Wikipedia talk:Today's featured article

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New FAC and FAR Coordinators proposed[edit]

Far too many warfare articles for my taste[edit]

What would be the appropriate discussion forum to post this complaint: For my taste, TFA is far too often about warfare. -- Julia Abril (talk) 12:33, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Julia, This is an appropriate forum to start the discussion if you wish. There are two observations that spring to my mind: firstly, editors write on articles that interest them, so we have a larger 'stock' of military-related articles to appear than some other topics (in some topics, there are no FAs available for selection that have not appeared previously). Secondly, articles tend to be selected through WP:TFAR, which is somewhere that normally needs more editors to become involved in the selection and consensus-building process, and your input would be more than welcome as part of that process. - SchroCat (talk) 13:47, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree. We have excellent editors interested in military history, but need more people concerned with other fields and interested in nominating TFAs. Dudley Miles (talk) 14:16, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I entirely agree with both points made by SchroCat (and Dudley Miles). Just to add some meat to the bones (and by way of explanation, I was the person selecting TFAs in 2013 and 2014 - TFAR supplied about 45% of the slots available leaving me to exercise my personal choice for the remaining 55%):
  • The general rule (broken on less than a handful of occasions in 10 years) is that featured articles only appear once as "Today's featured article"
  • At the start of 2014, we had 1,337 featured articles yet to appear as TFA
  • Of these, 256 were warfare articles, or just under 1 in 5 (19.1%) - this is because we have a lot of active editors at WP:MILHIST and elsewhere who write lots of featured articles about warfare topics
  • If things were decided on a strict mathematical basis, then we would have warfare TFAs 19.1% of the time (i.e. 70 articles per year, as 19.1% of 365 is 69.9, which works out at 5.8 per month)
  • In fact, we had "only" 61 warfare TFAs last year, and there are only 4 warfare TFAs scheduled for January 2015.
  • Reducing the number of warfare TFAs still further would mean that other categories would be emptied even more quickly than they are already being emptied - there are no TFAs for selection in chemistry, computing, language, mathematics, food and drink, philosophy... and other topics (education, engineering, geology, health and medicine) have just one or two potential TFAs awaiting their turn.
  • You may not like them, but warfare articles are very popular with readers - 3 out of the most-viewed top 5 TFAs last year were warfare articles, and it was the third-highest category for median TFA page views - see my earlier analysis at Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates#Merger of TFASTATS and TFAREC / 2014 TFA page views.
  • The warfare potential TFA section covers a very wide span of history, from 200BC through the Norman Conquest, the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars to the wars of the 20th century. Geographically it covers Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia. It covers articles about individuals, units and equipment, battles, incidents, wars, ships, and so on. It is a very varied section - more so than many of the other sections, in fact.
I hope this explains why we have as many warfare articles as we do. Unfortunately there is little to suggest beyond (a) nominate articles at TFAR, as that is a very good way of getting them onto the main page, and (b) getting non-warfare articles promoted through WP:FAC helps increase the options available to the TFA coordinators. Pinging them for their input: @WP:TFA coordinators: . BencherliteTalk 14:34, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Not having had the opportunity to schedule yet, I can't comment from experience. But, based on my experience at POTD and the birds, Bencherlite is correct. There are times when a certain subject is just plain overrepresented, and the only way to fix that is to improve content outside of that subject. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 14:45, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Deferring to Brian and Crisco. I've been a coordinator for the military history wikiproject for years, and I would have no objection at all if Brian and Crisco want to reduce the number of military history articles at TFA. Agreed with others that that would probably require other wikiprojects stepping up and producing more Featured Articles. - Dank (push to talk) 15:09, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I've nothing specific to add, except to mention that in January 2015, my first month of responsibility for the TFA schedule, only 10 out of 31 came though the TFAR process. We need more activity there. As pointed out, scheduling has to broadly reflect the proportionality of the available FAs, of which, currently, more than 40% are in either the warfare, biology, or sports categories. Until other project areas step up their output, these categories will continue to dominate TFA. Brianboulton (talk) 15:16, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Thanks to all of you for your detailed answers. Let me just add one thought. Perhaps there is some positive feedback in the system: Once people have figured out how to write an excellent battleship article, it becomes easier and easier to write more and more battleship articles. Whereas in other fields, there is no pattern to follow, and requirements for getting an article into the TFA pool seem prohibitively high. -- Julia Abril (talk) 15:37, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

That pretty much holds true for all articles. I've never written a battleship article - but I'm well up the list of FA nominators and no article is ever easy at FAC. They all have their issues. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:00, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Agree with Ealdgyth. There may be a general template to follow, but the information available is going to vary from subject to subject. An obscure lost film might be able to get to FA with only 1000 words, whereas an Oscar-winning blockbuster will need at least 2500 to adequately cover the subject. (Films being where most of my FAs are) — Crisco 1492 (talk) 16:07, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Also, regarding the criteria for featured articles... practice makes perfect. My first FA nomination failed. My second almost failed. Once I started working with some excellent copyeditors and peer reviewers, things got much easier. It's a steep learning curve, but once you're there... well, you're there. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 16:10, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Julia, I think it's possible we could do more than we're doing now to help wikiprojects to get up to speed at FAC, at least with the issues I deal with (prose, mostly). I'll run some ideas by the other TFA coords in a day or two. - Dank (push to talk) 19:28, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Today's featured article/February 2, 2015[edit]

I made a change to the TFA text about Philip Seymour Hoffman and got reverted; now it says that PSH was "mainly known for his work in independent films". Could someone please read the TFA or skim the article and tell me if that makes sense to you? Thanks. - Dank (push to talk) 18:48, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

The current version "While mainly known for his work in independent films" seems to drawn the claim from the reception section: "Most of Hoffman's notable roles came in arthouse films, including particularly original ones, but he also featured in several Hollywood blockbusters", which isn't the same thing (being in, as opposed to being known to be in). Loeba does have a point about the use of two "also"s in the sentence, so perhaps an alternative may be "Known for his work in independent films...", which changes the emphasis enough to bring it more closely in line with what the article actually says. - SchroCat (talk) 19:02, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
"Known for" was what I had settled on ... then my train of thought got derailed before I made the edit. - Dank (push to talk) 19:09, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
This is a good illustration of the problems of "known for"— there's no indication of the group of people that "knew" him. If you're assuming the population at large, and if it is uncontroversial to state that Hollywood blockbusters are generally seen by more people than independent films, then he may very well be more "known" for his blockbusters, even though he acted in numerically more independent films. If the assumed group is fans of independent film, then the answer will be different. Regards, Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 00:26, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I think your argument may hold water if it were "Best known for", or the current "Mainly known for", but not for the proposed "Known for", which is deliberately ambiguous. He was known for it, we just don't specify who by. – SchroCat (talk) 07:09, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Good ideas guys, thanks, I'll go ask the nominator to read what you're saying and to check what the source says. - Dank (push to talk) 15:56, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Okay, in light of comments here I've tweaked both the article's lead and the TFA blurb to "While he mainly worked in independent films..." That okay? Thanks all --Loeba (talk) 17:35, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

No objection (but I haven't seen the sources). - Dank (push to talk) 17:42, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Having some familiarity with both the article and sources, I think this works well. - SchroCat (talk) 18:42, 14 January 2015 (UTC)