Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive40

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Image reviews needed

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:32, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Note: I will not be able to do any image reviews during August and perhaps September (I won't be around wiki much due to family concerns). Awadewit (talk) 16:45, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:06, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to all for the above image reviews !

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:50, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Boldly going where no NFCC claim has gone before...

Ok, so I was talking with film-meister Erik today about some difficulty I was having in picking a good representative screenshot for illustrating key aspects of Star Trek: First Contact. He suggested that a video might be better, but noted that as far as he knew it was untested insofar as WP:NFCC compatibility (the only article he could think of that used a video was U2 3D, and I could not think of any FAs that used non-free video content). So I was wondering if I could get some neutral evaluations of the video's compatibility from the FAC crowd. I think the video still meets the criteria in regards to respecting commercial opportunities, et al, but then there's always the NFCC#8 bit... anyhow, decide for yourself. The video is placed at Star Trek: First Contact#Effects and the file description page is File:S08-first contact borg queen assembled.ogv. Cheers, --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 02:52, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Can this be done with a limited number of individual frames - I would argue between 4 and 6 composed as a single image would be fair to show the lowering effect. --MASEM (t) 00:19, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
We have non-free video clips, although I can't remember where. There's probably a category. I would follow the audio rules, with common sense adjustment, if we don't have video specific rules. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:36, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
It was a GA. Cartman Gets an Anal Probe - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:50, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. Obviously I was using the audio clips guidelines in crafting the video. Technical difficulties aside, I'm not sure cutting out specific frames is as useful as the full video, but I agree that there's the nebulous 'minimal usage' clause in effect... I suppose we really need to craft a video use policy now, considering the amount of money being fronted for the development of it onwiki? (EDIT:) I should also humbly say that I feel File:S08-first contact borg queen assembled.ogv has a stronger FUR than File:CartmanAnalProbeSinga.ogg, which is apparently being used only to illustrate a character singing a song—hardly an essential part of the article.--Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:22, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it is illustrating a parody, a parody that is highlighted by one scholar as typical of South Park's comedy, as explained in the article, but whatever. Awadewit (talk) 16:11, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
I was just looking at its FUR on the image page, which doesn't really go into that, my mistake :) --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 21:40, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikivoices reviews an FAC!

Next Sunday, Wikivoices will be recording a podcast where we explain what is involved in reviewing an FAC. Please sign up to help us explain to the larger community the immense amount of work reviewers put in and how we can make the reviewing process better! Thanks! Awadewit (talk) 16:15, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

That urgent template again

I'm more than half way through FAC, and haven't yet found a promotable article. Reviews are lacking. I'm always wondering why we have User:Deckiller/FAC urgents if we don't aggressively use it? Anything more than ten days old without consensus should be added there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:59, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I spent five mins trying to find "Hurricane Bob", which was on that list. Still looking. Tony (talk) 01:57, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Obviously, people are either a) Unwilling or b) Unaware that there is a backlog of unreviewed articles. It's no good just asking on here because those who do review already will be watching already. Places like the content noticeboard need informing as well, and maybe other places. Majorly talk 02:06, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Correct number of repeated refs?

I'm working on Ravenloft_(module)#Reception, and I want to know if a partial quote is part of a sentence, does that sentence now require a following reference? Say you have two or three of these sentences in a row, do they all need following refs? Thanks. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 04:28, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

strongly encourage informed use of User talk:Nickj/Can We Link It

  • Just saw two posts by FAC regulars mildly anti User talk:Nickj/Can We Link It. I strongly encourage its informed use. Used wisely, it is a very valuable tool. People need to be trained in tiny little things like appropriate wikilinking — things we take for granted. [There are legitimate differences of opinion as to how much wl should be done, but all agree that common words or general terms not closely related to the topic at hand should be skipped]... I have repeatedly stated that GAN is the appropriate forum for this kind of education (see my user page). But GAN is not the topic here; here I'm just advocating use of the tool. Tks. Ling.Nut (talk) 01:52, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm concerned this may lead to a need for closer checks at FAC for WP:OVERLINKing,[1] and I often find no one has checked for that and I have to pick it up myself. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:56, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
A tool is a tool. Blame the users, not the tool. Better yet, train the users. Ling.Nut (talk) 01:58, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
The users will likely trend towards overlinking. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:59, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Unlike things such as typo-fixing, code simplifying and making MOS fixes, which are great tasks for automated tools, linking requires considerable discretion, and should be done carefully. I'm not condemning the tool, but the problem with scripts is that sometimes users attracted to the speed and efficiency of the tool don't stop and think about what they are doing and just blindly press buttons. Also, the widespread trend on Wikipedia is to overlink; if it were the opposite I would not be so worried. Dabomb87 (talk) 13:58, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Also, my post was not against the tool in any way. I was just reminding users that, to paraphrase someone else on that page, there's no replacement for judgement. Dabomb87 (talk) 14:02, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
When testing it at Tourette syndrome, it suggested 40 links, of which I agreed with six. I'm not for or against tools, but if the use of this tool becomes widespread, we'll have to do much more careful link checking at FAC. Experience shows that such tools are more likely to be used indiscriminately. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:08, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
It needs to strongly encourage the use of disambiguation checks after running it also. I'm running it on my FAs now, mainly to pre-empt future runs, but also because it has turned up some useful links that I'd missed. It's also great for checking where you've put " (double quotes) when you really wanted ''(two single quotes in a row to make italics or close italics). You do need to be very very careful on the linking, as it does return some howlers. Like any tool, it can be abused, but that's true of all the tools we use at FAC. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:16, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I couldn't make it work; when I tried to accept the six links for TS, it bombed and I lost the whole thing. (Have I mentioned that I detest IE8?) Yep, it returned some real howlers and errors for TS, and dab links as well, while none of the six I would have kept were particularly notable or necessary. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:20, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I tried it on two pages. For Autism it didn't work at all (it claimed the article had a syntax error, with an undecipherable diagnostic). For Daylight saving time it recommended 48 links of which I took 5. Some of the links were obvious howlers (links to deleted pages, or to dab pages), but most of them were simply not relevant enough and would have led to overlinking. Why are you still using IE8 when you can download and install Firefox? Eubulides (talk) 22:37, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I'll look at the syntax error for Autism. Ling.Nut (talk) 00:23, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Links. Probably no more than one or two are useful:
  • cognitive development
  • scientific evidence
  • help children
  • self-care
  • communication skills
  • developmental disorders
  • social development
  • natural speech
  • basic language
  • figurative language
  • resistance to change
  • in focus
  • head banging
  • eating behavior
  • Down syndrome
  • first category
  • system theory
  • basic emotions
  • psychiatric disorders
  • high-resolution
  • predictive validity
  • service providers
  • residential care
  • risk factors
  • sex ratio
  • risk factor
  • psychiatric drugs
  • Hugh Blair
  • medical student
  • online communities

The opening text of the tool seems to be pushing the indiscrimate linking of items—the old scattergun practice: "Can we link it? ... Yes we can!" More appropriate would "Can we link it? Possibly." with a few points about the skills required to achieve good wikilinking, and links to WP:LINKING. The very absence of guidance reinforces the danger that this will be used as a toy, and easy way around the exercise of serious judgement to optimise the utility of what can be a superb functionality (wikilinking).

So, the JS Bach article picked up the New Style / Old Style date syntax at the top as an error (it's not), or at least it was objecting to some closing square bracket that I couldn't locate. It refused to proceed until it was "fixed".

The Australia article: same trouble: curly square brackets. No go on doing the link function.

This is a really boring tool. Tony (talk) 01:37, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Subsequently: I finally found an article that didn't throw up the boom-gate at the start with false-positive syntax "errors": Geoffrey Miller (evolutionary psychologist). Lots of the suggestions are undesirable. This is highly problematic, unless the tool GUI itself warns editors of the dangers of overlinking and directs them to the appropriate guidelines.

Yes, I certainly agree that a note directing people to relevant guidelines would be a Good Thing. However, I see much of the chatter here as distinctly overblown. Ling.Nut (talk) 04:59, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I think the opposite: that we should be much more concerned, particularly considering the samples I've seen. When I review an article before promoting it, it's relatively easy to identify missing links. Checking links to see if they were done incorrectly with this tool will take much more time, and the examples show a massive trend towards the possibility of incorrect linking. I'm concerned that if it is used by editors looking to rack up automated edit counts on their path to RFA, it could make FAC reviewing much more difficult. I'd like to see much stronger disclaimers written into the page, and encourage its use only by editors very familiar with the article, discouraging use by others. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:41, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I've asked Nickj for clarification about a technical problem with his script that a number of editors have been complaining about. He has answered bottom of this section; he points out that his RL work is rather full-on at the moment, so his wikitime is limited. He acknowledges the need for careful judgement in accepting/rejecting the script's list of suggestions for potential links. I agree with Sandy: users should not be lulled into thinking they don't need to examine the link targets for specificity and relevance. Tony (talk) 09:14, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Super-meh. I've been using the damn thing for... ages, not sure how long... and have never been accused of over-linking. Meh. Ling.Nut (talk) 10:11, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Oh Nutty One, you aren't a typical editor. In fact, I'd wager that most editors who follow this page aren't typical editors. It isn't those following here we need to worry about. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:42, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I suggest if someone is going to use this tool to add links to FAs there should be something in the directions to encourage them to think twice on it. Someone linked all this in Harvey Milk. It was easily undone with a single edit, but I imagine if the editor who did it started to insist that most of that should remain linked, it would be an awful and tedious experience to go through each section and discuss each link. --Moni3 (talk) 12:14, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Good example of the concern! This could end up in the same kind of controversy as date linking, delinking. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:44, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I went ahead and ran the tool over the FAs I watch, as well as some of the GAs I watch. I looked at it as a preventative measure, that way I could say that it's been run and all the relevant links included, so it wouldn't need to be run again. It did suggest a few that I missed (I didn't know there were articles on two zoologists mentioned in the Horse article, nor some of the technical anatomical terms), but yes, it needs to be used with care. It has a tendency to try to turn any phrase that's close to an album name into a link, which is kinda funny, but if it's just run bot-like would be bad for an article. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:51, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Wikivoices/Episode 47

The Wikivoices episode on FAC reviewing has arrived. Awadewit (talk) 08:16, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Oh, that's a fascinating collection of accents. All participants said valuable things. I wish I'd known it was happening. At 1 hour 37 mins, it would be great to edit it down (participants could be warned beforehand), and possibly to sectionalise it into themes (10–15 mins each?). Excellent for community bonding. Tip: participants could name each other and themselves a little more during the session. Tony (talk) 09:29, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Nice speedy job Awadewit.
And do I really sound like that?!
And thank you for the suggestion Tony; I'll be sure to keep that in mind for future episodes. NW (Talk) 13:48, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, the fact that we kind of had to stop and start probably didn't help it, but that was a very speedy editing job, so kudos! --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 14:22, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Question about references and citations

An FA reviewer of Otomi language is suggesting that using the <ref name > function to join multiple references into one is obligatory, and a requirement for FA-status. This wasn't the case with the two FAs I previously had reviewed. Has the practice changed? Is there a policy actually stating this? In my reading of the MOS I see no such statement. I don't want to use refname because it makes it more difficult to identify and change references when in edit mode - and because of the extra problems it causes when removing pieces of text with references in them. I also don't see the problems with having multiple separate references to the same source - why should it matter if there are three or four more notes in the reference section?

