Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive20

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Effects of the present FAC process on the encyclopedia as a whole

Danny Wool has a dream ... of 100,000 Featured Articles by this time next year. I like this dream a whole lot, because that's when Wikipedia can look Britannica in the eye and say "Not only breadth of coverage, but depth of quality."

Now, the present FAC process can't scale - committees (including ad-hoc ones) can't possibly scale with the rate of article creation and editors joining. And reading over this talk page - which presently has at the top a feature writer complaining about the querulous idiots shooting at articles, then people telling him he should just learn to write better, then him having to point out to them he was speaking from the experience of getting his article featured - it would probably bury the Wikipedia community in a mountain of bile if we dared attempt it. (After four features, I gave up bothering even attempting FAC as the bile and effort didn't seem worth it for me or for the article, and I'm still pretty much unconvinced the present process is a good idea - it's got a committee in the way, and it's far too personal.)

So presumably we mean 100k articles of FA quality. There was GA, but that's gotten bogged down the way FAC has, because it's got a committee (= can't scale) in the way again.

So: Should FA be regarded as a general article improvement mechanism for Wikipedia, or should it be completely decoupled from that goal? Because (a) it can't scale (committees don't scale) and (b) it seems to cause way more rancor, grief and bile than is a good idea for Wikipedia.

Please discuss. Mailing list discussion here and here. (So far I'm looking at ways to officially or unofficially deprecate FA as something to be taken notice of in any way at all as far as Wikipedia quality goes, but I'd love to be persuaded otherwise.) - David Gerard 16:30, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

And by the way Raul, I'm appalled at the amount of utter shittiness you tolerate in this process. c.f. the exchange at the top of the page. Is telling a successful FA author of fragile ego to go away and learn to write: [ ] good for Wikipedia [ ] bad for Wikipedia? Please tick one - David Gerard 16:33, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
One of the things we must remember is that Brittanica has been writing articles for a very long time. It is, I believe, unreasonable for us to hope to achieve the same level of quality in five years. In time we will be able to generate the same level of quality as Brittanica but the encyclopedia as a whole is still too young for that task.
I am very saddened that you gave up writing FAs. The problem is that you cannot get too personal with articles and objections raised in the FAC process. We must remember that ours is not the only POV and that usually people have an interest in improving articles. We must be open to challenges, objections and other POVs. If a person cannot accept this then this project is probably not the best place for him/her. Joelito (talk) 16:42, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
It's not clear whether your last sentence directed at aggrieved FAC nominators or at querulous FAC objectors. The real problem is that the process gets as personal as it does; I don't see it as some sort of good way to filter out "unsuitable" editors from the project. Surely you're not advocating it should be. Any process whose advocates promote as destruction-testing Wikipedia contributors is pathological and a candidate for abolition for poisonousness to the community.
I gave up bothering with FAC because it was a stupid amount of hours answering random objections that didn't seem to actually query how well the article fit the increasingly fictional FA criterion list - and that it seemed way too much effort that wasted my volunteer hours and, in the end, didn't seem to do a whole lot worth doing for the article base.
One of the things we must remember is that Wikipedia has achieved amazing things in a remarkably short time. Why, one day we might have 100,000 articles at all. I'm asking people to consider the question "What would it take to achieve 100k FA-quality articles? Assume a pile of interested volunteer editors with too much knowledge. Do not assume the present FAC process." And - and this is the important point - I'm asking if the present FAC process, or indeed WP:FA itself, should be completely decoupled from the notion of general quality on Wikipedia, except perhaps as some sort of research lab (new heights in querulous referencing, destruction-testing Wikipedia contributors) and a supplier of quirkies for the front page. - David Gerard 16:54, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
To answer your question of what would it take, the answer is simple, time. A lot of time. We have achieved a lot in terms of quantity but quality is much harder to achieve even with lots of manpower and knowledge.
Distributed time or focused time? That is: aggregate contributor-hours (which is easy) or focused hours from individual contributors? I fear the latter, but am desperately looking for ways to achieve the former. Copyediting functions are easy to get from the aggregate man-hour pool; good writers with specialist knowledge are harder to find. But there must be more aspects that can be made scalable - David Gerard 17:19, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
My last sentence is aimed at both but primarily at nominators. Nominators, myself included, must remember that even though we put a great deal of time and effort into articles we do not own them and maybe some things have escaped us. The same thing happens to book writers, scholars, etc. They (myself included since I have publications) get their papers/books reviewed and even rejected by editors and peers even though they believe that their books or papers are perfect. Joelito (talk) 17:04, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that a process that stresses contributors to destruction, and whose advocates cite this as desirable, is prima facie pathological and should be removed forthwith as too destructive to the Wikipedia community to tolerate. Egos are fragile, but that doesn't give anyone else a moral imperative to go forth and throw rocks at them claiming it's for the person's own good - David Gerard 17:19, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
So if we take your view to the outside world we should eliminate peer reviewed journals, editors, etc. because it stresses writers/contributors? Reviews are always stressful, it's the way of things but they are necessary to ensure quality. Joelito (talk) 17:24, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Don't be hyperbolic. I'm talking about on Wikipedia. Trial by ordeal is no way to nurture volunteers to do good work - David Gerard 00:40, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I've always seen FAs as pretty little "look at what we can do" curiosities. They are good at showing the maximum potential of a wiki, but not at making a good encyclopedia. My eyes are fixed on .de Wiki and stable revision tagging. Thats how we can close WP's achilles heal.Voice-of-All 16:57, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
FA as a source of quirkies rather than anything to do with overall quality? Ah well - David Gerard 17:19, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
I have a problem with equating FA (which is a useful concept) with encyclopedic quality. And I have more of a problem with publicly advertising that. So yes, please de-couple the two.
An elaboration of this point follows, for anyone who cares to read it. Meeting FA guidelines, while important, does not mean an article is of comparable "depth of quality" to Britannica. Ordinary editors can reasonably assess whether an article meets FA guidelines. Ordinary editors cannot assess true scholarly quality, because that takes actual expertise. I know of some FA that are of quite poor quality content-wise. So yes, it should be de-coupled. My problem is that if you say "this FA article is of the same depth of quality as Britannica", and it's actually not, then it really discredits Wikipedia as a whole. That's because we have then given a poor article content-wise an official-sounding endorsement. That's a real problem especially since FA articles continue to be edited, and may become degraded. So, I really dislike implying that FA articles are anything other than exactly that, "featured". There are plenty of Ph.D.'s and other credentialed experts around here. If you want to endorse something as quality, then you ought to have it both be a FA and scrutinized by a credentialed Wikipedian expert. Then that version should be frozen and stored in a different namespace, while editing continues as usual on the main namespace article. I discussed this with 172 a while back, and started compiling such a list of credentialed experts, but never finished it. Derex 17:17, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Freezing and storing a version is superfluous - we can merely make a list that links to that particular version in the history - David Gerard 17:20, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
I note the text at the top of WP:FA states, "The featured articles are what Wikipedia editors believe are the best articles in Wikipedia." This assertion strikes me as quite false. I suggest it be changed to "what Featured Article Candidates reviewers believe are ..." - anyone disagree? - David Gerard 17:24, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
I disagree. If you do not participate in the discussion and object it does not exclude you from agreement. If an official (president, mayor, etc) gets elected with 51% of the votes does that make him president/mayor/etc of 51% of the population or of the whole population? Joelito (talk) 17:28, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Mmm, probably. You're right I'd need more evidence of exclusivity (by default if not be design) to make such an assertion - David Gerard 09:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

I honestly don't think the process is the problem. I guess you could argue that the high current standard for FA is a problem. Are you? If Danny's dream is 100,000 articles reaching today's FA standard in one year, then I'm going to go ahead and say that it is an impossible dream. Either nothing close to that happens, or we redefine FA. The sniping of the committee has very little to do with why I say that. I've written four featured articles and barely had any trouble getting them through, yet I still have enormous difficulty writing a fifth, and for all the reasons you'd expect: research is hard, good writing is hard, writer's block is hard, etc. It's a laborous, difficult process producing an article that meets the FA standard, and blaming the FAC crowd for holding us back from having more FAs seems more and more silly the more I ponder it. —Bunchofgrapes (talk) 17:30, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

And basing the notion on a (possibly) superficial understanding of the comments raised at the top of the page is silly as well. That article achieved FA in spite of itself, and because the process worked. Sandy 17:48, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Just want to second Sandy's comment here. I've only read a portion of the multi-page forest fire that the Putnam FAC spawned, and I'm not entirely sure of what all the issues were, but any undertanding based just on the comment at the top of the talk page is going to be seriously limited. Its' important to remember that (1) The article needed substantial improvement at the time it was nominated and (2) there were chips on several shoulders well before that FAC began, over a number of issues. --RobthTalk 17:57, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
And, in spite of all that messiness, FAC still worked to the benefit of Wiki  :-) Sandy 18:16, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
OK ... maybe I'm wrong on that one - David Gerard 09:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

First, David, it's worth noting that Francisco's comments at the top of this page are most definitely an abberation. He was upset at one of his candidates being criticized, and said some harsh things. Second, as Bunchofgrapes notes, it's genuinly hard writing a featured article. So while Danny's goal of getting 100,000 of them in a year is laudable, it's also very unrealistic. There just don't exist 100,000 articles on Wikipedia that meet our criteria, and the number of people willing to put in the effort required to turn them into FAs is also small. Simply put, achieving the 100k goal would require substantially lowering the bar, which is to my mind, a very bad thing. Raul654 17:52, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

The FAC requirements have been quite deliberately and consciously turned up over the past three years. Note discussions above on this talk page - whenever too many FACs appear to be coming through, the regulars get fussier, and previously fine articles get sent to FARC and removed per the new level of fussiness. Would calling 2005-quality or 2004-quality articles "of feature quality" be "lowering the bar" as substantially as you assume? (Note that I am talking about a quality level and, as noted, not assuming the current FAC process for marking them as passing said level or not.) I suspect that would just about triple the number. How hard or easy would it be to write an article to 2004 FAC standards, say with 2006-standard referencing? In your subjective FAC-watching opinion - David Gerard 00:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

(edit conflict) Some disorganised thoughts:

And my answers - David Gerard 00:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Replies. -- ALoan (Talk) 00:40, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  1. An article that is or approaches featured-article quality does not have to pass the featured article process.
    Yeah. We need some measuring system for articles that are out there but the creators can't be bothered with FAC.
  2. Featured articles are, essentially, as good as an article gets on Wikipedia.
  3. There is no way on earth that FAC as it stands can approve 100,000 featured articles in one year.
  4. Is the fact that there is committee necessarily a bad thing? The FAC reviewers are a self-selected committee of the willing. There is no limit on the number of reviewers, or nominations; anyone is free to join or leave at any time. Yes, it is not possible for everyone to review everything (and there is a shortage of skilled copyeditors - ask User:Tony1).
    Committees don't scale the way editors or articles do.
  5. There is effectively the same sort of committee at each XfD, for example, and each has a workload far greater than here. Haven't they scaled?
    Arguably not. I'm currently theorising (see User:David Gerard/Process essay) that much of the rancor of AFD and DRV comes from the regulars forming into a committee and adopting process that makes their lives easier but excludes others. And they defend that process furiously.
  6. I am sorry that you felt bitten by your experience on FAC. There is a page explaining the criteria that featured articles are expected to meet, and others explaining what the main problem areas are (comprehensiveness, references, decent prose, image licensing, etc) and how to address them, but unfortunately an awful lot of articles are nominated that, frankly, are not good enough. It helps if you are a regular, since you know where the pressure points are. I had a FAC sail through recently.
    I felt exhausted, not bitten. Please read what I wrote, not what you are assuming.
    Oh, sorry - I was misled by the emphasis on "querulous idiots" and "bile", and skipped over "effort". So you want to make it easier to write a FAC by reducing the standards? Won't that have the effect of producing lots of mediocre articles? Or is the intention that they will be "just good enough" and not "nearly perfect"?
    The bile is present right here on WT:FAC. But really - surely you can realise that if the FAC process has reached the stage of cut'n'pasting "sorry it has to be personal, don't take it personally" as a tech-support standard answer, it's upsetting enough people that it considers upsetting people a natural part of the process. I see this as intrinsically problematic.
    "easier to write a FAC by reducing the standards" seems to contain an implicit assumption that the standards are constant. They are not - they are consciously and deliberately turned up to keep FAs at about one a day or 0.1% of the article base. There is discussion to this effect right here on WT:FAC right now.
  7. Surely some approval process is necessary, but perhaps FAC as it stands is not it. Perhaps we need a cohort of FAC-approvers, and if, say, 2 (3, 4, whatever) of than agree, an article can become "featured"? Presumably that would scale, as we can just increase the number of FAC-approvers as the number of articles increases. WP:GA has essentially that approach - as I understand it, any wikipedian can nominate (or approve, but not both) an article as a "good article". I suspect there would be grumbling about "consensus" though :)
    There's gotta be some way that'll scale.
  8. In the main, I find that FAC reviewers are courteous and precise in their comments (suggestions / objections), but sometimes some are not, and someone who has spent ages polishing an article for FAC can be rather, um, defensive if small nit-picky comments are made (FWIW, I prefer nit-picking because I can correct it easily: other issues can be much more difficult to deal with). However, the culture is rather different at its friendlier and lower-profile younger brother, WP:FLC. From what I see, WP:FPC is less confrontational too.
  9. But if you think FAC is rancorous, just go and look at WP:ANI or WP:AFD or any number of other places. It is the people, not the process, that is at fault, but perhaps the process attracts the wrong people, or encouraged unhelpful habits?
    See above re: self-forming committees.
  10. Perhaps we could devolve part of FAC to WikiProjects - MilHist, for example, could be trusted to decide which articles in its area of expertise are "featured" standard. This would break down for areas, like Ancient Egypt, where the WikiProject is moribund, so a central general FAC process would be necesary to deal with these areas. However, there would then be a risk that one sort of featured article from one area would be "better" than one from another.
    I shudder to think of the Pokemon articles.
    Why? I suspect that a large fraction of you 100,000 articles are going to be on popular topics like that. And if they are well written, comprehensive, factually accurate, neutral and stable, etc, why not?
    Presumably we could make it clear who had made the decision, e.g. "The Pokemon WikiProject has identified Pikachu as a featured article..." and hence avoid the issue entirely? Kirill Lokshin 02:00, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  11. Another side of the coin is WP:FAR. Unless maintained, featured articles gradually regress to the mean, and there is a gentle flow of the (usually) older featured articles away from WP:FA to WP:FFA. For my money, WP:FAR has too little attention. It is far easier to "save" an old FA by polishing it up a bit than write a new one.
  12. Are the featured article criteria correct? They were recently rewritten with general approval, but perhaps they are too stringent in some areas, or not good enough in others. -- ALoan (Talk) 18:23, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
    Oh, really. When were they rewritten? I think the previous version may be more what we're after, not something rewritten with the present continuously-tightened FAC process in mind. - David Gerard 00:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
    About a month ago - see the edit history - but really just to make them easier to understand. The concepts were left much the same. The only main change in the last 18 months has been the increasing emphasis on references and quality of prose, and I am not sure how far we can turn down the knob on either of those. -- ALoan (Talk) 00:40, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
    Ah, OK. The current list struck me as the same as I remembered - David Gerard 09:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Something that may be relevant to point #10: Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment#Requests for A-Class status. ;-) Kirill Lokshin 19:50, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
ec As many have noted above, it is hard to imagine getting 100 000 FAs by the end of '07, unless we scrap FAC and just define a Featured Article as "One of the 100 000 best articles on Wikipedia", and even then it would be a huge project to identify them. I suggest, however, that it may well be possible to identify 10 000 articles by the end of '07 that are at least of a quality of the worst current FA. We probably already have 10 000 articles that achieve an FA level of comprehensiveness and stability. This effort may be better suited to a reform of Wikipedia:Good articles, however; I think that the current FAC process is worth preserving. Jkelly 20:24, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
That sounds plausible. If we have (a) a criterion that is not tightened every time it threatens to go over 0.1% (b) 10,000 examples, that would be an excellent start for working from - David Gerard 00:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

