Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive34

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Voting my conscience, Opposing Blancmange-like FAC.[edit]

This is blatant canvassing/forum shopping. – How do you turn this on (talk) 13:15, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree. We don't all need to know you are "voting your conscience". How is this relevant specifically? Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:33, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
He's basically trying to compare my FAC to a start class article. As well as calling it "junk" and "high school" quality, he's attempting to sabotage the discussion with his POV. I'm not at all happy with this behavior. – How do you turn this on (talk) 15:43, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Ling.Nut didn't say high school quality, he said level based on readability, but I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. The encyclopedia should be accessible and easy to read. Taking the reading age of three FAs at random:
The reading age for Mark Speight is about 16, this hardly seems extraordinary or a barrier to an article becoming FA. Nev1 (talk) 16:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm more worried about Ling.Nut's blancmange. It's not very good as a simile and it struggles to make an adjective (surely it must be Blancmangy, as in mangy). Yomanganitalk 17:20, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Comparing a cute blonde to a squishy dessert on a full moon night ... LOL. Sorry, it's been a 12-hour working Friday, dinner is still an hour away, can't resist. NVO (talk) 18:20, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Update: the article's nom has been withdrawn. =Nichalp «Talk»= 18:23, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this thread. Ling, that's fine if you feel an article is not up to standards, and it's fine to oppose, but do we really need to hear about this on the FAC talk page? What were your intentions when starting a discussion here? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 18:48, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

A while ago (archived now, I guess), when Ling.Nut brought up the issue of less than FAC grade articles being passed, SandyGeorgia said the problem was that no one jumped in to Oppose so she was left with no choice but to pass a less than worthy article because of previous Supports from none regular FAC reviewers. She also said something to the effect that to Oppose did not necessarily require writing a lengthy justification. She suggested more Opposes before the article reached the point of passing. It seems to me that Ling.Nut is merely following her advice. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:17, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Ah. Dear All, I'm not gonna keep chipping in to this thread, 'cause HDYTTO is clearly very unhappy. But my motives are spelled out extremely clearly in the Talk page of the FAC, specifically in my replies to Outriggr and Taxman. That's all I'm gonna say, not 'cause I'm taking my ball and going home, but because I sincerely think HDYTTO would rather that I not stand around commenting. So be it. I have midterms to grade. Cheers! Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 19:25, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I realize they are, Ling. I just wanted to repeat what I remember as the jest of what Sandy said. I can't find the thread in the archives as they are not completely arranged chronologically. She clearly said to Ling.Nut that she wanted Opposes to jump in well before she was ready to archive. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:59, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm really getting sick of this "There are problems, but I'm not going to talk about them" attitude. EIther say your full piece to the FAC audience on this page, or don't post these topics in the first place. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:46, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Apples and oranges. I'm not thrilled with automatic archiving because it's hard to find things (that's why I manually forced the Short FA discussions to separate archives), but Mattisse is referring to the discussion about the Urgents template, that I was troubled that it was causing FACs to hang around for two weeks, and reviewers didn't jump in to oppose until a FAC came up on the urgents template. I don't know how reviewers can allegedly know when I'm "ready to archive". SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:02, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
... or even jump in to help until an FAC came up on the urgent list. I've been guilty of that myself. But then anyone who knows me in real life knows that I'm chronically late for everything. I perhaps ought to have been born Spanish; Mañana is soon enough. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:21, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Ling.nut, your comments have really crossed the line. It could have been more WP:CIVIL; this thread was totally uncalled for including comparisons to Blancmange. If you had problems with short articles being featured, you could have commented there objectively, sans the fanfare and razzmatazz. I suggest you try getting a short article featured to see how challenging and difficult referencing is. You did raise a few pertinent points, but your did so in such a condescending manner. Uncalled for, especially your tangential justification. =Nichalp «Talk»= 20:07, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
The problem is we never resolved the issue of "short articles" and "comprehensiveness" when the issue was raised a few weeks ago. It is still festering. It is not just Ling.Nut and it is not just this article. See the two roads FACs currently up, for example. Awadewit (talk) 20:24, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I am gonna butt in here, Awadewit. Making a absurd stance against road articles is ridiculous. We may as well delete everything non-special topic related if we want to make Wikipedia what the FAC people want. This is getting as bad as RFA, bias, bad opinions, and over-obsession. No one is gonna be able to get articles on their favorite topics up if people like to be an annoyance and foil problems. I don't care if because of this that you oppose every road FAC I nominate, but as far as I concerned your personal issues, along with Ling.Nut's are gonna eventually hit a brick wall that you can recover from.Mitch32(UP) 20:33, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
FAC isn't about promoting articles on people's "favorite topics" - it is about promoting quality articles that adhere to Wikipedia's policies Moreover, I have been trying to find a compromise at Alt 40 so that the article content is retained - I have suggested a merger. I haven't suggested a deletion. Awadewit (talk) 20:38, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
No, but you seem to have this look like you're gonna eventually go after more. This is a fight you are not going to win. The roads that we choose to work is our choice and in retrospect, you really cannot stop us. There is bias in this cabal and no one seems to have made the effort to call them on it. Roman Catholic Church, U.S. Route 40 Alternate (Keyser's Ridge–Cumberland, Maryland) are examples of a complete bias against something. RCC is the higher one, especially that its been through 5 FACs, all of which have failed. I am sure more will eventually come up. Also, I will say that I have seen bias on this talk page. This includes comments like that if you don't review someone's FAC that they won't pass. This is ludicrous and really a bad look for FAC. Why do you people (not gonna call out names) continue to drive articles downhill and not help people any? Its a serious bias, like RFA, that needs to be solved.Mitch32(UP) 20:43, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Let's try to stay on-topic please. Cheers, –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:55, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

It seems odd to object to an article written to a US high school reading level. Many featured articles are at that level. I'm more concerned about articles at the other end of the readability spectrum: inaccessible to high school students. Gimmetrow 23:58, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Revisiting Wikipedia:Featured short articles[edit]

