut (worried about Awadewit, hope you feel better soon). But I do think this is instruction creep and the solution to the problem of the growing list size is far simpler than it appears. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:28, 28 September 2008 (UTC)



I think this two tiered approach maybe a way to reduce the load. Perhaps we should make three lists.

List A - Quick dismissal list: All new FAC articles are placed here. At this stages these articles are checked against a new set of quick dismissal criteria (e.g. no commitment of regular editors, etc); and otherwise be promoted to the next list. This would eliminate the drive by noms and other articles that have no chance. We can make a holding room in this list to keep acceptable articles here untill the system allows place for it.
List B - Review list: Formal reviews on content are conducted for the articles here. Only once worries of the reviewers have been solved it can be promoted to the next level. If the worries are not addressed adequately in reasonable time, promotion is denied.
List C - Promotion list: Votes to be put only for this list. No further adjustments (except minor language corrections) are made. The article is either promoted or not.

I think this three tiered (or another similar approach) may free up some capacity. It allows noms without a chance to be dealt with quickly. It reserves a place and time for thorough review and revisions for the involved editors, all this without adding the sensitive issue of voting. The voting in the end is finally a fairly straightforward closing of the procedure. Other versions are of course possible. Arnoutf (talk) 17:34, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Rather than creating all these extra layers, wouldn't it be much easier if reviewers would just glance at the clearly unprepared FACs every now and then and start using the Oppose button, so I don't have to let them ride for two or three weeks and then make a unilateral decision to archive them myself based on deficiencies that were in clear evidence from the day they were nommed although no reviewer even mentioned them, and then wake up to four editors grumbling on my talk page about "why did I fail their FAC with only one oppose"? At any given time, a third of the list is not FAC ready and could benefit from a solid peer review or even a GA nom, but reviewers aren't entering Opposes, instead, leaving it to me to make the call after no feedback. Why is this happening? Is it because reviewers are confident that I'm paying attention and am not going to knowingly let a deficient FAC through, so rather than using the Oppose button, they're leaving it to me? I dunno. So, the list grows as we painstakingly with 100KB FAC pages build FAs at FAC line by line, comment by comment, rather than pass FAs at FAC. Has anyone noticed the stats, that our fail rate has gone down dramatically because a mentality of building FAs at FAC has taken over, rather than passing FAs, resulting in Too Much Work for reviewers? I don't know what caused this shift in mentality here, but when I was reviewing, I tried to sit down once a week to run through all of FAC with an eye towards whether Raul had enough info on every FAC to go one way or another so he wasn't making decisions alone. It is OK, I think, to send some FACs back to peer review because they just aren't ready and we don't need to build the FA while it's here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:46, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that we should lodge opposes more quickly on more articles. Some are clearly not FA material and it is not the job of reviewers to make them FAs during the review process. However, to determine if an article is well-researched or comprehensive sometimes takes time. The reviewer actually has to do work! :) Awadewit (talk) 17:53, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
ah, but the problems that are so evident, and that I see sitting there for two or three weeks until I'm usually forced to make the call myself and then wake up to angry editors on my talk page, are 1a prose and 1c reliable sources. When even I can spot the prose errors, um ... and are editors not entering Opposes based on poor sourcing because they're expecting Ealdgyth to do all that ?? If more reviewers would just glance, 25% of the FACs could be archived in four or five days, instead of two to three weeks. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:57, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
One reason I don't oppose more often is that I don't want to become the single arbiter of reliability on sourcing. I have my own biases on things, and I hesitate to do more than offer comments, because quite frankly, too many reviewers don't seem to look at sources as it is, I'm afraid of what might happen if I did oppose more often. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:10, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Awadewit. Sandy, I think you could squeeze more out of reviewers with the queue approach by leaving the FAs up till they garner opposes or supports; if reviewers don't review what's on the queue, but are restricted to what's active, the approach will change from "grab one that's not been looked at yet" to "what's active that needs some input"? That would prompt more explicit oppose/supports. (I wouldn't support the three tiered approach; the KISS principle applies here, I think.) And as with jdorje's idea above, Sandy, your approach would speed up FAC somewhat but (a) it relies on resources you cannot control but can only exhort to help; and (b) it has limits to its ability to scale -- you couldn't quadruple throughput that way. Limits to the size of the active list, on the other hand, puts your hand on a lever that lets you match resources with the work to be done. Mike Christie (talk) 18:04, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Great idea, I'll just skip GA and PR and head straight for the queue (: jimfbleak (talk) 18:07, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Fair enough, perhaps multi tiered decisions is instruction creep. I would still support a "quick screening" program though, were the clearly non-FA articles are eliminated quickly with little effort invested by the scarce reviewer resources. Arnoutf (talk) 18:09, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Maybe someone can step up and do a "screen" check like I do sources or the image folks do images. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:11, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
We do have a "quick screening" program: the Oppose button. I used to use it early and often, and Raul could archive FACs with four or five opposes in four or five days. Some Oppose buttons have gone rusty. I can almost never archive a FAC that is clearly deficient because no one is Opposing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:16, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
(many edit conflicts) So, Mike, every Awadewit and Mike Christie FAC, which appears here ready for FAC, will get in line and wait weeks for the queue to process the roads and hurricanes and musicians and sports figures that came ahead of you by the dozens, even though your articles appeared here almost ready for promotion while those ahead of you in the queue take extensive work? You're willing to slow down your FA production as you get in line and wait for the queue to proceed, even though your articles are FAC ready and are not a drain on reviewer resources? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:13, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I can't speak for Awadewit, but I'd have no problem with that. If the queue gets long, though, I would be inclined to ask Raul to consider appointing another delegate (or training one!), in order to start a parallel queue. Wouldn't that be a beneficial outcome? Mike Christie (talk) 18:26, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I think the point has been missed :-) The problem isn't in aother delegate; I read through FAC more than once a day looking for anything that's ready to close, and reviewers haven't given me the feedback I need to close most FACs, often for weeks. If reviewers would simply enter declarations, I could close 25% of them within days. What would another delegate do that I'm not doing? Do you want us making up our own minds, without feedback from reviewers, and closing them unilaterally? Then why do we have a FAC process that provides for consensus. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:57, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not arguing for another delegate. Here's a thought experiment to clarify what I'm trying to suggest. Suppose we had the queue and the active area, and you only allowed one article at a time into the active area. (Not realistic; this is just to illustrate via exaggeration.) Half a dozen people review it within a day, but you don't close it; nobody's voted oppose or support. If asked, you say "there are no opinions expressed; how can I close it? Do you want me making up my own mind? This is supposed to be consensus!" Then the reviewers, barred from working on the 75 articles in the queue, add a few opposes or supports, and you promote or archive, and move another one in from the queue. Pretty quickly the reviewers are trained: if they want to look at new material the old material must first be assessed. As things stand now, new FACs appear continually, and a reviewer can simply look at the ones that interest them and ignore your heartfelt pleas for assistance and modified behaviour, because you have no control over reviewer behaviour except via exhortation. Does that clarify what I'm trying to say? Mike Christie (talk) 19:07, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
How about just re-tooling or re-formating the already existing User:Deckiller/FAC urgents list? --maclean 18:37, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Who uses it? Until I periodically give up in exasperation, I was maintaining it religiously, and it generated no more reviews on those that were languishing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:59, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I should point out a comment I think is often true: many users don't feel comfortable opposing (or even supporting) an article. Back when I was a relative newbie to FAC (reviewing, not putting up articles) I would generally support after my few comments were addressed. But then on WT:FAC there cam rumblings about 'pile-on support' and 'weren't looking at X and Y when they supported', and I was kinda put off. I ended up just commenting more rather than supporting or opposing, because I didn't want to be a pain or seen as just enabling bad articles to get through. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:33, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Ditto. It is safer to play the "here is something to improve" card than to !vote support, because there is always the risk that one of the handful of FAC regulars votes strong oppose immediately after my support vote, thus exposing me as a wannabe-established editor who is too stupid to even notice the "obvious" issue XYZ (at least that's how it feels ;-)). – sgeureka tc 13:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Ditto the ditto. It is the FAC regulars caste system. It is elitist. Some reviewers count more than others, being frequently mentioned in revered terms on FAC. It is not an incentive for other editors to take risks, get involved, and actually register an opinion. Rather, it is more like testifying in court where one must carefully walk down the middle and not take a side. —Mattisse (Talk) 13:53, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. Anyone, even an anonymous IP, could oppose any of my nominations (or anyone else's), and it will be held up if the reason for opposing is a good reason and I don't address it. When I began reviewing, I, too was more hesitant to take a stand to support where others have opposed and vice versa. I'm not sure when I began just saying what I thought. I think it is an issue of confidence - that even if mightier grammarians than I oppose, I think the writing is good, or that experts in the field support I think the article neglected an area and should be expanded. Instead of the system being elitist or a caste hierarchy, it may instead be more of a situation where reviewers feel they don't have the confidence and experience to comment, or form opinions about an article yet. It may be both, but I don't think it's the problem solely of the system in place. --Moni3 (talk) 14:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I, like you, am happy to support or oppose regardless of what anyone else thinks. But there is a trend that may be disconcerting to some, exemplified by comments such as "How could anyone have supported this, when there are no fullstops after two of the footnotes?" So I can understand where Sgeureka and Mattisse are coming from. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 14:20, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
It's difficult to discern, when getting into reviewing FACs in the beginning, which comments are representations of systemic elitism and which are singular instances of a boneheaded reviewer making inappropriate sweeping comments. If someone who appears to be speaking with authority tries to comment on others' supports or opposes, never should it be taken as coming from the FAC system or representing a common view. Don't get snowed by blustery reviewers. --Moni3 (talk) 14:26, 29 September 2008 (UTC)


Part B: As a seperate point to the above, perhaps some language added to the FAC instructions would help? Such as: "If reviewers determine significant issues in prose or criteria, the article can be removed from the list" to enable and acknowledge quickfails? FAC taking some pointers from GAN wouldn't be so bad :P Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:34, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

We already have a provision for that (the Oppose button), and adding that language would still require that reviewers use that button. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:39, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Good morning! :-)
  • This is not WP:CREEP because there are no new instructions for reviewers to follow! It is partially designed to retool FAC to meet the increased workload. Far more importantly, it is designed to foster a culture of in-depth reviews. It is designed to afford reviewers an improved opportunity to actually start following the instructions that already exist.
  • This is not WP:CREEP because there are no new rules for nominators to follow. The interface should not change; just retool the bot that moves things onto this page so that it picks up only the oldest X number of noms.
  • Did I mention this is not WP:CREEP?
  • I don't like the three-tiered idea. Too complicated. The idea should be, if anyone ones to take a peek at the Queue for Quick-Fail material, then go for it. Wholly optional. That would help allay fears that folks will game the system by skipping PR and GA and slamming crap into the queue.
  • I'm not sure if I like Mike's parallel FAC idea (not enough reviewers).
  • Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 23:55, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

