Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive32

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WP:TLDR are straw polls evil?[edit]

The threads are multiplying like kudzu. Can we, simply for the sake of clarification, not a !vote, list all the proposals out in one sentence and have a(n) straw poll extremely concise listing of statements of support or opposition? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:18, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

We are riven (positively riven!) by debate. So let's have a poll, but because of Wiki shibboleths call it something else :). Three basic ideas are being floated: time limits at FAC; recognition specific to short articles (either "Excellent" or "Featured"); and minimum word requirements on WIAFA. None are mutually exclusive but support for one may depend on whether another also goes through (e.g., I only support three with some version of two). Marskell (talk) 15:31, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I was able to follow this thread of conversations when it was happening on a weekend, but now I need a Cliffs Notes version. Is it at all ironical that so much text is taking up so much time and space for tiny, tiny articles? --Moni3 (talk) 15:53, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Not three ideas—four. Possibly five? The fourth is to divide FAC noms into "Active Reviews" (perhaps 20), which show up on this page and thus receive attention, and "Review Queue" (all other noms). The oldest members of the Queue are immediately placed in Active Reviews whenever any reviews are closed, keeping the same number active at all times. This helps prevent dilution of FAC reviewer energies. .. I believe there may be a fifth idea as well.. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:37, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I see way more proposals than that :-) Some pre-review process, some in-basket queue thingie, time limits at FAC, some means of dealing with the comprehensive, short article issue which includes not necessarily mutually excusive caps or another new process, an Improvement List, and G guy's latest which caused my brain to explode on overload. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
The suggestion of a time limit on FACs, with a bar to immediate renomination, was something I meant to bring up as a possibility, actually. Make the process more brutal, more suited to articles that are genuinely at, or close to, Featured quality. Any article that needs more than [what, two weeks?] shouldn't have been nominated in the first place. The only drawback I can see is that this could lead to some nominations on less popular subjects being booted out of the door before they've received a single good review. The counter to this is that with editor resources freed considerably by the time limit, there may well be enough people around that it won't be a problem. Steve TC 21:29, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Very much agree with the time limit. It encourages a task-oriented approach. The nominator and others are more likely to respond in a timely fashion and be less likely to become bogged down in time wasting arguments and discussions. It would also prevent the problem of articles being written while in FAC. The ducks would have to be in a row before nomination. —Mattisse (Talk) 22:04, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
(ec) As I type this, 11 of 44 nominations are on the feedback template for lack of reviews. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this? Without more reviewers, a time limit will only lead to anger amongst nominators. Many here seem to assume that rushing nominations through quicker will lead to less work for reviewers (not to mention Sandy). With all due respect, I'll believe it when I see it. Giants2008 (17-14) 02:04, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, you're not the only one; that's exactly what I see :-) No matter how often I read through, I can't close them when I'm given no reason to close them. Well, I can, but what does that accomplish (besides my talk page lighting up with angry nominators?) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, well, that's the beauty of a brutal, arbitrary cut-off period. It's an automatic fail that wouldn't be your "fault" as such, with no one to blame, no-one's talk page to clutter with complaints. Sure, the first few would be painful, but a few "tough, thems the rules, two weeks is all you get" and people would begin to get the idea that they shouldn't bring FACs that are more than two weeks' work from being anywhere near ready. (Posting this here rather than in the !vote below because I see it's already had the kibosh put on it; I just wanted to get this final point out there). All the best, Steve TC 21:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

What's being talked about[edit]

I've been doing my best to follow the spiralling conversations, but they are so widespread, confusing and lengthy that I thought it would be a good idea to slightly formalize what Marskell + Ling.Nut + Sandy started above: a list of just what is being talked about. I'm not soliciting votes, just trying to clarify what's actually under discussion and list it all in one place. Here's what I think I've seen. I'm going to phrase these as open-ended questions to the extent possible. I've included at least one or two that haven't been the recent focus; I want to bring all the threads to one place if possible. Also note that some of the points overlap a lot; see 1 and 2 for example. I know this list is missing a couple that I can't find the details for -- I seem to recall some discussion of an "Improvement list" and Sandy mentions a "pre-review process" which I also can't find. I'll keep my opinions out of this section, and I hope others will too; I hope we can maintain this section as some kind of reference or index to all this discussion, without filling it with opinion. There are plenty of other locations to post opinions, after all. Unless I see disagreement I will hive off any opinionation into a subsection, just to keep this part clean.

If you want to edit these, please go ahead and edit in place, but I suggest getting some consensus first and also suggest using strikeouts and colouring to show what's being added and deleted. Mike Christie (talk) 01:45, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

  1. Should there be a (hard or soft) minimum wordcount for an article to be an FA?
  2. Should featured status be available, in principle, to any content?
  3. How can we recognize high-quality short articles?
  4. Should there be any time limits at FAC?
  5. Should the number of active reviews be limited, in order to increase focus?
  6. What are the constraints on FAC's scaling, and how can these be overcome?
  7. Should FACs be removed to an "improvement list" partway through FAC if enough reviewers agree to do so?
  8. How should "comprehensive" in the FA criteria be defined?
  9. Should we require an A-class status or a PR before FAC?

Discussion of the list[edit]

Mike, you're missing Tony1's FAC Improvement List (ctrl-f it on this page) and someone else's request that we require an A-class or other PR before FAC. You're also missing my original query as to whether we should simply re-examine how we redefine comprehensive, which doesn't necessarily mean wordcount. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:15, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Opinions[edit]

Here is one reviewer's opinions, which you haven't heard before. 1): Yes to a soft count. I didn't think that much of the 400-word articles, to be honest. But I would hate to see a 1198-word article fail because it's two words under a minimum. If a count is added to the standards, the spirit of the rule should count for something. 2): It's hard to imagine a two-sentence article having a gold star, but all articles should have a goal of some type. 3): At the same time, I think GA should be the goal for these pages. Not sure how many of our best reviewers will want to take on another project. 4): No way. As I last checked, 11 of 44 nominations are on the review needed template. All this will do is frustrate nominators. 5): Better idea in theory than practice. I fear the waiting list could become like GAN, where some wait over a month for a review. 6): There aren't enough reviewers, and I don't know how to solve this. Giants2008 (17-14) 02:11, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

7): Interesting idea. Lancaster Barnstormers is one recent example where an improvement list would have been helpful. One problem with Tony's idea: How often do articles get three real reviews (not only sources or images) in four days? 8): Articles should absolutely go through PR before nomination. But how do we define successful? Would a peer reviewer have to say the page is ready? That doesn't happen as often as you'd think. Not all projects have A-class (Biography's is inactive, for example). Maybe GA could be a minimum standard. 9): To me, comprehensive should mean that a page covers all of a topic's important points that have been published in reliable sources, without going into excessive detail. There should also be enough to engage readers. That is one reason why the short articles had so much trouble recently, Giants2008 (17-14) 02:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
The proposal says "generally". That admits your 1198-word article if the want of two words is all that is at stake. It admits a significantly smaller one (even 1000 words) on occasion. But it sends a signal to all that tiny-scope articles had better be mighty special (chiefly, interesting) to be promoted. One of the problems in constricting the scope of a nomination, or treating every single boring little hurricane that's ever been, is that they're simply not interesting enough to be labelled as a "one in a thousand" superb articles. We don't have a criterion that says "articles must be interesting"; but when a nomination is at least substantial, there's enough meat to carry it through as a symbolic "among our best work" article, even though on the clause and section levels it's no better than a stub-nomination. It's to do with the interaction between size and interest level. Tony (talk) 02:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
That's what I mean by a soft limit. Even with that, and any other changes on the above list, one problem isn't going away. The FAC system will still be biased in favor of narrow topics (roads, hurricanes, video games, wrestling pay-per-views, etc.). It will still be difficult to get general-interest articles like Roman Catholic Church or Samuel Johnson through, because everyone has views on them. Giants2008 (17-14) 03:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Here are my quick answers to the questions above (others are welcome to comment and sign each, too):


Note: there is a thread discussing consensus on these issues below, but please continue add your comments if you have not already done so: commenting is not "closed".