Another issue is whether to supply pagenumbers for all citations. I don't apply pagenumbers when citing a fact that is not confined to a specific number of pages but which is evident throughout the cited source. For example I cite the usage of a source which is evident throuhout the entire article - should I really supply pagenumbers beginning at the firt page and ending at the last? Also I don't put pagenumbers if the point cited is the general point of an article - and is argued throughout. Thirdly the reviewer is expressing concerns about several items in the bibliography not being in the body - this I have done because i want the bibliography to be exhaustive and to give the reader an overview of the entire field of study. Think of it as references and further reading combined. I also don't see why this would be a problem - wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia and the bibliography isn't that long anyway. Am I completely out of tune with wikipedia citation practices here? ·Maunus·ƛ· 13:33, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Short answer: no. There is a tremendous amount of leeway (hell, I'd even say often too much so) in citation styles. As long as our policies are being followed and the citation scheme is consistent throughout the article, there's generally no issue, especially as it pertains to FA criteria. Things about pagination and bibliography is another issue which I defer to greater minds than me. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 13:37, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
As for the bibliography and further reading being combined, that's going to be one of those things the MOS specifies, so you'll have to comply. See Wikipedia:Layout for details. On the page numbers, it's generally better to give page numbers for any book over 75 or so pages, unless it's completely devoted to the subject. Articles have a bit more leeway, and I've seen folks just cite an entire article or cite specific page numbers within that. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:51, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Well these are articles mostly, but there are cases for example where I cite the usage of a spelling to a book that uses that spelling throughout the book. I have passed FAs with bibliography and further reading combined before, but i will check the MOS.·Maunus·ƛ· 13:57, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
I strongly encourage coalescing duplicate citations, both as a service to the reader, and as a service to other editors, who will more easily see that a source is being multiply cited. I realize that the Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).

</nowiki>) or Harvard referencing (Smith 2007, p. 1)—see citing sources for suggestions on formatting references; for articles with footnotes, the meta:cite format is recommended.

I don't really see a way of fixing the concern, because I'm not a prose guru. I do think we need to link to MoS, but I don't know how else we can say what is already said: it's a guideline, not policy, and it's applied as a guideline, not policy. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:39, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree. It's a guideline, 'nuff said. I think you should actually have good reasons for ignoring the MoS other than, "well, that's how I do it," but it's certainly not the most important part of the criteria. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 16:43, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Dabomb87 (talk) 16:46, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
How about changing the first two words from "It follows" to "It generally follows"? That will help make it clearer to the casual reader that the MoS is a guideline and may have some exceptions. Eubulides (talk) 08:24, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
While readers of this page will follow your meaning, I'm not sure that will fix the dilemma described by Slim. Others won't understand that "generally" means that MoS is interpreted for what it is-- a guideline-- and that some parts of MoS are more stable and have longer standing consensus than others. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:31, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
SlimVirgin suggested not linking to the MOS. The original discussion that eliminated the mention of WikiProjects is here; not mentioning MOS would also means not mentioning those Wikiprojects whose guidelines have become part of MOS. Mike Christie (talk) 12:23, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

How about:

2. It is internally consistent in style, taking guidance from the Manual of Style as appropriate, and includes the provision of—

SlimVirgin talk|contribs 09:39, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

That works for me, but let's see what others say (give it plenty of time), and be sure to get Tony's input (to take advantage of his MoS experience and prose guruness). A crosslink should be posted at the talk page of WP:WIAFA (done). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:14, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Comment by Tony1. On the other hand, I note that:

  1. the flow of nominations is plentiful;
  2. the pass/fail ratio hasn't changed significantly in years;
  3. major nominations are subject to significant improvements during the process, some of them as a result of style-guide recommendations;
  4. the standard of FAs has risen noticeably over the past two to three years, particularly WRT verification and writing; and
  5. the consistency of style and formatting that results from the advice of the style guides adds significantly to the authority and readability of articles, with FAs' taking the lead.

I'm a great believer in the ability of FAs—indeed all articles—to benefit from centralised guidance on style and formatting. All self-respecting publishers have an in-house style guide with which contributors are expected to comply; the difference here is that (1) there's no employed copy-editor to do a final check- through and tweak of the "final" product", and (2) the style guides are a sizeable body of work, although nothing like the external authorities such as Chicago MOS.

I don't favour a watering down of the role of the MoSs in this process, as suggested above, and I think the instability of the style guides is overstated. However, I have three suggestions.

  1. That we impress at the style-guide talk pages the importance of posting announcements of substantive changes here and at FLC talk (more specifically, that we ask for this to be standard practice).
  2. That we calmly examine the "rudeness/unkindness by reviewers" issue, and add to the instructions wording to minimise this (however, being told your style or formatting or referencing needs to be improved is always going to be difficult for some reviewers, and there's no easy way to say that the odd nomination should be withdrawn for the time being).
  3. That we consider the creation of a MoS for beginners page that might be an entree into the parts of the manuals that matter most for nominators.

Please note that I announced here the major change in MoS guidance on the sizing of thumbnail images only a few weeks ago. Tony (talk) 02:07, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

That sounds about right. I have doubts we can actually reduce the rudeness, but not mandating MOS changes isn't the solution. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:03, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Tony1. For users who oppose on stylistic reasons alone, we should emphasize the importance of doing it themselves. I spend about an hour each week on mature FACs cleaning up minor MOS and proofreading issues, which I don't mind, especially if it will help avoid threads such as these. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:17, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Do we have figures anywhere for the numbers of FAs submitted and accepted over the years? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:15, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Check WP:FAS for the very broad trend. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The numbers at FAS have to take into account when the provision for withdrawing FACs came into play ... we didn't have those before, so a straight analysis of the FAC archives will be a bit off. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:33, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Also, I put this together long ago, but haven't updated it, since the trends changed due to allowing for withdrawing FACs not submitted by significant contributors. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:37, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Percentage of successful FACs
This file is a candidate for speedy deletion. It may be deleted at any time.
Not sure how useful this will be, but here's a graph (that we've put together for unrelated reasons) of the monthly acceptance ratios since January. I vaguely remember one covering a two-year span floating around earlier this year, but I might be mistaken. Kirill [talk] [pf] 03:24, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
We're dying the same slow death as WP in general. Shit. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:26, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
It seems cyclical more than anything else, to me; but I'm not a statistician. Kirill [talk] [pf] 03:29, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

←Kirill, that's an interesting graph, and yes it would be good to see the figures further back. I remember in 2006 I calculated that Raul was putting through from 32 to 40% of nominations (varied month to month), but the standards were pretty bad in those days. (Personal comment: I'm pleased to see MilHist's high score, although it may be a combination of factors, such as (1) better quality on nomination; (2) ability to respond to reviewers' comments promptly; or (3) different standards unconsciously applied to MilHist noms (unlikely given the professionalism of Raul, Karanacs and Sandy).

Should there be mention of WP:CIVILITY in the instructions? Tony (talk) 03:42, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

(EC)I'm not a statistician either, but according to Wikipedia:Featured article statistics, if you sort table by most noms, March 2009 is the first 2009 entry. Its 25-30 entries down the chart. If its a cycle, it isn't a yearly one. The bottom is mostly 2004, 2005, and 2009. Its a WP wide phenom, that FA and FAC have no control over, unfortunately. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:45, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Once again, we now withdraw noms that would have been archived under the older rules, so numbers aren't strictly comparable. The archival rate is much lower now, too, because noms get withdrawn. Before, anyone could nominate a FAC, but if it wasn't ready, it chugged along until it got archived; now, they have to be nommed by a significant contributor, and they get withdrawn immediately if they're not. So, overall noms are lower, and archivals are lower. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:51, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
That's good to know. I always thought the two areas immune to our general decline were GAN and FAC. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 03:57, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Just a tangential point about MilHist. I noticed the MilHist tag was added [2] to an FA I wrote, Night (book)—after it was promoted—that I really don't think has anything to do with MilHist. I've been wondering whether this was just an error, and I was going to mention it to Kirill.
Noted and untagged. I suspect that it was tagged as part of a wider effort when we expanded our scope to cover literary depictions of military history; but, as far as I can tell, it doesn't really fall into that category. Kirill [talk] [pf] 04:08, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I was wondering whether the rate of FAs has been rising in some kind of proportion to the increase in articles and editors generally. I get the feeling it hasn't, and I suppose you wouldn't expect it to hugely, but I think it ought to have risen perhaps a little more than it has. But some hard figures would help. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:52, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
See the graph at the bottom of WP:FAS (and then realize that delistings have been at all-time highs lately ... it's not about overall FA production there, but additions minus demotions). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:54, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
That's very helpful, thank you. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:59, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

PS Response to dabomb's "SOFIXIT" remark: while it's a major contribution to the process that he and a few other reviewers make direct contributions, I don't think anyone should be expected to do so. I sometimes copy-edit a portion as an example; but the reasons I don't copy-edit systematically are (1) there are just too many nominations and not enough reviewers to go around already; and (2) I don't want FAC to be seen as a fix-it process—that would encourage nominators to submit at an earlier stage in their preparation. It needs to be a balance between generally offering no direct assistance, and doing all the article improvement ourselves, probably leaning heavily towards the former.

If there were four nominations a week, sure, I'd be fully copy-editing those that had sufficient merit in other respects; but at the moment it's hard to review more than a small proportion of nominations even on the basis of rationed coverage. I do think this is a way of spreading the reviewing resources more efficiently, provided one is willing to return to spot-check and write rejoinders. Prose is such a time sink, isn't it. Tony (talk) 03:54, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Sorry to keep asking for figures, but do we have any that show the number of nominations by month over the years? That's the issue I've mostly been wondering about, namely whether the FA process is discouraging people from nominating their work. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:17, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Or perhaps that's the "current FACs" figure in the table Sandy linked to? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:19, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I linked and mentioned that above, here. You have to add promotions plus archivals, but then realize that we now have withdrawals, that aren't added into numbers, and the instructions changed to specifically discourage driveby noms, so the comparison is invalid ... noms should be lower because changes were implemented to discourage drive by noms. I stopped updating those stats because the comparison is no longer valid (and I got tired :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:24, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
To try to answer your question more comprehensively after reviewing some data: I'm not sure we can say if nominations have declined, because requirements to nominate a FAC became tighter. But there are two other trends worth mentioning-- trends that affect the data and may have made FAC "harder" and may discourage ill-prepared noms.
1) Since March 2008, Ealdgyth has systematically reviewed the sources on every single FAC to determine if minimum requirements for reliability of sourcing are met (quite a feat). Other reviewers might check sourcing issues more carefully, and this is rarely done; nonetheless, the sourcing hurdle is much higher than it used to be.
2) Some months after that (I'm not sure of the exact timing), we began to assure that every FAC receives an image review.
Before these two changes, FACs were more or less a matter of which reviewers happened to show up, and what they happened to check. There was no systematic review of minimum reliability of sources, and no guarantee that someone would show up to review images. Review in these areas has certainly increased; possibly, editors who don't want their iffy sources or images checked are now disinclined to nominate a FAC.
I watch how well promotions are doing relative to demotions. In almost two years, I've promoted 893 articles (34% of the current FAs-- perhaps Karanacs can add her numbers to those ?). Of those, 3 are no longer FAs: one was merged, one was demoted, and one was a demotion that has been questioned of an article that might have been "saved" in the heyday of FAR saves. I'm pretty sure none of Karanacs' promotions have been demoted, so I believe our overall total is three. (See here.)
I hope these trends mean that reviews have gotten more rigorous, and more of this crop of FAs will hold their own over time. But all of these factors combine to make a straight comparison of numbers difficult.
Another trend: rigorous reviews at FAR seem to be making a comeback in recent weeks, but I'm concerned that some articles may be indiscriminately cite-tagged, and then reviewers vote to Delist without checking whether the tagging is warranted. I frequently see "Delist, riddled with cite tags", but no indication if reviewers have checked to see if all of those tags are justified. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:09, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I just saw this response. Thank you for that information. I can see that the sourcing and image issues might make a difference. I suppose my worry is that, as soon as anything becomes systematic, there's a danger that it will quickly go too far. For example, I was challenged on one of my articles (I forget whether FAR or an FAC) because the image-page fair-use rationale wasn't written using one of the templates. I'm writing this from memory, so I may not have it quite right, but it was something like that, that I hadn't used the right format, even though what was written was perfectly clear.
In themselves, none of the examples given of too-stringent requirements should be deal breakers. But the combination of them, when the writer is already struggling to get the narrative right, make sure it reflects the sources and so on, is a heavy burden, much heavier than any professional writer has to face; professional writers never have to do all this themselves, and also don't have 20 copy-editing bosses each with a different concern. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:14, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for not contributing more here in this forum in spite of my heavy activity on the project page side. I think I've been through the FAC process almost as much as anyone else and I don't personally have a problem with how it functions. The FAC process isn't necessarily fun, but it isn't an excruciating ordeal for me either. If reviewers want to use the MoS as part of their criteria for evaluating and improving an FAC, fine by me. I have had FA's promoted with open oppose votes, so one or two unreasonable objections won't necessarily sink an FAC. The reason I haven't nominated any articles recently is because of life-demands, not due to any concerns about the process. (By the way, the moment I see an article that I nominated get promoted, I exhale. Does anyone else?) It is fun once the article is promoted. Cla68 (talk) 04:44, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Citation consistency

