From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This page initially detailed my history (early and late 2010 and most of 2011) at various review processes. I followed these processes for a while before that period, and at some point resolved to increase the amount of reviewing I did from almost nothing to a more substantial level. This was in part prompted by various Signpost articles, including one in early 2010. When initially writing this page (February 2010‎), I had aimed to take part in the following processes:

  • Peer Review
  • Good Article
  • MILHIST B-class
  • MILHIST A-class
  • Featured Article Candidates
  • Featured Article Review

And possibly:

  • Featured Lists
  • Featured Pictures

But in the event, I mostly participated at featured article candidates. As I took part in more reviews, I wanted to assess what I was contributing to the processes and document my thoughts on them. One thought was assessing consistency across reviews, and to pitch reviews at the right level for each process. This page is intended for listing what I tend to look for in an article, along with reminders of the basic criteria and other analysis. It is also intended for consolidating my thoughts on reviewing as a whole and to refine my approach and work out how best to contribute to various review processes.

The page was extended in late 2012 to include reviews I had participated in during that year.

Initial thoughts[edit]

The following is a set of comments made at WT:FAC after a couple of months doing reviews, in an attempt to get a handle on how best to approach reviewing in this area of the encyclopedia.

Commenting here as someone who has been doing reviews recently (after not really doing that many before then). I've been worried that some of my more detailed reviews have veered too much towards peer review-type reviews, and want to unpack here some thoughts on this, which will hopefully end up in my user space at some point as a guide to myself and to those responding to any reviews I do. I'll lay out my basic approach below, which should make clear why I think long reviews are sometimes needed (at whatever level):

  • I'm not comfortable ever supporting an article at a review process unless I have read the entire article closely. Sometimes several times over several days. Because I do multiple close readings (or try to - some of the later readings will be skimming the text, rather than reading it closely, but I always aim do at least one close reading of the text), this means that I often pick up various minor issues along with the major ones that I try and look out for, especially the need to take a step back and consider the overall shape and balance of the article (see what Ling Nut said above).
  • When I spot a fair number of errors at the copyediting level on my first pass, I mention them in the detailed review rather than correct them myself. The reason for this is to flag this up for other reviewers and to make the point to the nominator that whatever copyediting has been done hasn't picked up everything. If I find further things on my later readings, I try and just correct them myself.
  • When looking down the list at FAC, I try and pick out articles in areas that I'm moderately familiar with (mainly science and history topics, but also articles that catch my interest as a reader as well). Whatever the article, I approach it with the "general reader" in mind, looking for overly technical language, or anything that breaks the flow of my reading by requiring me to detour excessively to other articles, or sentence constructions that requires me to re-read the text to ascertain the meaning (Ling Nut also mentions the technical accessibility point above).
  • I do think that those who regularly do reviews should seek feedback from fellow reviewers and those who write articles. It also helps to participate in more than one review process (e.g. FAC, GA, peer review, WikiProject-specific reviews, and also FAR as well, to get a feel for how standards have changed). I haven't yet managed to do more reviews at peer review (though I've done one or two recently), and I've never done a GA review, though I intend to do so soon.
  • Limited comments or spot checks - I sometimes do limited comments if I spot a small area in an article that catches my interest or that I know something about part of an article from my reading elsewhere. For obvious reasons, I don't support or oppose after these sort of comments, but I hope they help. Spot checks is something I'm not sure I'd even be able to do, as I tend to get drawn further and further into an article and end up reviewing and chekcing the whole thing anyway.
  • Specialised reviews (images, external links, sources, etc): these are valuable, and I think anyone intending to do lots of reviewing should become familiar with these and try and help out where possible. It would help to have some way to 'train' in these sort of reviews, as it can be quite intimidating to try and help out and get things wrong, and/or to think help is not needed because others are doing it, when they might actually appreciate some help.
  • Reviewing approach - while the main aim should be to assess in terms of the FA/GA criteria (or whatever criteria are in place), I think it does help if regular and specialised reviewers take the time to write a short summary in their user space about their approach to reviewing and what they look for, and what they expect from nominators and those working on an article (this helps iron out problems with revisiting a review and reasons for opposes/fails for articles not ready for that level of review yet). It also helps to keep a list of reviews somewhere, as if you do lots it can be easy to lose track and forget to go back to one or two of them - I would hope that if I forget to return to a review, that the nominator or a FAC delegate would feel free to leave a reminder on my user talk page (which would be followed by profuse apologies from me). Personally, I also try and follow up on the nominator's talk page or the article talk page if a review is archived, and sometimes also following promotion as well. Looking at the approaches taken by other reviewers also helps as well (especially if they take the time to summarise their approach on a subpage of their userspace).
I intend at some point to go through the reviews and identify the things I tend to focus on, and list those, and also list things that I may fail to look for during a review (that is important so that other reviewers can check those things). One thing it is difficult to get a handle on is whether the FAC reviews I've done so far are helpful or not, or rather whether the approach I take could be improved or changed to make things more efficient. The reviews are clearly helpful to some extent, as they invariably resulted in changes being made, but whether they helped overall in terms of assessing a FAC is not clear. I know the time of regular reviewers and article writers is limited, but is there somewhere other than FACs themselves where it is possible to get more measured feedback on reviews themselves? Anything about approaches to FAC in general should go here, anything specific on reviews I've done should go on the talk page of the subpage in my userspace. Carcharoth (talk) 06:23, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