I've never really understood why FAC does not require an article to have recently gone through a successful PR or a WikiProject A-class assessment or a GAN or whatever prior to submittal to FAC. Editors would be able to choose an approved route to take prior to FAC. If that were required, then I think FAC would work more smoothly by weeding out most of the obvious articles that shouldn't be here yet. --mav (talk) 05:19, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Because GAN is hit-and-miss on the quality of its reviews, PR is certainly less so but is still so, and A-Reviews don't even exist for most Wikiprojects. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Hit or miss or not, having to prepare for any one of those will tend to improve the article. --mav (talk) 05:32, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, because PR only works/worked for articles with some popularity and because some articles don't have any active wikiprojects behind them. In some areas (e.g. fiction), it's difficult to find reviewers who are more capable than yourself, so you might as well judge the merits of an article yourself (for better or for worse). – sgeureka tc 13:33, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Or, in the case of small Wikiprojects, such as the Equine one, we're all pretty much editors on all the articles, and it would be hard for us to do a Project A-class review, because finding a member of the project that hasn't already been involved with the article is... difficult. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:28, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Complicating the process would make me even less likely to review than I am now. Consequently, I don't approve of such changes. DrKiernan (talk) 07:49, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Guys, the less you "oppose", the more it becomes used as a fix-it process. We know a few serial offenders, who love the great free advice. Some of them even fight us while benefiting from the advice. I'm not in principle against a two-tier system where it's kind of hard to get into the upper tier. But it would need to be thought through before discussed much further. What challenges would it raise? Tony (talk) 09:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I just wanna reiterate, there are misperceptions about this idea. It does not make anything more complicated; it just limits the number of FACs being reviewed at any one time. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I generally support the "Just oppose" position, but then there is this sort of thing, from a current nom (and entirely without prejudice), which is more politely and articulately expressed than most: " ....Following the close of the [last] FAC, I left messages on the talk pages of each person who opposed the promotion, in hopes of getting additional feedback. With the exception of Sandy's, I got none. As I said in the first FAC, it's rather difficult to know what the reviewer is looking for in the way of additional sourcing or prose that isn't "brilliant enough" with no guidance as to what that reviewer believes needs to be sourced or where the prose needs to be brilliant-er. .... I hope that if those same reviewers choose to participate again and still have concerns, they will try to help me improve the article by articulating them a little more clearly...." As it used to be Rfa, badgering of Oppose voters, and demanding they do the work, is a problem. One solution to that might be to remove the often-abused "actionable" and let the powers that be decide on the merit of opposes. Johnbod (talk) 22:55, 29 September 2008 (UTC)


Specialist reviewers[edit]

I just hit a major WP:TLDR barrier after reading the first few posts, so forgive me if this has been covered above, but something you may be overlooking is specialist reviewers. Sandy knows she can nudge certain people in the ribs to come and review certain topic articles (and if I might suggest, creating Wikipedia:Featured Article Candidates/Specialist reviewers might prompt some volunteering?) For example, I'm very happy (and more likely) to pop along and review anything to do with cricket or football than anything else. By artificially restricting the number of articles under FAC consideration, the chances of my happening across something of interest are reduced and consequently I'm deterred from perambulating across to FAC occasionally on spec' and having a peruse.

The problem is really about lack of reviewers - we should do all we can to encourage more reviewers and increased specialisation is A Good Thing. One of the best developments I've seen in the last couple of years in the whole of Wikipedia is the way we now have specialist reviewers at FAC looking at links, MOS etc. --Dweller (talk) 09:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

My issue with this would be the creation of Ghettos, most articles within a single wikiproject have comperable standards, but standards between different projects vary massively. If you look at the massive copyright abuse in North American sports, eg NYY, with the abuse uniform across the wikiproject, but if you consider other wikiproject sports, soccer, Australian rules football and Rugby, they are virtually devoid of non-free content. Yet all consider their wikiproject standards to be the correct one. I would suspect that if the peer review was beefed up, this would allow speciality reviewers to develop, reduce the work at FAC, and maintain a uniformity in final assessment. Fasach Nua (talk) 12:39, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Fair points, well made. --Dweller (talk) 13:09, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Writing articles at FAC[edit]

Geez, I take a weekend off and this page finally gets really interesting! One of the recurring points that gets made here is that some nominators expect FAC to be essentially an article-writing smorgasbord, and reviewers get sucked into making line by line comments. When I oppose, it's usually with a limited list of issues (prose is bad, here are some examples). Some nominators react very poorly to this, and expect me to provide a comprehensive list of every single problem I see with the article, or else they claim my oppose is not actionable. Or, I see multiple complaints from some nominators about how FAC reviewers are mean because we aren't fixing the article. I suspect something similar is happening to other reviewers, resulting in overly detailed reviews. How should we respond to these types of requests from nominators? Karanacs (talk) 14:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

But we should be digging very deeply into FACS (see my thoughts above, seconded by Awadewit and others). This dovetails with what Tony said: we should have two layers of FACs, since digging deeply into Crap FACs (pardon my charmingly direct but somewhat naughty adjective use) is a huge waste of resources. I did a pretty hefty bunch of work on the recent Gabon FAC because it was gonna pass and it did not deserve to pass. We need to be able to show the door to Do Not Resuscitate FACs (a kinder, gentler term) and then really, really dig into Viable FACs. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I do not think we should fix the article, but I think we should take extensive time to review it (reviewing every sentence, however is not necessary - prose problems are obvious and can be pointed out in a list as Karanacs pointed out). For me, reviewing the research is one of the key elements of a review and we rarely do that. I noticed that Karanacs briefly looked at the research for Harry Potter - I was so happy to see that! We rarely do that sort of thing. I myself have been amassing a list of sources before posting to that FAC because its research is clearly lacking - but that takes time and effort. To prove that an article is poorly researched is actually difficult - one has to read a lot to show what is missing and pull out the relevant research. Awadewit (talk) 17:02, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Change in design required at FAC[edit]

There are three interrelated problems that are a turn-off to new and existing reviewers:

  1. Too great a proportion of nominations are significantly underprepared.
  2. The duration of nominations on the list is too long, and is in effect open-ended, leading to a lack of discipline in the process.
  3. Related to 1 and 2 is that (a) the size and complexity of some nomination pages is excessive, and (b) the number of nominations on the list at any one time is huge. These factors make it hard for nominators, reviewers, and the person charged with assessing consensus among the reviewers.

It should be possible to design a process that at least partly addresses these problems. It would be unpopular with nominators who are used to treating FAC as a free article-improvement process. The design would streamline the process so that the list is shorter, the pages are shorter, the duration for each nomination that stays on the list is capped, and nominators think twice before they hit the nomination button in the first place.

This involves (1) an eight-day cap on durations on the list, and (2) the relatively early removal to a FAC Improvement List of nominations after the fourth day that are judged by at least three reviewers to have little hope of sufficient improvement by the eight-day deadline. These nominations would be moved by the Director/Delegate into a FAC improvement list after, say, four days, and would not be eligible for return to the nominations list for at least 14 days; a second removal would be to the archives, and renomination possible only after 60 days.