  • Well OK, I said I wasn't gonna come back here, but Mitch's comments on my talk spurred me on.
  • What may seem worse (or better, depending on your view) is that after posting this, I am not gonna post a single word until everyone is done and we call for a !vote. In fact, I won't even have to !vote, 'cause I'm gonna tell you my !vote right now. :-)
  • I Opposed Wikipedia:Featured short articles for one and only one reason—but in my opinion, it is a truly powerful reason: We just don't have enough reviewers. Let me repeat, my sole reason for Opposing was that we just don't have enough reviewers. Was that clear enough?
  • As I said on my Talk, if the fans of short articles will step up and make a long-term personal commitment to two things, then I will Support:
    1. Personally commit long-term to being dedicated SFAC reviewers, and
    2. Commit to accepting input from other FAC reviewers.
  • That's all! I hope people will discuss. I'm not even gonna watch. if it comes to a vote, then remeber: if we have enough dedicated reviewers, then I automatically Support.
  • later! Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:24, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Well, judging by the fairly-recent surge of short articles at FAC, it seems highly unlikely that there will be a lack of interest, and in turn a lack of reviewers, for short FACs. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:55, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

A process that depends for its launch on the personal long-term commitment of individual Wikipedians seems flawed from the outset. It would be better to build processes that work with the kind of resources we have. Mike Christie (talk) 13:49, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

There's no way a system like this can work without a word limit for featured articles. If no limit is established, the definition of what a "short article" is will always be open to interpretation. (Didn't look at the page, and therefore missed the 1,000-word part. Speight is about 1,700, for the record) I've opposed Featured short articles in the past for concerns about the number of reviewers, and I haven't see a bunch of new reviewers lately. I certainly won't have enough time to get heavily involved in a new process, and most of the other top FAC reviewers probably won't either. Giants2008 (17-14) 18:17, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Why can't it just be melded into this page, where people say: "I am nominating this as an FSA" and it is added to th FSA list if it passes? Wrad (talk) 18:32, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I worry that FSA would become a ghetto of short, poorly-organized and poorly-written articles. My evidence (below) suggests that articles are not failing because they are short, but for other reasons. Thus, I would still like to find a compromise position that would allow all articles to be judged using the same criteria. However, if this is not possible, I am certainly becoming more open to this option than I was before. Awadewit (talk) 20:28, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree unreservedly. I have been against the idea of FSA right from the start, for exactly that reason. Featured lists are bad enough – anyone who thinks a featured list is in any way equivalent to a featured article needs to have their bumps felt. We don't need another shortcut to what is touted as being wikipedia's best. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:53, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Who has said that featured lists are equivalent to feature articles? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:12, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
My mistake. I thought they were both allowed the decoration of a bronze star on the article's main page, which I had assumed was reserved for wikipedia's best work. Silly of me, I see that now. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 21:16, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Guys, hold on, let's just hold the featured list debate for another day, ok? Awadewit (talk) 21:18, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I am quite able to hold two (on a good day even more) ideas in my mind simultaneously. My point is addressed towards FSA, which is relevant to the present discussion; featured lists is done deal, for better or for worse. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 21:26, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't have a lot of time right now to discuss this, and I haven't had a recent opportunity to get intimate with the details around the Mark Speight FAC, but I wanted to chip in to give my opinion, as it was asked in an email. In my experience reviewing and writing FAs and FACs, whether fair or not, my bottom line for supporting or opposing is asking myself if I want to see this particular article on the main page. The small articles are difficult. I supported Grass Fight because I thought it was a well-written and researched article, but the text itself says it didn't really affect much. When Karanacs' next article came around, another small skirmish in the Texas / Mexico series of battles Battle of Concepcion, I think, I didn't know what to respond. I'm not sure what I would think seeing that on the main page: a battle with no significant consequence. So that's hard to judge. Some areas of passion are relatively small in study and impact but for a few people. I think major roads should be featured before small ones. I don't quite understand the importance of professional wrestling. Having lived through a few hurricanes, I'm sick of all of them. If I just don't "get" the article, I tend to shy away from reviewing it. Maybe that's copping out and not opposing when Sandy says people should oppose. So, apologies for not having definite ideas. I guess I'm undecided. --Moni3 (talk) 22:44, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
You were emailed? Who asked you to give input? – How do you turn this on (talk) 13:13, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Hi HDYTTO. Glad to see you adding comments. Sorry you took the FAC thing so hard; I won't bother you again. I still think you could've won out (or at worst, you had a pretty good chance of it) if you hadn't withdrawn. But anyhow, the answer to your question is: that would be me, trying to move the conversation forward. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:20, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
To guess what happened, I've recently been working on an article that kept me from participating at FAC like I normally do. I assume Ling.Nut emailed me because I've been absent from the talk page. --Moni3 (talk) 14:13, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Short articles - what are reviewers doing?[edit]

I have looked at a series of FACs from the last six weeks or so, from articles that could be said to fall into the "short" category for one reason or another:

  • New York State Route 28N - Commenter raised concerns about prose, summary style, lack of context on the route and missing information on its impact. Promoted.
  • Tropical Storm Hanna (2002) - Primarily copyediting and formatting concerns raised at FAC; Promoted.
  • StarCraft: Ghost - General concerns, including whether article could be submitted to FAC (a short discussion ensued on a talk page linked from the FAC), comprehensiveness, sourcing, and copyediting. Promoted.
  • Mark Speight - Concerns raised by reviewers were prose, comprehensiveness, excessive detail regarding death, lack of context for the reader regarding television show; Withdrawn.
  • Hurricane Kate (2003) - Discussion over which hurricane articles should be at FAC; apparently, some Wikiprojects discuss the topic themselves. Not promoted.
  • Effects of Hurricane Noel in the United States - Reviewers question whether or not the article can be merged with parent article. Withdrawn.
  • Hurricane Hernan (2008) - Reviewers question the quality of the prose, particularly overly detailed meterological history. Not promoted.
  • New York State Route 311 - Reviwers question the quality of the prose, what one calls "padding"; one reviewer also points out details that were left out of the article because of incomplete research; Not promoted.
  • Space Science Fiction Magazine - Reviewers ask for context for the magazine; frustration that there isn't more information available to answer questions that reviewers have about influence, distribution, etc.; reviewers ask that more on content of magazine be added, such as titles of stories; suggestions for merger; Not promoted. In her closing statement, SandyGeorgia wrote: "As the discussion about short articles continues, I don't consider this a final sentence on this or any other "short" article"

