Wikipedia talk:100,000 feature-quality articles

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The FAC criteria are deliberately tightened over time to keep it to the top 0.1% of articles, or about one new FA per day - to represent only the best of the best.

It is true that the criteria have tightened over time. The most recent significant tightenings have been:

  • addition of a requirement for references (a long time ago)
  • addition of a requirement for inline citations where appropriate (quite some time ago)

I doubt you would argue with these.

  • an increased emphasis on prose style and editing.

This is largely a result of User:Tony1 (a professional copyeditor) getting involved. Some people do not always agree with his rather stringent (some would say "industrial") criteria, but he has certainly brought an improvement in writing style - flow of text, punctuation and grammar, ease of reading and comprehension - that is very valuable.

Most FACs are very specialised; something about it doesn't get general topics through.

The fact is that it is easier to write an article the meets the criteria if you limit yourself to a narrowly-defined topic (a battle, a book, a person, a programming language, a chemical element, a planet) rather than a sweeping topic (history, physics, astronomy). It is easier to be comprehensive in a small field, easier to find the right references, easier to be neutral as there is less scope for POV; and, to be honest, there are fewer people who know anything about them, so most reviewers will just read for style, rather than looking for lack of comprehensiveness or factual accuracy. Articles on wider topics demand daughter articles on sub-topics too (physics: particle physics, solid state physics, fluids, material science...) and it can be embarassing when the summary in the top-level article is better than the sub-article.

But there are lots of specialised topics to do. We should aim to do all chemical elements, all major solar system objects, all of the plays by Shakespeare, all Roman emperors (well, the Julio-Claudians, at least), all countries, all capital cities, all currencies, the few longest rivers and highest mountains on each continent, all heads of state, all winners of a Nobel or Booker or Pulitzer prize... -- ALoan (Talk) 18:47, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

What could work for general topics, with a systematic approach, would be to build up to those general topics by first improving the narrow ones. A few months ago I tried to do a total rewrite on Peloponnesian War and found that I couldn't do it; the topic was too big to bite off all at once like that. So my current plan is to come up at it from beneath; work on all the battles, all the periods of the war, all the major figures who participated in it, etc. and then, once I've done all the research for those, narrow it down, add a little general commentary, and get a great top-level article that way. I think that this is the kind of approach that we need to be taking if we want to get to 100k; people need to think not of working on a single article at a time, but on whole fields of related articles, for which the research done on one will overlap into another, and that, once they're all finished, can be tied together with a top-level article. Working in that way can maximize the amount of good content we get from the time people are putting in. --RobthTalk 19:05, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

I have just followed some links to the mailing list and read the discussion there over the past few days. Um, why is it being repeated here? Wouldn't it make sense to discuss the same things only once? -- ALoan (Talk) 19:35, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Not everyone reads the mailing list; I glance at it now maybe once a month. While I know this is self-referential, I suspect for many Wikipedians whom we should encourage, just researching & contributing content & keeping a weather eye at one of the usual fora (WP:AN/I, Village Pump, mailing list, etc.) eats up all of the time available for Wikipedia. Which leads to duplication, & leads to the rest of the community needing to participate in more than one place to keep up with the conversation. -- llywrch 23:16, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Sorry - what I meant was "shouldn't a discussion be announced in lots of places and the actual discussion be held in one central place"? I saw comments on the mailing list over the past few days that have been repeated here (without knowning that almost exactly the same things have been said elsewhere!). -- ALoan (Talk) 23:32, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Sorry back, ALoan. I didn't mean to sound defensive or hostile; I was just explaining how I understood this centrifugal force that bedevils Wikipedia. And your suggestion makes sense to me. -- llywrch 05:33, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

100k FAs? Come on.[edit]

Seriously, I'll say this on the mailing list and I'll say this here. 100k FAs is a little high to be aiming for. I say we aim for 10k good articles by Jun-07 and go from there, and by that time we can get enough people involved. How about we start WikiProject Featured Articles to help promote the drive? -- 08:00, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

If you have a plan for 10k FAs, by all means write it up - David Gerard 08:18, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Why not adapt this essay? 10k makes more sense as a motivational goal because it's more likely to be achievable within the near future. If it turns out that 100k is actually achievable before the end of 2007, then you can always revise it upwards. — Matt Crypto 11:04, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
FAs are mostly writen by regulars. We have ~5400 of those. to get up to 100,000 each one would have to make a FA every 25 days (or 18 FAs each). That isn't going to happen. Aim high maybe but imposible targets will be ignored.Geni 15:03, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Orders of magnitude: is there a plausible way to get it from 1 to 10 a day as a start? I don't think this impossible given our pool of contributors. This needs to become sort of meme-like "what, you haven't worked on an FA?" Marskell 13:46, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
For Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics (5 FA, 8 A class, 7 GA, and 10,000 B class or below) I feel it would be better to try and get as many articles as posible up to GA standard, rather than working on a smaller number to get them to FA status. Mathematics being a broad and highly interlinked subject and to meet the needs of our readers I feels needs a borad approach. --Salix alba (talk) 15:12, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Scaling issues[edit]

