This week, The Signpost stepped up to the plate with WikiProject Baseball. Formed in 2004, its founding edit read that "if you ever picked up a bat and glove, watched a game, or lost in Little League, this is the place for you". We talked with Go Phightins!, Wizardman, and isaacl.
What motivated you to join WikiProject Baseball?
Go Phightins! – Baseball is a sport that I really enjoy, and is the namesake of my username, as a matter of fact – the Philadelphia Phillies are known colloquially as the Phightin Phils, which I shortened to the Phightins. Having an opportunity to work with so many great colleagues at WikiProject Baseball is terrific.
Wizardman – I've been a major fan of baseball throughout my life, and when I joined it was an area that had little in the way of quality (Sandy Koufax was an FA, and I think that was it). I wanted to help improve the area and it was a subject I knew.
isaacl – Like many editors at WikiProject Baseball, I have a favourite team and a desire to improve the quality of its article led me to contribute to baseball-related articles. Discussions at the project talk page are generally constructive and embody a cooperative spirit, which keeps editors interested.
What kind of upkeep does WikiProject Baseball give to its articles?
GP! – One of the most crucial aspects of the project is stat updates and vandalism watches to articles, especially on current players. We have an army of dedicated editors – some good SPAs, some IPs, and some long-term contributors – who keep all of the players' infoboxes up-to-date. Also, there is rampant speculation within the media about baseball players and transactions between teams, particularly around the trading deadline (which just passed), so upholding the principle of WP:CRYSTAL by refuting speculative edits while at the same time remaining committed to being an encyclopedia anyone can edit is a time-consuming, but ultimately worthwhile task.
isaacl – In addition, as new players meet Wikipedia's standards of article notability, new articles are created for them. Some people enjoy creating new stubs for others to fill in; ardent fans of a given Major League Baseball team will typically take on maintenance for new players on that team.
According to the WikiProject's Index, there are 14,981 low importance, stub class articles. How would contributors expand these stubs, and do you believe such articles can acquire good or featured status?
GP! – Absolutely. Many of our stubs are on players – some current, many retired – all of whom meet WP:BASEBALL/N, but may be difficult to find sources on – it takes some digging, and we have some strong contributors who do a lot of work in that area, and it is great to see the number of GAs they churn out after research. Expanding stubs of current players is something that I do a lot of, and is not particularly difficult, as there is a plethora of media coverage these days of players/teams, so most players have had at least one or two feature stories written about them that shed light into their past, and are useful for article expansion.
W – Definitely. Low-importance really isn't all that low, as a 6–8 year player would be low-imp, yet would have plenty of sources out there. Realistically, any of the 15k could be good articles, though FA for the one-gamers is a bit much to ask. As for how they can expand them, different eras will have different sources, but any books on team histories are a good starting point for those lesser-known players.
isaacl – Articles for current-day players are usually fairly easy to expand, with a plethora of online sources available. Looking for information on players from the past is more difficult. One place to look is your local library's web site: an increasing number of libraries are offering Internet access for its patrons to historical archives, which is a great help. Wikipedia's partnership with various online resources is also very useful for contributors seeking sources.
Jim Thome (left) and Harmon Killebrew (right)
Have you contributed to any of WikiProject Baseball's Featured or Good Articles? What contribution or group of contributions are you most proud of?
GP! – Jim Thome, my one and only featured article, played Major League Baseball for 20+ years, and reached featured status after more than a year of work. I thoroughly enjoyed working on his article, as he was one of my favorite players back when he was a member of the Phillies, and really is a "good guy". I have also made substantial contributions to many articles on Philadelphia Phillies' current players, including elevating Carlos Ruiz, Kyle Kendrick, Cody Asche, Darin Ruf, Cole Hamels, Ben Revere, and John Mayberry, Jr. (as well as a few other current GA nominees). Writing about players while watching games is a fun and rewarding task for me, and the fact that I have been able to get so many to GA status is a testament to the excellence of my fellow editors and colleagues at WP:BASEBALL, who provide thoughtful feedback, much-needed copyediting, and most importantly foster a mutually supportive atmosphere that makes it a pleasure to contribute.
W – I've contributed several FAs and GAs over my time. Greatest is tough to say, but it would be between Bob Feller, which was already a GA that I completely modified to get through FA, and Harmon Killebrew, which was a stub I suggested as a collaboration that eventually progressed to GA, then FA.
If a new user wanted to immediately help WikiProject Baseball, what should they focus on?
GP! – Stat updates and vandalism reversion take little skill, but are always needed. Maybe you can "adopt" your favorite team's season article (e.g., 2014 Philadelphia Phillies season), and work on keeping its game log up-to-date. If you are interested in writing articles, pick a player whose article is sub-par, find an article or two about him, and expand it – DYK and GA are very attainable for baseball articles.
W – The best gateway would probably to pick your favorite team and start on player and season articles there. For example, if you're an Oakland Athletics fan, Josh Donaldson has turned into the team's star in the lineup the past couple years, yet his article doesn't have much on there. That's a guy that we know can be built up with ease. Current ones are much easier to find sources on, and from there you can move on to historical figures or other teams if you wanted to. Don't be afraid to expand articles rather than try to find a redlink to create, since if a guy's important in baseball (barring perhaps a few exceptions), he's got an article already.
isaacl – To get acclimatized with editing Wikipedia, I suggest first trying a small task. If you're skilled at writing, find an awkward phrase in an article, and re-write it to be stronger. If there is a topic you're very familiar with, such as a particular team or player, have a look at the corresponding articles, and look for an inaccuracy or inconsistency in the text. Then find a reliable source for the correct information, and update the article, complete with a citation to the source you uncovered. Review the talk page for the article and browse through its discussion threads. Place the article you've updated on your watchlist (which you can access from the menu at the top of every Wikipedia page) and see how you can monitor edits to articles and their associated talk pages. Once you are familiar with the mechanics of contributing to Wikipedia, making larger changes should be less daunting. Just be ready to discuss your edits with other editors, and keep an open mind. WikiProject Baseball's talk page is always available for your questions.
Anything else you'd like to add?
GP! – The editors at WikiProject Baseball are an awesome group of folks with whom to collaborate on articles, but perhaps more importantly, are dedicated to enforcing Wikipedia policy with tact and excellence in dealing with new and clueless contributors (a group of which I was once a member). We are able to snap almost instantaneously from bantering on how matchups of our favorite teams go to complex discussion on esoteric aspects of how we can best convey information to readers. Overall, it is a fun and rewarding group of which I am blessed to be a member, and which you should join too! For more information, check out our monthly newsletter, The Inside Corner. GoPhightins! 19:10, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
W – It's both a great and easy project to get involved in. Even if you like the [rival team] you're still welcome. Wizardman 02:45, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
isaacl – Just to follow up on Go Phightins! comment, WikiProject Baseball's newly-revived newsletter can be found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Baseball/Outreach/Newsletter. With the state of baseball analysis ever-improving, competition in MLB continues to be fierce, and we are the beneficiaries—enjoy the season!