The first thing to note is that reviewers are still concerned about the issue of "short" articles and they are trying to find a way to deal with them. We need to resolve this issue. The second thing to notice is that different reviewers are hitting on the same solution: for an article to be "comprehensive", it has to appropriately place the subject in context, it has to be well-balanced, and (interestingly) it has to avoid excessive detail. Two of these qualities are already clearly covered by the FA criteria, but the bit about context is not. I therefore propose that we define "comprehensive" as "neglects no major facts or details and includes relevant background information". Awadewit (talk) 20:33, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree with this proposal. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 20:58, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
What exactly is a "major fact"? Wrad (talk) 20:36, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
That is already in the FA criteria. I suggest we stick to debating the changes right now. Awadewit (talk) 20:39, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I like the addition of "relevant background information". To me, that separates short articles from short articles that deserves the FA star. In fact, I have a favourite short article of my own that I hope to be able to bring ro FAC fairly soon which I think demonstrates that point nicely. But then I would think that, of course. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 20:50, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Utah_State_Route_103/archive1 is another example. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:56, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Good proposal. Wrad (talk) 21:01, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate Awadewit's effort to re-initiate and focus the unresolved discussion; watching the FA community go at each other over this issue has not only been concerning, but I'm noting that this shadow of discussion, going back to last month, hanging over FAC is affecting our promotion numbers. I'm sorry that FACs are withdrawn, with hurt feelings, before the community really has sufficient time to weigh in on the nomination, and I hope that this issue will get sorted so that clarity about 1b will emerge and help avoid hurt feelings. The last discussion fractured too many different directions, so I hope efforts to move the discussion forward will be successful. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:06, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Sometimes I am not sure what these terms mean. For example, the focus of the Mark Speight article seemed all out of whack to me. Would "it has to appropriately place the subject in context" take care of that? —Mattisse (Talk) 21:25, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Many issues were raised in that FAC: the lack of balance could be addressed (and was raised) using the summary style criteria. Other reviewers raised a separate point: readers would not properly understand the man's career without more context. Awadewit (talk) 22:03, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not surprised that our promotion rate is slowing. As a project, we've started to take a closer look at shorter articles, and are having trouble getting larger topics passed. When you eliminate them, how many articles are left? As for Awadewit's idea, she is on the money as usual. However, I don't think this should be applied to short articles only; it should apply for all articles that strive to be our best work. Giants2008 (17-14) 22:02, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear - I think this new phrase should be added to the FA criteria, which would apply to all FACs. Awadewit (talk) 22:05, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Would any recent FAs be under threat of a future FAR due to the change? Wrad (talk) 22:07, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't know for sure, but I don't think we should let that stop us even if that were to happen. We should decide on the criteria we want and think are the best. Awadewit (talk) 22:50, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Inserting a couple more for archival purposes: the discussion of short articles began with Tropical Storm Erick (2007), which was withdrawn, and Utah State Route 103, also withdrawn. Also User:Dr pda/Featured article statistics. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:44, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Question: if the clause is added to the criteria, what would be (or would have been) the effect on the short article FA/FACs above? I think we should have tougher criteria. Concerning Sandy's comment about promotion rate dropping: we should strive for quality and not quantity. If better quality, fully comprehensive articles are getting through and not-so-good ones are weeded out, then all the better. --RelHistBuff (talk) 23:36, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Isn't that what this proposal does? Add tougher criteria? Wrad (talk) 23:51, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I think the key issue is what we intend by saying an article is featured. I believe it originally meant "a subset of Wikipedia articles that are the best we have to offer and which are deserving of being featured on the main page". It still means that to many of us. The alternative, which I think some would prefer, is "articles that cannot be improved any further because they are as good as can be achieved". Obviously the latter interpretation allows more in the way of short articles.

