Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates

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FACs needing feedback
John C. Calhoun Review it now
Peter Martyr Vermigli Review it now
Featured article removal candidates
view edit
Enceladus Review it now
Featured content dispatch workshop 
view · edit · hist

Oct 1: Let's get serious about plagiarism


Jul 10: Infoboxes: time for a fresh look?


Nov 15: A guide to the Good Article Review Process
Oct 18: Common issues seen in Peer review
Oct 11: Editing tools, part 3
Sep 20: Editing tools, part 2
Sep 6: Editing tools, part 1
Mar 15: GA Sweeps end
Feb 8: Content reviewers and standards


Nov 2: Inner German border
Oct 12: Sounds
May 11: WP Birds
May 4: Featured lists
Apr 20: Valued pictures
Apr 13: Plagiarism
Apr 6: New FAC/FAR nominations
Mar 16: New FAC/FAR delegates
Mar 9: 100 Featured sounds
Mar 2: WP Ships FT and GT
Feb 23: 100 FS approaches
Feb 16: How busy was 2008?
Feb 8: April Fools 2009
Jan 31: In the News
Jan 24: Reviewing featured picture candidates
Jan 17: FA writers—the 2008 leaders
Jan 10: December themed page
Jan 3: Featured list writers


Nov 24: Featured article writers
Nov 10: Historic election on Main Page
Nov 8: Halloween Main Page contest
Oct 13: Latest on featured articles
Oct 6: Matthewedwards interview
Sep 22: Reviewing non-free images
Sep 15: Interview with Ruhrfisch
Sep 8: Style guide and policy changes, August
Sep 1: Featured topics
Aug 25: Interview with Mav
Aug 18: Choosing Today's Featured Article
Aug 11: Reviewing free images
Aug 9 (late): Style guide and policy changes, July
Jul 28: Find reliable sources online
Jul 21: History of the FA process
Jul 14: Rick Block interview
Jul 7: Style guide and policy changes for June
Jun 30: Sources in biology and medicine
Jun 23 (26): Reliable sources
Jun 16 (23): Assessment scale
Jun 9: Main page day
Jun 2: Styleguide and policy changes, April and May
May 26: Featured sounds
May 19: Good article milestone
May 12: Changes at Featured lists
May 9 (late): FC from schools and universities
May 2 (late): Did You Know
Apr 21: Styleguide and policy changes
Apr 14: FA milestone
Apr 7: Reviewers achieving excellence
Mar 31: Featured content overview
Mar 24: Taming talk page clutter
Mar 17: Changes at peer review
Mar 13 (late): Vintage image restoration
Mar 3: April Fools mainpage
Feb 25: Snapshot of FA categories
Feb 18: FA promotion despite adversity
Feb 11: Great saves at FAR
Feb 4: New methods to find FACs
Jan 28: Banner year for Featured articles

For a "table of contents"-only list of candidates, see Wikipedia:Featured articles/Candidate list and Wikipedia:Nominations Viewer.
For a list of foreign-language reviewers see FAC foreign language reviewers.

Image/source check requests[edit]

In-Universe perspective in Featured Article plot sections[edit]

I am making this request due to a discussion I initiated here. The discussion centered on whether the in-universe template should be applied to the article on the The Phantom Tollbooth, which happens to be a featured article. My understanding of MOS:PLOT and MOS:INUNIVERSE is that the entire article, including in a plot summary section, should be written in an out-of-universe perspective, and therefore this article should be changed to fix this. To me, it seems that there are a few possibilities:

  1. I am misinterpreting the plot summary in The Phantom Tollbooth, and it isn't in the in-universe perspective.
  2. I am misinterpreting the guidelines at MOS:PLOT and MOS:INUNIVERSE, and it is acceptable to write in an in-universe style, as long as it is within a plot summary section.
  3. There actually is a problem, and we should be taking steps to resolve it.

Thanks, Gluons12 talk 15:02, 16 June 2016 (UTC).

This is a ridiculous complaint; since the section in question is captioned "Plot", no reasonable reader is going to conclude it's a statement of fact rather than a plot summary, and any article on a work of fiction which doesn't include a plot summary is going to have serious issues. I strongly suggest you close the section now with appropriate policies, as you're fundamentally misunderstanding what the MOS says. ‑ Iridescent 15:08, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
It's a fair concern - just labelling a section of an article "Plot" doesn't exempt it from other policies and guidelines. In-universe plot summaries can still occur and should be avoided. I just don't think this plot summary is written "in universe". (If anything, I would argue that there is no reason that the summary of this book cannot be sourced to secondary sources, given its classic-ness, but that's not a requirements) --MASEM (t) 15:10, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
It's not really an in-universe perspective. It is told from the POV of an observer, and not as if events were unfolding in real life. Out-of-universe doesn't require that the plot being discussed relative to the work (eg "At the start of the book, ..." type language), just that it avoids putting the reader in a narrative framing that acts as if the story is real. --MASEM (t) 15:10, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Plot summaries are necessary; they are an exception to WP:INUNIVERSE, which really needs to get rewritten to reflect our broad practice. Side note: plot summaries are really weirdly controversial. I've had people tell me before that plot summaries also need to be fully referenced, which seemed rather ludicrous (given that the book is the obvious source). Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:05, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Referencing is not required, but one also needs to balance the verification aspect, in that for very long or large works, it might be necessary to narrow down where certain events occur. What is very long/large, there's clearly no guideline, but something akin to War and Peace is definitely large enough for this, while The Cat in the Hat is not. Most films and TV shows are short enough to be obvious to find things - that is, the reader can verify that the plot summary is accurate after watching the movie for two hours. For large works this is where out of universe writing helps, because now you can say "In Act I...", or "In Volume IV", or where that might be seemingly disruptive, adding a reference of the specific chapter or scene or timecodes; these guide the reader to understand how the work's plot itself is broken up and where to read if they need to investigate further.
The only two required times where referencing is 100% required is 1) direct quoting dialog per WP:QUOTATION and 2) if there is an element of the plot that is not obvious or requires knowledge outside of the work to clarify the plot. I can't find any immediate examples on WP, but one that would come to mind is for Back to the Future II, when old Biff returns to the future , he appears older and frailer as if about to die; it was explained by production that his timeline had changed and he was being erased but obviously that didn't make it to screen. If we did include that in the plot summary on WP, that part would 100% need a source as to presume that was what was intended is original research and interpretation, and not allow for unsourced plot summaries. --MASEM (t) 21:27, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Sources for material added by an IP years ago[edit]

Something's come up in the article I'm currently working on that I haven't run into before, but I'm betting someone else has. I'm hoping to bring Weird Tales to FAC. This diff is of material that appears to be well-sourced; it was added four years ago by an IP, so I've no way of contacting them, other than a hopeful note on the article talk page. I don't have those sources but I have no reason to believe there's anything wrong with the added information. However, I'm reluctant to go to FAC without being able to defend that material. If someone challenges anything about it I'll just have to cut it. I do have other sources that cover those events, but they don't go into this much detail. Do I assume good faith edits, and leave the material there? I will try asking at the resource request page, but in the meantime I'm curious to know how other nominators have handled similar situations. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:47, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Google, google books, google scholar, jstor, questia, delete.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 12:49, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Only one of my FAs had substantive content before I started working on it, but I operated on the assumption that existing sourced content was accurate until proven otherwise. I've seen quite a few nominations where existing material had plagiarism issues, but very few where it was just incorrect. I'd say AGF. As an aside, you might be surprised at the efficiency with which your local library can obtain things like that via ILL or electronic document delivery. --Laser brain (talk) 13:01, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
What he said. I've seen elaborate attempts to insert false info with references that appeared genuine, but I strongly doubt that kind of vandalism would occur on this page. I made my previous answer just on general principles, w/o looking at the actual text.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 14:36, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I'm pretty sure the information is correct -- it tallies with the information I do have, and it's the sort of source that would give that sort of detail. Hadn't thought of trying my local library; I'll do that this afternoon. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:15, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Better yet, try Worldcat. I got six libraries that stock Locus within a hundred miles of me. YMMV. I also warily assume good faith about existing references.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:55, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Can you tell me what your search terms are? I just tried and couldn't find it; I haven't done much with Worldcat so I suspect there's something obvious I'm missing. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:05, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I just searched for Locus. Try #1 on these results.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:50, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Got it; thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:35, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Reviews needed to try to make centennial date[edit]

Hi all, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/38th (Welsh) Infantry Division/archive1 needs some love so it can get on the main page for a centennial anniversary. Will anyone pitch in? It's only had a couple reviews in an entire month at FAC. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:00, 13 July 2016 (UTC)

Question for FAC reviewers[edit]

In March 2014, I nominated Ike Altgens for FA status. The nom died an unceremonious death due to lack of interest. Ten months later, I took the article to GAN where, with massive help from Location and MrBill3, it was promoted to Good article status.