More thoughts[edit]

Some more thoughts.

  • Article history - Looking at the article history and previous reviews (see the ArticleHistory template) helps get a feel for how the article has developed. In some cases, rather than jot these notes down at the actual review, it might help to note them in a userspace draft of a review, and bring over the important points to the actual review. Rather than fill up userspace with lots of separate reviews, use one page and blank after each review and add link to the page history to the review page and to any list I maintain of reviews done. Things to look for include how long the nominator has worked on the article, what state it was in previously, and so forth.
  • Sources - Part of the check on sources used could include asking the nominator about the sources used and whether the sources used by others before they started work on the article were checked. Typical issues are: source representation (does the article accurately relate what the sources state; does the article credit the sources in the text where necessary); copyright issues (does the article include any word-for-word copying, lack of quotes where needed, or excessive quotes); plagiarism issues (does the article copy creative wording used by the sources; does the article structure stick too closely to that used by the sources); close paraphrasing (if something is recast from the sources has close paraphrasing been avoided); number of sources (does the article rely too much on a single or few sources or sources by only one author; if other sources are used are they used correctly); source reliability (questions regarding the reliability and status of the author and publications and publishers); source dates (have more recent publications on the topic been included; have justifications been provided for including older sources); source selection/comprehensiveness (how comprehensive was the survey of available sources and which ones were used and which ones not used and why).

Yet more thoughts[edit]

My views on reviewing in general can be summed up as follows:

Reviews should be a positive experience where articles are subjected to a rigorous inspection that balances respect for the work done (if it meets a minimum standard) with the need to check carefully against the criteria.

What I'm trying to do here, in part, is get a handle on what the best reviewers do to achieve that.

Alternative methods[edit]

User:Carcharoth/Reviewing/Reviews was an attempt to undertake longer reviews at a userspace sub-page. It was used for the Manhattan Project FAC, as seen at: Manhattan Project. This was not an entirely successful trial, but it might be useful for longer reviews. Shorter reviews are probably best kept to the review location.


Total of 2 MILHIST ACRs, 4 Peer reviews, 2 Good Article candidates, and, as of late 2012, over 50 FACs. Participation at those reviews varies from brief with no real engagement to in-depth and detailed. The dates noted by the reviews up to the end of 20111 are the dates of my first and last substantive edits to the review page (i.e. excluding later minor edits or comments). The notes (only present for some of the reviews so far) include details such as the level of my engagement with the review, whether I supported or not, what the result of the review was, and any previous or subsequent history. There is a break point between 2011 and 2012, and I did less reviews in 2012. The end-point dates for the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery and the second FAC for Elizabeth II are the dates those reviews closed. For the seven FACs in 2012 after the Elizabeth II one, the dates are the start and end dates of the review, rather than the dates of my edits to the reviews.

