Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Drive/Workshop

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Tag & Assess 2007 is now officially over. It has been successful and we would like to repeat it later in the year. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss ways of improving the next drive, so that it attracts and keeps more participating editors, so that it's run more efficiently. This page is divided into two main sections.

  1. The first section—#Workshop—is mostly focused on the mechanics of the drive and discussing participants' experiences, reactions and proposals.
  2. The second section—#Questionnaire—is more general, and aimed mostly for people who didn't get to participate in the drive. It would be very helpful to us if you completed the section's brief questionnaire.


This section is intended for people who actively worked on the drive. The aim is discussion, so please comment on as many of the sub-sections as you feel able. We'd like to hear your complaints and criticisms as well as suggestions for improvement. Feel free to add extra sub-sections if you think something is missing.--ROGER DAVIES talk 16:20, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Joining the drive[edit]

What attracted you? Have you done this before with other projects? How did the Milhist compare? How did it differ?

  • I am interested in history and figured this might be a good way to find new articles to read about. It was also something that was "easy" enough to do, just take a quick look and tag/detag. Yossiea (talk) 15:22, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I haven't done a drive like this before and i am relatively new to Wikipedia. I started mainly to earn one of the awards, but also to get involved. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:28, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I did something similar for the Biography Wikiproject over the summer, so this is my second assessment drive. I don't know if the coordinators were paying attention to that drive, as by comparison this drive was very well set up and organized. Procedures were clear, the lists were in place and a system set up to avoid overlap and running into each other, and the awards system was fully explained. Response to inquiries was also very prompt even though only Roger Davies was the primarily the coordinator, although Kirill also did step in to answer questions. --BrokenSphereMsg me 19:46, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I participated in the recent drive for WP:SHIPS and was drawn into this one as well. I had started tagging for MILHIST before I was even a member and had amassed about 1000 before I even joined-up as a member, let alone a participant of the assessment drive. The structure here was much more formalized than at ships, but over there, there were only about 6 us because the scope of the articles there was much less than here, and we have far-less members than over here. -MBK004 20:43, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I've never done anything like this before. I read about the drive first in the Signpost, and thought 'yeah, why not'. Then it turned out that I had a lot of free time on my hands. I enjoyed it. Everything was organised clearly and actually a fun experience. Must admit - the barnstars and service awards were a nice incentive. And I think it got me started to more actively participate in Wikipedia, choose focused tasks - I hope to tag some more until the end of January (as much as I will be able to, time permitting) and I'm gonna move on to helping with something else. --Ouro (blah blah) 21:06, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I like competition, and feeling that I accomplished something. I think I did well in those regards.--Bedford (talk) 21:09, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I will be honest and say that I got into it mainly for the awards, I have a rather small collection of barnstars and such and wanted a chance to get some more. TomStar81 (Talk) 00:30, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I haven't partipated in anything like this before, and am not really involved in any other Wikiprojects. I saw it advertised at the Community Portal when I was looking for something new to do to fill up some unexpected free time. I also thought it would give me a better handle on the Wikiproject/assessment process, which I didn't know anything about. --Kateshortforbob 11:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I had just started "officially" on Wikipedia and wanted a crash course in how WP works (and doesn't work). The Milhis Drive seemed a good fit for a newbie. Jacksinterweb (talk) 14:45, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I have been slowly contributing in the last months, so the drive was a good chance to turn back to wikipedia. It is relaxing, in some sense. I never participated in a drive before. --gala.martin (what?) 15:03, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Military history is not an area of knowledge or even particular interest to me, but it seems like the sort of topic that an encyclopedia ought to have excellent coverage of, so I was happy to contribute what i could (and have a focus for some gnoming). -- Avocado (talk) 17:48, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I learnt a lot, that's one thing, about Military history as well as some different stuff. The drive was organised quite well, everything was great, except that maybe that each little sector of 50 articles be placed on a single page. Because I got confused - well maybe it's just me. It was fun getting the stripes but I'm still working on the barnstars. Fattyjwoods (talk) 22:43, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I orginally got started just as a way to have something to do and to get some awards. When I saw this on the community portal, it seemed like a great place to start. I've learned a lot and seen some articles that I may not have seen. The directions were clear and easy follow. Missjessica254 (talk) 15:52, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • This was my first project, and I was looking for a way to get involved; so when I saw this on the Signpost, I joined up. :) Fleetflame (talk) 02:08, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I was attracted by the promise of barnstars of course! I've done this kind of work a couple of times before, but this was by far the most organised. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I had just completed a big tagging drive for WPShips when the MilHist drive was announced. At that point, I figured I had already tagged about 3,000 articles for both Ships and MilHist, so more probably wouldn't kill me.
-----Comment from Maralia
  • Two things: the promise of awards, and the knowledge learned from reading some of the articles. --Patar knight (talk) 15:10, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Lists and false positives[edit]

We aim to produce much better lists for the next drive, with fewer false positives. We know about radio stations, sports personalities, state highways, and cartoon characters creeping into the worklists? Are there any other major false positives? And, is there anything about the lists that you'd like to comment on?