Should there be a (hard or soft) minimum wordcount for an article to be an FA?[edit]
Yes, a "generally" one, which is what you mean by "soft", I guess. Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a soft one. I would prefer a qualitative definition that would eliminate articles that are too narrow of scope. However, I believe that is nearly impossible to define. So what do practical chief editors do in real life? Give guidelines on length. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Only if there is another nom page to recognize short articles. Marskell (talk) 11:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, hard or soft, any figure up to 1,500 words or equivalent. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, but if there is, which is what appears is going to happen, there needs to be a separate place for short featured articles. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a soft one. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I have no strong opinion on this, so I'm leaning toward no. --Moni3 (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Obviously, any limit is somewhat arbitrary, but in practice it's clear that relatively few articles would be affected. (On the other hand, I don't think that short articles at FAC cause all that much of a problem: they're fairly easy to review after all. It's the long ones that suck up reviewer time for weeks and weeks.) --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Probably. I believe that many extra-short articles have an improper scope. We can either handle that issue with a soft word limit or adding something to the criteria about appropriate scope. Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Neutral, I don't necessarily agree or disagree with a minimum. If there is a minimum though, some method needs to be established to recognize short articles that are otherwise FA-quality. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a figure not less than 1,000 words, applied on a common-sense basis (a few words below the limit would not mean a fail on that account alone). Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I support soft-minimum. 1000 is a good round number. Ruslik (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No Comprehensiveness is the important idea. A soccer players biography of 10,000 words without mentioning place and date of birth is not complete. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No; comprehensiveness is the best way to address this issue. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes; see WT:Featured_article_criteria#Break 1. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No (hard word count). What is deserving of FA is quite subjective. Complex subjects might require more words. Highly compartmentalized subsections can break up a subject quite well and keep it interesting reading. So too can an article that does a good job of building towards increasing complexity with each subsection; readers can stop at the point they are comfortable with. In this latter case, the litmus test should be “was it damned interesting up to the point where it became more detailed than you care to read?”. A hard word count isn’t a valid measure of whether an article is good or not any more than an arbitrary cut-off point for where it lies on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score. Setting hard, objective standards for qualifying for FA is like trying to precisely define hard pornography. A U.S. Supreme Court justice once wrote “hard-core pornography” is hard to define, but "I know it when I see it.” Keep it simple, if the objective is to identify really good articles, the question should be simple: “is it a really good article?” Greg L (talk) 18:52, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but strong emphasis on soft counts, tied with comprehensiveness. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No But I would also like to see long articles summarised. =Nichalp «Talk»= 19:18, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No I don't understand what the problem is with short articles. Comprehensiveness, not length, should be the criteria. The hard v soft debate seems pointless. Like the "inline citations where appropriate" clause, it will be increasingly interpreted stricter and stricter, or in WP jargon User:Raul654/Raul's laws#7. -maclean 19:23, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely not Like maclean, I don't see the problem with short articles. Could someone please explain to me how "short" featured articles are damaging the encyclopedia? Some topics are best covered by a short article, while a longer article would be more appropriate for other subjects. That is one reason why any length limit is inherently a limit on subject matter as well. In addition, as I'll touch on several more times in this discussion, our featured article criteria are relative, not absolute. Not every Wikipedia-appropriate topic merits 40-something kilobytes of readable prose. Finally, if the goal is to reduce the backlog on FAC, aren't there less subjective ways to do so that are truly relevant to article quality? Strict adherence to a list of rules is not helpful. szyslak (t) 00:01, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, unless a separated path for featuring short articles is implemented, with the same criteria. Mike Christie (talk) 00:55, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
(Implicit) Yes I think there is already an unspoken idea of a lower a limit and that is fine. If things that are shorter than 5-6k prose start getting farmed through that would be bad. YellowMonkey (choose Australia's next top model) 05:41, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a soft one. Hard limits are pointless and easy to game. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, as there needs to be some sort of way to recognize short, complete articles, and a separate process is IMO a horrible idea. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:02, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No - Article scope and content should be determined by the available research and consensus discussion about merging. Awadewit (talk) 15:56, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, I believe featured article means quality, not quantity - rst20xx (talk) 18:11, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, for the reasons I have discussed elsewhere. This rule is not related to identifying our best work. Christopher Parham (talk) 18:18, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, assuming it is is soft enough for the occasional exception. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 18:22, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Not sure if this is too late, but I don't think a two paragraph article should be featured. FWIW, I am in the camp that believes featured ultimately means being on the main page, and I don't think such a short article should be on the main page. I favor a soft word count, as proposed. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No. it's not too late at all. Please keep comments coming! Johnbod (talk) 10:54, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Agree exactly with what Awadewit (talk · contribs) said. Cirt (talk) 11:22, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No. If there is a word limit, people will explode descriptions until it meets criteria. Not a good thing. --Gwib (talk) 14:15, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes to soft per potential explosion of short articles that could be merged or lengthened. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes per Marskell's summary below. A soft limit makes sense as long as shorter articles are recognised in some other way. The whole issue of comprehensiveness is tricky, especially when reviewers are not topic experts and have to rely on internet searches. Who is to say that there isn't more information available? This isn't so much of an issue for longer articles, because unknown information would most likely be at the level of detail. In contrast, it could have a large impact on a shorter article. Geometry guy 12:43, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Um... maybe? I don't like the use of "word count". An article could be one word short but have 20k more than another page baed on all sorts of fun features. I do believe that there should be a minimum size and image amount, but its all an aesthetic and not a critical thing. I tend to be opposed to tiny and massive articles equally. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:51, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Any hard limit will simply promote unnecessary words. And any soft limit will fall prey to more softening and occasional IAR. NVO (talk) 15:10, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Arnoutf said it well. Personally, I think many of our articles are too long, especially biographies, going into detail unnecessary for an encyclopedia and much of them should be split to separate articles. Number of words and pictures has little to no correlation to quality. This would just result in people padding articles with unnecessary words and phrasing or adding content that goes off on a tangent. What happens if someone truly runs out of sources for something? Does that mean it can just never be featured, despite the fact that the article is as comprehensive as possible? This seems like it could lead to bias in the types of articles that make it to featured status in the future. Mr.Z-man 20:43, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No, but featured articles to go on the Main Page should probably be reasonably long. I would not oppose a soft limit of what goes on the Main Page (300 word FAs are probably underwhelming, for all that they may be high-quality), but insist strongly that featured articles are so because of their quality and not their quantity. {{Nihiltres|talk|log}} 14:59, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
No If an article lacks content, it is bound to be noticed by reviewers anyway. The same goes for the upper bound on the size of an article.Dineshkannambadi (talk) 19:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Should featured status be available, in principle, to any content?[edit]
No: as now, very listy articles go to FLC; and there must be a reasonable balance between size and comprehensiveness to stop the FA list being gradually dominated by small-scope pieces.Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, I agree with Tony. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Tony makes the point: listy articles go to FLC where they are still entitled to be featured. Send the short pages to a spot where they too can be featured. Marskell (talk) 11:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if they meet the FA criteria at the time. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but I believe there is a limit to how fine we can chop down subjects, and that at some point we have to have the ability to say Oppose, scope problems where the article is either too finely chopped down into minute subject matter or is too large for an article. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, though my reasoning is the same as Ealdgyth's (who voted yes): sometimes it makes more sense to merge articles, so that readers understand the topic in context. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. For some topics you might be able to squeeze out a single well-sourced and well-written paragraph. For others, you might only get two sentences. To me, that is not wikipedia's best work and should not be featured in any way. That said, I am torn about whether there should be another process for short articles that aren't "too" short. Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, lists go to FLC, photos and sounds and even portals have FxC processes. All are given an opportunity to a star. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if the content fulfils the appropriate criteria, including wordlength for FAs. In each case the criteria ned to ensure that only wilipedia's best work gets featured. Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if it satisfies FA criteria. Ruslik (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, A FA should be readable and informative on its own. An article that is treating an obscure detail of an in itself fairly unknown article is probably not readable on its own, hence should not able to get FA. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if the coverage is comprehensive. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes; it's a matter of setting the goalposts for what "comprehensive" means. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Undecided; My brain and heart do not agree on this one. I fundamentally want to work towards a goal. But, a lot of stuff has survived AfD and merge attempts that probably couldn't pass an FAC (I'm looking at The Magic Box and The Bronze-like articles). --maclean 19:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes if it comprehensive and covers all the necessary information. --Rschen7754 (T C) 23:04, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if the topic is appropriate as a stand-alone article (i.e. is not worthy of merger or deletion). That we have a featured list process is irrelevant. A list is not an "article" per se, despite residing in the article space. "We don't allow lists, so we shouldn't allow other things" is not a convincing argument. If we accept such a concept, we might as well deny featured status to articles with sexually explicit images, articles on sensitive subjects like religion and politics, etc. Limits on what "type" of article belongs on WP:FA don't do us any good. We should strive for featured quality on all appropriate article topics, not just on the ones we like. szyslak (t) 00:35, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Possibly via a separate process (though I'd prefer not). A mergeable, deletable, or non-notable article should not make it; it should be merged or deleted out of existence. If it passes that bar, and is comprehensive, I see no problem. An article with only two sentences (per Karanacs comment above) could not possibly have context, and would almost certainly be mergeable. It would be fine with me to put a minimum word length on TFA articles, but that's a different issue. Mike Christie (talk) 01:01, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No drain on resources to have an army of people inspecting articles with 2 paragraphs. People already deliberately target FLs for cheap stars as is. Heaps of people joke about how they got one in 3-4 hours. YellowMonkey (choose Australia's next top model) 05:43, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No because short articles do not represent Wikipedia's best work. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, or otherwise there will be a chilling effect discouraging users from contributing to a whole class of articles. Standard operating procedure has been "If it can survive AFD, it can be sent to FAC", and I don't see why we have to change that. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes - All content should have a featured process through which it can be recognized - we have decided to split those processes into featured lists, featured pictures, featured portals, etc. I see no problems with this arrangement at the present time. Awadewit (talk) 15:59, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes - Unless Wikipedia intends to be another EB rather than being innovative regarding content choice. My preference is for Wikipedia to allow FAC the opportunity to reflect the content of an evolving world culture and the changing interests of new generations rather than be limited to the elitist standards of older, entrenched generations, reducing Wikipedia's future relevance. As it is, FACs have very low hit rates from general readers. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:32, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes - I think Tony's assumption that there will be a continuous deluge of short articles at FAC is unrealistic. I suspect that after an initial rush, the number of inherently short articles that will come to FAC will be low. I say this based on experience with featured topics, which deals with such articles already by having them "peer reviewed", or audited. There are 557 articles involved in featured and good topics, of which just 5 are audited due to being inherently short (i.e. too short to get GA/FL), and these are all lists - rst20xx (talk) 18:15, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No - I believe, as of now, some articles are too short. If an article could be merged to a viable location, and be integrated fully (or just about fully, by maintaining all of the facts and just condensed if needed), then I don't think it should be featured. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Agree mainly with Awadewit (talk · contribs) on this one, but also principally with above comments by Titoxd (talk · contribs), Mattisse (talk · contribs), and Rst20xx (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 11:24, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes: in theory, featured articles are Wikipedia's best work that a reader can trust by seeing the star; in practice, readers do not see the star, which also functions as a pat on the back to hard-working editors. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. If the subject deserves an article, a list, an image ... then if it's good it's good, say so, why hide it? NVO (talk) 15:16, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. FA should be based on quality, not topic. Mr.Z-man 20:49, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No if "content" means "topic" or "size". Too small an article may not cover the subject entirely.Dineshkannambadi (talk) 19:53, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
How can we recognize high-quality short articles?[edit]
I'm unsure that there's a need. FA is not some Soviet socialist therapy that has to be available to all. Like christian forgiveness, it will lose its potency when over-applied. Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Let's solve that problem when we can figure out how to increase throughput in medium-to-long articles. In particular we need to solve the topic diversity problem. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
GA is the place for that. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
GA has not been focused in that direction for nearly three years. I prefer a dedicated spot. Marskell (talk) 11:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Not convinced of the need beyond GA, but open to some separate scheme. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Through a new class of featured content for short articles. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Preferably by either merging them with other similar topics to form a larger topic or by revitalizing GA. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm happy with the idea of "Excellent short articles" or something similar (and happy with such articles to be put on the main page), but don't feel terribly strongly about this. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:05, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I like the idea of merging many of these into a topic with a broader scope. I am not completely opposed to the idea of a featured short article process though. Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Short articles if deemed unacceptible at FAC should have an FSAC option available. Upgrade the FA/FP/FS/etc star to gold or silver and leave FSAC as a bronze if its felt that FSA would diminish from FA. Just because it's currently an FA doesn't mean it will ever be a TFA. In fact of the two articles I have written and improved to FAs, I doubt I will ever nominate them for TFA simply because I'm not interested in that. FA and a future FSA is a recognition that the article is very good with little room to be improved (but all articles can be improved no matter what.) TFA is just some icing on the cake that isn't needed. If Raul decided an exceptional FSA warranted a day in the sun, that's fine too, but I'd rather leave TFA restricted to FA vs. FSA. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
As per Ealdgyth above. Oppose the idea of a separate process for shorticles. Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I am undecided. There are a lot of processes going on now (FA, FL, FT, GT ...). It is always possible to create another one. Ruslik (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Use FA rules. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
If they don't meet the comprehensiveness criterion, they are unworthy of FA; if they do meet it, their length is unimportant. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
See WT:WGA#DYK. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:29, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I'll know it when I see it: most quality short articles likely can be placed in a larger article without losing any information, but this is not to say there may be a short article that is fully comprehesive and cannot be part of another articles coverage. Assuming it meets all FAC requirements, this is where the "soft" word count can be overlooked. However, I suspect the number of articles that meet this are very very small. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Use a process similar to DYK to provide a link from the main page to one or two short interesting GAs, per this suggestion and the thread linked by Dank55 above. Geometry guy 19:15, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Use FA rules; they're good rules. And if we use FA rules, why split the process? And if, hypothetically, a surge of noms should threaten FAC's ability to cope, fix that problem, don't create a new process. Mike Christie (talk) 01:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Use the system as is. I don't think flooding with featured start articles is the best. YellowMonkey (choose Australia's next top model) 05:44, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
GA exists to recognise excellent short articles. More should be done to recognise GAs - such as a GA symbol or letting GAs have a small column on the Main Page. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Depends on what you mean by "high quality", and what you mean by "short". Every article and subject is different. szyslak (t) 07:56, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Use FA / FAC. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:05, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Whatever GA's original purpose was, I think its current goal of recognizing "good but not great" articles is just fine. I believe GA was created around 2005 or so, before actionability became a basic concept here at FAC. In FAC's early days, opposing arguments like "not notable" and "too controversial" were perfectly acceptable. Now that that's no longer the case, the scope of articles that can theoretically become featured is wider. We can recognize high-quality short articles the way we recognize any other high-quality article, through GA, A-Class and, yes, FA. szyslak (t) 08:53, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I see no reason to separate out short articles from the rest of the other articles at "featured articles". To have two "featured article" processes makes little sense to me - it institutes an arbitrary word length. All articles should be reviewed together under the same criteria. Awadewit (talk) 16:02, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
They should be able to get FA, or at the very least, GA. FA and GA should reflect article quality, not article quantity - rst20xx (talk) 18:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind seeing GA as the location for that, although I do like the idea for a DYK sort of thing for featuring GA's. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Agree with above comments by Awadewit (talk · contribs) and Rst20xx (talk · contribs). The emphasis should be on quality and unified criteria. Cirt (talk) 11:26, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, via GA, which is where good but not suberb contributions should be taken. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
FAC is capable of doing it fine, but I would be satisfied with any process that (1) grants featured status and (2) works from the same criteria. Christopher Parham (talk) 05:38, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
A round of applause, a pat on the back, and the words "good show". I think that should be done with all articles, honestly. The only thing that should be different about an "FA" is being included in Wikipedia 1.0 and the main page. I don't like stars, awards, any of that really. I'm here just to put together a nice encyclopedia to use because I can't stand things like that awful Britannica. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:55, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Should the number of noms being reviewed at any one time be limited, to increase focus?[edit]
Yes Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Just "vote!" so they can be closed. DrKiernan (talk) 11:34, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Marskell (talk) 11:43, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, we need to oppose more often and not be dragged into serving as another PR service. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:16, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. --Moni3 (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. And I'm not convinced that voting "oppose" always has much effect. As the culture of FAC has become (as other point out) a workshop for article improvement, there's rather a lot of "oppose badgering" these days. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:05, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Probably not. If we limit the list to 10 articles and they are all about video game characters, I'm still not going to review them. I can see the benefit in a larger limit, say 45. If there are more nominated than that, the nominator should wait (I usually wait until it drops below 40 before I nominate any). Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, Sandy does a good job now at keeping things moving from her end. Reviewers need to Support/Oppose more often so she can close FACs more often. Also, moving shorter articles out of the queue over to a FSAC will limit the pool of articles needing review at any one time. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No - with other controls in place this should not be necessary. Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, it will discourage editors from bringing articles to FAC. Ruslik (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No; criteria and reviews should manage this. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, at least presently, but this may need to be reevaluated if the average # of FACs keeps growing but the # of reviews stays constant. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, not if Sandy doesn't see a need. I think this would be a very useful way to deal with overload, but at the moment Sandy doesn't think there is overload, so I'll defer to her. Mike Christie (talk) 01:05, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, but I'll start piling on against the bad articles soon. YellowMonkey (choose Australia's next top model) 05:45, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No. We should encourage Wikipedians to write and nominate more, not less, high-quality articles. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No A better solution would be to borrow a page from WP:RFA and quick-fail more FACs that are not written at a professional standard, articles that contain unsourced statements, and other pages with no chance at passing upon nomination. Sometimes a polite "come back later" is the way to go. That way, we can cut down the workload for reviewers without denying a FAC discussion for articles that are ready. szyslak (t) 08:04, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, just as choking a nozzle has never allowed more mass to pass through it, instituting a cap won't cause FAC to be able to cope with more articles. We'll only end up with some sort of queue to enter the review queue, or discouraging recognition of excellent articles. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:12, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes - This is a good solution to the problem of thin reviews. Moreover, I find it somewhat amusing that the community of FAC reviewers who is supposedly responsible for failing to "hit the oppose button" is saying that is what we should do! :) Are we suddenly going to change the culture? If we want more people to start opposing/supporting, eliminate the ability to "comment". Comments belong on the article talk page. Awadewit (talk) 16:06, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Articles shouldn't be written on FAC, and so for articles that need such major work (and are obviously far from being featured), they should be quick failed. I wouldn't even mind if the FA directors removed such articles that are so far from being featured (note: I've been guilty of having an FA of mine largely written on FAC, and I felt bad about still having it open, despite that I was still working on it). ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Comment This section is full of !votes that fundamentally misunderstand the proposal. One says "we should be encouraging more, not fewer noms." This proposal doesn't limit the number of noms; just the number of noms being looked at any one time. All noms get looked at, whenever they move from the Queue to the Active Review list. This proposal doesn't assert that all noms be improved during Active Review, it expects that crap should be failed quickly, moved out of active review to make room for another nom. The point of this is so that limited reviewer resources can be focused on a manageable portion of the nom inflow. The goal has never been to "keep things moving", but to reduce the number of so-so articles that slip through to be Passed as FA, as a result of increasing the level of review attention. Really, the !votes can't be counted as being valid. But whatever.. :-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 23:44, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Pardon me, where is misunderstanding? Once you limit the number of FACs on display, you limit throughput of the processs. It's like replacing a four-lane road with a single lane. NVO (talk) 15:26, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No. But Hurricanehink (talk · contribs) has an interesting idea about developing some sort of quick-fail criteria, perhaps similar to the current process for that at WP:GAN. Cirt (talk) 11:29, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No per Ling.Nut, Marskell, Johnbod, Juliancolton and Moni3. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Um.... would this even be feasible? It boggles my mind to think about it. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:56, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
No to limiting number: To increase focus, i suggest a backlog template, similar to the ones at WP:PR or WP:GAC (Wikipedia:Peer review/backlog and Wikipedia:Good article nominations/backlog), where the articles which have got very less reviews will be listed, or those where a consensus is not been built, thus requiring additional comments.--Redtigerxyz (talk) 16:12, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
No Could discourage enthusiastic new writers and make experienced ones impatient.Dineshkannambadi (talk) 20:10, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Should there be any time limits at FAC?[edit]