The idea is to—

  • shift the emphasis of the process from article improvement to assessment for promotion;
  • trim the list to those that reviewers think are of sufficient merit to make the grade by the eight-day deadline;
  • discourage premature nominations;
  • provide an official structure for the improvement of premature nominations;
  • reward well-prepared nominations by a speedy process;
  • minimise the number of painful, messy nominations. Tony (talk) 16:11, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The eight-day cap is a bit harsh. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:15, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that a way to fast-remove FACs that are well below standards is needed. I think the point of a max 8-day (though with allowances for relisting should the # of comments be too low as Sandy's done in the past) is fine, and with that in mind, I think at any point (not just by day 4) after three reviewers have stated that there's more work that can be completed in an 8-day period should the article be removed. The faster it's taken off the table the better.
That said, I don't like the idea of penalizing via time delays after the FAC is removed a resubmission. I would rather favor having the submitter shown to have checked with at least one (maybe all 3?) of the fast-fail commenters and verified that, no other aspects considered, the article can now clear the FAC in the 8-day period, before the FAC can be resubmitted; if any other comments in the original FAC were made, these should also reasonablly have been addressed (things like ref formmating, image rationales, etc.); without demonstration of this comment or other quick checks, the FAC is quick-failed and removed. There's still a chance that three different commenters will find something wrong with that as to not be fixed in 8 days, and the process gets started again. I don't see this part as necessary abusing the FAC system, but instead off-loading the "free article check" away from FAC and only bringing it back once it appears to have been fixed of critical problems. Maybe the 14/60 day times could be used only in the case if the nominator cannot get hold of the quick-fail commenters, as that would then presume enough time has gone by that the article has been fixed. --MASEM 16:23, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
How about over a month, like Samuel Johnson which is still lingering at the bottom of FAC? —Mattisse (Talk) 16:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Samuel Johnson is, I think, a special case, because SandyG's hands are tied and Raul64 appears to be inactive at FAC. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 17:10, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Raul is a very busy editor and IMO always knows what's up; I am not concerned about Johnson, and we have several important matters on the table, can we avoid diversions into Johnson pls? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Raul is supposed to be the FAC director. If he's too busy to do the job then he should pass it on to someone who isn't. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 17:23, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
He does not appear to be that busy. Is he aware of this discussion? -- how do you turn this on 17:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
My impression is that he's always aware, and he's better than I am at staying out of discussions to let the community discuss things. IMO, that's A Good Thing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I would like to agree with Tony's proposed scheme. However, apart from the harshness of the eight-day cap, there could be other problems with it. For instance, not all articles attract three reviewers in their first four days at FAC. Also, the judgement about whether an article has "little hope of sufficient improvement" by the deadline would be subjective, difficult to apply evenly, and likely to lead to endless disputes and recriminations. On the other hand I would strongly support a time delay on eligibility for renomination, and would suggest 28 days rather than 14. It might even be worth considering a rule which limits the number of nominations any one editor can make to FAC - say, one per 28 days? I'd be a victim of this ruling, but so what? Brianboulton (talk) 16:41, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I already enforce limits on nominations unless the nominator has very clearly demonstrated an ability to bring prepared articles to FAC and manage more than one at a time without utilizing excessive FAC resources. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Clearly not enough, Sandy: there are nearly 50 on the list, and you need the support of reviewers to do this earlier and more systematically, I suggest."—Preceding unsigned comment added by Tony1 (talkcontribs) 17:39, September 29, 2008
I agree with Tony's proposal. Some FACs are hanging around for a long time while they are being fixed when they should have been withdrawn and re-nominated when fully prepared. I don't think eight days is too harsh, and perhaps nominators might like to know in advance when their FACs will be promoted or archived—I would. Graham Colm Talk 17:28, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
  • The cap could be 10 days. I don't think it's harsh—we need the process to be one of judgement, with minimal peer-review-type hand-holding—that's what it's turning out to be, and reviewers should not have to teach, train, poke, prod or cajole. Reviewers and nominators should be free to concentrate on a deeper, more thorough level, and that can only happen when the cascade is reduce to a manageable flow. I think this would happen. I also think that more reviewers would make preliminary assessments of nominations early in the piece, knowing that it was a critical part of the process and was in everyone's interests to do so. I must say that reviewers are becoming, IMO, far too chary of issuing "Opposes"; maybe they'd find it easier to issue a "Move to FAI" (FA Improvement page), with reasons and brief advice, of course. I find it hard, psychologically, to keep up with the challenge when poor nominations suck up so much of my time and energy. It's unfair to us, to Sandy, and especially to the worthy nominations. Tony (talk) 17:39, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with this limit. Seeing Samuel Johnson being basically written while a FAC and remaining on the list more than a month, in my opinion, sets an unfortunate precedent for the appearance of even handedness and fairness on FAC. It would be an improvement to have open, fair rules that are applied equally. Setting a 10 day time limit would speed things up, prevent abuses, and perhaps reduce Sandy's complaints about overwork. FAC would become, hopefully, more task-oriented. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:47, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't agree with your assessment of the situation surrounding the Sam Johnson article. It should have promoted ages ago IMO. The complicating factor is that SandyG is one of the nominators, and so can't close the review. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, then who ever is supposed to do it should do so. It looks bad and sends the wrong message, giving editors the idea that they can take their time. There is no sense of discipline. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:09, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you. It looks bad because an article that's been co-nominated by the deputy FAC director has been held open far longer than any other article would been held open. The difficulty though is that there's nobody else around to close it, one of FAC's scaling problems that Mike Christie alluded to earlier. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I warned y'all not to put my name on it and told you I didn't want it. So here we are discussing Johnson instead of Tony's proposal.  ;) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:16, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Hey, don't blame me, blame Ottava. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:21, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree with MF and Mattisse. The reason one recuses is to avoid the appearance of lack of neutrality (something valid and important - as appearance of neutrality is almost always just as important as actually being neutral). That appearance, however, has now been lost because, as MF said, a delagate's nomination has been left open for so long. Given the discussion here and the overwhelming support at the a FAC, I can't foresee a reasonable person arguing down the line that a promotion was not warranted or proper. Just IAR and promote the damn thing so we can move on. Эlcobbola talk 19:32, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Since the Samuel Johnson issue was raised not once, but three times in this thread, and the facts presented are distinctly at variance with my recollection, I've gone back and checked the record. Awadewit struck her oppose on September 6, two weeks (16 days) after the FAC was initiated (well within the norm for length of time at FAC, particularly considering the article always enjoyed a majority of support and had NO MoS, sourcing, image or other issues). At that point, I notified Raul on his talk page that I had recused and that Samuel Johnson had 13 Supports and 2 Opposes. In the three weeks since Awadewit struck her Oppose, the article has remained virtually unchanged, while the FAC has gone from 13 Supports, 2 Opposes to 26 Supports, 2 Opposes. I don't know where Mattisse's version of the Johnson FAC comes from. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:55, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
What complaints are those? As I've said many times, I'm usually twiddling my thumbs, waiting for reviews so I can close FACs. (I have complained about the pressure of the Dispatch deadlines.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:54, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Sandy, I'd be complaining about the intensive job of squinting through so much complex text on so many pages. It's superhuman, and unfair to you. As well the process loses focus under these circumstances. Let's remember that it's supposed to be FUN and rewarding, and it's not as is. I think nominators would come to accept the higher benchmark as part of the challenge. After all, they get as many goes as they like, although there'd be a minimum waiting period for those in the FAI page and a much longer one for nominations that are pushed back onto the list after the ≥ two-week improvement period (with a diff at the top of the nomination for us to see the progress) and which reviewers judge to be still premature. It's too flabby and loose at the moment. Tony (talk) 18:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I know it is verboten to bring up GAN here, but my experience there is that the nominator fixes the article within a day or two, or even on the same day as the review. This despite often having been given a list of deficits as long, sometime longer, as those provided on FAC. If there are problems added to the list, those are fixed quickly also. There are no long winding arguments and discussions with complaints about headings, capping off arguments discussions, or having to read through long winding posts with interruptions (so that it is difficult to follow the threads), as is often the complaint on FAC. The GAN process is task-oriented. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:09, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The GAN process is most often between two editors only. Mattisse, do you have anything to say about Tony's proposal? If not, perhaps you can start another section for these other items. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I say above that I agreed with Tony's proposal of 10 days. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:29, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Often it is but quite often it isn't, as you know, as with Talk:Horse/GA2 But you're right, we're discussing FAC here, not GAN. Both have their different problems which will need to be addressed differently. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:20, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Not always. One I did yesterday had four editors working on it and got it done in half a day. The point is that there is a sense of urgency. The Samuel Johnson article was basically written during FAC (that does take time, if that is allowed) and had been there for six weeks. It has been written and rewritten, had its focus changed, academic discussions have been conducted, etc. It has been a leisurely walk in the woods. If that is granted every FAC of course there will be confusion. There is no discipline. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:24, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

← One of the many significant differences between GAN and FAC is the time limit of seven days that GAN's are subjected once they're put on hold. With that and Mattisse's comments in mind, I'd be in favour of Tony's proposal. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 19:38, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm concerned that what's happening is that Sandy is getting blamed for an imperfect system that in any incarnation, will never be perfect. I disagree that there is no discipline, but each case is individual and Sandy is right not to promote an article she's been involved with. The accusations of power abuse would be rampant. I think the system has room for growth and change, to fit the ways Wikipedia grows, but we should concentrate on what can be improved, be creative in how to get around the problems that arise, and recognize the efforts of individuals whose standards are high, and promote neutrality (not me). --Moni3 (talk) 20:11, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't see that SandyG's getting blamed for anything, and she certainly shouldn't be, but I am impelled to comment on the logical paradox of an imperfect system designed to detect and promote perfect articles. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Does Wikipedia say FAs are perfect (seriously - I don't know)? I'm changing mine all the time, adding, fixing, restructuring... I think it just says FAs are the best the community offers. We're only people. We can have really high standards, but what we create is a reflection of human condition. It will never be perfect. --Moni3 (talk) 20:26, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
OK, if you're going to take me literally ... FAC is an imperfect system, and I doubt anyone would argue otherwise? Therefore it is very likely that not all of the articles promoted are indeed among wikipedia's best, or that all of those archived are not. In other words, the result can hardly be expected to be better that the system which produces those results. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:33, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The only downside to the ten-day limit is it could cut into in-depth reviews as well. Cutting down "hand-holding", as Tony states, is more mentality than rule. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 20:40, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Back to the subject at hand, I would definitely support a more defined time frame (10-14 days) for allowing a nomination to be at FAC and for allowing a nomination to be returned to FAC, as long as there could be occasional exceptions for personal circumstances. (As an example, I unexpectedly lost power for 4 days in the midst of my last nomination. If it had been closed because I wasn't able to respond to some of the comments b/c I was gone I would have hoped to get to renominate it more quickly). I also think that restarts should be kept at a minimum - if consensus can't be determined because the FAC got all out of whack then that should default to an archive. Let the nominator work with the reviewers to see if problems have been resolved and then come back later. That said, I think Sandy does a great job of keeping on top of the nominations. There are only 6 nominations currently listed that are over 10 days old (8 if you count the two that were restarted). Karanacs (talk) 20:48, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