  • People who had gained OBEs, CBEs etc or titles that suggested military involvement popped up all the time. Also articles about places or people that had links to military articles crept in occansionally. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:31, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Concur, towns and cities in US states that were involved in the American Civil War or Revolutionary War came up. Fictional military personnel, organizations, weapons, etc. People who died of gunshot wounds. People who had served in the military, but this was not their basis for notability, although this is likely harder to screen. BrokenSphereMsg me 19:49, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The reason cartoon characters kept cropping up was because they were Turner Broadcasting, which is based in Georgia, which was a state in the Confederacy. Automatically tgging something just because it's in Georgia needs to be prevented. Also, I saw a lot of Templates and Portal pages on my worklists.--Bedford (talk) 20:35, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Concur with the above - I got Tom and Jerry episodes, Family Guy episodes, lots, lots of sports people, cities in Georgia, but also fictional characters from cartoons, Japanese daimyo which I was unsure about. I also had Jacek Gmoch and Andre Gide and a few other interesting personalities that I sadly forgot. --Ouro (blah blah) 21:05, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • In addition to the above, I kept getting shooting relating articles in the olympics, nearly all of which had little of anything to do with the military. That was really annoying. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:41, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The procedure was a bit too "manual". I released that someone had produced a script after a while. Probably the tagging procedure can be better organized by default. I think that tag & assess can be organized together with other projects. E.g., it was easy to tag articles for the biography project when I came into biographies of people involved in milhis. --gala.martin (what?) 15:07, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Not just WP BIO. I tagged a ton for WP Ships, and quite a bit for WP Aviation, WP Terrorism, and for various country and state WPs.--Bedford (talk) 15:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree that the biggest issue was everything even remotely related to a Confederate state (but particularly Georgia, Turner Broadcasting, college athletes/coaches, and the 1996 Olympics) was included. Just eliminating those would probably decrease the false positives by 25%. Everyone granted British Knighthood for any reason was also included (and were probably 80% false positives), but those presumably need to be gone through by hand anyway. -- Avocado (talk) 17:27, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Oh, forgot to mention... a lot of civilian sailboats and ferries. Probably those categories could have been excluded too. -- Avocado (talk) 18:13, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Also... psychedelic music (musicians, songs, and albums) [apparently some psychedelic drugs fall under chemical weapons, so everything psychedelic music-related is on the list]. -- Avocado (talk) 23:10, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • For the next drive would it be worth excluding all articles that already have a WPMILHIST flag, so the emphasis would be on capturing unmarked articles rather than also reviewing the status of current ones? The sheer size of the candidate list this time was very large (and has not yet been completed). Welsh (talk) 17:41, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • How about a different way of marking an article as assessed but irrelevent? I found the strikeout flagging quite time consuming - perhaps an X in a second column of a table? Welsh (talk) 17:49, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I agree; it was very time consuming highlighting and then striking and it did nothing to reduce the page size so the list would load quicker. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • For me many false positives popped up; towns, college and professional sports people as well as olympic games people, luxury cruise boats, and internet slang all popped up. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Changing the bot output to reverse the order in which the article's category tree is listed would put the most relevant info—the category the article is actually in—in the most visible spot, right next to the article name.
  • With some finagling, the above change could enable sorting the list by category before breaking it down into worksheets. There are several huge benefits to this:
  • A cursory review before the drive could eliminate vast swaths of systemic false positives due to iffy category trees, making the entire process lightyears more efficient.
  • During the drive, if a reviewer finds a systemic false positive, it will be easy to eliminate any related false positives, as they'll be contiguous in the list.
    • Likewise, when a reviewer has identified a category that's conclusively relevant, this would facilitate quickly tagging those articles.
  • Converting underscores to spaces would make for easier reading.
-----Comment from Maralia
  • The city of Paris cropped up as much as the American south, I found. (Am finding . . .) If there was a way that a list of categories (or "spots in the tree") with large numbers (or percentages, maybe) of false positives could be machine-generated and then checked by hand to be excluded from the next go-round, I for one would be willing to volunteer what time I have to the effort . . . UnDeadGoat (talk) 22:29, 5 January 2008 (UTC) (Forgot to sign first time around)
  • Lots of articles turned up about people who were executed by firing squads, which was linked to weaponry or something like that. Also, the catergories for involvement in wars are too general, as some articles give only 1 or 2 sentences on wartime service. Everything else I encountered is mentioned above. --Patar knight (talk) 15:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Examples of irrelevant subcats[edit]

Note:These are not full trees; I have trimmed them down to what I think is the breaking point for each issue.

