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This week, we looked at a new project that started just 30 days ago. WikiProject Bacon was created by admin and frequent FA contributor Cirt to improve Wikipedia's coverage of bacon. Despite the narrow focus, the project is already home to 11 active members, many of them previously contributors to the "Bacon Cabal." Several other bacon-related initiatives predate the project but now serve as support for the project's goals, including the Bacon Challenge and the Bacon WikiCup. While too new to judge the project's success (four bacon-related good articles predate the project), WikiProject Bacon offers a unique glimpse at how any group of editors with a common interest and a little motivation can build a worthwhile WikiProject. We interviewed Cirt, Drmies, and SuperHamster.
What motivated you to join/create WikiProject Bacon? Has bacon had a profound impact upon your life?
Cirt: I was motivated to create WP:BACON after participating previously in Bacon WikiCup 2010. Bacon is an interesting product, and it has been a fun experience researching and writing about it as part of this quality improvement challenge.
Drmies: Well, I was more or less cajoled into it by some fellow editors, including Kelapstick, Bongomatic, and he who shall not be named. It was clear to me that they needed someone whose brain was less affected by pork fat than theirs was, and I was happy to join--and look at me now. I'm as fat as they are, just scraping by, living from one slab of delicious smoked and cured pork meat to the next. Anyway, Bacon Explosion happened, and the rest is history.
SuperHamster: I joined WikiProject Bacon for basically the same reason Cirt created it. Editors coming together on Wikipedia to work on expanding and improving Wikipedia's coverage of bacon isn't anything new, and the project simply adds to the age-old experience. In addition to that, joining the project and continuing to participate in bacon-related activities on Wikipedia is not only fun, but also interesting. It's surprising how much bacon-related stuff is out there to write about. As for having a profound impact on my life, I can't say that my cholesterol level didn't go up in last year's Bacon Challenge, due to me buying more bacon than I usually do so that I could photograph it.
What are some of the difficulties a new project faces? How have you handled some of these hurdles in the past month?
Cirt: New projects face initial difficulties in getting enough members and participation to make it worthwhile to have a project in the first place. We at first grew membership from those that had previously participated in the "Bacon Challenge" quality improvement drive, and subsequently other members have joined more organically. In the past month, we have had some initial discussions on the WikiProject talk page.
How has the unique allure of bacon affected the project's membership? Do you have any concerns that the project's novelty may wear off over time?
Cirt: It is true that the allure of bacon may have had some impact on the membership makeup of the project. When one analyzes the phenomenon of Bacon mania over time, it seems to have had a lasting impact so far, so let's hope this interest continues on Wikipedia as well.
Drmies: The allure of bacon is not likely to run out--it's good stuff--but the big mania seems have passed a little bit. With a Republican majority in the US House it's also less likely that fat-reducing measures will be passed in the US, and so the people (who have indeed spoken, even if unintelligibly) have less of a reason to thumb their nose at a government who showed an interest in the population's health, a decidedly un-American idea. That was, in one part at least (represented by Chicken fried bacon, for instance), the attraction of bacon. Then again, as my investigation last year into churchmen named Bacon showed (preacherman Leonard Bacon and his four preacher sons, also Bacons of course), there's still plenty of bacon to go around.
SuperHamster: I do believe that the fashionable and unique allure of bacon is quite the factor when it comes to an editor choosing whether or not to join the project - and that allure is not likely to run out soon as I see it. It may slow down, but I think there will always be people who wish to express their love of such a fine subject. I also think that one of the reasons why people join WikiProject Bacon is that it focuses on a rather non-traditional subject when looked at from an encyclopedic view. It's not every day that one sees a coordinated effort to expand bacon-related content on an encyclopedia, and it is that uniqueness that I think helps attract people to the project.
The project is home to four good articles which predate the creation of the project. Did you contribute to any of these articles? Are you currently working on preparing an article for featured or good article status?
What relation does WikiProject Bacon have with the annual Bacon Challenge and the Bacon WikiCup? Does WikiProject Bacon plan to absorb any of these competitions?
Cirt: At this point in time, WikiProject Bacon functions as a central location for discussion and maintenance of all things bacon on Wikipedia. It would be utilitarian and logical to absorb those competitions - but that is up to the discretion of those that already maintain them in their userspace subpages.
What standards or recommendations does the project maintain for producing good bacon-related images?
Cirt: The only pictures I have contributed within this topic so far, are fair-use book covers for the above-mentioned GA articles. However, from what I have seen of helpful image contributions from others that are free use, good bacon-related images should be well-lit, with focus on the product itself, colorful, and quickly and easily draw in the viewer's interest into the subject matter.
Do bacon articles frequently run into notability issues? Has the project undertaken an effort to source or eliminate articles of questionable notability?
Cirt: Some bacon articles do indeed frequently run into notability issues. The project has not yet taken a specific effort to source or eliminate articles of questionable notability. However, as a result of the formation of the WikiProject, we now have easier ways to maintain such articles - for example the category Category:Stub-Class Bacon articles.
Cirt: Due to the niche interest of multiple participants, I would sincerely hope that we can sustain an independent WikiProject. The most important things needed to keep this project alive, include active participants willing to contribute and/or improve quality content within the topic.
SuperHamster: Once an editor has signed up for the project using the instructions left by Cirt, I think one of the best ways for an editor to help is to contribute to areas that they already enjoy working in, but applying that to bacon-related content. If a user enjoys researching and expanding articles, then expanding one of the many bacon-related articles could be something to do. If a user likes photography, there's always bacon waiting to be photographed.
Next week, we'll hit the gridiron with our favorite college teams. Until then, study old plays in the archive.