WikiProject Tropical cyclones
The Tropical cyclones WikiProject was founded in October 2005 by the now-inactive Jdorje. Since then, the project has become one of Wikipedia's most successful, creating 133 featured articles and 349 good articles out of a total pool of merely 1,380 articles.
Today, we've asked Juliancolton, a member of the project, to answer a few questions about their experiences there:
1. What aspects of the project do you consider to be particularly successful? Has the project developed any unusual innovations, or uniquely adopted any common approaches?
- Juliancolton: I think our strict control on quality has largely contributed to WPTC's overall success. For example, we have very few stub articles; instead, we often merge inadequate pages into larger and more broad articles. Many of our articles concern individual storms, and we have an article covering each hurricane season, so articles of a low quality are often redirected to their respective sections in the season articles. This helps keep our average article quality fairly high, and makes it easier for readers to navigate. I also believe that WPTC's early start helped get the project off the ground: in 2005, when Jdorje (talk · contribs) founded the WikiProject, dozens of high-quality articles already existed, so we had good models for further work. While there have been some concerns that our standards are too strict, we've developed a good set of standards to work by.
2. Have any major initiatives by the project ended unsuccessfully? What lessons have you learned from them?
- Juliancolton: Our editors are certainly hard workers, but because we're a relatively small WikiProject, quite a few discussions never achieve sufficient consensus, and many new processes fail to sustain themselves. Over the years we've tried various methods of formal collaboration, and they never really got off the ground.
3. Featured articles dealing with tropical cyclones have occasionally been the targets of criticism for being "too short" or "formulaic". Do you believe such criticism is justified, and how has it affected the project? Have you developed any special methods for dealing with such issues?
- Juliancolton: Most tropical cyclone FACs will invariably receive complaints that the article at hand is too short/boring/complex, and while these are somewhat valid concerns, we try our best to explain that science-related subjects such as meteorology are bound to be unappealing to most readers. I believe that while we do strive to clarify jargon as much as possible and make articles accessible to everybody, we ultimately write for the fairly small group of people who enjoy reading an in-depth narrative of a storm's evolution. For a while in 2008, WPTC gained a somewhat poor reputation amongst the FAC regulars for tendency to flood the nominations list and produce articles of marginal notability, so I think we've learned to be more conservative in our work with featured content. One nomination in particular, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Tropical Storm Erick (2007), turned into a long, drawn-out debate involving most of the project's members, and eventually led to a discussion that filled two archives at WT:FAC. That same article later survived an AfD and subsequent FAR.
4. What experiences have you had with the WikiProjects whose scopes overlap with yours? Are they useful collaborators, or do you feel that they have little to offer you? Has your project developed particularly close relationships with any other projects?
- Juliancolton: Because tropical cyclones affect large areas of the world, WPTC often overlaps with region/country/city WikiProjects. Collaborations between projects, while usually few and far between, tend to be informal and productive. They don't bother us much, though. :) Our closest relationship is obviously with WP:METEO, our "father" project, and WP:SEVERE, a "sister" project.
5. Your project was last interviewed 18 months ago. How has your project changed since then?
- Juliancolton: As a whole, the project has remained fairly steady in terms of activity. We've lost a few key members and completed a couple project-wide changes to the layout of articles, and obviously we've created more recognized content since the last project interview. Although it's hard to believe that was nearly two years ago!
6. What is your vision for the project? How do you see the project itself, as well as the articles it shepherds, developing over the next year? The next five years?
- Juliancolton: I expect the project as a whole to remain roughly the same over coming years. We may certainly see some widespread content changes, but our biggest goal I think is to encourage participation amongst both readers and professionals in the field. I'd like to see the project develop into one of the most extensive and reliable sources of information on tropical cyclones on the Internet, while still maintaining our strict quality control.