The system will implode if we don't control the size of the list. Potential reviewers are put off by a mountain, since their reviews appear to make little dent in the backlog. It is essential to keep the size down. This is why I'm proposing a "put out to pasture for 14–21 days while remaining a nomination" page, where nominators can have the time they need to do what they should have done before nominating their article; this eliminates clearly underprepared nominations from the list, leaving reviewers with the space to deal with the "within reach" nominations. It is a separate measure to the proposal for a minimum 1200-word length. Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Extra rule. Though Users should not add a second FA nomination until the first has gained support and reviewers' concerns have been substantially addressed. can be simplifed to Users must not add a second FA nomination until the first has closed. DrKiernan (talk) 07:34, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Sometimes a FAC has gained Support but I just haven't yet promoted; in that case, a nominator often puts up another. (For example, sometimes if I have only one promote, I wait a few days, because opening six tabs to promote only one article is a time-consuming PITN.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. I defer to Sandy on this. She has indicated that time limits won't help and prefer to have more reviews give out their opposes/support rather than extensive commenting. See below on the question on PR. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:02, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Defer to Sandy. Plus experience at FAR where we treat time limits very loosely. Marskell (talk) 11:43, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Defer to Sandy. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, prefer to leave discretion. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:16, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. --Moni3 (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but only if the list is shortened. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, let the system work with the current level of discretion. Also, other editors besides Sandy can archive improper or premature nominations as needed. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Tending to yes, but would be happy for this question to be kept under review and acted on later if necessary.Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Criteria and reviews should be the delimits here. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but since there are so many "no" votes, I guess I don't understand the question. Do you want an article to hang around for 4 weeks with no reviews one way or the other, then Sandy closes it, then the nominators show up at WT:FAC (as they have below) getting angry at Sandy? If no one wants to review an article, for whatever reason, why is that a problem? We're all adults here, and people can decide to review or not to for any reason or for no reason. If no one reviews, that's a consensus not to promote, and it's not likely that waiting an extra 2 weeks will change the consensus. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:27, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, per Dank55. Ruslik (talk) 18:39, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
There definitely should be a tail: if after 3-4 days of no additional comments but with sufficient !votes to list or delist the nom, it should be closed. I'm not sure if a hard set max days on FAC is needed or not. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Defer to Sandy. I would support this (for a long limit, such as 28 days) if Sandy did. Mike Christie (talk) 01:06, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, but premature nominations should be closed faster. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No Quick-fail more articles, as I outlined above. szyslak (t) 08:08, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, unneeded instruction creep. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:13, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. I don't consider it instruction creep; I just don't like the idea of articles being written on FAC, even if they are still being actively worked on. Hell, that could even imply some instability in the article. That limit shouldn't be short; perhaps maybe 20 days at the most. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes. But I'd make it more than 20 days, perhaps 30, and that would be a soft recommendation, not a hard mandatory thing. Cirt (talk) 11:31, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No: other than a backlog that might be hard on the eyes, what is the rush? –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm I think Sandy should be empowered to do whatever she thinks is best. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:58, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
No Gives non-caring reviewers opportunity to prolong FAC objections/debates long enough to have it de-nominated. Puts pressure on the nominator, the FAC process already can be stressful as is.Dineshkannambadi (talk) 20:13, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
What are the constraints on FAC's scaling, and how can these be overcome?[edit]
What is "scaling"? Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Scaling is adjusting to a change of scale; in this case, to the increased rate of nominations which may be expected as WP grows. Will the presumed greater number of reviewers be enough to handle the resulting problems, or will we need a change of structure (or will FA collapse at some point)?Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:56, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
This question is too large to be addressed through this poll. Suggest removing. Marskell (talk) 11:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I added it in response to Sandy's comments that any bottleneck is caused by reviewers failing to vote Oppose. I'd be fine with striking it out if others agree, or someone else can strike it without waiting for me (I'm offwiki till this evening NY time after this post). Mike Christie (talk) 11:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Dunno. Noms demanding that opposes rewrite the article should be dealt with more firmly than now. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
If WikiProjects were up to scratch, it would help. Most of them, however, are moribund. Those that are not too often become insular. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:05, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I think that nominators need to have a much clearer understanding of what FAC is and is not, and reviewers need to be proactive in explaining why we aren't going to rewrite the article for them. We also need to encourage more civil interactions - there are some nominators that I will jump to review their articles because they are nice to work with and others that I am reluctant to work with because they make the experience less fun. I would also like to do something about the nominators who continually bring underprepared articles to FAC, but I'm not sure what. If every single time you nominate an article people tell you the prose is bad, then fix it! Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
We need to address nominators who habitually misuse FAC by nominating unprepared articles. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I fully support the idea of, if three established FAC editors state opposes that generally have lengthy correction times (primarily prose style and finding/justifying references), then a quick delist is allowed, waiting 14 days to resubmit but with the fast-resubmission route of getting those opposing reviewers to give a thumbs up to the revised version. --MASEM
Empirically, at the moment FAC does not scale: monthly featured article growth has been averaging about 50 per month since early to mid 2007. However, I agree with Marskell, that this is a topic for a separate discussion once this one has died down. Geometry guy 19:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
By itself, FAC has not scaled well. But the review system as a whole has scaled better. --maclean 19:56, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
As Marskell points out, this is too big a question to address here. I'll just say that the obvious resources are the director and the reviewers; and that increasing the bandwidth of those resources, or increasing the efficiency of their use, is what would need to be done. However, if Sandy feels that she is not currently stretched by the demands of FAC, we don't need to address that half of the picture; and increasing reviewer bandwidth or efficiency is not something that can easily be done by fiat. Mike Christie (talk) 01:09, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Discourage Wikipedians from taking articles to the endless nitpicking and incivility that is FAC. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Use the oppose bit a bit more often and distribute more tasks, but this question is ill-posed for this survey. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:15, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Strengthen the Peer Review process, get more editors contributing there, and move the article-improvement and heavy lifting part of work on an article that takes place at a FAC to the PR process instead. Cirt (talk) 11:33, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Should FACs be removed to an "improvement list" partway through FAC if enough reviewers agree to do so?[edit]
Yes; remaining on the list should be a sign of confidence by the reviewers that the nomination is within reach by the deadline. The FAC list itself should not be seen as a shunting yard for articles that need free advice about improvement. We simply don't have the reviewer resources to be a high-class version of Peer Review; while that would be desirable, WP is staffed by volunteers, and not enough are skilled in or willing to review FACs. Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Overcomplicated. DrKiernan (talk) 07:34, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Agree with DrKiernan. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:06, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. They should be failed. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Marskell (talk) 11:38, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Probably not. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, let's NOT add more processes. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:16, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Archive them for improvement off the FAC list. --Moni3 (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
In a perfect world, perhaps yes. I'm not sure we're ready for that yet. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:05, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
To me, this seems like an alternative peer review. If they don't meet the criteria, then they should be archived. Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, you'll complicate an already potentially complicated process more. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No - unnecessary complication to process. Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, Too bureaucratic in my opinion. The nominations of the articles that are obviously not ready should speedy closed. Ruslik (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes Allows almost there articles to develop without the pressure of a FAC deadline. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, we don't have the manpower for this. Unprepared articles should be more quickly identified as such and archived. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but carefully. This is a great idea, but I'd suggest that it be the nominator's decision. It's only going to work if the nominator trusts that the advice they're getting is in their own best interest; if it's perceived as bullying, it won't work. If I were a reviewer making such a suggestion, I wouldn't say "this article is crap", I would say "Please look at the following 3 failed nominations, and notice that a lot of the issues in those seem to be coming up in this article; would you like to read those reviews, and look at the advice you've gotten so far, and take some time to improve this article before re-submitting in a couple of weeks?" - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:19, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Maybe - this issue should be deferred to the FAC coordinators; if it is easier to move a pending nom to a list than to archive the nom by a significant amount, maybe that should be done. Anything to simplify their lives. However, if it's 6 of one, half dozen of the other, then failed noms are failed noms and should be closed. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Weak yes A few years back "Move to peer review" was a common oppose reason. But with PR already swamped, maybe "move to WPProject review" instead? =Nichalp «Talk»= 19:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Too bureaucratic. Mike Christie (talk) 01:10, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Huh? Do you mean something like "on hold" for GA reviews or a special kind of peer review - or something else? --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, just fail them. The article can be improved off the list, and renominated later, as there is no deadline. That said, everybody has a different idea of what "terrible" and "close enough" are, so this might prove to be untenable and needlessly conflictive in the long run. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:18, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No - We don't have enough reviewers/article improvers for this task - sorry nominators! Awadewit (talk) 16:11, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No, I think they should just be failed. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 22:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Per Awadewit (talk · contribs) and Mike Christie (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 11:34, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No per simplicity. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No though the PR process can be strengthened to prevent poorly written articles from creeping in.Dineshkannambadi (talk) 20:16, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
How should "comprehensive" in the FA criteria be defined?[edit]
Certainly when the scope is small, it becomes increasingly difficult to define "comprehensive", since the means to expansion become increasingly trivial or difficult to convey subustantial meaning through. See the example of the sewer cover in front of Greg L's house Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
That example would never survive at AfD on notability grounds, let alone sources and verifiability. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:17, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
The current definition of "comprehensive" is ok. What we need is a definition of "scope" and add that to the criteria. However, I believe that is difficult and as we do not have a definition, I would support a minimum word-count soft cutoff in its place. It's not ideal, but just being practical. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:02, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure I grok how this is related to the wordcount question, but "comprehensive" means "no important aspect left untreated". Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:17, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
"...it neglects no major facts or details relative to published material on the subject." Marskell (talk) 11:38, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Not sure I see a problem here. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
"Comprehensive": it uses all available information. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Comprehensive should also address the scope of the topic and the matter of reader's interest. Most readers are going to be non-plussed by what they regard as "uninteresting" topics on the front page, and while that's hard to define, some subjects or topics are so finely drawn that they are more likely to fall into that category for most folks. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:20, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Comprehensive in FA means representing what the best sources say about a topic, not what is available on a series of Google searches, or the books one has at the tip of one's fingers, but what is recognized as the authority of references. --Moni3 (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good, but - recognized by ? who ? some topics do have an undisputed authority, others don't and any reduction in sources will amount to POV. NVO (talk) 15:44, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Comprehensive is also about context. A reader shouldn't have to click on any links: the article should explain its topic but also explain what makes it notable or important. This is most often the weakness of short articles. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with RelHistBuff that one of the issues we are seeing now is with scope, but I am also unsure how to define that properly. I also agree with jbmurray that context is important, and with Moni3 that it must represent the best sources, not the most convenient. Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Comprehensiveness is a measure of how complete the coverage of the subject is. Where the subject of the article is notable enough or not is another story. No article that's not notable should survive an AfD let alone ever come to FAC. FAC should assume that an article nominated is notable, but if something un=notable is nominated, reviewers should AfD it immediately. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:17, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
A reasonable measure of completeness. E.g. a biography without date of birth cannot be comprehensive, even is such information is nowhere to be found. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Concur with jbmurray: context is the key here. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
We need to consider both the content of the article that is up for FAC as already noted, and in terms of a larger topic article (if one really exists) that it could be moved into. We need to consider if the FAC article really should be its own article or may be better described in a larger topic, consider if the larger topic loses comprehensiveness by having the FAC article separate. (This, btw, pretty much applies to only short articles). For example, hurricanes and tropical storms that don't make landfall or create significant damage will get some coverage, but this has been shown to produce small articles. Instead of making a bunch of small articles and trying to FAC each, recognizing that there are already per-season hurricane articles, it may make better sense from overall comprehensive to group all the non-landfall/damanging storms that are short articles into a single article. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I really dislike that practice - a tropical storm is a coherent topic, wheras a hurricane season is in my opinion only vaguely so. The season articles are basically just pages with a dozen mini-articles strung together; there's little point to this and it makes linking less convenient. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:53, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
That also causes several WP:SUMMARY problems, which is the reason the storm articles began being made to begin with. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:20, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Comprehensiveness is directly proportional to the list of all available sources that satisfy WP:V+WP:RS. To illustrate this point, architectural details for any fort would make it "completely comprehensive" But a 17th century demolished fort is unlikely to have too many sources. The context should be made clear. =Nichalp «Talk»= 19:29, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
It relates to the sources available, not the totality of information that might be available after future researchers do their work. If enough sources exist for notability, and the article is not to be merged, then full use of those sources by definition creates a comprehensive article. Mike Christie (talk) 01:12, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
It depends on what the article is about. An article about a movie that does not have a Production section is not comprehensive. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
"...it neglects no major facts or details relative to published material on the subject." There's nothing wrong with the current definition, in spite of efforts to try to frame that there is something amiss with it. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:20, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
If facts and details are unknown and unverifiable, their absence should have no bearing on featured status. It's a fact of life that some important facts are unknown. Like all other articles, we judge featured articles on the knowledge they report, not on a lack of theoretical phantom facts. szyslak (t) 08:28, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
While the current definition of "comprehensive" is largely being supported here and I also support it, it is worth mentioning that biographies of living people and unreleased movies and video games, etc. also pose particular problems. I am opposed to promoting articles that are in the midst of changing because events are changing. For example, just because everything published on a video game before its release is included in an article doesn't mean we should promote it. The article will have to be continually rewritten in the months after the release. It is not really stable and so far from comprehensive in the sense of covering major topics related to the game as to be absurd. The same is often true of biographies of living people. Barack Obama, for example, will have to be rewritten almost monthly if he wins the presidency of the United States. The article will be inherently unstable and incomplete. These kinds of cases are worth considering as well when we define "comprehensive". Awadewit (talk) 16:19, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I concur with Moni3 (talk · contribs) and Jbmurray (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 11:35, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Covering everything worth covering that is available with a word count minimum. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
The OED is fine for me. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:59, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
Should we require an A-class status or a PR before FAC?[edit]
No. Tony (talk) 03:25, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Spreads reviewers even thinner by taking the same article through multiple processes. DrKiernan (talk) 07:34, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Only two processes would be needed: The choice of either A-class, GA or PR and then the FAC. No FAC reviewers will be spread anywhere they don't want to go but the quality of FACs will be better. That will enable reviewers to concentrate on a set of FACs that are more likely to pass. Other reviewers will be brought in by distrubuting things around and making those review processes more important. --mav (talk) 23:02, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No to A-class, tentative Yes to PR. A-class status is non-existent or dead in most wikiprojects. PR has worked for me but only because there are a few lovely people out there who actually found my article on PR or I seeked some others out. In order to invigorate PR, perhaps we should make FAC a place for purely an up/down vote with the nominated article remaining frozen while on FAC. PR is the place for the reviewers where the article can evolve. Also PR should be restricted to articles in order to prepare for FAC. Or a separate PR queue should be set solely for FAC preparation. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:02, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
One of the big reasons WikiProject A-class review (WAR) is moribund is b/c A-class is supposed to be pretty close to FA. So people ignore it and go directly to FAC, where people give the detailed multi-kilobyte reviews that are supposed to happen during WAR, PR or GAN. WikiProjects are also much more capable of reviewing content vs MOS and other standards that all articles must follow. By not requiring a pass during a previous review process, we clog FAC with PR-related suggestions for improvement. We also starve those other processes of attention by making them less important. FAC should be a fairly quick support/oppose process; like it used to be. --mav (talk) 22:49, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No to all. Marskell (talk) 11:38, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
PR perhaps yes, A-class certainly not - coverage very patchy. If an article comes to FAC very weak, it should be easier to send it straight and speedily to PR. But many articles get few PR reviews. Johnbod (talk) 12:21, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No to both. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 12:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
If some nominators seem to think that we must provide detailed long lists of ways to improve an article in order for an oppose to be actionable, then yes, I think PR should be required before hand. Also, if some nominators continue to nominate constantly without also expending any effort to review other articles, I suspect we're going to see more FACs closed without any input, as that contributes to reviewer burnout also. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:20, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Require nothing. Strongly recommend PR, A class, and GA for editors new to the process. --Moni3 (talk) 13:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
In an ideal world, yes. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 14:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. That will shove the backlog elsewhere, some projects don't have A-class reviews, and some editors don't need it. Karanacs (talk) 14:47, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, as has been mentioned, the backlog will be moved elsewhere. In my project's articles, we have a fairly comprehensive ACR process that helps with all the technical MOS issues (although we aren't perfect in that regard) and my experience at a PR before FAC gave me one review that told me to remove content that was retained at FAC. About the only way I'd suggest requiring a PR is if FAC were converted to an up or down and PR was used for critiques and suggestions. Imzadi1979 (talk) 15:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Not on first nomination, but PR could be made a prerequisite before renomination to FAC. That might avoid having to set a time limit before an article returns to FAC. But I would like to hear the views of User:Ruhrfisch on this. Brianboulton (talk) 16:09, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. It will only add a layer of bureaucracy. Ruslik (talk) 16:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
A - No; articles not in a project would never be able to make FA. PR - tentative Yes Unload some of the improvement burden from FAC to another process. Arnoutf (talk) 17:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No: on the one hand, PR and ACR are understaffed, and on the other, some nominators are eminently capable of producing fine work without either. Maralia (talk) 18:00, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
My recollection was that the question was "GA, A or PR", not "A or PR". Also, the responses aren't addressing the reason for the question: how do you plan to review an article where you know nothing about the subject matter, if you can't look at some previous trustworthy review process that addressed whatever issues you're not comfortable with? Surely there is some interdependence among reviewers; asking everyone to pretend that they know everything is just asking for trouble. Interdependence among reviewers, and therefore among review processes, should be fostered. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:06, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No, at least, not presently with the lack of editors in all review areas. But I do like the encouragement of having the GA/PR/FA (or PR/GA/FA) process for newer editors to get the hang of things before dropping an article directly to FA. --MASEM 19:12, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No I often raise FAs from scratch or from stubs. It would be putting off for experienced editors waiting for A or GA class rating. =Nichalp «Talk»= 19:31, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes; the thrust of these discussions and questions seem to be addressing a concern that there are too many FACs. GA has already entrenched itself into the review system. Perhaps bringing GA into the fold by getting it to provide a specific service to FAC would be wise. Requiring all FACs go through either a GA, PR, or A-class review beforehand could work better than adding yet another review process (eg. Featured short articles). --maclean 19:49, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes The goal would be that a FAC would need to go through at least one other review process before FAC. No one process would be preferred over any other. WikiProject A-class Reveiw (WAR) in particular suffers from being in-between two other popular processes; GAN and FAC. Yes, PR, GAN and WAR are spotty and results vary, but if the expressed intent in those reviews is to eventually put an article through FAC, then I think those processes will be improved. Why? Because each will be eventually tested by FAC (this test is particularly important for WAR). Providing that feedback and test will tend to improve those processes and the quality of FACs. FAC should be a relatively quick up/down vote with very little time given to fix issues. Article improvement is much better done via earlier processes. Let's look at the bigger picture. --mav (talk) 22:40, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No to "required". However, I would say yes to encouraging an article to have gone through at least one of the review processes, whether WikiProject, Peer Review, or GAN. --erachima talk 22:52, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
No. I might be OK with a very weak version, such as requiring a first time nominator to go to either GA or PR (at the nominator's choice). But I don't think even this is really necessary. Mike Christie (talk) 01:14, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No - waste of time. If it's really bad it will only take a 2 minute review anyway. YellowMonkey (choose Australia's next top model) 05:46, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No to A-class, because few WikiProjects have A-class reviewers. Recommend, but not require a peer review or GA review (let the nominator choose) prior to FAC. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 06:16, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No to A-Class, simply because the vast majority of WikiProjects do not have the necessary structure, membership, activity levels or FAC experience to do an adequate job at this, so the results would be terrible. I'm unsure about PR, because it is good in paper, but has shown to be bad in practice. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 08:23, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
No to requiring either A-Class or PR, but I'm all for strongly recommending PR/GA before bringing an article to FAC. Anything would help in terms of reducing the time spent on peer review by another name here at FAC. A-Class and the other article ratings are a function of the WikiProjects and WP:1.0, and should have no bearing on featured content. szyslak (t) 08:36, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes I think this is a good idea - A, GA, or PR. It might even prompt more people to start reviewing in these processes. These are the processes where the article should be reviewed line by line. I always ask for reviews and any good writer will tell you how necessary they are. We should require them for the brilliant prose criteria alone. :) Awadewit (talk) 16:24, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Certainly not!. Giano (talk) 18:50, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes. At the very least one prior step should be required - either WP:GA or WP:PR at the least, IMO. Cirt (talk) 11:37, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No It should not be mandatory. Some articles are nearly ready, and having to go through an extra process is a waste of time. -- how do you turn this on 11:47, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No, as some articles are ready for FA status, not to mention that PR is often a waste of time and has a terrible backlog. –thedemonhog talkedits 22:06, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
No. - Not every project has an A-class system, and the PR system is usually hopelessly backlogged. Mr.Z-man 20:51, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No, it should not be mandatory, but I am of the belief that it helps to have a person from a Wikiproject take a look at the article for primarily content errors. PR is much too backlogged to be of great use. bibliomaniac15 22:33, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No to GA and A, but Yes to PR. --Redtigerxyz (talk) 16:25, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
No for GA or A, Yes for PR.Dineshkannambadi (talk) 20:21, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
No for all. PR varies and all of these can be gamed so would become trivial anyway. (Cynical I know). Woody (talk) 20:28, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Status of consensus[edit]