I have been loath to try the FAC process again, given the experience, but I believe this article is Featured quality and should be recognized as such. Based on recent experience, how do reviewers believe a new nom would fare?

TIA 🖖ATS / Talk 01:41, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Skimming the article fairly quickly, I see no obvious red flags. However, you may wish to try peer review first, which is a good way to get feedback from other editors with less at stake. (Unfortunately there is no guarantee of reviewer interest either here or at PR.) You may get comments at PR which will help you decide whether to bring it to FAC. If you haven't successfully nominated a featured article in the past, I would recommend PR. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:54, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Mike Christie, PR at the time got less response than the candidacy, while the article now is virtually identical to the version passed at GAN, which would make PR all but redundant. To me, the quality is without question; whether it would get anywhere in FAC is my worry. 🖖ATS / Talk 02:11, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I don't wanna make more than my monthly quota of incendiary comments, but I find possible room for debate on the contention that passing GAN makes PR unnecessary.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 02:57, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps not in general (Face-grin.svg). 🖖ATS / Talk 03:11, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
  • ATS: FAC is unfortunately very inbred these days, and it's difficult to get reviews if you're not a recognized name (and even sometimes if you are). PR wouldn't be "redundant", as PR reviewers sometimes show up to FAC reviews to give their support, but again the place is an echo chamber. My advice is to nominate it and be sure to advertise the nomination anywhere appropriate—mainly the WikiProject talk pages listed on the article talk page. If it gets archived, just renominate it two weeks later, re-advertise it, and be sure to ping anyone who has commented on the previous nomination. Don't take archiving personally—it's not a comment on you or the article. Curly Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:17, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Agreed, but, in particular, now is not a good time to nominate, with all the northern hemisphere going on holiday. Johnbod (talk) 03:52, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, all! 🖖ATS / Talk 04:10, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Source and image check requests[edit]

I requested a source check for Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/HMS Emerald (1795)/archive1 on 5 June and I am still waiting. Given that it has been ignored thus far, I see no reason why it would receive one in the near future and I am wondering therefore what will happen to my nomination.--Ykraps (talk) 06:34, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

I meant to take a look the other day but got sidetracked. I've actually been out playing alot of Pokemon Go. Will take a look soon. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:42, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
That's great, thank you. I don't mind being patient but when I can't see anything happening, I begin to wonder.--Ykraps (talk) 16:02, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

FAC then and now[edit]

I've prepared a couple of tables, to show how FAC has evolved during the time I've been involved with it. Obviously the figures don't tell the complete story, but I do think they provide a useful overview of activity between 2007 and mid-2016, and perhaps provide food for thought as to how FAC should develop in the future.

The overall picture is one of a steady decline in participation. However, the high levels of activity in 2007 and 2008 reflect that FAC was then a relative novelty and not fully understood; all sorts of unsuitable stuff got nominated, to be swiftly despatched by Sandy when she assumed delegate responsibility in mid-2007 or thereabouts. Those numbers were never going to be sustained; what is more concerning is the decline in numbers since the beginning of 2014. These two-and-a-half years saw just 733 promotions over a period of 912 days, thus depleting our unused potential TFA stock by 189. The present monthly promotion rate is alarmingly low at 18. This shortfall will become serious if maintained for another year or so; although we still have over 1000 FAs that have yet to appear on the main page, many of these are very old, their authors long gone, and as they stand could never be considered as possible TFAs.

The second table indicates that FAC has become a much more leisurely process. Before 2010 it was rare for any candidate to linger for as long as 21 days, and archiving was much more abrupt; few articles without at least two supports lasted longer than 14 days. Nowadays, six or seven weeks is par for the course before either promotion or archiving. I believe the co-ordinators have consciouly adopted a more time-generous approach, but a major factor, I believe, is the worrying shortage of regular reviewers, who were in plentiful supply in earlier years but are becoming increasingly hard to find. Brianboulton (talk) 14:06, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Table 1: FAC throughput from 2007 to mid-2016

Year FACs processsed Promoted Promotion ratio Archived Average monthly promotions
2007 1478 773 52% 705 64
2008 1327 718 54% 609 60
2009 991 522 53% 469 45
2010 920 513 56% 407 43
2011 665 355 53% 310 30
2012 636 375 59% 261 31
2013 651 390 60% 261 32
2014 505 322 64% 183 27
2015 485 303 62% 183 25
180 108 60% 72 18

