What motivated you to join WikiProject U2? Have you contributed to any of the project's Good or Featured Articles?
Melicans: I've been a fan of U2 since I heard "Two Hearts Beat as One" a decade ago. I edited the U2 articles sporadically after joining Wikipedia, so when the first iteration of the project opened it was a natural thing to become part of. Over time the numbers dwindled to only about two or three active editors in the WikiProject, but with the recent push to rejuvenate it I am excited about what new blood can bring to these articles. I hope to be a part of that again in the near future. I've been a primary contributor to four Featured Articles in the project, and an additional six Good Articles; and I hope to add to both those categories in the future.
Pjoef: I have joined the WikiProject U2 in February 2008, but haven't been as active as I wanted to be. I first knew of this band when a LP dropped on my turntable, it was their debut album, Boy in late 1980, … and decided that "I Will Follow" this band with interest. The first impression is often the best impression, and Boy was followed by October (1981), War (1983), and The Unforgettable Fire (1984), just some favourites of mine. I am a long time member of the WikiProject U2, but, except for marginal and sporadic interventions, I have not contributed much to any of the project's best articles. Maybe one day some of our newest collaborative efforts will become featured articles.
Miss Bono: I've been a U2 fan for quite a while... I wasn't aware that people could edit articles in Wikipedia when I first heard about it, it was in 2007 or 2008 – can't remember exactly the year – I found the Spanish Wikiproyecto U2 when I was wandering around at the Spanish Wikipedia and start asking questions about why it was inactive and how could it been reactivated, but no one was interested. – apparently, U2 draws attention when they are on tour – I started looking for information about the band, – again at the Spanish Wikipedia – but soon after I discovered the English Wikipedia and noticed that there was a whole lot more of information about Bono, and other related subjects. I created an account in 2011, but then I did nothing until I found WikiProject U2... and I joined the movement almost immediately. It appeared to be semi-inactive, I was so dissapointed that I made a few attempts to bring it to life. Finally with a huge help from many users, members and non-members of the WikiProject - (TheOriginalSoni and Mark Miller are two of the no-members that helped me a lot) – we could activate it and revamp it. I wanted to say thank you to my mentor and Pjoef for their entire support. I've been involved in one Good Article, in fact, it was my very first article – with the help of several users – Morleigh Steinberg was promoted very fast to GA. Now Ironholds is making a full revision to Ali Hewson to see if it can reach FA-Class.
How much has changed since we last visited the project three years ago? What are the project's current goals and initiatives? How have you kept the project's momentum going?
Melicans: The last time WikiProject U2 was visited by the Signpost there was still a large amount of interest in the band because of the ongoing U2 360° Tour; edits, and the number of editors making them, were relatively high. Featured Articles more than doubled to 8 total (9 with a Featured List), and the number of Good Articles increased from 16 to 24 (which I'm very happy about, as some of the current FAs were GAs back then). Momentum definitely stalled though; I think that once the tour came to an end and U2 all but vanished from the news the amount of interest in the band naturally waned as well, so most of the activity was left to just two or three active editors. I was unfortunately not one of them, but I hope that my interest reaches peak levels again when the next album is released. The biggest initiative I can think of is Miss Bono's efforts to reactive the Project so that editors work together as one unit, rather than as individuals. The Project's goals will always remain the same; to share our love and knowledge of U2 with the world.
The street U2 Way in New York City
Pjoef: The activities in the main namespace has been already described very well by Melicans. On the obscure side of the project things have not gone as well as we would expect. Except for 2007, when the project was started, our members have not been fully active for years. Things seem to have gotten better here since the arrival of Miss Bono in late 2012 – early 2013. In April 2013, there was a roll call, in order to keep the project up-to-date on our number of active members. Project's pages and portal have been redesigned and reorganized. Finally, after many years, a new newsletter has been published and other newsletters are in preparation. Also, there have been several good results in the main namespace: some articles have seen a marked improvement and new articles have been created while others are in the process of being published. We need to do much more, but the vast majority of the credit goes to Miss Bono, without her active participation, and the hard work she put into it, this would never have happened.
Miss Bono: Three years ago – as Melicans said before – there was this euphoria because of U2 360° Tour (the highest grossing concert tour of all time, with gross revenues of $736,137,344), and Bono's spinal injury. So, Melicans is right about the activities in the main space. Since 2011, the end of the tour, things settled down. I wasn't here by that time, so I am not familiar with the percentage of edits reduction. You could say that WikiProject U2 did change a lot, it is better organized now, thanks to Pjoef, who is always fixing and updating everything, taking care of technical matters and making sure everything is in the right place. We owe him that, and also the roll call in April. Also, we have a couple of new articles – eight since March 2013, one of those currently a GA-Class –, Pjoef updated, automated and improved Portal:U2, two existing articles were promoted to GA, we had a TFA on 9 August, two of the top importance articles were updated and we are working on an upcoming one. We have several things left to do, but that's a good start. Well, what else can I say? The goal is elevation...