My preference has been for the latter interpretation, mainly because I feel we need something that indicates that state, and "featured" is the closest thing we have. However, if it is to be the former, then I'd like to make that clear. If changing the criteria is the best way to do that, then that's fine. However, the argument against giving Space Science Fiction Magazine featured status that I found most convincing was that it should be merged to an article on the parent company, Republic Features Syndicate. I want to think about Awadewit's proposed wording a bit more, but I'm not opposed in principle. But would specifically allowing opposes at FAC on the basis that the reviewer believes the article should be merged to another article serve the same purpose? Mike Christie (talk) 00:12, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I commend Awadewit for bringing up an actual, concrete suggestion. I hope we consider adding Awadewit's phrase, along with a full discussion of the meaning of the "criteria".
Do we all agree on what the terms in the "criteria" mean? Yes, articles should appropriately place the subject in context; I see many articles passed where this is not done. I also see articles passed that are not well-balanced and that go into excessive detail. Many editors seem very clear on what the criteria mean. Do the editors' various versions of the criteria agree? I stare at the criteria frequently and puzzle. To me the criteria are vague.
Since I have only been on Wikipedia since April, 2006, I do not know what the criteria were in 2005. However, it is clear from looking at some FA's from 2005 that, aside from the footnote issue, articles were not required to be well-balanced then. It would be wonderful if we could clarify all this now. The words in the criteria, without clarification, mean little. —Mattisse (Talk) 03:33, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The FA criteria seem vague because some of the terms, e.g. "brilliant", "comprehensive", etc., are subjective. Awadewit's proposal to give a tighter definition of "comprehensive" is an obvious improvement. But I doubt that it will lead to any resoluton of the concerns about short articles, unless the concept of "notability" is also addressed. The Wikipedia notability bar is low – rightly so, to allow the widest range of articles to be included in the encyclopedia. But should the notability hurdle be higher for prospective featured articles? This isn't anti-short article, but a recognition that as things stand an inconsequential article with very little content can meet the criteria (even with Awadewit's added words) and be presented as an example of Wikipedia's best work. That, I believe, is the underlying concern behind this whole debate. Brianboulton (talk) 11:39, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
That seems analogous to arguing that a large piece of jewellery embodies greater workmanship (our best work) than a smaller piece, when in fact the reverse is just as likely to be true. There are some subjects on which there is relatively little information available, and if they're historical very likely that no further information will ever be available. I don't see why that makes them "inconsequential", or unworthy of FA status. "Very little content" does not equate to short, in the pejorative sense it seems often to be used in these discussions, if that's all the content there can ever be. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 11:59, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Quite. I had hoped we'd got away from using short as a synonym for unsatisfactory, but apparently not.
On Awadewit's proposed wording change: it tightens things up a little, but, just as now, reviewers must be prepared to object on their own interpretation of the wording if we are to weed out the articles that are somehow deficient. I don't object to it, but I don't think it is a particularly helpful in solving the problem (on the down side it could cause problems with "long" articles which may now have to include more background detail, forcing the size up further). Personally, I still think the crux of the matter lies in the ability (or willingness) of the editors to find sources. When the reviewers can identify areas in which an article is lacking, what is it reasonable to demand of the editors by way of filling the deficiency? At the moment it appears that a statement of "No sources are available which cover that area" is often taken at face value and the objection voided. Unfortunately, this topic brings us back to the straw poll which killed off the discussion last time. Yomanganitalk 14:14, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
So let me get this straight. If about ten erudite wikipedia editors (some of them professors and authors on the subject) come to a consensus after months of debate and research that the scope of an article is highly limited, the article can still be featured I presume? Can consensus among subject experts override reams of data that the "comprehensive" criteria usually demands? =Nichalp «Talk»= 12:20, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
FWIW, I support Awadewit's clarification of "comprehensive" as I have felt some note on inclusion of context was necessary, especially for more esoteric articles. Am not sure about Nichalp's question above. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:36, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
To answer Wrad's question, I meant that the criterion should be even tougher than Awadewit's proposal. As I said (and Brianboulton stated as well), the added clause will likely have little effect on the short articles coming through now. I agree with Brianboulton that unless bar on notability is raised, we will continue to have this problem. --RelHistBuff (talk) 14:16, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Then let's address these issues. I believe that if we are clear on the criteria, the issue of size will take care of itself. Perhaps, as suggested above, there should be a stricter requirement for "notability", just as FAC has stricter requirements for all the MoS nit picky stuff. Why should we fixate on MoS nit picks to pass an FAC article, when notability is so very easily satisfied and not really addressed? —Mattisse (Talk) 15:07, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The question is boiling down to: do we want every article on Wikipedia to have the potential to become featured? The idea that featured articles are the "best Wikipedia has to offer" suggests that not all articles can be contained within that category, so, in my opinion, it is fine to restrict the category in any number of ways. If we want to institute a higher notability bar than Wikipedia, that is simply another restriction. Clearly, for example, we are much more rigorous about prose, the MOS, and reliable sources than other parts of Wikipedia. Nothing is preventing us from saying "we don't think this is notable enough to be called the 'best of Wikipedia'". Is this what we want to do? Do we want to start drafting a notability criterion? Awadewit (talk) 17:10, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
If an article meets WP:N, why can't it become featured? I stand by my previous statements (not from this particular discussion) that FAs are "Wikipedia's best work", not "Wikipedia's most important work". –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 17:14, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
In answer to Awadewit, basically, yes, as far as I am concerned. And, pace Malleus Fatuorum and Yomangani, I am not against short articles. I am against inconsequential articles of very little content (and I could name some) that try to get featured because there's nothing in the present rules to stop them. Raising the notability bar for featured articles seems an obvious solution. Brianboulton (talk) 17:19, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
WP:N intentionally has a very low bar so as to be as inclusive as possible. Why should FAC demand such a high bar regarding dashes, citation formation, linking, prose, etc. that certainly is not inclusive, yet have no bar at all, basically, for perhaps the most important aspect of an article, the notability of the content? I agree that attempting to set criteria for notability is tricky and that no particular topic should be excluded per se. However, this route seems preferable to me than discussions about article length. Can we at least discuss this? —Mattisse (Talk) 18:02, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
  • The proposal ignores the discussion last time about unknown, and now unknowable, facts. Plato's date of birth etc. This has to be sorted. Johnbod (talk) 19:51, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Since the last discussion got bogged down, we are trying new avenues. Sometimes starting a discussion in a new direction is better than rehashing an old one. We never really considered the notability angle last time. I think we should give it a chance. Awadewit (talk) 19:58, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm all for that, although I can't see anything about notability in the proposal. Nevertherless the old issues don't go away. Johnbod (talk) 20:23, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The first proposal was to add new language to the criteria. The second proposal was to discuss/add a notability criteria. The hope is that the old issues might be solved with one of these new proposals. Let's at least discuss them. Awadewit (talk) 20:34, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I haven't changed my opinion on the likelihood of FAC producing a workable notability criterion from what it was when Ling.Nut raised in this discussion back in March. Mattisse's claim that the question of notability is "so very easily satisfied" sounds like wishful thinking to me. Yomanganitalk 21:42, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
To quote from Yomangani in that debate, "we struggle to define a binary notability measure for use in AFD so trying to produce a graded one for FAC is highly unlikely to be successful". I think in principle a notability criterion for FAC might be a way to delimit "showcasable articles" from "articles that are the best they can get but aren't showcasable". I agree with Yomangani that in practice doubt it would probably not work. Mike Christie (talk)
Guys, this is a bit disheartening. We all agree there is a problem. Can we at least try, momentarily, to work through a solution? If that solution doesn't work, fine. But let's try first. Awadewit (talk) 21:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Broken record time, reiterating Awadewit's concern. WP:WIAFA, 1b currently says:

1(b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details;

Does that need adjustment, refinement, or tightening? Even at AfD, notability is hard to pin down: examining what it means to be comprehensive for FA purposes is within FACs domain. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:01, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The notability issue won't go away just because it's hard to pin down. But let's deal with Awadewit's proposal first. Brianboulton (talk) 22:12, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
To answer Sandy, I believe the comprehensive criterion is fine as it is. Adding Awadewit's context criterion is good, but it will not deal with the problems that we have now. IMO, we should try to address the notability issue first and I believe it will be a separately numbered criterion. --RelHistBuff (talk) 22:23, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Could be a long discussion: methinks I'd best start manually archiving the page again :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:30, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
If it is an improvement, we should still make it, right? :) Even if there are issues to deal, that doesn't mean we shouldn't make this teensy improvement. Awadewit (talk) 22:55, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
OK. I have a proposal for the notability criterion, but I will hold on until after the context criterion is done. --RelHistBuff (talk) 07:07, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Awadewit's "context" proposal[edit]

Awadewit's initial proposal that we add a context criteria is awesome and we should add it. Something like: "The article provides adequate background and context on the subject." Wrad (talk) 21:59, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Or, as she said, "neglects no major facts or details and includes relevant background information". Let's add it. People are already applying this criteria naturally, anyway, and that's how criteria should be born. Wrad (talk) 22:00, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
@Wrad, Re: "let's add it"; the discussion is only 24 hours old, on a weekend. Last time, the discussions got sidetracked partly by moving too fast to polls before everything had been ironed out. There's no hurry; we should hear all voices. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:10, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The discussion above was getting out of control, so I decided to refocus it in a new section with a more specific heading. If I had wanted it added NOW, I would have said "Let's add it now", but I didn't. I fail to see how I did anything wrong at all, so please don't chide me for trying to help when no one else seemed to be paying attention to what this whole discussion was originally about. I didn't start a poll. All I did was refocus things, so I really don't see what you're trying to tell me, here. Wrad (talk) 17:45, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
There's no chiding there, Wrad, although we're all free to let our imaginations run wild.  :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:00, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I see no basis for disagreement here. The fact that this formula won't solve everything is irrelevant - it is a small step forward, away from stasis. Brianboulton (talk) 22:16, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
When Awadewit compiled reviewers' complaints, she noted that 'for an article to be "comprehensive", it has to appropriately place the subject in context.' I think the word "context" is important to include. —Mattisse (Talk) 22:38, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I have a hard time imagining what sort of necessary background information would not fall under the existing requirement for the inclusion of all major facts and details. Requiring the inclusion of minor factors or minor details does not seem to me a good policy. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:01, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
The new suggestion says nothing about "minor facts or details". We are simply elucidating on what we mean by "comprehensive", as this has been a problem recently at FAC. Awadewit (talk) 01:46, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It implies that minor facts or details may be required, since evidently the inclusion of all major facts and details - which is already required - is not itself sufficient. The other problem with your proposal is that it fails to address how much relevant background information is required - is it one cited fact? Or all relevant background information (which would create significant conflicts with the use of summary style)? Basically I am having trouble understanding what your addition actually says that is not already there. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:58, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Speaking frankly, there are competing visions of what should and what should not be permitted to become FA. The general idea is, are FAs Wikipedia's very best articles, or is any article that is as good as it can be eligible to be FA? In practice, this ideological cleft is being expressed in perhaps a couple different areas, but by far the most clearly delineated cleft is in the area of Short Articles. In response, some ideas have been proposed. The idea of two levels of FA has come up and... apparently it has also died for purely practical reasons (not enough reviewers). There is a related strand of thought, apparently manned only by Gimmetrow, that asks, "Should we leave WP:WIAFA alone & distinguish merely between what should and should not be allowed on the Main Page?" But that one also is not within the purview of the folks who are present. Raul and only Raul decides. And even if Raul did devolve that power out to the masses, this would generate a new process with new rules sucking up more and more time of a limited supply of reviewers and other contributors. So the battleground is WP:WIAFA. If I understand your point, it is a correct one: the current wording of 1b does in fact logically entail all of the new proposed text regarding background & context. But applying rules requires more than disembodied logic; it sometimes requires concrete guidance that instantiates and clarifies the perceived intent of the rule. Hence the new verbiage: it's an initiative from folks who think that short articles must be given concrete guidance on the question, "How short is too short?" An article is too short if it doesn't have background and context. Furthermore, the background and context must be fairly well-developed and adhere tightly to the unity of the topic at hand. Is that.. what you want to hear? :-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:27, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes to all of that, but I agree with Christopher Parham and Gimmetrow. I don't actually know yet what any one of the three versions of new proposed wording means operationally, how they solve the problems that have been mentioned, or how we will determine if objections on the basis of these proposals are actionable. In fact, they all could be interpreted as contradictory to crit 4, the need to stay tightly focused on the topic, by actually encouraging extraneous detail to be introduced into articles (detail that might belong better in sub-articles). I understand what you all are aiming for, but I don't yet see how any of these three versions accomplishes that aim; can someone give me an example of how these sample wordings would be applied, and what we mean by terms like "appropriate", "relevant" and "adequate"? If the goal is to say that we expect certain kinds of background info for bios, for example, I'm not yet seeing how this wording accomplishes that. If someone could give a concrete example, based on a past closed FAC, it might help the block I'm having at seeing what you all are aiming for here. I am not seeing what this wording accomplishes or what it changes, but I do see a potential problem in that it seems to call for info that might better be excluded per summary style. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:35, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, you could look at the FACs that I listed above where reviewers asked for more context. I generated this proposal from what reviewers were asking for. I would like to point out that we are never going to come up with a precise definition of "relevant". Reviewers and nominators are going to have to come to a consensus about that. (You can't define "brilliant prose", either, for example.) Awadewit (talk) 05:41, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
(ec)The only rule that would speak directly to the heart of the Short Articles prob would be a hard-coded wordcount rule, coupled with vigilant enforcement existing rules or guidelines regarding coatracks, trivia, summary style, etc. But then we have other probs. Which tack seems better to you? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:43, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
No, I suspect it can be done with wording and without hard-and-fast rules: I just don't see that the wording is doing it yet. Lacking is what kind of context and background is being asked for, so we're not violating crit 4, summary style, and tight focus. What seems better to me? I'd rather leave the wording proposals to the many pros on board: just saying I have the same issue that Gimme and Christopher Parham expressed, that I don't yet see what this wording adds. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:48, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Two things: The "Short Articles Prob" is imaginary. Every time we discuss articles where we feel that promotion was or would be somehow be inappropriate people start trying to address length as if it is the problem, yet nobody has been able to specify why short articles are in themselves problematic. If you can bear to look back through the archives, you'll see that the proposal for a Short FA process didn't die purely from lack of reviewers. Trying to impose a solution that is length-based is lazy and won't solve the problems.
The criteria for the most part don't provide set boundaries. They are always interpreted by the reviewers and the editors. Their application varies from review to review and reviewer to reviewer. The 1(b) criterion as it stands already logically encompasses the proposed wording change it is true, but clarifying it by adding any of the proposed wording changes gives less wiggle room to those wishing to wiggle. I don't believe this really touches the problems in itself but it doesn't do any harm. Yomanganitalk 10:37, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with you. But what, in your view, is the problem? Mike Christie (talk) 11:22, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It might be a bit distracting to start expounding on that before we've sorted out this bit, but I'm more than willing to come back to it. Yomanganitalk 11:55, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Re, the "no harm" argument, I'm thinking of several FACs I've read where "background" information was requested in very long articles, when adding that information might trigger crit 4, length, tight focus on topic and summary style, and where it could very well be argued that the information better belonged in sub-articles. This is my concern: whatever it is you all are asking for, please make sure it's clear that it won't conflict with crit. 4. Imagine if you came to WIAFA with no awareness of this discussion: would you understand the competing requests of whatever ends up at 1b and what is now at 4? And, if words like "appropriate", "adequate" and "relevant" are added, is it possible to specify relevant to what, appropriate how, etc.? I disagree that the current criteria contain unactionable adjectives: a "brilliant" prose Oppose gives me no problem when four reviewers pop up examples of dull, prodding prose (it's usually clear). I don't yet know what is meant here by some of the proposed adjectives. The problem could be the lack of examples given in the disussion; I can think of concrete examples where the proposed wording would not cause "no harm", and could trigger unnecessary length, so it would be helpful to get some specificity in what you all are asking for here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:16, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the Space Science Fiction Magazine FAC was a very good example of an article where context was missing, that was pointed out, and it was added. But more generally, as with your example of "brilliant prose", if a reviewer is going to oppose on the basis of a lack of context, then that reviewer will need to at least outline what information is missing. In that sense "context" will be self-defining, and will no doubt vary depending on the subject area and scope of individual articles. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:04, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I also think Mark Speight was an article in which context was missing. It was "comprehensive" but it failed to put the subject of the article and details leading to his death into any kind of context. It was just a recitation. —Mattisse (Talk) 18:47, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Well then that's three votes for "Your proposals are Mostly Harmless, but won't really help." At what point do we declare this issue sorted out? Just trying to help keep things moving along; don't want the conversation to die because everyone is waiting for everyone else to decide either to declare the context/background idea dead, or decide to keep it moving forward. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 15:57, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