This section was written before several commenters added their opinions, so I am going to modify what I wrote below with strikeouts to preserve the original for reference.

This is a summary of how the consensus on the issues above seem to be trending.

  • Should there be a (hard or soft) minimum wordcount for an article to be an FA?
    • Note that I'm listing noms here in case I am misinterpreting your comments; please move your nom and adjust the count if I got it wrong.
    • Nobody likes preferred a hard minimum
    • 5 10 said soft minimum: Tony, RelHistBuff, Ealdgyth, Brian, Ruslik, Masem, JLWS, Fuchs, Hink, thedemonhog.
    • 5 5 just said yes to a minimum: Ling, Johnbod, jbmurray, Dank, YellowMonkey.
    • 6 11 said no to a minimum: Arnoutf, Maralia, Nichalp, Maclean, Szyslak, Titoxd, Awadewit, rst20xx, Christopher, Cirt, Gwib.
    • 4 3 said no unless there was a separate route to feature short articles: Marskell, Julian, Mike.
    • There was one weak yes (Karanacs) and one weak no (Moni3). Imzadi was neutral; Greg L specifically opposed a hard limit but did not express an opinion otherwise.
    • Summary: evenly split. If a way to feature short articles is implemented, this becomes a fairly clear weak majority (17 to 11) in favour of a soft limit.
  • Should featured status be available, in principle, to any content?
    • Summary: currently running 11 15 16 to 6 9 in favour.
  • How can we recognize high-quality short articles?
    • 2 suggested we did not need to address this now
    • 4 5 6 suggested GA as the right method
    • 4 suggested merging the articles was likely to be the right answer (includes Masem's !vote, which I wasn't sure where to put)
    • 4 3 said "featured short articles" or something similar (this time I counted Julian, JBM, and Imzadi)
    • 4 8 9 said use the existing FAC process (includes YellowMonkey, and Christopher Parham which I wasn't sure about)
    • 2 suggested a variation on DYK, using GA articles; Hink !voted GA but said he liked this idea
    • Summary: 14 18 said some form of recognition was good, while only 6 proposed no recognition or suggested merging. Beyond that there is little consensus.
  • Should the number of active reviews be limited, in order to increase focus?
    • Summary: strongly against, for various reasons.
  • Should there be any time limits at FAC?
    • Summary: Very strongly against, with some citing deference to Sandy's opposition, but most opposing independently.
  • What are the constraints on FAC's scaling, and how can these be overcome?
    • No consensus; though several interesting comments made. Too open-ended a question to generate rapid consensus. I propose we simply shelve this for now; we've got plenty of other things to discuss.
  • Should FACs be removed to an "improvement list" partway through FAC if enough reviewers agree to do so?
    • Summary: strongly against.
  • How should "comprehensive" in the FA criteria be defined?
    • Summary: This one is hard to summarize. My version would be: most agree that context is important, and that the use of all published material is important, especially so for short articles. A minority suggested that an article could be not comprehensive even with the use of all published sources (e.g. a bio without a birthdate). One person suggested that a wordcount minimum should be part of the definition.
  • Should we require an A-class status or a PR before FAC?
    • Summary: strongly against.

I will try to construct a new thread to focus conversation on the areas where there is not yet clear consensus. Mike Christie (talk) 01:56, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Cloud Gate[edit]

The FAC2 closed with little actionable commentary. The only oppose had his issue resolved. What are we suppose to be responding to. IMO, it should have been relisted.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:07, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

It's helpful to provide links to the article and to the FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:10, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Cloud_Gate/archive2 was the last FAC. We addressed the WP:CAPTION concerns of the only oppose vote. There was really nothing else to respond to. I don't really understand why you did not restart it.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 05:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Same deal at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Connie Talbot; not a single declaration after 10 days. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:27, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

That does not explain why it was neither restarted nor allowed to be renominated. Do I have to wait x number of days? Is there a rule? I know I could just nominate something else and renominate in 10 or 15 days after that is resolved, but is there a reason to have to wait several days to renominate when nothing is at issue?--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 14:38, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I feel a little guilty responding, TTT, both because I wasn't helpful with this article, and because I'm not doing a lot of reviewing at FAC, and those are both things I would have done if I weren't stretched thin with guidelines stuff and 0.7 stuff. But the bottom line is, there aren't enough reviewers, and nothing can be done about that (short term, although this is a major focus long-term). I'm getting a definite sense from what I read above that reviewers want shorter deadlines and longer waits between re-noms; Sandy's just doing her job here. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 14:52, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I suggest waiting until there are less articles at the FAC queue and the whole 0.7 nonsense is done. I know that's why I'm not contributing at top level (well that, and I'm writing my own articles, and college, but otherwise...) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:50, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm lost[edit]

The article José Sarria was being kept from FA status, as near as I can tell, because of a question about one image. The FAC was closed without explanation despite the fact that I am in communication with a number of people who can address the only issue with the article, the status of a single image. There is no justification for this FAC being closed and I am mystified as to why I am being directed here rather than keeping the FAC open for a few more days to allow for the relevant parties to get back with me. Otto4711 (talk) 05:11, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

It's helpful to provide a link to the FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:13, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Here's the link. You closed it, you should be able to explain why you closed it instead of holding it open to address one single concern despite my asking that it be held open, even without a link. "The community demands closure" is a completely ridiculous excuse. Otto4711 (talk) 05:28, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

I closed this nom because it had not garnered Support consensus in 11 days at FAC; even if the image had been resolved, it did not have sufficient consensus for promotion. See the WP:FAC instructions: A nomination will be removed from the list and archived if, in the judgment of the director or his delegate:

  • actionable objections have not been resolved;
  • consensus for promotion has not been reached; or
  • insufficient information has been provided by reviewers to judge whether the criteria have been met.

