What motivated you to join WikiProject Connecticut? Do you contribute to the projects of any other US states? How would you compare activity at WikiProject Connecticut to activity at other state projects?
Markvs88: I was working on various articles and over time was naturally drawn to articles within my own state. I discovered the wikiproject by accidentally clicking on the banner (I didn't know what a project was) and joined after reading what it was all about. I occasionally contribute to articles in other states, but am not a member of any other state project so I really don't know what other project activity levels are. However, since some state projects have gone defunct, I'd say that WPCT is fairly active.
Orlady: I was surprised when I was invited to this interview, because I never officially joined WikiProject Connecticut. I do edit Connecticut articles, though, and I've participated in WikiProject talk page discussions, so maybe I'm a de facto member. Connecticut is one of several states I've lived in; I know a fair amount about the state and I enjoy contributing to articles about it.
I am a listed member of the WikiProject for Tennessee, where I live, and I've worked on content for several other states. None of the geography-based WikiProjects that I'm involved with is particularly active – they are all collections of individuals who work separately most of the time, but pitch in to help each other when a need arises. What stands out for me about the Connecticut WikiProject is that most of the project participants work across the whole state, rather than focusing on a particular region. That pleasant phenomenon is explained by the state's size.
Grondemar: As a lifelong resident of the state of Connecticut I have had always had a strong interest in the history of my state. Most of my contributions to Wikipedia have been related to the University of Connecticut (UConn) and its athletic teams. Joining the project seemed natural. While some of my contributions have been to articles under the auspices of other state WikiProjects, I am not a member of any of those projects. I'm not that familiar with most of the other state projects, other than to note that many of them are inactive; by that standard, WikiProject Connecticut is a hive of activity.
Please describe the community at WikiProject Connecticut. Has the size of Connecticut helped or hindered building a community at WikiProject Connecticut? Does the state have any interesting cultural attributes that have spilled over into the WikiProject?
Markvs88: It's definitely helped. Some editors sometimes don't get along with each other (yes, that also includes me!), but that often brings attention to problems and their eventual resolution. The WPCT is not very large – we have just hit 8,000 articles and have at any time about half a dozen to a dozen editors so while there is room for growth, it isn't unmanageable. Nutmeggers are pretty well known for slow, steady progress and IMO that's how the WPCT has grown since at one time the project was listed as semi-active.
Grondemar: Markvs88 has done a good job in organizing initiatives to draw in more project participants. One of the most successful were the Photo Contests held last year, which caused the donation of hundreds of pictures that massively improved our photographic coverage of state landmarks. The size of Connecticut is a double-edged sword for project participation: it makes the number of articles to cover manageable, but also means that we have a smaller potential editor base from which we can pull.
The project has undertaken an initiative to upload seals and flags to illustrate the articles for every town in Connecticut. How difficult was this endeavor? Has the project had to deal with any copyright issues related to the images of town seals?
Markvs88: It's been a bit of a challenge, as we still have a goodly-sized list of towns where we don't have information on their seals (and flags, if applicable). Every one of Connecticut's 169 towns has a seal, since the State of Connecticut passed a law requiring one (I believe either with the banishing of the county governments in 1960 or for the 1976 US bi-centennial). Most of the time, copyright has not been an issue as many of the town seals are very old (many are pre-Civil War era, and quite a few date to the colonial era). Some towns just don't write back if you query them, and I can understand that. Many towns either have their seal as the flag or lack a flag entirely.
Have you contributed to any of the project's 12 pieces of Featured content and 33 Good Articles? What are the greatest difficulties in improving Connecticut articles to FA or GA status?
Markvs88: No, I have not. I spend most of my time rescuing new articles from deletion, rolling back vandalism, tagging articles for the project and improving Stubs or Starts. Personally, I'd rather see 4000 C-class articles instead of the 2000 Starts and 2000 Stubs we currently have so I focus my activities there.