Unless FAC gets divided into dozens of different subject areas (not a bad idea, IMO), there is little to no chance it can be used to get so many articles featured in such a short time frame; it would literally mean we would need to feature hundreds of articles per day. Even dividing the process between 20 or so WikiProjects would mean upwards of 10 articles per day per WikiProject would need to be featured. Either way, the *only* chance I see we have of pulling this off is to divide up the work between all the WikiProject ; as is already occurring with the A-class rating of articles overseen by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team. Thus I propose a rename of this page to Wikipedia:100,000 A-class quality articles or something else that excludes the word featured. --mav 16:43, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Similar to this, you mean? Personally, I think it is a great idea to make WikiProject assessments more significant, perhaps by giving them a fast track to FAC or some other method. Titoxd(?!?) 00:30, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree completely with mav on this, one reason A-Class was invented was because people don't want to bother with the hassle of the FAC process. A-Class articles are usually like FAs before the peer review and FAC processes - in effect FAs with rough edges on them. WP:Chem made a goal of producing 380 A-Class articles; we made lots of progress, but articles have tended to get stuck at the B-Class level which requires much less work (and easier work) to reach. For more details on my views on scaling, see my post to Wikipedia I. Tito's suggestions should definitely be looked at - the TC WikiProject is one of our most active and productive. If that project could be emulated by others, we could be well on our way to 100,000 A-Class articles! Care to give us some details on how to proceed, Tito? Walkerma 07:53, 23 September 2006 (UTC)


Five years ago, when Wikipedia was first getting started, Larry Sanger was proud to declare, "At this rate, we can have 50,000 articles in just seven years!" Back then it seemed like a dream, but now we're approaching 1.5 million articles, and we still have two years to go.

The difference between then and now is that back then we were never hindered by numbers or by impossible expectations. We just did it--we wrote our articles, edited others' articles, and helped make Wikipedia grow. Sure there were fights along the way, but in the end our goal, our only goal, was building the encyclopedia. We didn't get caught in the trap of numbers and other "practical" considerations. We wrote, we edited, we polished and improved, and the result lies before you.

I hope that this effort will reinvigorate that early effort. It will help us all put aside the fighting or the overwhelming focus on rules, procedures, RfA's, RfD's DRV's, he said she said, internal feuding, claims of cabalism, and whatnot. It will help revive that initial effort of building the best possible reference work in human history. Because in the end, despite all the haggling over formulating some goal, it won't really matter if we have 100K feature articles or 10K A-class articles or 64,712 kinda cool articles, or 18,846 1.0 articles. The fact is that the encyclopedia--our real goal here--will get a heck of a lot better for it.

So, how do we go about doing it? Each person will find their own way to improve what we have. Some may take a single sentence stub and transform it into a really thorough overview, others will take a decent article and sit in the library to source it. Some people will scan the failed FA candidates to make them better, and others will pore over the countless lists of articles needing improvement and clean them up. Most of all, the dialogue surrounding Wikipedia, whether on the Talk pages or IRC, will focus on people sharing ideas about how to make articles better and better.

Is 100K really possible? Who cares? If you would have told me 1.5 million articles was possible in just five years, I would have pulled out my calculator, punched in some figures, and told you that you were nuts.

As for the contest, this is something I plan to continue on a regular basis. My only hope is that we have at least the same number of entrants as we did in the previous two contests. After all, we have at least as many editors and twice as many admins. So let's get to it. Danny 02:48, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

If the focus is on featured articles, then 100K in that time frame is not practical. The reason is the process itself ; it selects only the best of the best and that is a moving target. If we instead focus on not so movable standards and divide the work, then I think we have a shot. --mav 03:17, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Number, shmumber![edit]

It's disconcerting how much pointless debate there is over the number 100,000. You all know the history of Wikipedia. Even the smartest predictions on target numbers were an order of magnitude off - too low. If you think it's worthwhile to upgrade the quality of articles, that quality over quantity is a crucial goal for Wikipedia, stop bickering over the number and start talking about how to approach even 10,000 articles.

