This edition covers content promoted between 28 October and 3 November 2012
This week, the Signpost interviewed two editors. The first, PumpkinSky, collaborated with Gerda Arendt in writing the recently featured article on Franz Kafka and won second prize in the Core contest last August. The second, Cwmhiraeth, collaborated with Thompsma in promoting the article Frog, which was featured last week. We asked them about the special challenges faced while writing Core content and things to watch out for.
What do you think the role of featured content is? Can all core topics reach featured (FA) status?
It's to provide a high standard for editors to strive towards in making items as good as they can and providing recognition for those who achieve that level. I would expect that any core topic could reach featured status though broad topics can be hard to get to featured level.
Given the constraints of the number of Wikipedia editors able and willing to improve key articles, I'm not sure that raising them to FA would be preferable. I find the amount of time necessary to give the finicky attention to detail that seems to be part of the FAC process offputting. In my view, it would be a more realistic goal for all core topics to be brought to the good article (GA) standards: I think that would be a better goal. The "comprehensive" criterion for FAs is difficult and may be unattractive to otherwise enthusiastic editors.
What makes writing a featured core article different than an article on a lesser-known subject? Are there any special considerations we must take? Are there any special difficulties?
Core items invariably have lots of sources whereas a lesser-known topic may have few sources available for a well-developed article. Many core topics, such as zoology and tree, are so broad that it can be hard to focus the many points within the topic into a well-balanced article.
If you are in a CORE contest, get a full time partner, as one month is not much time at all get what is needed done. About a week before the contest ends, look at what is left to get it to featured status/make it as good as you can, decide what can be realistically done be done before that deadline, focus on the most important parts, and do the rest after the contests ends. For any featured effort, work on something that interests you and get a team together to work on specific aspects of the article. For example, V. Smith did the mineralogy section of Yogo sapphire.
Cwmhiraeth: "sugar, which I brought to good article standard but would not attempt to promote to FA."
An article focusing on a small topic is much easier to raise to FA level, in my opinion. One's own knowledge gives a background from which a well-rounded article can be written, and if it is an article that one has started from scratch, one can feel a pride in its ongoing development.
I have been involved in improving several core articles during the year. One was sugar, which I brought to good article standard but would not attempt to promote to FA. I added a lot of basic information that was poorly covered but shied away from the diet/obesity/health considerations issues. I found it difficult to identify and distinguish recent research that related to sugar rather than to total calorific input. Finding suitable references for unsourced statements was challenging. At the same time others were editing the article, not always in a helpful way. It was different with the article frog, which has recently received FA status. This article had the advantage that it was permanently protected because of past vandalism and changed little from day to day. Nor did it have an "owner" who resisted change. I was able to rename and move sections, add and remove material and change images without hindrance. When working on the featured article Bivalvia and on the core article amphibian I was much helped by the users who undertook good article reviews and who brought new eyes to bear on the articles as a whole, whereas I had been concentrating on the detail.
What do you think of the Core Contest, and how has it helped / hurt the encyclopedia?
I think it helps the encyclopedia by getting users to focus on vital topics, which should be in good shape but often are not. A problem with the contest is that it is only a month long and that means an article will rarely be ready for featured status at the end, though they can certainly be close.
I think the Core Contest is a really useful way of encouraging users to work on important articles. Without such initiatives, there is little incentive to tackle important articles that are in bad shape: in the Core Contest, the worse the article is at the start, the more credit one can get for improving it. Many basic articles are very unreferenced and really need to be radically overhauled and I think that the contest gives a legitimacy to getting to grips with an article's structure and improving it. Often these articles are large and have been added to over the years by multiple users. There is duplication, poor arrangement of sections and other structural faults. While working on core articles as part of the contest one gets feedback as to how the article is progressing. I applaud the users who organised and judged the Core Competition and who did a fine job in encouraging substantial improvement to such important articles.
Eusèbe Jaojoby (nom) by Lemurbaby. Jaojoby (b. 1955) is a composer and singer of salegy, a musical style of northwestern Madagascar. Known as the "king" of the genre, he helped pioneer its modern incarnation in the 1970s and created two sub-genres. However, he only rose to national prominence in 1988 with "Samy Mandeha Samy Mitady", becoming a full-time professional musician five years later.
Giant eland (nom) by Sainsf. The giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus) is an open-forest savanna antelope with two subspecies. With a range spread through the savannas, woodlands and glades of Africa, the 220–290-cm (87–110-in) herbivore usually forms small herds 15–25 members strong. They were first described in 1847.
Isabella quarter (nom) by Wehwalt. The Isabella quarter was a United States commemorative coin struck in 1893 which depicted the Spanish queen Isabella, the sponsor of Christopher Columbus' trips to the New World. Designed by Charles E. Barber, it was not intended for circulation. The coin was meant to be purchased at the World's Columbian Exposition, although sales were poor. It is now popular with collectors.
Russula emetica (nom) by Sasata. R. emetica, is a mushroom and the type species of the genus Russula. The fungus has a red, convex cap and a smooth white stem. It is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Although it can cause gastrointestinal distress when consumed raw, if properly prepared it can be eaten; this is not recommended.
May Revolution (nom) by Cambalachero. The May Revolution was a series of events that took place from May 18 to 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires. A reaction to Spain's Peninsular War, it saw conflicts between Spanish-born and local-born citizens which led to Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros being removed. This began the Argentine War of Independence, and a formal declaration of independence was issued in 1816.
Abuwtiyuw (nom) by Tomcat7, Dr. Blofeld, and Malleus Fatuorum. Abuwtiyuw (d. before 2280 BC) was an Egyptian dog and is one of the earliest documented domestic animals for which the name is known. He is thought to have been a royal guard dog. Likely a lightly built hunting dog similar to a greyhound, Abuwityuw received an elaborate burial. The stone tablet indicating the dog's name was discovered in 1935.
Mitt Romney (nom) by Wasted Time R. Romney (b. 1947) is an American businessman and the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. Romney, the son of politicians, was active in the field from the 1970s but initially focused on his business interests. He ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 1994 and served as Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.
Fugees discography (nom) by Sufur222. the Fugees, an American hip hop trio, have released four albums, nine singles, and nine music videos since their debut in 1992. Their best received was 1996's The Score, which topped the charts in seven countries.
Coldplay discography (nom) by Holiday56. The British rock band Coldplay have released 14 albums, 10 extended plays, 43 singles, and 30 music videos since their debut in 2000. They have sold more than 55 million records in this time; their last three studio albums have topped the charts in ten countries.
Branch Rickey Award (nom) by Muboshgu. The Branch Rickey Award is an American award given annually to an individual in Major League Baseball in recognition for exceptional community service. First awarded in 1992, recipients have done a variety of work such as fundraising and disaster relief.
Saint Augustin Church (nom; related article), created by Saffron Blaze and nominated by Tomer T. Saint-Augustin is a church in Paris was built between 1860 and 1871 by Victor Baltard. With a dome height of 80 metres (260 ft), it was one of the city's earliest large buildings with a steel frame.