  • Confederate_states_(1861-1865) to Georgia_(U.S._state) to Geography_of_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Settlements_in_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Cities_in_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Athens,_Georgia to University_of_Georgia to University_of_Georgia_people to University_of_Georgia_faculty,_staff_and_administration to University_of_Georgia_faculty
  • Confederate_states_(1861-1865) to Georgia_(U.S._state) to Sports_in_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Sports_in_Atlanta to 1996_Summer_Olympics to Competitors_at_the_1996_Summer_Olympics to Athletes_at_the_1996_Summer_Olympics
  • Confederate_states_(1861-1865) to South_Carolina to Transportation_in_South_Carolina to Canals_in_South_Carolina to Intracoastal_Waterway to Chesapeake_Bay to Chesapeake_Bay_Watershed to Susquehanna_River to Susquehanna_Valley to York_County,_Pennsylvania to People_from_York,_Pennsylvania
  • Confederate_states_(1861-1865) to Georgia_(U.S._state) to Politics_of_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Georgia_(U.S._state)_politicians to Georgia_(U.S._state)_politician_stubs
  • Confederate_states_(1861-1865) to Georgia_(U.S._state) to Economy_of_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Companies_based_in_Georgia_(U.S._state) to Panoz to International_Motor_Sports_Association to IMSA_GT_Championship to IMSA_GTP_cars
  • Military_history_of_the_United_States to History_of_United_States_expansionism to Erie_Canal to Rochester,_New_York to Education_in_Rochester,_New_York to University_of_Rochester to University_of_Rochester_alumni
  • Military to Military_decorations to Ordre_de_la_Libération to Paris to Squares_in_Paris
  • Military_decorations to Ordre_de_la_Libération to Paris to Tourism_in_Paris to Visitor_attractions_in_Paris to Museums_in_Paris to Art_museums_and_galleries_in_Paris
  • Allied_occupation_of_Germany to East_Germany to Football_in_East_Germany to East_German_football_clubs
  • Military_equipment_by_type to Weapons to Chemical_weapons to Incapacitating_agents to Psychedelics to Psychedelic_phenethylamines
  • Ukrainian_Navy to Odessa to People_from_Odessa
  • Lists_of_military_conflicts to Territories_under_military_occupation to Palestinian_territories to Religion_in_Palestine to Rabbis_of_the_Land_of_Israel to Mishnah_rabbis
-----Comment from Maralia
  • I kept getting colleges in the South, too, and movies like Star Wars and so forth. Fléêťflämẽ U-T-C 04:04, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Instructions and support[edit]

Were the instructions clear or did you struggle with them? What would you improve? Was the guidance of scope adequate? Were the comments on assessment levels clear? Is there anything you'd like to see simplified? Were your questions answered swiftly enough on talk pages?

  • The scope i believe should be improved and should be more specific, eg explaining what qualifies as noteworthy military service, how directly linked the article must be to the military (whether civilian guns qualify etc). Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:37, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Maybe have something like an FAQ next time?--Bedford (talk) 20:36, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Scope was okay, even if you draw a big fat chalkline here and there there'll always be something ambiguous. One learns on the way - the more you tag the better you can feel out the articles' subjects whether they are eligible for inclusion or not. --Ouro (blah blah) 21:05, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Compared to most anything else on Wikipedia this was explained pretty well. There's room for improvement in making instructions easier to understand for the casual user, but I think overall, other WP Projects could learn by Milhis's example. Scope could be spelled out a bit better, but I tended to be a bit more liberal with tagging, figuring if its a bad call a tag is easy enough to remove. Jacksinterweb (talk) 15:07, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • A dedicated spot for asking questions about scope might have been useful, as they tended to get lost on the talk page after a little while. -- Avocado (talk) 17:28, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Another note: Lists are *really* difficult to assess. How come this project doesn't have a List assessment class? -- Avocado (talk) 18:33, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
      • 3/4 of the way thru the drive, the Project gained the DAB class for use with lists and the like.--Bedford (talk) 20:57, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
        • DAB is for use with lists, too? -- Avocado (talk) 21:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
          • No. Please don't use DAB for anything other than actual disambiguation pages (i.e. the kind that says "this is a disambiguation page" on the article itself. The whole reason we introduced the new class is to keep lists, which are supposed to be assessed using the normal classes, from dropping out of the assessment hierarchy. Kirill 21:10, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
            • A few ships have a page under USS whatever that isn't labeled "disambiguation" but is only a pointer to other pages, and has no assessable content. I've been using DAB on those; is that bad?UnDeadGoat (talk) 22:30, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
              • Not sure what you mean by not labeled disambiguation—the page name need not include "(disambiguation)", but it should be tagged with {{shipindex}} or {{disambig}}. In any case, if it's clearly a disambiguation page, class=dab is appropriate, and feel free to add {{shipindex}} if it's absent. Maralia (talk) 22:57, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
  • No, the instructions were pretty clear. I'd change having to strike the articles that were out of the project scope however; it was very time consuming highlighting and then striking the false posiitives and did nothing to reduce the list size so the page would load quicker. Also, I'd reduce the amount of articles on the worklists - for editors who aren't prepared to spend all day tagging or who don't use bots, 1000 links is quite a daunting lot. I'd suggest either lowering it to 500 per page or making the threshold for barnstars lower so rewards are faster. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Do away with strikeout. A simple Yes check.svg Done per section would be easier and would leave the remaining text more readable. I think we could write a very concise FAQ for next time that would address most scope questions.
-----Comment from Maralia
    • The problem with doing away with strikeout like this, though, is that if there's a question of scope, the assessor is unable to move on from a group of 10 until that issue has been addressed. I know at one point I went to bed with several questions pending, and it was good to be able to see clearly what I hadn't yet assessed/rejected.UnDeadGoat (talk) 22:30, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
      • I see your point, but there are other solutions to that problem: you could mark individual open issues with X mark.svg Not done, or use your worksheet's talk page to list unaddressed items. I'm sure no one would object to any type of workaround while you're progressing through a worksheet, as long as the finished product ends up in whatever format is decided upon. Maralia (talk) 22:48, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Support was excellent, especially from Roger Davies. However, would like to see more people shouldering this burden in future drives, to reduce the burden on poor Roger. Also, please spell out the scope more clearly. This is especially essential with the obscure Task Forces like Historiography, etc. Please add more examples for scope. Sniperz11talk|edits 12:26, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Tallies and worksheets[edit]

