At the beginning of the year, we began a series of interviews with editors who have worked hard to combat systemic bias through the creation of featured content; although we haven't seen six installments yet, we've also had some delightful interviews with people who write articles on some of our most core topics. Now, as we close the year, I would like to present some of my own musings on the state of featured content – especially as it pertains to systemic bias and core topics.
For me, having a work promoted to featured status is the rough equivalent of having it published in a traditional encyclopedia; it is recognition that the article, picture, and the like is up to snuff. As such, although there is personal glory in turning a 300-word stub into a featured article, like at Sudirman, that is not the goal of featured content. By writing, photographing, or recording featured-level content, we are legitimising the crowd-sourcing method used by Wikipedia and showing that the 99 per cent can make a difference. This is not to say that featured content is the only quality content on Wikipedia: numerous articles and images are on par or better than those found in paper encyclopedias, but owing to... let's say human nature... will have a difficult time at the content featured processes.
If compared to traditional encyclopedias, Wikipedia's expansive coverage of popular culture is second to none. However, in my experience there are two areas where we fall decidedly behind Britannica or Americana: our coverage of common-knowledge topics and our coverage of areas outside the Anglosphere. As such, our articles on writers or the Masalembu Islands are definitely in need of some tender loving care.
This can be challenging. For broader topics, the scope is typically daunting, and sources need to be chosen very selectively. Even when an editor or group of editors is willing to take on a topic, they may find themselves the target of edit warriors. A drive to improve information technology was derailed by arguments over capitalisation, while tree has been the target of (over)extensive tagging. For more minor topics – especially on non-Anglosphere topics – finding quality English-language sources can be impossible, forcing editors to use sources in the local language. Several of my articles, such as Oerip Soemohardjo, are by necessity almost devoid of English sources as the most in-depth looks were in Indonesian.
It can be done. This year, the Core Contest, which focuses on topics which every encyclopedia should have, ran twice. This resulted in several featured articles, including the above lettuce, as well as major expansions and improvements on topics ranging from language to the Alps. Other editors have taken on major topics more or less on their own, like at entertainment or the aforementioned Douglas MacArthur. For non-Anglophone areas, I have provided some seventeen pieces of featured content related to Indonesia, while editors such as (but not limited to) Lecen, MrPanyGoff, Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Arsenikk and Lemurbaby have worked extensively to bring quality content from their preferred areas.
Will 2013 bring more core and non-Anglophonic featured content, or was the 21st the end of that? Here's looking at you, in the new year.
Afroyim v. Rusk (nom) by Richwales. Afroyim v. Rusk is a 1967 US Supreme Court case in which it was ruled that US citizens may not be involuntarily deprived of their citizenship. The government's attempt to revoke the citizenship of Beys Afroyim after the latter voted in an Israeli election was deemed unconstitutional. The decision opened the way for a wider legal acceptance of multiple citizenship and has sparked policy changes.
Auriscalpium vulgare (nom) by Sasata. First described in 1753, A. vulgare is a species of fungus common throughout Europe, Central America, North America, and temperate Asia. The small mushroom requires high humidity and medium light for optimum development and often grows on conifer litter or cones that are buried in soil. The brown-capped fungus body is generally considered inedible owing to its rough texture.
SMS Kaiserin (nom) by Parsecboy. Kaiserin was the third vessel of the Kaiser class of battleships of the German Imperial Navy. Laid down in 1910, she was launched in 1911 and commissioned in 1913. Equipped with ten 30.5-centimeter (12.0 in) guns and with a top speed of 22.1 knots (40.9 km/h; 25.4 mph), the ship saw action throughout World War I. After the war, German crews scuttled her along with most of the German ships interned at Scapa Flow to prevent their seizure by the British.
Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar (nom) by Wehwalt. The Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar was struck intermittently by the US Bureau of the Mint between 1926 and 1939. Designed by Laura Gardin Fraser and James Earle Fraser, it commemorates those who traveled the Oregon Trail in the mid-19th century after a campaign by Ezra Meeker. Owing to public outcry over high prices, the government stopped minting the coins after only about 260,000 were produced.
Look Mickey (nom) by TonyTheTiger. Look Mickey is a Roy Lichtenstein oil-on-canvas painting considered a bridge between his abstract expressionism and pop art works. The 1961 painting, which shows Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse fishing, is the first example of Lichtenstein's employment of Ben-Day dots, speech balloons and comic imagery. Used in the artist's first solo exhibition, Look Mickey has been read as satirising pop culture's mass production of visual imagery.
List of songs recorded by Katy Perry (nom) by Calvin999. The American singer Katy Perry has recorded songs for three studio albums, beginning in gospel but switching to pop afterwards. She has released forty-seven songs in total, including seventeen singles and two promotional singles.
Matchbox Twenty discography (nom) by Holiday56. The American rock band Matchbox Twenty has released four studio albums, one compilation album, three video albums, two extended plays, twenty-three singles and sixteen music videos since their debut in 1996. This debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You, remains their best selling album.
List of Dragon Quest media (nom) by PresN. The video game series Dragon Quest, published by Square Enix, has seen ten main instalments as well as numerous spin-off games and tie-in media, including books, television series, and soundtrack albums. The first game was released in 1986.
Nelly discography (nom) by Sufur222. The American rapper and singer Nelly has released nine albums, two extended plays, two mixtapes, forty-seven singles, and forty-five music videos since making his debut in 2000. His debut album Country Grammar is his most successful to date, selling nearly 8.5 million copies.
Common Starling (nom; related article), created by PierreSelim and nominated by Tomer T. The Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a species of bird native to most of temperate Europe and western Asia. First described in 1758, it consists of several subspecies.
Galina Vishnevskaya (nom; related article), created by Yustas, edited by Diliff, and nominated by Julia W. Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya (1926–2012) was a Russian soprano opera singer, recitalist, and wife of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. She was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1966.
Pismis 24 (nom; related article), created by NASA, ESA and Jesœs Maz Apellÿniz and nominated by Mediran. Pismis 24 is an open cluster located in the nebula NGC 6357, home to numerous enormous stars – including two of more than 100 solar masses in a binary system.