It may be worth thinking about the numbers: we have just over 1000 FAs. We need another 99,000, in one year. That is about 271 each day. We are add about 30 a month at the moment. Getting to 30 a week would be a feat, but that would add about 1,500 and more than double our stock. Aiming to double the number passing each year may be more achievable. -- ALoan (Talk) 21:16, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Certainly not with the present process, as I noted way up there at the start - committees can't scale - David Gerard 00:14, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

A possible solution

I'm just brainstorming here, but here's a possibility. We separate the FA requirements, and decentralize it to individual articles. We could accomplish this with templates on the talk page. If you thought an article is fully-sourced, you can simply tag it with {{quality-sourced|~~~~}}, which would add something like this:

Quadell asserts that this article is well-sourced. This means that all major statements have inline citations, and that these citations conform to our guidelines. If you disagree, please replace this template with {{quality-sourced-disputed}}, and discuss your concerns.

The tag {{quality-sourced-disputed}} could yield something like this:

There is disagreement whether this article is well-sourced or not. For an article to be well-sourced, all major statements should have inline citations, and these citations should conform to our guidelines. Please discuss below how to bring the sourcing up to the highest standards. If there is consensus that the article is well-sourced, please replace this template with {{quality-sourced|~~~~}}.

The same could be done with whether it's well-organized, neutral, comprehensive, and well-formatted (lead section, image captions, etc.) It would be discouraged to add more than one of these tags to an article -- if you assert that it's well-sourced, let someone else assert that it's neutral. An article would be considered "featured" (or "quality", if you don't want to reuse the word "featured") if it has all these tags.

Yes, this means the list of featured articles could change day-to-day. And one could easily slip through the cracks, although it could be easily removed as well. FA would be more transient, and less of a permanent thing, perhaps. (FAR would be as simple as disputing any aspect.) But the advantages are many. First, it scales. And that's the big deal. Second, it encourages FA work among normal editors, not a committee. Plus it encourages concentrating on whatever type of article you are interested in (history, biography, etc.) or whatever aspect interests you (sourcing, formatting), instead of dumping them all together in a centralized way. Bickering will still go on, of course, but it will be on article talk pages instead of being split up between talk pages and here. One could simply browse the category of articles deemed "well-organized", and read through them, disputing whichever ones are not sufficiently well-organized, without worrying about other aspects. Etc.

I suspect not everyone will like this idea. People here probably like the current system, or you'd be less likely to be active here, after all. And people have a built-in resistance to change. But I think the system needs to change, or else FAs will continue to grow linearly as articles grow exponentially, which will, in the end, make FAs irrelevant.

Comments? – Quadell (talk) (random) 20:22, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

What's the point of introducing a flurry of new templates when we can simply use the existing WikiProject assessments? Kirill Lokshin 20:26, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't separate them by article category (e.g. articles about transportation), but by quality-aspect (e.g. completeness). Also, it doesn't try to give a rating; it merely says whethe the article is featured-worthy in this one aspect or not. – Quadell (talk) (random) 20:32, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
But it also repeats the major failure of the original GA process. Fundamentally, if whatever process we use for identifying high-quality articles is to mean anything—rather than being another garden-variety talk page tag—it must be:
  1. Monitored: someone—ideally someone with at least a halfway-decent understanding of the topic—needs to keep track of the process and make sure that obvious garbage doesn't find its way in.
  2. Neutral: the process should be structured so as to discourage a system where editors pass their own articles.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, stable: having the list of FAs change on the whims of individual editors makes the marking meaningless, since it's no longer possible to determine whether anyone besides the individual adding the tag shares his opinion of the article's quality.
The current FAC is based—at least in theory—around identifying articles that "the Wikipedia community" believes to be exceptional. WikiProject assessments are somewhat more subjective and unreliable, focusing on identifying articles that a particular WikiProject believes to be exceptional. Your proposal would collapse down to identifying articles that Joe Random thinks are exceptional; this would scale wonderfully, but wouldn't mean anything, in my opinion. Kirill Lokshin 21:00, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Kirill is dead on - this Quadel's system is nearly identical to GA, which has been far from a rousing success. The centralized nature of hte FAC is not the problem; in fact, if anything, I'd say the FAC has been what has been driving standards higher. Quadel's system doesn't address the actual problem, which is that people are not writing enough comprehensive, well sourced, factually accurate articles. Raul654 23:16, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree that FAC has been driving standards higher. As requested above, I would be interested in your thoughts on whether 2005-quality FACs or even 2004-quality FACs (possibly with the current referencing standards, since referencing is a big thing on en: now) would be good enough to satisfy the 100k level of quality; and if so, what your subjective guess for how many we would have would be. 2k? 3k? 10k? Is there a less adversarial way of assessing them? You cannot say that FAC is not adversarial, and that this very aspect means many editors don't want to get into a personalisable battle over what is, after all, not an article they WP:OWN - David Gerard 09:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Wasn't there a proposal for some kind of ticky-box page approval mechanism? So a featured article could be one where, say, 75% of the last 100 readers (logged in, registered wikipedians for over 4 days, perhaps) rated as 5 out of 5, or whatever? Trust the bazaar? -- ALoan (Talk) 21:29, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

I'd rather not trust the bazaar, it is an open invitation to FAC wars and socks... -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 21:37, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't think I'm going too far by saying that if you don't trust the bazaar, then you have greatly misunderstood Wikipedia. Everything we have, we got from being as wide-open as possible. I strongly suggest you read up on m:Article validation feature and linked pages - David Gerard 10:00, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
But at least GNAA will finally have its FA star! ;-) Kirill Lokshin 21:39, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
It's not funny Kirill. You will make repentance by writing another FA! :D -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 21:46, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica and Gridless Narrow-Angle Astrometry probably will get stars one day... -- ALoan (Talk) 22:49, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
If the lack of quality articles is a problem, WP:KLF can supply 5 or more articles to the same standard as our existing 2 FAs and current FAC in next to no time. Why haven't I applied the final polish to these articles and nominated them already, you might ask? Because from nomination to FA can take 4 weeks, and I have to be available during that entire time to answer questions and implement fixes. Also because having more than one FAC at a time is frowned upon.
We can't get to 100,000 FAs in a year with the current system (I doubt we can get there in a year anyway without lowering standards, to which I'm fundamentally opposed). It's got nothing to do with Raul's excellent stewardship. It's simply that the process is primitive and slow. We need to get more people reviewing, so that Raul can make a decision earlier. We also might consider easing his burden a bit by having more than one FA director, but it's up to Raul to shout when he can't cope :)
I don't really have an answer, but I think perhaps having "trusted reviewers" in certain fields who can sign off an FAC as meeting all the technical guidelines might help speed things up, leaving the FAC to decide simply whether or not the prose is "brilliant". Let's try and get candidacies decided in a week, not a month. --kingboyk 17:30, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Because from nomination to FA can take 4 weeks, - As a counterexample, Daniel Boone was nominated on 18 September, promoted on 26 September. An FAC that is ready for FA can go through in a week: when an article isn't ready, FAC becomes an indepth peer review, resulting in a longer process. If more articles came to FAC in better shape, the process could be much shorter. Sandy 17:43, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, Dürer's Rhinoceros went from a new stub on 18 July, to DYK on 23 July, to PR on 16 August, to FAC on 31 August, to FA on 6 September, with a pretty painless PR and FAC. the archive (about 18 months ago, now) contains discussion of the "fastest" article to go from brand new to FA . -- ALoan (Talk) 18:57, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
That's great, and evidently can happen if lots of people comment. I was talking about my personal experience, not asking to be shown the fastest ever FAC :) FACs on obscure pop songs and cultural phenomena tend not to attract huge interest, even if the article is first rate. My current FAC is going extremely well but... well, it's still going! It was listed on 5 September. I don't blame Raul, he has to see consensus, but this is a FA quality article ("the best song article I've seen on Wikipedia so far", "Probably the most comprehensive source of info on the web", "Solid FA candidate") and I'm sitting on my fingers waiting for it to get the nod. That's not even the issue though; the issue is that I'm hardly encouraged to give other articles the final polish and send them off to FAC if I know it will take this long and I can only do one at a time. Not to mention the stress that can come when an article gets a thorough going over :) --kingboyk 20:55, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Article assessment

I've felt interested in a mechanism to increase the visibility of good articles too. The writing that follows is on-the-spot, I-feel-like-writing stuff, not addressing FAC at all, but considering a big-picture way to at least figure out what the best 100,000 articles are (to tie this back to the section).

For a short time I was interested in article assessment, but it's so un-nuanced that I don't see the point in it. If an article isn't "A class" (and there are loads of those, right?), and, well, you can't rate an article FA or GA by yourself (unless nominated already?), you are left with three grades: B, Start, and Stub. Distribute B, Start, and Stub ratings over 80,000 biography articles, and where are you at? I don't get it. (Incidentally, we already know what's a stub via another mechanism.)

Article assessment requires dimensions. It also needs to scale to the whole community, not take up a lot of time, not require a bunch of syntactical knowledge, and not create infinite administrative revisions of talk pages and other pages.

Why not let registered users interact with a simple, Ajaxian box with four rows of five stars—ratings for each of Comprehensiveness, Clarity (encompassing writing quality and accessibility), Verifiability (encompassing references and adherence to NPOV), and Importance (within the article's subject domain).

Want to find stubs, about important writers, that have started out well, so that you can make them comprehensive? A new search system allows you to specify "Category:Writers, Importance>=4, Comprehensiveness<=2, Verifiability>=3, Clarity=>3.5". Generate best-articles-by-topic lists by combining high-level categories with ratings.