Table 2: Average days in FAC

Year Promoted candidates Archived candidates
2007 14 11
2008 15 11
2009 19 14
2010 21 11
2011 29 17
2012 30 22
2013 33 28
2014 39 37
2015 40 29
52 37
  • Thanks for this excellent analysis, Brian. There certainly was a time when we adopted rather blunt tactics for dealing with the relatively high number of unprepared nominations flooding FAC. Interest in the process was high and that interest brought both good and bad elements to FAC. I believe many editors decided not to pursue this standard any longer in favor of more relaxed processes like GA, either because they found it too rigorous or because they found the environment disagreeable and unfriendly. I like to think an equally rigorous but more friendly atmosphere has evolved in the last couple of years. I've also noted the emergence of what I like to call "working groups" who bring well-prepared content to FAC that has been thoroughly prepared in PR or project-based A-class reviews. Some have dismissively called these "cliques" but I believe these groups have discovered efficient and healthy methods for bringing content up to FA standard. We are facing a challenge to introduce more editors to these types of collaborative processes so worthy nominations don't linger and stagnate only because the nominator has not discovered ways to engage other editors. --Laser brain (talk) 14:35, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I've noticed the stalling out, just from how it was two years ago. The so-called cliques are fine for being willing to do the work and knowing how to do it correctly. But they're not necessarily fine for branching out. Speaking as someone who has been active on all the review processes, I do think the basic process is OK here. I'm wondering if it might be helpful to offer a type of mentorship to anyone who wants to learn the process. While we don't necessarily know anyone's gender, it does look to me like FA is low on nominations about non-entertainment women. Perhaps one place to start recruiting would be at WT:WOMRED. I mention that one because it seems really active, but could use a system to get the new articles up to FA standard. — Maile (talk) 14:48, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
The one you actually want is is Wikipedia:WikiProject Women/Women in Green. They are about improving the quality of articles about women. Hawkeye7 (talk) 10:59, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. And that's a new project. Just for the heck of it, let's tap into some of the "thinkers and doers" who are trying to elevate the coverage of women on Wikipedia. @Dr. Blofeld, Ipigott, SusunW, Montanabw, Megalibrarygirl, and Rosiestep: just for starters, do you have any ideas of how to generate a learning process to take women's articles up through FAC? Bearing in mind that FAC, while similar to other review processes, can be more lengthy and detailed on issues. In some ways, it can be intimidating the first time or two. — Maile (talk) 12:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
In connection with Women in Green, several of us have indeed volunteered to work on the improvement of existing articles rather than the creation of new ones under Women in Red. As I am particularly interested in Scandinavia, I have offered to work on at least three biographies of women between now and the end of the year and would be happy to assist with other candidates or help with reviews. In my experience, promotion to FAC is dependent on considerable amount of collaborative effort. GA can be obtained without too much trouble but FAC requires much more. I must say I have been discouraged by the extremely demanding criteria for the images to be included in FACs which in some cases appear to diminish the attractiveness of an article. If we could muster up more collaboration here, I would be more willing to collaborate. I also think it might be useful to post candidates for both GA and FA on the talk pages of relevant WikiProjects. I usually only come across them when I am personally invited to participate.--Ipigott (talk) 12:48, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Maile66 when we started WP/WiR I was gungo-ho about improving articles up the ladder. I encouraged several editors to improve their stubs to be submitted to DYK and almost without exception, they ran into the bureaucracy and non-nurturing environment that exists there. Most stopped or curtailed their editing entirely and I personally stopped submitting any files to DYK. I also tried to get help with improving an article per month to GA status but found no real success in attracting new collaborators. The same group of us participated in taking several articles to GA, but attracting others didn't really work. I'm still looking for a woman or two to do for WP/WiG. I am not interested in doing entertainers, but that makes it more challenging as I have no access to libraries and limited mail service, which makes research all the more difficult. I am more than willing to collaborate with others, if the environment is drama-free and the subject captures my interest. SusunW (talk) 15:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Success at FAC depends on more than writing and research skills, it's also about being able to accept and give feedback. Neither of those happens in a day, and I wonder if people are hesitant to try to review for fear that their reviews will not be well-accepted. FAC has a steep learning curve on top of the steep learning curve necessary to successfully edit Wikipedia. I suspect we are losing more people than we develop, especially those with the interest in writing about multiple fields. I thank Brian for the chart, we get too few statistics and it is sobering to see it laid out in numbers. I don't see an obvious answer.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:23, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I see three questions: How do we best meet TFA's needs for one article per day? How can we be more transparent about how FAC works? And how can we be more transparent about the advantages of article reviewing in general? By reviewing, I mean any process where the writers and the reviewers can decide when they want to work, which article(s) they want to work on, the size of the jobs, the kinds of problems they enjoy working on and feel competent with, and the subcommunities they want to work with. What some call "normal editing" (but it seems abnormal to me), watchlisting articles and reacting to other people's edits, gives you none of those freedoms ... you're dealing with people you didn't choose, with the issues they've chosen to deal with, on their timetable. Wikiprojects that include reviewing in the mix of what they do seem more humane, and more human, to me than those that don't. FAC is one of many good things that can happen when people find a way to get a range of reviewing processes to work for them. For me, the main issue is helping people succeed with writing and reviewing in general. - Dank (push to talk) 10:41, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • One of the blunt tactics adopted in the early days was the limit of one nomination at a time. It was bad enough when it took two weeks for an article to get through FAC; it is really painful now that we are rationed to seven nominations a year. I have plenty of articles that could be nominated, but cannot. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:06, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Brian, thanks for the data; very useful. To respond to a couple of points above:
    • Mentorship has been thought of before. Speaking personally, if an editor or WikiProject approached me for help, I'd be willing in principle, but I've come to believe the best way for a new nominator to learn is for them to take an article to FAC and see what happens. (Assuming they've already been to GAN and PR.)
    • If the rate of production falls to the point we can't have a new FA as TFA every day, I can see it would disappoint some people, but I don't think it's a disaster. I know TFA is motivational for some editors, and a showcase to our readers, but we'd still be producing featured quality articles. I don't think it would mean that the FAC process has failed; just that it's slowed down.
    • Yes, there are plenty of articles queued up by the more prolific nominators that are delayed by the one-at-a-time rule. I'm not one of them at the moment, but I've certainly had a queue ready in the past, so I sympathize. However, if it takes, say, 6 reviews to promote an article, and each article is currently taking 52 days to promote, then if we doubled the number of articles at FAC without increasing the number of reviews, I would expect the average promotion to take 104 days. I don't think that would be helpful, but we could try it.
  • Two other things we could try (both taken from GA) (and I'm not sure I support either of these, but I would like to hear comments):
    • Keep track of how many reviews an editor does, and how many FAs they have, and display them on the nominations page. This could be done by a bot, as it is at GA. GA doesn't place any requirements on an editor based on this -- you don't have to do a review to get a review, for example -- but the league table encourages a little competitiveness, and it's embarrassing to be requesting your 40th GA review when you've only done one or two reviews yourself, so it motivates people. One objection that has come up to this sort of thing in the past is that it would encourage slapdash reviewing, but I think very few of us would be susceptible to that, and I also think the coordinators would spot it. If we were to do something like this I would suggest the counts all start at zero on the day we start; those of us with dozens of FAs and scores of reviews under our belt should start at the same level as everyone else for purposes of motivation.
      Mike_Christie, I have always liked this feature at GA and think it would work well here. — Maile (talk) 12:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
    • Remove all restrictions on nominations and also remove all time-based limits on length of nomination, requiring opposes to archive a nomination.
      One of the unavoidable issues that bothers me about all reviews, is that there are no restrictions on who does the reviews. In theory, that's good. But when you get to something like GA, when it only requires one reviewer, a nomination can be torpedoed by someone who has never done a review before and never nominated an article. Or, similarly passed by a a first-time reviewer who doesn't know what they're doing. So I'm a little leery of a blanket remove of all restrictions. — Maile (talk) 12:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

-- Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:51, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Thanks for these figures. They do at least show a fairly steady increase in the promotion %, no doubt linked to the decline in participation, and relative restriction to a smaller group of experienced people. We have also seen a decline in some of the main "cookie-cutter" categories, roads, hurricanes and naval supply vessels, which I can't mourn. I have to say that, having started in 2008 I think, in the last 5 years I have only done "solo" FACs at the request of some outside organization, though I have jumped on some as co-nom. I've decided to spend most of my time (other than some new articles) improving big-topic articles that are still poor, without putting them through any of the review processes. Johnbod (talk) 12:56, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I am an editor who has stopped participating much in FAC, I have found the process very unfulfilling and stressful when I have participated. One thing that could get me to want to participate again would be to find ways of making collaborative nominations of particularly important articles. The most important articles are usually also the hardest to write up to standard, because the literature they need to encompass is usually also the largest and most complex. I think that combined with the very solitary form the nomination and review process takes (often it feels like it is the nominator alone against a team of reviewers), this is the reason cookie cutter type articles and groups of writer/reviewers reviewing eachothers works fare best at FAC. This structure is why I dont want to participate in FAC as sole nominator - I would only want to work with a team of editors supporting eachother in the process. If we could somehoew find a way to organize group(s) of dedicated editors willing to work as a team on writing, reviewing and promoting some of these vital articles, I would be very interested in participating in that. But if I have to work on my own as the sole person resonsible I can only be bothered to go to GAN. Any chance that the process can be made to encourage more collective and collaborative forms of review and nomination?·maunus · snunɐɯ· 13:12, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Thank you for considering improving more articles about women. Giving credit where credit is do... Dr. Blofeld has been a strong proponent of this for as long as I can remember. I have never participated on an FAC article as the process seems intimidating, and because I don't enjoy working on an article for long periods of time. I get bored. That said, if I were to pick one, it would be Margaret Mead. I just don't know how to make the time for it because of my other wiki and RL commitments. --Rosiestep (talk) 13:30, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but I also have a hard time feeling motivated to take an article all the way to FAC too. I generally aim for GA now, make sure the article is comprehensive and well researched and move on. There is a lot of minor tweaking needed for FA and when there's so much basic work needing doing on articles I generally prefer to move on after getting to GA. FA is what we're all aiming for eventually though.♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:46, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I would be very prepared to work collaboratively on improving the article on Margaret Mead - it has been on my to do list for awhile (also Ruth Benedict).·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:06, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Tks Brian for those statistics (for those interested, further regularly maintained details can be found at Featured article statistics, Featured log, and Archived nominations). A few thoughts in point form:
    • Yes, fewer articles are promoted now, but I note the proportion of those nominated to those promoted is up a little bit -- I might be concerned if it had gone up a lot, as it could suggest our standards were less rigorous now, and I don't think that's the case nor would we want that.
    • In answer to ·maunus, I think one way FAC encourages collaboration is that while currently you can only have one solo nomination at a time, you can have one solo and one collaborative nom open simultaneously, or two collaborative noms open simultaneously.
    • I understand the concern that the backlog of FAs that haven't appeared on the main page is getting smaller, but every cloud has a silver lining -- it could give comfort to those who clamour for more articles getting a second go on the front page...
    • On a more serious note, re. the length of reviews, wading through multiple FACs on a regular basis it often appears to me that the issue is not so much a lack of reviewers (though of course that does happen) but rather that FACs are turning into surrogate Peer Reviews -- a lot of healthy discussion, but in the wrong place. Now FAC should never be a tick-and-flick exercise, but nominators always have to look hard at their articles and consider if they really do meet the FA criteria in their current form. When they don't, we get these reviews that take a very long time to reach a consensus for promotion -- or archiving. Now of course Andy and I as coords could work at closing these sooner, but we've tended to try and give noms every chance, if only for the pragmatic reason that an archived nom is likely to come back for another try (and sometimes another and another) anyway. Andy and I in fact briefly discussed one way to address this a couple of weeks ago, and now seems an appropriate time to float it here -- for now I'll open a new subsection for it below. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:44, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
      • Has anyone thought of recruiting the massive amount of people who seem to participate in AfD? Maybe their review skills could be put to use on GA. There are some very thoughtful participants who don't seem to be content creators. Maybe they've gotten into AfD because there's a smaller learning curve there. I've felt more comfortable participating in AfD's than I have in DYK and I'm just starting to work on a GA for Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba.... so I know there's a learning curve there. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 16:33, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
        • Oh holy mother of god, no! (LOL) Most of those people never create content and have no understanding of the process; Our FA approval rate would drop to 2% and each FAC would grow so tl;dr that it would break the wiki. Montanabw(talk) 18:31, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

