What motivated you to join WikiProject Horse Racing? How do articles about horse racing differ from articles about other sports?
Redrose64: I never formally joined. I got involved because I primarily work on railway articles, and there are a number of locomotives which were named after racehorses. For example, most of these were named after winners of the British Classic Races.
Montanabw: I joined due to my strong interest in horses and active participation in WikiProject Equine. Many of the articles are tagged for both projects.
Tigerboy1966: As a consequence of the Global Economic Downturn, I found myself with an excess of leisure time (i.e. I got fired) and needed a cheap, interesting hobby. What attracted me to the project was that European horses seemed to be under-represented compared to North American ones and I wanted to even things up a little.
Ealdgyth: I've done research on Quarter Horses history and how it intersects with early American Thoroughbred history. It's always been an interest, so joining the racing project was sort of a no-brainer.
Cuddy Wifter: Upon discovering Wikipedia some six years ago, my initial contributions were to write articles on my local suburban areas in Melbourne. After finding my feet in the Wiki environment, I branched out to the area of Thoroughbred racing, which had been my main interest (all be it from a gambling perspective) for the past 40 years. I felt that I had incites and knowledge of the subject which would be of benefit to other people.
The project is home to 10 Featured Articles and 19 Good Articles. Have you contributed to any of these? What are some challenges you've encountered when improving horse racing articles?
Montanabw: I was among the core group of people who brought Thoroughbred to Featured Article status. I also worked on Horse and Shackleford (horse) to bring them to Good Article status. I think there are two main challenges with improving horse-related articles: The first is dealing with assorted POV-pushing, which can be either due to the wide diversity of strongly-held opinion that exists within the horse community, or from external sources, such as the animal rights community. The second challenge is to write so that people unfamiliar with horses and horse racing can understand the topic, yet to use the many distinctive terms of art that convey the proper nuance and are widely understood within the community of horse and horse racing enthusiasts. I liken writing about horses to writing about nautical topics, both have extensive specialized language that is necessary to use for a proper discussion of a topic.
Tigerboy1966: I was the "main" on seven of the GAs and chipped in on two of the others. One of the problems, which Montanabw hints at above, is that while some horses have fans, others have worshippers, which makes NPOV difficult to achieve. The only horses who should be called "legendary" are the likes of Pegasus, Sleipnir etc. There are also some areas where on-line sources are very thin: for European racing it's easier to find material on the 1860's than the 1960's.
Ealdgyth: I've also worked to get Horse up to GA (and hopefully FA sooner or later) as well as Thoroughbred. I've also been the main editor on seven of the other FAs for the racing project and five other GAs. The main challenge is that writing an encyclopedia article on a racehorse is not at all close to how most racing writers would write. Racing books are usually written much more in a sports journalism style, which is not well suited to encyclopedias. It's often difficult to keep the tone of the article correct and help well-meaning "helpers" who want to write them like The Daily Racing Form instead of an encyclopedia article.
Cuddy Wifter: The breeding of racehorses is a multimillion industry and we should be on guard for possible manipulation by contributors with a conflict of interest in promoting certain stallions or breeding lines. I am unaware of any peer reviewed scientific studies on the theory of breeding of Thoroughbreds, and am very sceptical of any pedigree section of an individual horse which purports to infer detailed inherited characteristics – as an example see Shackleford. For the past 200 years the main theory of breeding has been that you breed the best with the best and HOPE for the best.
How much overlap exists between WikiProject Horse Racing and WikiProject Equine? Do the two projects collaborate or share resources? Are there any other projects that share common interests with WikiProject Horse Racing?
Redrose64: There is much overlap; so much so in fact that there is very little (gambling, for example) that WikiProject Horse Racing could cover which would not also be covered by Equine. The converse is not true: Equine covers many areas that are not Horse Racing.