Over the summer, when FAC traffic was slow, some noms were running as long as three weeks to a month; nominations are increasing, reviewers are stretched thin, and they are asking that unsuccessful noms close sooner. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Sandy, do you see any reason this can't be renominated as soon as the image is resolved? We don't expect articles to necessarily be promoted the first time. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
That should be discussed with reviewers, who are also demanding up to 28 days between noms. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:37, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


Well, as per my previous discussion, promotion really does go randomly. I'm still outraged at the German womens football team article being recently promoted when it was clear that the nominator had refused to fix up some criteria concerns and provide answers/debates to some questions which were being asked. Sandy, I think you should really reconsider the instructions on the page you just quoted from. I don't necessarily think that a nomination needs to gain support to be promoted. As I proved before, supporting is based mostly on preference and significance. But if an article gets nominated, some reviewers put in a small amount of comments or even opposes, and the nominator clearly fixes them up completely then that is clear grounds for promotion. Even if the reviewers don't support, you cannot fail the article as all issues have been fixed up and addressed, hence it meets the criteria. Don't just look for 'Support' written in there Sandy, look actually at the comments and read them to make a judgment first. Domiy (talk) 23:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Seriously, enough. You have 'proven' nothing, except that you will grasp any possible opportunity to bring up your grievances. Here you exhort Sandy to judge consensus instead of just counting votes - previously, you have complained that she interpreted comments instead of just taking votes at face value. When Croatia failed last month, you went on an incredibly pointy trip through FAR, and posted in numerous threads accusing FAC reviewers of nationalist and racist biases. None of these tactics will result in any constructive change. If you are sincere in your convictions—as opposed to just still steaming over the archival of your FAC—then I encourage you to take a step back, reevaluate what you are trying to achieve, and adopt an approach designed not to immediately offend people. When you approach the world with the attitude 'everyone is out to get me', it quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maralia (talk) 01:39, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
As respresented by Giano. But seriously, look at the flipside. Sandy will get skewered either way for judging based on consensus or on the merits of the article. If the latter, then what's the point of having people input? Sandy is just going to use personal opinion, and that leaves no room for article improvement and tweaks. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:52, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Short articles: consensus so far, and next steps[edit]

See also: Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive31 and Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive32

Note: this thread discusses consensus on the issues listed a couple of threads up, but please continue add your comments there if you have not already done so: commenting is not "closed".

If my summary above is accurate, here's where we are.

We have consensus that short articles should be recognized in some way. If we implement a way for this to happen, then (and only then) do we have consensus on a soft minimum wordcount at FAC. Various suggestions to reduce FAC workload, such as requiring PR, or having an Improvement List, were disliked. The other relevant topic was the discussion of "comprehensive", as it interacts with the short article discussion: does comprehensive mean "using all published material" or does it go beyond that?

I propose the following as a composite statement that has consensus support:

We need to define a way to recognize short, high quality articles. Regardless of the recognition method, a short article must meet the notability and comprehensiveness criteria expressed in WP:N and WP:FACR. If it does not it should be deleted or merged, or would fail to pass muster for recognition as high quality. It would be acceptable, but not obligatory, to recognize short articles elsewhere than FAC; if this were done, the division would be by a "soft" wordcount limit.

If the above is acceptable, then I suggest we focus on the recognition process. The three key suggestions have been GA, FAC, and a new process. Perhaps a supporter of each one of those three positions could post an argument in favour of those points. I would suggest specifying how the "comprehensiveness" issue would be addressed, since that's clearly of interest to many editors.

I propose to refactor a bit if we stray too far from those points; we're getting wordy (as usual) and if nobody minds me taking a moderator role I think we could benefit from some organization. I'll try to be as neutral as possible. If anyone objects, please say so and I'll avoid doing anything moderator-like. Mike Christie (talk) 02:23, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I quite disagree with the conclusion that we have consensus in recognizing short articles in some way. When a significant percentage (remember, consensus is not simply a majority vote) disagree with questions 2 and 3, then consensus has not been achieved. I would like to note that some of our major contributors to FAC and to reviews of FAC have voted no on both questionson question 2 and proposed no special recognition on question 3. --RelHistBuff (talk) 07:51, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
This is a question of onus, Rel. The people who don't want to recognize short articles need the supermajority. As it stands, FA does recognize short articles because it's always been "comprehensiveness, not length." We have never explicitly said no to short articles. Further, I think Mike is basically right in how he's crunched the numbers. Marskell (talk) 11:29, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you that FA only recognises comprehensiveness for the moment. However, that is not the point. I do not believe Mike's composite statement above has consensus support based on the replies to questions 2 and 3. I am disagreeing with Mike's analysis. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:55, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm off to work, then will be on a plane; I may be able to edit this evening. I'd like to suggest that other editors comment on whether the attempted composite consensus statement above is accurate. I'd like to get some statement agreed, partly as a milestone, and partly as a way to help define what to discuss next. Mike Christie (talk) 12:00, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Note: At this time, of 24 votes on the FAC word limit proposal 13 support it, 2 are "probably" or neutral, 9 say no. Of the 13 supporters, 9 specify a "soft" limit and just two of these say that their support is conditional on a process being established for short articles. So I too wonder about the consensus that is being assumed. Brianboulton (talk) 13:21, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not too happy with it as a summary, as per RelHistBuff. It seems to put the cart before th horse. A minimum length for FAs is a very easy thing to introduce; any new scheme or mechanism for short articles will involve plenty more discussion. A large number of the responses on a "new way" were extremely tentative, including my own. To start the statement "We need to define a way to recognize short, high quality articles ...." doesn't seem to reflect the thrust of the comments above. Johnbod (talk) 13:23, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I have now messed up the numbers by adding my comments! I've been too ill to comment here until now. :( Awadewit (talk) 16:29, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
How about putting it this way:
There is not sufficient consensus for a word minimum for Featured article candidates but there would be if short articles were recognized in some other way.
It's a bit of a conundrum, but I think that's it. Marskell (talk) 08:25, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
I think Mike's summary is not bad, but says a bit too much, and provides more of a steer than the level of consensus really supports thus far. This short summary, however, is spot on. Geometry guy 08:53, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
  • This discussion seems to have had the unfortunate effect of making people think the commenting phase is over, but that is a better summary. But please keep adding to the comments, anyone. Johnbod (talk) 10:57, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
    I agree; I've added a note at the top of this section and the thread above to clarify that commenting is still welcome.
    I think Marskell's summary is better than the one I proposed, but the most recent comments have blurred the consensus further. (I've added noms to that section above in case I misinterpreted anyone's intent.) The first half of Marskell's version is still accurate, but implementing a "featured short articles" would only move three to the limits column, making it 17 to 11. This isn't really a strong consensus.
    If we get more comments, things can change, of course. In the meantime, how about focusing on the third question instead, "how can we recognize high quality short articles?"? Can we say there is consensus that some form of recognition is desirable, even though some believe that the right way is to use existing methods such as GA? Mike Christie (talk) 18:01, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Encouraging participation at FACs[edit]

It's easy enough to "miss" an FAC, because we're quite shy about promoting the process in the one place that it matters.

It's probably been raised before, but why do we not template the top of articles with a banner in the same way as AfD? A bot could easily handle the job when articles are listed/delisted at FAC (there's enough bureauracy already in the listing procedure).

It seems odd that Wikipedia is happy to advertise that an editor thinks an article is in poor condition (not just AfD tags, but also prod/wikify/notability/POV etc) but not that someone thinks it's terrific. --Dweller (talk) 10:02, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

That's actually a good idea. The same is true of Good Articles, and Peer Reviews. A good way to get feedback on Peer Reviews would be to advertise it on the actual article (I mean, barely any passerby would actually look at the talk page.) -- how do you turn this on 11:27, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
There is already an optional and automatic way to know what articles have been nominated for GAC, peer review, and FAC. In "Preferences", there is an option under "User interface gadgets" in which you can "display an assessment of an article's quality as part of the page header for each article." This shows a link to the specific FAC page under the title of a nominated article, which reads: "Currently a Featured Article candidate." You have to have the box ticked in order to see the links, but I find it very helpful -- not to mention it's discrete and is automatically updated if the GAC/FAC/PR is removed. María (habla conmigo) 13:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
That's extremely obscure. Someone reading Mark Speight should know if it's nominated for FAC as much as if it's nominated for AfD. Both might spark them to contribute. --Dweller (talk) 14:21, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree; surely improving articles is more important than deleting them? However, Maria, that does sound like a very useful tool - I'll check it out :-) -- how do you turn this on 14:26, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Still, I echo Masem's thoughts below. I would rather we target attention from experienced reviewers by a more professional means. By relying on indiscreet banners, we run the risk of attracting inexperienced users who have no clue as to the FA requirements or what featured material should look like; this only hinders the reviewing process. Clean-up tags are self-explanatory and easy for the "everyuser" to take care of, but FAC is a horse of a different color. María (habla conmigo) 14:35, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
As below, this elitism is counter-productive for finding new FAC reviewers and contrary to the spirit of Wikipedia. Furthermore, it's unnecessary as Sandy is more than capable of seeing dross contributions as dross contributions. --Dweller (talk) 14:41, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
The other problem I see with this is that if you do it for a topic that generally has a high readership (read: many popular culture articles), there may be a pleathera of "supports" on the grounds of "It looks good enough to me" from people that have never participated in FAC reviews before. Now, I know these can be weeded out by Sandy or whomever, but that's an additional waste of time. --MASEM 13:48, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the analysis but disagree with the conclusion. Fan supports or nonsense opposes are not a real problem at FAC (contrast with RFA) because Sandy already weighs the value of the comments, not the numbers making them. And the natural conclusion of your argument is that we should restrict FAC contributions to an elite, when what we really want to do is fling our doors open and welcome contributors who may currently not even know we exist. --Dweller (talk) 14:23, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

I believe (although I can't put my hands on the policy or guideline page right now) the reason is that we don't put Wiki maintenance issues into mainspace, where they impact our readers, unless it's to notify our readers of a problem. We can't be littering our articles with back office Wiki stuff, unless we must tell our readers that the article isn't neutral, isn't notable, etc. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:38, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Agree with Sandy on this point. Although the user interface gadgets are awesome- WikiEd and that page status/notifier thing are definitely getting enabled. :) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:42, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

The candidates page gets about 500 hits a day, compared to 25 000 hits for Portal:Featured content. Perhaps, one way to increase visibility would be to make candidates more obvious there? DrKeirnan (talk) 08:51, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Short articles follow up[edit]

See also: Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive31 and Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive32

The discussion of short articles appears to have died down somewhat, but there is no clear resolution. I tried above to formulate a consensus statement but I don't think there is sufficient consensus on some issues for that to have been the right step. This is an attempt to do something slightly different: I propose that there are several composite solutions that make sense. So I would like us to discuss (or add to) the following list of possible ways to proceed.

Summarizing an earlier summary, it appears most of us agree that:

  • There's no need to restrict the number of active reviews, or to have a time limit at FAC
  • There's no need to require any prerequisites to FAC, or to augment it with a "FAC improvement" process"

The areas where there was not clear consensus are:

  • Should short articles get some form of recognition? If so, how? FA, GA, new process?
  • Should there be a minimum (soft) word count at FAC?
  • How should the "comprehensive" criterion in WP:FACR be interpreted?

The separation of these questions made it appear that there were a great many possible ways to assemble answers out of different possible points of view. However, several answers are logically related -- for example, those who supported not recognizing short articles generally supported a minimum wordcount in some way. So I thought it might be useful to assemble some of these positions into what I hope are logically consistent groups, and see if that starts further useful discussion.

Here are some ways forward that assemble different answers to this in ways that I think are consistent. For brevity, I have not specified throughout that any wordcount minimum would have "soft" enforcement; this was clearly the consensus above so I am assuming it here.