FAC nom preparedness[edit]

Several years ago I suggested requiring all FAC nominators to have put their articles through GAN and/or PR and/or A-Class Review before they would be considered for FAC. That didn't gain much traction, partly because experienced nominators had no interest in GAN and didn't consider it a useful way of weeding out unprepared noms anyway, and that was fair enough. I think now, though, with so many noms turning into peer reviews, and in light of Brian's stats above, it'd be worth considering it again (minus the GAN bit). IOW, what if we required all FAC nominations to have had a PR or ACR (either within a recent timeframe, or to not have substantially changed since the PR/ACR) unless dispensation is requested and granted? Many experienced and successful editors at FAC employ PR, and most of the prolific Roads and MilHist crowd, for instance, use their respective ACR processes. I realise that PR often has trouble attracting reviewers (and even MilHist ACR is not as quick as it used to be) but if we do want to reduce the length of time articles spend at FAC without archiving noms sooner when they don't attract outright comprehensive support in a reasonable time, then this might be a way to do it. What's everyone think? Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:44, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

The idea is good. How about strongly recommending a peer review before FAC, and requesting it for a first nomination? I had one article where a PR would have taken too long, and another one is in the planning, sorry, - in both cases there were unexpected reasons outside Wikipedia that made progress too slow. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:07, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
If an unprepared article goes to PR and gets no feedback because PR is overloaded, and then it comes here, there's no benefit. Ian, don't you think this would add an obstacle but not add any incentive for additional reviews? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 14:11, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I seem to recall this idea being kicked around before, and always rejected. Forex, the only wikiproject I've ever known to have even a halfway decent A-class review is MilHist, so suggesting an A-class only covers a small portion of noms. As for PR, I've heard that many noms there (do they call them noms?) get zero review or automated review due to lack of reviewers. So in theory it's a good idea but in practice it may not help too much...  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 14:16, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Mike and Ling—I think the key here is that we would be requiring some sort of review process before an article comes to FAC. That's it. It can be GAN, PR, ACR, etc. For nominators who don't typically do this at all, their experience at FAC tends to be one of scraping for reviews and bringing the article up to standard while it's here. This causes the nomination to linger for weeks or even months, at which time it might not even be promoted. Our proposal encourages them to engage in this process before nomination. So, it's not adding work for anyone. --Laser brain (talk) 14:56, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I am fully behind this idea. As Ian noted, there are many experienced editors at FAC who employ either a formal PR or ACR process, or at least spend time working on an article with peers in an informal process before nomination. These nominations are typically successful here at FAC and move through the process smoothly. There are also many nominations (both prepared and unprepared) that are worked on in a vacuum and FAC is the first time they've been exposed to reviewers. Those nominators can spend a lot of time wrangling reviewers and workshopping the article here—which is not the intended purpose of FAC. In my view, it's better for the nominator to wrangle reviewers into a PR process and then bring the article here fully prepared. The biggest drain on reviewer resources is unprepared nominations, not the number or length of nominations. --Laser brain (talk) 14:22, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I think more integration between FAC and GAN is a good idea. I always take articles though GAN before FAC. I once proposed that a FAC could be promoted for GA instead of failing (if up to those standards, which are basically just short of FAC standards), which would make it less of a blow for nominators. But nothing came of it, as many seem keen on keeping them separate because of some kind of historical animosity. FunkMonk (talk) 14:36, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree completely. It would also make sense to require GA status for an article to be nominated. It really makes no sense to keep the two processes as separate as they are now when really they ought to be two steps in a sngle process.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:41, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Agree completely with Ian!♦ Dr. Blofeld 14:42, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I have a good deal of respect for GAN, and haven't noticed any animosity between participants in the two processes -- but perhaps I need to get out more! In fact I always take an article through GAN as a first step towards FAC. I find it a good way to pick up obvious errors or a few places for improvement before subjecting the article to the more rigorous ACR and FAC processes. I think though that GAN, being a one-on-one situation, doesn't prepare novices for the cut-and-thrust of a community review, let alone those that carry assessments like ACR and FAC. So while I'd say any pre-FAC review is better than none, I think the best preparation is a community review such as PR or ACR. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:59, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