Did you find these easy to use and navigate? Is there anything about them you'd like to improve? Can you think of a better way of doing? Would it better to adopt ranges of 1000, broken up into tranches of 250, next time?

  • I think this was a great way to organize assessments and for people to reserve areas they would assess. Breaking up into smaller chunks of say 250 would be helpful, but would also double in size the table with which to navigate and make reservations or confirm completion of particular ranges. BrokenSphereMsg me 19:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Sorry, I explained it badly. What I meant was four columns wide (instead of two) covering 1000 articles. Part of the idea was to ease navigation :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 20:00, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Took a little figuring out with the current structure, but making it wider might add to the confusion. BrokenSphereMsg me 20:46, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I'd be for 250x4 next time - two people working simultaneously on one page/file... that's why I chose to adopt ranges of a thousand rather than of 500. Maybe it's just me but I like to have control over what I do. --Ouro (blah blah) 21:08, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • concur with 250x4 for next time. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:42, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Definitely 250x4. Fleetflame (talk) 02:13, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • See my comments in the aboce section. It was okay to navigate, but very time consuming and the page took ages to load, and I have a fast internet connection. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The worksheet pages were a memory hog; a smaller size per page would be helpful. My personal preference would be pages of 100, split into 4 subsections.
-----Comment from Maralia
  • I Second that. Pages are far too long with 1000 entries. I think it would be better to put only 250 or 500 articles per worksheet page. 1000 is far too long, takes too long to load, and is very confusing with two people working on the same page. Is there any way to improve the pages, for eg, by adding radio buttons for "Added to MILHIST", "Not MILHIST" & "Not Sure". That would make it far faster rather than strikethroughs and editing individual lists- thats far too long and can be done on the fly. Plus, removing the ones added to MILHIST gives the added risk of ignoring false positive adds to MILHIST. Sniperz11talk|edits 12:26, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


Do you prefer to work on tagging in huge chunks, or a bit at a time? When would be an ideal time for you to work on a drive? During holidays? Or doesn't it really matter?