  1. Status quo. Short articles are recognized at FAC if they draw enough support votes. There is no minimum word count at FAC. "Comprehensive" is to be interpreted by common sense, but it does not explicitly eliminate short articles. Note: we can reach this point by inability to reach consensus or by consensus that this the right answer; if this is indeed going to be the end point, I'd prefer the latter.
  2. New process; part of FA. Short articles are explicitly recognized, under the FA label. Raul and Sandy have authority over the process. A separate queue/page is set up, or else FAC is used and an FA is marked as a short FA, but not otherwise treated differently. Criteria are identical except for length. Distinction is drawn on the basis of word count. An article is an FSA or FA as a result, depending on the decision of the FA director or delegate. Comprehensiveness is interpreted identically for FAs as for FSAs.
  3. New process; similar to FA. Short articles are explicitly funneled into a new process -- "featured short articles" or something similar. It is parallel to FAC in the same way that FLC and FPC are; it would choose its own director(s) and would not be within Raul/Sandy's remit. FAC and FSAC would agree some boundary between them, probably between 1000 and 1500 words. Criteria at FSAC, including "comprehensive", would be up for discussion, though probably very similar to FACR.
  4. New process; not similar to FA. A new recognition method is set up for short articles; one such suggestion is to use something like DYK on the main page to recognize good short articles. A word count minimum is set up at FAC. Criteria are up to the definition of the new process.
  5. Existing process; GA. A word count minimum is set up at FAC. Articles not eligible at FAC are eligible at GA, but no further process is created. GA criteria apply. Comprehensiveness is dealt with by GA's requirement for broad coverage.
  6. No recognition. A minimum wordcount is set up at FAC. No further attention is paid to the question of short articles.

A couple of notes:

  • Practically speaking options 5 and 6 are identical.
  • Options 3-6 don't require the agreement of or involvement of Raul and/or Sandy. Option 2 does; at least I can't imagine it going forward with their active disagreement.

I'd like to hear other opinions. At the risk of starting a hare, I will add one link to an existing FAC: this one, which I nominated as a result of the early discussions here and which has drawn a lot of comments. I would particularly like to point out DrKiernan's oppose, which infers from the requirement in FACR for a "substantial table of comments" that articles were not intended to be short. This requirement was in the first revision of the criteria, so it has had long-standing support. I think it quite possible that the intention of this phrase was, as DrK suggests, to require that the article itself be substantial. I considered withdrawing the FAC on those grounds, but I can't be sure that that was the intent. In any case, I think it is better to go ahead and remake the consensus now. Mike Christie (talk) 01:35, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Honestly, I'm mostly for keeping processes streamlined--which is why though I disagreed with the creation of Good Topics, I was happy keeping the candidates at WP:FTC. I really don't see why another level after GA should be instituted for short articles. Maybe you could have a "super-special" addition to GA where two or three editors got together and hammered together a consensus GA review, if you're concerned about the one-man review issue with GA. But creating an entirely new FA process which isn't FA will just drain energy from the arguably more important and perennially strained areas. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:45, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I totally agree (with Fuchs), which is why I also don't like the GT process. Gary King (talk) 01:54, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

I just took a tour through WT:FAC archives, WP:WIAFA archives, and old versions of WP:FA; it does appear that the notion of a substantial Table of Contents has always been present. The discussion of short articles has also been present, all the way back in the earliest archives. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:57, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

My take on the short vs. longer article issue is simple. It's not that GA doesn't do a good job recognizing work on articles. GA at least now is a stepping stone up the ladder of quality, for better or for worse. My experience in the last year changed as I became actively involved for the first time in quality expansion of the article coverage with my wikiproject not just quantity of coverage. My experience is that GA status is a milestone for an article, yes, but that there's still room for improvement. An article can be tightened up technically on MoS issues (dashes, dates, image placement, etc) as well as further copy edited and improved on prose. The GA process doesn't require this level of perfecting to recognize the article, so denying the FAC process to an article doesn't seem to offer any incentive to improve the article beyond that which is necessary to attain GA status. Our project has a fairly robust A-Class Review process to prepare for FAC, but it's not quite the same. Why do the extra work to improve an article when it's already "topped" out the scale? Imzadi1979 (talk) 03:31, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

The "extra work" is probably still less work than that done working on a longer article. –thedemonhog talkedits 03:36, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I might agree if GA worked like it's supposed to, but there's a massive structure-function discrepancy inherent in GA since... well, as long as I've been here, and most likely as long as GA has. A good number (to me, it feels like a majority, but that's purely an empathic guess) of GA's pass not meeting even GA's relatively lax criteria. That is why I suggest improving it from the ground up. GA often does function as quantity over quality, and I feel that should be addressed before we start talking about incentives and article improvement for non-FA worthy articles. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:37, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to break down Mike's analysis slightly. There are a number of issues related to short articles. What do "comprehensive" and "substantial" mean for articles of less than 1000 words? Is the labour intensive FAC process really necessary for them? Are they suitable candidates for Today's Featured Article?
We also have a number of tools and ideas available. The FA star and FAC is one. I'd like to focus on two others.
  • GA was originally intended to recognise short articles, but is now widely used as a stepping stone in article improvement. Nevertheless it still produces a lot of good short articles. Can we make better use of it?
  • At the moment the main page recognises 5 day old articles and our very best work. It does not showcase in any way the work that goes on inbetween. Can we make better use of it?
I have suggested that the answer to both questions is yes, and that a combination of Mike's options 4 and 5 would provide a way to recognise short articles using GA as a filter and the main page as the reward. A minimum word count at FAC is not necessary for this, but the alternative path to the main page might be just as attractive to editors. But the tools are there, and others may have other ideas on how to use them more effectively.
Concerning GA, it has actually been improving from the ground up: the review subpages have been effective at adding accountability, and forcing reviewers to justify their actions with comments (one good sign is that GAR is used much less often now). However it would be easy to use a process like DYK to week out the "bad" GAs, and copyedit the good ones. Concerning Mike's FAC, I think it illustrates how close is the dividing line between FA and GA standard for really short articles. Geometry guy 08:23, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I'm on some serious sinus pills today, but what are we deciding on? Mike, what would you like from us? Ealdgyth - Talk 15:50, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

I'd like us to reach a consensus on this issue. My reading of the sections above is that more than half of us feel the current state of affairs could be improved. As it stands, if we stop talking now, the "status quo" description above will apply. Essentially that means that short articles are reviewed at FAC on a case by case basis and are promoted if they get enough support. Is that OK with everyone? (Personally I wouldn't mind, as it's not too far from my own view, but I thought I was in a minority.)
If the status quo is OK, there's no need to say more here. If not, say so; and if enough say so perhaps another attempt to gain consensus might be worth trying -- a straw poll of the six options listed above, for example. Mike Christie (talk) 02:03, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
My feeling is that (a) most people are exhausted by this discussion and (b) they are against the idea of a new process, if only because they fear that this will mean more endless discussions about the form of that process. So the real choice is likely to be between status quo and the 5 and 6 options. Earlier discussions don't lead me to believe that there is a consensus for the 5/6 options, so a straw poll will probably indicate status quo as the least disfavoured option. My own instinct would be to go for options 5 or 6, with a relatively low word minimum at FAC which would exclude the shortest articles while still allowing relatively short aticles to be featured. But who am I among so many? Brianboulton (talk) 10:21, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I was always against reviewing short articles separately, so in this case I am for the status quo. Awadewit (talk) 10:40, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)I am against a new process and I am also against the status quo. Originally, the problem was raised in the multiple number of minor hurricanes and roads appearing on FAC. Without some kind of action on our part, more minute articles will appear in other subject areas. Tony noted, with irony and humour, the article on the manhole cover. OK, not a great example because it is not notable, but I am certain that eventually two-paragraph "comprehensive" articles will be submitted to FAC on any subject, never mind hurricanes. I do want to have these tiny articles on Wiki, but not as FAs. In my opinion, the FA "brand" should be maintained. If the status quo is maintained, I am afraid FA will be watered-down to the point that it is almost useless as an incentive to write quality articles that this encyclopedia needs. Plus resources will be required to write these less-desired articles and to review them. A quick fix is to place a word-limit (albeit arbitrary) on FACs and let GA handle short articles. If someone could come up with a discriminator based on scope, I would definitely vote for that. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:06, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Um, by the way that means I support option 5 and 6. --RelHistBuff (talk) 11:11, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

First, this is becoming exhausting and I fear we're going to do nothing because we're talking too much.
Anyway. We could go back to the Excellent short articles idea. Both GA and FA could have a refer to ESA as an option. The third process would stream like DYK to the main page. We could simply do this through GA as G'Guy is suggesting but that doesn't actually marry the processes, which is one of the goals. Marskell (talk) 11:36, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
We should not be tied to a main page spot. Based on current applications, there would be difficulty in finding enough articles for a daily rotation, and a diet heavily relying on American storms, American roads, 2 issue sci-mags (American), gamesware, and rock songs (from America) is unlikely to be able to hold its place there for long, imo. Of course the Pokemon project may take it up to give a bit of global balance. Johnbod (talk) 11:47, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Um, sorry Marskell, but why go straight to the ESA new process idea? There is a simple solution. Just add the word-count limitation to WIAFA, full-stop. GA handles short articles as an interim. This does not preclude starting a new ESA process, if there is such a consensus. But that should be decided separately. --RelHistBuff (talk) 12:00, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
The problem with that is that those who think short articles should be at some version of FAC don't want the word count put in without agreeing what happens to short articles. Mike Christie (talk) 12:09, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. So, have an initial poll now, on the question "Should there be a separate process for dealing with short articles outside FAC"? If the answer is "no", then move straight on to a poll to choose between status quo and options 5/6. If the answer is "yes" to the separate process question, well at least that removes status quo from the options list and we can move forward from there. Brianboulton (talk) 12:54, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
How many truly short articles are put up for FA? How many of those are comprehensive? (I would think "Not many" is the answer to both questions). If the worry here is that people start putting short articles up for FA and that somehow undermines the status of the longer FAs then that's fairly sad. It might undermine it if being short exempted an article from all the other criteria, but it doesn't. If a short article meets the criteria it is featured standard. If a short article isn't comprehensive then it doesn't meet the criteria. What exactly is the objection to short articles? Don't take long enough to read? Perhaps we are incapable of analysing their shortcomings at FAC? (and for anybody who wants to wade through it: a previous discussion of upper and lower limits. Yomanganitalk 14:31, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
1) An increasing number - I think 4 in a week recently. 2) The question is what comprehensiveness means for a 1/4 mile stretch of out-of-town road, a a 40 mph storm over the sea, a sci-fi fiction mag with 2 issues, and so on. It is obviously far easier to be comprehensive on a micro-topic than a big, or even normal-sized one, and if you read the discussions above you will see that many people think these will become increasingly, and problematically, common. Johnbod (talk) 14:46, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Can't see the problem. You have to decide what comprehensive is for every article, not just the short ones (it's normally easier to do for the short ones), and while a short article may require less research than a longer one that isn't necessarily the case. Why should how easy an article was to produce be a defining factor of whether that article becomes featured? Surely quality is what we should look for here rather than how much effort went into producing it. Nobody seems to have defined the particular problem with short articles that needs solving. Yomanganitalk 16:34, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Please, let's not start another "What's the problem?" discussion. There is evidence enough that sufficient people perceive that there is a potential problem over ultra-short (not just "short") articles, and want to resolve it rather than continue talking about it. I repeat my request: a poll on the general question of a new process for dealing with short articles outside FAC. If the answer to that is "yes", discussion moves to the nature of that process. If the answer is no, it's a simple choice between status quo and what are described above as options 5/6. The "I don't see a problem" people can vote no on the first question, and for the status quo on the second. Surely no more general discussion is necessary. Brianboulton (talk) 16:49, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
So we should vote on the solution without anybody being able to state what the problem is? Yomanganitalk 17:10, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
No, the problem has been discussed and defined ad nauseum. It arises from a recent series of extremely short articles on extremely limited topics, which may be technically "comprehensive" in terms of their micro-topics, but do not provide any breadth of knowledge. There is a feeling that such articles should not be presented as wikipedia's best work. There is further concern that a flood of similar articles, which can obviously be produced relatively quickly, will obstruct the FA process. That is the problem as perceived; you may not think it is a problem, but clearly some do. Brianboulton (talk) 19:00, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Ad nauseum indeed, but still we have a definition of the problem that fails to address why length is an issue. The problem appears to be not the length of the articles but rather their scope. Taking roads as an example, would we be happy with 9000 individual road articles if they were each 30K of readable prose? I'm sure it wouldn't be any more difficult to turn out longer articles in equally quick fashion using the cookie cutter approach (bizarrely you'd then get into the position of length mattering at FAC; not the length of the article but the length of the road, since longer roads would allow for more description and hence be easier to get past the post). Yomanganitalk 23:23, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
You are, I think, raising a different issue, about how many articles of a certain type (roads, pop songs, hurricanes, antarctic explorers, etc), irrespective of length or anything else, the encyclopaedia ought to tolerate if it is to establish and maintain a position as a source of reference rather than a repository of obsessions. Welcome back, by the way. Brianboulton (talk) 00:22, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Yeah it's chiefly those explorers I want to get rid of. Arf. Yomanganitalk 00:43, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Mike raised the question about 2b, but I've not seen it discussed (emphasis mine):

2 (b) appropriate structure—a system of hierarchical headings and a substantial but not overwhelming table of contents

This has been present in WP:WIAFA since its earliest version (as has the discussion of short articles); depending on how this crit. is interpreted, there may be no need for a word count discussion. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:47, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

substantial was always nonsense. Appropriate would be better. Yomanganitalk 17:10, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but what is comprehensive on a road article? The US-Roads project seems to think that just a route description and history is necessary, but is that really comprehensive? And really, there comes a point where we need to settle on something to define comprehensive or appropriate, if only so folks don't get disappointed. I'm inclined to think that there SHOULD be a table of contents, and it should consist of more than a couple of entries. Personally, i don't think substantial in 2b is nonsense at all. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:16, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Welcome back, Yomangani. Two of the FACs which led to this discussion, initially as how to define comprehensive, then moving in to whether they could be/should be merged, then to word count, then back to the Excellent short articles proposal, are Tropical Storm Erick (2007) and Utah State Route 103. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:39, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Sandy. These seem to cover it: weren't promoted as they were the subject of a merger discussion, had flaws in the prose and/or were questioned on comprehensiveness (withdrawals aside I'm guessing they wouldn't have been promoted anyway). Looks like FAC working fine to me. We don't need to run around wailing and gnashing our teeth every time somebody submits a short article if we apply the criteria and common sense. Yomanganitalk 23:23, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
No assumptions :-) No decision was made about their promotion (how's that for passive voice?). They were both withdrawn by nominator, and had issues other than scope, so we didn't get to consensus on scope, and my attempts to reorient the conversation to how we interpret 1b or 2b have so far been unsuccessful. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:31, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

<outdent> The "problem", it seems, is that FAC is trying to restrict the number on its list, so the list does not become "overwhelmed" and necessitate a system that "has worked for years" be re-evaluated and perhaps improved to accommodate an increased number of applicants. The FAC elite appears to want to keep the number of applicants down, but not restrict the time on the list, thus allowing articles to remain for more than a month and encouraging endless debate. This appears to be the view of those priviledged "experienced" FAC editors.

