Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Backlog elimination drives

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The Copy Editing Backlog Elimination Drives are one-month-long efforts of the Guild of Copy Editors to reduce the backlog of articles that require copy editing, signified with the {{copy edit}} tag. The goals for each drive are listed on the respective drive page. Awards will be given out to those individuals who help reduce the size of the backlog.

The coordinators for each drive are listed on each drive page. If you have any questions please first consult our FAQ page, which has answers to some commonly-asked questions. If that doesn't help, you can leave a message on the drive's talk page; someone will be happy to help you.

The backlog elimination drives are open to all Wikipedians; you do not need to be a member of the Guild of Copy Editors to participate. However, you may want to consider joining as membership has its benefits. For example, you can place a special "page in use" tag when you are copy editing, and another on the talk page when you finish. Please visit the Guild's home page for more information.

Get your name in the Hall of Fame! We occasionally award exceptional editors a place in the GOCE Hall of Fame. The award is given on an irregular basis for exceptional efforts in the copy edit drives or for other unusually fabulous contributions. If you have a suggestion for a nomination, please let one of the Guild coordinators know.

Please make sure that you know how to copy edit and that you are familiar with the Wikipedia Manual of Style before you begin copy editing.

Instructions for participants[edit]

  • Sign up for the drive. On the drive's page, find the "Signing up" section and press the "Create your articles list" button. This will create a subsection of the page where you will record your copy edits.
  • Find an article to copy edit: see the "Finding Articles" section below. Articles listed on the Requests page also count towards your drive totals—these higher quality articles don't usually have {{copy edit}} tags. Follow all Requests page instructions.
  • Obtain the article's word count: use this script (see below).
  • Copy edit the article. Remove any extant {{copy edit}} tags when you've finished.
  • Record your work in the "Totals" section of the drive page. Your subsection is automatically populated with  # {{Working}} [[]] () and # {{Completed}} [[]] ():
    • Article titles go in wikilinks [[]]. List the article's full title, not an abbreviated version.
    • Article word counts go in round brackets ().
    • Place lengthy articles, which may take some time to copy edit, on the {{Working}} line. When you've finished, change {{Working}} to {{Completed}}.
    • If the article is from the GOCE Requests page, place *R after the word count. If it was tagged in the drive's target months, place *O after the word count.
    • Before the drive closes, add any Rollover words you may have earned in the previous drive. You'll find this number on the "Barnstars" page—follow the link in the "Signing up" section of the current drive's page. In the "Totals" table, use the number in the column marked "New rollover words". Place this number in the "rollover-words" line in your subsection. You don't do anything with this number; rollover words are added to your total at the end of the drive.
    • Place any comments between the article title and the word count.
  • Check your log using the "Preview button" then save it. Articles not logged or improperly logged will not be credited.

Dos and Don'ts[edit]

  • Don't "rubber-stamp" articles. Be thorough and complete in your copy edits, working to the end of the article. The prose in copy edited articles should comply with the Manual of Style and be free of grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors. Rejected work will not count towards your total and you may be penalized for it.
  • Don't create extra work; don't copy edit any articles to which you have recently added a {{copy edit}} tag.
  • Only count what you copy edit. Sometimes articles or sections are unsuitable for copy editing or may not need any work. You may decide to remove extant {{copyedit}} tags and take some action like placing {{GOCEreviewed}} on the talk page, redirecting, deleting inappropriate material, reporting suspected copyright violation and so on. Don't count words in articles or sections that you have not copy edited.
  • Do have fun; we're here to help bring these articles to their fullest potential and improve the overall quality of the encyclopedia. If you don't enjoy doing that, there is no motivation to improve these articles and the encyclopedia as a whole.

For new copy editors[edit]

The backlog elimination drive welcomes and encourages Wikipedians who are new to copy editing or who are out-of-practice to join the drive. You may copy edit as many—or as few—articles as you wish. If you want someone to review your work, feel free to ask on the current drive's talk page and one of the coordinators will gladly assist.

Useful tags[edit]

While we do our best to copy edit articles, this is not always achievable. Articles may be unstable, have confusing text or need attention from experts in that subject area. In these instances we can use a tag to attract such help for the article. Some useful tags are:

{{off-topic}} ~ {{Expert-verify}} ~ {{Expert-subject}} ~ {{contradict}} ~ {{confusing}} ~ {{refimprove}} ~ {{nofootnotes}} ~ {{notability}} ~ {{original research}} ~ {{crystal}} ~ {{POV}} ~ {{unreferenced}}

See WP:TC for a full list of cleanup template messages.