It is sort of interesting that folks are suddenly worried about the list size, when we got hit with a burst of noms in the last five days, we have four noms that are "testing the system" for short articles, and we have one nom at the bottom that I can't close. We really don't have an overload if you look at which ones are longer than the week I usually give them. On the other hand, if these ultra short FAs are gonna fly, then we need a whole new system because we'll be swamped and this system can't handle the same kind of traffic GA handles, and this proposal won't solve it. In other words, we have three different things going on, and I'm not ready to commit to any path until we're clear on what to do with a rash of FACs if we suddenly go to ultra-short FAs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:43, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
There are a lot of threads on similar topics, so I will just add to the bottom. :) So there is no overall FAC queue problem according to Sandy, but there may be problems with minuscule FAs. So let's get back to that subject. If there will be new additions to the criteria, then there should not be any "hard" cutoffs (e.g., FAC should have greater than 1000 words), otherwise some might game the system by padding. Some kind of qualitative statement should be used instead. In the case of citations, there is no hard cutoff number, but simply the "where appropriate" phrase is used. Could we come up with something equivalent to cover the "depth" of an article? --RelHistBuff (talk) 23:45, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I am opposed to minuscule FAs. Now that's out of the way.. Tony's cutoff.. would that allow time for deep investigation into sources.. assuming there are 60 noms to be dealt with at any given moment?? I disagre with Sandy's assertion that we do not have a length problem with the nom list. The reason it is not perceived as a length problem is because too many noms rec'v little more than MOS checks. we need quick-fail for crap, and in-depth for non-crap...Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 23:50, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Qualitative statements about "depth" or "substance" would be easily worked round. A limit of 1000 words, or whatever, may indeed lead to padding, but padding is relatively easy to spot and would be grounds for oppose. I suspect that the implementation of such a limit, combined with a 14-day time limit on FAC and a 28-day limit before renomination, would lead to more thorough reviews, and therefore better articles. Whatever system is in place, there will be those who want to test it, but clear-cut rules will give them less scope. Brianboulton (talk) 00:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Change 1000 to 1500. 14 days is probably enough for noms; 28 until re-nom. Limit the number of available reviews to 20, but new ones cycle in the very instant old ones go out. That sounds great! Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 00:34, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I'd say 1,500 too high, and would stick to the 1000, but apart from that, above is it in a nutshell. Support. Brianboulton (talk) 09:18, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure if Raul or Sandy would go for such a prescriptive solution. If one takes a look at WP:WIAFA, there are no numbers mentioned whatsoever. The criteria works and remains stable precisely because of its qualitative aspects. However, I agree that something has to be done about the growing number of tiny FAs, the low quality of reviews, and the misuse of FAC as a peer review forum. If no one can suggest a better solution then I also agree with Ling.Nut's/Tony's proposal. --RelHistBuff (talk) 09:58, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I just noticed that only the 1000/1500 word limit impacts WIAFA. The review time limit and the review queue are process modifications. So we should vote on them separately. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:11, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not really a fan of a numeric limit, for reasons expressed by a couple of people above; it boils down to a concern about padding and borderline issues. A perfectly reasonable copyedit cuts an article to 998 words -- oops, not an FA any more! It just seems arbitrary. I also think that the FA process has something useful to say about short articles; witness the ones at FAC right now, which are not all succeeding by any means. So it would not be a rubberstamp to send a very short article to FAC. Sandy has expressed a concern about a flood of short articles at FAC. That doesn't seem a good reason for a wordcount limit; surely the answer is to throttle down the throughput, not bar certain types of articles from the process. I think Ling.Nut's idea of limiting the number of articles under review at any one time would solve the problem of volume. For short articles, I'd be fine with them getting a different kind of title: "short FA" is fine. But why bother? Are we worried about devaluing WP:WBFAN? We shouldn't be; nobody should be taking that page too seriously. Still, if we want to solve it with "short FA" we could do that. Or just have a bot go through and list all the current FAs in a table with their readable prose length, and sort the table however you want. The articles themselves should be as good as they can be, and FAC is a fine process for ensuring they are that way -- at whatever length. Mike Christie (talk) 10:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Ah, Sandy has opened another thread on WT:WIAFA on short FAs. I suggest discussion on short FAs continue on Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria#Comprehensive and extra-short FAs and the review queue proposal discussion stays here. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:45, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Going back to Tony's original proposal, I would support a 14-day limit on the nomination list. 60 days before renom (two months!) sounds too harsh; even 28 days seems a bit much. How about 14-days before renom? I can't see anyone trying to abuse the system when the nom/renom cycle lasts nearly one month. --RelHistBuff (talk) 13:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I'll reintroduce the idea of being able to resubmit before the 14-day (or whatever the limit is) if the nominator has sought and gotten approval from at least one of the three opposing reviewers that the article passes. At least with that, you know that the article should have improved, while with just going on a 14-day limit, someone could do absolutely no work on an article during those 14 days then resubmit at the same poor quality it was before (I'd suspect some cases would be easily discovered by history evaluation, but others may not be). --MASEM 13:53, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I've been thinking about this and have a question - what is the purpose of the proposed "FA Improvement List"? Is that a place for reviewers to do more in-depth review, for nominators to work on their own and later come back to the main queue, or something else? Karanacs (talk) 14:39, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I support whatever works for Sandy and the active reviewers. If you're going to go with a shorter timeframe, I think the prize for best idea (among many) above goes to User:mav (with 22 FAs btw): "I've never really understood why FAC does not require an article to have recently gone through a successful PR or a WikiProject A-class assessment or a GAN or whatever prior to submittal to FAC." I'd support either a requirement or a recommendation. If all of the 4 review processes (FAC, PR, A-class and GAN) encourage the others to produce tight descriptions of why the article passed, including why the sources are good for what they're used for, and all encourage the others to start new reviews by reading the summaries of the previous ones, then we could save some time and have better reviews. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 15:02, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Even the historically best A-class Peer review process (MilHist) has been producing inconsistent results lately, and there's no reason for experienced FA writers to go through additional process; many of them are able to come straight to FA (anyone remember Yomangani?). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:22, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
O.K. Since Sandy is "not concerned" with Samuel Johnson remaining on the FAC list for over six weeks and that "works" for her, we will not consider this a problem as such, nor the length, involvement, and complexity of the winding comments. Lets just be even handed about it for the appearance of fairness. No complaints about having to cap discussions, re-thread difficult to read comments, and no bemoaning of interjected comments in the middle of a thread in an FAC. Also, no complaints that an article is essentially rewritten in FAC. Lets just be consistent for the appearance of equal treatment. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:05, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Mattisse, I don't think your comments are fair. When I read comments like that, I honestly want to withdraw Samuel Johnson from the FAC process completely and not resubmit it ever again. I want it to be a great article. A lot of people helped and gave valuable imput for it to be a great article. For it to be used as a negative against other users or against the process is something that I do not appreciate. The article was written in respect of Johnson, Literature, and people needing a great page on the man. For it to be a means to inflict harm on another is a complete butchery of those intentions, and I am deeply sadden by your response. I honestly wish I wouldn't have looked at this page just so I wouldn't have had to read the above. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:20, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Give it a rest, Mattisse; you've been banging this drum long enough and disparaging hard working and well intentioned editors. Johnson is Raul's FAC to process, not mine; if he hasn't gotten to it yet, that doesn't bother me at all. I've now walked in his shoes and know that he may just be busy. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't like hard rules when it comes to high quality articles. I want an article to be the best it can be, and quickly pushing things through does not encourage that. I also want people to look at their article and make it the best, not look at other FAs and say, "well, its as good as those". Ottava Rima (talk) 16:20, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
(e.c.) Ottava, we already have "hard rules", but they need to be rethought for the current environment, which has evolved significantly since the current structure was designed. I think we're in total agreement on the need to make FAs "the best", but in total disagreement about where the thrust of this should occur. I'm keen for it to occur before nomination (as a tendency), whereas I think you're saying that we should continue to encourage the thrust of article improvement to occur while nominationrs are on the list. This is not working.
Mattisse, Samuel Johnson is an abnormal case. Can we steer the conversation back to the broader issue? It would be better to discuss SJ in a separate section, but really, I don't think it's any big deal.
RelHistBuff: 14 days is far too long, IMO; that is the kind of timeframe that underprepared nominations require. FAC needs to be primarily concerned with assessment, not article improvement. Of course, there will almost always be article improvement during the process, but it's a matter of keeping it under control, reasonable in extent. There's no hard-and-fast boundary in terms of the amount of improvement required, but I think we can set out a broad structure in which reviewers can send clearly underprepared nominations off to a subpage where the nominator(s) has more time to do what should have been done in the first place. I have already created a proposed instruction text for this purpose. Tony (talk) 16:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm not a fan of hard and fast time limits since different FACs will have differing needs and we should not bite newbie FAC nominators who are acting in good faith. But adding something scary-sounding to the effect of "FACs that don't reach consensus within 10 days of nominating may be archived as failed nominations" is fine with me since the 'may' gives Sandy leway which I'm sure she will use liberaly. However, one of the reasons why FAC is being used as Peer Review or A-Class review is b/c those other proceses don't attract as many high-quality reviewers as FAC. I think that requiring a successful A-class review, GAN or PR prior to submittal to FAC would tend to normalize, popularize and improve those processes b/c many of the articles going through them will be tested by FAC afterward. So yeah, little immediate improvement (other than lowering the number of the worst submittals) would happen but I think eventually there will be a postive impact on the quality of articles submitted to FAC and a general improvement in each of the various review processes we have. Of course, none of this will work unless we also tackle the free rider problem at the same time. But that was needed anyway. --mav (talk) 04:27, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

  • I think hard and fast time limits hurt nominators as well as reviewers. I have often spent several days working on a review! Let's think about some of these issues together, however - we want to improve reviewing quality but we also want to reduce the time nominations spend at FAC and avoid the "peer reviews" taking place. To my eyes, we could solve these by reviewing the "comment" function. By forcing nominators to choose between "support" and "oppose" right away, we would know how dire the situation was with an article. All other comments could be placed on the article's talk page. I also think requiring a previous review of some kind would be a good idea. Having other people critique one's work is always helpful. Awadewit (talk) 17:18, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Excellent short articles[edit]

I see there's a lot of fires burning on this talk right now and I don't have time to comment on everything. The short article issue, however, is one thing I've long discussed and I think I'll throw an idea out.

Linked in the subject line is a defunct Wikipedia page. Note the very first edit summary from (the sorely missed) Worldtraveller: "what GA should have been." He created Excellent short articles after a long discussion with me two-and-a-half years ago about the redundancy of GA. When he created GA he had actually intended it as a means to recognize good, just-past-stubs. I agreed (and still agree) that we have no proper means to reward effort on such articles. (DYK comes closest.) Since then, I have had numerous debates with GA editors that they are missing out on the original mission—but virtually every appearance I've made at a GA talk page has turned acrimonious, given the unfortunate dismissive/defensive relationship between the processes. In any case, GA is now long past the point where it can be refocused on short articles.

So perhaps do it through this process? Wikipedia:Featured short articles. Eligible for the star but not for the main page. Rather than have Sandy do the promotions, I think we would need to select another delegate. And, of course, the mechanics and criteria would need discussion.

(Sorry to add a new proposal with another already being widely discussed.) Marskell (talk) 10:58, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

:Christ, not another bloody process. DrKiernan (talk) 11:03, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

::I'm honestly laughing out loud. Marskell (talk) 11:05, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

:::You did request this process, didn't you? Giggy (talk) 11:11, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I dunno. One of the motivations for writing FAs is to get your work on the Main Page. That's why some people don't bother with GA; there aren't that many people who browse Wikipedia via the lists at WP:GA, so they're more for editor convenience than anything else. If such a process were developed, I doubt I'd bother with it—improving articles is great, forcing them through a process to get a star that, by itself, doesn't really do anything seems a bit tiresome, IMO. Giggy (talk) 11:13, 30 September 2008 (UTC) Am I making sense?
Perhaps GAs should also appear on the Main Page? That would recognise the work of SGpedians like Aldwinteo. Another SGpedian, Mailer diablo, has said he would rather work on DYKs than GAs, as the latter cannot be on the main page. Do we want to discourage people from writing articles - or encourage them to only write about popular American topics? --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 12:30, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
GAs on the main page will never happen. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:12, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I really fail to see the logic behind this proposal. An article is either as good as it can be or it isn't. What has that got to do with its length? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 11:15, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
It's meant to address the concern posed above: that we don't need to clog FAC with 500 word articles but that we should still be able to reward work on those articles. It's meant more generally to encourage people to apply spit-and-polish to post-stubs, which only DYK does at the moment. Marskell (talk) 11:22, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I understand the motivation behind the proposal, but not the logic. What about splitting off the boring FAs into another category, and all those repetitive TV series articles into another? I do not see that an article's length has any bearing on whether it is as good as it can be, which is all that FA ought to be about. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 11:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Hm, I don't see that TV series example is germane but I understand your point about "good as it can be." I think what's being said about some of these short articles is that they are as good as they can be but don't meet 1b for lack of reliable information on them. Length isn't strictly the point, but by necessity such articles tend to be short.
We can all find examples in our favoured editing areas. See South Andean Deer. As good as it can be? Well, I exhausted google scholar and tried to get as much info into it as I would on a better studied animal. It's at least close to as good as it can be. If it were padded much more I would probably have to depart from summary style. But it would be totally silly to bring it to FAC. And frankly, I find some of these hurricane noms silly. But again, we should still be encouraging people to work on these short articles—they are the bulk of Wikipedia after all. Marskell (talk) 11:43, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
A quick look at South Andean Deer shows that it would fail the comprehensive test at FAC. There's no mention of the animal's gestation period for instance, dentition, anatomy, evolutionary history, lifespan ... it's a nice little article nevertheless, but clearly not a credible FAC. Probably not even a credible GA candidadte these days. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 11:57, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Malleus, that's exactly my point! It includes everything that can be found, but it would not be a credible FAC candidate. How to recognize an article like that? Marskell (talk) 12:41, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, I beg to differ. It may well contain everything that you've been able to find from online sources, but that's not quite the same thing. The lead actually says "The distribution and habitat, behaviour, and diet of the deer have all been the subject of study", but the article contains nothing about the animal's diet for instance. So I think we're comparing apples and oranges here. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 12:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
The body does mention diet. The number of papers on the animal is in the single digits; this is easy enough to check. There are tens of thousands of species of this sort. Even taking the point hypothetically, do you not see what I'm saying? There are many subjects on which an editor could survey basically all of the relevant literature and still not meet 1b. How do we recognize efforts of that sort? Marskell (talk) 12:59, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