Nice to see WP:MOS put in its place. Re prose quality, I agree with the criterion at another discussion, "clear and concise" - assuming that it's grammatical, but not not in a pernickety way (e.g. "logical punctation" vs whatever). I think it's mistake to prescribe citation formats as tightly as above (16:39, 29 August 2009) - partly because highly prescriptive approaches make me nervous, and partly because I can see a need for various approaches from the reader's point of view, for example:

  • Single passage used multiple times (e.g. journal article, modest section of a book). Here I think named refs are the best, with one instance holding the full biblio details.
  • Multiple sections of a book that has the same author(s) throughout:
    • <ref>Smith 2007, p. 1.</ref>) is good for simple page ranges, with a "Bibliography" section immediately following the "References" section and providing publisher, date, ISBN, etc. I dislike Harvard referencing as it takes too much space in the text - especially for books written by a team, e.g. "Ruppert, Fox and Barnes: pp. 808-812" (the book is Ruppert, E.E., Fox, R.S., and Barnes, R.D. (2004). "Lophoporata". Invertebrate Zoology (7 ed.). Brooks / Cole. pp. 829–845. ISBN 0030259827. ) I like the variant of <ref>Smith 2007, p. 1.</ref> that links to the biblio section, e.g. <ref name="ManualPCTacticalCombat">[[#refMOO2ManualPC|MOO II Manual (PC)]], pp. 119-130</ref> links to <cite id="refMOO2ManualPC">{{cite book|title=Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares|publisher=MicroProse|location=Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, England|date=1996}}</cite>
    • However I also like to supply chapter names, in case the pagination differs in a later edition or in a different format, e.g. coffee table vs paperback. Haven't found a solution for this that satisfies me.
  • Multiple sections of a contribution in a compilation, e.g. Rouse, G. (1998). "The Annelida and their close relatives". In Anderson, D.T. Invertebrate Zoology. Oxford University Press. pp. 179–183. ISBN 0195513681.  If different sections of the same contribution are cited, I'd go with e.g. <ref name="Rouse1998AnnelSect1">Rouse 1998, pp. 179-183.</ref> and linking to ...

I'm sure there are other combinations that I just haven't met much or at all. I suggest allowing up to 3 or 4 approaches, but asking editors to explain thie rchoices. --Philcha (talk) 17:13, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Misunderstanding here: citation formatting is not tightly prescribed. Examples are given merely to distinguish the two types of formatting. This has been included by necessity, as many reviewers fail to understand that the cite.php format is not prescribed, and Harvard-style formatting is acceptable. The only thing that is prescribed is internal consistency: the rest of the sentence is an example. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:32, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
In that case I think there are difficuties about "consistently formatted inline citations using either footnotes (<ref>Smith 2007, p. 1.</ref>) or Harvard referencing (Smith 2007, p. 1)":
  • "... using either ... or ..." seems to suggest only these alternatives are allowed.
  • does not consider a single passage used multiple times, where I think named refs are the best, with one instance holding the full biblio details.
  • and of course the simple variant of that, where one source is only used once in the article, where I'd go for <ref>{{citation | ... }}</ref> --Philcha (talk) 23:08, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Um, sorry if I'm missing the obvious, but what other citations styles are available besides those two? I suspect you're mixing the examples (of individual citations, which isn't prescribed) with the type of formatting (ref or inline). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:42, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I think I see what caused the misunderstanding. How about changing "<ref>Smith 2007, p. 1.</ref>" to "<ref>...</ref>", because "Smith 2007, p. 1." makes it look like it's considering only books (or the very rare journal article that exceeds 20 pages). --Philcha (talk) 06:35, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps WP:WIAFA should not go too much detail, but refer to other pages as necessary, especially WP:CITE. For example:
  • In criterion 2c ("consistently formatted inline citations ..."), avoid examples and omit the stuff about the meta:cite format, because [[WP:WAIFA] cannot summarise all the options thoroughly; if there are changes to WP:CITE, WP:WIAFA may be left out of step.
  • Rewrite WP:CITE so it concentrates on the effects of various techniques, and why are recommended and why. The markup and template coding required can then be described in separate pages as needed. --Philcha (talk) 10:19, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
The examples are necessary and were included specifically to address frequent FARs of articles that used Harvard-style referencing, because many editors didn't/don't understand that those are perfectly acceptable, and without the example, they didn't understand the distinction. Perhaps the sentence can be re-worked to make more clear that those two are examples of the citation style, not prescribed formatting. WP:CITE used to be a very nice page, but like many guidelines, it has really deteriorated lately. I'm glad Slim is looking into some of these pages again, as many of them are straining under verbosity, instruction creep, and confusion over the nature of a guideline. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:21, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see anything misleading about the examples, which are just examples of two broad styles of citation. The point is any consistent style of citation is fine in a featured article. Cite.php is the more common citation technology, so all other things being equal, it gets a recommendation, but other systems may be and are more appropriate for some subjects or articles. Gimmetrow 16:03, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Discussion about Lead length

New tutorial on wikilinking skills

I bring to the attention of nominators and reviewers a recently prepared set of "unfolding" click-and-show exercises to assist editors in building advanced linking skills.

Your feedback on the talk page would be welcome. Tony (talk) 04:48, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Another contest

Restructuring WP:WBFAN

During its proposed deletion several months ago, Outriggr (talk · contribs) suggested restructuring it. I thought it was a good idea and could be used by editors looking for help or suggestions from others who have written similar articles. The discussion seems to have stalled and I opened an RfC on it. See here, please. --Moni3 (talk) 12:35, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

green links

Friends of Featured articles, please help me out!

I have made a proposal to showcase featured articles here. Please comment! GeometryGirl (talk) 16:46, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Image reviews

Can someone perform an image review on some of the FACs at the bottom - looking for copyright problems, fair use problems, etc. I noticed that the Covent Garden Journal FAC hasn't yet received one among others (so, those at the 20 day mark and older are in need). Ottava Rima (talk) 13:59, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

We have at least 14 image reviews outsanding on FACs that are maturing towards promotion. I typically promote on Saturday, although lately, I've been waiting 'til Sunday because image reviews are lacking. If they don't get done, my choices are to 1) not pr/ar, or 2) promote FACs with no image review. Going through FAC with so many still missing image reviews doesn't make much sense. Feedback? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:35, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I've hit up Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/No Line on the Horizon/archive1, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Blackburn Olympic F.C./archive1, and Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Battle of Grand Port/archive1. I'll try to do a few more later this evening. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 18:11, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Needed

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:43, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks David!

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:58, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Dabomb87 (talk) 23:01, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Can someone please review Postman's park (linked above) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Loihi_Seamount/archive3 ASAP? Thanks! Karanacs (talk) 02:45, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Got Postman's but I'm afraid I don't have time to do the other one right now. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:04, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Loihi was done by Stifle. Dabomb87 (talk) 15:04, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
You guys are awesome - thank you!! Karanacs (talk) 16:11, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Boldly going - in the lead sentence

An editor recently began removing the bold in various article opening sentences, several of them FAs such as History of Puerto Rico & Renewable energy in Scotland. To my surprise these actions are backed up by a MOS guideline I had not come across before - Wikipedia:Manual of Style (text formatting) - see the WP:MOSBOLD section - which states that "If the article topic does not have a commonly accepted name, but is merely descriptive (e.g., history of the United States), the title does not need to appear in the first sentence, and is not bolded if it does."

The problem as I see it is that the policy of emboldening article titles is so widespread that this guideline has in effect fallen into disuse and its likely that hundreds of articles, many of them FAs and certainly FLs do not adhere to it. It seems to me that is going to be easier and more consistent to amend this MOS page than the many others it affects.

See Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (text formatting)#Descriptive titles. Ben MacDui 18:27, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, speaking as someone with more familiarity with FLC than FAC, I think you'll find that the FL community is well aware of this guideline. No list has been promoted with "This is a list of things" as the lead sentence for a very long time. So I'm not sure why you wrote "certainly FLs do not adhere to it". Old ones may not, but then again old FAs and FLs may be deficient in various ways. BencherliteTalk 19:02, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
My issue with this is that one editor took it upon himself to change dozens of FAs when the FA community has a differing opinion of what this means. The rule itself is unclear. I don't know why the first line/title of the article should not be bold, so I don't know where this particular issue comes from. I cannot say who put it in WP:MOSBOLD and what community discussion/thought process went into adding it. If folks here decide to make it clear and widely understood in FAs, then so be it, but I think it should be discussed here before changes are made to articles. --Moni3 (talk) 19:08, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Guidelines don't need to be discussed at FAC before being implemented. Changes to MOS are discussed at the relevant MOS talk pages and FAs are expected to follow them as is any other article. If you disagree with the specific MOS guideline then you can propose a change over there. And while editors are certanly free to discuss the issue here, any final decision needs to be taken at the relevant talk page. 189.105.1.25 (talk) 20:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I understand where changes need to be made and discussed, but if an editor is going to change FAs only when editors who work on FAs have a different general understanding about the MOS, then FA editors should be aware that 1. their understanding of MOS issues is flawed, or the policy should be clarified and 2. FAs should adhere to the MOS, and editors should be given the opportunity to give input or make changes to the articles they work on. --Moni3 (talk) 21:52, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Just noting there's a parallel thread at WP:GAN[3] Martin Raybourne (talk) 21:10, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Reviews needed

There are a lot of articles at the bottom of the list that have been up for almost a month and have few or no reviews. Several of the articles are pretty close to being able to be promoted, but still need more eyes. PLEASE review as many articles as you can over the next few days so that I won't have to archive these. Thanks! Karanacs (talk) 16:53, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Which ones are close? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:18, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Look at User:Deckiller/FAC urgents and check out the ones that have one or two supports. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:35, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Instructions on reviewing

I've been wondering if we need to make it more clear in the FAC instructions that all editors are invited to review an article. Twice in the last few weeks I've spoken with nominators who weren't sure if they needed permission to begin reviewing or not. I want to make sure we get as many reviewers as possible. Perhaps we could expand the first point under Supporting and Opposing? Karanacs (talk) 17:01, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Support :) as a newbie, I wasn't sure what the process was, even after reading guidelines, etc. Also, it could be made clearer that some reviewers actually only review on one or two of the requirements, such as images or sources, or whatever...and that they simply write meets c 3 , or something to that effect. Auntieruth55 (talk) 17:23, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Does Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches cover it? We want good reviews, not just supports and opposes. Can't we just link that somewhere ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:35, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Tailing on that, I review on what I feel qualified to review on, which sometimes is connected to an overall feeling or impression of the article. I was hesitant to get involved in review in the beginning because I didn't feel I had the expertise to comment on aspects of subject I knew nothing of, or articles that were too technically outside my scope. I think reviewers should be welcomed to give reviews on whatever they feel like reviewing as long as they can back it up with some reasoning. --Moni3 (talk) 17:39, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Would a change such as this reassure newbies who feel like Moni or Auntieruth did? Karanacs (talk) 17:43, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

To respond to a nomination, click the "Edit" link to the right of the article nomination (not the "Edit this page" link for the whole FAC page). All editors are welcome to review nominations; see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches for an overview of the review process.