Word counting script[edit]

Here are the instructions for installing and using the word counting script:

To add the script that calculates page size:[Credit 1]

  1. If you have JavaScript enabled, go here to access your skin's .js file.
    • If you do not have JavaScript enabled and either do not wish to or cannot, go to Special:Preferences and click on the Appearance tab. In the very first section, Skin and click on Custom JavaScript next to the name of the selected skin.
  2. Click Edit on the page that is opened.
  3. Add the following code to the page and save it: {{subst:js|User:Dr pda/prosesize.js}}[Credit 2]
  4. Reload the cache:
    • If you are using Internet Explorer, press Ctrl-F5
    • If you are using Firefox/Safari for Windows, hold down Shift while clicking Reload (or press Ctrl-Shift-R); for Mac, press Command-R.
    • If you are using Opera/Konqueror, press F5.
  5. To test the script, go to a random article, look under the Toolbox menu on the far left of the screen and find the link for Page size. The backlog elimination drive uses the number of words listed under Prose size (text only).
  6. Go copy edit!

Finding articles[edit]

Some copy editors enjoy taking a random dip in Category:All articles needing copy edit and learning about something completely new along the way. Others prefer editing articles in a field they already know about. Such articles can be found using categories:[Credit 3]

  1. Go to the PetScan tool.
  2. Set the Depth to 5.
  3. Write or paste Wikipedia articles needing copy edit in the box labelled "Categories".
  4. Write the name of a category you're interested in on a separate line in the same box, for example; Books.
  5. Scroll down and click the button labelled "Do it!"
  6. Be patient; large categories might take a little while to search.

This example will find articles tagged with {{copy edit}} in Category:Books, as well as its sub-categories, sub-sub-categories, and so on down to sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-categories.

  1. Set Depth to 5.
  2. Place Wikipedia articles needing copy edit in the Category box.
  3. Tick off both Article and Talk in the Namespaces boxes.
  4. Place the template of the wikiproject in the Templates field and tick off "Use talk pages instead."
  5. Click "Do it!"
  6. Wow! The example search found 77 articles on Pakistan that need copy edits and took 5 seconds to execute.
  1. ^ All credit for these instructions go to TheTito Discuss
  2. ^ All credit for the script goes to User:Dr pda at User talk:Dr pda/prosesize.js
  3. ^ Basically ripped from here; original tip from #Jubileeclipman

Rollover words [edit]

Rollover words are words from your drive total that did not count towards an award. These are carried forward—or "rolled over"—to the next drive. For example, if Example copy edits 25,436 words, s/he will receive the Tireless Contributor Barnstar (20,000 words). His/her remaining 5,436 words are rolled over until the next drive, where they can be added to his/her total word count. If Example copy edits 2,800 words in the following drive, s/he will receive the Working Wikipedian's Barnstar (8,000 words) and 236 rollover words (5,436 plus 2,800, minus 8,000).

Rollover words are valid only during the next drive. If Example earned 14,000 roll-over words in a March drive and did not participate in the May drive, s/he cannot use them in the July drive; his/her rollover count will return to zero. Rollover words do not apply to the Gold Star Leaderboard awards.


The following awards will be given out for the drive.

Total word count awards[edit]

Awards will be given out at the conclusion of the backlog elimination drive as follows:

Minor Barnstar.png At least one copy edit
The Minor Barnstar
CopyeditorStar7.PNG At least 30,000 words
The (old school) League of Copy Editors Barnstar
Modest Barnstar.png At least 4,000 words
The Modest Barnstar
Copyedit Barnstar Hires.png At least 40,000 words
The (modern) Guild of Copy Editors Barnstar
Working Man's Barnstar.png At least 8,000 words
The Working Wikipedian's Barnstar
Barnstar of Diligence.png At least 60,000 words
The Barnstar of Diligence
CleanupBarnstar.PNG At least 12,000 words
The Cleanup Barnstar
SuperiorContentReviewScribe.png At least 80,000 words
The Order of the Superior Scribe of Wikipedia
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif At least 20,000 words
The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Most Excellent Order of Star Scribes.png At least 100,000 words
A special, VERY exclusive award created just for these few, these happy few, this band of brothers: the Most Excellent Order of the Caretaker's Star

Leaderboard awards[edit]

Goce barnstar.png

The prestigious Guild of Copy Editors' Gold Star Award will be awarded to the copy editor with the highest total article count, the highest total word count, the most articles of more than 5,000 words, the most articles from the oldest three months, and the largest article copy edited during the drive.

Goce silver barnstar.png

The GOCE Silver Star Award will be presented to all editors who make the remaining leaderboard slots in each category.

10k award[edit]


An editor who copy edits an individual article of more than 10,000 words that does not make it to the leaderboard in the "my longest article" category will receive The 10k Copy Edit Barnstar.


Participants can place a drive userbox on their userpage using {{User Copyedit Drives|X}}. Replace X with the number of drives you have participated in. It displays as follows:
Writing Magnifying.PNG This user has participated in X Backlog Elimination Drives with the Guild of Copy Editors.
If you also participate in the blitzes, you can use:
Writing Magnifying.PNG This user has participated in 1 Backlog Elimination Blitz and 1 Backlog Elimination Drive with the Guild of Copy Editors.

Instructions for coordinators[edit]