As a member of the GA WikiProject who has participated in several GA-related discussions, I would be happy to forward your message to the GA regulars. I share your concern that GA is losing sight of its initial goal - to recognise excellent short articles. However, short articles like Buckeye (chicken), Robin Starveling, New York State Route 312 and Long Ya Men have achieved GA status; I intend to write a few short Singapore-related articles and nominate them for GA. My opinion is that the FA criteria should have a practical lower limit and anything below that lower limit should go to GAN (with the caveat that GAs should receive greater recognition). --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 12:30, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps, refer to GA is the answer here. Hmm. Marskell (talk) 12:41, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Here are some books that at least mention the deer. Cannot tell how useful they are without reading them, but the name does pop up in them. Are they used in the article? Here's a nice webpage that was created by a zoologist. Here's an encyclopedia page on the deer. I wouldn't use their content, because it looks like Wikipedia, but they do have a reference section which could be of use to us if someone were to track down those books. Seems like there may be more out there, easily. I say "may", because for all we know those books all say the same thing and we already have it in this article. Then again, maybe we don't.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 13:11, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Goodness, now I'm sorry I even used an example. Assume I'm wrong and missed a whole slew of research. Just focus on the hypothetical. Marskell (talk) 13:27, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Although thank you for looking. Maybe I'll go back and work on the page :). Marskell (talk) 13:30, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

This proposal would immediately resolve all three of the pressing issues currently facing FAC, without the need for other complicated and bureaucratic process changes. 1) Eliminates the backlog, which actually isn't a backlog at all (just look at which ones are still hanging around, and there are almost none for more than two weeks) but a sudden rash of 400- to 1000-word articles clogging FAC because they sit there for weeks without garnering solid support, while they would garner support as Excellent short articles. 2) It also partially addresses the IRC, fan support problem. 3) And, by lowering the number of FACs being run through, it allows for better review of articles at FAC (which will encourage reviewers) while eliminating the need for these other complicated proposals to change the structure at FAC. This addresses the real issue behind too many nominations that aren't prepared. This will allow FAC to re-focus on a smaller set of articles and get back to more serious, in-depth review of a smaller queue. Just Do It. I can understand some initital opposition since it does present some confusion in terms of where these articles fall wrt GA, but maybe GA can press the shorter articles towards that process as well. 1,000 words or less go to Excellent short articles; I don't believe Raul is putting those on the mainpage anyway. (If he is, we ask him what is his cutoff for the mainpage, and use his number.) And we don't need a $700 billion bailout package to make it work: we just need to unmark it historical and go. I haven't seen anything else here that I'm comfortable with or that doesn't create other nightmares. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:45, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

By the way, a 1,000 word cutoff is very well justified by the stats at User:Dr pda/Featured article statistics. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:43, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Not sure how. The majority of articles are between 10 and 30kb of readable prose. A 1000 word article isn't even 10kb large. An 800 word article is only 5kb.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 14:47, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Don't look at "rough measures" of KB; in that link, go to the actual articles and look at word count. (Do you have Dr pda's script?) Since this proposal would affect only four of our current almost 2300 featured articles, it seems quite reasonable (and those four will surely scurry to pad a few words into the articles, so even they probably won't be affected). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:54, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not looking at that page at all. I'm copying the text of an article into WORD, seeing the count and then removing all non-prose items and seeing what the actual size of the article is afterward. If Dr. PDA says that Pilot (Smallville) is both 15kb and 2661 words (per Mike Christie above at #Very Short FAs), then a 1240 word article would be about 7kb, so forth and so on. If this, Hurricane Irene (2005), is a 5kb article (per Dr. PDA), not only is is that extremely small, but it isn't even 1000 words - it's barely 800 words. 1000 word article is going to be closer to 6kb, and even that's rather small. Pilot (Smallville) is a small article, but compared to Hurricane Irene (2005);, it's gigantic.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 15:04, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but you're wasting your time by looking at KB when we have a tool that looks at word count. I'm looking at word count per Dr pda, and a 1,000 word cutoff would mean essentially no change in our current FAs, so I'm on board. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:10, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Trying to get on the same page: if you type the article name into the search box and hit the "search" button (not "go"), it gives you a KB and word count. Sandy, does this method match the word count per Dr PDA? Эlcobbola talk 15:16, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm looking at YOUR sources KB listing, compared to that same word count. Guess what, those 5kb articles are not 1000 words, and 1000 words is TOO SMALL. When the entire article can fit on my screen (with default resolution), it's too small. 1000 words is equivalent to just over 1.5 pages of paper text? That's barely an essay, let alone what we should be considering one of our "best of the best" encyclopedic articles. I think when you start moving closer to the 1500 word count, you have an article that contains a bit more substance about its topic.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 15:19, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Elcobbola, NO. Unrelated (the Doc could probably explain if there's any correlation). This KB discussion is a distraction; we have a word count tool. Bignole, I don't know what you're talking about, but what I'm talking about is that according to Dr pda (a tool I trust) we currently have only four FAs below 1,000 words, so I'm on board that 1,000 is a natural cutoff based on history. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:23, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Sandy, your assumption is that 1000 words is still enough just because there are only 4 articles below that? How many articles are below 1500 words, and how many articles are below 2000 words (which would indicate an article approximately 8 to 12kb large)?  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 15:25, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
You mean, so we can raise the cutoff from 1,000? I wouldn't be thrilled with that idea as it might mean having to FAR some articles, and history justifies the 1,000 mark. But give me some time to get you the data (I think I have to actually click on each article to check, and that could take quite a while). Are you sure it's worth the effort? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
It is to me, because I am authentically curious up to 2000 words, how many fall between 1000 and 2000 words. Anything above 2000 words is clearly fine (especially is you're for the 1000 word articles), but I don't think that 1000 words is enough and it makes me curious how many articles are barely at the cutoff and how many articles clearly meet it.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 15:33, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
OK, then ... since I haven't yet even started on my morning watchlist, let me ping Dr pda and see if he can generate that data so I don't have to sit here and click on each article. Will get back to you. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:38, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
But to give you a very rough idea from User:Dr pda/Featured article statistics, number 2012 on the list, the recent 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing is the first article on the list at 10KB, and is 1579 words. I am comfortable with that article as an FA, and don't think we need to go lower than the 1,000, assuming we are going to use consensus and common sense rather than absolute cutoffs in terms of which articles to send to Short articles. I don't want to start sending a lot of current FAs to FAR. If Dr pda comes back with persuasive data to raise the cutoff to 1,250, we could look at that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:53, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Why would they have to go all the way to FAR? If word count is the only real problem, and we use consensus to form a new group of "Short featured articles" (or whatever), then I think the only thing really necessary is to notify all articles that fit the bill that they either need to add more content or go ahead and put in a request to have their articles moved over to the new category immediately. To me, putting a featured article into FAR because of word count issues (if we agree to use any to begin with) would be like putting a featured article into FAR because there were a couple of "fact" tags in the article.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 15:58, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
[Marskell here; I can't access the login screen] Sandy, what adjective do prefer, "Excellent" or "Featured" (or "Good," for that matter, but it would be ironic). I think "Featured" is best: keep the same criteria rather than diverge. Two caveats would need to be written into WIAFA, for 1b and 4. Nothing else needs to change. This could really work. Consider:
  • Encourage GA editors to slowly move all their short pages through the new process. This would help marry the two systems and might actually reduce acrimony.
  • Approach DYK to see if promoted Featured short articles could automatically gain a slot. Thus the articles would get a moment on the mainpage, just not the primetime. This would give motivation.
How many current FAs get cut off by 1200 or 1500 hundred word limit? 195.229.241.173 (talk) 15:13, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Quite a few weather ones, actually (Tropical Depression Ten (2007) - 955 words). Brianboulton (talk) 15:42, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't care what it's called, but I am strongly on board, as long as it's clear that the 1,000 word limit justified by Dr pda stats is, like everything else at FAC, roughly enforced and subject to consensus. That is, there's no need for a 998-word article to pad up two words; we can use common sense and consensus, but suggest that anything that can't make the 1,000 word cutoff go over to the other page. And I don't believe we'll have to FAR anything because Dr pda stats show no issue with the 1,000 word cutoff. Let's Do It. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:26, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Hear, hear! Brianboulton (talk) 15:42, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I find Sandy's support (both her logic and the fact that she thinks it would make her life easier) quite persuasive. Another angle is that this supports my position at WT:GAN; I'm on the side of the people who prefer to see GA as more of a minimum requirement than an almost-FA, and making a home for excellent short articles would help relieve some pressure over there. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 15:43, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Questions: will the new "Featured short articles" follow the same FA criteria? Where are we going to get the new reviewers? What will this mean to the bots? Will we just create a new WP:FSAC page? If we as reviewers see an article that is too short nominated at FAC do we automatically move it or give the nominator a chance to up the word count? Karanacs (talk) 15:49, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I could be wrong, but I'm not in the slightest concerned that this will staff itself quickly and easily, and be up and running in no time. Plenty of people will be on board. I see it patterned after FAC and WIAFA, with adjustments for size. When consensus is developed here that a FAC needs to go there instead, I would move it over exactly as I do now in the same situation here if we decide a FAC needs to go to FLC. But ... I am very disappointed in myself that I forgot to ask Gimmetrow how he feels about this <grrrrr ...>, since he is the unsung hero that keeps everything running. :-( Going to ping him now. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:02, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured short articles now bluelinked. Yes Karanacs, same criteria. Again we would just need to bend a little on 1b: at FSAC (which would need to be created) nominators would need to show that data and research does not exist in sufficient amounts to further expand the article. Reviewers: really, let's gently approach GAN and bring people together. (Somebody throw John Lennon on the record player.) Marskell (talk) 16:00, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Seriously. This can be an intermediate ground for GA and FA, and make a lot of people happy. That's why I like it. Marskell, mwah !!! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:05, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I can help run it if necessary - since I am a big contributor to small articles, seeing NY 175 on the 10 shortest is mine, along with NY Route 373. If someone is willing to let me help out :) - Mitch32(UP) 16:10, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Mitch! I predict it's going to be hot place ! But I think the next step now is to hear from the guys behind the scenes who make things happen: Dr pda and Gimmetrow. Other than that, it could be up and running in no time. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:15, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
(wow, not a reaction I expected.) - Thanks, Sandy - As per that - I'd like to hear more from Gimmetrow, since he runs the FXC bots.Mitch32(UP) 16:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Seeing as I'm quite partial to short articles, I'll be happy to help out, as well. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 16:25, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Question: if only four FAs are affected by a 1000-word cutoff, then how does this help stop the rush of small FACs on roads, storms, etc., that are showing up lately (above the 1000 word cutoff)? It sounds like we are creating another process and award for articles that don't have such a process yet (for extremely small FACs). If we must create another process (which I am not sure is a great idea), then why not ship some of the work to that process? I would still prefer to raise the limit (1500, maybe 2000). --RelHistBuff (talk) 16:06, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm leaning to 1,250 depending on what Dr pda data finds, but I'm confident we can sort that in the next few days. And please let's remember it will still be based on consensus, not absolute cutoffs. (The current rush just started, RelHist, and there may be some recent passes that aren't yet reflected in Dr pda's old data). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:15, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Candidates page and redirects (FSA and FSAC) now created.
Rel, it's not just about current problems on FAC. It's about addressing an issue that has been discussed for years: how to reward work on top-notch post-stubs that can't realistically be expanded? DYK is fundamentally a content creation process and even there there is no expectation that articles need to be fully polished. GA was supposed to be about short articles but it is no longer oriented in that direction. So yes, Let's Do It.
(I'm hitting the town. Will check back tomorrow. Please have at the new pages.) Marskell (talk) 16:22, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Grrr, I hate it when people come up with good ideas, it messes up all my plans. I was going to throw myself into writing, but making this work is more important. I'll happily participate. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:41, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

