Content review processes such as Featured article candidates (FAC), Featured list candidates (FLC), Good article nominations (GAN) and Peer reviews (PR) are important for ensuring articles meet the high standards demanded of Wikipedia's best work, and providing suggestions on how to achieve them. These processes, however, cannot function without the participation of editors willing to review articles (see related story); such reviewers are perennially in short supply. User:Dr pda takes a look back at 2008 to see how busy this aspect of Wikipedia was.
FA nomination and success rates
In 2008, 719 articles were promoted to Featured article (FA) status, while 143 articles had featured status removed via the Featured article review (FAR) process. The net increase, 576 featured articles, is approximately the same as in 2007.
A featured article candidate is open to review by the whole Wikipedia community. Editors can support the article's promotion, if they believe it meets all the criteria, or oppose it, by providing examples of instances where it does not. The Featured article director, User:Raul654, or his delegate, User:SandyGeorgia, will promote an article if consensus in favour of promotion has been reached among the reviewers after a reasonable time.
Number of open nominations at FAC and FAR
The number of open featured article candidacies thus depends on several factors: the rate of FAC nominations, how well the article satisfies the FA criteria, the number of reviewers and how frequently the FA director or delegate processes nominations. The above graph (to the right) shows the first two factors. The total number of nominations per month has gradually declined throughout 2008 (November was abnormally low in nominations), but the proportion of candidates being promoted has remained constant at around 55%. The graph to the left shows that the number of open FACs has remained relatively constant at approximately 40 during 2008. The large spike at the beginning of the year is the remnant of the backlog experienced at the end of 2007 which led to the appointment of SandyGeorgia as FAC delegate. Smaller peaks, for example in December, are the result of a shortage of reviews; clear consensus is not reached, therefore FACs cannot be closed.
Articles can also lose featured status through the Featured article review process. Editors who believe an article no longer meets the featured article criteria can list it at FAR. Ideally one or more editors will take on the task of bringing it up to standard. The FAR process usually lasts longer than FAC, to allow these improvements to take place. The graph above shows the number of articles undergoing a featured article review has been gradually decreasing throughout 2008.
Number of open nominations at FLC and FLRC
In 2008, 722 lists were promoted to Featured list (FL) status, while 53 lists had featured status removed via the Featured list review (FLRC) process. This is a significant increase over 2007, for which the corresponding figures are 339 promotions and 7 demotions. The featured list process has been growing steadily since January 2007 and is now comparable in size to the featured article process, both in terms of articles promoted throughout 2008 and number of open featured list candidacies. The absolute number of featured lists (1,229) is still only half that of featured articles (2,387). Both FLC and FLRC work in a similar way to their featured article counterparts.
The number of Good articles (GA) increased by 2,416 over 2008. This is up 45% on the net increase of 1,662 in 2007. There are currently 6,102 Good articles, 2.5 times the number of Featured articles.
Number of in-progress and unreviewed nominations at GAN
The major difference between the Good and Featured article processes, apart from slightly less strict criteria, is that promotion to GA only requires a review from one editor who was not a significant contributor to the article. While this allows more rapid recognition of good quality articles (the monthly increase in GAs is three times that for FAs), here too demand for reviewers outstrips supply. The graph to the left shows that typically 75% of the nominations on the GAN page have not been reviewed; The remainder are mostly awaiting improvement to the satisfaction of the reviewer. From time to time backlog elimination drives are organised (one is running at the moment); their effect shows up as a sharp drop in the number of nominations, for example in October 2008. (The mid-2007 backlog drive caused an even more dramatic drop.)
Number of reviewed and unreviewed articles at PR
In 2008, 2,090 articles had a peer review (PR). This is a slight decrease from 2007's figure of 2,296. The graph to the right shows that the number of peer reviews remained roughly constant throughout the year. Peer review differs from the previously discussed processes in that it does not result in the awarding of a particular status to the article; instead it is a means for editors to solicit suggestions for improving an article. Peer review is often recommended as a way of attracting the attention of previously uninvolved editors to spot problems which might not be apparent to those closer to the article. Once again this requires reviewers. In February User:Ruhrfisch started a list of peer reviews which had not received any comments after a few days. The number of items on this list, shown as the red line in the graph, is usually between 10 and 20, typically 10% of the total number of open peer reviews. While this is a much smaller backlog than for Good article nominations, more reviewers are still needed at PR; only a handful of people ensure articles on the PR backlog list get reviewed.