Are some eras of the band's existence better covered than others on Wikipedia? Has it been difficult to find sources for the production details of albums or tours that occurred years ago?
Melicans: There are definitely some eras that have more coverage. The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, arguably U2's best albums, have much more overall detail for their eras than, say, October or Pop. Half of our FAs and a hefty chunk of GAs come from those two albums alone. Because of their popularity it is not very difficult to find information on them, even though they are from the pre-internet era. Would "Mothers of the Disappeared" be FA if it was from The Unforgettable Fire? I really don't think it would; Fire may be one of their better known albums, but it simply isn't a Joshua Tree in terms of press coverage. There is always information to be found for the big songs ("Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Pride (In the Name of Love)", etc.), but for hidden gems like "Mothers", "Gloria", and even internet-age songs like "Original of the Species", that information can be very hard to come by; even for the most well-equipped U2 fan.
Pjoef: The project currently has eight featured articles but only two are from the “eighties”, and more precisely two songs: "One Tree Hill" and "Mothers of the Disappeared", both from the album The Joshua Tree (1987), which is itself a good article. All other albums released before The Joshua Tree are rated as "B-Class", except for October (1981), which has been assessed as C-Class. With the exception of the War Tour, which took place in 1982–1983 and is a good article, all articles about their tours until The Joshua Tree Tour are Start-Class articles. And that says it all! But the problem of finding source and materials for articles regarding albums and torus released before the “Internet era” (circa 1991 onwards) is not a problem that only affects our WikiProject, but it is common to many other projects and articles about music, entertainment, popular culture, and many other area.
A U2 concert in Mexico City during their "Vertigo" tour
Miss Bono: I think that Joshua and Achtung's eras are better covered than the others. The Joshua Tree was a decisive step for the band, it sets U2 in a high position in regard to their previous albums; several of U2s hits not all of them comes from that album: "With or Without You", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where the Streets Have No Name"; same happens with Achtung Baby. After Rattle and Hum, the band had been misunderstood, because of their foray into the American music, so at the end of Lovetown Tour they decided to "go away and... dream it all up again". The result was one of the best albums of the band – in my opinion – I guess that's why it is easier to find on-line sources about the two of them, and therefore they are better covered on Wikipedia. I do think that we at WikiProject U2 and editors in general must work towards covering others not so well known eras of the band as well, like in 1981 when October was released and U2 went through this "faith vs. being in a rock and roll band" conflict. It is good to have well covered gems like "One", "Still...", because when people who are not familiar with U2, comes looking for information about the band, they surely will look for those songs, but what about those who are already steeped themselves and want to go deeply into the band's career? What about those who wants to know about "Fire", "Kite", "A Man and A Woman", "Miami", "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" or "The Wanderer"?, that's one of the goals I am personally pursuing.
WikiProject U2 also covers philanthropic ventures launched or supported by the band. Have you seen other music-related projects include philanthropy in their focus or is this unique to WikiProject U2? How is the format and focus of these articles different from the project's music-related articles?
Melicans: I don't know of any other musical WikiProject that includes philanthropic projects in their areas of focus. That isn't to say that WikiProject U2 is unique in this regard; there are obviously many philanthropic musicians and multiple ventures launched by them, and I admit that I've never really looked to see if other band or singer WikiProjects cover these ventures or not. If the WikiProject is unique in this regard among bands, it may be because this philanthropy has been so essential to U2's character since the mid-1980s (and yes, that means more than just Bono; every U2 member has been significantly involved in philanthropy). Not covering this aspect of U2, including the criticisms, would be detrimental.
Pjoef: Philanthropy, intended as "love of humanity", the intention of increasing the well-being of mankind, is a generic term that, for better or for worse, belongs to all. For this reason many music-related projects include this kind of "philanthropy" in their focus. Charitable foundations are also covered by many projects, but WikiProject U2 has a really impressive quantity — relative to the total number of articles covered by the project — and often quality, of articles and informations on this subject. ONE for all. To come across philanthropy, as well as history, biography and economy or having to deal with the spiders of the Colorado Desert is not a problem for many editors. I think that it is very difficult that a wikipedian will contribute only on a single subject; maybe when he was a novice, but on a long time scale, he/she will have to face every days things. All the "few" things we know. Most likely an editor is also a reader, remember that there are more Wikipedia's readers than editors. Readers and editors often use Wikipedia as a starting point of their researches and studies expanding their knowledge and also the number of contributions to Wikipedia in the fields of their everyday life. And, as in everyday life, you cannot live on U2 alone.