←Watchlisting FAC almost broke my computer; I'm going to start watchlisting WP:Featured short articles on the (premature?) theory that this is a go. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:48, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Same here. I'd prefer 1150 become the lower limit, not 1250. However, I am gonna say that we open this soon. ;) - Mitch32(UP) 17:03, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I think opening this full on would be a bit premature since we cannot even decide on a "limit" for article size at the moment. We've got a range of 1000 to 2000 word count limit. That's kind of a large range. BTW, is this new rating supposed to be a stepping stone to full FA status, or is it just for articles that will not be able to get to full FA status?  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 17:10, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that the general consensus is to set the limit between 1000 and 1250. And as far as I can tell, FSA will be for articles that cannot fulfill the featured article criteria, depending on whether a minimum word count limit is set. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:57, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

I see problems in this proposal. Sorry to be a slightly wet blanket when the admirable Marskell has made a good-faith attempt to solve our problem. And it looks bad that I appear to be promoting my own solutions at the same time. Well, I'm treating this proposal in isolation from them, as a stand-alone. These are the dangers I foresee:

  1. I can imagine that it will be become a haven for insubstantial road and hurricane articles, and will be a shot in the arm for the identification of "little" topics for bronze star collections. I believe that WP should be concentrating on the production of high-quality substantial articles as representative of our best work and as a model for all articles. I fear the inevitable cottage industry for small articles, and wonder why editors who now feel motivated to work on minor articles for nomination might not be encouraged to produce articles of broader scope that are more substantial. Instead of Cyclone Erik, little thing he was that didn't even make it to land, why not group together all of such cyclones over a certain period and treat them as a phenomenon. Shouldn't necessarily risk OR, and would be much more satisfying to our readers. This would provide more fertile ground for promotion, and a control of scope that we should be encouraging as a model throughout WP where the temptation to fragment is there. I'd rather not have a promotions system for stubbies.
  2. It is likely to further fragment our reviewer resources, which are stretched over FAC, FAR/C and FLC;
  3. It may dilute the public profile of the FA system. Tony (talk) 17:19, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I think I pretty much agree with all of that. I can see the sense of a minimum size for an FAC, somewhere around 1,000–1,500 words, but I don't see the sense in creating a factory to churn out featured content below that limit. I also think the repeated mention of GA having been set up to recognise small articles is a complete red herring; the attraction of this new process for many will be that little bronze star, something that has always been denied to GA. Equally importantly, and a point that Karanacs made elsewhere, where are all the extra reviewers going to come from for this anticipated flood of post-stub articles? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 17:38, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I have full confidence that the editors who are interested in these short articles will do the work, and will be interested in raising their standards, and I doubt that the notion of a limit on FAs will pass unless we have some alternate way to recognize these articles. So, while in theory Tony makes a point, in practice, no one is opposing these short articles at FAC and they will continue to absorb resources here unless we find a way to recognize them. I fully support Marskell's proposal as the best way to recognize the shorter articles while freeing up FAC to focus on a different set of articles; moving these short articles off of FAC will free up FAC reviewers for deeper focus, and I'm sure the Short article process will find plenty of interested reviewers, as already seen in the enthusiasm shown on this page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:44, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Seems like a chicken or the egg argument. Perhaps no one is opposing these short articles at FAC because length is not one of the FA criteria? The argument that to add a minimum length to the criteria would require the creation of a baby version of FA I just don't find convincing. But hey, it'll happen or not regardless of what I think. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 17:52, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Well. We have a current problem (FAC being overwhelmed with short articles and reviewer depth being diminished) and three possible solutions on the table:
1) Move the shorter articles to their own process.
2) Set a word-count lower limit on FAs (not literal, but will be applied subject to consensus).
3) Create a whole 'nother bureaucracy to manage the FAC list.
The only one that has generated enthusiasm is 1. I don't see people piling on to Support 2. And 3. creates a lot of work and I'm not convinced it will address the issues. If you think 2. works without 1., where is the support for it? It hasn't emerged ever since the idea of shorter FAs appeared, and people aren't opposing those articles. Maybe there's a missing Solution 4? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:01, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm no great fan of consensus; I think that most people are wrong most of the time. But if you're interested, see my comment below for why I think option 1 has received so much support. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:09, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Like I said on the criteria page, I'm more for a 1000 word cut off if it doesn't include the lead section of the article. The lead is just a summary of the entire article, so it's easy to fluff that up to make an arbitrary word count than actually have 1000 words worth of information in your article. There is no need to include redundant material with a word count.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 17:46, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
By the looks of this thread, quite a few are interested in featured short articles. I doubt there will be a lack of reviewers. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 17:47, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, the thread got a bit ahead of me, as I thought they were "Excellent short articles": I see Marskell moved that to Featured and added the bronze star (after I said I didn't care what he called them). Tony might accept this idea if we moved back to the notion of "Excellent" rather than featured, since they won't be going through FAC. Because these articles aren't going through FAC, and are short, I'm also assuming they're not eligible for WP:TFA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:55, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Talking the talk's easier than walking the walk. I see quite a lot of interest among those who write short articles in getting their own articles a little bronze star. I haven't detected quite so much interest in reviewing articles written by others. But perhaps I'm being too cynical. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 17:56, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Malleus, I'm interested. I see a lot of potential here for good. I support your and Tony's defensive approach, that's good: you're thinking that this could be attractive to a lot of people, and they'll be shoving half-baked articles at us and expecting a bronze star. Well, the fancy phrase for our job here is mechanism design, "designing rules of a game or system to achieve a specific outcome, even though each agent may be self-interested". To get maximum results, the "game" should be as attractive as possible, so I completely support the "featured" designation rather than "excellent", although of course these articles should never make the main page. So, if people are going to "flock" to "short featured articles" ... let them flock, and let's figure out how to make that a good thing rather than a bad thing. I see many possibilities, to gain wider respect and participation for FAC and for more of the style guidelines as a whole, and to get the various review processes cooperating more productively with each other. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:37, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, we can discuss this until the cows come home, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. I can't help but wonder at the irony of a process which will (to my mind at least) make it easier to write featured content than GAs. Some might argue that's a fault of the way that GA has developed, but that wouldn't be my view. Anyway, the only way to see who's right is to try it, and see how it plays out. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:54, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'll be a bit of a wet blanket also, but I really cannot stretch myself into reviewing another queue. If there is someone willing to pick up the sourcing slack over at some new process, that's fine, but I really cannot justify it right now. My own article writing (you know, the point of being on Wikipedia) is suffering enough with my FAC and FLC work. Working on another queue isn't possible, honestly. I'd much rather set a minimum length criteria for FA articles. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:30, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Completely reasonable, and completely expected. That's why this is an opportunity to get these things to happen before they come to FAC, at GAN, A-class and PR reviews. I'd be completely in favor of requiring that any article at "short-FAC" must have already passed one of these reviews, and a summary be provided by those reviewers of why they think the sources would pass an inspection like Ealdgyth's. User:mav suggested this kind of thing earlier today in relation to all FAC's; I'm neutral on that, but without this kind of breaking and share-the-load mechanism in place at short-FAC, I think we'd get a ton of short FAC's dumped on our heads. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:41, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
The standard of sourcing, to which Ealdgyth is specifically referring, is not necessarily the same at those other processes as at FAC. So the checking has to be done during the FA nomination, by someone. Image use similarly needs to be checked against the FA criteria. Why should GA reviewers, for instance, be expected to review sources against the FA criteria? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:59, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
If we require GA, project assessment, or peer review we're really just shoving any potential backlog to another process. And then we run into the issue of projects that don't do assessments, peer reviews that get little feedback, and GA reviewers who are enthusiastic but may apply the criteria unevenly. For my Texas Revolution articles, I doubt I'd get any feedback from the relevant wikiprojects (I seem to be the most active member). Karanacs (talk) 19:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to kill off a good idea by aiming too high; what I'm saying is that if we had this requirement, it would have the effect over time of increasing feedback between WP:FSA reviewers and reviewers at other processes, which is something that doesn't happen a lot at WP:FAC. But perhaps I'm getting a little ahead of the game. Let's keep it simple: I will help, and I will recruit some good writers to help with language issues. I still feel that the key is to create something attractive to people, for whatever reason it's attractive to them; if they come, then we can design rules that discourage misbehavior and get more people to share the burdens. The one thing that can't be fixed is when people don't care, and there are still quite a few active WPians who don't want to come anywhere near FAC and ignore all the style guidelines. This could be a major tool for increasing the number of people available to help with the work. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:31, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
That there are many wikipedians who don't want to come anywhere near FAC is undoubtedly true, but that has little if anything to do with the length of their articles. Still, I'll wait to see how it pans out. BTW, there are a number of reviewers who contribute at all of these processes, FA, GA and peer review. They're not entirely separate pools of reviewers. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 21:00, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
WT:FSA. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 22:13, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Trying to catch up with twelve hours of posting while I was off-Wiki; if I understand correctly this is a proposal for a separate process, which would hand out featured article status to short articles. The process would have its own page, director, review queue, and so forth.
If that's right, it seems to me there's a simpler and much preferable version. (And apologies if someone else already suggested this; I'm not sure I've read every discussion linked.) Make all these short articles go through the existing FAC page, process and director. At the end, a promoted article is allocated to be a "short FA" or an "FA" strictly on word count (1250, or whatever) unless reviewers specifically support a status one side or other of that line, and the FA director agrees. I'd assume short FAs could not go on the main page; that's Raul's call but I would think he'd listen to a consensus there. Advantages of this approach:
  • No need to get Raul's approval for another delegated director
  • No new process page; little to no new process
  • No splitting of the reviewer group into two communities
  • No need to have any separately maintained FA criteria.
  • No problems caused to an editor with a borderline article who doesn't know where to submit it -- they don't have to choose, fail to get promotion at one page, then go the other.
I don't really a see a downside to doing it this way. What am I missing? Mike Christie (talk) 00:05, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Note to anyone who might respond here: I have crossposted this to WT:FACR, which is where the most active discussion appears to be; sorry for the duplication. Mike Christie (talk) 00:30, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I also had a lot to catch up on after leaving Wikipedia/FAC for half a day. :) I understand that FSA is a nice solution that solves the problem of what to do with all these short FACs that are popping up, but I definitely agree with Tony, et al. I do not even like the ideas of GLs or GTs, as I feel like the work of the FA writer is a little diminished. I support the 1000 word minimum with the short articles settling for GA status. GAs are still great reads; they are just not our very best work. And I would be opposing the short FACs, but I would not be able to cite anything in the criteria so I have just been leaving comments. –thedemonhog talkedits 00:32, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Can't say I've read all of the above but still wanted to throw in my opinion: What about short lists? Do we need "FSLs" as well?... Anyway, I think I'm against this, as I think articles, however short they are, should be able to get to FA, or at the very least GA. Also there's a risk that if the FSAC process is easier than the FAC process, then editors will intentionally write short articles that can be expanded to much bigger ones, but choose not to expand them in order to take advantage of the easier process. Equally, some editors may pad their articles in order to get them over the 1000 word barrier - rst20xx (talk) 01:04, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Sandy asked me to provide some data on the number of featured articles with low word counts. From my analysis of the June HTML dump I can provide the figures in the following table. I have also just regenerated my list of Featured articles by readable prose size at User:Dr pda/Featured article statistics. I've manually added the word counts to all articles shorter than 10 kB readable prose on this list (The script which makes this list is not set up to do the word count). These number are also included in the table. Also I thought the following histogram might be of some relevance; it compares the word counts of all FAs and GAs as of June 2008, showing that there are many more shorter GAs. Dr pda (talk) 03:48, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

