User:Raul654/Featured article thoughts

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Here are some thoughts of mine pertaining to the Featured article process. This page is a work in progress. I hope it will become more and more complete as time progresses.

  • The bulk of this page was created in early 2007 by User:Raul654. --Elonka 22:14, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

General ruminations[edit]

The buck stops here[edit]

Ultimately, when it comes to the FA process - be it featured article candidates, or featured article review, the featured article criteria, etc - the ultimate responsibility for the process rests with the featured article director. If things go wrong, the responsibility rests with me.

Users who cease FA involvement[edit]

Controversial FAs[edit]

Intelligent Design and Global warming[edit]

Intelligent design and global warming are both featured articles. These articles are, by their very nature, controversial. Both articles are targets of well-funded, politically-motivated disinformation campaigns. Disinformation on these articles is combated by cliques of editors who are well versed in science.

I am very proud that these articles have made it to featured status, and wish to do everything possible to shape the FA process so as to make it possible for such articles to make FA status despite these burdens.

Torchic and Bulbasaur[edit]

FAC and FAR[edit]

Length objections[edit]

Every article clearly has some things that everyone can agree should be mentioned. When there is a disagreement as to the rest, I am inclined to err on the side of having our featured articles be too informative versus being not informative enough. So when someone objects that something important is missing, I take those objections quite seriously.

On the other hand, when someone objects that an article is too long, I check to see the length, and unless it's above the usual range (in the neighborhood of 30-80 kb, I think) I usually take such objections with a grain of salt. Obviously, someone thought it was important enough to merit mentioning in the article.

Subjective vs. objective criticisms[edit]


Copyright and fair use[edit]

Where featured articles are concerned, I favor taking a pragmatic approach to copyright. My views are best illustrated by this comment I made:

The fair use problems are, at their basic level, a conflict between two of our fundamental goals - the goal to produce a Free encyclopedia (Free, with a capital F, in the copyleft sense), and to the goal to produce a comprehensive encyclopedia (that is, one which is maximally informative - including pictures even on topics where no copyleft pictures are available.)
Neither of these goals supersedes the other. This is not a happy situation, and there will be no magic bullet here. That is to say, we are going to have to compromise, to a degree, on both of those goals (if for no other reason than to keep the people in the two camps from killing each other or quitting Wikipedia). To this end, a line has to be drawn somewhere.


Tentatively, per Raul654's suggestion at the FAR talk page, I'm linking to the section of the FAR talk page on "Process implications" here in order to set up a convenient link to that discussion for future reference. A number of issues relating to how consensus interacts with administrative considerations are discussed in that section of the FAR talk page, as well as in the section that follows it. ... Kenosis 01:56, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

The main page featured article[edit]

Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests[edit]

I created this page, but I'm not happy with how it's being used. I do want a venue for requests, but I feel it's experiencing what in my field (computer engineering) is referred to as "greedy requests"

Deference to the article's primary author[edit]

When it comes to featuring a given featured article on the main page, I try very hard to defer to the wishes of the article's primary author(s). This doesn't mean they always get their requests fufilled (especially in the case of mutually contradictory requests, or requests that contradict standard practice) but most of the time they do.

What will and will not go on the main page[edit]

One of the main motivators for people to write is to see their work featured on the main page. In computer science and engineering, we have a concept called Resource starvation - it occurs when a program is perpetually denied a necessary resource.

The selection for main page FAs should be done in such a way as to avoid starvation. That is, nobody should feel perpetually denied the chance to have their work on the main page. It's one thing that it might take a while for their work to appear on the main page; it's a very different thing to know their work will never go there. This is why I am extremely reluctant to say I won't feature such-and-such an article or class of articles on the main page. It is a sure-fire way to de-motivate people from writing about that subject.

Some articles get there faster than others[edit]

Some articles make it to the main page faster than others. This is because certain subjects are underrepresented in the FA pool (math, philosophy), where others are very-well represented (media, music, war).

The queue is not plastic[edit]

Changing the articles that have been queued for the main page is an especially time consuming and error-prone task, so I'm reluctant to do so unless presented with compelling reasons.

Selecting the image[edit]

A main page image should convey the topic of the FA with as much specificity as possible, even if you took all the rest of the text away. For this reason, I will not use maps as main page images[1] and generally will not use country flags, except when the country or flag itself is the FA topic.


  1. ^ Also note - when resized to 100 pixels wide for the main page, a map isn't much more than a meaningless blurb of color