Wikipedia needs article an assessment mechanism that is generalizable, less bloated, and less hidden. This is one method to encourage the whole community to 'weigh in' on article assessment, with the community in the aggregate determining the result, wiki-style. (Too bloggy, too Farkish? Not for me!) –Outriggr § 00:48, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

  • At the start of 2006 there was big talk about a user generated article rating system being implemented. It never happened.--Peta 01:06, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Too much noise, I would think. Getting an assessment from Joe Random of the street is about as useful as having a random number generator fill them in for us; the widely-known articles will be slanted by the disruptive, and the obscure ones by the ignorant. Kirill Lokshin 02:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Anyone can edit, but can't make potentailly useful criticism. Odd perspective. I've seen how the article assessment system currently bing used by wikiprojects works - and I'm not that impressed (bias issues, uneven application of standards etc.). I think the proposed ranking system would have been very useful for idenfying holes in WP, and more people would potnetially use an annonymous ranking function that actually fix the article or use the talk page.--Peta 02:22, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • It's not all that odd, in my view. Anyone can edit—but anyone can undo their edits if they're not helpful. This wouldn't be the case here (for obvious reasons—if such reviews must be manually confirmed, you're back to the old system but with worse scaling); it'd be like having articles permanently contain everything added to them, with no way of removing vandalism, mistakes, or just random nonsense. Kirill Lokshin 02:26, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you envision the system working, bust as far as I can tell an article wouldn't be stuck with a bad rank forever if it improved. The way a ranking system would work is still an active discussion on Wikitech-l; but it seems to have gone from something that was likely to be implemented soon to something more hypothetical.--Peta 02:40, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
What happened with the article rating extension appears to have been that Brion wouldn't let it in because he didn't like the idea and didn't like Magnus' extension enough and, because Brion seemed unlikely to bother putting it in anyway, no-one else went near it. (I am assuming this from what little he's said on the subject, because getting him to speak on the subject has been like pulling teeth for the past two years, so please excuse any inaccuracies there.) A committee can't possibly scale. See User:David Gerard/1.0 for the actual scheme proposed - David Gerard 09:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Kirill, we want to know what people think. This isn't an expert-only project and just because someone hangs around FAC doesn't make them somehow more knowledgeable than Joe Average. I wonder how you get that they would be. You appear to be saying that we must not have a non-committee system because only a committee can possibly rate articles properly - David Gerard 09:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Not at all; I'm merely saying that whatever system we use cannot be both entirely democratic and expected to produce results anywhere near reality. In other words, we cannot determine whether or not a rating was given in good faith without knowing who gave it and adjusting for what we know about that individual. (For example: suppose a member of the Chemicals WikiProject rates sodium pentathol at five, and some random new account rates it at one. What has this told us about the article? The second rating is almost useless; we have no idea if the person who made it actually knows any chemistry or is merely a bored vandal trying to throw off our rating system. Because ratings are necessarily subjective, normal Wikipedia principles don't apply too well; we can't, for example, demand that a rating be reliably sourced or neutral.) Kirill Lokshin 12:58, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • We're talking about your fellow Wikipedians here. I could almost read what you wrote to mean that you were defending FAC by not assuming good faith in your fellow Wikipedians, who make up the "Joe Average" you're talking about. Can you defend FAC without assuming ill-faith of those who aren't regulars of the present process? - David Gerard 13:13, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Further, read m:Article validation possible problems for objections already raised and answers to them. The main thing is to separate gathering numbers from using them, i.e. to separate data and application - David Gerard 10:03, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • And yes, I've read that page at some length, and mostly agree with the last point brought up there. A proposal of the form "we'll get a whole bunch of numbers, feed them into a magic box we haven't designed yet, and come up with a rating of how good the article is" really isn't practical; there's nothing wrong with gathering lots of numbers, but any sort of application of them is going to be limited by the fact that we don't know where they are coming from. Kirill Lokshin 12:58, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • We have this strange notion of assuming good faith in the article raters. Note that all ratings will be attributed to the person rating (or indeed the anon IP, since the readers' opinions will be of interest as well) - David Gerard 13:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • AGF only works because we can determine whether a particular action is good or bad, and thus have no need to worry about motivations. The article ratings are entirely subjective; there's no way, given merely the numbers of the rating itself, to determine whether or not it's a good-faith one. Hence, our need to make that determination on the level of the people taking that action, rather than the ation itself. We know that some editors act in bad faith; if this wasn't the case, we wouldn't have any vandalism. A newly created account replacing George W. Bush with "poop poop poop" is obviously not constructive; can you come up a way of determining whether the same account giving George W. Bush a rating of X is an actual evaluation of the article, or merely a more annoying form of disruption? (Note that the obvious answer—weighing some editors' ratings more than others'—merely produces the same committee you're so worried about, based on who gets more clout in affecting the final rating.) Kirill Lokshin 13:34, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • The page I noted above answers your objections. Some editors will undoubtedly play silly buggers; we can't know how they will until we try, which is why we start with gathering the data and not applying it in earnest as yet; we assume most editors will rate in good faith because if we can't assume that, we may as well pack up and go home; but we think we can assume that because we've done quite well at getting more people who want to do good work on the project than trash it; and ratings aren't anonymous any more than edits are. Simple? - David Gerard 14:51, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Meh, I don't really agree. A fully open rating system would require the same tool as a fully open editing system: the ability to revert bad contributions. Fundamentally, such a rating system will only work if we have a way of making some people's ratings not count; but that would bring us back to having some smaller set of editors responsible for the ratings again (but now with more numbers!).
  • (In any case, I suspect that we're going in circles here; so I'll leave this debate until there's actually practical movement toewards implementing something of the sort and to move on to the more productive discussion below.) Kirill Lokshin 15:53, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Your unwillingness to consider statistics kind of baffles me. The purported "bad faith" ratings (yawn, that's got to be the most boring form of vandalism I've ever heard of) would be nothing more than a bit of noise with a sufficient number of article ratings. I also envision the rating system being a rolling average of the last x ratings, so that article changes become rating changes. "Reverting bad ratings" does happen as the ratings "roll away". –Outriggr § 02:08, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
  • More to the point, perhaps, I think we would attract a lot of "I like this topic, so I'm going to rate this article high" *coughPokemoncough* ratings--the equivalent of the Wikiproject support votes we get on FAC, only without a way of recognizing them as what they are. Without a way of filtering this sort of stuff out, the types of ratings we would get would vary so widely from area to area that there would be no way of comparing them. --RobthTalk 02:18, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I think there's a big difference between assuming good faith and assuming competence to complete a task. Asking random users to evaluate articles has a lot of problems, the most unresolvable of which is that most users are unlikely to be using the same standard we are. For instance, I recently objected to an FAC on the basis that it contained a major copyvio. But a user won't care about this. Similarly, users won't care about egregious abuse of fair use images. And most users won't care about lack of referencing or inline citation. Yet all these things are important concerns that we have. Certainly, I don't think such an evaluation process could usefully replace what takes place at FAC. Christopher Parham (talk) 07:35, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
  • It certainly could not replace FAC. I don't know who claimed that. –Outriggr § 01:51, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
Kirill, I was once involved in the GA process, but drifted away from it as it grew more process-bound. (I suspect now that my interpretation of what it should have been has been subsumed by the "A-class category".) Yet I believe that the current article rating system is an improvement over what I hoped the GA process would be, because it could potentially give us some idea of at least where Wikipedia is. There are simply so many articles in Wikipedia whose existence is known only to their contributors, that even sifting out the "B-class" and better from the "Start" & "Stubs" is a useful contirbution. (And having looked at a few hundred articles marked with a stub template, I've found more than a few that should have been reclassified. The stub-sorting folks seem interested only in tacking more templates at the end of stubs, rather than fixing them or even verifying that they are stubs.) -- llywrch 23:16, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

An injection of hope

With the greatest of respect to Danny, and all the people who have commented above, 100 000 FAs may be a bar too high to set ourselves. In fact, even 20 000 FAs would not only allow us to look EB in the eye, but allow us to piss on them from a great height (if you will pardon the metaphor). I made a rough and ready evaluation (by methods of my choosing, to be sure - if someone is interested enough, they can do a rigorously scientific sampling and refute my figures) of the plausible number of Britannica articles which would pass through the eye of the needle that FAC currently is, and my best guestimate would be around 7-8 thousand, and my criteria may even have been too generous. Certainly I would be majorly astonished if it were over 10 000; so the challenge that Danny has wished to set before us is at the very least an order of magnitude too high, if it is intended only for the purpose of surpassing Britannica in depth of quality. -- Cimon Avaro; on a pogostick. 01:05, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Our FAs are infinitely better than most EB articles, our real problem is identifying and fixing regular articles so that they are a similar standard to EB.--Peta 01:11, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I'd like to make a plan for 100k to see how far we get. What you seem to be saying is that we can count some success if we don't achieve it, which I agree with. But that's no reason not to shoot high - David Gerard 10:01, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
How long did it take to write the first edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, not to mention the polishing necessary to create the edifice that we see today? And that was with people working full-time and being paid. You can't build Rome in a day, and you can't create 200+ featured-standard articles a day for a year, not without a radical change in the standards or massive input from dedicated writers. How many people have that sort of free time to devote to writing for Wikipedia? I think we should be justifiably proud of how good Wikipedia is already, after only a few years work, by volunteers, don't forget. Perhaps it would help if there was less time spent on policy discussion like this. Some prominent Wikipedians seem to make hardly any edits to article space at all. (How many people reading this have written or improved an article to featured-article standard in the last 24 hours? I have written two nice new articles that I will send to WP:DYK eventually (John Johnston (Royal Household) and David William Anthony Blyth Macpherson, 2nd Baron Strathcarron, if you are interested, not to mention Anne Gregg and Charlie Williams (comedian) recently) but none of them are anywhere near featured standard, and my potential-future-FAC is only half done and waiting on the todo pile as a result of other distractions.)
Go and look at some of the former featured articles for the sort of thing that used to be featured, or featured article review for the sort of thing that has problems now. Unless an article has been deliberately polished by one or more editors for FAC, it just will not be good enough. I simply cannot remember the last article that was found by chance by an unconnected editor, nominated, and passed. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:22, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I expect not. However, there should be articles that don't require a subject expert to get them into shape. So far you haven't convinced me not to at least try - David Gerard 13:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but I did not say that we need subject experts to create FAs (although it is always nice to have an expert, since they will have better access to good sources and a better feel for what is important in a topic). For example, I am not a subject expert on any of the articles or lists that I have successfully nominated for "featured" status (see the featured wishlist on my user page if you are interested): I do my research, I write it up, I ask others to contribute and review as they see fit (ideally I get them to do the work and then copyedit it :), and I take on board comments that are made on the talk pages, and at WP:PR and FAC.
As I said, you need dedicated writers and editors to create and polish articles to reach featured standard. The idea that 200 featured articles will be written today or tomorrow is just a pipe-dream unless we find a group of people that will write them. It just does not happen by chance. However, I entirely agree that we should consider whether the FAC process is really achieving what we the project needs. Featured articles are intended to be the pinnacle of achievement, as good as it gets: we can aspire to all of our articles reaching that standard, but is that really necessary to have an encyclopedia that we can be proud of? -- ALoan (Talk) 13:33, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
FWIW, Cochineal was found and nominated by me, and passed without significant polishing - all I did was tidy the cites and change some terminology - that was back in June. Shimgray | talk | 17:09, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

OK - here are some articles that are failing in the FARC section of WP:FAR at the moment (for reasons that you can see there) but which are not too bad:

Which would you retain as FAs and why? -- ALoan (Talk) 13:49, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