Perhaps there should be an Feature Book Candidate (FBC), since the only constriction on article length, versus this push for a limit on shortness, seems to be the practical one of accessibility for those readers without endless bandwidth. (The technical aspects of accessing a FBC could be worked out by dividing it into independent chapters.)

From my point of view, the tendency of FAC is toward increasing length, complexity and density of text, making reading a FA a visual endurance test, especially the more recent FA. It would be nice to see some effort and shortening overly long, unnecessarily inclusive, textually dense articles, rather than pushing for the exclusion of short, fascinating articles. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:18, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Matisse, please stop bringing up the Samuel Johnson FAC; you have been told repeatedly that it's lengthy appearance on the list was an aberration because Sandy had to recuse herself from evaluating it for promotion. I think by now we all "get it" that you think the FAC process is fatally flawed - can you please help us improve it? Karanacs (talk) 17:33, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I didn't bring it up. You are reading into a comment something that I did not state. I cannot give an opinion about article length? Please allow me to have opinions without attacking me. I have made comments about article length before and my view has nothing to do with Samuel Johnson. How strange that it is you that bring it up. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:04, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I just want to know waht is comprehensive, so we ALL have clarity about what is meant. Personally, I don't find "short" (less than 1000 words) articles fascinating, I find them lacking, and am left wondering what's missing. i really don't care HOW long the FAC list gets, I just think that we need to make more effort to make sure the articles really ARE comprehensive. I don't consider a tropical storm that, while named, never reaches land, or a road that's under 20 miles (unless particularly scenic) to be "fascinating", i just find them short. (Sorry to pick on folks, either Julian or the Roads folks, it's not that I don't think ya'll do good work with the longer stuff, you do, its the shorter stuff that fails the interesting factor). If comprehensive means we put a lower word count limit as well as the defacto upper word limit we currently have, so be it. If we keep muddling along ... we'll survive, but some of the shorter articles FACs may become much more contentious if folks start going "I think it's too short". Right now, the waters are unclear. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:43, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
... to accommodate an increased number of applicants. Do you have some data for this "increased number of applicants"? I've been following FAC for three years, and I'm not aware of it. The potential for an increased number of ultra-short applicants, without clarity on what we mean in WP:WIAFA by comprehensive, is the current concern. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:26, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Sandy has centered the point here, as have others in this thread. I think an alternative path to the main page for ultra-short articles is the way forward. The GA/DYK approach to doing this has several advantages (in answer to Johnbod's and Marskell's comments). First it requires essentially no new process. Second GA has already a ready-made supply of short articles, and it continues to produce them at a high rate (it "scales"). Many are on "American storms, American roads,... gamesware, and rock songs (from America)", but many are not, and the main page has the benefit of selective editorial control. The analogue of WP:DYK or WP:TFA could be called "Excellent short articles" if editors wish, but it would simply be a selection process to copyedit the good eggs, and discard the bad ones. I think there would be no shortage of editors wanting to help manage it without draining resources away from processes like FAC and PR. Geometry guy 19:32, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, in response to RelHistBuff, this approach keeps the FA "brand" distinctive. Geometry guy 21:32, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
GA on the main page is a different subject. We were talking about ESA's. Would there be a maximum length figure for these, I wonder? Johnbod (talk) 22:23, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Clearly there would be a maximum length: the whole point is to provide main page recognition for short articles. GA is just a source and a filter. Geometry guy 22:54, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I rarely disagree with Geometry guy, but I think talking about the main page is a distraction. The issue is assessment of quality, not exposure for quality articles. I understand that DYK has had a positive effective on quality, but we still need to settle the quality issue first. Mike Christie (talk) 00:40, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
This is about quality assessment. Although a DYK/TFA mechanism would be used, this is not DYK (which is about 5 day old articles meeting minimum standards) but about selecting and copyediting the best short GAs, essentially against the FA criteria, but without creating a whole new bureaucracy and a drain on reviewer resources.
If you suggested a GA for the main page, would you not want to make sure it got selected? Would you not want to make sure it did Wikipedia proud? This is option 4 with a bit of 5 thrown in, Mike. I fail to see how that can be a distraction! Geometry guy 18:48, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Wait just a minute... I feel a need here to point something out. As a member of one of the project being "discussed" here concerning the shorter articles, I must point out something. Feature Article Candidates and Main Page appearances are TOTALLY SEPARATE CREATURES. FAC is NOT TFA. As someone who worked a lot to get two roads articles up to FAC, either of which would not be affected by this whole discussion (M-35 (Michigan highway) and M-28 (Michigan highway)) I am not completely interested in either of them being TFA. If either were selected, I'd be honored, but that's not why I write articles on Wikipedia. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Besides with the numbers being what they are, it's not likely that either of those two articles will be specifically chosen as a TFA. Any shorter Featured Article, Featured Short Article (I oppose Excellent Short Articles at the moment for other reasons) faces the similar potential fate. There are too many FAs now of any length with too productive of editors continuing to create Feature Article content to ever guarantee that any article will ever get put on the Main Page. So, for purposes of this discussion, we need to take TFA off the table completely as it doesn't matter, period. Imzadi1979 (talk) 00:34, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

No, never take TFA of the table of discussions of FA. I will not. I can not. Green eggs and ham notwithstanding, TFA = FA; FA = TFA. :-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:01, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Section break, of an arbitrary nature[edit]

Some opinions:

  • "Substantial" in WIAFA was probably written in the days when GA was intended for short articles. I agree with Yomangani that "appropriate" would be a better word.
  • The concern about a flood of short articles at FAC is, so far, hypothetical. I haven't been following FAC closely, but I gather from other comments that none of the four Sandy mentioned have done particularly well; my own is running about 50-50 and the others I understand are worse off or already withdrawn. I don't see a flood following that.
  • Editors with FA experience who write short articles value FA criteria and are hard to interest in a new process. (This category includes me, and apparently quite a few others.)
  • There is currently no consensus on a word count minimum at FAC.

To get consensus on a word count minimum at FAC, it seems those who want it will have to agree that short articles have some form of recognition. This would get more support if FA standards (rather than some new set of standards) applied to those short articles. Those standards would have the most credibility if Raul & Sandy supported and took responsibility for those articles, possibly with further delegation.

I don't like Brian's idea of an up-or-down vote on "should short articles have a separate process" because I think these issues are too tightly linked. I propose instead an up-or-down vote on: "Short articles should be recognized by FA criteria under the directorship of Raul and his delegates, who would be free to create separate pages if appropriate to manage such articles. Featured short articles are not eligible for TFA. The boundary between featured short articles and featured articles is between 1000 and 1500 words, to be adjudicated by Raul or his delegate. A separate page for FSA candidates and for listing FSAs may be created at Raul's discretion."

-- Mike Christie (talk) 01:10, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

My suggestion was an attempt to reach a decision by a series of stages, each of which eliminated one or more factors from the discussion. The trouble with Mike's composite proposal is that people will say "I agree with x, but not with y". Or will start another discussion of the "what's the problem?" nature. Still, if this is the proposal on the table, I am prepared to support it. Brianboulton (talk) 08:45, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's still sitting there: Wikipedia:Featured short articles. But I feel we're going in circles now. Marskell (talk) 10:45, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I'll support it. I would prefer it be under Raul's aegis, using identical criteria to FAC, but I'll support Marskell's proposal as it stands and we can see how well it works. Mike Christie (talk) 10:56, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I know I'm probably ticking Brianboulton off now, but I still haven't seen a rationale for why "short" is a problem. Not the additional problems that might be perceived as associated with being short (such as lack of comprehensiveness which, of course, is equally applicable with being long) but actually "short" itself. The closest to an explanation I can see is on the Wikipedia:Featured short articles page: they are not suitable for TFA. Fine. Neither are other articles. Will we be starting Wikipedia:Featured articles with swear words in the title? Or maybe just Wikipedia:Featured articles not suitable for use on the main page? Not being suitable for TFA is a very minor problem and one which Raul has proved himself quite capable dealing with without the need to split it out. Yomanganitalk 11:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd support Marskell's proposal just because I see little chance for consensus on anything else. Perhaps that's the wrong reason. Another option would be for anyone interested in the outcome who has not yet commented at the Space SF FAC to go there and support or oppose. It may turn out that this debate will be settled not by agreement or disagreement here, but by the precedent set by that FAC. Mike Christie (talk) 12:00, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Don't worry about ticking me off, it happens all the time. I'm not again going to set out what I think is the problem with short articles, enough is enough My support for the above is based on its being the only option going bar the status quo. An inch of progress is better than none. Brianboulton (talk) 13:00, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Addressing Mike's point that the Space SF FAC might stand as a test case for short articles: the problem with that is nobody is objecting to its length; they are objecting on concerns of 1b and 2b (the concerns that Sandy attempted to raise above) and scope (which Brianboulton alludes to above and Ling.Nut mentions below). Lots of people mention it is short and they don't like short articles (Good for them, I don't like articles on celebrities but I'm not going to suggest they are worth creating a new process for), but the objections—with the exception, perhaps, of Tony's desire to have some more meat—are all concrete references to the criteria, the length not withstanding. I see short articles as problematic only in this context: they are trumpeted as short in the nomination and then the shortness is picked up as a bone of contention to argue around the other problems. As long as short articles are subject to the same criteria as other candidates they don't get through unless they meet the standard. Giving them special consideration and extra time on FAC is a problem of our own making. Reconsidering 1b and 2b will give you a solution to the "short article problem": if 1b stands as is, no truly short article can pass, and if 2b is read as written (it neglects no major facts or details), rather than as it neglects no major facts or details covered by the easily available sources then many more articles both short or long will fail (or, if adopting Awadewit's approach, never be nominated). Yomanganitalk 14:12, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Despite the "theoretical discussions" and "gameplans" I think the "matchplay" on FAC indicates that people are a bit sceptical about short articles. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 03:12, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

"Scope is the time, is the place, is the motion; Scope is the way we are feeling." Just thought I'd babble a bit. No really. My problem with short FAs, I've realized, is not their length per se, except to the degree that narrow scope necessitates shorter length. I.. look at recent FACs (such as a recent one about a TV-actor) and I think.. we've got only one top-level heading (biography) .. the first section contains some nondescript childhood bio junk .. the second sections gives a resume' quite characteristic of some second-rate actor-wannabes all over the world, plus some praise from some TV critics (who are paid to do praise) for some shows that will be forgotten in a year or three, and we have an arrest, and we have a tragic death. Five years from now, who cares? How many in-depth analyses of the work of this individual will appear in refereed journals? Even among lighter fare, how many books will do more than mention his name in passing at best—in fact, how many will do even that? We could end up, on the second or third nom, FA'ing an article that no one will read or care about simply because its prose is grammatical and its references are well-formatted. Look again: "simply because its prose is grammatical and its references are well-formatted." The battleground that was Notability has largely (though not entirely) been won by inclusionists (as always and everywhere is the case), because Notability is just so darned hard to pin down to a precise definition. But scope is mechanical: a certain number of sections, a certain number or paragraphs per section, every paragraph must be relevant and well-written, then "we're done". Can someone smarter than me (you know who you are) please tackle a set of scope-based criteria? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 12:33, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm fine with basing it not on word count but on some sort of scope driven criteria, perhaps "An article's scope shall not be too narrowly defined, such that the article could be merged into parent articles easily." (Note that I suck at writing policy, so that's merely an idea, feel free to rip it to shreds). Ealdgyth - Talk 13:42, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. From the very beginning I was wondering if we could come up with scope-based criteria. It's qualitative. --RelHistBuff (talk) 14:38, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
I think that's just about the least satisfactory of the options on the table. I'd even rather go with Marskell's Featured Short Articles proposal. Decisions on whether or not to merge an article are not within the scope of FAC, and ought not to be in its scope. If the article in some way fails to meet whatever it is that the comprehensive criterion is clarified to mean, that's a different story. But asking whether an article could be merged with another is not the same as asking whether it should be merged. Neither do I agree with the notion that scope can be boiled down to a set of numbers measuring simple things like number of paragraphs per section. How is the relevance of each paragraph to be quantified? --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 14:58, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
Could you come up with a better example of a qualitative criterion? The FSA proposal would require some kind of quantitative and arbitrary cutoff, something I only accepted as there was no better solution. Take a look at WIAFA; there are no numbers which is why it can work as a long-standing policy. Ealdgyth's example is a good start. By the way "comprehensive", as defined in WIAFA, is different from "scope". --RelHistBuff (talk) 17:46, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
If your question is do I think that quantitative measures, like counts of paragraphs per section or the like, give any insight into quality then my answer is that just because you can measure it doesn't mean that you should. As has been said elsewhere (by Yomangani?) I'm really not sure I see what the problem is in the first place, but if there's a consensus that FAs have to be larger than the slot allocated for TFA then so be it. BTW, I'm quite aware of the difference between "scope" and "comprehensiveness". I would recommend though that you check your favourite dictionary for the distinction between "qualitative" and "quantitative". --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:17, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
??? I think you better read that again. I said that Ealdgyth's proposal is "qualitative". FSA's is quantitative. Anyway, it appears no one wants a qualitative criterion. --RelHistBuff (talk) 20:13, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Even more arbitrary section break[edit]

