18,464 Good Articles on the wall
This week, the Signpost headed to WikiProject Good Articles. As of publishing time, out of the 4,331,477 articles on Wikipedia, only 18,464 are rated as "good" (about 1 in 235). It was created in 2005, and has since grown into one of the biggest projects in Wikipedia. Today, we interviewed Khazar2, Ankit Maity, Figureskatingfan, Chris Troutman, and Gilderien.
The GA symbol, which is shown on 18,464 articles.
The symbol for a failed GA or a delisted
A picture of Stanley Park
, which is currently a Good Article Nominee.
The Good Article nominee sign, which appears on the talk pages of 639 articles waiting to be reviewed.
According to the Good Article page, an article "on hold" means that there are small adjustments that could be made, and in a small period of time, usually a week, reviewers will decide whether it passes or fails.
- What motivated you to join WikiProject Good Articles? Do you review featured articles as well?
- Khazar2: I review Good Articles because I feel that out of Wikipedia's content review tiers (DYK, GA, FA), GA is the one that sees the most important jump in article quality. We essentially verify that the article meets minimum Wikipedia standards: it covers main aspects of the subject, is factually and grammatically correct, is neutral, is reliably sourced, meets copyright requirements and some basic MOS requirements, etc. The review gives a second pair of eyes to an article, and also an encouraging pat on the back for the nominator who's invested a dozen or more hours bringing it there.
- Ankit Maity: Nope, I don't review Featured Articles. I feel that Good Article reviewing is more important as that's exactly what gives rise to Featured Articles. No article ever gets FA status without crossing the GA threshold. GAs are something that meets encyclopedic criteria. It's neutral in POV, grammatically correct and has reliable sources with no original research. Both the nominator who's worked on the article heavily and the reviewer meet one-on-one to get it up to its GA standards. It's a sweet bit of work to produce a GA.
- Figureskatingfan: I started reviewing good articles because someone asked me to, and then I was hooked. I've found that reviewing good articles has helped me be a better writer, and has helped me learn what to focus on when I write and improve my own articles. I like to mentor other editors, and reviewing good articles is the best place on Wikipedia to do that. It's also the best place to make the most impact on and help improve specific articles. I have reviewed a few featured articles, again because I was asked, and would like to review more, but I've concentrated on good articles because to be honest, the featured article process intimidates me a bit and can be contentious at times. For me, reviewing good articles is a good way to start reviewing articles and has helped me be more confident about reviewing featured articles.
- Chris Troutman: I find the best way to get ahead at work when you're the new guy is to find experienced coworkers to learn from and volunteer for training opportunities. I signed up at the GA Recruitment Centre after having completed the course at the Counter-Vandalism Academy, so I could get an education and earn some tools. I'm not experienced enough yet at GA reviews to go to the A-class or FA reviews.
- Gilderien: I joined WikiProject Good Articles because I believe that it is the most important stage in article development. It is accessible by pretty much all articles and editors, and can motivate improvements in some of our most important articles that would otherwise be languishing at the Start- or C-Class level - just look at the newly created milllion award to see what sort of articles get improved as a result of GA.
- Do you focus on reviewing articles in one subject, or do you review articles in every subject?
- Khazar2: I mostly review on humanities subjects, but I'll review anything that's not very technical. One of my goals for the year is to review at least one article a day.
- Ankit Maity: I mostly review the "Engineering and technology" category provided it's not too specific, something like Bézout's theorem. I also review other categories provided I can make some head and tail out of it.
- Figureskatingfan: One of the most fun parts about reviewing good articles is that is exposes me to information that I wouldn't otherwise learn about. I am most definitely not a basketball fan, but I've reviewed quite a few articles about it, and have learned something about that world in the process. I recommend that editors seek out reviewers with no experience in their content area, since it can provide them with fresh eyes and help with removing in-universe, in-group language. I tend to review the oldest in the queue, which can have a huge backlog. These articles are often the most problematic and challenging to review, so they need the most help and assistance.
- Chris Troutman: Reviewing good articles is serious research, so I stick to my college major, which is History. My knowledge is not yet broad enough to give other subjects more than short shrift.
- Gilderien: I generally review Physics, Chemistry, and Geography articles, although if people specifically request (either directly or indirectly) a review and I think I could do it competently, I will. I am slowly branching out as a result of the recruitment centre but have to admit I tend to avoid articles which seem too technical for my understanding (mostly maths).
- Could you briefly explain what the new recruitment centre is?
- Khazar2: Sometimes editors are interested in reviewing but a bit intimidated by the process. The Recruitment Centre makes this easier by pairing them with a friendly mentor for a few practice reviews.
- Ankit Maity: The new recruitment centre was a huge leap for the GA community. Some new editors come across this page, try to understand the stuff, fail and give in (automatically taking away all their cultivated interests). Therefore, this centre was established so that reviewers and these wannabe GA reviewers meet one-on-one to understand the process.
- Figureskatingfan: I've loved participating in the recruitment center, since as I stated above, I really like mentoring other editors, and it gives me a great opportunity to do just that. I think that my mentees in this program have benefited, as have I.