  • A bit at a time, evening and during holidays/weekends. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:36, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Time permitting, in blocks of say 50-100. Time of year would not really matter so much as what else is going on in my life, obviously. BrokenSphereMsg me 19:53, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I usually just did a few at a time (I think the largest amount I did at once was just over 50). -MBK004 20:44, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I worked very irregularly, usually in chunks of 40-70 at a time. Mind you, this was holidays - I'm expecting some work in January so I will probably not be as active as I was in December. --Ouro (blah blah) 21:09, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I usually did at least 50 at a time, although I once did 300 in a seating. Being between jobs helped.--Bedford (talk) 21:24, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • On my Thanksgiving break I had a marathon 1,000+ article tag day, but school wore me out so much that by december I just wanted a break from everything. I would be more apt to support a move for the timing more for getting the drive out of the finals monthes, and ideally, on a vacation time area. In general I tagged a about 10-50 a day, mostly during the evening and occasionally during I classes that I thought were rediculously boring. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:45, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I did quite a lot at a time, maybe a block of 250; this was because I had a lot of downtime at work. I also found it quite addictive! However, I think that the way it was structured would allow flexibility in terms of the amount of time people have available. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kateshortforbob (talkcontribs) 11:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Blocks of 10-50 at a time, mostly. Did a couple hundred one day. -- Avocado (talk) 17:30, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I did them in blocks of 10 at a time, and did work on other articles between mlocks.--Phoenix-wiki 12:42, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I also did them in blocks of 10/20 at a time. It was a great way to clear my mind from work issues or just have some busy work to do. Missjessica254 (talk) 15:57, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It doesn't bother me when, but it's quite boring doing it in large chunks - you can't help thinking "Wow! I must have no social life at all if I'm assessing 1000+ articles for people I don't even know and don't even pay me!" ;) The rewards were too few and far between IMHO. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Anytime is fine for me, but since WPSHIPS and WPMILHIST share so many articles (and members), some coordination when scheduling drives would be helpful.
-----Comment from Maralia
  • Blocks of 30-40 at a time usually. Did 250 at a stretch at nights. But it gets extremely tiring when there are far too many false positives. Sniperz11talk|edits 12:26, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Pet hates[edit]

Did anything really bug you?

  • Nonexistent articles and the scope not being specific enough. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:38, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Couldn't a bot automatically tag a Victorian Cross winner as MILHIST with British-task-force=yes?--Bedford (talk) 20:57, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Large lists took relatively long to load and render. --Ouro (blah blah) 21:11, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Seconded. Caused my browser to eat up a bunch of memory, so that it had to be quit and restarted after working on the worklist for a while. -- Avocado (talk) 17:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Agree, with so many loads and saves involved. I wonder whether the duplicated 'Show' button every 10 articles increased the size of the html a great deal. Welsh (talk) 18:37, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Just checked it. The handy small instructions box totals about 4k in pure html. Hundred sections, that's 400k worth of extra data each time! I could do with one on the top of each list. --Ouro (blah blah) 16:18, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
      • ...and taking into account that a sample random unchecked list clocks in at around 950k, that's something. --Ouro (blah blah) 17:47, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • In addition to the above, the list I was working on would occasionally jump wildly after saving, I remeber three time working in the 30-39 number range, saving the cleared list, and having the list reload somewhere in the 70-79 page range. I twas very annoying to have scroll back up to find out where I left off. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:49, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I had this problem as well. I think it's due to all the Hide/Show features; was it needed at the start of each one? Also, lists went 001-500 and 501-999; should end at 000.--Bedford (talk) 23:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
      • I also had this problem, and i ended up doing random blocks of 10. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:37, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Some things which I've mentioned in the above sections - Page load time, amount of work, too few rewards and striking the false positives. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Systemic false positives really peeved me. Per my suggestions above, I'm willing to help engineer the list to avoid this next time.
-----Comment from Maralia
  • Strikeout was more work than the actual assessments—I never figured out that you could strikeout a whole block as long as you left the first number out, and somehow missed it until reviewing the talk page just today.
-----Comment from Maralia


What did you think about the service award/barnstar structure? How could it be improved? How could it be changed? Do you prefer generic awards (barnstars) or milhist-specific ones (the Wiki-stripes), or doesn't it matter?

