New developments at the Military history WikiProject
Over the last few months, the Military history WikiProject ("MilHist") has launched several major new initiatives aimed at improving content within its scope, including the Academy, Operation Majestic Titan and Operation Great War Centennial. In addition, the WikiProject's semi-annual coordinator elections concluded with the promotion of TomStar81 to lead coordinator, the selection of a new coordinator tranche, and the granting of emeritus status to former lead coordinator Roger Davies.
Performance of military history articles at FAC
Existing programs, meanwhile, have continued to enjoy considerable success, with the most prominent being the A-class review system. Statistics collected earlier this year showed that military history articles have a significantly higher chance of successful promotion to featured article status than the average article—a trend which is, in large part, related to the quality of MilHist's reviews.
Analysis by MBK004 shows that 70% of military history articles nominated as featured article candidates were promoted against an overall average of 51%, and that 84% of promoted articles had successfully passed an A-class review.
The Military history Academy
Created earlier this year, the Academy is MilHist's online training school, which gathers instructional essays and "how-to"s in a single, comprehensive structure. The Academy has already collected more than 50 courses on various topics, ranging from "Writing a good stub" to "How to prepare an A-class Review" to "Filing a Freedom of Information Request". The courses are not all related solely to military history, and all editors are invited to contribute on any subject that may interest them.
As part of an effort to fill the gaps in the Academy's coverage, MilHist launched an Academy content drive in July, offering awards to any editors who contribute to the Academy's courses. The drive is scheduled to run through the end of this month.
Operation Majestic Titan
To date, the most successful of the new special projects is Operation Majestic Titan. This initiative aims to create the largest single featured topic on Wikipedia, centered around battleships and extending to battlecruisers and related armament and ship classes.
was originally conceived in mid-summer as a personal project by TomStar81
, who saw it as a natural extension of the work he was already doing on American battleship articles. Reflecting on his choice of name for the project, TomStar81 wrote:
In Greek mythology, the elder gods were the Titans. Twelve of these beings ruled over the golden age before they were overthrown by the Olympian gods at the end of a ten-year war. After the titans were defeated they met a variety of ends; most were cast out and imprisoned. A lucky few had the fortune to survive this fate, and would serve in limited capacities for the Olympian gods during their rein as the supreme beings. For all this though, the titans - although defeated - remained a force of contention, having left their mark on ancient Greek society and earning for themselves a place in the modern study of ancient history.
In much the same way these battleships also shared a similar story. Battleships were the undeniable gods of seaborne warfare in the late 19th and early to mid 20th century until their reign was savagely cut short by the rise of the aircraft carrier during the Second World War. Having established themselves as the new gods of seaborne warfare, these carriers banished the battleships first into reserve, then to the scrapyards, but a precious few managed to escape. Four were overhauled and served in the 1980s and 90s; only nine still exist today, as floating museums. Although they no longer exist as a powerful force, battleships have certainly left their mark on the world, and today still inspire awe among the public.
Over the next months, a number of other editors—including Climie.ca, MBK004, Parsecboy and The_ed17—joined the effort, and the target list grew to several hundred articles. With the organizational overhead of the project growing, it was decided to formally inaugurate it as a MilHist special project, a task that was completed last month.
Majestic Titan currently has 25 featured articles, 14 A-class articles, 24 good articles, 2 featured topics, and one good topic under its scope—more than most entire WikiProjects! Any editor who wishes to help in this endeavor is invited to join; any sort of help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated. In particular, copyeditors are needed to polish the text as the articles are improved.
Operation Great War Centennial and the Henry Allingham contest
A longer-term special project is Operation Great War Centennial. The objective of this project is to bring all core topics related to World War I to featured status in preparation for the centenary of the war (2014–18).
Introducing the initiative, MilHist member The Land
In June 2014 we will see the centenary of the start of World War I. This will doubtless be a mammoth commemoration of one of the most significant wars in history, attracting vast interest from schools, universities, veterans groups and the media. It offers us the chance to showcase what a brilliant resource Wikipedia is by producing a string of FA-quality articles covering all the most significant topics in World War I.
The project is currently in its early stages, but dozens of target topics have already been identified—many of them covered only by poor-quality articles, or not covered at all. The effort to improve them is expected to continue through the end of the centenary in 2018.
As an introduction to the effort, MilHist is planning to launch the Henry Allingham World War I contest, which will be a three-round competition to improve articles related to World War I. The contest, named to honor the late British supercentenarian and Great War veteran Henry Allingham, is scheduled to begin on 11 November—Armistice Day—and to run through February 2010.
Last month, MilHist's semi-annual coordinator elections were held, resulting in the promotion of TomStar81 to lead coordinator, the reelection of eleven coordinators, the addition of three new coordinators, and the granting of emeritus status to former lead coordinator Roger Davies. TomStar81 becomes MilHist's third lead coordinator since the system was instituted in February 2006.
The coordinators are primarily responsible for the maintenance and housekeeping work involved in keeping the WikiProject and its internal processes running smoothly; this includes a variety of tasks, such as keeping the announcement and open task lists updated, overseeing the assessment and review processes, managing the proposal and creation of task forces, and so forth. The coordinators also serve as designated points of contact, and have informal roles in leading the drafting of military history guidelines, overseeing the implementation of decisions on issues like category schemes and template use, and helping to resolve disputes and keep discussions from becoming heated and unproductive.
Editors interested in running for this position in the future are encouraged to join MilHist and assist with internal processes in some way, such as by performing assessments, responding to queries raised on the talk page, or reviewing articles nominated for an A-class rating.