FA and GA word count.svg
Word Count June 2008 1 October 2008
<1000 4 5
<1100 13 13
<1200 20 22
<1300 33 34
<1400 54 56
<1500 75 84
<1600 97
<1700 129
<1800 158
<1900 186
<2000 219
Total FAs 2066 2253
I think, based on Dr pda's data, 1100-1200 word count should be fine. Though, I still believe that this word count should generally be limited to the body of the article, and not the lead.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 03:58, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. Those Dynasty articles are all 30% larger than they were when they passed FAC. The coins article isn't counted correctly because it's actually a list, and the script doesn't pick up the listy text. So the really short articles are hurricanes and roads. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:30, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Dr pda, thanks for these data. May I extend them thus:

  • < 1500w – one in 27 FAs
  • < 1400w – one in 40 FAs
  • < 1300w – one in 66 FAs
  • < 1200w – one in 102 FAs
  • < 1100w – one in 173 FAs
  • < 1000w – one in 451 FAs

I will suggest at Wikipedia_talk:Featured_article_criteria#A_Modest_Proposal_for_a_change_to_Criterion_2, where the proposal for a minimum word length is under discussion, that either "generally are significantly more than 1000 words" or "generally are at least 1200 words" is appropriate; I'm leaning towards the latter. Please post responses there.Tony (talk) 05:36, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't know if the implementation of a new process (WP:FSA)is a foregone conclusion, but I have to agree with Ealdgyth and Tony. Creating another process will divert resources away from FA (both reviewers and content creators). IMO, we should first set a lower limit word-count on FAs which is obviously the easiest thing to do (Tony is pushing for this now). Next, consider tweaking the FA process. Either Ling.Nut's or Tony's ideas are interesting and they would not create another bureaucracy. Creating FSA, however, is definitely creating another bureaucracy (see Wikipedia:Requests for process). --RelHistBuff (talk) 07:48, 1 October 2008 (UTC)


How about reforming GA instead?[edit]

Instead of introducing another process, we should help reform GA so it continues to recognise excellent short articles. The graph above shows that most GAs are short. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 05:24, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

That sounds good to me! –thedemonhog talkedits 05:27, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
If we add a length clause to FAC criteria, it only seems natural the "too short for FA" role of GA will return... I mean, you could have FA lite where a couple reviewers check off on it or something, but that's just layers of creep we prolly dont need. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:43, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

Lots to read this morning. The two critical objections seem to be:

  1. "This stretches reviewer resources." I am with Dan, who makes the point well above: this ought to bring reviewers in. If we want to aculturate potential new reviewers to the MoS and to ref formatting, as examples, it's much much easier to do that on a short article. One of the complaints lodged against FA, often by people at GA, is that the review process is too picky. It is picky, and so it should be. We insist that all the t's get crossed. We will still do that at FSAC but people will get the hang of it more quickly. I don't actually review at FAC because I have little Wiki time and devote all of it to FAR. With this, I could stop by and do a review in literally five or ten minutes.
  2. "This will lead to more obscure topics and fragmentation." What Tony calls a cottage industry. This is a fair argument. I would ask this, however: FAs are currently relatively long, but has this actually led us to focus on core topics? Not really. A large percentage of FAs are obscure and/or heavily weighted toward current pop culture. People are already working in wiki cottage industries: the hurricane industry, the video game industry, the solar system industry, etc. I don't see that this will make it worse. I will still want to take Leopard to FAC but perhaps I'll also take Sand cat to FSAC.

So I don't see these as dealbreakers. Mike suggests that we do this from the current FAC, with the closer assigning articles to the short articles list or to regular WP:FA. I suspect this is exactly what Sandy doesn't want. It will ask her to look after the involved reviews as well as increasing numbers of short ones.

As for "Excellent" v. "Featured," I am very much in favour of the latter. It's hard to unname things and names can create cultures, as happened with GA. We have the FA structure. It works and we can use it here. Marskell (talk) 08:47, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I spent a little time writing a response to Sandy's objection but I don't think I came up with anything new to add to my post above, so I've scrapped it. I'll just say that I am sympathetic to her objections, since any changes will impact her personally, but I'm quite unconvinced. I also think DrK's (perhaps partly tongue-in-cheek) comment about "not another bloody process" should be taken seriously. I'll add that it seems to me that almost everyone participating in this discussion agrees that short articles need a mechanism for improvement and recognition. That's a solid basis to build a consensus on. Mike Christie (talk) 10:10, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Since there are at least five proposals on the table now, I had to scan the whole page to see what you might be referring to or what I had objected to. I'm not sure I found it :-) But I did find a post where you said, "Sandy is perennially stretched to deal with FAs ... " which is not the situation from my point of view, and is what I find wrong with two of the proposals. I'm not stretched at FAC; reviewer resources are stretched (throughout Wiki, but here it matters, as we don't like to let 'em out the door deficient). As always, I read through all of FAC today and found not a single FAC I could close, because reviews are lacking and I'm waiting for declarations. If editors here are concerned that I'm stretched, solutions are not targetting the right problem. The simplest solution to make FAC run smoother from my perspective is a return to the old FAC, where articles were assessed, reviewers Opposed or Supported, and reviewers didn't try to build FAs at FAC, which is an exhausting way to review. FAC has become the best place in town to get your article fixed for free, leading to unprepared nominations and exhausted reviewers, while the Oppose button sits idle. Slowing down FAC via a queue may help reviewers, but will cost us FA production. I can close them with no review at eight days if that's what the community wants; I'm seeing a clear message here that you all want me to close them sooner, but that means closing most with no declarations. It also means I can cut the list in half tomorrow, and y'all can call me the FAC dictator instead of the FAC delegate, and editors will scream that their FACs were closed with no review. Alternate queues to move out the clearly deficient articles or to let less articles in are just shuffling more paper around and won't increase FA production. I see two solutions; Excellent short articles will staff themselves in another process and FAC reviewers here can get back to assessing most, building a few. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:13, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Is the summary of your position, Sandy, that you would support a minimum word-length for FACs (1000, 1200, whatever), a time limit on FAC (8, 14 days, whatever) and a time limit on the return of failed FACs (14, 28 days, whatever)? And the transfer of short FACs to a separate system, which might be new or possibly a reformed GA? Brianboulton (talk) 12:03, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
If I must take a stand, I am adamantly against time limits at FAC. If you sit in my chair, you'll see it's not that cut and dried. What do y'all want me to do when the limit hits and an article that has received extensive work and has five solid supports, but one important unresolved issue that the editor is working on? Archive it? Almost every situation is like that to some extent; they almost all require discretion and evaluation, they are rarely black and white. I'd be archiving half the page all the time if we institute a limit. Right now, if we had an eight-day cap, more than half the page would be gone with almost no feedback provided to the nominators. Time limits will reduce my discretion to help make sure we turn out the best possible work. On the minimum word count, I think editors here (it's the reviewers who are exhausted, not me) need to work out the comprehensive vs. short article issue, and I should probably stay out of it. I'm in it to the extent that I need to know how to close those FACs. But, if we're going to run dozens of weekly short roads and hurricanes through FAC, we will need to redesign the process, as we can't currently handle it. There are various proposals on the table so the entire topic has become muddied. On returning FACs, I already enforce a time limit on the return of archived FACs (and I often put out edit summaries reminders that all of you could help me doing that; I'm not the only person who can remove a premature fac :-) I often have to remove a FAC that comes back too soon; any of you can do that. You just remove it, revert the FAC page to the bot version, remove the template from the talk page, and notify the nominator that several weeks is expected, and point out to them the unresolved issues on the FAC or how to submit a PR. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:00, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
The solution to much of this problem is not letting nominators insist that eg, every weakness in prose, MoS or comprehensivenes is listed, or an oppose is not "actionable". Too many promotions have allowed them to do this - fix Tony's list of sample issues and claim the whole problem is sorted. As I said above, I think removing "actionable" and just letting the promotor decide how reasonable opposes are might be a good idea. Johnbod (talk) 12:57, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I object, for different reasons. GA was created for this purpose and, although it has strayed from it, still successfully recognises excellent short articles. What we should do is help reform GA and increase recognition of GAs. Introducing another process would not help. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 12:07, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Johnbod doesn't like the "actionable" bit in FAC requirements. I see his reason for saying this, and even partially agree. The "actionable" wording has one very important effect, though: it is ammunition against empty Opposes based on.. you name it, a grudge, a nationalist bias, the full moon, whatever. It also helps cut down on ad hominem. I think that reviewers who present "sample" probs should say clearly (as I recently did), "On the whole, I think this article needs more thorough researching and rewriting than can be accomplished during the FAC period. It's very unlikely that merely repairing the the few concerns I've mentioned here will induce me to change my !vote." Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:15, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