  • There should be an award for just taking part (but perhaps with a minimum edits eg 20, 50). Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:39, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree entirely with that. Perhaps the 1-stripe, without the erm stripe, if you see what I mean. --ROGER DAVIES talk 20:01, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • So it would then be the 0 stripe. Given the current drive structure, I disagree with lowering the award threshold below 250. 20-50 IMO is too low. Someone goes through 2 ranges of 10 and they already get something. 100 I think is more reasonable, but makes more sense if the adopt a range system were not in place, which was how it was at the start of the drive before the awards were introduced. It was a little anarchic with anyone free to pick a range and start working from there and jump from range to range doing some here, some there. The 250 minimum makes sense given that the minimum range to be adopted is 250 articles to review. As to the number of awards distributed via the cumulative system, you want to make it worthwhile, but also try to avoid giving out too many awards, say every 500. However you also want the higher award intervals to be structured such that it doesn't seem too unreasonable to reach them, thus the 1,000 article interval between barnstars works. The cumulative approach is quite generous and I like that the coordinators decided to take this approach. Of course the purpose for our work here is not to accumulate awards, but it nonetheless provides good incentive for some. As stated, participants may also decline the lower 2 awards and just receive the 3 stripe and the barnstars. BrokenSphereMsg me 20:28, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • 250 isn't that much to accomplish; then again, it might be just me.--Bedford (talk) 20:59, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I have to agree with Bedford - but then again, he is the front runner of the drive - that tagging 250 articles wasn't really that much. I got to a point when it took a bit over an hour to tag 100, so 250 isn't a lot. Giving awards for just signing up or doing a tiny bit wouldn't be a good idea - the minimum should be one specified range (which in our case was 250 articles). --Ouro (blah blah) 21:16, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I believe it was Otto von Bismark who adressed the german people with the speach "I have nothing to offer you but blood, sweat and steel (or something to that effect)." In a similar matter, I feel that just taking part in the drive shouldn't earn you an award. Anything worth having is worth working for, and if we dish out gongs for merely putting ones name down as participant then I fear we would have a lot people signing up for none of the work and all of the glory. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Also, I think we should have put more thought into the 5,000-10,000 article range, no awards were initially proposed for this region until folks got there. TomStar81 (Talk) 00:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
      • Perhaps, but seeing how many were just happy with doing 1000, I'm not sure how much of an enticement it would be for most.--Bedford (talk) 00:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • More than half the entrants did less than 250 tags. However, that still adds up, I reckon, to about 3,000 articles plus it spreads awareness. --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
    • Thats true, but you and me and Percival(?) were real troopers in the drive, going beyond 5,000 articles, and we should have at least put some preliminary thought into awards here in the twilight zone. TomStar81 (Talk) 00:58, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • What structure would you like to see for the next drive? --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I thought the reward structure was good, and although it wasn't my primary motivation, the graduated awards gave me something to aim for.--Kateshortforbob 11:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Hmmm. They were meant to be a ladder to climb, with easy steps up on the initial learning curve, and bigger ones as proficiency and technique improved. For the higher levels, the Wikis kicked in because we thought that dishing out a ten or so barnstars to the same editor would have looked like overkill. (And do editors actually want a page full of barnstars all from the same drive?) --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Some editors will welcome it, some will think it excessive. How about adding to your suggestion to knock out distribution of the first 2 chevron levels and just get the third if applicable that editors are free to pick and choose what they would like to accept of any or all awards that they qualify for? They could message the coordinator(s) to that effect or there's a signup list. Obviously it is ultimately up to someone if they want to display say 3 out of 5 or all 5 that they were given, the same way that some people consider Wikismiles as awards and others like me don't. BrokenSphereMsg me 19:43, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I firmly believe an award for taking part is a good idea. It will draw in more people who perhaps don't have the time to do a full 1000. I certainly didn't have the time nor speed to do 500, never mind 1000. There were many who were involved who didn't even get 250 done. I agree that a minimum of 100 would keep out the glory grabbers!! Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 14:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • IMHO rewards are given away too easily. It should be harder to get a reward :) --gala.martin (what?) 15:11, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Just thought of something: I think it'd be prudent not to give awards away too easily because then a whole lot of people will sign up, do a bit just for kicks, waiting to grab a bite out of the stripe or barnstar cake and walk away, whereas if you have to do something for an award you get better with time. It's the quality of the tagging I'd be worried about, I think. --Ouro (blah blah) 17:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't have a problem with the thresholds as they are, but perhaps awarding them as soon as a threshold is reached at star level as an incentive and a pat on the back. Maybe a user box indicating the user is working on the project's drive to apease those who like recognition for just showing up. Jacksinterweb (talk) 15:31, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Fine idea. See #Barnstar/reward structure below. --ROGER DAVIES talk 15:45, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Didn't do it for the awards, but it was a nice bonus. Jacksinterweb's ideas above are nice. -- Avocado (talk) 17:35, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I think a special award should be created - heck everyone can get a tireless contributor barnstar anytime, but I really wanted the milhist ones! However, the rewards were too far and few. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:27, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Questionnaires / feedback[edit]

If someone didn't participate in the drive, how likely are they to fill out the questionnaire? Maybe focus it on those who did 10-250, and specifically invite them to answer?--Bedford (talk) 15:40, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

  • It's being trailed in the next Newsletter. I was thinking of doing a thank you and invite to exactly the people you mention but I haven't got time, I'm afraid, to circularise 50 of them today. Doing thr awards earlier took much longer than I'd bargained for. We certainly need feedback from people who didn't participate. --ROGER DAVIES talk 16:03, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Next time, it would be better to give a personal invite on the MILHIST members talk pages, rather than putting it in the newsletter which a lot of people dont really read. Its more personal and more inviting. Try to get more publicity in Wikipedia Signpost and others. I'd really recommend Roger and Kirill to try and talk about the drive on Wikipedia:Wikipedia Weekly. As I pointed out on the signpost discussion, this drive is 165,000 pages, which is almost 8% of the total size of Wikipedia. If you consider it, it a mammoth task, and something that warrants far more attention than a simple bye-line in Signpost. And considering how beautifully managed it was, it would be a great idea for other Wikiprojects to learn about. Good work Sniperz11talk|edits 12:26, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Workshop proposals[edit]

Worklist format[edit]

There's been some support for worklists where editors adopt a 1000-article range, in 250x4 format. That would look like this:

Range adopted Editor's name 250 done 500 done 750 done 1000 done
0001–1000 RichyBoy Yes check.svg Done Yes check.svg Done Yes check.svg Done Doing...
1001–2000 Buckshot06 Yes check.svg Done Yes check.svg Done Yes check.svg Done Yes check.svg Done

So would that range table work? Or is it too easy to get lost?