I'll pile-on agree with Moni here. Except in absolutely glaring cases (images forced so wide they go off the edge of the screen, color-coded headers, etc) I always ignore MOS considerations entirely when it comes to reviewing, as I don't agree with strict-compliance or standardization of appearance and think the main criteria should be "Is it accurate?", "Is it verifiable?", "Is it comprehensive?" and "Is it interesting?". If we give the impression that everyone is supposed to be looking at every aspect, all it does is put people off; I imagine I know more than most about Wikipedia standards, but I no longer touch GAC reviewing because of the insistence that reviewers are familiar with all the arbitrary standards against which every reviewer is expected to check every article. – iridescent 18:08, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Karanacs' suggestion is an improvement, but it doesn't go far enough in welcoming and encouraging reviewers. This welcoming should also be put at the very start of the instructions. I propose the following change as well (new text):

This star, with one point broken, indicates that an article is a candidate on this page.
Here, we determine which articles are to be featured articles (FAs). FAs exemplify Wikipedia's very best work and satisfy the FA criteria. All editors are welcome to review nominations; please see the review FAQ.


Eubulides (talk) 19:36, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

  • I think it's a help, definitely. It should also be clear to new editors that we don't have to be experts on all of the "criteria", right? I try to make it clear that I'm not touching the images and much of the technical stuff... I leave that to people like Eubulides and Stifle, who know the rules about public domain etc. better than I do. What I do feel comfortable discussing, on nearly any subject, is the quality of the writing, contextualizing the subject/topic, and the relationship to claim and verifiability. And basically, if the quality of the writing is good, it doesn't matter what the subject is, because it's an e n c y c l o p e d i a, duh, and we should be able to learn something from it. I've read more about those **** battleships than I ever thought I would, am not really interested in those **** battleships, but the articles are well and intelligibly done, and a sensible contribution. If I'm done reading it and am totally confused, as I was with some bridge thing I reviewed not too long ago, or put off, as I was on a different article, or it would take tooo much to get it into shape, then ... obviously, it's not ready for prime time.
  • on a slightly different note, and perhaps this will eventually warrant another section...there recently was an article by a non-native English writing editor that had really quite minor grammatical problems, easily fixed. A couple reviewers made it sound like it was the end of the world. Another editor and I fixed the grammatical problems, but the response to this editor's nomination was initially very bluntly stated. Auntieruth55 (talk) 19:48, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Unless we're talking about a different case, I believe that was a translation, and translations get into serious WP:V issues-- did the person translating consult and verify all of the sources, or did they just translate what was there? If we're talking about the same case, the comments were warranted, not because of the prose, but because it was a translation. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:14, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
no, it's not the same case. This wasn't a translation of another article on another wiki, it was an original article. And it did have some serious problems in the prose, which were fixed. It seemed to me that the reviewer bringing this up was less than tactful (and I got on that reviewer's case about it too, but off the review page). The article is in good shape now, and I think it will go through the process without a problem. Auntieruth55 (talk) 14:05, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I've made updates to the instructions.[4] There are now 2 invitations to review (with links to the dispatch FAQ) as well as a note for specialized reviewers to let us know what the support means. Does this loook okay? Karanacs (talk) 15:26, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

New-look Manual of Style launched

Dear nominators and reviewers: a few weeks ago there was extensive discussion on this page about the vast size, complexity and instability of the Manual of Style, which concerns the FAC process through the operation of Criterion 2. On reviewing the text of the MoS, I agree that the Manual is much larger than necessary to cover the areas it does: about 20 thousand words. In particular:

  • it is often wordy;
  • it provides more examples than necessary;
  • it lectures around some of its points in a way that is not strictly necessary;
  • it is a little repetitive and disorganised.

As a service to nominators, reviewers and editors at larger, I've created a new, user-friendly version of the MoS that is only 40% of the size of the full version. There are no intended changes in substantive meaning. The new version has the following features:

  1. brevity and directness of language, including the default use of active voice and contractives;
  2. new inline headings for every point, for ease of navigation;
  3. the removal of highly specialised points about numbers and dates, which are treated by MOSNUM;
  4. the removal of a few other sections that appear to be on the fringe, including Blason;
  5. the addition of a Currency section, summarised from MOSNUM.
  6. improvements in structural organisation;
  7. the use of links by asterisk, to reduce clutter.

Any changes to the full MoS as reflected in the new version will be notified here, at the start of each month. Your feedback is welcome on the talk page.Tony (talk) 02:35, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I support the condensing of our guidelines and policies, so good luck. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 04:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Image review double check

Hey there. I would appreciate if another image reviewer could check my logic at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Amagi class battlecruiser/archive1. Thanks, NW (Talk) 03:25, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Left-aligned images directly below a subsection-level heading

Just as a heads-up for reviewers: the thread at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style #Question has caused the following guideline to be removed from Wikipedia:Manual of Style #Images:

"Do not place left-aligned images directly below a subsection-level heading (=== or lower), as this sometimes disconnects the heading from the text that follows it. This can often be avoided by shifting left-aligned images down a paragraph or two."

That thread is still discussing a proposal to replace "Avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other" with "Images should be laid out so that they work well with browser windows as narrow as 800 pixels and as wide as 2000 pixels". Further comments are welcome there. Eubulides (talk) 23:20, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the update Eubulides. This had been a stable guideline since 2007, but consensus at WT:MOS and FACs (partly a result of discussion with a visually impaired user who uses a screen reader) is that there is no accessibility problem with this practice, as some had thought. Dabomb87 (talk) 00:08, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
and the instruction has been as murky as mud to a lot of people. the bit about placing images directly below a 3 level heading. It took me about 3 months to figure out what that actually meant. And in the meantime dabomb got pretty annoyed w/ me when I kept putting the image left aligned (following the instruction left right left right on images), and s/he kept moving it back, and then I kept moving it back, and so on. Auntieruth55 (talk) 00:35, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, MOS#Images has always been confusing (don't sandwich images, stagger left-right, images face the page, start with a right-aligned image even when this contradicts other MOS guidance, etc). Hopefully Tony1's condensation of the guidelines will help. I'm male by the way :) Dabomb87 (talk) 00:40, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
thanks for letting me know. Trying not to make assumptions, although I rather figured you were. ;) Auntieruth55 (talk) 20:06, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
WP:ACCESS should still require that FAs are not to have left aligned images after a subheader. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:29, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
So far we haven't uncovered any current Wikipedia:Accessibility justifications for that requirement. The justifications given so far have been purely stylistic. Eubulides (talk) 22:45, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Proposed topic ban of Fowler and Fowler

ooops, sorry I didn't see what the problem was....my bad!  ;) Auntieruth55 (talk) 17:17, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

New footnote system

FAC regulars should be aware of a new footnote system using cite.php in which refs are defined in the ref section rather than the body of an article. See this Signpost article, Help:Footnotes#List-defined references, and the discussion that led to this extension. Dabomb87 (talk) 12:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

This is in no way mandatory, right? Skinny87 (talk) 14:11, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
This is what I get for being mostly off-wiki in July :( According to the discussion, the previous method (inline ref definitions) will continue to work. For FAC purposes, then, either method is acceptable, and I will smack anyone who tries to change an article at FAC to the new format just because they like it better. Thanks, Dabomb, for bringing this to our attention. Karanacs (talk) 14:23, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, this better not become mandatory. Enough rubbish to do to get an article to FA without this. Skinny87 (talk) 14:35, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. But since we're talking about footnotes, shouldn't that be "kick anyone" rather than "smack anyone"? Eubulides (talk) 14:38, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Eubulides and Karanacs, both feisty and funny in one thread ? What is the world coming to? grumbling because I have another thing to catch up on when I return from travel, happy that TS has manual footnotes! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:40, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Why do I get the feeling this will quickly become mandatory? (Rhetorical question of course) Skinny87 (talk) 14:45, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
The day this becomes mandatory is the day I stop writing articles. And, Eubulides, I would kick instead but that might ruin my pretty shoes; then again, if my shoes are ruined I would have to buy more! :) Karanacs (talk) 14:55, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
(interesting ec with Karanacs ... another shoe obsessed woman :) Over my dead body (and several others that I know of) ... we just have to follow those pages closely. There are plenty of editors who oppose any mandatory citation style. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:57, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Someone who has followed the discussion needs to edit and update the Signpost article to remind readers that this system is not mandatory. Sounds like a job for the bomb! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:59, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I think it's an excellent idea. I'll certainly be using this for my future articles. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:08, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

That's fine, but we don't want to see FAs showing up at FAR because they don't use it, editors switching citation styles on articles because they think it's mandatory, or bots converting citations. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:10, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
It's quite likely there will be some form of script or bot to convert the footnote styles, actually. I don't think it'll be a big deal though; as far as I know, we haven't seen any FARs based on the lack of alt text, which is somewhat similar. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:17, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Julian, if you see any discussion about a potential bot for this, will you please make an announcement on this page? I think many of us would be interested in joining a discussion about that. Karanacs (talk) 15:19, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I would also oppose any attempt to force this new system on editors, as I don't see how sticking everything at the bottom is an improvement over the system in widespread use now. I can't even tell what order the definitions are supposed to be in, or if it doesn't matter. Honestly, as long as there are well-formatted cites in articles, I don't particularly care how they got there. Bots should be handling formatting tasks etc., not changing citation styles throughout Wikipedia. Giants2008 (17–14) 22:33, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
A bot might be cool (I can't decide if I like this new way better), but I doubt it would get approved. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 00:28, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Syncing FLC with FAC red link outlook

Based on a discussion here some time back, I've started another discussion at WT:FL? here on the topic of removing a clause limiting the number of red links in a FLC from their criteria. Mostly wondering how that's worked out here over the past couple years. Any opinions welcome. Thanks, Doctor Sunshine (talk) 02:48, 26 September 2009 (UTC)


Image reviews needed

External Links, Disambiguations, Interwiki and Alternate Text

Being new to the whole process of Featured Content, I am confused by these aspects, I know alternate text on images is needed per WP:ALT, but the other three are a blur for the most part. Users can check them, but things are not always done. I regularly check the dabs, and correct those that I can, but for interwikis and externals, nothing happens, I mean, look at this and there are 27 bare links in total as well for FACs. Is this proper FA style or not? I can understand if its been FA for a while and no-ones checked, but it really isn't that difficult for FAC's.

