Up close with WikiProject Animals
This week, we checked out WikiProject Animals, a project that covers all animals (all species belonging to the kingdom Animalia). The project was started in September 2007; the project's current coordinator is Intelligentsium. WikiProject Animals is home to over 1,000 articles, including 12 GA-class articles. This week we interviewed project members Intelligentsium, Brambleclawx, Belguaboy, and The High Fin Sperm Whale.
||On a side note, I was actually invited to join the project by a now indefinitely blocked sockpuppet.
|— Brambleclawx, outtakes from the interview
Intelligentsium joined the project "to collaborate with fellow Wikipedians on articles pertaining to a broad and fascinating topic," pointing out that "not much collaboration has occurred" due to the limited activity of the project. Meanwhile, Brambleclawx found WikiProject Animals a few months ago, deciding to join due to "an interest in animals of all kinds, [especially] wolves, deer, birds, and cats." Additionally, Barambleclawx points out that he was "fascinated by animals, and often read a lot of books about them," mentioning that he "[has] not contributed much to the project, and [has] mostly focused on White tiger, which was listed on the to-do list as requiring cleanup." The High Fin Sperm Whale started out by "creating lizard stubs," then deciding to "help out with article requests," and eventually joined the project. "I have always loved animals, and I was already a member of WP:MAMMAL so that was really motivational," stated Belugaboy.
The scope of WikiProject Animals is extremely large, and we've heard that covering a large range of articles is difficult for projects. We asked the project how they focus on improving so many articles. Innotata sees the project's scope as "mostly articles on broad topics like animal, and articles for which no subproject like WikiProject Birds or Arthropods exists." Belugaboy prefers to cover the details: "[I work] mostly on [articles about] felines and canines and whales and all that good stuff."
When looking at the tree of projects here, WikiProject Animals has a lot of subprojects. We asked, "Do you regulate or guide these projects or are they independent? How does working amongst them turn out?" Intelligentsium responded, stating, "These projects are not under our control; we do not guide or regulate them in any way. The consensus of the descendent projects' respective members determines their individual article style guidelines, and consequently these guidelines may be quite different." Giving an example, Intelligentsium continued, "WP:BIRDS requires articles discussing species using the common name to be titled in capital case; there was recently a discussion to apply this to other projects, but if I remember correctly the discussion ended without a consensus being achieved." Belugaboy notes that "our parent project, Tree of Life, is not in control of us. It is just a big group of projects. And we're one of them."
The project has had a difficult time finding new members. "Having a lack of members means, frankly, that little gets done in the project. Collaboration is impossible without editors to collaborate with. New members can help by simply creating and improving articles within the project's scope—for those who are not prolific article writers, there are other tasks that need completion too. Taxoboxes need to be created and formatted for all articles on taxa, spelling needs to be checked, and general copy-editing needs to be done on many pages," stated Intelligentsium. Belugaboy added, "It's something every project goes through at some point. For example, our subproject, WP:MAMMAL, only has a few members, averaging one new member a month. Ours is about one new member every other week give or take a few. I just go with the flow and hope for the best, and if possible, use banners."
Belugaboy concludes the interview, saying "Come on and join our project, our daughter projects, or our parent project WikiProject Tree of Life for a great time!" Thanks go to all the participants in this interview.
Next week, we'll boldly go where few editors have gone before. Until then, scan for lifeforms in our archives. Also, feel free to "engage" with the Report's writers by recommending projects and taskforces to be interviewed or submitting your project's weekly news and announcements at the Signpost's WikiProject Desk.