- Chris Troutman: The Recruitment Centre is a relatively new mechanism to link untrained Wikipedians with experienced volunteer GA reviewers. Like the CVUA, the students have an opportunity to learn the process and perform supervised editing under the tutelage of their instructor. By the end of the Recruitment Centre training the Wikipedian will have watched a GA review completed by their instructor, performed a few GA reviews themselves, and had all their questions about the GA process answered.
- Gilderien: It is an easy way for editors interested in starting to review articles to get into it slowly and not being daunted by the scale of learning all the myriad guidelines for a first review. As a graduate of an adoption program myself, I became a recruiter because I know how much it benefitted me, and see it as an excellent opportunity to get more editors involved.
- How is a good article different than a regular article and a featured article?
- Khazar2: Ideally, a Good Article has been checked top to bottom by a nominator and a reviewer. In addition to meeting the basic standards of the GA criteria, a GA usually has more coherence and organization than the average article as a result of this process. It's not necessarily as comprehensive or detailed as a Featured Article, has been checked by fewer people, and may not be as MOS-compliant on smaller points. A GA generally has functional but less polished prose than an FA, and the sourcing of uncontroversial points may be less rigorous.
- Figureskatingfan: Sometimes I think that a GA is a future FA, a FA-in-training. For me, as an editor, good article reviews are part of the process of an article becoming all it can be. Some articles, the poor things, simply don't have the potential to become FAs, whether it's because comprehensiveness, or lack of sources, or whatever. The good article review process helps me assess that. The standards aren't as rigorous, so articles with sources that aren't as reliable, often because of its topic, can be passed. The fun thing is when I'm working on an article that I think could never be a FA, and because of the assistance I've received from GA reviewers, I learn that it actually has the potential to fulfill the higher standards of FA. In other words, going through the GA-process prepares me for going through the more rigorous FA-process.
- Chris Troutman: GA is one of the rungs on the ladder of content ranking, and the lowest level of ranking for which a single WikiProject is attributed. (The letter rankings of A, B, and C are the domain of WikiProjects of that subject material, such as History, Mathematics, etc.) While FA is the top of the ladder, most content on Wikipedia is either unassessed or likely stub or start class. My friends that only read Wikipedia often ask about how anyone could trust our content and I tell them about GA. The GA ranking is a good, objective ranking of content that I think most readers can place trust in.
- What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
- Khazar2: We always need more skilled reviewers, particularly in the categories of sports, television, and music--for whatever reason, those subjects always have more editors interested in nominating than in reviewing. Reviewing is a great way to learn about new subjects, meet some of Wikipedia's most prolific content contributors, and help in the production of quality content. Interested editors can sign up at the Recruitment Centre or just dive in and get started.
- Ankit Maity: For a start, we need more area-wise skilled reviewers. Half of the "music" category is untouched. I would urge editors to take up GA review as one of their tasks. If only a few of the prolific editors turned up, it would be awesome. Quality content is what we all desire, so lets just do whatever little bit we can.
- Figureskatingfan: The backlog for GA reviews is always horribly long; an article can languish there for up to six months before it's reviewed. Echoing what others have said, we can always use more reviewers, but ones that take it seriously and give high-quality, thorough reviews. Not doing that is really a disservice to the nominators, and doesn't help them prepare for FA reviews.
- Chris Troutman: To echo the other respondents, we need more reviewers. As a Campus Ambassador I'm keen to attract the academic audience with easy access not only to libraries but also research databases. Any contributor can sign up at the Recruitment Centre as we have more than enough work in a job that simply takes some attention to detail and a willingness to be thorough.
- Gilderien: People who are interested in a particular subject area can review articles and reduce the backlog. I notice popular culture seems to be heavily "supply" driven when it comes to reviews, whereas other perhaps more traditional subjects are snapped up more quickly by reviewers. Copyeditors are also welcome - an article with a good copyedit is so much nicer to review and more appealing to new reviewers who might baulk at essentially copy-editing by proxy, listing desired corrections in a review.
- Is there anything else you'd like to add?
- Figureskatingfan: Please indulge me as I share one of my pet peeves about reviewing GAs. I absolutely hate it when I review an article that has obviously not been prepared adequately. Please, anyone who's reading this and uses the GA-review process, make sure that your article is ready when you nominate it! Too many editors use it to get a copy-edit; if you need a copy-edit, ask someone else before you submit it to GA. (Like me, for example.) I've found that most reviewers at GA are wonderfully helpful and generous, sincerely want to improve articles, and will do whatever it takes for that to happen.
- Chris Troutman: Nominators should know that the GA Review is not a dry cleaner where you can dump your laundry and expect to pick it up a few hours later, neat, clean, and ready to go. GA review is more like taking your car for an inspection to the mechanic who will only tell you what needs to be fixed and where you can find the wrench. Absent my heroes at WikiProject Military History performing the A- and B-level reviews, WikiProject GA is the best mechanism for quantitatively leading to the improvement of articles on Wikipedia, and the Recruitment Centre is where you start.
Stay tuned until next week, when we head to the home (and language!) of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Until then, don't forget to check out the archive!