Concerning interwikis, are they checked at all? I understand that the majority of the time there will be no matches, but should it be mandatory to check them? --Lightlowemon (talk) 07:27, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

On external links, their status, reliability and formatting are checked by User:Ealdgyth at some point during the FAC. Disambiguations have a tool in this template, and if there are any disambiguations, they are generally brought up an fixed. Interwikis are generally put in by bots soon enough after the other language articles are created. I suppose it may be a good idea to add an interwiki to the FA tools template.
One thing I do think is underchecked is categories, but that's another matter. Mm40 (talk) 12:07, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Which of the FA criteria cover categories? Or even come to that disambiguation? Isn't it about time to rein in this kind of creep? --Malleus Fatuorum 21:37, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I don't check "external links" as in that section of the article where folks can list links to other websites. I check that the link checker tool doesn't show any links as dead. And I check the reliability of links used as references. And others are MORE than welcome to check that sort of thing themselves. As far as categories and interwiki's, please to the gods, lets not add MORE crap stuff to worry about, please? Pretty please? Interwiki's and categories have nothing to do with whether the article is featured or not, so let's just leave them alone. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:42, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I might add that if there is a category link that needs to be fixed, or an interwiki that needs to be put in, please just fix it yourself instead of raising a stink about it. Dabomb87 (talk) 21:56, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
I would have thought categories were something for the main editors to do during the actual editing to featured point. Interwikis, I mentioned as an after thought, and considering how large the English one is, I don't think there needs to be a criteria or anything, it was just a feature I saw on the tool server that seemed neglected.
It was mainly dabs and links I was thinking about, I use the disambig tool on the tool server to check all new FA, FAR, FL and FT stuff to see if anything is picked up and most I can fix, but when it comes to something along the lines of dulcimer I have no idea. For externals, Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago) has so many redirects and Virginia is a rainbow of colour.
I thank all for their replies, but should they be brought up during the voting process that there are a 'multitude of redirected links', or should they just go by ignored? I don't mind checking them all weekly, (if they should be) and bringing them up, but I was just unsure and wanted to check here before making a mistake. --Lightlowemon (talk) 07:01, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Interwikis and categories don't affect the readability of the article, and checking for those at FAC seems an unnecessary burden. But the other items you raise are items that should be checked and fixed: incorrect wiki links or dabs that need to be fixed affect the reader's ability to understand the article, and they are easy to fix. Since the tools detect incorrect dab links, the nominator should address those. And, the issue you identified at Trump Hotel and Tower should probably be addressed as well; that many redirected links on sources likely means that those sources would eventually become dead links, so the nominator should update the links now. (If I'm understanding the problem correctly ... the example you gave is not about external links, rather sources that are going to redirects.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes that is what I was referring to, both the external links and the external links in the sources. I apologise, I should have probably been clearer about that. So worry about links and disambigs (that are either too nummerous or to ambiguous to fix oneself), and don't worry about the rest? --Lightlowemon (talk) 05:19, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually the redirects aren't a problem. A good webmaster will create redirects to keep the old links working. A bad webmaster just doesn't care, leaves links as dead, and lets their Google ranking plummets. It should not be our job to clean after lazy webmaster mess. I'll give wired.com as an example of good webmaster, they've changed their content management system (CMS) many times in the past 10+ years, but all the old links continue to work. And when we're not deleting.... — Dispenser 01:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC) Corrected negative 13:40, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Really, I didn't know that it's very interesting. --Lightlowemon (talk) 03:46, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
It's not a case of "being ignored". Its a case of "FAC nominators already have a great deal to worry about, and this is just trivial". If you see a problem with categories or links then just fix it. Neither of those have any bearing on the quality of the article, which is what FAC is about. --Malleus Fatuorum 07:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Indeed - an article not appearing in a relevant category is a big problem for the category but not for the article. If George Washington doesn't appear in Category:Presidents of the United States, the category looks rather shoddy, but the article's information content is not affected and it is still easy to get from the article to any of the other pages in the category. Christopher Parham (talk) 13:50, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm the author of most of those tools, I'll be addressing each of the points

  • External link - Checklinks was my first tool, it was actually designed for another purpose of project mass repair and many things have been tacked on. I'm current redesigned the interface with focus on improving individual articles.
  • Disambiguation - Developed Dablinks and dabfinder after coming across a dab in a TFA. I'm working companion tool to speed up actual disambiguation plan to announce it at the next NYC meetup.
  • Interwiki - No real point to doing this, it would just get in the way of the bots. Might be fun to implement enough of the pywikipedia API so they could run on the web.
  • Alt text - More recent, was good until the software changed. That threw all the knowledge of the tiny details out the window. Will need to research that stuff again. :-(

I would like to more more towards submitting using the tools and checking the information and part of that is to improve the interfaces and part is to make the tools easier to find. — Dispenser 01:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks very much for making the tools, I have been using them a lot. --Lightlowemon (talk) 03:46, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Featured portal candidates

WP:Featured portal candidates could use some additional comments and reviewers, there are currently only three candidates, so there is a lot less to look through than what is currently at WP:FAC, though of course it is of a different nature :). As one of the co-directors I generally try to hang back from the review process itself.

Insights, comments, queries to the nominators, etc, would be appreciated at the three individual nomination subpages. Thank you for your time, Cirt (talk) 23:58, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Cirt, I think it's obvious that we have quite a backlog, which is too much for our current supply of reviewers. I'll leave a comment or two over there, but don't expect major help. :) Best, ceranthor 00:02, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
No worries, anything at all is appreciated, and nothing is expected. :) Cirt (talk) 04:48, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Proposal for a featured article style

As regulars on this page know, there's increasing concern about the way featured articles are reviewed, particularly regarding the MoS (including things that aren't actually in the MoS but that reviewers request anyway). There's a sense that there's too much nitpicking, too rigid an application of the guideline, and that the process is driving FA writers away and failing to attract new ones. There was a long discussion about it recently on Iridescent's talk page, initiated by Karanacs here.

My own feeling is that FACs shouldn't have to comply with the MoS, because it's a guideline, but there has been resistance to clarying that in the FA criteria. I'm therefore wondering whether, as a compromise, we should draw up a minimalist version of the MoS that featured articles are expected to adhere to: Wikipedia:Featured article style. It would be short and sharp, and easy for writers and reviewers to remember. Once created, the expectation would be that it would remain stable, with nothing added to it without clear consensus so there are no surprises. Reviewers would be expected to become familiar with it, and not request anything that isn't on it. How does this sound as an idea? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:34, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, User:Tony1/Beginners' guide to the Manual of Style (discussed several threads above on this page) seems to be what you're looking for. –Juliancolton | Talk 01:44, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Tony's is a slimmed-down version of the MoS for everyone. My idea is to have a minimalist (and I mean really minimalist) style guide specifically for featured articles, which would only include style issues that all agree are essential for FA. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:47, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Short response: no. We're already too lenient with styling anyhow. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:49, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Can you give an example of a recent FA where people have been too lenient with styling? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:52, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm saying that as an encyclopedia with the aim to be taken seriously, we should recognize that an essential part of packaging information is enforcement of a house style that should be applied to all articles; setting aside of FA-only bare minimum subverts the aforementioned goal and adds instruction creep. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:57, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm worried that the creation of such a style guide would a) make it even more tiresome for FA contributors to keep track of Wiki style conventions—general MOS and this proposal—and that by creating another style guide, inconsistencies between the general style guide and this specialized one would form. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:01, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't think we have too many writers, we have too few reviewers. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 02:05, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

David, the aim would be to reduce instruction creep. The way some FAs are currently reviewed is driving people up the wall, and something has to be done about it, because it's not sustainable.
Dabomb, it would make it easier for reviewers and writers to keep track, because FA writers would be asked to keep track only of this one, not the MoS in general (unless they wanted to, of course). The aim would be, once created, that this thing would remain stable. The MoS isn't stable, that's problem number one, so hardly anyone knows what's advised and what isn't. Problem number two is that it's being applied as though it's policy, when it isn't. Problem number three is that reviewers ask for things that have never been in the MoS anyway. Creating a very short, stable featured-article style guide of issues that are required for FAC, not just recommended—one short and stable enough to allow writers and reviewers to become familiar with it—would deal with all of the above. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:24, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
It would be more accurate to say that parts of the MoS are indeed unstable, but many others are long-standing, accepted guidelines. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:15, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
That's kind of true, but there are also long-standing parts that are widely ignored, until you come to FAC and suddenly things that no one does anywhere else are being enforced as though policy. And any reviewer can choose to enforce any part of the MoS, no matter how absurd. It's true that the delegates are likely to ignore those reviews, but FA writers don't know that, so a very unpleasant atmosphere is created whereby writers feel they have to jump through a series of often ridiculous hoops, or else risk looking aloof and uncooperative. In addition, long review pages with multiple nitpicking objections make other reviewers less likely to want to get involved, so it's a discouraging situation all round. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:23, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Look, the bottom line is that the current situation is untenable, unsustainable. The easiest solution is to make clear in the FA criteria that the MoS is a guideline, and is not mandatory. That's my first preference, and I've suggested it here before. Our articles are meant to be the best of Wikipedia—the best of this project, not of some other one.