If you make people go through GA first, it would discourage some and would lengthen the process for all. Both of these would contradict the two things Brian's kick-off post were aiming at: we need more articles going through and faster. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 14:58, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I consider this unworkable given GAN's current state of torpor; outside of a few topics like sporta and videogames which historically have a lot of eyes on them at GAN, the process is almost moribund. As I write this, there are 18 nominations which have been outstanding since March (including the relatively core topic of Heart) without a single comment; I don't see why my dumping things like Musidora and Candaules which I already know meet WIAFA, into an already-backlogged process, is going to be of any benefit to anyone. ‑ Iridescent 15:04, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
The backlog exists in both places to be sure - I think the point of integrating the two processes would be to have a larger body of reviewers to draw on for both processes.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:12, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Dweller, it may make an individual article go through more reviews than it might have, but it needn't slow up the process as a whole. Let's suppose this were introduced, we wouldn't have to start it immediately, we could ask that all noms from a certain date required prior review, meaning people could start nominating articles they think have FAC potential in these other processes, while they continue with current FACs. As for articles going through FAC faster, I think we all want that, but we also need to ensure that our standards don't drop -- so we still want plenty of eyes on our FA candidates, but perhaps we can spread things out so we don't get these PR-like FACs. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 15:15, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't understand. Any article will need to go through two processes, by definition meaning it'll be slower. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 15:17, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
With some FACs taking over two months to reach consensus, I doubt it... ;-) The idea was to reduce the time articles spend at FAC. As I indicated above, failing more reviewers getting stuck into articles quicker, we could do this by simply archiving FACs that haven't reached consensus to promote much sooner than we do, or we could try getting better-prepared noms into the system that might reach consensus sooner. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 15:39, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Ian Rose Here's the kink in that: backlog and inexperience. I considered putting my last FAC through one of the others first, and then looked at the backlog. In theory, you could be stuck in the various processes for up to a year before you come out the other end on FAC. I don't mind sending any military related article through Peer or A-class, because I know WPMILHIST has a process that works. Even then, it can take a long time to make it through. But I'm not willing to chance it on any other type of article. GAC? Forget it. Backlog is big. And with respect to the "top tier" nominators and reviewers, at GAC you stand a good chance of getting a beginning reviewer who, at best, is trying very hard, but doesn't have the background to do justice to a serious article. In some ways, I believe DYK is light years ahead of GAC on article requirements and reviews. WP:GAR doesn't require notability, but DYK does. Seriously? Let's say you have a top-notch editor who for years has consistently turned out top-quality product. And now they would be required to go through processes where reviewers maybe are beginners. It's rather insulting. I don't like that idea at all. — Maile (talk) 15:06, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
And that is exactly the attitude that makes it impossible to recruit new editors from the GAN process to participate in FAC and to encourage experienced FA reviewers to participate in GA. A good example of the animosity that Funkmonk allided to. FAC also doesnt "require notability", that is because notability is a basic requirement for any article on wikipedia - which is relevant at DYK because most articles there are newly created (and becaus enon-notable articles have been nominated). A non-notable article does not make it to GAN.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:11, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm sure that wasn't intended as animosity, but I can see where it looks like a class system, even if the intention is meritocratic rather than a system based on seniority. Personally I'd be willing to put my articles through other processes, even if it were slower, if that's going to be the rule. I have a hard time seeing how this would speed things up, though. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:19, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
They will be more prepared for FAC, and their reviews will therefore not be as drawn out ("FAC peer-reviews"). In theory, that should speed the FAC process up (the length of which is the problem being discussed here). FunkMonk (talk) 15:24, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
And the pool of participants would be larger which also might speed it up.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:26, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Mike_Christie It wasn't intended as animosity, for any process. I work in all of them. Just a flat statement of how things are. FAC review is a little more complicated, and is probably best with reviewers with a little more background in reviews. GAC has a set number of things that can be checked off on a template. But I do see reviewers there who are trying their best, but for some it's the first review they're ever done, and GAC only requires one reviewer, no cross checking unless there is a complaint. Same thing at DYK, except they have more requirements for passing a review, and it takes more than one set of eyes to pass, promote to prep, promote to queue and get it on the main page. I mentioned DYK, because there's been an ongoing dialogue over the years about how GAC is better than DYK; yet, if your article passes GAC, then you are allowed to nominate it at DYK. And FAC is expected to be an elevated quality of writing. I had an admitted teenager review one of my GAC, and then abandoned it because they were unfamiliar with commonplace terminology. All things to take into consideration. — Maile (talk) 15:34, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── — Maile , while I have, as I mentioned above, respect for GAN, I haven't suggested that it be a requirement before FAC -- I did suggest that PR and ACR should be. Mike, it may or may not speed an article's overall progress from stub to FA, but I think it would make for a quicker FAC process. My personal experience -- and I'm sure I'm not the only one -- has been that taking an article through several reviews makes each succeeding review a less painful process than it might have been. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 15:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

What about something like instead of (or in addition to, though I've never liked the rule) the fifteen-day time out for a failed nomination, the next article brought in has to have gone through PR or GA?--Wehwalt (talk) 15:37, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Or rather, as suggested by Funkmonk the peer reviewers could themselves give GA status to the article if they think it meets the standard without having to go through the formal GA nominaiton process. An article that can go through peer review obviously would also meet the GA criteria.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 15:41, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Remembering though that GAN is an assessment and PR technically isn't -- I think perhaps that's a separate discussion. Wehwalt, yes, maybe -- I often recommend PR to nominators when archiving a nomination. And/or, as Gerda suggested, we could consider the PR/ACR requirement just for anyone making their first FAC nom if we can't get consensus to make it for all nominators (which I still think is the way to go -- so many of our most successful FAC editors already do it). I don't want to put off newbies (I think one sign that FAC is still strong is the number of first-time nominators we keep getting) but then we currently have a convention of spotchecking sources for all first-time nominators, so there is precedent for another hoop for them, and I really think it helps prepare not just the article but the nominator themselves for what can be a challenging process. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 16:02, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Although I have reservations about the idea, I think anything both the FAC coordinators support should be taken seriously. I suggest we let this thread run for another 12 to 24 hours, and then start another discussion section to formulate language for a specific proposal. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:15, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I posted a notice at WT:GAN about this thread. They probably should have some input as to how a possible process would work that includes them. — Maile (talk) 15:59, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
    • This thread is getting long and my eyes got googly reading it, but there was much discussion about FAC versus GAN and animosity. I may be able to supply historical perspective. I started out at GAN aeons ago and was among several who felt genuine animosity toward FAC. Then I switched to FAC (!) and in the intervening years have seen my appreciation for the GAN forum erode significantly. Forex, a few months or so ago I really really really wanted to help GAN so I tried my hand again at a nom that waited an extreeeemly long time for a review. It was an unmitigated catastrophe, and I am very leery of ever trying agin. I tried to apply minimum academic standards and was told I was being ridiculously strict. And on and on... The idea of failed FACs getting GA is OK, but I am very very leery of all other integrative schemes.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 16:06, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't see it as being a problem myself. Firstly, you have to improve an article to GA status anyway on the way to FA. For example, I would hope that Passenger Pigeon's GA review made the FAC an easier ride. A counter-argument is that articles sit at WP:GAN for too long, but some of the backlog competitions have addressed, albeit with concerns for quality which risks a slapdash GA review getting grilled and tossed out at FAC. Perhaps if you are an extremely experienced editor with 10+ FAs under your belt and considered something of a world expert in your subject you might be able to bypass a GA, in the same way that, say, J K Rowling might be able to give the usual publishing pitch with a full synopsis a miss because she can get away with. But I wouldn't recommend it for most people.

