Whoa Nelly! Featured content in review
This edition covers content promoted between 23 and 29 December 2012.
Examples of core and anti-systemic bias featured articles promoted this year. Clockwise from top left: Douglas MacArthur
, a frog
, an Olmec colossal head
, Albertus Soegijapranata
, Muhammad Ali Jinnah
, Eusèbe Jaojoby
, a pi
pie, a Dodo
, the Icelandic Phallological Museum
, and Elizabeth II
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.
Personally, I only began to get involved in featured content in earnest this year. My first featured picture may have been promoted last year, but the majority of my featured content thus far was promoted in 2012. My first first featured article came in April, with a featured list in June, featured topic in September, and finally a featured portal in October.
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.
Five featured articles were promoted this week:
- 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.
Seven featured lists were promoted this week:
- List of Birmingham City F.C. players (fewer than 25 appearances) (nom) by Struway2. The English association football club Birmingham F.C. has seen more than 500 players join for fewer than 25 matches. Some left to pursue other opportunities, and some only joined on loan.
- 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.
- List of Major League Baseball hitters with two grand slams in one game (nom) by Bloom6132 and ChrisTheDude. Thirteen players have hit two grand slams – a home run hit with all three bases occupied – in a single Major League Baseball game between 1936 and, most recently, in 2009.
- 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.
- List of Cleveland Indians Opening Day starting pitchers (nom) by Astros4477. The Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball franchise, have used 58 different Opening Day starting pitchers. Bob Feller has the most appearances, with seven, while seven other men have been starting pitchers four or more times.
- 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.
Eleven featured pictures were promoted this week:
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn (nom; related article), created by Poco a poco and nominated by Tomer T. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an orthodox cathedral in Estonia which was built in a Russian Revival style between 1894 and 1900. It has seen extensive restorations since 1991.
- Burning of McPhersonville (nom; related article), created by William Waud, restored and nominated by Adam Cuerden (includes one other image). During the Carolinas Campaign in the American Civil War, McPhersonville was overrun and razed by Union General William T. Sherman. Only three structures survived.
- Yak (nom; related article), created by travelwayoflife and nominated by Tomer T. Yaks are long-haired bovines found throughout the Himalayas. Wild yaks generally eat grasses and sedges.
- Zanzibar red colobus (nom; related article), by Hasin Shakur and nominated by Tomer T. The Zanzibar red colobus (Procolobus kirkii) is a species of monkey endemic to Unguja, Zanzibar. Its diet consists mainly of young leaves, leaf shoots, seeds, flowers, and unripe fruit.
- Bangalore (nom; related article), by Muhammad Mahdi Karim. Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka, India. A hub for India's information technology sector, the metropolitan area is home to 8.5 million people.
- 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.
- St James's Park Lake (nom; related article), by Colin. The lake at St. James's Park in central London has two islands and is home to numerous species of bird, including pelicans. It is spanned by the Blue Bridge.
- 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.
- The Lifeboat is Taken through the Dunes (nom; related article), created by Michael Peter Ancher and nominated by Adam Cuerden. Michael Peter Ancher (1849–1927) was a Danish impressionist artist best known for his representations of fishermen and other port scenes, such as this painting of men carrying a lifeboat.
- Volvariella bombycina (nom; related article), created by Hagen Graebner and nominated by Sasata. Volvariella bombycina is an uncommon yet widespread species of edible mushroom. It appears in old knotholes and wounds in elms and maples.
- 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.
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