Conversely, some editors have expressed dislike of sharing a range with another editor. The answer there is to make the data files 500 - not 1000 - articles long.

Thoughts? --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I believe that the data fies should of been 500 files long, as this is a much less daunting task than possibly tagging 1000 articles. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 13:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Yep. I've been dwelling on that thought too. Asking people to commit to something that seems daunting will obviously effect the signup rate. Have you any ideas about how we could ease people into tagging? (Love the name, by the way.) --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:57, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you ;). A reward for being involved is an idea i had, but with a very low minimum edits, say 20 - 50. I am sure that would get many more involved. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 14:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
A worklist like this is clearer, yes. The data files could be 1000, but what Bedford said - without quick instructions at every 10-article chunk. --Ouro (blah blah) 16:59, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the quick instructions were a waste of space. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:46, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I suppose another variant would be to have two worklist tables. The first one in increments of 50 for newbies to start on, and the second in 1000s once people have more experience. --ROGER DAVIES talk 15:48, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes that would be a good idea. I found that i was no where near finishing my 1000 by the end of the drive, but i will try to do half of it by the end of February. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:46, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd support that idea too. -- Avocado (talk) 20:19, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that sounds good to me, and it would help split the work up too. Fleetflame (talk) 19:07, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Nah, I liked the way it was even though I'd never taken part in a drive before. I only assessed about 60 articles but the way it was set up inspired a sort of competitiveness that made people work faster.--Phoenix-wiki 12:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • As I mentioned before, simply splitting it up into 250 slots isn't going to help the fact that 1000 articles is daunting! I'd suggest only having lists of 500 next time. Spawn Man Review Me! 06:29, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Barnstar/reward structure[edit]

What do we think? That capping at 5000 articles is enough? Or do we need incentives for 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000 and 10000 articles? Proposals? --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

  • 10,000 definitely deserves something, although stars at every 1000 would be excessive. Maybe 7500, but not 6000, 7000, 8000, and 9000.--Bedford (talk) 15:38, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Yep, that makes sense. The problem is what is sufficiently special for 7.5k and 10k?--ROGER DAVIES talk 15:43, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • What about WikiChevrons, or is that excessive?--Bedford (talk) 15:58, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Traditionally, they've been awarded for creative/academic rather administrative endeavour so there might be some resistance to WikiChevrons w/ Oak Leaves. (Though I'm always astonished with FAs how much work goes into admin - cites, MoS formatting requirements etc - rather than research and pure writing.) --ROGER DAVIES talk 16:20, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Perhaps Bedford meant the regular chevrons? Kirill 16:25, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • That's a point. What are your thoughts on 7.5k and 10k gongs, Kirill? --ROGER DAVIES talk 16:29, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • New images (as per Bedford, below) might be doable, since we'll have more time to prepare for the next drive. Kirill 19:14, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • More or less exactly what I was thinking. --ROGER DAVIES talk 19:34, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Could create a new barnstar for use in other Mil. Hist. purposes as well? A 21-gun salute barnstar, or an cavalry-inspired barnstar. Or a barnstar with army helmet and binoculars that could represent assessing? Make bronze for 5000, silver for 7500, and gold for 10000?--Bedford (talk) 18:32, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Good idea! I like the idea of really stunning assessment-only Milhist barnstars. We'd obviously need a nationality-neutral helmet and someone with the wherewithal to produce the artwork. There's an exceedingly competent graphic artist over an WP:SHIPS, perhaps I should approach them, in due course? --ROGER DAVIES talk 19:34, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Incidentally, I rather like the idea of a T&A user box. It could be conditional on 50 tags, thus providing both a get-going incentive and the esprit de corps effect. --ROGER DAVIES talk 15:43, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • One look at my user page, and you know I'd support this. ;-) --Bedford (talk) 15:58, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • And easy enough to get one done for the next drive :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 16:09, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes that is a good idea. But how would they be given out, as normally user boxes are not awards?!? Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 19:27, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Time sensitive?[edit]

