What motivated you to join WikiProject Turtles? Do you have any experience studying or caring for turtles? Have you contributed to any of the project's Featured Articles, Lists, or Media?
Faendalimas: As a professional turtle taxonomist I felt I could not only contribute to these pages but also lend a hand a ensuring good and accurate information and assist it sourcing the literature for other editors.
NYMFan69-86: A group of editors and I created this project a few years ago because we saw a desperate need for the expansion of turtle articles on Wikipedia. I have no experience caring for turtles, however I have read books on mostly the distribution and physical attributes of North American turtles. I've contributed to Bog turtle, Painted turtle, Wood turtle, Loggerhead sea turtle, U.S. state reptiles, and have helped upload several images and distribution maps.
Started in 2011, WikiProject Turtles is a fairly young project. How difficult was it to build the project's pages, resources, and membership to its current state? What are the greatest challenges facing new projects?
Faendalimas: The major difficulty has been getting numbers, turtles are a speciaised area. Second is getting consistent and good information being used. With a small number of editors and a fairly large number of pages to deal with the workload is high and diverse. This coupled with otherwise busy lives makes keeping pace and maintaining the pages difficult.
NYMFan69-86: Most of the difficult work was done by User:SunCreator. The biggest challenge in the beginning was tagging all the talk pages with our banner and getting a census of how many c-classs,b-class, etc. turtle articles were out there. As mentioned above, the big problem now is consistent contributions to the articles (from myself included).
Are turtles from some geographic areas better covered by Wikipedia than others? What can be done to fill holes in coverage?
Faendalimas: Definitely, the USA and Australia are relatively well covered but Asia and South America are poorly done, Africa and Europe are not well covered either and the fossil record is very patchy.
How difficult is it to acquire images for articles about turtles? Which are more valuable for turtle articles: illustrations or photographs?
Faendalimas: Getting good images that are free of issues for publication on wiki can be difficult. We are looking at some 270 species across the majority of the world (tropics down to temperate) some editors just don't have access to original photo's of some of these species. I think photo's are very important but some images also, there are details for identification that are easier to highlight in a drawing than in a photo.
NYMFan69-86: A huge boost would be the ability to get distribution maps fairly quickly. These have been a problem in the past for me and have a history of taking a long time to get right. I also imagine images of rare turtles would be hard to come by.
Who maintains the project's range maps? Where is this information typically derived from? Does it require a lot of skill in mapping or image manipulation?
Faendalimas: For species I work on I use my own maps from my own research hence I have access to detailed cartographic software that as its based on my research from my published work I can authorise their use, however for other species this is not so easy and for many species such maps may not even exist. This is a very difficult area across the whole project.
Is there much overlap in the membership and goals of WikiProject Turtles and its parent WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles? Does WikiProject Turtles collaborate with any other projects?
Faendalimas: Yes there is, obviously all turtles are reptiles and most workers in this area are herpetologists, meaning they work on reptiles, just choose to specialise in turtles. Also much of the basic biology is true of other reptiles as it is for turtles. Many of the members of this project, myself included, are also members of the Reptile project.
NYMFan69-86: This was brought up several times as the project was being created. I definitely feel like there is overlap, but there are so many turtle species to cover I feel like this project could even be branched further if need be.
What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Faendalimas: Members, but including members from areas where we lack coverage, ie Africa, South America, Asia. This would be the biggest improvement in our potential we could make right now.
NYMFan69-86: Another need beside members (which is probably the biggest need due to the sheer volume of turtle articles) is, as mentioned, images, specifically distribution maps.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Faendalimas: I think this is an important project for numerous reasons, turtles are often the "forgotten" reptile and many people interested in reptiles are interested in snakes and crocodiles as an example. By making this a unique project we can ensure the adequate coverage of these very unusual animals.
NYMFan69-86: Wikiproject Turtles would do well to acquire more members, however in the past year or so there has been substantial work done on these articles.
Next week will be dedicated to the Wikipedians who labor away sorting our trash. Until then, find an old discussion in the archive.