Hundredth Featured sound approaches
As of the moment of writing, there are 97 Featured sounds (FS) on Wikipedia. And yet, less than a year ago, in the 26 May 2008 issue of the Signpost, we wrote:
||Despite this wealth of opportunity, only 25 sound files have ever been nominated, leading to just 15 featured sounds, one of which has been demoted.
A revolution happened to Featured sounds in July 2008, as several dedicated Wikipedians, including Durova, Gonzo fan2007, Mitchazenia, Ragesoss, Centy and Shoemaker's Holiday descended on Featured sounds, with the intent of making it into a viable process.
The effort proved successful: in August, September, and October, more sounds of featured quality were created, found, or otherwise discovered in a single month than had been promoted in the entire 17-month history prior to July. As well, innovations were created: in July, a three-part recording of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata became the first set of featured sounds to be promoted. Several additional sets have been promoted since, including sonatas, symphonies, and an entire ballet.
The process slowed temporarily in the last two months of 2008, but 2009 marked a relaunch, and 15 files—a number this time "merely" equal to all the featured sounds promoted in the first 16 months of the project's history—were found to meet the criteria and were promoted.
However, Featured sounds has not yet fully created the community of reviewers and content creators, restorers, and seekers necessary for it to move on to the next level. While much healthier than it was a year ago, low numbers of reviewers can cause undue delays; little content creation is, as yet, occurring (though numerous historic files have been found and restored), and the same names come up as nominators over and over. While this is normal for the early stages of a featured content process, sounds are one of the things Wikipedia can do—and do well—which traditional encyclopedias cannot, and which other web encyclopedias have, as yet, neglected. Sounds are thus one of the true opportunities of Wikipedia, and if we can do them well, we will lead the way for other encyclopedias.
You can help!
- Review some Featured sounds: There are frequently quite good historic recordings of classical music, opera, and popular songs—though, of course, copyright somewhat limits us mainly to older music—and of historic speeches.
- Record something: Have some talent? Why not show the world and record your performance? Like to go out into nature? Why not make some field recordings? Interesting environmental noises near you? Probably not so near other people. Why not record the sounds of a train, or a foghorn, or any other encyclopedic sounds?
- Seek out high-quality content: There's still a lot of material out there. Many gems still await discovery and featuring.
- Learn to do sound restoration: Contact Shoemaker's Holiday on his talk page for more information for now; a basic guide will form a future dispatch.