I would not recommend any article getting GA as a "consolation prize" as a "near miss" at FAC, as you cannot easily tell if something does meet the FA criteria but does meet the GA criteria. It would be nice if more projects did A class reviews like MilHist, but I don't think there's the momentum for them; I tried pitching it to WP:ALBUMS once I think and people weren't too enthuastic. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:15, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I agree; I'd rather not see GA awarded here. I think that would complicate the process to little benefit. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:27, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • A lot of this discussion has taken an unintended detour into discussion of GA culture and I'd like to try to re-focus on the intent, which is to require a "pre-review" of some kind before coming to FAC. I think this will normally involve a PR or ACR-like review process rather than a GA assessment. --Laser brain (talk) 16:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I think introducing new steps (or making more steps obligatory) instead of consolidating already existing steps will only have the effect of further dividing the reviewer pool and create more or articles to jump through. They point shoul be to simplify the process of review and further collaboration, not to add bureacracy.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:37, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I think when we talk about A-class we're really talking about Milhist; Roads and Tropical Storms used to have active A-class processes, but the links indicate that's in the past. My experience with suggesting A-class processes was the same as Ritchie's: people weren't interested. Maybe that's changed, I don't know. I know that more PRs get archived without comments now than previously, and the comments I see aren't necessarily going to be helpful for FAC prep. A fair amount of B-class reviewing still happens; is that worth considering as an option? - Dank (push to talk) 16:40, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) But again, while it may help prevent newcomers from nominating things which aren't appropriate, you're going to hugely backlog GAN for little benefit in so doing. Why should Wehwalt's coins, Ealdgyth's bishops, my paintings etc all be shoved into GAN—where, being on topics which don't often get much interest at GAN, they're likely to languish for months—when we obviously already understand how to write for FAC? (I've made 39 FA noms, 38 of which were promoted and the 39th was rewritten by a third party while it was at FAC so failed on stability; 22 of the 38 went straight to FAC, bypassing GAN; most of the other regulars will have a similar pattern.) The alternative, of creating a tier of super-users who are exempt from the requirement to go through GAC or PR first, is likely to provoke howls of protest and will probably discourage users even more from nominating articles, since they'll be made to feel like second-class citizens if they have to comply with a requirement which everyone else is exempt from. I could accept requiring GA first for any editor's first nomination. ‑ Iridescent 16:44, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, said that (require only for a first) in the first response to this thread. Can you word a proposal? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 17:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
First time nominations seem to always get spot-checks, so there is precedence for some kind of differential treatment. FunkMonk (talk) 17:05, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Time might have come to abolish all of the existing review processes and create a single consolidated review process that assesses all articles on a single scale - so that a single review determines the quality of the article and gives explicit instructions for how to reach the next stage. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 16:50, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
    • Perhaps, but in reality, the DYK/GAN/FAC process already is that. The problem is mostly the backlog. People complain about qpq on DYK pushing through some articles with errors, but the situation before then was not enough reviewers and a huge backlog; I wonder if a "mega-qpq" could be created for the GAN backlog -- both FA and GA submitters have to review a GAN. (I would not require that an FAC submitter review another FAC, as that area has some good specialists and there is an art to it). {{u}Wehwalt}} has a good idea that failed FACs might have to go through GA or PR before resubmittal. My own experience is that PR is useless unless you happen to have a specific person you can ping to do it. Personally, I basically use GAN as my FAC PR. Montanabw(talk) 18:31, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree that currently QPQ is the only thing that works - this is true also for FAC which is why small groups of reviewers and writers stick together and work on similar stuff and review for eachother, and also really for GAN where you are more likely to get a review if you know someone you can ping. I dont think anything is wrong with this, it is a form of collaboration and as long as the criteria can be evaluated relatively objectively the risk of bad passes is not that high I think. But we have a process that requires three or four differet reviews with different reviewers and different criteria - when we could have a process that has a single set of criteria and which undertakes one review and assigns the status that the quality of the article warrants. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 18:49, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I would suggest requiring GA only for the first nomination for an editor (not counting failed nominations), and then see what works. We can consider more drastic solutions if that doesn't do enough. My issue with the ACR/PR proposal is that PR is almost useless, and very few projects have a functional ACR. --Rschen7754 00:24, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Very good suggestion, Ian. I'd hate to see even more articles prematurely go to FAC than there already have been, and a PR prerequisite would definitely improve quality and chances of successful FAC's. Snuggums (talk / edits) 04:33, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Andy and Ian, one thing that would help is if nominators were more willing to point out that nominations aren't ready and should be archived. I've done that a couple of times lately, but to no avail. WP:FAC says: "A nomination will be ... archived if, in the judgment of the coordinators ... a nomination is unprepared, after at least one reviewer has suggested it be withdrawn." If we do that, should we ping you to make sure you see the comment? SarahSV (talk) 06:31, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    @SlimVirgin: I'd say in practice we generally archive unprepared nominations quickly. Sometimes we archive them before anyone even comments if the case is clear. If you think something has slipped through the cracks, a ping always helps because we might not see it until the next time we go through the whole list (I generally go bottom-to-top over the course of hours). --Laser brain (talk) 11:34, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    Andy, I'll do that next time. Perhaps reviewers could be encouraged somewhere to suggest that if something isn't ready it be archived. SarahSV (talk) 16:22, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Preparedness examples[edit]

It struck me that it might be a good idea to look at some examples. Here are three FACs for which I did very long reviews. I should add that I think in each case the article was a worthy FA (and in fact Taiko and AI Mk. IV radar are two of my favourite articles).

  • Final Fantasy Type-0. My review was four pages long on a large screen. The nominator, ProtoDrake, had three previous successful FAs. The article had been to both PR and GA. There was no feedback at PR. The article was promoted.
  • Taiko. My review was seven pages long. The nominator, I, JethroBT, had no prior featured articles. The article had been to both PR and GA, as well as a prior failed FAC. There was no feedback at PR. The article was promoted.
  • AI Mk. IV radar. My review was nine pages long. The article had not been to PR or GA. The nominator, Maury Markowitz, had one previous successful FA. The article was promoted.

Only one of these was from a nominator with no prior FA experience. In one case the nominator asked me afterwards to review another article they were considering bringing to FAC, which is the same instinct as PR -- get your article reviewed by other editors first. The policy change we're discussing would not have affected two of these three; they had already been to PR and GA. If we're only considering that change for first time nominators, it wouldn't have affected any of them. Ian, Laser brain: can you give examples of nominations in the past year that you feel might have been beneficially redirected to PR and/or GAN? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:54, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

As the author of one of these, let me put in my rather cynical 2 cents:
  • PR is dead. We need to stop talking about it as a solution to anything.
  • Many articles have no A-class path. My recent article on LIFE is one example. So that leaves us with...
  • GA. Now GA is fine, but generally the overlap with FA is very large, and with the way the over-citation crowd has dominated in the last five years, my GA experience is basically that it's "FA but I didn't look very hard".
While I understand the desire to make other people do the "easy stuff" like image tag verification, I debate that anything will really change. A good review is based on the reviewer's interest in the topic, and that's essentially hit-and-miss. I have, on the other hand, found A-class to be very useful, and I think that's because it's topic focused. So perhaps we should be talking more about topic focus and less about the workflow? Maury Markowitz (talk) 11:35, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
As one of the nominators mentioned, I must say that I've found PR to be an increasingly unreliable means of checking an article prior to FAC. I think I agree with the above statements of Maury Markowitz. --ProtoDrake (talk) 11:42, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Emphatic statements such as "PR is dead" exaggerate the position – when I looked at WP:PR yesterday there were 64 articles there, of which 38 had some form of comment, ranging from a few lines to thorough, detailed reviews. The 26 without comments are generally the more recent nominations. True, this is not a healthy situation compared with, say, a few years ago, but it is not death, either; the system is fixable, given a will to do so. If GA is to be seen as a required preparatory step before FAC, we would need to make it absolutely clear that, given the differences in standards, considerable further work might be necessary after GA promotion before an FAC nomination was viable. There have been many instances (the recent Gospel of John a case in point) where a GA pass has been followed by almost immediate nomination at FAC, and these nearly always come to a painful end. Brianboulton (talk) 14:38, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, I think that clearly the lack of reviewers affects both PR and GAN as well as FAC, and therefore simply pushing articles around between the three review processes is not going to solve the problem. We have to face the fact that we have too many review proecesses for too small a pool of reviewers. We should try to find a way to use reviewers better, to encourage reviewers to move between different review types and to find ways to streamline the review process. We would not be solving anything by sending FACs to PR, we would only move the problem.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:47, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Brian, you'll forgive me for pointing out the irony of your opening statement compared to your closing, because I do agree with the overall sentiment. But as a counterpoint, I've posted to PR several times and received zero comments, while that has never occurred with GA, and I think my experience is typical. But to the main point of your post - if GA isn't a useful prep for FA, and I personally don't believe it is, and PR is in the state I found it to be, then I agree completely that suggesting sending FAs into other processes is unlikely to fix any problems.
Which brings us to the valuable question: why isn't GA a good prep for FA? In theory, the prose review in GA should reveal the same list of problems as FA. But that's not what happens. In contrast, MILHIST's A-class generates better suggestions about content than even FA IMHE(xperience). I believe this is due to topic focus, both because it concentrates the interested eyeballs and that the list itself is shorter. I know when I look over this list I see maybe one article I'm interested in. It's hard to maintain my interest. On the contrary, when I peruse MILHIST I'm interested in lots of articles.
Unless I am seriously atypical in this regard, I think we should be considering how to use this effect to our advantage. I know I have exactly zero interest in reviewing image tags, yet there are people here who basically do only that. How can we best use these very separate sets of talents and interests? Let's talk about that before we hand out GA and PR as solutions when they largely duplicate the problem.
So, for arguments sake, consider this alternative: let's have a two stage process with reviews of article content and reviews of technicalities. A nom here starts by being transcluded to the appropriate existing review process, if one exists, or the existing list here if it doesn't. In order to continue, the article has to demonstrate a certain number of examinations/reviews. This is largely how it works now, but not formally. Once that has been demonstrated it goes into a second set of tests that is largely mechanical, image tags etc. There's a time limit to address issues here as well. Even if it fails to meet those requirements in the required time, perhaps it meets GA and can be given that.
This would merge four review processes and two awards systems. I believe it would also make the process much more clear than the wishy-washy "you might want to do PR..." suggestions and replace it with "you must get A-class to apply for FA, and B-class for GA". I also believe it would generate better reviews because the lists would be more focused.

Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:06, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

There is no "prose review" at GA since the wonderfully subjective criterion of "excellent prose" does not exist at GA. Also, as Dank demonstrates below, requiring A class to be reviewed for FA would mean that we would only have Milhist articles at FAC.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:57, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I followed everything up until that last bit. How would it work to make A-class a requirement for FA, when only Milhist currently does A-class reviews? (A-class reviews at Tropicals Storms and Roads are stalled, and no other wikiproject that's been asked has had any enthusiasm for A-class, that I'm aware of.) - Dank (push to talk) 14:20, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't know if it's fair to say that WP:HWY/ACR is currently stalled - I'd say it's more inactivity of (potential) nominators. Articles are still making it through there, though at a pretty slow rate. --Rschen7754 18:13, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

FA Cup?[edit]

So I've been doing a lot of research on the GA Cup and the GAN backlog recently and after reading through this I thought one tactic that GAN has tried and FAC has not was the Good Article Cup. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's been any sort of drive which rewarded editors for FA reviews. I see the benefits being two-fold:

  • It encourages existing reviewers through healthy competition. For the juggernauts who already review a lot, it allows them a healthy way to compete with each other. It also helps to motivate existing reviewers who may be burned out from reviewing a lot of nominations.
  • It creates a structure for editors new to the process to get into FA reviewing. I think part of the apprehension in a lot of processes is the lack of structure: if you have a question, who do you ask? If you mess up, will someone notice and help you fix it or just yell at you? A competition would have judges who could be approached with questions by new comers and the editors would know that their reviews would be looked over by others who would tell them what they did wrong or how to improve. It's kinda like mentorship without the name or any of the obligations.

I think it's something worth thinking about. I'm not sure on the logistics like point values or how points would even be awarded, but I'd rather know if this is something people think is a good idea before working out a full proposal like that. Wugapodes [thɔk] [kantʃɻɪbz] 21:24, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Wouldn't this be an overlap with Wikipedia:WikiCup, which already rewards FAs with a points system? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:43, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
The WikiCup gives points for writing an FA, I'm thinking we award points for reviewing FACs. Sorry if that wasn't clear. Wugapodes [thɔk] [kantʃɻɪbz] 21:52, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I've always been loath to introduce any kind of reward culture for reviewing FACs, because it then follows that we must introduce a system of judging and codifying the quality of reviews. --Laser brain (talk) 11:07, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm with Laser brain on the No Awards. This may be hypocritical given that I occasionally verge over into crustiness, but I think a Welcome Committee and Mentoring would be much better. All personal, no rewards. The big prob, of course, is no one has time to do this.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 20:21, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
@Laser brain: Thanks for your opinion on this. I'm hoping to understand your position better, would you be willing to expand on why you're apprehensive? Especially with regards to your apprehension of a "reward culture", I can guess at some reasons why, but knowing some of your concerns may help them be better addressed. Like, if a system were developed that didn't require codifying the quality of reviews would you still be apprehensive (not to say that I have a solution to this effect, just trying to see if there's a common ground and where it lies)? Thanks. Wugapodes [thɔk] [kantʃɻɪbz] 20:57, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I am also against rewards, and also wonder about the proposals on this page that use an extra FAC slot or two as incentives, where the reviewers for those articles are to come from. My objections are not philosophical, but practical. I see adding complications to the process as likely to provoke conflict, and using slots as incentives doesn't help free up reviewer time for languishing articles, which is one of the goals of this discussion. Possibly first time nominators could be urged to request reviews of their articles from established nominators. Most people when asked for help, will.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:12, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Nomination and review count, displayed on FAC page[edit]

To avoid distracting from the discussion about prerequisites for FAC, I want to pull one idea from above out to its own section and propose it again. I'd like to see us report, on the nominations page, how many nominations a reviewer has made, and how many reviews they have given. It would look like this (if you're using the nom viewer):

25. Ellie (The Last of Us)[edit source] [show](nomination: 2nd · 22 days old · 1 nominator (4 noms/9 reviews) · 4 participants · 3 supports)
26. Science-Fiction Plus[edit source] [show](nomination · 23 days old · 1 nominator (6 noms/7 reviews) · 3 participants)
27. Vladimir Lenin[edit source] [show](nomination · 24 days old · 1 nominator (19 noms/117 reviews) · 7 participants · 1 support)

(The numbers are made up, of course.) It could be maintained by a bot as is done for GA. Within a nomination it would appear like so:

The Left Hand of Darkness[edit source] The Left Hand of Darkness (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs)

Featured article candidates/The Left Hand of Darkness/archive1

Nominator(s): Vanamonde93 (talk) 17:15, 8 July 2016 (UTC) (2 noms/8 reviews)

The count would only record noms and reviews as of a given start date, so that we all start on a level playing field. I don't know how hard this would be to do, but since it works for GA I'm sure it could be done here.


  • It would become provide a touch of competitiveness to reviewing, which might encourage more reviews.
  • It might embarrass some nominators into reviewing more -- it would make a nominator wince, surely, to see "9 noms/3 reviews" against their name.
  • Although there would be no quid pro quo, I think if I were hesitating between two nominations to review, I might pick the one with the more active reviewer, as a thank you for their reviewing work.


  • It might encourage slapdash reviewing. I think few of us would fall prey to that temptation, and in a small community like this it would be soon be known if someone did.

Who else thinks this would be worth requesting at WP:BOTREQ? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:05, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

  • How would you count reviews? I've made the odd driveby comment—would that work in my favour? Wouldn't that encourage more driveby comments to stack the numbers? Curly Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 03:30, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    To keep it simple, I'd suggest any editor who adds a comment that adds more than about 20 characters of information be counted as having done a review. That would eliminate drive-by indent-fixing and typo-fixing and so on. I'm aware that this means a drive-by review would count, but they're not that common, and frankly they can be helpful, so why not give credit for them? If someone does supply a lot of drive-by comments just to get a higher score, then I think it would get noticed, but even if it didn't, the net effect of the visibility of the numbers for other editors would still be positivie despite the presence of one or two editors gaming the system. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:25, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    Nevertheless, I think the question of "what constitutes a review" would colour any such scheme and lead to disagreements. A detailed peer review may be worth a dozen driveby FAC comments; I often give a comprehensive review at PR, and follow this up with a single declaration line at FAC. In your scheme, this would be evaluated as the same as any superficial driveby comment. Personally, I think that whatever is done, the "serious" FAC reviewers will carry on much as they do now, unconcerned with incentives of one kind or another, but I am worried that the introduction of a quasi-competitive "numbers" scheme might otherwise encourage superficial reviewing at FAC, to no one's advantage. Brianboulton (talk) 10:41, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    Indeed, schemes that draw attention to numbers of reviews (or QPQ-like systems) have been floated over the years and we always get stuck on the question of what constitutes a "review". Which criteria does the review mention? How long is it? Is it an experienced reviewer (i.e. am Ian and I going to be familiar with their reviewing style)? These questions all point to manual assessment of review numbers and inevitable disputes. --Laser brain (talk) 11:34, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    Yes, manual determination of whether something counts as a review would be prohibitively labour-intensive -- if something like this were to be done, it would have to be automated. I think the question is whether the negative effects Brian is concerned about are likely, and whether the possible benefits make the risk worthwhile. I find it hard to imagine a situation where real damage is done to FAC by an occasional superficial review; promotions are by consensus, not by numerical vote counting. And I think the benefit is likely to be real -- I don't believe a single one of the long-time reviewers would do a superficial review just to get their count up, but they might well do a couple more real reviews because of a gentle reminder that they were falling behind. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:06, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Mentoring discussion[edit]