Good article candidates[edit]

  1. GAC for In Flanders Fields (24-26 February 2012)
  2. GAC for A Guide to the Scientific Knowledge of Things Familiar (24 March-1 April 2012)

MILHIST A-Class review[edit]

  1. ACR for James Cook (22 September 2011); single post, moderate detail, ACR withdrawn so more work could be done; withdrawn
  2. ACR for Albert Ball (6-22 October 2011); multiple posts over several days, detailed comments, ended up working on the article with the nominators; promoted

Peer review[edit]

  1. Peer review for 1907 Tiflis bank robbery (21 February 2011); single post, moderate detail, nominator responded two days later but no follow-up from me; later went to FAC.
  2. Peer review for Frank Buckles (20 March 2011); single post on a point of principle about biographical writing; had worked on the article prior to the peer review.
  3. Peer review for Garret Hobart (10 December 2011); initial post covered several points, some of which were discussed in follow-up posts with the nominator; later went to FAC.
  4. Peer review for William Lax (10 December 2011); single post covering several points, no follow-up from the nominator; some of the suggestions incorporated.

Featured article candidates[edit]

  1. FAC for Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (24 December 2010-9 January 2011)
  2. FAC for Charles Holden (19-23 February 2011)
  3. FAC for Herbie Hewett (22 February-3 March 2011)
  4. FAC for Eduard Streltsov (23-25 February 2011)
  5. FAC for Malmö FF (23-25 February 2011 and 2-6 March 2011)
  6. FAC for J. Robert Oppenheimer (25 February-9 March 2011)
  7. FAC for James E. Boyd (scientist) (28 February-6 March 2011)
  8. FAC for Calabozos (1-2 March 2011)
  9. FAC for Mount Cleveland (Alaska) (2-9 and 23 March 2011)
  10. FAC for Me and Juliet (2-5 March 2011)
  11. Third FAC for Sherman Minton (3-6 March 2011)
  12. FAC for Hanged, drawn and quartered (12-13 March 2011)
  13. FAC for Californium (6-7 March 2011)
  14. FAC for December 1969 nor'easter (6-13 March 2011)
  15. FAC for Eastbourne manslaughter (9-13 March 2011)
  16. FAC for Numerical weather prediction (13-23 March 2011)
  17. FAC for White Stork (18-30 March 2011)
  18. FAC for Epsilon Eridani (23-26 March 2011)
  19. FAC for Queen Victoria (26 March-3 April 2011)
  20. Second FAC for Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (26 March 2011)
  21. FAC for Egyptian temple (30-31 March 2011)
  22. FAC for Broad Ripple Park Carousel (2-5 April 2011)
  23. FAC for Ernst Lindemann (8 April 2011)
  24. Second FAC for Charles Holden (2 April 2011)
  25. FAC for Guy Fawkes Night (25-27 May 2011)
  26. FAC for Air-tractor sledge (27 May 2011)
  27. FAC for Bryan Gunn (18-22 June 2011)
  28. FAC for Taxonomy of lemurs (18-19 June 2011)
  29. Second FAC for Californium (19 June 2011)
  30. FAC for London Necropolis Company (21-30 June 2011)
  31. FAC for Kathleen Ferrier (24-26 June 2011)
  32. FAC for White-bellied Sea Eagle (30 June-3 July 2011)
  33. FAC for Manhattan Project (7-27 July 2011)
  34. FAC for 2005 Qeshm earthquake (9 July 2011)
  35. FAC for Valston Hancock (16-23 July 2011)
  36. FAC for Canoe River train crash (18-21 July 2011)
  37. FAC for John Treloar (museum administrator) (16-21 August 2011)
  38. FAC for Background of the Spanish Civil War (17 September 2011)
  39. FAC for Geoffrey (archbishop of York) (19-23 October 2011)
  40. FAC for The Entombment (Bouts) (25 October-8 November 2011)
  41. FAC for Georges Bizet (26 October 2011)
  42. FAC for 1907 Tiflis bank robbery (15 December 2011-20 February 2012)
  43. FAC for Titchwell Marsh (15-20 December 2011)
  44. FAC for The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (15-24 December 2011)
  45. FAC for American White Ibis (20-23 December 2011)
  46. Second FAC for Bulgaria (22-25 December 2011)
  47. Second FAC for Elizabeth II (17 January-21 February 2012)
  48. FAC for Golding Bird (18 January-13 March 2012)
  49. FAC for Edmund Sharpe (16 March-21 May 2012)
  50. FAC for Andromeda (constellation) (16 May-2 June 2012)
  51. FAC for William Lax (3-21 July 2012)
  52. FAC for Melford Stevenson (28 August-8 September 2012)
  53. FAC for Dudley Clarke (28 August-2 October 2012)
  54. Second FAC for Dudley Clarke (1-16 November 2012)
  55. FAC for James Bryant Conant (18 December 2012-still open)