100k essay genesis

I'm going to start a 100k page at some stage soon (probably using material from the discussion above, not cut'n'pasting). It'd be nice if FAC could provide input more productive than "this can't possibly work, don't even try." This is Danny's essay that started him on the 100k challenge: User:Danny/What next - David Gerard 13:43, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Okay, here's my attempt at being constructive:
  • Having 100K "featured-quality" articles—assuming we keep the current criteria—is quite doable (if not, perhaps, something that can be done quickly).
  • Having 100K "featured articles" is not necessarily desirable, since that would trash the whole "our best work" thing.
  • Hence, a better approach might be to allow actual "featured articles" to become increasingly selective while having a level below that for articles that largely meet the criteria but may not be "our best work" for any of a number of reasons (of which a lack of "brilliant prose" may be one, incidentally).
  • This secondary level should be less process-heavy to allow a greater volume of articles to be processed.
  • There is an existing distributed rating process available in the form of WikiProject assessments. This includes the "A-Class" level, which has been interpreted as "more-or-less FA quality" but hasn't seen much use. Certain projects have already developed more formal processes for determining whether articles qualify as "A-Class".
  • Thus: use "A-Class" as the general level we want to hit with our 100K; allow the WikiProjects to develop their own (partially autonomous) methods of identifying such articles; and allow the actual FAC process to become as selective as it needs to be to maintain a more rigorous selection of "our best work".
(Hopefully this isn't too incoherent.) Kirill Lokshin 13:54, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
To follow Kirill's lead, my attempt. Basically, Wikipedia is improved by people putting in man-hours at things they're good at. To make progress, you want to maximize the number of man hours people put in, and maximize the productivity of those man-hours. FAC is good at this because, by providing something of a target and an incentive for putting in the work, it encourages people to spend their time on article improvement, and to work harder on Wikipedia than they ordinarily might; I definitely spend more time working on Wikipedia when I'm caught up in trying to get something to featurable quality. Things like Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by featured article nominations are good for this reason, because they provide people with a little reward for putting in the work. Public recognition for editors and formal approval for articles are both rare on Wikipedia, and FAC creates a lot of man-hours by being able to provide them (although the motivation isn't constant; I know that I for one have been somewhat less focused on FAC as I've gotten better at judging my own work).
To get to 100k featured quality articles in a year, we're going to need to be mobilizing a lot of people--and, importantly, a lot of people who know how to research and write well. Getting all these people out is going to require using pretty much every kind of motivater we have available--recognition, article approval, community spirit, and anything else other people can think of. There needs to be a recognizably legitimate, though streamlined, approval process; there needs to be some way of noting and honoring the work that people have put in, and there needs to be a feeling of achievability, progress towards a goal, and common cause. 100k is within the realm of possibility, but will require mobilizing a massive number of people (over 1,000) to work on one specific task. That's not going to just happen, but if you make this the central focus of our efforts for the next year, and make it a fun effort to work on, there is a chance. --RobthTalk 14:37, 14 September 2006 (UTC) Note that all of the above was written while heavily under the influence of B.F. Skinner, and should probably be tempered by non-behavioralist conceptions of reality.
Yeah. Cattle prods tend not to work on volunteers. You need to be good with magic. OTOH, you herd cats with tuna, so volunteer motivation works by finding out the local value of "tuna" - David Gerard 14:51, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
So the question will be: what lures excellent writers? I am so arrogant to assume that I can write pretty well. I tend to write new short articles or stubs I see a need for. Smart Display went from me first hearing the term to writing a readable first draft in a few hours; it's had some copyediting from others since then, but it'll do as an encyclopedia-level intro to the subject IMAO. So doing a nice achievable piece of work feels good. FAC is a nice mark of personal status, but as I said it feels like too much work for too little gain to the article; I've found Peer Review more personally satisfying since it doesn't have the adversarial/running the gauntlet/trial by ordeal aspect, it seems more focused on the article rather than making demands of the nominator. OTOH, many of you like getting FAs and find it a great motivator. We need to know what drives other decent writers and researchers. OTOOH, there are lots of horrible writers who think they're fabulously good and I'm not sure of how to gently discourage them (and I fear the FAC process is entirely too adversarial and too likely to be taken personally). Charles Matthews says mathematicians can't be bothered FACing mathematics articles because it's too much work for the reward and mathematicians prefer other rewards [1]. Etc.
I've started Wikipedia:100,000 feature-quality articles (WP:100K). But do continue here for the time being ... FAC does know a lot about quality articles - David Gerard 15:01, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I would guess there are two main components to what motivates the creation of well-written articles:
  • Existence: some people just want to make (some) articles as good as possible, and will do so regardless of whether this point is admitted by anyone else.
  • Recongnition: some people want to have the quality of their contributions recognized (formally or informally).
Most editors, I suspect, are motivated by a mixture of the two. The first point is, I think, not something that necessarily needs to be focused on, except insofar as we should generally make sure that the people following it are happy and not leaving Wikipedia and so forth; we need merely identify the articles in question. As for the second point, perhaps we ought to encourage (friendly) competition among editors, with public recognition of those who make major contributions in this regard (by putting the [top of] the list of featured article nominators in a more central public location, for example). I suspect there will be a certain level of outcry against "elitism" if we start recognizing individual editors, rather than only the articles themselves, though. Kirill Lokshin 16:05, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately because of the group-written nature of the produce there is a lot of work that is probably necessary, but also time consuming and unrewarding. The biggest example of this is referencing. If I'm a subject expert, then I know what I'm writing is true; the end users will more or less assume anything written here is true. Referencing here is functionally useless to all involved parties. Yet I don't think one could admit unreferenced articles as "featured quality."
As far as I see, FAC is by far the most effective process on Wikipedia. It does an outstanding job of identifying articles that follow Wikipedia's best practices. The problem you address above isn't really a problem with FAC -- it's a product of the fact that our best practices exist in large part to make possible the structure of our project. Those best practices (inline citation, fair use criteria, etc.) weren't created here, rather they've been incorporated here after being developed elsewhere. Christopher Parham (talk) 08:38, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Another thing we must consider is how will we uphold the quality of 100k FAs. It is very hard to presently maintain the quality of just over 1k FAs. We need a system that can free up the resources (man-hours) spent on maintaining quality and move these resources to the creation of quality. Joelito (talk) 16:42, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Which brings us to the idea of stable versions again... :) -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 16:44, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Stable version is a way to look at it but fast-sprotection can also be a way to prevent deterioration. It would be to implement a sprotection of articles that are on the WP:100K page that can be fast sprotected and fast sdeprotected in order to prevent vandalism and to prevent deterioration of articles. Another idea I can give is to use a tag on these articles to not be too bold on changing these articles as there have been lots of man-hour that has gone into these articles and that they should consider talking about the changes instead of being too bold. Lincher 17:56, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I seriously doubt this would be of much use. Very little deterioration is caused by edits that semi-protection would prevent -- most of it is caused by edits from good-faith users that are too useful to be reverted but poor enough to reduce the quality of the article. For instance, people adding a random fact as a new paragraph, moving things around, switching pictures around, etc. Take e.g. an edit that just occured to a featured article I wrote awhile ago, Blaise Pascal: diff. This edit makes some good copyedits, some good prose changes, some indifferent changes, and some changes that distort or corrupt the meaning of the writing. It probably wouldn't be productive to revert such an edit, but I don't have the time at the moment to evaluate each of the many changes. Christopher Parham (talk) 07:57, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Most FACs are very specialised; something about it doesn't get general topics through. General articles are hard to turn into FAs because they need a lot more research to not have glaring omissions. We need stellar researchers (even more than good authors) if we want to get such generic topic FAs. - Mgm|(talk) 18:26, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Snap. -- ALoan (Talk) 18:51, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree about general topics. For instance, general medical topics such as arthritis tend to be a hodge-podge of edits without much coherence. A more specific article like rheumatoid arthritis is better. This is, in part, because of the depth of knowledge needed to bring arthritis together. However, it's also, in general, easier to generalize about a specific topic than a broader category and you spend less time examining the exceptions to statements of general fact. InvictaHOG 00:15, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Section break for easier editing

My limited and naive experience tells me that four things are required for 100,000 FAs.

  1. Creation of Wikipedia University to create Wikipedia-featured-content-educated editors. 100,000 FAs would require a vastly higher number of appropriately educated contributors.
  2. Make the FA criteria less subjective. The criteria does not need to be re-interpreted by every new reviewer. Too many new reviewers are confused as to why a FA is not a perfect article.
  3. Change the FA process from 'promotion by consensus of reviewers' to 'promotion by approving officers in accordance with a well-defined (not subjective) FA criteria'. This includes shortening the candidacy time to, say, three days, after which, if in the opinion of the approving officer (eg. Raul654 and other sanctioned people), the article either is or is not a FA. A lot of man-power is wasted with duplicated reviews of feature-quality and even more work is created by chasing after some vague accusation. By 'wasted time' I mean time not spent contributing to an article.
  4. Creation of a FA Wikiproject. Like an active Wikipedia:Featured Article Help Desk. Maintain 03:57, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
The current FAC process doesn't involve a consensus of editors, so you seem to be confused. Based on the comments at the page Raul evaluates whether the article meets the standards. Christopher Parham (talk) 07:42, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
But it does allow Joe Random who knows nothing about the FAC process to jump in and object for spurious reasons and we have to explain over and over to them why they're objection is not appropriate/helpful etc, as each new Joe Random comes in. Maintain's idea is one of the best I've seen in a long time, even if he missed how it currently works. If the actual approval of a FA was done by more people who really know the criteria we may be able to churn out more. Another option is to limit those that can support and object to a reasonably large group that have shown they know the criteria. Then others don't object, they simply point out problems and discuss them and the approvals group then chimes in if they are good points or not. Then those consistently doing a good job pointing out issues go to the approvals group and everyone learns instead of FAC being the slow shitfest it is sometimes. Eliminating the biggest obstacle to the FAC process, the negative stress, may go a long way to motivating more participation and speeding up the process. I generally hate feature creep, but if there is an overwhelming benefit for minimum process increase it may be worth it. - Taxman Talk
As I see it, what you are suggesting there is that those outside the group aren't allowed to write the word "Object" but everything else goes on as normal (but with the addition of some sort of FAC reviewer approval process that then allows the use of "Object"). I assume that Raul already reads through the discussions to see whether the objections are valid, so what gains does that make for the FAC process overall? If anything, I would think it would slow it - experienced reviewers would get dragged into approving new FAC reviewers rather than reviewing FACs (or worse still, some sort of RFA type process would evolve and an unpopular decision would spark off weeks of recriminations and, surely that could never happen ;)) Yomanganitalk 01:26, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
And, adding to Yomangani's point, the bigger problem is not reviewers who object without knowing the criteria, but those who support because they are fans of a particular article, which may need a lot of work to attain FA status. It's pretty rare that we have to point out to someone that their reasons for objecting aren't valid: we see seas of fan support daily on articles that still need work. Sandy 01:32, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
You have a valid point, however - I think it is moot because short of using the rack, I see no way of telling whether someone supports an article because (s)he likes the topic, or because (s)he thinks it really is a good article. Raul654 03:12, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Folks, it is going to be incredibly difficult to even get 100,000 FAs, unless we send the message that subject-based objections are inherently wrong. For example, let's take Hurricane Irene (2005), which was a very contentious nomination, but why? Because the article is short. However, in this case, and in many other cases, there is no more to write on the topic. Irene uses canonical sources, the Tropical Cyclone Reports, that are the most authoritative, official references in the field; it is complete, and most of all, comprehensive, regardless of its size. By the way, our hurricane articles are being referenced in professional listservs (for example, a public mirror of these Cyclone Summaries references Tropical Storm Alberto (2006)[2]) so we already have the motivation to reference them painstakingly. What am I getting at? WP:TROP has about 10 articles that are FA quality, yet that we are afraid are not going to pass due to them being too specific (see Tropical Storm Lee (2005), Tropical Storm Bonnie (2004), or Meteorological history of Hurricane Katrina for examples). So, before we can add more articles to the FA list in larger quantities, we need to ask ourselves if we are looking for the best few χ% of articles, or if we want the articles that meet specific criteria to be recognized, regardless of topical specificity. Titoxd(?!?) 01:01, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Let me say, definitively and unambigiously - the latter. Raul654 01:04, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Can I quote that diff for later? Titoxd(?!?) 01:12, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
By all means. As long as it meets the FA critera, any article should be able to become a featured article. Raul654 01:15, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Another example of a short FA on a narrow topic is Diary of a Camper. That nomination was less contentious than Irene's, so perhaps the notion that short articles can be FA-worthy has taken a firmer hold. — TKD::Talk 01:59, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

New award

Hi all,

I have submitted a proposal for a new award, to be given in appreciation of an editor's contribution in reviewing FACs. I call it "Reviewer's Award". The image I made for it is given below:

The Reviewer's Award

Since this concerns the FAC, I am also submitting the update here. Quite naturally to me, the first person who came in my mind for this award was Tony, to whom I have conferred it privately. I have submitted a proposal at WP:BAP. Please go through the proposal. — Ambuj Saxena (talk) 16:40, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Love the picture. Joelito (talk) 16:43, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
Ditto on the pic. Very nice. I've always thought we should have an award or two for FAs--one for nominators and one for reviewers who put in a lot of work. Marskell 21:59, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Excessively harsh FAC?

I wonder if I could ask you all to check out Jake Gyllenhaal and its FAC. While I don't mind receiving harsh criticism for the article (I don't own it, after all!), the reviewers who have posted so far have been somewhat unhelpful or repeatedly contradict each other. The standards they seem to be using seem way beyond what I read in WP:FA; I would appreciate knowing if they want too much, or I'm wrong. Jake Gyllenhaal, as it stands(excluding the reference formatting), seems to me to be of the same quality as Eric Bana or Uma Thurman: both of which are FA. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Dev920 07:14, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Dev920, I'm glad you're feeling better!! One comment before everyone here jumps in and repeats the same thing: never compare one FAC with other FAs. Having said that, I will take a look at the comments and hope that others will take a look as well.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 07:18, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, thankyou for your concern. :) I will refrain from requesting so in the future, but may I ask why we should not compare FAs of the same category? Dev920 09:21, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
1) Becasue some of the FAs are older and were allowed to pass under lower standards than the current ones. They would fail under the current standards. 2) The same reveiwers are not always available to judge all the articles. thereofore. some articles will be judges by reveiwers with stricter standards than others. there is no single set of reviewers with the same exact interperations of the criteria. 3) More importantly, reviewers simply do not make their evalutions by comparing one FA to another. So you should not either. It's just the nature of the beast.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:28, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. Dev920 13:58, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Are the FAs that pass really FAs?

This is a provoking question, I know! But I'm serious!! Are the articles that the evaluators support and Raul confirms really FAs?

What do I mean: We insist on the in-line citations, but we donot care so much about the number of references, which constitute the basis of our work. I see FACs pass with 1, 2, 3 or 4 sources! I think this is an important issue. The research of a FA must be thorough and "exhausting". I really think that we should further raise the standards and insist on the references. That is why, I also believe that FAs should have two seperate sections: one "Citations" and one "References", so that both criteria are examined in detail and without confusion.

I strongly believe that an article based on very few sources cannot be FA, because it does not represent the best possible work (and research) but just a good work. But we are not evaluating here GAs; we are supposed to evaluate FAs! Thanks.--Yannismarou 16:40, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

