This essay is in progress, will be building upon it with specific "advice guidelines" about how to properly deal with backlog.
- 1 What is Backlog
- 2 Backlog Tasks
- 3 Types of Backlog
- 3.1 Administrator Only Backlog
- 3.2 All User Backlog
- 4 General Backlog Guidelines
What is Backlog
Backlog is the occurence of "maintenance" tasks that need to be performed, but are built up from not enough maintenance, resulting in what we call "backlog".
There are a lot of backlog related articles at the Backlog pages. Many different type of tasks that need to be accomplished in backlog. Some are admin only tasks (dealing with redirects, speedy deletions, and various other things). However some are general backlogs that anyone (even non-logged in users) can work on (cleaning pages, wikification, categorization, and more).
Types of Backlog
There are certain backlogged pages that can only be dealt with by administrators. There are other's (A great deal others) that any users can participate in, below is a full list of those (potentially under construction).
Administrator Only Backlog
Articles Needing Merged
This is for articles that are proposed to be merged with larger or other articles related to what it's speaking about. Some things to keep in mind
- If the article is obviously big enough to have it's own article, don't tag it needing merged.
- If someone has already opened it for merge and it was declined there is no point in marking it as needing merged.
- If the original user, or other users have stated recently they are heavily expanding it, there's no need to mark it for merge.
Articles Needing Moved
This is for articles that are needing to be moved.
All User Backlog
Articles Lacking Sources
This backlog page can be located at Articles Lacking Sources. These are articles that are not properly cited/sourced. These are pretty easy to deal with and generally one backlogged article can be dealt with in under 15 minutes, if you know how to browse google and find sources.
These are only articles that have NO citations. Some general rules to keep in mind for this backlog are
- If there are some citations (even one) then they don't belong in this category
- If they have had (even one) reference added since the tag was placed, the tag needs removed/changed.
Articles with Unsourced Statements
If there is a statement in an article that is unsourced, it need's this tag. If there isn't it doesn't. Also if the unsourced statement has been sourced since the tag was added, it need's to be removed.
Articles Needing Cleanup
If the article need's cleaned up (restructured or some minor changes to make it better) it needs this tag. If you ADD this tag, please leave in the talk page the reason for the tag and what need's to be changed in the article to satisfy the conditions for the tags removal.
- If the tag has been cleaned considerably since the tag was placed, remove it.
- If the backlog is fairly old, but still need's it then re-date it.
- If it only takes a few seconds then fix it
- If the article looks clean and there is nothing in the talk page about the reason, then un-tag it.
Articles Needing Expansion
If a decently lengthed article/section is tagged, untag it. It's only for small sections/articles that really need it. If it's been increased since it was tag, it also need's removed. If it's old then re-date it, but generally your looking at only 5-6 minutes to grab a decent source and expand the section. If there is really nothing that can be added (even if it's short) then integrate it into larger bodies of text and remove the offending section all together and remove the tag.
Articles Needing Wikification
This is for article that need to be redone so they are suitable for wikipedia overall. THis should follow the standard guidelines, if it doesn't need it don't tag it. If it's old re-date it, and if it's something simple, try to put the time into fixing it so the tag can be appropriately removed (reducing backlog).
Article Creation Requests
This one is hard. Because there are many factors involved
- Has the article been created before but deleted
- Is it really a needed article, or can it be written so as to fall within guidelines
- Is someone potentially already creating it
- Is there a lot of controvery around about it's creationg.
If any of those are answered then chances are you want to remove it from the lists of requests. if it's been deleted you need to ask the admin that originally deleted it why, and if you re-create it what can be done to make sure that it won't get deleted again or that it's done correctly. Another thing, try to be complete. Every new article (within minutes) has someone coming through tagging it for everything. If you created the article and someone comes through and throws up 3 tags (need's more sources, needs cleaned, needs wikified), then take it upon yourself to stop and clean up what need's it (asking the taggers if you need specifics) so the tags can be removed. Otherwise it's just removing some backlog (the request) to add 3 more into other categories of backlog (thus defeating the purpose). Alot of new articles are created and the creator will just create a basic article and leave tags for other people to clean. This adds unnecessary backlog when the original editor can put in some extra minuets to make sure more than the basics are done and it's created into a lasting article the community can contribute to (not just spending time fixing other people's initial creations). This then satisfies backlog related to requests, and keeps it from falling into un-needed backlogs unnecessarily.
Articles Needing Categories
This one is simple. It takes under 2 minutes per article to add a few categories. If you see it, fix it. Start with the older first, and this one is an easy to fix. Also if an article has a few categories there's no need for the tag (or if it's been categorized since the tag was added, it can be removed).
General Backlog Guidelines
There is a general way things should go when dealing with backlog. Backlog is a bad thing, backlog's (when left unchecked) can build up over years. Meaning someone put in a request for something and over a year later it get's done. There are things that can be done to help minimize backlog and catch it before it get's out of hand. You can:
- Start at the oldest backlogged pages first (if it's by month then start at the oldest month)
- Remove tags that are incorrectly tagged
- Remove them as you clean them
- Re-date ones that really need it and have been tagged for a long time
- Remove ones that have been dealt with properly since the tag was placed
Most importantly. If you are browsing around random articles looking for random articles you can throw tags on and leave them, this adds unnecessary backlog. If it's something you run across and fix yourself, then fix it (it contributes more to fix something, than to set it aside for someone else to fix). If you really don't have time, or no how, that's the time to tag it properly so someone more experienced can come along and handle them as needed.