Montanabw: While there is a great deal of overlap on the core articles and some collaboration on topics of mutual interest, WP Horse Racing has two or three times the number of articles tagged for the project than does WPEQ, primarily due to the large number of biographies of both individually named race horses and their humans: jockeys, trainers, owners. There are also a significant number of articles on race tracks and certain famous races and famous farms. In those areas, there is relatively little overlap.
Cuddy Wifter: The recent name change to the project from Thoroughbred racing to the more fully encompassing Horse racing has seen a good number of articles on Harness racing and Quarter horse racing transferred from the WPEQ to this project.
For its entire history Horse racing has been the main sport associated with gambling, but in recent years we have seen a proliferation in betting on other sports. Perhaps there may be interest in a WikiProject Sports Betting.
Are some types of horse racing better covered by Wikipedia than others? Is horse racing in some countries under-represented? What can be done to fill holes in Wikipedia's coverage of horse racing?
Montanabw: I think that the focus is proportionate to the overall population of the USA, UK and Australia, each area has contributed excellent editors to the project. There could be improvement on the coverage of racing in Continental Europe and other non-English-speaking places, and the material on racing in places such as India, Japan and Hong Kong, but I think this is a problem across all areas of en.wiki as far as finding good editors with a background in these nations.
Tigerboy1966: Agree with the above. Also we badly some input on Harness Racing, and jump racing beyond the British Isles.
Montanabw: Agree with Tigerboy; also more coverage of racing with horse breeds other than Thoroughbreds, notably Arabians, American Quarter Horses, and some of the more unusual breeds, such as the Finnhorse and Coldblood trotters.
Ealdgyth: Well, the Quarter Horses are probably better covered than any other breed but the Thoroughbreds - I know I've at least got start articles on the horses in the AQHA Hall of Fame. But there needs to be more work on trotting horses and on non-European racing... unfortunately, it's difficult to find information at times.
How does the project determine notability for horses, jockeys, and owners? What are some good resources editors can turn to when sourcing an article or determining notability?
Montanabw: We use the general wikipedia guidelines, similar to what guides writers about sports teams or individual human athletes. For horses, we view them with criteria for notability similar to humans: Did they win notable events, did they make other significant contributions (in the case of horses, this would be genetically) to the improvement of the sport, etc.
Ealdgyth: Generally, a winner of a major graded stakes race or a member of a racing hall of fame is going to be notable enough just based on GNG, at least with horses. The human side is generally covered by the GNG... I haven't really had much need for specialized guidelines to deal with racing - it's a well covered sport in most countries and thus sources exist. It's often just tracking them down that is the issue.
Cuddy Wifter: The factors determining notability for all articles on Horse racing should be set out in detail, on a separate page, so that new contributors can quickly check that any article they start fits the criteria.
What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Montanabw: Cleanup, referencing, finding sources, particularly for the human BLP articles. I think a new contributor would do particularly well to skim the cleanup tags and help with the articles on the many still-living trainers and jockeys, where WP:BLP applies.
Tigerboy1966: We have over 2,500 stubs, and a lot of start class articles towards the stubby end of the scale. In other words, we have lots of articles that would be improved by the addition of any relevant, appropriate content.
Ealdgyth: Cleanup on the various articles that have "tone" issues is a good place to start. Especially with the newer horses, a lot of the articles tend to be dominated by "fans" and could use third party views. (My own personal contributions are usually on older horses, which is where my personal library is focused).
Anything else you'd like to add?
Montanabw: This is a project with over 7,000 tagged articles. There is always room for more contributors!
Tigerboy1966: The coverage of Horse Racing on Wikpedia has improved immensely in the last couple of years: we have a lot more B and C class articles than we used to. We are heading in the right direction, but we are a small project with a lot to do.
Cuddy Wifter: I note that it is six years since this project was started. Having just perused the archives to remind myself of its history, I think it would be of benefit to old and new contributors if a list of agreed policies and guidelines on Horse racing was extracted and set up.
Next week, we'll conclude the Summer Sports Series with a lesson in self defense. Until then, duke it out in the archive.