By the way, these were my principles and beliefs (a thorough and exhausting research,inline citations, finding of every possible source), while working Pericles (a FA article) and Aspasia (a current FAC).--Yannismarou 16:49, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Some topics have a wide variety of sources that should be examined. Others may only have a handful of sources going into any suitable level of detail—often because those sources are regarded as canonical, and there simply aren't any competing views. Insisting on identical numerical benchmarks across the board will be quite unproductive, in my opinion. Kirill Lokshin 16:52, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
What Kirill said. There are some things or events that have only two or three sources available, and scarcely more. They're all academic and stuff but they are not much. And it is better to have an article referenced with two or three excellent academic stuff than an article with 50 newspaper references. -- Grafikm (AutoGRAF) 17:18, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Could you give us an example of an FA that passes with just 1 or 2 source? I'm curious... I haven't been following FAC very closely lately. --W.marsh 17:09, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Not sure I've seen any recently with only a few sources listed; but there are certainly articles that cite one or two sources predominantly, with the others being given more for general background. See, for example, Battle of Bicocca: the overwhelming majority of the details are cited to Oman's work, simply because it's pretty much the only book that goes into such a level of detail; at the same time, Oman's reputation as a source for this is hardly in dispute, so I see nothing wrong with relying on him to such an extent. Kirill Lokshin 17:52, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree that many articles would benefit from actually looking inside of books. It is not yet possible to do extensive research for most subjects on-line (though this will change over time). Further, cites to items in References should be in Notes proving that the books were actually used. However, not all subjects have a range of printed research materials available. Such a requirement might limit the type of article that could qualify for FA. For example, I doubt that there are many books about these current FACs: Charizard, Sonic the Hedgehog (character), Jake Gyllenhaal, and We Belong Together (Song).--Paul 17:31, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Regrettably, there exists not a single book on Jake, or even a chapter. On the other hand, there are several books on Pokemon that would have things on Charizard, the Pokedex entry for example. Dev920 17:35, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I donot want to limit references to just books. I respect inline citations. I was asked to give an example. An article which just became featured and it deserves it because of its high quality(War of the Fifth Coalition) mentions only 4 sources. It is an excellent article written by one of the best Wikipedia contributors that I also supported (pointing out that I'm not satisfied by the number of references) under the current criteria! But are we sure that other sources aren't available even through online libraries? Kirill may be right that some articles have a limited "spring" of sources, but is this always the case? I doubt! I can mention other articles as well, but this is not my purpose. My purpose is to draw the adequate attention for a criterion that seems to be (I may be wrong, but this is my impression!) a bit under-examined! I don't ask "identical numerical benchmarks". I ask the full and stringent implementation of what Kirill says: The full examination of the available sources.
Rewriting some articles till a certain point, I was satisfied by my effort. But after researching my sources in an exhaustive way, I found contradictions, new material and valuable information, for topics I regarded crystall clear! If it wasn't for my insistence, I would have lost valuable information and the articles wouldn't have been as good as they should be.
And I insist that nominators should accomodate evaluators by clearly seperating "References" from "Citations" (or "Notes" or "Footnote"). And I also agree that "cites to items in References should be in Notes proving that the books were actually used."--Yannismarou 18:25, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
"The full examination of the available sources" may not be something easily determined. In most cases, the reviewers of an FAC are not in any position to comment on whether such a criterion has been met. It would automatically put most FACs in permanent limbo. It's generally to be expected that the one nominating an article and their co-nominators/collaborators (assuming it's a self-nomination) are the only experts on the subject in attendance. Having a reviewer that is also an expert on the subject is the luxurious exception rather than the standard.
What's generally looked for by reviewers are 1) whether the article supports its claims with thorough referencing, 2) whether the cited sources actually support what the Wikipedia article is saying they do and 3) whether the cited sources are appropriate for citation. That's the best we can hope for in an average FAC. Placing a — by definition — fluctuating criterion upon articles, and which cannot be reasonably confirmed to have been met, is not going to contribute to the FAC process. Reviewers simply can't be expected to become an expert on the subject of every article they review before commenting. FAC would not only become a very slow process, but in most cases, a dead-end process. Ryu Kaze 23:17, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
By the way, when reviewers are concerned about the reasoning behind the use of a certain source or the choice to not use a different source, they can always ask the article's editors during the FAC. Ryu Kaze 23:23, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I wrote Dürer's Rhinoceros sourced almost entirely from the two books that are listed as the only references, although a few specific points are cited from other sources in the notes section. Feel free to look for or suggest some other authoritative sources (and good luck finding any). -- ALoan (Talk) 09:57, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

The important thing is that the research cover a representative cross section of the writing on the subject. To use two books for an article on which those two books are the only major sources is perfectly normal; to use only two books for an article on a subject where dozens of books exist could lead to problems of comprehensiveness and omissions of certain points of view. "Object, only two major sources" could very well be an inactionable objection, and would certainly miss the point. "Object, this uses only two sources, and neglects several widely acclaimed more recent works" would be a good one. As an example of the way things probably should not be done I offer my own Corinthian War, which I now recognize leans far too much on a single modern source; I should have consulted several other sources to make sure the account I was giving was widely agreed upon (I have since checked, and it does appear to be, but this just means I got lucky with that book and topic). A featured article should draw upon a large enough fraction of the relevant literature, and particularly of the recent relevant literature, that we can be sure it is not overlooking any significant disputes or differences in presentation. --RobthTalk 14:49, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Somewhat nicer is the case where there is explicit discussion of sources available; at least for non-controversial topics, it's reasonably common to find many authors citing a handful of key works (e.g. "John Doe's Book remains the best overview of the field"), which helps to justify heavy use of those sources. 14:59, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
It certainly is helpful when that happens; recently, I had the idea of digging up book reviews of some of the sources I use frequently, and that's definitely given me a better idea of how to use each of them. A good broad survey text, too, will often indicate which texts are considered authoritative for narrower fields. --RobthTalk 15:23, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
I'll insist on Robth's remark that "Object, this uses only two sources, and neglects several widely acclaimed more recent works" should be regarded as an actionable and quite serious objection, if it is backed up with the right argumentation. Recently, I objected an article, because no judicial decisions were mentioned. Rama's Arrow insisted that I was srong, but then realized that I was right! It's important to keep a close eye on the sources and be sure that the research had been as thorough as it should be.--Yannismarou 18:30, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Yannismarou and others' general sentiments on this issue. I also think it raises a related issue: when an FAC subject's sources have been exhausted, they are few, and they are of rather poor quality (e.g., random websites), does this not preclude the article from ever becoming featured? Of course, you can see where I'm going with this—it may prevent some "fluffy" featured articles. Under the current system, this sort of reference argumentation is considered invalid because it is "unactionable". I raised the issue, for example, in the Frank Klepacki FAC and the nominator made the references more various, but still pretty so-so. Not his fault; the nature of the subject limits its references.
It's not a matter of the tail wagging the dog, however, because I believe that quality and variety of sources are fundamental to the FA initiative. I believe that an a priori principle of FAC needs to be that if you can't provide an FAC with diverse, and at least some "substantial", references, your article is not suitable for FA because verifiability concerns preclude it (and implicitly (in general), notability, but no one wants to touch that). All of this should be reasonable grounds for objecting to such an FAC without getting an earful about the objection being "unactionable". In the most recent Pokemon FAC, we have "I already asked please do not argue Pokémon's worth at Wikipedia, you're just grasping for straws for an actionable objection." This comment is a strawman, an excuse to avoid the fundamental issue, and it's actually sanctioned in the rules. –Outriggr § 00:07, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Guess it's just me. –Outriggr § 01:53, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
It's not just you. I understand your concerns, but I cannot impose myself new rules. The only thing I can do is to check in detail the quality of the sources of the articles I'll evaluate. And I'll insist on that, even if I may be in the minority.--Yannismarou 21:27, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Technical help: stars disappearing

Can anyone help with this? Sandy 17:31, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Earlier I noticed that after Paxomen (talk · contribs) had listed Buffy the Vampire Slayer at FAC, he/she left messages on the talk pages of every member of Wikipedia:WikiProject Buffyverse (of which there are over eighty members) asking them to vote. I was wondering if this is allowed, because I'm worried about actionable objections being seen as less valid in the face of the number of "support" votes, most of which are from the WikiProject members. Extraordinary Machine 23:19, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

In practical terms, I'm sure Raul is fully capable of sorting such things out quite nicely.
More generally, that was a pretty silly thing to do. Aside, even, from the fact that FAC isn't a vote, spamming is hardly a good way of bringing attention to such (reasonably running-as-usual) things; doesn't the project have some sort of noticeboard for listing FACs? Kirill Lokshin 23:25, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Exactly, "Featured article candidates" is more about addressing objections to improve the article, rather than gaining support. Peter O. (Talk) 01:23, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Discussion about technical articles

I would like to encourage FA people to comment on this discussion about recognizing good technical articles. Thanks! --best, kevin [kzollman][talk] 22:21, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, yes. I have added some comments, but refuse to get involved in the interminable discussion that follows. Another case: Nothing will be resolved and people will argue back and forth for the next three millenia. I think THIS is what Wikipedia is all about at this point. It's just a giant forum.--Francesco Franco aka Lacatosias 09:44, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Snowball clause object nominations

Is it just me or that most nominations that receive a snowball clause objects are nominated by a non-author? To even add to this waste of time the nomination is usually completely ignored. Is it just me or you guys notice this too? Can we do anything about it? - Tutmosis 14:28, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

You seem to be right. I guess he wants to give articles FA status but doesn't seem to work on improving them. Only thing is telling him what is the aim of Featured article candidates page and try to explain him. --Ugur Basak 14:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Huh? I have no idea who "he" is, I was just talking about in general. I was just suggesting making stricker rules for nominating? - Tutmosis 16:11, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Articles with no reliable sources

This has come up recently again, and we may as well address it now. I believe I’ve finally gotten to the root of the problem and discovered to maintain and improve the quality and reliability of Wikipedia, we must enforce the exising WP:V policy and the featured article criteria as it relates to featured articles. There is extremely strong basis in policy that only material with reliable sources should be included in Wikipedia. In direct contradiction of that we have allowed at least one article to pass as FA that has no reliable sources for large portions of the material. It is very important that we follow our most important policies in our most visible articles that we consider our best.

Of course this came up in connection with Pokemon characters (specifically Torchic’s then Charizard’s FACs) but the subject being Pokemon has nothing to do with the problem. If the subject was a mathematician or a politician or anything else my stance would be the same: no reliable sources means that the article is not suitable to be featured. If there are some reliable sources, then the article should contain only information that can be supported by those sources. This follows so logically from the verifiability policy and the FA criteria that I’m surprised people are attempting to object to it. This means information from unreliable sources must be removed. Then the reduced article without the information from unreliable sources can be considered to determine if it should be featured or not.

The problem then becomes that there are no reliable sources for some subjects that people want to write about. It could happen for any subject, but for reasons of project demographics it doesn’t seem to come up about 15th century mathematicians, it comes up about pop culture. The real problem, and what we cannot accept is the lowering of standards for quality of references to an unacceptable level. What some people want is a double standard for pop culture articles. Since there are not reliable sources on many pop culture topics, people want to be able to use fan magazines and promotional material. If that quality of sources were allowed for other subjects we would not be a useful reference work. There are already plenty of things Wikipedia is explicitly not for. It’s ok that we don’t cover things that don’t have reliable sources. There are plenty of outlets such as Wikia for fan material and other material that doesn’t have reliable references. Thus I believe no reliable references, or not enough, or too much material from unreliable sources are a perfectly valid objections at FAC. I believe longstanding policy already supports this position as do the featured article criteria. Pragmatically, what this will do is focus work where it should be: on subjects with reliable references, of which there are unbelievable quantities of that are not well covered on Wikipedia. - Taxman Talk 16:15, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm all for verifiable, reputable, sources, but I'm against a one-size fits all approach. For an 15 century mathematician, I'd expect few (if any) online references. I'd expect the references to be scholarly in nature, but at the same time suffering from accessibility (in terms of access and probably in terms of language and lingo) for the common reader. For a pop-culture phenomenon, I'd expect easily available on-line references, but they may not be as scholarly. Those subjects may still be worthy of inclusion, and perhaps even of being featured, if the references are handled correctly. Johntex\talk 16:28, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I think most people realize there is a spectrum of quality of sources ranging from an article in the most respected peer reviewed journal on down to self published sources such as Joe's geocities page. I'm perfectly willing to promote articles on whatever obscure topic as long as they have reliable sources, so if that's what you mean by "may be worthy of inclusion..." then I agree. Pokemon itself is an example of one that I'd be very surprised if there weren't enough reliable sources on, but I haven't looked, so I could be wrong. But having standards and applying them evenly is what separates a reference work. - Taxman Talk 17:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I can certainly agree with excluding "Joe's geocities page" from being a reputable source, but your first post mentions "fan magazines" and "promotional material". These can definitely be citable as reliable sources. Two hypothetical examples would be Microsoft's promotional material providng the specifications for a new game console and a fan magazine for a sports team interviewing a player. Both of those would be citable as reputable sources. Johntex\talk 17:41, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
OK, I agree, Taxman. So, why am I the only oppose to 4 supports at CM Punk? Sandy 16:32, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
No one else has gotten to it yet I guess. And it would help to have a defined standard. - Taxman Talk 17:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

What is unreliable about verifiable information provided by the very people who create or write about these things? Another example you could add to your list, in addition to the obvious target of the Pokemon, is spoo, which (last time I checked) fails your test because WP:RS deprecates online posts (even acknowledged and archived posts by the author who created the relevant concept). Perhaps WP:RS is broken in requiring scholarly sources for topics where they simply don't exist.