However, there has been resistance to doing this, so I'm suggesting as a compromise that, if people want some style issues to be mandatory at FAC, we make a separate list of those and call it featured article style. It has the potential to satisfy both sides here: the list would be mandatory for FAs, but it would be lean, reasonable, and stable. And reviewers would be asked not to request anything that's not on it. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:34, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't see much MOS stuff at all, mostly the complaints are about inconsistency, and even then, it isn't difficult to note undetected inconsistencies on one's own FAs or others (recent ones I meant, the old ones can be all over the shop). Also, some people do say that MOS focus can take away from content issues, but I disagree with this notion that people will start checking the content if the MOS rules are relaxed. I doubt people will start looking up books to check for OR violations or fake refs, and even then most topics hardly anyone is fully up to speed with it (except maybe the author) so that would be the main obstacle to unbalanced (deliberately or otherwise) or incomplete articles getting through. YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 02:44, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I sympathise with SlimVirgin's point of view but I'm not sure that a separate lean/mean FA style guide is the answer due to the likelihood (expressed by Dabomb) of inconsistencies developing between that and the 'main' guide, and because (like David) I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of FAs being treated differently. What I would prefer to see (though admittedly I don't by any means 'live' in the MOS and try not to lose sleep over it) is one master style guide with the must-haves clearly marked and the rest being advisory. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:07, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
As one of the finest writers I've reviewed on FAC review, you, SV, of all people, must know that compliance with any manual of style—Chicago, AP, or Wikipedia—ensures only that some obvious errors of grammar and usage have not been made. It doesn't make the prose error-free, much less brilliant. The problem at FAC review, as I see it, is that an increasing number of people, whose FA ambitions far outstrip their writing abilities or effort, are looking for easy passes. Instead of nursing an article over the long haul, as you have done with Marshalsea, or respecting the reviewers and working with them, as I am doing in History of Mysore and Coorg (1565–1760), these people are parking their three-day wonders at FAC review and expecting perfunctory support, or failing that, a list of spoon-fed instructions before the eventual support. Perhaps the whiners should consider copying a paragraph (any paragraph) of Dickens over and over again, and then comparing it with their FAC handiwork. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:27, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
PS As for other issues, I agree with YellowMonkey's post in its entirety. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:27, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Whilst I deplore the kind of reviewer whose sole contribution to an FA review is, for example, a complaint about em dashes (about which the average reader will not care at all) I don't in fact mind a comprehensive MOS. It may even assist those of us who did not arrive as professional copy-editors to improve our written style. What I do however think is totally dysfunctional is the instability of MOS itself. We are an encyclopedia that anyone can edit - but why does that mean we have to have a Manual of Style that anyone can edit? And they do edit it, hour after hour, day after day, and (so far as I am aware) there is no way of knowing whether these edits are trivial, or are affecting thousands of articles. It's a nonsense and no-one except a savant could keep track of all the edits, reverts, disputes and comments. I don't have an a priori objection to a simplified FAC MOS, but my concern is that it would be just another page, probably inconsistent with MOS istelf and subject to endless changes. What I would prefer is for MOS to be locked, now. A single talk page would be created, listing (not debating) proposed changes. A small group would be empowered to implement minor corrections - typos, syntax etc, that did not change the meaning of the guideline. After three months an evil vote would be taken on the ten most important proposals, which would then, over a two week period be debated and implemented or rejected. MOS would then be locked again for three months. This would prevent ongoing instruction creep and inconsistency and enable those seriously interested in producing quality articles in a style that is acceptable to the community to be provided with a stable and understandable set of "guidelines". Ben MacDui 07:56, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I started this, so I suppose I ought to step into this lion's den. My views are given in more detail on that thread, but here's a short(er) version.
At the moment, the MOS is ridiculously long—as I've already pointed out, Wikipedia's MOS is longer than the entire Guardian Style Guide—and even Tony's condensed version is long enough that many users will take a look at it and decide not to even try. The reason we're not seeing as many MOS-nitpicks isn't that the nitpickers have gone away; it's that more and more people are either not coming to FAC at all because they're scared off by its reputation, or have given up on it as a process. Additionally, relatively minor points that should really be raised on the article talkpage or with a quick note to the nominator are being discussed on the FACs themselves, giving FAC an ANI-like appearance which further enhances the "people will jump on me for a comma out of place" reputation. Leaving aside the issue of whether strict-compliance is a good or bad thing, the fact remains that a huge swathe of Wikipedia's writers are now unwilling or feel they're unable to come to FAC, either as nominator or reviewer. Perversely, this has a net negative effect on compliance to the "house style", as people who have no intention of bringing an article to FAC/GAN won't see the need to comply with formatting and prose requirements (Giano is the most obvious example).
"The writing is of a professional standard" is in itself a meaningless phrase. A children's book, a newspaper article, a technical journal and an instruction manual on the same subject will all be professionally written, but will be wildly different. Professional writing in specialist journals—the main source for many Wikipedia articles, and thus what I imagine most writers mean when they think of "professional standard"—is generally dense, jargon-heavy and assumes that the reader is familiar with a lot of background material, and that's a style that's completely unsuited towards Wikipedia's "provide a basic background for those unfamiliar with the topic" remit.
In my opinion, talk of a "house style" is inappropriate. We're not trying to recreate Encarta here; with the exception of a few basic across-the-board guidelines, what's important should be that the articles are consistent internally in how they handle formatting, layout etc. To me, the only real significant criteria are:
  1. Is this article accurate and reliably sourced?
  2. Is this article comprehensive?
  3. Is the formatting of this article internally consistent, and not unusably ugly, confusing or poorly laid out?
  4. If a member of this article's intended audience, with no prior knowledge, were to read this article, would they understand it?
  5. Is the text written in such a way as to make this article interesting?"
  6. Does the article comply with those parts of the MOS which are necessary and justifiable, such as the key parts of WP:ACCESS?
We're writing for general readers, not for other Wikipedia editors, and most general readers could not care less what Wikipedia's policy on comma-separated dates, em-dashes or image alignment is, providing it doesn't detract from their use of the article.
I agree with what I think Slim's proposing here. Not a separate FAC MOS, but a short list of those style and formatting policies with which articles must comply to pass FAC/GAN, leaving the remainder of the MOS as what it was always intended to be (and indeed, used to say in bold letters at the top); a list of style recommendations which can be disregarded providing there's a reasonable reason to do so. – iridescent 09:53, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Agree with SV, Iridescent and others that MOS is bloated and unstable. Iridescent (09:53, 30 September 2009) sums up the real priorities pretty well (except that I still have doubts about alt text in some cases). --Philcha (talk) 10:11, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Alt text is a different issue (read the original thread for my thoughts on it); the issue there is whether it's an important part of WP:ACCESS which ought to be essential, or an additional feature that only benefits a small group and doesn't always justify the time and energy it takes. That's a discussion for another place (apparently, The Community has decided that "another place" refers to my talkpage). – iridescent 10:22, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
My own attitude to alt text is less binary than Iridescent's, who contrasts options "ought to be essential" vs "only benefits a small group and doesn't always justify the time and energy". IMO:
  • I'd judge each case on cost vs benefits, with a fairly low cost ceiling.
  • The "physical description" approach currently enshrined in the alt text guideline is not always informative. E.g. "Lord Nelson dying on the deck of Victory, propped up by Hardy" is much more concise and informative than "A man in (long description of early 19th cent UK admiral's uniform) lies on the wooden deck of (long description of ealry 19th cent UK first-rate battleship), partly supported by a man in (long description ofhis posture) and wearing (long description of early 19th cent UK naval officer' uniform, sorry I don't know his rank and frankly I don't give a damn). --Philcha (talk) 10:51, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Featured Articles are supposed to be our best work and one of the advantages of the FA process is supposed to be that it drives quality across the pedia; a separate MOS for FAs would not help that process. I suggest that if editors have concerns with MOS they change MOS, personally I would like to see FAC become a driver for improvement of that turgid tome. ϢereSpielChequers 10:56, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
This is what we are saying. Nobody is proposing that FAs work to a different MOS. The FA process patently does not drive quality across the project, and it's ludicrous to claim that it does – 27636 articles (0.6%) of the 4,605,378 total are rated FA, FL or GA, and most of the rest of the project is never touched by what goes on here. By making "quality" appear to be an arcane and incomprehensible process, if anything the current setup reduces quality elsewhere, by discouraging people from even trying to comply to standards. – iridescent 11:09, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Well I read the above as considering a cutdown version of MOS for FA as opposed to reforming MOS. As for FA driving up standards across the project, I beg to differ. My hope is that many editors read FAs, learn from the FA process and that this improves their editing of other parts of the project. I think that my editing skills have been honed by experience here and I doubt that I'm alone in that. ϢereSpielChequers 11:35, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
In an ideal world WereSpielChequers' "if editors have concerns with MOS they change MOS" would be the way to go. However in practice MOS is controlled by zealots who will fight unrelentlessy for each every minutia. Much of thier motivation and power base is WP:WIAFA's injunction that MOS must be observed to the letter. The advantage of SV's and Iri's proposal is that avoids fighting the zealots at a time and place of the zealots' choosing, and will also weaken their influence when the time does come to cut MOS down to size. I think that's the way "to see FAC become a driver for improvement of that turgid tome"--Philcha (talk)
If anything I think the opposite -- the close relationship between FAC and MOS tends to undermine the usefulness of both institutions. (1) The MOS is mainly applicable to improving FACs, the vanishingly small fraction of articles which have a dedicated author willing to expend huge amounts of time on tasks that have effectively no benefit to our readership. Meanwhile it offers little useful advice for the vast unwashed millions of articles with no dedicated author and thus has a much lower impact on the quality of the encyclopedia than it potentially could. (2) FAC is burdened with a large amount of work unrelated to improving the experience of the average reader. I think separating the two, by specifying exactly which aspects of the MOS are require by the featured article criteria, would be a useful measure. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:30, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

As a comment, recent activity at MOS has lead me to the idea of having WP:MOS being the style guide that is used 90-95% of the time (covering the basics that every editor should be aware of) with more exacting details for things like numbers and the like spelled out in sub-MOS guidelines (like MOSNUM). I would think this would achieve the same result as if having a FA-specific MOS page, and would be a better end result for everyone (not just FA authors or reviewers). --MASEM (t) 13:43, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

arbitrary break

I asked SlimVirgin to post her comment here because it was the first concrete proposal (other than totally scrap the MOS) that I've seen to "fix" the perceived issue of too much MOS nitpickiness at FAC and I was curious to see what the regulars think. From what I've seen recently, it looks like large parts of the MOS are already being ignored by reviewers and nominators (non breaking spaces and dashing are two well-known areas that are hit and miss). Yes, some of the MOS provisions (such as alt text) are enforced very well and can be annoying to nominators who had no idea that this was a requirement and no idea how to implement it.

I personally think that all articles should be encouraged to have a consistent style (and not just internally consistent, thought that is a great start). At the same time, though, the MOS is so freaking detailed, and the subject of so many edit wars, that it can be impossible to follow. In an ideal world, I would like to see a giant RfC on the MOS with the aim to identify what is most important (along the lines of Slim's proposal), and throw away the rest. Tony's slimmed down MOS is a good start, but I'd still like to see a massive overhaul, I'm just not sure how to go about organizing one. Karanacs (talk) 13:37, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

We could, of course, just scrap FAC; that's another "concrete proposal", but not one that would go down well with the "FAC regulars" (as if they were the only editors who mattered). Physchim62 (talk) 13:45, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Like it or not, we need an article grading system, so that users can see what's good and what's not, and to motivate editors to improve the huge mass of poor artciles. That means there must be a top grade. So all we have left to haggle about is the pricritieria for each grade.
It's interesting that Karanacs, who is one of the FA Director's delegates, thinks "the MOS is so freaking detailed ..." --Philcha (talk) 14:08, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
My job as a delegate is to determine consensus per WP:WIAFA, whether or not I necessarily agree with the consensus or with the particular aspect of WIAFA. I've nominated 15 articles or so through FAC and reviewed hundreds of them. Still, every once in a while someone comes up with an MOS requirement that I have never heard of, even though it's been part of some obscure subpage for a long time. I don't have a problem following most of the MOS guidelines, but the little bitty detailed stuff can grate. Karanacs (talk) 17:39, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Featured articles are supposed to be the epitome of Wikipedia, not something separate from the rest of Wikipedia. (For example, I'm confident that we'd love it if all articles had a professional-quality writing style and perfect spelling.) For this reason, they should not have a separate manual of style. If the MoS is too restrictive, then the answer is to change the MoS, not write a new one.

The MoS is treated like rules and not like a guideline. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we must acknowledge it.

Tony's shorter MoS isn't any less restrictive than the regular one. The explanations are shorter (or absent), but it has all the same rules in it, so it would not reduce the amount of nitpicking. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:27, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Responses by Tony1 indented:

  • The MoS isn't stable,... so hardly anyone knows what's advised and what isn't.
    • I undertook to provide a monthly report at this page and elsewhere on substantive changes to the MoS (i.e., those that were substantive enough to be reflected in the concise version. I'm afraid I could find nothing worth reporting for September when I scrutinised the diff of the MoS yesterday. (However, it's true that in August the "Images" section was updated, to everyone's relief, although see the concise version for how that section should be set out, IMO.)
    • I don't mind if the style guides are locked and independent admins unlock for changes.
    • Periodic reportage at WT:FAC/FLC is, frankly, just basic good manners.
    • Rationalisation of the MOSNUM–MoS relationship is important. So is the adoption of a concise version of the MoS; the benefit of FAC and FLC nominators was a primary reason for my writing the concise version.
  • [The MoS is] being applied as though it's policy, when it isn't.
    • FAC and FLC long ago decided that the MoS was a suitable anchor for both nominators and reviewers to raise the standards of featured material. IMO, this has worked; however, no one is claiming the relationship works perfectly—only that it's the best one available.
  • ... reviewers ask for things that have never been in the MoS anyway.
    • The MoS says not a jot about redundant wording, which is by far the most vexing problem for writers. Does that mean reviewers should not point out examples of redundancy and ask for a copy-edit throughout? Redundancy is not something that is suitable to inclusion in a MoS. Reviewers need to be free to advise on how to improve style and formatting. This seems to stray from the MoS issue: it is more pertinent that we see pointed out here examples of unreasonable requests by reviewers. It's important that we deal with this by example so we can moderate the problem behaviour.
  • Suddenly things that no one does anywhere else are being enforced as though policy. And any reviewer can choose to enforce any part of the MoS, no matter how absurd.... [under the proposed system,] reviewers would be asked not to request anything that's not on [a special FA style sheet].''
    • Could we have examples, please? If aspects of the MoS are absurd, they should be changed for all articles, not just FACs; I share the concerns of dabomb and others that another style sheet for FAs will make the whole box and dice harder to manage and will bring into question the model for fine articles that FAs and FLs have represented for many years. The MoS is a critical part of counterbalancing the freedom of a wiki; it is, if you like, a way of bringing at least some order to a language and a project that are both "big and baggy" (quoting Clive James). This freedom and the centralised guidance/requirements will always be in dynamic tension. That's like real life.
  • ... long review pages with multiple nitpicking objections make other reviewers less likely to want to get involved, so it's a discouraging situation all round.
    • As I've pointed out before, I see no shortage of nominations or successful promotions. However, I am most concerned that some nomination pages have led to upsetting situations, and have possibly shown evidence of a less-than-good-faith attitude by reviewers. Perhaps we need to agree on a beefed up set of guidelines for reviewers to balance the requirements of nominators and to reinforce the positive aspects of the process. I'm unsure, but please remember that in past years we have had to resist gaming by some nominators: sorry, I had to say it.
  • "The writing is of a professional standard" is in itself a meaningless phrase.... Professional writing in specialist journals—the main source for many Wikipedia articles, and thus what I imagine most writers mean when they think of "professional standard"—is generally dense, jargon-heavy and assumes that the reader is familiar with a lot of background material, and that's a style that's completely unsuited towards Wikipedia's "provide a basic background for those unfamiliar with the topic" remit.
    • God no, we don't want to stoop to the levels of academic journals, whose authors far too often use the captive specialist readership as an "excuse" to avoid the rigours of writing for real human beings: journal articles are typically poorly written and edited, and aimed so narrowly that even the semi-expert struggles. No, FAC sets a much higher standard of specialist communication that many professional researchers would be well advised to learn from.
  • [One of the proposed criteria:] If a member of this article's intended audience, with no prior knowledge, were to read this article, would they understand it?
    • One hopes so, but all WP articles need to aim higher than mere comprehensibility: they need to be a good read, too. Academic journals are often comprehensible if one spends hours hacking through the jungle—we aim to give the world information (often complex, involved information) that is as easy to comprehend as possible. The MoS is one factor that on balance helps us to produce the good read.
  • ... most general readers could not care less what Wikipedia's policy on comma-separated dates, em-dashes or image alignment is, providing it doesn't detract from their use of the article.
    • This is an important point. On the surface, it's true: readers do not care about these technical matters in the sense that they consciously think about them,unless they're professional writers/editors. The best writing, I say, is writing that is not noticed as the reader slides over it. If what lies beneath the surface of the text isn't right, readers will simply not slide over it easily. They will not think as highly of it and it will lack authority; this is true even though a reader may not be able to explain why. By analogy, film-goers do not notice film editing (unless there's a glitch), and I do not think about the oven temperature chef has used when I eat a slice of the perfect cake. The MoS is there to help us to get the underlying technique right, to force us to think about all of the issues it raises: it helps us to prevent our readers from noticing the techniques we use. If we don't like what it says, we should argue it out there. It's not perfect, but I believe it's not too bad (except it needs to be made more concise).
  • Nobody is proposing that FAs work to a different MOS. The FA process patently does not drive quality across the project, and it's ludicrous to claim that it does – 11584 articles (0.38%) of the 3,047,406 total are rated FA, FL or GA, and most of the rest of the project is never touched by what goes on here. By making "quality" appear to be an arcane and incomprehensible process, if anything the current setup reduces quality elsewhere, by discouraging people from even trying to comply to standards.
    • What is the evidence for these claims? Why do the proportions of promoted articles affect the influence of these quality-assurance processes? Some editors might argue that too many promoted articles might dilute the model, and therefore the influence. Perhaps you are reacting to the bloat in MoS main page and the somewhat uncontrolled relationship between the MoS pages; if so, could we shift the argument to that?