Regarding Marskell's "going in circles", maybe we could come in for a landing if we focus on what I think is generally agreed to be the top problem at FAC, not enough reviewers (of the quality we want, anyway). There is and always has been a problem that almost no one becomes a reviewer who knows what they're doing unless they first write a Featured Article ... that's a pretty high bar! If we want help, we're going to have to reach out a little bit. Even though the `GA process, and DYK on the main page, and FAC, aren't particularly linked in any way, I nevertheless feel that the best solution is to ask Mark/Raul654 the DYK folks to consider allowing an article snippet at the top of DYK, for shorter articles that otherwise meet FAC standards ... we could do it here in the usual queue, and if reviewers don't want to read it and support, for any reason or no reason, it doesn't get into DYK (except in the usual way, by being dramatically expanded or created within the last 5 days and being selected). What this does is lower the bar a little bit to pulling people into thinking like FAC reviewers, not by changing the requirements (all the FAC criteria still apply, except length and comprehensiveness), but just by giving people less work to do, because the article would in general be shorter. After they have their day at DYK, I think there would be a real temptation for them to go ahead and expand the article and get the bronze star. Obviously, this creates more articles to review and thus more work, but no one is forced to review these shorter articles, and they would be easier to review by virtue of being shorter, and I contend that it's a good use of time if it creates more FAC reviewers over time. It might also over time help to erode the sense of some people at GAN that FAC is too fussy and too far out of reach. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:31, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

P.S. The advantage of doing them in the usual FAC queue instead of in a different process is so that we don't waste reviewers' time. Someone might put up a 1200-word article for FAC, it's initially agreed that the article is long enough to quality as FA, then after a week, people decide that it meets most of the criteria but it's not long or comprehensive enough. Still, it might make it as a DYK GA, and all of the comments during that week would still be relevant to trying to quality for that, as well as being relevant to a future FAC for the same article when it becomes more comprehensive and/or longer. Think of this as a way of painting what so far has been "flat-out failure" as "partial success" by getting a place as the first, slightly longer entry at DYK, which is likely to make for happier writers. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:52, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
You lost me at the second sentence: There is and always has been a problem that almost no one becomes a reviewer who knows what they're doing unless they first write a Featured Article. Three counterexamples: Dr pda, Colin, me. I think the clue to getting more reviewers is for FAC regulars to make sure that FAC reviewers are treated respectfully. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:31, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Raul isn't in charge of DYK or GA, so I'm not sure what his permission has to do with anything. --JayHenry (talk) 02:25, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
This isn't the first time that I didn't know what I was talking about. It seems like a reasonable goal and plan to motivate more people to come here, without relaxing our standards, but I'll rely on the community's judgment on this; I also like what Mike Christie is saying. Sandy, you know that you, Colin and Dr pda are amazingly self-motivating; not everyone is. Most people need reasons to investigate new things. Ah, I see now that DYK is a whole big committee thing; I guess you know now I've never had a DYK :) I'll go bug them in a day or two. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 04:59, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Dan's basic idea is sound and similar to G'Guy's. But which process to use for a DYK-style review? GA is established and actually doesn't need the "permission" of FA to do so. But if it's GA, then no link is created to FA—they continue in splendid isolation, a situation we have been trying to overcome for years. If it's FA that reviews the shorter articles then again the link is not created. Further, people seem to be saying that giving the star to short articles will somehow compromise the idea of our "best work." I don't agree with that but others seem to. So perhaps a third adjective, "Excellent", may be best. Call it the child of both GA and FA. But then only Sandy and I seem really gung-ho in that direction.
So I dunno. Marskell (talk) 13:23, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

(undent; prejudiced against trafficking in colons). It's not the idea I have a problem with; it's the implementation. Competent or even semi-competent reviewers are a scarce resource. If you suck even one competent reviewer away from FAC, then I'm not sure you've done the encyclopedia a service. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:03, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm really confused now. There is a lot of turning in circles because there are various solutions being offered despite the fact that nobody seems to be able to put their finger on the problem—I've still to hear an explanation for "short articles shouldn't be FACs" that doesn't resolve to something else being the problem (most of which seem to already be covered by the FA criteria). What problem is this latest scheme proposing to solve? Yomanganitalk 16:47, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to see GA be the ultimate goal for very short articles (300-1000 words), and am not in love with the concept of another review process for articles. I just don't see where the reviewers are going to come from. FAC doesn't have enough reviewers, and GAN has a 150+ article backlog, so they are obviously short-handed too. But I don't have an FA, so I clearly don't know what I'm doing. :-) (Sorry, Dank. Couldn't help myself.) Giants2008 (17-14) 17:13, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Giants, no offense taken, and that was a dumb thing for me to say. Yomangan, if we have a chance to take a stab at our No. 1 problem, lack of reviewers, let's do that; but if the DYK folks (some of which are also FAC reviewers) and/or you guys don't like this idea, then I'll drop it and support what Yomangan and Mike are saying. Marskell, we shouldn't IMV shoot for a more direct connection between GAN and FAC. Many, maybe most, of the regular contributors to GAN are right where they want to be; although I think their articles would usually benefit from FAC, they just aren't interested. But I see some people doing great work at GAN who may be intimidated by FAC, style guidelines, and professional English, and who would be really happy at FAC if someone gave them a hand getting started. I can do some of this myself, but my job would be a little easier if I could copyedit their current GA up to short-FAC standards and stick it in the queue and get them a quick DYK; that collaboration would start to demystify FAC for them, and maybe whet their appetite for going for the bronze star. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:21, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

(←) In response to Marskell, I am very gung-ho about getting GA and FA to work more seamlessly together, but any characterization in terms of "splendid isolation" is just plain out of date. GA is already used, together with PR, as a stepping stone to FA, and the short articles issue does provide an opportunity for an integrated solution. I like the idea of "Excellent short articles", but a new process won't help to integrate GA and FA further without buy-in from editors interested in both.

Also, I'm concerned, as are Ling and others, about a potential drain on reviewer resources, when such a drain is unnecessary: for short articles, the difference between an (up-to-scratch) GA is often not much more than copyediting for prose and MoS, and the difficult-to-define comprehensiveness issue. So, all that is really needed is a lightweight system to filter out GAs which are not up-to-scratch and copyedit those which are. This doesn't require the extensive and diverse skills of FAC reviewers.

The term "featured" literally refers to being featured on the main page, although some (e.g. recent) FAs have not been featured, and some may never be. From this perspective the natural thing to do would be to designate selected short GAs as "Featured short articles", but I think any designation (be it "Excellent" or "Featured") has to come after the process is up and running. A designation is intimately linked to the level of quality control and the more quality control we require, the more reviewer resource is needed. I invite all editors to look for the right balance. Geometry guy 20:01, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to take the lack of response to that as maybe an indication that people are thinking about something else; I hope the something else is building respect for and participation in FAC through this new process. I'd like to introduce the best writers who show up at other review processes to what goes on at FAC, because they'd learn a lot, and because recruiting writers and reviewers is just what FAC needs. Anyway, I'm inclined to drop by WT:DYK and ask what they think of my proposal, but there's no point in doing that if you guys want to shoot it down here; do you? - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 00:50, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Lack of response by me is more I'm tired, I took yesterday off to avoid the doom and gloom on TV, I spent a good chunk of today dealing with the alarm company, and I'm tired. (grins) Hopefully, I'll be more energetic tomorrow or Sunday. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:59, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
FAC is not short of respect; it is respected and rightly so. I do somewhat take issue with this notion of "the best writers" needing to be gently introduced to FAC via a short article though. It really can't be emphasised enough that GA and FA are not two different planets circling each other in an interplanetery fog of confusion. Many of us take part in and (mostly) enjoy both processes. What appears to be in short measure is mutual respect. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:42, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think FAC is that much respected outside of those who use it. I think a lot of people if they fail a FAC or seomthingm, they will simply regard it as nonsense. Not that I think that it matters. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model) 08:03, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I would support leaving WP:GAN and WP:DYK alone, as they are a refuge from FAC, from nitpicking by MoS and control by so-called FAC elites (those editors that like to "discuss" everything endlessly among themselves). Please do not infect the few areas of Wikipedia left that are free of overriding Wikipedia bureaucracy and that are actually are enjoyable. There is no pressing need to do so. WT:GAN and WT:DYK, for example, are remarkable uncluttered and direct. Answers come quickly. No endless long-winded "discussions". —Mattisse (Talk) 01:24, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
GAN and FAC are different processes for different purposes; neither is "better" or "worse" than the other in any meaningful sense. Embrace the difference! :) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 01:49, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Matisse, you just made my point more eloquently than I possibly could have. The process I'm suggesting wouldn't "pollute" DYK, of course, because all discussions about article quality would happen over here; DYK could add extra criteria or not. I do understand that there are lots of young, gung-ho writers at GAN who feel a great sense of relief that they don't have to deal with the "fussiness", as they see it, that haunts the rest of Wikipedia, including FAC ... and if that works for them, fine. But FAC is a damn good process, and I'd like to introduce writers who aim for something more to FAC. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 02:17, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't find Matisse's comments eloquent, but rather an example of the bile that always seems to hamper any effort to have GA and FA work together. I suppose I've been guilty in the past.
Nothing's gonna happen here, it seems. G'Guy, I suggest you just go ahead and approach people at DYK with your ideas. Again, no permission is needed from this talk page.
Yomangan, you are correct that no one has articulated the problem with featuring short articles. The argument seems to be that, prima facie, short articles cannot be our best work. I don't agree, but so it goes. Marskell (talk) 10:28, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Marskell, to clarify, I meant that having to deal with this stuff speaks eloquently to the fact that our reputation is sour in some parts of the wiki, and that's something that should be addressed. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:54, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposed change to 1b, comprehensive[edit]

I agree with Yomangani - I haven't seen a good description of the problem yet and I continue to believe that prohibiting "short" articles at FAC is an arbitrary decision that will not benefit us in any way. The discussion at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Space Science Fiction Magazine ended up being about comprehensiveness, not length. To me, this entire discussion should really be about the comprehensiveness criterion. Are we going to allow articles that are obviously incomplete (even though they cover all published material) to be FAs? Up until this point we have. The Space Science Fiction Magazine FAC suggests, however, that some people do not actually think this is a good idea. Although our current definition of "comprehensive" seems to sound good to people in the abstract ("covers all topics that have been covered in published material"), apparently the actual results of using that definition are not always as appealing. Awadewit (talk) 11:08, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with all your points. I suspect that the distinction between a debate about comprehensiveness and one about length is less than it appears for short articles, because one could always imagine information which, if available and sourced, would expand the article to over 1000 words. So if one believes that "comprehensive" cannot always be achieved with the use of all published sources, short articles are de facto excluded. It's effectively the scope limitation that some were asking for. I wonder about consistency here, though; would a 3,000 word biographical article that omitted some key piece of info such as date of birth or full name really be opposed on 1b grounds? Mike Christie (talk) 11:43, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Didn't that happen to Jbmurray with that Toronto businessman? What was the name of that article? Awadewit (talk) 12:09, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Peter Wall. Looking at the FAC, there were indeed 1b opposes. It was finally withdrawn as unstable. If this is really the consensus interpretation I think FACR should be updated to clarify that. The straw poll further up this page seemed to indicate that was a minority position, however. So the two forums appear to be inconsistent: the straw poll on the one hand, and the existence of opposes based on that reading of the comprehensiveness criterion on the other. Mike Christie (talk) 12:58, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Exactly my point. :) I would not be opposed to changing the FA criteria - I've always thought featured articles should cover all of the major areas of a topic. I also think it is important that our criteria reflect what reviewers are actually doing. If reviewers are opposing articles because the articles are simply too thin (through no fault of the nominator), our criteria should reflect that. Awadewit (talk) 13:07, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
That's sensible; I think we disagree on what the criteria should say, but agree that it should be consistent with reviewing practice. Can I suggest you propose the change on FACR, and I'll comment there, and we'll see if we can get consensus one way or another? It does seem clear that the criteria are ambiguous at the moment. Mike Christie (talk) 14:33, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

(outdent:) Yes, I've been thinking about Peter Wall. There were a number of claims that that was insufficiently comprehensive because, for instance, there were no sources for his date of birth, wife, or children. Of course, if these details were now to become pre-requisites, then an article such as Plato could never be featured, either. I fear that this is a minefield. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 15:47, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

  • It is a minefield, but it is worth hashing out. Awadewit (talk) 16:01, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, I'm going to try to formulate a pro and con version of wording at WT:FACR. Mike Christie (talk) 15:53, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Done. I did my best to be neutral about the presentation, but Awadewit, since you're an advocate of the opposite point of view to me, would you make any tweaks necessary to make sure both points of view are fairly presented? Mike Christie (talk) 16:18, 11 October 2008 (UTC)