I think the upshot of your argument would be that subjects from popular culture, for which "reliable" sources don't exist, should not be featured. It seems to me that you really want the Pokemon fans to stop wasting their time on such "insignificant" topics and write about something that you think is more important instead (shades of Why Don't You?, but most readers will not get my reference). -- ALoan (Talk) 17:50, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Please don't ascribe intentions to me that I don't have. Some of my previous comments (over a month ago) represented a failure to get at the real problem, and I feel I've done that here. What I want is exactly what I said above, that there be a standard that we uphold in order to protect the quality of our reference work. We don't need to decide on what reliable sources are here, there are places for that. What we should do here is decide on the broader issue. What I am positing is that RS is not broken on that point, but that it is exactly what we need to protect the quality of the project. The question is, what value is there to allowing an extreme lowering of the reference quality standards for some subjects, and how does that allow creating a quality reference work? As above, there are plenty of things Wikipedia is not, and it's ok setting a standard on what we should cover. More importantly featured articles should not be used as a place to highlight failures to follow the verifiability policy. - Taxman Talk 18:07, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I am sorry if I ascribed intentions to you that you don't have. As I said, it seems to me as if that is what you really want (that is, to "focus work where it should be" - the question I was really asking is where do you think that focus "should" be?). I think those articles are as verifiable as it is humanly possible to make them and as verifiable as they need to be. I think many other people agree with me. -- ALoan (Talk) 18:34, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, as to where I think the focus should be, you had to cut off that part of the sentence to quote the above. And we may be talking about different subjects. I'm referring to articles where people have admitted there are no reliable references. Also you haven't answered the core question, if you they are as verifiable as they need to be, how does having an extreme divide in the standards of referencing help build a reliable reference work? - Taxman Talk 19:08, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Taxman, I know you have said that you don't think we need to decide on what a reliable source is on this page, but I am reluctant to drop that issue becuase your initial statement here raises the very issue. I can certainly agree with excluding "Joe's geocities page" from being a reputable source, but your first post mentions "fan magazines" and "promotional material". These can definitely be citable as reliable sources. Two hypothetical examples would be Microsoft's promotional material providng the specifications for a new game console and a fan magazine for a sports team interviewing a player. Both of those would be citable as reputable sources. Therefore, I can't agree with your first post because I object to the suitability of examples you are providing in making your case. Johntex\talk 18:45, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Then ignore the examples. Get to the issue. No need to duplicate your post on something that doesn't speak to the issue. - Taxman Talk 19:04, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
You're being needlessly curt, don't you think? My post does go to the issue. It seems you would like to say that these sources disqualify an article from being featured. I can't support that kind of thinking. Johntex\talk 19:51, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't necessarily agree with the following, but I'm sure I'm not the only one it's occurred to: bite the bullet and accept a two-tiered FA list. Taxman and ALoan are both right in that a) certain topics are not given to sources that are generally considered acceptable on other FAs (look at Sandy's example above) b) rigorous enforcement on Taxman's suggestion will mean that certain subjects cannot, de facto if not de jure, become Featured articles. Some will, of course, howl bloody murder if we set-up a "kids corner", but maybe we have to accept that a WWE wrestler should not be roped into the same list as a country or an astronomical object. Marskell 18:50, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I think the idea deserves discussion, so please don't take this as saying I'm against the idea, but I thinkt he solution is even simpler, which is to ask ourselves whether the sources are reputable and verifiable in the context of the subject. Just as a quote from a WWE wrestler should not carry much weight in an article on Pluto, so too the typical astronomer should not be quoted on a WWE article. Johntex\talk 18:57, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
This is true, but you have ask yourself whether the source the quote is coming can be trusted for quotes period. Are thesetwo pages reliable sources? If you say no (I think I would) then CM Punk, despite obviously enormous effort, cannot become an FA based on Taxman's argument. Marskell 19:03, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
And if you extend that argument it allows lowering the standards of referencing for some subjects only until there is no standard anymore. Again, how does that contribute to a reliable reference work? How is a double standard for some subjects equitable? - Taxman Talk 19:08, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
First, as our own page states, invoking the slippery slope ("only until there is no standard anymore") can be valid or fallacious. In this case I think it's the latter as it would be possible to institute two-tiers and enforce standards at both. But as I said off the top, I'm not necessarily in favour, as I realize how fraught segmenting the list would be. But we do need to consider how fraught the logical outcome of your argument is, as well: certain topics cannot be featured articles. Marskell 19:24, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
It's not a fallacious slippery slope argument because I'm essentially saying we are at the bottom of it if we are arguing it is ok to use whatever source there is about some subjects but not others. - Taxman Talk 19:36, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Wow-ho. Weaker standards and no standards are not synonyms. You could allow, say, stuff from organizations whose existence can be verified (Kick Ass Kansas Wrestling, say) but whose publications would not normally be accepted for an FA, while still disallowing blogs (which, I agree with you should almost never be allowed). Anyhow, I was only throwing out the above as food for thought. Marskell 19:45, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
An aside, just so it doesn't get lost in the reliable sources shuffle: the prose at CM Punk is so tortured that IMO it's not FA anyway. Sandy 19:10, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Marskell 19:24, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, to my mind, the questions is simply whether (and what) sources are avaialable. In any case, we should be aiming for the best available sources on that topic. A biographical article about a real person is in a completely different category to an article about a fictional person, place, foodstuff, etc. With a real and notable person, sources like newspaper reports, biography, press releases, etc. should be easy to find. With a notable fictional item, you have to rely on what exists - fan material, material published by the creator, etc. So long as it can be cited and verified, and is the best that can be found, where is the problem? -- ALoan (Talk) 19:19, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
But I think what Tax is getting at is that if we have to rely on fan material, we have to accept that these do not meet standard and should be rejected as FAs. Marskell 19:24, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Part of the problem can be found right here. Do some of the kinds of sources we see at CM Punk have the necessary independence, objectivity, and teams of fact checkers that we normally associate with WP:RS? And, if we open this door, we start sliding down a slippery slope in terms of distinguishing between some of these websites and blogs, and soon that slippery slope could be affecting, for example, political articles. Letting some of these sources through weakens WP:RS. Sandy 19:27, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
But we should not need websites and blogs for political articles. We should have newspapers and press releases and manifestos and so on. We ought not to need websites and blogs for biographies. I don't know Mr CM from Adam, but is there no yearbook? No potted biography? But for other topics, the websites and blogs (and primary published materials) will have to do. -- ALoan (Talk) 19:34, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Why is it acceptable to have no standards of sources for some articles and have higher standards for others? - Taxman Talk 19:37, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that articles with extremely low quality sources get promoted as if they have high quality ones. Look ____ is a FA. That promotes the creation of other articles with no sourcing standards. Why is it ok to say that for some subjects you can use any existing source, whereas for others that same quality of source would be excluded? How does that build a reliable reference work. Self published sources are excluded for a reason. - Taxman Talk 19:36, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Ho-hum. I can see a circle developing but will add to Tax that many will argue that WP:V and WP:RS are what "will have to do," and that's all there is to it. IMHO, blogs should almost always be rejected here. You don't have a better source? Don't add the material. Marskell 19:45, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
This may sound like a very, very dumb question, but if an article lacks reliable sources (or, to be more specific, lacks sourcing as allowed for in WP:V and WP:RS), why are they being promoted? I know that the whole "featured article" thing is largely subjective, but certainly an article being a proper article in terms of sourcing and style is a minimum requirement anyway, and articles are deleted for less. --badlydrawnjeff talk 19:48, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Taxman specifically mentioned Torchic and Charizard (although Bulbasaur was the trail-blazing Pokemon). I mentioned spoo.

  • Are they notable? Yes (so they survive WP:AFD and can in principle be "featured").
  • Do they have references to support their assertions? Yes (and so meet WP:V).
  • Are the references "reliable" enough? I would say yes, they are as good as it gets. Taxman says they do not meet WP:RS.

What are the references? I can't see any blogs (although a blog would surely be capable of being used for who writes the blog, if disclosed, or what they said in the blog, for example). There are citations of websites, but then some of the websites are places like PR Newswire ("proper" newspapers have websites, for goodness sake - should we not cite them?) or corporate sites like Hasbro (surely it is acceptable to support what a company says about its own products with a citation to its own internet publications?). There are links to "fan" websites, but then some are considered "authoritiative" within their field (which presumably means that people who know and care about these things accept that they are independent, objective and fact-checked - i.e. correct often enough - to be used as references). Then there are DVDs, and printed sources like the "official" handbook, players guides, manuals, etc. Honestly, I do not see the problem.

As a counter example, which is near to my heart, Dürer's Rhinoceros has two principal sources. Admittedly, they are rather good sources - published works in a scholarly style, with footnotes and all - and they are supplemented by other sources on particular points, but it has to be horses for courses. The standard is the same - provide the best verifiable sources that you can. --- ALoan (Talk) 20:18, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I can't believe I'm hearing you say that any available source is ok if that's all there is. Luckily WP:V says different. - Taxman Talk 21:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell us what is wrong with the sources in those articles. -- ALoan (Talk) 21:09, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
For one, there is almost no out of universe information. For another each of the sources is essentially promotional for Pokemon or gaming thus failing neutrality. They essentially have a lack of the qualities that Kingboyk points out below. When you put together that every source in the article has qualities that would cause it's use to be questioned, the overall result is a lack of reliability. In fact lack of out of universe information would be a good standard to use also. That defines when a topic is being fluffed up beyond what the sources can support. But that's not even needed if we set a baseline for the quality of sources that can be used. - Taxman Talk 21:29, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, I don't see how a lack of out-of-universe information (and there probably is a deficit on that account, as that sort of information is very difficult to find) can be attributed to sources "not being reliable". Your first complaint is about the content of the article, not its sources. As far as I can see, the cited sources do support the assertions in the article in a verifiable and reliable manner. -- ALoan (Talk) 10:07, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

I think I'm pretty much agreeing with the consensus now, but I feel like be wordy anyway :) Pass on by if you're not interested.

Promotional information, CD sleeves etc are fine if they're reporting what the participants said ("Company X said Y about the product") or who produced an album (obviously). That is a concession we have to make for popular culture articles. Information such as chart placement statistics, units sold, and critical opinion must come from indepedent reliable sources per WP:RS and WP:V, there can be no concession there.

I think "fan" sites may be OK in very (very) limited circumstances, but the onus must be on the article to prove the veracity of it's sources. WP:KLF uses the KLF discography at as it's authorative discography, but we provide a rationale in our references which nobody has objected to yet: That is, the discography has been 10 years in the making, has been scrutinised by the KLF mailing list over those years, and is quite simply the most accurate and complete discography available. I've even seen referenced as a source in the quality newspapers. (Digression: I recently heard a radio interview with Bill Drummond, the presenter directed listeners to Wikipedia for biographical info :))

We also have to accept that music (my area of expertise) has it's own journals of authority. NME, for example, is probably just about the most reliable popular music journal there is. It's writers interract with the music scene day in day out, and write only about music. They're experts (even though many of them are very young). They interview the bands personally, and get all the press releases and promotional releases. Less focussed but more prestigious sources such as the broadsheets don't always do their research so well and can get even the most basic information wrong. (I've seen a broadsheet article saying Drummond was born in Skye, actually he was born in South Africa; I've also seen him referred to as "Phil Drummond"). --kingboyk 20:49, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Firstly, WP:V says that "Sometimes a statement can only be found in a publication of dubious reliability ... If it is important enough to keep, attribute it to the source in question."
Secondly, no sources are unimpeachable, however "reliable". -- ALoan (Talk) 21:08, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Right. But nonetheless, I think it responsible for authors to critique their own sources to an extent. Certainly they should aim to get the most reliable sources and not just use the first thing that comes to hand. --kingboyk 21:33, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I think there's a wider problem than just how we compare FAs: on the one hand we should have the highest standards for requiring sources regardless of the the article topics (otherwise we are devaluing the work of those who provide those high quality sources in their FA candidates), but on the other, if we don't have some leeway for the "pop culture" articles there is a chance of alienating those contributors (either from the FA process or from Wikipedia altogether). It comes down to asking what the point of FA is, and personally I think it is as much a driver for improving article quality in general as it is about showing off a tiny number of top-notch articles. The tiniest new-born stub (having survived the prodding of new page patrol) has something to aim for in FA, and it is the FA standard that pushes article improvement forward. If you drive off sections of the community from FAC, by demanding sources of a standard that doesn't exist for their topic, you run the risk of a general lowering of standards and FA becoming a niche category. In addition "our best work" doesn't necessarily mean the same standard for every FA - I don't think anybody would expect the same level of scholarly research in CM Punk as they would for say Julius Caesar. In general I think WP:RS has it right - prefer peer-reviewed published papers, reject blogs and forum posts, and make do with what is in-between. There's nothing wrong with demanding the highest quality sources for an FA, but I think we have to accept that the highest quality sources will vary article by article. I'd love to see all articles cited to the same high level, but I don't think Wikipedia (or the world) has evolved that far yet. Yomanganitalk 23:44, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
  • I fully support in principle Taxman's ideas, and what some say are their implications: yes, some articles, by the nature of their subject, cannot become featured articles. At the risk of being curt: deal with it. I am quoting from my user page now, which currently has a screed about my "break from article assessment":

    It's like the [FA] system has forgotten, or failed to consider, the larger meaning of a featured article to this project. A featured article says, 'this is what an encyclopedia is for, and this is how well we can do it!'. That bold part is quite important.

Being a next-generation encyclopedia, we have some wiggle room in the area of "the purpose of an encyclopedia", but choosing to feature content that is so tangential that the top twenty results of a Google search could essentially serve just as well as that content's references—this is definitely not on the right track. Elitism is, in a sense, built into the FA process. If you're choosing what content to feature as the best, you have to take this approach. Yet, incorrectly, the elitism is dropped, and replaced by an awkward relativism, when it comes to the judgment of what topics are appropriate for an encyclopedia to feature. Why?-because the current definition of an FA wimps out on the issue. I'm not saying that elitism should drive topic choices, but I am saying that there is a strong correlation between poor-quality references and the average judgment of the "encyclopedic value" of the related content. –Outriggr § 00:54, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes, yes, yes. Our FAs are supposed to be the best of the best, the highest mark of quality, and Wikipedia's best practices. Why on earth are we passing articles that fail WP:RS? That page is quite clear on when self-published sources can be used (i.e., only for what the author believes and has said). We should not be using self-published sources (be they fan pages, fliers handed out at the airport, or blogs) for analysis and the like. Nevertheless, articles are squeaking past FAC that do just that. I am currently embroiled in a debate with one particular user who is shirking WP:RS to add all sorts of crazy information to an article (they are using a dubious, self-published website and a self-published book as their sources for this). I will never, ever accept that in some cases it's okay to use Bob's Geocities page as a reputable and reliable source of anything other than what Bob's Geocities page says. This should be a non-issue. -- BrianSmithson 02:20, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

  • It is important not to get carried away with this concept. Articles should use the best, most reliable sources available; let us remember that we are not a classical information database, we are cutting edge, and our coverage of pop culture is second to none. Let's not get pointlessly obsessed because pop culture has to use multiple referencing to cite a point instead of one book source. Let's also remember that our pop culture featured articles are actually good AND accurate - paranoia over not being "reliable" enough is not good. Let's not alienate pop culture writers, because if certain people find their hard work being omitted because the topics they contribute to don't have huge historical texts written by people like Bernard Fall, they could very well leave this project and focus my energy elsewhere. Let's keep some realism. And no, lack of so-called "reliable" sources does not mean the article is unnotable; you see, there isn't a major in school called "RPG analysis", or series of novels based on "Final Fantasy VIII". Common sense also dictates that if an article does the best job it can at citing the most reliable sources available, than the material presented provides the BEST POSSIBLE AND MOST ACCUTATE EXPLANATION POSSIBLE. Encyclopedias are not gods; they are only as good as the source material. And if certain notable topics have less so-called "reliable sources", then oh well - we'll have to accept the fact that reliable is in the eye of the beholder. As for self-published sources, I agree that most are unacceptable, but to de-feature an article because it doesn't have book sources or reviews by Ebert and Roper is a little excessive. — Deckiller 02:38, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
    • Perhaps I was a little overreacting, but my biggest worry is seeing hard work de-credited because users get too carried away with RS and overanalyze it. I rarely debate; when I do, it's usually because I find myself seeing a "rock and a hardplace" issue developing. I don't source forums and geocities pages; I cite from interviews, the most reliable sources possible in the gaming community (the highest level mags and websites), and manuals/text when necessary. I've gone to the library a few times, and I just can't find a book chronicling the history of final fantasy (if I could, that would be great, as it would reduce paranoia). As an afterthought, in looking at what research the others did on Final Fantasy IV, I do see some geocities sources in there (which is not something I agree with; there are plenty interview and article searches on the internet that can easily negate self published sources) — Deckiller 02:41, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