  • The "first time nominators have to get their articles through GAN first" idea seems much more feasible~, reliable, and less drastic. FunkMonk (talk) 13:25, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The ideas are not mutually exclusive, and are anyway dealing with different problems. Mikes's purpose is to encourage increased FAC participation, while the proposed GAN hurdle is intended to discourage unprepared FACs. There are obvious problems with both: Mike's scheme might encourage superficial FAC comments/reviews, while on the other hand the GAN hurdle is of variable height, with no guarantee of equal standards – many articles that get the GA badge are woefully inadequate in FAC terms. I think Mike's idea would be worth a trial run, if the various technical issues can be resolved. As to the GAN hurdle, may I float this alternative idea: each first-time FAC nom must be mentored by a co-nominator, who may be any editor who has a minimum of (say) five FACs to their name. The mentor would be responsible for ensuring that article met the FAC criteria before nomination. A list of potential mentors would be available to all potential new nominators. An incentive to act as a mentor would be a share in the bronze star if the candidate is promoted – would something along these lines work, I wonder? Brianboulton (talk) 09:26, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • That's an interesting idea, Brian. The disadvantage is that it doesn't require any but first-time nominators to bring better-prepared articles to the process, and noms that get bogged down in de facto PR can come from more experienced editors as well as novices -- but worth considering I think. Note BTW that the "GAN hurdle" was not my suggestion, partly for the reason you point out -- if we do go down the pre-req review road then I think it needs to be a community one like PR or ACR. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:51, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • (ec) Mentoring sounds like a good idea. I remember collaboration with you, Brian, and Tim on what turned out to be my first FA because you generously included me in Messiah (Handel). - I just don't like mandatory and counting too much. Could we try to encourage that for a first nomination, a user should find a conom with experience? Alternatively, I'd return to the concept of a peer review before a first nomination, because many peers can give more ideas than one mentor. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:57, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I like the mentoring idea and would be willing to help a first-timer in that way. I'd prefer not to get credit as a nominator, though; I would rather it wasn't a way for those of us with lots of bronze stars to acquire more. And we could try making it voluntary before making it mandatory, and see if it helps. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:43, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The collaborative aspect of Brian's suggestion is something I find very worthwhile. If we did adopt this, I don't know that it'd a problem the more experienced collaborator getting another bronze star if the nom is successful -- that would happen automatically if the co-nom's name is in there, and I think it'd be a good idea for their name to be there because it means they really do have some skin in the game. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 11:48, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
    Well, in that case, here's a straw-man procedure. How does this look?
    • Add a box at the top of WT:FAC where nominators can request a mentor.
    • Add wording to the instructions saying that a mentor is strongly suggested for a first time nominator, and is optional until you have three successful nominations.
    • Mentoring bypasses the nomination limits: if I have a nom and co-nom up, and I mentor two new nominators, I can have a third and fourth nom up in that case.
    • Mentors can have no more than two noms at FAC for which they are mentors. If they take on another nomination it can't be nominated with their name on it if they have two current mentor noms. This seems like a common sense limit to avoid mentors overstretching themselves. Alternatively we could allow three mentor noms if they only have one up of their own.
    • Anyone with a minimum of five successful nominations can put their name against any of the mentoring requests. A requestor can choose which to accept; they don't have to accept the first one.
    • If a mentor feels the article is not ready for nomination and says so, the requestor isn't required to follow their instructions. However, the requestor should expect that the mentor would oppose the nomination at FAC in that case. That should discourage unprepared nominations. A mentor may recommend GA or PR, or, if they have the time, do a review themselves. The mentor isn't obliged to do a review; being a mentor only commits them to providing feedback on what should be done next. Naturally mentors who provide reviews would be more popular.
    Comments? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:08, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Mike Christie I think mentoring is a really positive step to take, and agree with the criteria you have suggested. — Maile (talk) 13:21, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Let us not hurry to pin things down, before we've had time to discuss various options for how a mentoring system might work. For example, I would favour a rather tighter system than Mike's draft criteria suggest – I think mentoring should be a requirement, not a recommendation, for first FAC nominations, and see a more active role for the mentor in the article's preparation, not just as a process facilitator. For the moment, if the FAC coordinators agree that memtoring might work, I suggest we move to a different forum where we can hammer out a specific workable policy. Brianboulton (talk) 14:00, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I might be getting ahead of the discussion on this, but if the mentoring idea comes to fruition, perhaps we could have a link something like "First time nominators go here" that would take the first-timers to a subpage page that explains their particular process. They could list their articles on the subpage. And just so first-timers don't feel so lost in the process, maybe experienced FA editors could list themselves if they're willing to mentor someone. Additionally, I would say that if anyone opts to mentor a given first-timer on an article, they should stick with it. It's a pretty desolate feeling to believe you're getting assistance, and then be abandoned with no explanation. It's happened to me on FA. — Maile (talk) 16:30, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Potential FAC contributor bot[edit]

  • Mike Christie I like the bot idea, because I like it at GA, but...
  • The GA bot is inaccurate. While I was working on my most recent GAC review, that tool showed me as "Reviews: 31"; my own list of what I reviewed at that point was 23. It's always been off, and this cannot be explained by random notes on 8 reviews somewhere. GA reviews are done by a lone reviewer.
  • As mentioned above, "what constitutes a review"? There is a general practice on Wikipedia to "Support" or "Oppose" with no specifics.
Something like the AFDstats tool might be a better way to go, because it brings up a linked list that can be spot checked. — Maile (talk) 12:35, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
That's a neat tool. I've posted a note at the tool's contact talk pages to ask if something like that could be done for FAC; regardless of whether we use it in the way I'm suggesting it would be interesting to see the results. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:16, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
AfD Stats maintainer here. Yes, something like that could definitely be done for FAC. It's certainly not that hard to list every edit someone made to a subpage of WP:FAC (and other pages) that changed more than X bytes - do you want any more processing to be done beyond that? Enterprisey (talk!(formerly APerson) 03:35, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Hi, and thanks. Here's what I think would be useful, in decreasing order of desirability. Anything that includes the first four points on this list would be great; the points below that would be nice to have.
  • For each user, a count of how many FACs they contributed to. "Contributed" would be defined as "made at least one edit to that added more than 20 bytes".
  • Exclude nominators from counting as contributors, including FACs with multiple nominators (listed in the FAC).
  • Count the number of FACs an editor has nominated, again including multiple nominators.
  • Exclude FAC coordinators from being counted as contributors if they closed the FAC -- in fact if they can be counted as closers, so we have a separate column for that, that would be great.
  • Also have a more restrictive count of reviewers: a reviewer is somone who is not a nominator and did not close the FAC, who posted a bolded "Support" or "Oppose" or "Comment", or who opened a fourth level section with a title starting "Comment" in a FAC.
  • Ignore FACbot, and any prior bots such as GimmeBot, that do clean up work at the end of a nomination. Note that in some cases these archives were closed by hand; I don't think there's going to be any way to distinguish those edits, so they'll come up as contributions. If we focus on recent contributions, that becomes less important, though.
  • Allow a date range for the query. The data range should apply to the nomination date for nomination counts, and for review comment dates for the review counts and contribution counts.
  • Allow drilldown so if it says "Mike Christie 3 nominations" we can see which nominations it is referring too.
  • For each contributor, record the average number of bytes they contribute to the FACS they contribute to.
Does that sound doable? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 07:40, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
It's a lot of features, but it's totally doable. Progress will be tracked here. Enterprisey (talk!(formerly APerson) 04:06, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks; I think this will be very useful. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:00, 22 July 2016 (UTC)