In conclusion, I believe we need to:

  1. analyse examples of unsatisfactory/unreasonable requests or demands by rewiewers (the Marshalsea FAC, in my view, has been particularly hard—even unrelenting—in its demands, and less than encouraging of the superb editor behind it all: why?);
  2. consider a permanent official lock-down of MoS and MOSNUM and MOSLINK (any others?), or at least an editors' note at the top of both page and talk page saying that substantive changes will be reverted unless there is consensus for them on the talk page, and insist on periodic notification of substantive changes (here and at The Signpost?);
  3. consider the concise version as a model for removing some of the bulk from the MoS;
  4. push for a sane relationship between MOSNUM and the MoS;
  5. support the activation of WP:MOSCO, which was moribund from the start, despite the desperate need for coordination; and
  6. support the impending RfC on requiring applications for MoS status to demonstrate consensus first. Tony (talk) 14:39, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I am inclined, without prejudice, and give or take the odd quibble, to agree. Ben MacDui 17:11, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
It bears to be acknowledged that the "bulk" to which Tony refers consists mostly of explanations and examples. They make the MoS longer, but they also make it easier to understand and use, especially for people who are not writing or editing experts to start with. If we are to reduce the MoS's size, it should be by reducing the number of rules where we can find rules that should be removed, not by removing useful text.
I don't know that the MoS needs to be locked down. However, perhaps it does merit being treated differently from other articles. Ordinarily, the consensus process does not require people to discuss changes, even large changes, on the talk page first, only afterward if they're reverted. It might be good to explore an alternate system for the MoS and other policy-type pages.
Demonstrating consensus before raising a given article to MoS status would be right and proper. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:36, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Like MacDui, I find myself in general agreement with Tony's six suggestions. In the interest of full disclosure, I add that I had never heard of WP:MOSCO until this morning, and I'm unfamiliar with the Marshalsea debate, though I understand what they represent. I think Darkfrog is right about the usefulness of examples; learning by imitation is often quicker and more effective than learning from an abstract alone. It would be easy to include examples of for each (or at least some) of the abstract guidelines as linked sidebars. Tony's condensed MoS or something very like it could become the core MoS with examples of whatever embedded as a clickable link at the end of each guideline. (Each set of examples would be a separate article.) I'd be fine either with locking down or requiring consensus first for future changes to the MoS. Finetooth (talk) 18:51, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Though, really, Tony's concise version already includes so many specific examples and links to further elaborations, is anything else needed? Finetooth (talk) 19:38, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

bot option

Proteins and I once talked about developing a MOS-bot to help this situation improve. I will alert him to this conversation. Awadewit (talk) 18:39, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Either switching to optional or implementing an MoS bot would be an excellent idea. If the ratio of substantive feedback to style feedback improved I'd bring articles to FAC more often. Had two GAs promoted yesterday, but current FAC climate just isn't worth the time. What's particularly grating is the sight of reviews that appear to spend more time and effort listing minor style issues than it would have taken for the reviewer to fix them. Durova320 02:10, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
    • A well-implemented MOSbot, or its equivalent script or server, seems as though it would be very helpful to making more and better FAs. A few advantages I see for a fully automated MOS-checker include: (1) it would be impartial and tirelessly thorough; (2) it could catch subtle violations that even the best single reviewer (sorry, Tony!) might miss, e.g. misspaced list items such as this one (violates WP:ACCESS, which is part of MoS); (3) it could be run by authors before they bring their articles to FAC and suffer the public humiliation of people piling on to criticize their style and grammar with no regard for the article's content; (4) it would force us all to define exactly what our MoS is, because it would have to be encoded in software; (5) it would serve as a kind of "Flagged revision" system for the MoS, in the sense that we might not consider an MoS violation valid until it had been encoded in the software. However, we would need to agree on how to interpret the feedback from such a bot/script, as was raised in an earlier discussion; perhaps it would be best to consider it as "suggestions" and leave the final decisions to the human community. For illustration, I wrote a rudimentary script that checks for violations of MOS:HEAD. (It works, but I'm embarrassed about the grossly inelegant programming, since it was written as a quick'n'dirty proof of principle.) Anyone here is welcome to test it; the instructions are found at here (click "show", it's the first script). Dank55 had promised to give me feedback and help improve the script, but I fear that we both got distracted. Finally, one should not underestimate the difficulty of producing a script/bot/server to check the full MoS; this script took a day or two, but writing, testing and debugging a full MoS script might take months for a programmer working alone. If this were a high enough priority for the community, you might consider appealing to the Foundation for programmer time, but experience suggests that that would be difficult. Proteins (talk) 15:10, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
      • I think there is a lot to be gained from a MOSbot, which would take a lot of the grunt work out of FAC reviewing and bring us up to a higher level of reviewing. As Proteins mentions, we would be more consistent. I'm afraid I can't offer programming skills, but I would be willing to help draw up a list of needed "requirements" and help run tests. What are others' thoughts on this idea? Awadewit (talk) 17:10, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
        • It's what Dr Bill Wedemeyer anticipated in his Wikimania address last year. 124.170.62.108 (talk) 05:16, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
          • The idea of a MOSbot is excellent, but if it comes about it may not have as much impact on FAC reviewing as is being assumed. Look down the current FAC page and you'll see very little reference in reviews to MOS issues. What will the bot do to prevent nominators suffering "the public humiliation of people piling on to criticize their style and grammar with no regard for the article's content"? Nothing, I imagine—but why is criticism of style and grammar considered humiliating? Close attention to these issues has raised the standard of FAs considerably within the relatively short time I've been writing them, and I appreciate any such comments and suggestions which come my way. As to "no regard for the content", reviews of content can only properly be done by those with relevant expertise; even so, a poorly written article is just that, even if its content is unimpeachable. Brianboulton (talk) 20:57, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
    • I apologize for having distracted with a colorful illustration. The focus of the present discussion is the MOSbot, not the reviewing process. The only point I wished to make in point #3 was that a MOSbot would allow authors to check their work against the MOS with little effort before FAC. That would forestall unnecessary work and unpleasantness at FAC, and allow for reviewing of other elements, leading to better FACs. You raise a good point that a MOSbot won't catch many types of poor writing, e.g., a confusingly organized article with weak flow, grammatically correct but confusing sentences, or basic style choices. A MOSbot won't change George Eliot's sentences into those of Ernest Hemingway, or vice versa. However, the present MOS seems so dauntingly vast for newcomers, and holds such sway at FAC, that a MOSbot (or its equivalent) seems advisable. Proteins (talk) 13:10, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
      • There is also a perception that reviewers harp on MOS issues and fail to raise substantive issues. If we had a bot, we could forestall that problem. Sometimes perception is important, too. The bot may encourage more nominations simply because of a change in perception. The writing, as Proteins right points out, is entirely a different matter. Awadewit (talk) 18:30, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
        • Awadewit is exactly right. Under the current atmosphere at this process, to some of the site's dedicated editors (such as myself) FAC just isn't worth the hassle. Anything that would shift the focus toward stubstance would be an improvement. Durova320 20:48, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly support removing obstacles on the path to FAC, but I have doubts that a "whole hog" approach to a MOS bot would succeed. Trying to offer one master MOS script seems overly optimistic, given that MOS is ever-changing and endlessly disputed and many provisions will likely be unscriptable. Developing a small library of scripts—like the section header script mentioned above, Brighterorange's endash script, etc—seems more manageable in the long run from a coding standpoint, although perhaps not as attractive to an editor looking for a single quick fix. Maralia (talk) 21:48, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree it would be very difficult, but perhaps even a set of five or ten scripts would be better? Awadewit (talk) 22:05, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm confused by all of this talk of a bot option, as there already is one; it used to be regularly run at peer review, picked up most common MOS items and was frequently recommended here, but we asked that it be added to article talk pages so it not clutter FAC. Is no one still operating that bot? I can't recall its name or owner. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:54, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