As another editor who works on pop culture articles (including a couple of FAs), I thought I'd share my thoughts. My primary interest is in machinima: animated filmmaking within real-time virtual 3-D environments (read: game engines). This is a subject for which a few peer-reviewed academic articles have been published (and more are forthcoming), but they currently cover only a small portion of the topic. A couple (non-self-published) books exist and are much more thorough in their treatment. Obviously, theese are all reliable sources, and we should be citing them when applicable. But, in preparing the article on Diary of a Camper (a featured article about the first machinima video, released in late 1996), my research found that one of the books mentioned three (then-)self-published sites as major download and review resources for the machinima community in its early years. Two of the three have since been archived by and GameSpy, respectively, and, as a result, are no longer strictly self-published. The third, however, remains self-published. Yet, given that a reliable source has mentioned all three in the same breath, so to speak, putting them more or less on equal footing, it didn't seem quite comprehensive to me, in the interests of portraying contemporary reception (mind you, the articles and books were written in the last couple years, not anywhere close to 1996), to cite only two of the three sites and to leave out the other (in any case, I was careful to attribute the reviews as individual opinions, and to source the enumeration of the three sites to the book). Another factor is that the self-published site has been cited by other reliable sources (the Walker Art Center's website presentation on machinima uses it for background information on certain productions).

So the line can get blurred a bit, and, as WP:RS states, there is a spectrum of reliability. I completely agree with kingboyk that we shoud always be searching for high-quality sources, and to use those when we can. Certainly, if there is nothing but dubious sources and the work itself for a topic, then a reasonable article cannot be sustained; we deal with this all the time at WikiProject Machinima. In these cases, then the article should probably be AfD'ed (which, of course, makes the FA issue moot) or merged into a broader topic (in the case of being too narrow of a focus on an element of fiction). So, yes, there are some things that shouldn't be on Wikipedia, and some things that should, but not as separate articles.

I don't know that it's necessary to have a dual standard if the standard is to avoid certain unconditionally unreliable sources (anonymous online posts, blogs not written by a reputable subject expert or journalist) and to require the best sources available otherwise. One issue with this is that it does assume that people are familiar with what the "best sources available" are for given subject areas, which is not always a simple matter, either. For example, a number of academics are beginning to focus on game studies, and some peer-reviewed articles are beginning to appear, but the coverage is currently patchy. Perhaps in 5 ro 10 years or so, we'll be able to demand peer-reviewed articles on the most notable video games. But that's unrealistic right now, and the current state of the art in terms of sourcing, for most such topics, are, as Deckiller mentioned, gaming magazines and reputable sites like IGN and GameSpy.

As for people trying to extrapolate "X is a FA, so...", if people are trying to use the same referencing standards on science as they are on video games, that's a problem of false analogy, I would think. As for the Pokémon issue in particular, this subject area is inherently fraught with issues about how best to structure articles, given size of the franchise. I can't say that I entirely agree that every Pokémon needs its own article, but that ship appears to have long sailed for the time being. Large franchises of fiction will always have some issues of how to structure subarticles to ensure out-of-universe comprehensiveness and accessibility to a general audience and yet minimize unnecessary details. — TKD::Talk 09:47, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Like Taxman, I think this discussion applies to more than just pop-culture articles. What about someone like James Elliott (politician)? Not likely to find many sources about the guy, but I don't think there would be any trouble on AfD. I could probably do some more researching and write a three-paragraph article using available sources, but that's about it. At that point, do I apply for FA status? Based on what I've seen, I don't think that would stand a chance. The claim that anything that survives AfD is potentially featureable is all well and good, but impractical in reality. It'd take a real paradigm shift to change this. --Spangineeres (háblame) 23:42, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
  • One thing to keep in mind: insisting on proper application of WP:RS (ie, no self-published books or fan websites) will only disallow most fan culture topics temporarily. While we would like, in principle for all articles that survive AFDs to be able to become FAs, it is OK to say that some articles are "not yet ready". For example, anything with a {{future}} tag on it, like 2008 Summer Olympics, no matter how well-written will not pass FA, and everybody is OK with that. Pop culture does take a while to seep into academia, but it will eventually happen, and sooner than you think. There are tons and tons of newly-published scholarly papers on Harry Potter for instance (e.g. look here) and I have no doubt whatsoever a rigorously sourced Harry Potter FA can be written. So insisting on correct sourcing standard will not doom all pop culture FAs, but it will only "delay" them a little, much like current events articles have to be "delayed". Borisblue 14:27, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

As a note, there is a proposal to combine WP:V and WP:NOR (and some parts of WP:RS) into one policy page, Wikipedia:Attribution. The currently proposed page contains an explicit exception for articles dealing with popular culture, allowing relevant Internet posts by named or known pseudonymous subject matter experts, and for well-known fansites to be used on a case-by-case basis (to be decided by relevant WikiProjects). — TKD::Talk 10:45, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

  • I think that more important then the topic is what is being cited. If a statement about public reception, then a magazine, or newspaper article would be acceptable, but I would think that if you referenced MULTIPLE forums or fan sites all that show a near consensus one way or the other, then I'd pass it as a reliable source. Now if it is talking about the Historical impact of a battle, I would want a footnote with a bunch of stats that have a source and defend the claim. Wikipedia's False Prophet holla at me Improve Me 15:43, 20 October 2006 (UTC)


I can't fix this: apparently Stegosaurus put his/her nom inside the Edward III nom, and somehow messed up Bucharest. When you edit Stegosaurus, it includes Edward III and Bucharest. I tried to disentangle it, but can't figure out how. Sandy 15:18, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Seems fine to me. Wiki-newbie 15:21, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

If you edit the Stegosaurus FAC, you see he added it to Edward III, and it also includes Bucharest. If you edit the main page, you see no template for Edward III and Bucharest. I don't know how to explain it, and I don't know how to disentangle it. Sandy 15:30, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

restating: It seems that Bucharest and Edward III had added themselves inside the Stegosaurus nom, instead of as separate entries at the top of the FAC page. I removed those from Stegosaurus, and inserted them as new FACs. Sandy 16:07, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Stegosaurus appears to be by itself. Templates though, oh dear. Wiki-newbie 15:34, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

oh, well, I'll try to fix it myself. Not only did Stegasourus put his nom inside Edward III, but Bucharest linked to his old FAC nom and didn't correct it to the new one. I'm halfway through unsorting it. Sandy 15:52, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, I tried. It was a 3-way problem: Stegosaurus added the nom wrong, messing up Edward III and Bucharest, while Bucharest failed to move the old nom to archive. The FAC page is now correct, but there's still a problem at Bucharest. The failed nom on the talk page links to the new nom: I don't know what to do there. Will someone please doublecheck my work, as I was winging it here. Sandy 16:02, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
restating, Edward III and Bucharest had been added inside Steosaurus, rather than at top of FAC as separate entries. Sandy 16:08, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Gimmetrow has now fixed Bucharest. Thanks! Sandy 16:29, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

I changed Template:FAC-instructions to include an expanded description of subsequent noms: can someone please review what I added? Sandy 16:36, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Just a thought, bu maybe change If you are resubmitting an article for a second FAC nomination to If the article you are submitting has had a previous FAC nomination? This covers multiple FAC nominations and articles that have failed FAR too. darkliight[πalk] 15:17, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Better - I made that change. Sandy 17:35, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Question on quotes

I have a question/doubt: in FAs, is it WP:NPOV to have a third-party quotation about the subject? For example, Albert Einstein saying of Mahatma Gandhi: "Generations will..." Shouldn't all quotes (especially in FAs) be left to Wikiquote? Is placing Einstein's quote in the biography of Gandhi somewhat of POV-pushing? Rama's arrow 14:38, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Average turnaround time for a FA to be featured on the homepage

This question might have been asked a number of times in the past, however, can someone please clarify, how a FA to be featured on the homepage gets selected and what is the order which dictates the selection. I must admit a personal interest in this as Chola dynasty, an article nominated by me, hasn't been listed so far in the FA queue, while a number of articles that have been selected much later. - Parthi talk/contribs 00:30, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Have you submitted a request? Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests. Sandy 00:33, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I haven't featured chola dynasty yet because I am not happy with the pictures offered. (Maps make awful main page images) Raul654 00:42, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I have replaced the map with a picture of a temple built during the Chola dynasty. I have also requested clarification on the reuse of the maps from the provider. - Parthi talk/contribs 00:59, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Update: I have just received confirmation from DEMIS BV that the reuse of the downloaded maps is allowed. - Parthi talk/contribs 06:45, 10 October 2006 (UTC)


Are current FAs too long (or, indeed, too short)? I wonder what the longest and shortest FAs are. Are the long ones any better than average? Are the short ones any better than average? Should we expect readers to be able to take a whole article in at one sitting, or should we be aiming for a short master's thesis on the subject that requires a second (third, ...) look for full understanding?

I expect I will get answers like "it depends" and "write only as much as is necessary to meet the criteria", but I would be interested in other people's views. In the interests of full disclosure, I admit that I am not a paragon of concision, and admire the skill of others in writing short but excellent articles. -- ALoan (Talk) 14:46, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

WP:SIZE sums up the issues well: I get concerned when prose size (not overall size) passes 50 KB, and I definitely don't like prose size up around or over 60, because that suggests that summary style might be needed. I wouldn't object to an exemplary short article. Sandy 14:56, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Compare Australia at 50kb and Canada at 80; considering overhead, I'd guess Canada is twice the size. See White's tree frog at just 15. Marskell 16:14, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Good comparison: with very different overall sizes (due to overhead), Canada and Australia have similar (and appopriate) readable prose size, with Australia at 32KB, and Canada at 37KB. (I had to fix Canada to confrom with WP:LAYOUT while I was in there; never understand FAs that don't conform with guidelines :-) Sandy 16:34, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Sandy, how are you deducing the precise amount of prose only? Marskell 17:12, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
From what I was told here: makes sense. It's a "hackish" way to cut out everything but the prose. Sandy 17:17, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm of the opposite camp where I consize the article size to be a completely artificial constraint. I think the article content should be judged on its own merits, rather than technical issues. Yes some good, tight prose is agreable, but not at the expense of losing useful and interesting information. :-) — RJH (talk) 14:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Why can't you have both good tight prose AND useful and interesting information? Please see Wikipedia:Summary Style. Borisblue 05:12, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I personally wish that the WP:SIZE rules were more strictly enforced. A lot of people do read wikipedia casually, and forcing them through 80kb+ worth of text in the first article they encounter (which is usually the TFA) sets a very bad impression, and they will not learn very much about the topic if they give up reading past the lead. To Aloans original question, a featured article should appeal to both kinds of readers- the casual ones, and the readers who are using the article as a starting point for serious research. These are not mutually exclusive goals- articles written in proper summary style will satisfy both needs. Borisblue 05:22, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I really don't think the length of articles should have any bearing on an article's FAC; what the extra bytes are taken up with is what matters. We have both the incredibly short and oh-my-goodness-how-is-there-so-much-to-write-on-this-subject long: it's a case-by case basis really. Dev920 (check out this proposal) 08:11, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Heh. White's Tree Frog is nowhere near our shortest FA. At about 12K of prose, it's large compared to Hurricane Irene (2005) (~7K) and Diary of a Camper (~9K). And, having worked on both Final Fantasy VII and Diary of a Camper (a size factor difference of 10), I felt that the articles were of appropriate length for their respective subjects; the former was about a multi-disc groundbreaking RPG, the latter about a genre-establishing 100-second video. Meeting the comprehensiveness criterion is far more important than adhering to WP:SIZE. Given that recent efforts have focused on minimizing articles that consist of only plot summary, in order to ensure proper context, articles on fictional works will do their best to summarize the plot in one piece; for some articles, that piece will be necessarily somewhat long, to esure that the uninitiated reader can follow what's going on. — TKD::Talk 01:58, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Third-party request

Because the FAC process is concerned with brilliant prose, I'd like to make a request for a third-party copy-edit. For a few weeks, I've been editing The Princess Diaries (film) article and with User:Shannernanner, wrote a plot summary. Now, we're familiar with film's content and Shannernanner concluded that the writing is voiced in an "in-style universe". We added the appropriate clean-up tag, but nobody has answered it. If there's a third-party editor who has not heard of The Princess Diaries or knows relatively little about it, we'd be happy if you helped stylize the writing in a more "universal voice". Thanks to everybody! Never Mystic (tc) 13:59, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I've replied on the article's talk page. — BrianSmithson 22:20, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Comparing with other encyclopedias

