Wikipedia:WikiProject Scotland/Assessment/FA

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Creating a Featured Article

Some advice for editors interested in creating an FA Candidate, written from a Scottish perspective.

An FA candidature can be an interesting and productive challenge. It can also be time consuming and it is not inconceivable that the numerous edits and critiques offered will make only slender improvements to the article. It is not out the question that the time taken to put a GA through FA may be roughly the time it would take to write an excellent GA from scratch. It might be useful to think of the exercise as a test of skill and patience in equal measure.

Early preparation[edit]

Put the article through GA, especially if this is your first FA attempt.
Undertake a peer review.
This could be by asking a member(s) of the project team take a look at it, although it may be better to find someone outside this field. You can also use:
User:AndyZ/peerreviewer The amazing BOT that peer reviews for you.
User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 1a
Read through some featured articles and get an idea of the tone, style, layout and content.
Get someone with no previous experience of the subject matter who has writing skills to copy edit it. The League of Copyeditors may be useful, although there is quite a backlog at present.
Note that Wikipedia policy does not discourage the use of Scottish English terms in an article "that has strong ties" to Scotland, although you may wish to avoid using Scots. Of course the differences may not be all that clear cut - a useful (if class-conscious) rule of thumb might be that if you can imagine an Edinburgh lawyer using the word in court, it's probably acceptable.

Preparing for FA candidature[edit]

Check all images for their copyright status immediately prior to candidature. Avoid 'fair use' images if possible.
You will have spent a lot of time thinking about what should be included. Look over the article for things that are not really necessary. Some successful FA's are quite short - you don't need to write a book.
Check the internal links are going where they are intended.
Check your references are in order - see below.
Also check for any 'dead links' to websites. You may find this page useful.

In the FAC room[edit]

Advertise the candidature at WP:Scotland, but don't assume this will result in any reviews. People are busy, they may not have an interest in your particular subject and in fact it is possible that few editors who watch these pages will feel inclined to participate. It is perfectly legitimate to alert individuals who you think may wish to take an interest in the candidature - although ensure you phrase any invitations in a neutral way rather than as a request for formal 'support'.
Give yourself plenty of time. A GAC can be fairly straightforward, but an FAC is unlikely to be. Editors will come up with unexpected and complex questions. Be patient. A dogged determination to deal with all the requests may pay dividends. You are in part being tested on your willingness, co-operation and understanding of Wikipedia policy as well as the merits of the article itself.
Always be polite, and be prepared to be flexible. You may imagine that some reviewers will only provide you with support if you are prepared to offer them something by way of agreeing to their suggestions. So it goes.
As required, stand your ground (politely of course). A lot of what might be said at FAC is total nonsense, so if you think you are in the right, politely say so.
Indeed recent experience suggests that unlike an academic peer review, during which your knowledge and understanding of your subject is likely to be subjected to considerable scrutiny, you may find that the bulk of the comments are directed at your writing style and understanding of WP:MOS.
We are exhorted by FA protocols to ensure that "the prose is engaging, even brilliant". However, any phrases which are in any way out of the ordinary (and thus conceivably 'brilliant') will almost certainly need to be removed on the grounds that they are 'flowery language' or 'inappropriate' etc., etc. Humour or light-heartedness of any kind will be ruthlessly expunged unless it is well-disguised.


There seems to be a large (and perhaps undue) weight on how things are referenced, rather than from where they are referenced. Things like noting the retrieval date (for websites) and dates of publication for sources, are expected. Being consistent and using the templates is something that might be helpful (although not everyone is convinced they are useful).

Examples of good referencing: note that there are various acceptable styles, but some stylistic uses that are not so considered. It can be hard to tell the difference.

Books and Journals

Book ordinaire:

Monbiot, George (2006) Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. London. Allen Lane.
Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History: AD 500–1286, 2 Vols, (Edinburgh, 1922), vol. ii

Either are fine, but be consistent.

A chapter in a book with a different author and overall editor:

Bannister, W.S. and Gair, S. "The Development of a Straight-bladed Vertical-axis Wind Turbine" in Twidell, John (ed.) (1981) Energy for Rural and Island Communities. Oxford. Pergamon.
Note the different use of quotation marks and italics, (which look the same when in edit mode).

A book that has been re-published:

Anderson, Alan Orr, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286, (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Anderson (ed.) (Stamford, 1991)

Web citations NB Linking dates has now been deprecated, although the "cite web" templates still do this automatically. Ben MacDui 08:15, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

This first example uses the 'cite web' template[1] but it is also acceptable to use ordinary reference tags.[2] Note that the differences in this example is simply the word 'on'. It's not clear why this word is useful, and yet you may be criticised if the usage is not consistent. Note the linking of dates, a tedious and largely purposeless task. The leading '0' in '08 January' is not used in the second version.
Examples 1 & 2 are acceptable as they have the three crucial elements of name, publisher and access date. The 3rd & 4th example use the same references, but add a publication date and author (McLeish), which not all webs sites will have.[3] They are similar, the difference being that the first version puts a period after the date.[4]
This fifth example quotes a pdf file and this should be clearly identified as some browsers don't show this automatically and it can be frustrating for users with poor internet connections who don't want to download huge documents.[5] You should also indicate if it is a Word file.[6]
  1. ^ "Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive". Scotland Office. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  2. ^ Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive. Scotland Office. Retrieved 8 November 2006.
  3. ^ McLeish, H. (2006). "Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive". Scotland Office. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  4. ^ McLeish, H. (2006) Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive. Scotland Office. Retrieved 8 November 2006.
  5. ^ de Noord, M.; et al. "Potentials and Costs for Renewable Electricity Generation: A data overview" (pdf). ECN. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  6. ^ Dinning, R. J. (2006) "A response to the Scottish National Party Energy Review". (Microsoft Word document) London. Energy Institute. Retrieved 31 August 2007.

Newspapers NB Linking dates has been deprecated. Ben MacDui 08:15, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Johnston, Ian (21 February 2007) "Scotland seas into the future". Edinburgh. The Scotsman.
The above is fine - note the italics in the newspaper name and that for some reason MOS does not like the helpful word 'newspaper' to be included.
It is possible that someone will do a web search and edit the reference to give you:
Johnston, Ian (21 February 2007) "Scotland seas into the future". Edinburgh. The Scotsman.
This is of course wrong as it now needs to be:
Johnston, Ian (21 February 2007) "Scotland seas into the future". Edinburgh. The Scotsman. Retrieved on 31 August 2007.

See also[edit]

WikiProject Scottish Islands/How to write a Good Article