  • I would like to point out that it is highly unlikely that there is one "magic bullet" solution that will solve all of the problems that people see with FAC. If this proposal improves the criteria, I think we should adopt it. Then we should move on to some of the other proposals people have. Awadewit (talk) 16:22, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Couldn't agree more. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 18:07, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Proposed 1 (b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and appropriately places the subject in context.

Mattisse (Talk) 22:43, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I like. Wrad (talk) 22:47, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Me too, "context" is a more succinct way of saying "relevant background info", but to me also really emphasises the duty of the writer to (a) supply/explain the connection, and (b) not have irrelevant stuff. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:18, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
This is the wording I would prefer to see. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 13:42, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I like this wording best. Karanacs (talk) 15:55, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I also like the "context" inclusion, but it should be explained that not only does it include background, but whatever lasting implications of the importance of the subject. --Moni3 (talk) 16:09, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Do we need the specify the context? Should we say "background, lasting implications, etc."? Or is that too specific? Will later reviewers ask "what is context"? :) Awadewit (talk) 17:22, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
To me, the dictionary definition of "context" at[1] is close enough. How do we know what "lasting implications" means? How lasting? The word "context" is concise, without being too specific. Context can be interpreted to imply background, I think. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:48, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Ok, then I think we should use this wording. I only used "background" to avoid vagueness, but if "context" is sufficiently precise, I prefer that term. Awadewit (talk) 16:22, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
One small step for WP:WIAFA, one giant leap for FAC! Should "subject" be "topic" perhaps? Otherwise, this looks good: concise, and covers the bases Geometry guy 23:04, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Can someone explain to me, operationally, upon application, the difference between:

  • it neglects no major facts or details and appropriately places the subject in context, and
  • it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context ? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:17, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, without wishing to put words in someone else's mouth, but doing so anyway, I'd hazard a guess that Tony would suggest that ""appropriately" in the first offering is redundant. But even if that wouldn't be Tony's opinion it is certainly mine. "Appropriately" is just noise. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 23:41, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree that "appropriately" is redundant. Awadewit (talk) 23:42, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I thought of asking Tony, but well ... :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:42, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I would support removing "appropriately". —Mattisse (Talk) 23:52, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
(ec) It is now. I tried to think up a topical example (such as Barack Obama's presidential election) which might be placed appropriately or inappropriately in context, but ultimately I think any inappropriateness is ruled out by the other FA criteria. Geometry guy 00:02, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this is the best wording for a change. Also agree with Gimme below that background is already covered in the current criteria. Giants2008 (17-14) 03:56, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
What are you actually agreeing to here? What is "this" that is the best wording? Brianboulton (talk) 18:40, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Sandy's wording ("places the subject in context"). It's now in the criteria, I believe. Giants2008 (17-14) 22:32, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Proposed: 1 (b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and includes relevant background information.
  • Proposed: 1 (b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and provides adequate background and context on the subject.
One reason I chose ""background" instead of "context" was because it seemed that the kind of context reviewers were asking for was "background". Does "context" seem vaguer to people than "background"? Awadewit (talk) 07:56, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure about 'adequate', on one hand I understand that if for example there's another article with similar information you don't want to go overboard with content from there, but it seems to me articles should be able to stand pretty well on their own, and I'm not sure 'adequate' is really specific. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 13:05, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
In UK we tend to use "adequate" in the sense of "just about OK", the minimum you can get away with. I wouldn't want that impression to linger in this wording. If Wrad were to change "adequate" to "relevant", his is the version I'd go for. But they are all good, and I'd be happy with any of them. Brianboulton (talk) 23:35, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
  • What difference does it make? Is "background" part of "major facts of details" already? In operation, what would this exclude? Gimmetrow 14:06, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Ling.Nut (but I do not take credit for it)
  • Proposed 1 (b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details, includes relevant background information and appropriately places the subject in context.
This is just Matisse's and Awadewit's joined together, word for word. I'm on board with those who dislike "adequate" for a host of reasons, the main one being that it shoots for a low-ball standard instead of a high one. I also wanna keep the qualifiers such as "relevant" and "appropriately" to have at least some sort of a cubbyhole in which to shelve arguments against WP:COATRACKs, WP:TRIVIA, and filler for shorter articles. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 23:53, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

It may soon be three, because I'm about at the end of my tether as well. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 23:52, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
We could make it a party: throw enough F-bombs to make Scarian blush :-) OK, let's stay on topic here ... we write articles here, remember, the drama is over there LOL. I didn't say that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:59, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

What is the result of this discussion? In my opinion, the first proposal (it neglects no major facts or details and appropriately places the subject in context) is a clear winner. I think that background information is susceptible to overbroad interpretations in contradiction to criterion 4. Ruslik (talk) 19:58, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

This is the result of the discussion. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:01, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Ruslik (talk) 20:09, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
I've reverted this change. There is no consensus for it, or even any clear agreement about what it actually means, or what situations at FAC would practically be impacted. Christopher Parham (talk) 22:00, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
And I'm about to revert Christopher. The short-ish articles that failed and succeeded that were linked above clearly show that something like this phrase (regardless of whether it's the perfect phrase) is already completely relevant to whether an article passes or fails. We're not changing the criteria, we're just being honest here. Also, even if that weren't true, I see clear agreement above from contributors who are in some sense all over the map in their approach to FAC. We rarely get this kind of consensus; we should cherish and nurture it :) - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 22:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

FA is not equal to TFA (?)[edit]

It is my understanding that just because something becomes featured, does not mean it will be shown on the main page. In fact, because we promote, on average, more than 30 articles per month, we are producing so many FAs that not every FA can appear on the main page. Thus, I think we should separate the discussion about FAs from TFAs. Awadewit (talk) 00:30, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

How are you thinking they are different? Various distinctions have been proposed - excluding low-notability or very-short articles from TFA - but as far as I know these were not officially adopted. Some differences may be implicit in ensuring variety on the main page, and there is Raul's "short list". Are you thinking about something else? Gimmetrow 01:45, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
According to WP:TFA, Raul selects the articles for the main page and "To appear on the main page, an article must already be a featured article (see Featured article candidates), and must have a lead section suitable for the main page." Raul determines all in this scenario, basically. :) The best thing would be to ask him, I think. Awadewit (talk) 01:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Then what is your point in this section? At this time there is no official functional difference between FA and the pool of articles for TFA, except that it tends to exclude articles similar to recent TFAs, and it excludes Raul's "short list". Thus we really should consider TFA when considering FA, unless perhaps reviewers could support FAs but add a "not for TFA" restriction. Gimmetrow 02:06, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
My point is also that not every article can even theoretically appear on the main page, so perhaps that should not be our primary concern. Awadewit (talk) 02:13, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree. The discussion of TFA have gone nowhere in the past. As you point out, it is not within our control anyway. —Mattisse (Talk) 03:44, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
When I use TFA as the final standard in deciding if I should support or oppose an article, the idea is as practical as it is symbolic for FA. Even if Jenna Jameson, which Raul has said will never appear on the main page (which is unfortunate - would love to see a gesture toward WP:Censor in doing that..), we as reviewers should prepare the nominator for the idea that some day tens or hundreds of thousands of people will view this article, and imagining they would all know what the bronze star means, see it and understand that it has been rigorously vetted for prose and structure, etc. If there's any time an article goes through as much scrutiny as during FAC, it's during the 24-hour period it's on the main page. As a process FAC should prepare the nominators to defend the article against that kind of scrutiny. All articles that bear the FA star be representative of our finest work in the most stressful conditions. --Moni3 (talk) 14:03, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I certainly think TFA should be different from FA, on terms of notability. I have no problem with Tropical Storm Erick (2007) being labeled as an example our best work, but I would certainly object to its being showcased as such. People will want to read about something interesting, educating, surprising; not about something dull, however excellent the article about it is. -- Jao (talk) 14:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, whatever we think, Raul determines TFAs anyhow. We do not have control. Any discussion about TFA involves reading Raul's mind. So why waste time discussing it here, when there can be a productive discussion on Awadewit's suggestion (above) and other issues regarding the criteria? —Mattisse (Talk) 14:54, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps we should think of FA's as being at least similar in stature to TFA's. I said this in an FAC comment, and maybe it could be a good way to look at FAC's. I like to think of FA's as being good enough for people to get their proverbial money's worth if they look at it. IMO, that is the crucial difference between GA and FA. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 18:52, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