This would be far more sophisticated - this bot would fix the MOS problems. It would be like the dashbot, but for the entire MOS (or whatever parts we programmed into it). Nothing like this exists, I promise - it is a massive undertaking to write this bot. :) Awadewit (talk) 22:01, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see; yes, something else entirely. But that other bot, that already exists and is run at peer review or on article talk pages, would resolve most of the concerns raised about getting MoS issues addressed; is no one still running it? (Although having read through all of FAC yesterday, I'm still unsure what all this MoS fuss is about-- the biggest issue at FAC is lack of reviewers, and I encountered very few MoS tussles.) I'm not sure I would trust a bot that would try to fix most MOS issues, since they often require some judgment ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:09, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
All bots require checking, I agree. However, there is a perception in the wider community, I think, that FAC requires a level of MOS-compliance that is beyond most editors. I agree with you that people are not arguing about those issues currently, but the community may not know that - this will reassure them. This bot will also prevent those disputes from arising again. Awadewit (talk) 22:13, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
(ec'd a bit) There appear to have been coding problems with that bot. It was unable to distinguish material inside quotation marks from outside quotation marks. Possibly changes may have been attempted to improve it, but it was not widely adopted because its reputation was that it was not a particularly useful tool. Possibly the most useful thing it did was check image licensing. Another somewhat useful function is to check for units of measurement for separation from numbers (but it didn't actually fix the latter problem--even though the fix would be easy to code). This new proposal would be a "fixer" bot rather than a "suggestion" bot; its action would be less ambitious than an overall peer review. The dashbot, for instance, has a very narrow purpose and most people consider it satisfactory. Think of something like a dashbot to address related MOS issues whose solutions could be mechanized. Durova320 22:16, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Sandy, I believe you are thinking of the AndyZ peer review script, which was manually run by User:AndyZ and later User:Ruhrfisch (see User:AZPR), and was recently converted to a toolserver tool (http://toolserver.org/%7Edispenser/view/Peer_reviewer) by User:Dispenser.Dr pda (talk) 22:21, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Regarding Awadewit's comment, I simply haven't the temperament for minute compliance to an unstable manual of style. WP:SOFIXIT isn't a good solution to MoS's flaws because of its tendency to become a nexus of bitter and longstanding disputes. My aim in mainspace is to contribute useful content. If it were possible to get through FAC by memorizing the Chicago Manual of Style, which has the virtue of stability, then I would come here more often. But when I suggested that at another page a month or so ago the reaction was "Bring it on". For heaven's sake, the last thing I want is a battle over that. The time and effort that my last FAC consumed less than a year ago could have produced a GA or two FPs, which wouldn't have been an objectionable use of time if it actually made the article better. Instead the attention went into trivial issues such as a review that complained about passive voice and suggested alternative text which was also passive voice. I tried to conceal that I was rolling my eyes as I jumped through the hoops, but it reaffirmed the cynical assessment I already had about FAC. Really, the cost-benefit value to this process appears to be negligible unless one regards it as a gathering point for political clout to be spent elsewhere. And I write this as one of five remaining finalists in the 2009 WikiCup. Since that doesn't provide enough motivation to return, probably nothing but a change of process will. I dread this part of the site. Durova320 22:35, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
With the greatest respect to the above editor, I don't believe that perception of FAC is generally held, and we shouldn't try to legislate as though it were. Anecdotal evidence is not a basis for good law. In fact, more and more editors are bringing articles to FAC, more and more articles are being promoted and the quality of featured articles is rising. As Sandy says, the system needs more reviewers, but that was ever thus. The proposed bot may help reviewers, and may help to change nominators' perceptions about the process, but its effect, overall, will be quite small. Nonetheless, if it can be done I'll welcome it. Brianboulton (talk) 08:56, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Debate over the future impact of a MOSbot may be academic, if no one is willing to code up such a bot, or if no one is willing to use it once it is coded. Three minor clarifications: (1) I agree with Maralia's suggestion for a modular design of the MOSbot, which is what I had in mind as well. A top-level program can invoke several lower-level, independent programs. (2) Although I almost always agree with Awadewit's ideas, I would suggest that the bot not fix MOS problems, but list them for human editors to fix. Simple problems could be amended automatically, but some MOS situations seem to require human finesse, both to understand the issue and how to fix it best. Fully automated scripts have their limits; for example, the AndyZ bot often flags passages that are not incorrect, and I assume that any MOSbot would make mistakes. (3) My experience suggests that the AndyZ bot encodes relatively little of the MoS, and I haven't found its feedback useful. But perhaps it might be helpful for newcomers to FAC, who might make more basic mistakes. Proteins (talk) 16:30, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps the MOSbot could fix some MOS issues and not others? :) For example, the dashbot fixes dashes rather than listing all of the dash issues. That is why it is so wonderful. Awadewit (talk) 17:41, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

MoS update: September 2009

Number signs: Avoid using the # symbol (known as the number sign, hash sign or pound sign) when referring to numbers or rankings. Instead use the word "number", or the abbreviation "No."

This will involve a significant change to comic and some popular-music articles (a bot may be forthcoming). The update is reflected in the concise version of the MoS, under "Number signs" at the bottom of the section. Tony (talk) 08:17, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

User:DreamGuy

This guy is insane. He thinks plot summaries are evil things, is going around doing things like tagging Candide - a featured article - to have its plot summary gutted, and working on these mad little essays where he suggests The Odyssey should cut out most of the events in Odysseus' journey home.

He edit wars at all plot-related policy pages, screams madly at anyone who dares say anything pro-plot, and generally shows himself to be trying to tear down all coverage of fiction on Wikipedia.

How bad is it? He was editwarring on WP:NOT to try and get the section on plot summaries to say that plot summaries are only sometimes a valid inclusion in coverage of a fictional topic. And shouting in all caps that if you don't say it's only sometimes appropriate, you're out to destroy Wikipedia.

This is the person who disrupted the Hardy Boys nom. What the fuck is going on here? Shoemaker's Holiday Over 210 FCs served 01:37, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Welcome to wikipedia. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 01:51, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Shoemaker, this is forum shopping and you know full well. WT:FAC is not ANI, second chance. There's nothing that needs discussing. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:53, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Please review!

I'm recently taken to updating the "FAC urgents" list and I'm saddened by the number of FACs that desperately need reviews. We won't get quality articles at FAC unless we provide quality reviews! :) Go team! Awadewit (talk) 18:39, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Awadewit as Bring It On-esque cheerleader. How are the meds they're giving you for that herniated disk? And I will try to review some this weekend, amid writing a couple articles. --Moni3 (talk) 18:45, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
I wish the meds were a little more awesome. :( You can apparently make acid from one of them, though! Awadewit (talk) 18:48, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Image reviews needed (2)

Thanks for helping out! Awadewit (talk) 20:14, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Could someone who understands images (Awadewit, Fuchs, ?) take a look at Ellis Wackett images and see what the problem is? The discussion over why they need different statements is very confusing, and the person who reviewed the articles wants a different permission statement, but it isn't clear what is needed. Auntieruth55 (talk) 23:35, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
Commented. Awadewit (talk) 00:08, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

The Ex-Girlfriend

Why was this FAC closed? There were only three or four reviewers that commented, and although they doubted if the article was ready, all their issues had been resolved. No further specific comments had been made regarding how I could improve the article. The FAC was closed way to early.--Music26/11 15:22, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

I really don't think this is the right venue. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:40, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
This being the FAC talk page I really can't see a better venue than this. 189.105.52.118 (talk) 18:44, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Karanacs and SandyGeorgia promote and/or archive the FACs, though, so it is best to ask them. Awadewit (talk) 19:29, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
Upon looking at the FAC, there was one weak support, image and source checks, and Tony1 saying that a copy-edit was needed. At a time when FAC is loaded with candidates, an article like this that isn't attracting support is likely to be archived after a couple weeks. The article will have a much better chance to pass with a fresh start in a few weeks, after the necessary work has been done. Giants2008 (17–14) 22:56, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Feedback?

After the recent promotion of the Rolls-Royce Merlin article (thanks very much BTW) I wondered if the FAC team might be interested in some feedback of the process from my point of view (as the nominator)? I found the process a little mysterious as a 'first timer' and I have an idea that might help to avoid articles appearing as candidates with obvious problems outstanding. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 13:15, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Absolutely - we are always interested in improving the process. Feel free to elaborate on any ideas you have right here. Karanacs (talk) 13:19, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Ok! Thought I would ask first and check that this was the right venue. It's not much really, I used the Wikipedia:Featured article criteria page as a guide but I failed to notice some of the 'small print' like the inclusion of alt text and checking for disambig links. I don't think that it is mentioned there that all the external links need to be live (though this is obvious really I suppose), I only discovered the tools to check things like this when the Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Rolls-Royce Merlin/archive1 page was created (the useful toolbox on the top right) it was at this stage that my statement in the nomination rationale that the 'article met all of the FA criteria' became plainly untrue!!
All I was thinking of was some kind of summary checklist table on the criteria page with simple and short questions that could be ticked like 'Image alt text' (yes), No disambig links (yes) etc. We use a version of Template:B-Class in the aviation project where requirements have to be checked yes or no, an example of the coding can be seen here. If an editor adds just B class without completing the list then it remains at the original lower class. Perhaps something like this for FAC articles could be included in the project banner, I am no good with code BTW!! The intent of this idea is purely to reduce workload for reviewers in the initial 'basics' checking stage.
On the actual process the instructions at the top of the Wikipedia:Featured article candidates page are very good, what would be very nice is a link to an essay from one of the main FAC team editors similar to User:Giano/A fool's guide to writing a featured article (I have only just found that and have no idea how useful it is or whether it is appropriate). Just noticed that there are links to essays on the criteria page. I was personally worried when the Merlin article sat unreviewed for a while as I have heard that nominations can fail just through lack of activity, as I understand the process most, if not all, of the improvement work should have been done through earlier peer reviews, leaving some minor work or unseen omissions to be noted, this was the case with the Merlin article and the points noted and actioned did improve the article markedly over a short period. The last stage (as I see it) is one editor reviewing the discussion (and the actual article?) then awarding (or not awarding) the promotion to FA. Nothing wrong with that at all, just noting my understanding of how it works. Hope this helps or gives food for thought, I can see that you are all very busy. With my experience I hope to return with more articles (but not too soon!). Cheers and all the best. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 15:05, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

For one small step along the lines suggested above, I added a mention of the toolbox to the nominating instructions. This way the nominator can easily use the toolbox before nominating the article. Eubulides (talk) 20:58, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Looks good, Eubulides ... thanks (now, if nominators read instructions is another question :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:02, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
oopsie, that was a good idea, but it was reverted ... see next section. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:26, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, sorry for the silence, I took the FAC page off of my watchlist, which of course removes the talk page as well! I am so thick at times! Sorry if my suggestion caused a programming gremlin. I have read the essay now, certainly some familiar feelings being noted in there, lots of humour as well. I was thinking of something much shorter that mainly described the review process with the odd hint and tip. Thanks to you guys my talk page is filling up with barnstars, a very warm feeling. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 23:28, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
The toolbox should be fixed now, so I've re-added it. Gary King (talk) 05:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Couldn't we just mention that they're tools and link to the template? We already have a section labeled toolbox above. Nimbus, are the links at the bottom of the automated peer review noticeable enough? I haven't included Checklinks since it isn't usable without all reading through the documentation. Also, if you could critique my tools that would be helpful. — Dispenser 03:19, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The small addition to the Template:FAC-instructions should be very useful, the proof of the pudding will be if you guys notice an improvement in new candidates. From my experience with the Merlin article I was very busy with constantly trying to maintain the quality of the text (which meant having to 'reign in' some enthusiastic editors that were adding basic errors, they did understand the need), being very busy with that I probably did not read the instructions as fully as I should have. I have only recently discovered the auto reviewer tool and am publicising it to others and using it for lower class promotion reviews now. No, I didn't see the links at the bottom originally but I can see them now that you directed me there, perhaps they need to be a tad more prominent, bulleted? Could you direct me to your tools and I would be glad to comment, perhaps on your talk page to save clogging this page. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 00:12, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
I have found them [5] will have a look and comment, cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 00:16, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

FAC page is "messed up"

The FAC page is listing links to many FACs and FARs. Anyone know why? Awadewit (talk) 22:03, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

That's been fixed here. Thanks! Awadewit (talk) 22:08, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeouch. I tested the change on Template:FAC-instructions and it worked just fine there but evidently there's some deeper magic when it's transcluded from WP:FAC. I'll debug it in a sandbox before trying again (if I try again....). Eubulides (talk) 22:42, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
What happens is that the Wikipedia:Featured article tools template automatically lists all pages that use the current page's name as a prefix. This is done so that it automatically lists all previous nominations for an FAC; since all FACs have the prefix of Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/ (note the slash at the end), then they are all listed when this template is used on this page. Gary King (talk) 04:54, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

One review on the urgents list this weekend?

Perhaps everyone who watches this page (!) could review one article on the FAC urgents list this weekend? Think how helpful that would be be. Like. Wow. Awadewit (talk) 16:49, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

See? It's your audience. I lolled. Like. Totally. Fur shur. --Moni3 (talk) 16:50, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I'll do Neverwinter Nights 2 and probably another one too. Scartol • Tok 18:23, 8 October 2009 (UTC)