Consensus seems to be that it doesn't much matter when the drives are run, as most people tag in shortish chunks (50-100 articles) as part of normal everyday life? So best seems to be to leave it running long enough so that it can be fitted in to everyday activties without taking over? Is this right? --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:02, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Yes, but i did have one problem with the timing, and that was that on the main page of this drive it didn't obviously say when it would finish. Also i would really only do 10-20 articles at a time. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 13:50, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
So your advice is: make the close date really prominent so that people can pace themselves? --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but i also found that near the end of December, after i found out the drive was ending in a few days, i increased the rate at which i was working though my list. i presume that was the same for most people. Gaia Octavia Agrippa (talk) 14:23, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
it would be easy to inject urgency by introducing end-of-each-month incentives. Bronze Wikis or similar for the top performer that month. That would only need a separate tally table for people to enter the data in themselves. --ROGER DAVIES talk 16:06, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
Why inject urgency? I'd say timing is important on the timescale of the whole year - for instance, I'll be away June to September and will not (hopefully) have much access to computers. Fall is perfect for indoor activities like Wikipedia. Winter too. Spring makes people wanna be outside more. I presume it's similar for most people from the northern hemisphere (okay, save for Siberia). --Ouro (blah blah) 17:06, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I think that's about correct Roger; I'd like to see the drive go on for at least 2 months next time, because I'd only really do at most 100 tags in a sitting and that's only when I have time. To get through 1000 it'd take me over a month and by then it's too late with periods of boredness inbetween. ;) Spawn Man Review Me! 06:32, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


That Javascript that was dug up about halfway through isextremely useful, but somewhat buggy (if you click an assessment level without assigning any task forces, it inserts "class=yes") and missing several task forces. If someone with the appropriate skills would adopt and update it, that might make it even more useful going forward. -- Avocado (talk) 17:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Draft FAQ[edit]

What kind of content ought the Draft FAQ to have? Should we have a stab at drafting it here? What should the main topics be? How to tag? How to assess? Scope issues?

  • For starters, decide on one spot to place drive questions, we had questions about the drive on the coordinantor talk page, the tag and asses talk page, and the main project talk page. Having one spot to ask and look for answer would probably be best. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:16, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe the FAQ should answer the kinds of questions that were asked on the drive talk page? ;-) A quick skim shows the following topics:
    • Purpose
    • Scope
    • How to assess particular article types (e.g. lists)
    • Reward structure
    • How the lists were generated / mass false positives
    • Shortcuts (e.g. the javascript, AWB, striking out a bunch of lines at once)
    • Worklists / format / count
    • Schedule
    • Handling already-taggeed articles
    • Assessment criteria

-- Avocado (talk) 02:23, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, and maybe add hints on speeding up assessing. And - for those who still don't get it - a list of people patient enough to answer still persisting questions ;) --Ouro (blah blah) 10:21, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


This questionnaire is really designed for people who didn't get involved. You can greatly help us by completing the questionnaire below. It will help us to understand how to improve the mechanics/administration to involve more editors. Many thanks in advance for your help, --ROGER DAVIES talk 16:20, 1 January 2008 (UTC)


  • Should I just answer right here, or on a talk page somewhere? Anyway...
  • I've been insanely busy the last four months or so, more so than ever before, really, and just didn't have the time. Plus, the great number of false positives was discouraging. I know I was one of the ones who suggested originally that we should move ahead despite the potential for false positives, but that was before I realized just how many, and just how far off (e.g. every sub-cat article of Georgia) they would be. Sorry :(
  • It was a super busy time for me personally, but that's just because of the program (school) I'm in right now. I expect to continue to be this busy until June, but who knows what Sept will bring?
  • Seemed easy, straight-forward, if a bit mechanical. I don't know what exactly could be done to make it seem less mechanical, but... there were too many numbers and like that.
  • No, I don't believe I have. Generally, for the most part, I stick to the same sorts of things - mainly assessing already tagged articles - and if it happens to be part of a drive, so be it...
  • Hmm. The prizes were cool. I wish I could have gotten one. To be honest, outside of just being really busy, and the process of doing it just somehow not being fun, I didn't do too much tagging because I felt others had it well in hand.
  • Split it up maybe somehow.. That it was already split up into 5-10 article groups was great; let us feel like we had a very manageable amount to do at any one moment. But.. well, i realize it may be a totally impractical and odd suggestion, but two issues I had were (a) not knowing where to begin, or if others were already working on a particular section. I wanted to have my own bits to do, and to not step on anyone's toes, and (b) I kind of wish the untagged articles were somehow split up by theme somehow. I'd be happy to tag just medieval articles, East Asian articles, or articles of a half dozen other themes - I'd feel like I was contributing as someone in particular, for example, as the Japan specialist or whatever. I feel bad to criticize; I'm sure it all went quite well for everyone, and I'm making bizarre and impractical sorts of requests. But, in any case, whether in tagging or in assessing, well, we just have hundreds of articles on individual Vietnam or Korea or WWII combatant biographies, on specific guns or bullets or whatever, and I just have no interest in these things and get tired of the assessing or tagging or whatever quickly.
  • Thanks everyone for your hard work!!! I'm sorry I couldn't help out more! Keep it up!

LordAmeth (talk) 11:04, 3 January 2008 (UTC)