@J.L.W.S.: part of the point is to cultivate what's good in GA (that it can recognize short articles) and bring that into the more structured environment of FA. I think GAN would be the most fertile ground for finding short article reviewers. If it's simply antipathy to the word "Featured", I hope that can be overcome.
Re what Sandy wants and how to help her, I think these time limits may tie her hands as much as freeing them. The delegate should be free to make case-by-case decisions. Certainly at FAR I do—if we'd stuck to strict limits the culture we've developed to save articles would never have happened. Marskell (talk) 13:34, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Of all the proposals on the table, time limits are what I am most opposed to (and I'd wager Raul would veto them anyway). I also do not see the staffing problems with Short articles that others do, and do see that it could be a training ground and jumping off point for new editors to learn to write larger FAs. On the other hand, if the community here decides on a different resolution of the comprehensive issue, I don't want to get in the way. I'm concerned that we have so many competing proposals on the table that we've lost focus; I'm not sure if the objections to the short articles are in the name (Excellent or Featured) or the comprehensive issue or the staffing issue. What I want more than anything is to not see our valued reviewers working too hard and burning out; my strongest support goes to whatever solves that. We need reviews; I can't close quality FACs without them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:08, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

My 2 cents: Like Tony has expressed elsewhere, I am really concerned that FSAs would treat unnecessary overnarrow article topics preferentially over substancial articles. E.g. Reception and interpretation of the mythology of Carnivàle (see Mythology of Carnivàle#Reception, interpretation and legacy) wouldn't have problems getting an FSA star, while Mythology of Carnivàle (a GA and failed FAC) with its 39.7 kB prose can obviously cover the same topic. Of course, despite my mergist attitude, I realize that not everything can get merged, but that's only a minority of articles. – sgeureka tc 14:43, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

The nominator would need to show:
  1. That the article is comprehensive relative to the published material on the subject (i.e., gaps in coverage are due to lack of study and data, not nominator effort).
  2. That the material would not make more sense merged. Clearly, some short articles cannot logically be merged, although I take your general point. Marskell (talk) 15:38, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Reviewers are not currently asking those questions. For example, why do we have short "Meteorological history of ... " articles that could be merged to the Hurricane article, but reviewers never even inquire? I don't know. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:13, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Featured content, editor motivation and GA[edit]

I'd like to pick up on Marskell's positive comment that "part of the point is to cultivate what's good in GA". I have always taken the view that the way to help to shape a process to a need is to work with it, rather than against it. This may be a case in point, and the key may be editor motivation.

Some of the discussion above has concerned the motivation provided by the star on a featured article. I agree this motivates editors, but it also has a community aspect, for instance, by implicitly saying "this type of article is good enough that we can label it so for our readers". I think there's a much stronger individual motivation for editors to have their contributions appear on the main page. That is, after all, what "featured" really means.

What we need is something in the spirit of the very successful DYK, something in between DYK and FA, which provides a fairly short text on the main page linking to a class of articles that are somewhere in between "articles created in the last 5 days" (DYK) and "our very best work" (FA). Whatever that class of articles is, editors will be motivated to write them.

From what I read above, it seems to me that the kind of article we want to encourage is something like "Interesting Short Articles". We want to take some of the strain off FAC, we want the GA process to work better at delivering its original mission, but we don't want to encourage further the mass production of articles on every hurricane, road, television episode, or music album. This could also be an opportunity for countering systemic bias, and demonstrating the diversity of Wikipedia's articles.

So, I say, put a minimum length on FAs, but allow a certain class of GAs to appear on the main page through a process similar to DYK, with a blurb slightly longer than the DYK hook, but much shorter than the featured summary, and perhaps changing two or three times a day. Not every GA will be suitable (just as not every 5 day old article is suitable for DYK), so some vetting procedure will be needed, but it can be fairly light touch, because GAs have already been filtered, even if the filtering system is imperfect. Also, as Dr pda's graphs show, there is no shortage of short GAs. Geometry guy 21:11, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I think the proposal has some merit in raising GA's profile, but I'm dubious about its major premise, that editors are motivated to see their articles "featured" on the main page, rather than being awarded the little star. I was quite pleased when one of mine was featured, but I was far more pleased when it passed FAC. That may just be me though; others may well feel differently, and think that being granted the opportunity to ward off vandalism for a day or so is a reward worth working towards. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 22:04, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Except we do want to encourage further the mass production of articles on every hurricane, road, television episode, or music album, don't we? Christopher Parham (talk) 23:11, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Assuming we're referring to GA's, then I like the sound of this proposal. Particularly if it were used to, say, show two articles at a time, one newly promoted and one recently reviewed. One of the bigger problems with GA's (presumably FA's as well) is that they tend to suffer from rot after the initial passing, and after a year or so will no longer be up to date with relevant changes (whether with regard to the subject itself or guidelines). So this process could have the dual advantage of encouraging the improvement of new articles and participation in GA reviews to ensure continued quality. --erachima talk 23:14, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Let's say that the TFA queue becomes even more overcrowded and I decide to only get my articles to GA so that they appear on the main page. That's not right. And why should our second class content be featured on the main page when much of our first class is being neglected? –thedemonhog talkedits 23:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't understand your worry here. What exactly would prevent a page from being shown on the main page both as a GA and as an FA? I don't think we're looking at this as an issue of "fairness" anyway. Or at least I'm not. I'm simply viewing it as an incentive towards solving problems. (Additional thought: since the number of GAs in existence far surpasses the number that could be put on the front page, and thus only the best will show up, this should encourage competition to have the best GAs, raising quality all around.) --erachima talk 23:29, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Well then why not just display any article on the main page? I think that TFA should be exclusive to the best of the best. –thedemonhog talkedits 23:49, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Nobody's suggesting that the FA's on the front page be replaced by GA's, just that we add a GA blurb section as well. Also, I don't think DYK's criteria of "new articles with sources" exactly qualify as the best of the best anyway... --erachima talk 04:26, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
DYK never claims to be anything of the sort, nor do "On this day" or "In the news". Johnbod (talk) 04:53, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Neither would these. --erachima talk 05:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I like G-Guy's idea, but it seems to concern Good Articles, so I responded at the thread over at WT:GAN#G-Guy's idea. I was interested in the "Featured short articles" idea because I thought it would be a way to get a wider set of people interested in good writing; it sounds like we're talking about "Excellent short articles" now, and I don't think that's an idea that will take off, but G-Guy's idea to get Raul involved in selecting the highest-quality GAs could be seen as tackling the same problem from the other side. It's still an opportunity to get writers more interested in good writing, including the possibility of getting people more interested in style guidelines and WIAFA criteria, which might over time produce more FAC writers and reviewers, and it has the potential to do that job better than FSA would have. So, I'll help where I can. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 02:57, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

(o/d) So much happened below this thread that I didn't even realize G'Guy had posted. My first question: will all GAs be eligible or only the short ones? If all, then we are not actually dealing with the short article recognition problem. If only short ones, then we'll be biased in favour of obscure topics. Of course, "Did You Know..." formats by their nature (not just on Wiki) tends toward the quirky and uncommon, so the latter option is not entirely bad. My second question: how hard would it be to queue up the short GAs and run them through an FA candidate page? The logic would be: "this article is short enough that it really shouldn't be too much trouble to give the last bit of polish." Marskell (talk) 11:25, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

First question, in my view: only the short ones. That is, as you observe, part of the point. Any form of specific recognition for short articles will tend to favour the obscure, but that's okay as long as we favour diversity, and don't further add to Wikipedia's reputation as a collection of articles on pop trivia etc. In this respect the main page approach has the benefit of editorial control. Concerning the second question, another part of the point of this idea is to take pressure off FAC by giving editors another goal to aim for. I do see the final bit of logic, but a copyedit could be done during the selection process, and GAs that are deemed not good enough would not be selected. Dank has commented further here. Geometry guy 19:23, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
So is this idea moving forward to planning and then action? OhanaUnitedTalk page 19:53, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Would there be any point? GAs have about as much chance of appearing the main page as a snowball does of surviving in Hell. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:06, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Putting GAs on the main page is not the purpose of this idea. The purpose is to find a way to recognise short articles and the GA process could be an ingredient in that. There is discussion below, but neither cynicism ("it will never happen") nor project-based enthusiasm ("let's get GAs on the main page") will help to advance the debate. Joined up thinking might. Geometry guy 20:20, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Minimum word length[edit]

For what it's worth, there's a proposal to add just eight words to Criterion 2b to place, generally, a minimum word length on nominations. Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria#Comprehensive and extra-short FAs. Tony (talk) 17:24, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Number of FACs[edit]

Just saying. The current FAC page has 41 FACs; only five of them, in addition to Johnson, are more than eight days old. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:53, 30 September 2008 (UTC)