Grondemar: I have been the primary contribution to two Featured Lists under the project's purview: Huskies of Honor, a recognition program for the best of UConn's athletes; and List of Connecticut Huskies bowl games, those games in which the Connecticut Huskies football team has participated. I don't see there being any Connecticut-specific challenges in preparing Featured and Good content, other than the common issue of lack of reviewers. While lack of reviewers is a huge problem especially in processes such as WP:FAC, it becomes even a larger issue with topics where there may be fewer potential editors interested in the topic.
WikiProject Connecticut's only sub-project is WikiProject University of Connecticut (WPUC). Is there any collaboration between the two projects? Does WikiProject Connecticut collaborate with any other projects?
Grondemar: I wouldn't describe WP:UCONN as a subproject of WP:CONN; they are close sister projects, but are fully independent of one another. WP:UCONN was created as several topics related to the University were only tangentially or not at all related to the state. A good example is 2009 International Bowl; this game took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a place with virtually no connection to Connecticut. Since UConn played in and in fact won that game, it is very significant to the university. Maintaining independent projects allows for the proper assignment of the Importance rating between the projects; certain topics important to UConn are not important to the state, and vice versa. I have seen that other state projects do have their state university as a subproject, such as WikiProject Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma. However, the approach described above has worked for us.
Markvs88: That's definitely true! I'm also a member of both projects, and while UConn is Connecticut's state university, the WPUC isn't an offshoot of WPCT. There's a little bit of overlap, mostly for Biographies or for a few programs that the state has a hand in or co-located venues. But as Grondemar said they're really separate foci.
Several state projects have spawned city-specific projects. Why are none of Connecticut's cities the subject of their own WikiProject? In your opinion, when does a city warrant a WikiProject?
Markvs88: Connecticut is a small state, and we have a small number of regular editors. Our biggest city, Bridgeport, Connecticut is only the 51st largest in the country. If anything, I would think that we'd see a Yale University sub-project long before a Bridgeport, New Haven or Hartford one. I'd also someday like to have the time for a sub-project on the Connecticut Western Reserve, which is now northern Ohio but was a part of Connecticut for 138 years, including 24 years after the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
Orlady: As Markvs88 said, Connecticut is a small state geographically. There are six counties in California that have a larger area than the entire state of Connecticut! It's no wonder that people working in a big state like California might want to focus on the specific city, metro area, or region they know best. In my experience with the Tennessee WikiProject, I've encountered questions about far-away parts of the state about which I know almost nothing, but Connecticut editors don't often face that kind of problem. Connecticut is compact, and it has some media outlets that cover much of the state. People in any one corner of the state are likely to know at least a little about the state's other three corners, as well as its middle parts. With a state so geographically compact, there's no good purpose to dividing the state into separate projects. I suspect the lack of interest in city wikiprojects also has something to do with the fact that Connecticut cities don't grow by annexation and consolidation like cities in most other states do. The boundaries of the state's 169 towns were established in earlier centuries, so the state's cities cannot grow beyond their current boundaries. Concentrations of population spill across town lines, particularly along the corridor connecting New York and Boston, but people in towns adjacent to cities like Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven identify strongly with their towns, not with the city next door.
Grondemar: Markvs88 and Orlady hit the nail on the head on this one. Connecticut's small size, the relative compactness of the state's cities, and citizen's strong identifications with their home towns rather than the neighboring cities means that it is more effective to cover all of the cities within a single project than to create several individual city subprojects.
What are WikiProject Connecticut's most urgent needs? How can a new member help today?
Markvs88: I'd love to see perhaps another half dozen or so new editors, especially ones that are interested in biographies, entertainment (art, music, film et al.) and/or manufacturing, there's a wealth of stuff here that could use work. We've also been blessed with folks willing to take pictures for our occasional photography contests, which we'd love to have more participants for.
Grondemar: I want to get the core articles related to the state, such as the main article Connecticut, improved to Good and then Featured quality. One of my personal goals is to eventually bring the article Charter Oak, about the legendary tree that hid the Connecticut colony's charter and helped ensure that Connecticut would remain an independent state, to Featured quality. We can always use more editors interested in improving articles and collaborating to tackle the more-challenging article improvement tasks facing the project.