Because our goal is to be better than Encyclopedia Brittanica or Encarta, I think that as part of the FAC process, a comparision with the respictive articles (if they exist) in other encyclopedias should be a requirement. What do you think? CG 15:06, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the onus is on the principal editors of any given article (particularly potential FAs) to make such comparisons themselves. I don't believe a requirement makes sense because it's unworkable, unenforceable and a tad authoritarian, but the principle underlying any potential FA - ar any WP article at all - ought to be, is this article as good as it can be?... without appealing to notions of competition with other encyclopedias, etc. I don't believe it is or should be our goal to be better than Britannica, et al, but simply to be comprehensive, fair and compelling. Pinkville 22:28, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Finding out if an articles is as good as it can be should certainly include a look at others (I definitely had "make it better than Encarta" in mind when working on Jaguar) and, though I'm too tired to dig up the quote, "better than Brittanica" as a goal has been suggested by Jimbo. But a requirement would indeed be unworkable and would actually waste energy and lead to argument ("I've found a para they have and we don't--oppose") and reduce FA throughput. Marskell 23:08, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Having problems with a reviewer

User:Tony1 objected to redshift FAC for reasons that varied from what I considered reasonable and actionable to reasons that I considered ignorant and unsourced. I said as much and he took offense (and also took offense to me "pestering him" on his talkpage). He posted a rather acerbic reply and I tried to mend fences, but he responded very curtly to my response. As such, I'm not sure what to do. Can somebody help me break this person out of their shell or at least read through the exchange to see what can be done? --ScienceApologist 15:31, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

He objected, you reacted badly. I only see you as taking offense (calling him ignorant instead of explaining the scientific technicalities), he took defense after your attacks.
I would, however, recommend removing this thread. Just resolve the differences instead of bickering about them. Joelito (talk) 15:46, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I understand the distinction between calling a person ignorant and labeling his comments as such, but your choice of language was a bit provoking, wouldn't you agree? You explained why you disagreed with Tony's comments. Adding the final sentence about them being editorially unsound was a little overboard, if you ask me.
You replied to Tony's comments on the FAC, then posted a message asking for a reply on his user page one minute later. This gives the impression that either you are impatient or the objector is wasting your time by not responding quickly. Be patient, wait for replies on the FAC. If someone has not responded to a critical comment in a couple of days, then is it appropriate to post a kind reminder on his talk page to ensure that he has not forgotten about it. Until then, however, give him a chance to respond at his own pace. Just my thoughts — I hope the rest of your FAC goes well. Pagrashtak 16:17, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Please be more patient, recognize that Tony has a long line of people looking for comment and copyedit help, and do your article a favor by heeding his copyedit commentary. Sandy 01:51, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Speedy Redshift promotion

On technical/scientific subjects, I typically wait a week for knowledgeable experts to weigh in before entering my vote. The last article I recall that was promoted in 5 days was Daniel Boone; it had 100% support. (There have probably been others promoted that quickly, but Daniel Boone stood out in my memory because it was such an exemplary candidate.) Why was Redshift promoted in only 5 days, with an Object two Objects, and without allowing time for more votes? Sandy 02:26, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It doesn't make sense to me to have this article accepted as FA when there is still (unresolved) contentious discussion going on. Pinkville 02:34, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
The fact that it had two previous FACs may have been a factor. Marskell 19:05, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

attribution of writers - an idea from es

I followed an interwiki FA link and found an idea that I think is quite neat being used for the Spanish version of FA that I've added below. See es:Discusión:Segunda Guerra del Congo for its original habitat.

Resumen de la elección
Segunda Guerra del Congo
Rakela Contribución destacada
Rupert de hentzau
Wikipedia:Candidatos a artículos destacados
Fecha de promoción
23 de octubre (2006)

Or, pulling out my high school Spanish:

Summary of candidacy
Second Congo War
Rakela Featured contribution
Rupert de hentzau
Wikipedia:Featured article candidates
Date of promotion
23 October 2006

The usage on en allows an indefinite number of primary editors to be listed, which may be if this was a template.

I often don't know who writes our featured articles because I don't look through the history for the time of the nomination. Similarly and without naming names, I sometimes see people claim FAs on their user page and, when I go take a look, their contribution looks very marginal and the claim might not gain consensus if put before a group. Thoughts on possible use on en? - BanyanTree 02:02, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Pages don't have single editors. Some pages reach featured status primarily because of one person, yes, but there's no garauntee it'll stay like that. Furthermore, articles can (in theory, unlikely in practice) be promoted by someone who hasn't actually worked on the article at all. In many many many cases articles reached featured status only through the efforts of a large group of people. Attributing in this manner is entirely impractical, and in my mind, entirely un-wiki in its base philosophy. Fieari 03:49, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
At the same time, eswiki has a different philosophy than enwiki does. The Spanish Wikipedia is much more product-oriented (for example, most users who gain adminship there do so after writing a considerable number of articles) and it has a smaller editor base, so there's a larger chance that editors do get to work completely by themselves on an article. By the way, there's a couple articles on WP:CAD that do not list their main editors, and I remember watching a few that do list more than one. Titoxd(?!?) 04:33, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
The Spanish Wikipedia is much more product-oriented
most users who gain adminship there do so after writing a considerable number of articles
Time to learn Spanish, methinks! –Outriggr § 05:19, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
I noted above with the "indefinite number of primary editors" sentence that listing more than one editor was allowed. And the "promoter" you mention appears to be the same as the nominator, and their different roles are clearly indicated.
Clearly, some articles might be attributed to, for example, WP:MILHIST if they do not want list every editor who was involved. Similarly, despite watching Rosa Parks in its FA push, I do not think I could create a list that does justice to the diversity of editing at different times and leaving it blank might be the best solution. But most FAs seem pretty clear cut, e.g. "Mickey and Daffy wrote most of the text prior to placement on FAC, while Goofy contributed the graphs." It would be absurd to claim "lead contributor" status for copyediting and such, especially after the nom has begun.
I may be dealing with an atypical subset of FAs, but this seems both flexible and, in its recognition of good work, completely wiki in its philosophy. With gratitude to those who help maintain articles post-FAC, someone has to get the FA ball rolling and I think those people should be noted at the article. It also just seems weird to me that there is a List of Wikipedians by featured article nominations rather than one by featured article contribution. - BanyanTree 14:18, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
Nope, I disagree. The history tab tells you all you need to know about contributors as is. This idea will lead to a lot of uncessary conflicts and bad blood as people argue who deserves to be "primary contributor" Borisblue 04:00, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Incidentally, Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by featured article nominations lists successful nominations, not just nominations in general. It should, of course, be taken with a grain of salt—some people add themselves to the list after copyediting an FA during the FAC process, and sometimes the nominator (the measure typically used on the list) had little to do with the writing of the article. --Spangineeres (háblame) 13:11, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
I give way to the consensus. Thanks to all for their thoughts. - BanyanTree 13:52, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
You may want to take a look at {{maintained}} (I have it on all of the FAs I've written, such as GTAW and Operation Auca). While it doesn't address the issue of who actually wrote the article, it at least tells people who is interested in perserving the content. --Spangineeres (háblame) 15:56, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Opposed, for the record, won't work here, and will open big and unnecessary cans of worms. Sandy (Talk) 16:26, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Early promotion

I don't know if it happened only to me, but several times, I add a late comment to FAC, but then, it gets featured immediatly and therefore no one sees it (Look at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Amchitka). Could we make a rule that an article should be featured only if the nomination didn't get activity for the last 3 days (or 5 or a week), or at least no object or comments? CG 06:36, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Same with defeaturing (Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/History of Solidarity). The discussion (and votes) were going on for several days after it was removed, and at least one user later told me he was ready to withdraw an objection but didn't want to comment at what he saw as an 'archived' nom (meaning that while article got removed 5 days after listing with 5:4, 3 days later it was 8:3). Amchitka certainly should receive more comments; serious objections were completly ignored by the author :( -- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  13:42, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think we need more rules. Raul does a good job of judging whether or not there is consensus, and often delays promotion due to late objects. Unfortunately, as more and more articles go through the FAC process, everything needs to go a bit faster to keep this page at a reasonable size. Mistakes will be made, but I think for the most part things here (I can't speak for WP:FAR) go pretty well, in my experience. --Spangineeres (háblame) 13:05, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Well there's always the FAR listing for review of FAs. I agree that the Amchitka article could still be improved per the FAC comments. Perhaps the comments could be added to a to-do list on the article's talk page so they may be addressed at a future date? — RJH (talk) 22:10, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Atomic theory

Sorry, my focus is completely shot because of the devastating fire and deaths in California: can someone figure out why an old atomic theory nom just appeared at the top of the page? Sandy (Talk) 16:24, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Atomic theory is back again, needs to be removed. Sandy (Talk) 12:42, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Is this Fair?

I'm not sure if I'm going to the right place with this, but I just had an article in an FAC and it was failed. However, the oppose votes came within the last two days, and the one before that had no more issues (I had just finished taking care of them). Should I just wait and open another later on, or was it unfairly closed? I suppose it had been going on for a while, but it wasn't the last on the list. I was just wondering what the community's opinion on this was, since I can't get Raul's. I wouldn't be bothered that much, but I thought I was making good progress on the FAC comments, and I'm little confused. It also happends to be my only project on wiki, and it's the only thing that's kept me here.--Clyde Miller 20:40, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Just open a new one when you feel the opposing concerns have been addressed. Joelito (talk) 20:46, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Should I go to another peer review or something? The only problem left was prose and I asked people to copyedit it for me because it was in an FAC, but now that's over, I'm worried. How can I improve it further without other input? --Clyde Miller 20:54, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
You had people offering to help out when it was a FAC, try contacting them directly and asking them to continue to make suggestions to you. Instead of commenting on the FAC page, they'll just be commenting on the article talk page or on your talk page. I'd assume that the people who were helping you out before would be willing to continue. Then resubmit it to FAC when you know they'll be willing to support the article, or, if you like, another peer review first. Neil916 (Talk) 21:05, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Well I feel like I failed them by not getting the article to Featured status, but there isn't much left to do. I asked two people to copyedit, one of them did, and the other one is going to in a few days. After that, there really isn't anything else to fix. Is there an unofficial amount of time I'm supposed to wait before I re-open the FAC?--Clyde Miller 21:16, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Failing FACs

Seeing that Raul wrote on his user page that he'll be away for the week, is it ok to delist articles that have no chance of passing FAC, because the concerns about the article are too great, and no effort has been made to address objections? I delisted {{Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Fox McCloud}}, but I hope I'm not stepping on any toes... Titoxd(?!?) 00:07, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I occationally do that, but people should do that more I agree, but only articles that has no chance like stubs, articles in AFD, articles with no refs, heavy cleanup problems which no one tries to fix, etc. Thanks Jaranda wat's sup 00:40, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Not altogether ok, IMO. I showed Raul this WP:AN/I edit of mine on IRC, and he seemed a little unhappy, not with my removal, but with my general encouragement to FAC contributors to get used to the same sweet feeling. ;-) Seeing as Raul archived/promoted just before he left, common sense tells us he would already have removed anything he thought a sufficiently obvious WP:SNOW case. My conclusion is that, to respect the role of the FA director, we need to leave alone any nomination that was already there when he archived. Please remove only nominations made later, and only stuff like obvious trolling or stubs. AGF and leave a nice note on the user's talkpage. Well, a note. A nice note if it's a newbie. :-) Bishonen | talk 00:42, 12 November 2006 (UTC).
Hrm. I remembered that edit on AN/I, but I didn't know that Raul didn't like it. If you think I should reverse it, feel free to rollback me... Titoxd(?!?) 00:48, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Well the Gloucester County, Virginia FAC is an example of one that should be closed early Jaranda wat's sup 16:36, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't see that a week is a time worth worrying about, and believe that opening the door to other editorss closing FACs will head us down a very slippery slope, and is something that should be reserved for extreme and obviously problematic cases only (example, an FAC re-listed after failing, listed by a known sockpuppet, etc.) It won't hurt anything for cases which will obviously fail, but which were legitimate noms, to wait a week to be closed. Sandy (Talk) 16:58, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I had thought for some time that encouraging SNOW closures was a good idea, but have since come round to the opposite conclusion per Bishonen and Sandy.
One thing that would be a good idea IMO, is a committee of two or three to close. This would a) take pressure off Raul's time b) allow for a bit of individual attention for articles, as opposed to these mass sweeps where 25 drop from the page at once c) allow Raul to note sup/opp (as he occasionally does) without risking a conflict. Marskell 06:39, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

No, just leave them here -- I'll clean them up when I get back. That's why I archived just before leaving. Raul654 12:46, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

List question

Once I've finished with it, can List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people/A-E become a featured list in its own right, or can it only do so as a part of the entire article List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people? Also, I believe there's a record for most number of references? Dev920 (Please peer review here.) 11:09, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

What about Wikipedia:Featured topics? It might be convenient to link them all together. Adam Cuerden talk 13:51, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I just looked at that. But List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people are all lists, whereas the topics seem to have a list to begin with and the articles in it. Or did you mean put the people on the list as the topic? In which case, FT says "collection of inter-related articles that are of a good quality (though are not necessarily featured articles)" , implying that the lists could become featured seperately and thus my orginal question comes into play. Oh, this is so confusing. Dev920 (Please peer review here.) 13:59, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Weel, it would be useful to bunch all the sublists together in some way, if they're of quality, which they seem to be. A featured topic seems a good way to do that. As for the main question: Nominate it and see! Adam Cuerden talk 15:13, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Sure, after I've converted teh otehrs to topics. I'll nominate A-E and see what happens soon. Dev920 (Please peer review here.) 16:20, 17 November 2006 (UTC) FA Nomination

I've been attempting to nominate as a featured article, but can't figure out how to post the nomination on the nominations page. I have the FA discussion page set up, so I was wondering if somebody could list it for me or tell me how to do it. THanks. Yeti man5 23:54, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Have you considered submitting the article first to peer review? Sandy (Talk) 23:57, 19 November 2006 (UTC)