A Trabant automobile from U2's Zoo TV Tour
Has the project run into any issues with neutral point of view or notability with regards to U2-related subjects? What can be done to help the band's fans contribute to Wikipedia in constructive ways?
Melicans: Any issues with neutrality usually centre around the article for Bono. There used to be a criticism section in the article, but having that is as much a violation of neutrality as a section centred on recognition (which was also present). So both were merged into the most applicable pre-existing section, and I think that helped to give the article a more neutral balance. Articles on albums, songs, tours (so basically everything not-Bono) have rarely had issues with neutrality. Notability is certainly a more problematic issue for the WikiProject, and a few years ago most of the song articles were redirected to their respective parent albums because there was so little information available. That isn't to say that the coverage isn't out there; "Exit (song)" was one of the redirected articles, and it is now a GA that is not far from an FAC. If there are any fans reading this who would like to contribute, adding information to an article is never a bad thing! If there are fans out there who aren't reading this, we'd still like your help! Everyone reads Wikipedia, so try a little editing every now and then. It's fun! And taking an article from a stub to an FA is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Pjoef: There are no special issues regarding a "neutral point of view" at the moment, except for Product Red that has a NPOV dispute started in March 2011. It is a criticism or contorversy about its Criticism or Controversy section; in fact, a matter of controversy. Joking a part, no "notability" issues are known currently. U2's fans that want to contribute to Wikipedia (and to Wikipedia's articles related to U2) can ask for help at the project talk page or by contacting any of the active members of the project — we would be glad to help in any way we can.
Miss Bono:Bono has been, in my opinion, the most controversial article as far as issues with neutrality is concerned. As Melicans said, articles on songs, albums and tours don't have the same problem, or at least not much as Bono's. As for notability, when I first came here there were, and still there are, a lot of redirected songs because of the lack of information about them. One of the goals I want to achieve for WikiProject U2 is covering those songs and turning them into GA-Class articles, like editors did with "Exit (song)". We still have work left to do, and it is not easy, but several non-members editors of WikiProject U2 , such as Theroadislong, Wasted Time R, Anna Frodesiak, TheOriginalSoni, and Fylbecatulous, have done a lot of great work, and I am taking this opportunity to thank all of them for their help and support. Regarding fans of the band, I believe it is possible to be a fan and contribute to Wikipedia in constructive ways, believe me. We would like having fans sharing their knowledge with the world and helping us to cover U2 related topics. So, if you are out there and you are a fan and you would like to be part of this great adventure, do not hesitate we need you. You can make the difference!
What are WikiProject U2's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Melicans: The number one need is constructive activity. We've done a lot of impressive work over the years, but WikiProject U2 is small in number and there is too much to do. So even the little things like fixing typos, formatting references, fixing dead links, and of course the ever-necessary addition of information, would be a huge help. Your efforts could be what we need to make "With or Without You", "One", or "Lemon" (just to throw an incredibly obscure song into the mix) into the FAs that they deserve to be.
Bono and The Edge in 2009
Pjoef: WikiProject U2 currently covers 253 articles that belong to the main namespace. There are 8 featured articles plus a featured list, and 24 good articles. All these articles (especially the band's main article, and articles about the four members and the main albums) must be maintained or improved to FA-Class. At the moment, we have 67 articles rated as top or high importance; some of them list editors who are available to help with them and have specific "to-do" lists; you can find both of them in their talk pages. New contributor, and all other editors, are encouraged to contribute and review articles within the scope of the WikiProject U2, and also to share their thoughts, ideas, suggestions and concerns via discussions on talk pages. A to-do list for WikiProject U2 is also available. Please consider joining us, WikiProject U2 needs your help!
Miss Bono: Editors underestimate little but important details like fixing typos and dead links, merging one-sentence paragraphs, formatting quotations and keeping punctuation marks before references, those are great ways to start. We are a small community and we are doing our best, but we have a lot of things to do. Focusing on related topics is also a good idea; Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Michka Assayas, Eve Hewson, Arthur Fogel, Mark Fisher, Live Aid, Live8, EDUN, Chernobyl Children International, among several others. Looking for free pictures on-line and adding them to the articles. There are so many things left to do. We need your input, your enthusiasm and your ideas. Let's start turning stubs into FA-Class stuffs!
Next week, we'll head off on a road trip in the outback. Until then, take a pit stop in the archive.