I would start with Wikipedia:List_of_articles_all_languages_should_have, make a map, start branching off of that. But there's no reason to have to stick with the accepted taxonomy of mandatory topics. But I think helping to visualize this in a scoreboard or a graphical tree would help the community track the progress, and create a positive feedback loop. What happened to being bold? When did we all turn into armchair naysayers? -- Fuzheado | Talk 04:42, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

We know from a few years of data that the featured article process cannot scale to reach these numbers. So the focus of Danny’s current stated goal is all wrong. We should instead have a goal to have x number of A-class articles; a much more stable measure. FAs are the best of the best and that is a moving target (it will always tend to be a small percentage of the whole article-base). --mav 21:00, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Let's re-emphasize the "feature-quality" aspect of this. That means the process does not need to be the current process. Consider it an opportunity to innovate. -- Fuzheado | Talk 04:12, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
You will note that I did not assume the current FAC process as it stands, because of just this. There are several other measures of quality articles in use at present listed on the 100K page. WP:FAC is a good source of quality article writers and of measures of quality, but it's an ad-hoc-committee-based process and committees can't scale like editors or articles can - David Gerard 20:56, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Coincidence and important source of candidate articles[edit]

Very interesting, only yesterday we passed the 100,000 article mark in a related area, article assessment, then this morning I find out about this initiative! From these data we have identified about 10,000 articles that are B-Class or A-Class, and these represent the low-hanging fruit that was mentioned before. Most of them are B-Class. We find many A-Class articles quickly get nominated for GAN or FAC as soon as they are "discovered." To convert a B-Class article into an A-Class article (i.e., ready for FAC) typically requires some references and one or two new sections of content, as well as some copyediting and perhaps peer review. Take a look at the main list of lists. Walkerma 14:23, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

And don't forget about the images! The people who review articles always insist on pretty pictures. (What, me bitter?) -- llywrch 23:00, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:One featured article per quarter[edit]

I started the above linked yesterday as an idea to motivate people toward FA creation. I've read David's criticism of FA at WP:FAC talk and I understand that the present FA "box" is not scaleable in regards to some of the wilder dreams of what Wiki could be (e.g., a 100k FAs (or "FA-quality" articles)). But in the box that we have, I thought the above a good idea as one step amongst a few that could increase present FA throughput without some radical alteration of standards. Comments and (particularly) signees welcome. Marskell 00:46, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

It is so silent here...[edit]

I don't think we can move much further as long as featured articles promoted a year ago or more are being constantly attacked with the object of their demotion on the ground that they don't comply with the ever more stringent FA requirements. I have noticed that WP:FARC is frequented by sourcing freaks, each with his own idiosyncratic opinion on sourcing requirements. One asserts that no article with less than sixty inline citations is worthy of being featured: every sentence should be cited. Another guy would remove from the article sources which do not specify a quoted page: according to him, they are unverifiable, hence useless. The third one feels that, if no inline citation is given, even the most harmless and obvious facts (that Palladio influenced scores of architects, for instance) have been "taken by the anonymous author from his head"... This is madness. As long as old FAs are being constantly demoted on the basis of their "insufficient sourcing", there will be no substantial increase in the number of FAs. --Ghirla -трёп- 10:43, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Most of the discussion is now happening at Wikipedia:One featured article per quarter but to get to your question, it is better to raise the level of quality of many articles than to try to have 100K FA for this will not happen as the FA dudes (not meant in a rude way) don't really want to show that many articles as being FAs for it dilutes the quality. They want it so strict a rule in order to have a *very* limited number of FAs. Lincher 16:25, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Except that that statement is completely wrong. Raul has repeatedly indicated that it is not a matter of the top χ%, but rather about articles that meet the criteria. Just in the last three months, WP:WTPC has passed 15 FAs. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 19:03, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

This article is an essay[edit]

God defend us from settling for a level of articles as low as the average featured article. The usual FA, as reading the main-page will show, is a PoV essay, incompetently written, and with lots of pretty (if marginally relevant) pictures. FAR then winnows this assemblage by selecting for articles with footnotes at every semi-colon.

For my part, WP would be much better off if that waste of effort were deleted tomorrow.

As you can see, I do not support this essay; I doubt a consensus does. It should be so labelled. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:03, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

How would you support making more excellent articles if not by greatly expanding the number of feature-quality articles? Because I would think there's an obvious consensus for drastic expansion of the pool of quality articles. --54x 01:06, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


Observation: by the end of 2007, we had around 1780 featured articles. — Matt Crypto 23:28, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Inline cites pretty much killed Math and related FAs[edit]

It's rather sad that one of the most organized WikiProjects, WP:WPM still promoted very few article to FA. Most are actually biographies. Math texts are simply not written with a ctiation after every sentence. Only important results are cited. Pretty much the same can be said about many Computer Science topics (and I do not mean Computing at large by that). It takes too much effort to meet the unnatural FA criteria for those articles. Further, some WikiProjects, like WP:WPCS are even less active if not nearly dead. Large swaths of basic CS topics are poorly written, some articles are downright wrong. The constant influx of unexperienced editors editing basic topics has pretty much killed the idea that so few people can have a life outside Wikipedia and defend the quality of that many articles. See this rant. (By the way, one of the main editors of Aldol reaction, User:Dr Zak stopped editing Wikipedia not long after User:Jossi blocked him for 3RR. Also, User:Hurricanehink has permanently retired too.) Pcap ping 20:41, 5 September 2009 (UTC)