FAs are very similar to FAs, true. ;-) –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 18:57, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured short article candidates[edit]

Just to get the ball rolling, what does everybody think about nominating an experimental short article at Wikipedia:Featured short article candidates? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:51, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I think we've had enough experiments: I'm in favor of more listening, and moving at a more cautious pace this time (in the last round of discussions, we moved into "polls" when people hadn't even defined terms, and moving to Short articles would repeat that mistake). Besides, I object to any FA plan that doesn't have Raul's input. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:54, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah, ok. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I hope we can just hear Awadewit's plea to stay focused on the core issues this time (what is comprehensive, 2b, do we need to change WIAFA considering GA is no longer as conceived, the place where the shorter articles were recognized): if the result of those dicussions moves us to Short articles, then I hope we'll get Raul's feedback. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:00, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Before we start any new discussions, let's stay focused on Awadewit's concrete suggestion. I think by clarifying issues one at a time, we will actually move closer to understanding the place of short article candidates. —Mattisse (Talk) 03:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 03:46, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Re GA, there has been a certain amount of myth-making concerning its role: it was never, specifically, short articles. The process was initiated in October 2005 by Worldtraveller, with the following mission: "Many articles contain excellent content but are unlikely to become featured; they may be too short, or on too broad a topic, or on too specific a topic, or an a topic about which not much is known. We should endeavour to identify good content that is not likely to become featured." Geometry guy 22:09, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Whether "too short" or "a topic about which not much is known" and "We should endeavour to identify good content that is not likely to become featured ... ": that description no longer distinguishes the processes (I'm not sure if it ever did historically, since I wasn't around/wasn't involved). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:17, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, so the original mission actually describes more accurately the problem here: we want to recognise articles which are "as good as they can get", but we don't want to feature them because they do not represent "the best of Wikipedia". It is pretty simple, but we're stuck with so much back history that simple solutions remain out of reach. Even the name "featured articles" is a barrier - a significant number of FAs will never be featured, because there are c.50 new FAs/month and only c. 30.4 TFAs/month. Geometry guy 22:39, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I think we're saying the same thing (but I'm not sure): that GA was conceived for those articles which were as good as they could be, but not likely to be featured because of something vaguely related to scope or context (which is where we're having problems now at FAC), whereas now, GA is sometimes viewed as a step on the path to FA, rather than a stopping point for articles that are good but can't become featured because of scope (as opposed to won't become featured with a bit more work). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:45, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Some may see GA as a stopping point on the way to FA, but I think many also see it as a worthwhile end in itself, and in fact it's both. Not every article can become an FA, for various reasons, but every article can be recognised as being of good quality regardless. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 23:04, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Some quickly become FAs. Others join a topic or editor's GA collection. That is what is wonderful about GA. —Mattisse (Talk) 23:09, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Sandy, we are essentially saying the same thing. And I agree with Malleus that GA now serves multiple purposes. The problem here is that GAs are only required to satisfy a certain minimum standard (and I think that applying a minimum standard cross-wiki is surely a good thing) so they are not necessarily "as good as they can be". Some process is needed to recognise articles which are as good as they can be, without necessarily implying that they are our best work, or should be featured. Geometry guy 23:58, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I think that any article that is as good as it can be should be an FA. Wrad (talk) 00:20, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
What benefits would such a system have? As far as I can see it would not provide any specific advantages over taking an article through GA and a peer review (as long as the reviews are undertaken by experienced editors). There is nothing wrong with an article having to "settle" for a GA. I also feel that FA reviewers' time would be better used in the current, "main" FA system. I can understand the time constraints of those working on reviewing featured articles; indeed, my own FAC seemed to have failed through lack of time and editors. Could anyone justify the time needed to carry out this system and outline how these "short FA" articles would benefit? Sillyfolkboy (talk) 02:13, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for notability criterion for FAC[edit]

This might cause a lot of talk page archiving work on Sandy's part... or maybe not... this proposal may get completely ignored! :-) I took a look at the notability guidelines on specific subjects. Subjective adjectives are used to distinguish what is a notable topic, e.g., "significant", "prestigious", "selective", "major", "well-established", "non-trivial". So my proposal is to add a criterion 1f.

  • (f) notable: it covers a significant topic in its field(s) of interest.

Note that like the other FA criteria, it is a subjective one. Asking when a topic is significant is like asking when is the prose brilliant (1a), what constitutes a major fact (1b), when are inline citations appropriate (1c). So someone may challenge the nominators with the question, "What makes this topic notable in the field of xyz?" The nominators will have to make their case (perhaps use arguments from their Wikiproject assessments) and the reviewer decides. OK, discuss. --RelHistBuff (talk) 07:09, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm not gonna be contributing much. I have always wanted a notability clause. However, two probs: First, it will encounter very stiff resistance, certainly from the Short Articles folks, and also from some egalitarians like Malleus and Yomangani. Second, even if we agreed to have one, writing and implementing it would be a huge struggle. So I'm with you, but I fear we stand alone together. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 07:23, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
To the short article folks out there: this has nothing to do with short articles. Malleus used the analogy of jewelry. This criterion will allow for small or large pieces of jewelry, but they should have high-quality (valuable) diamonds, not quartz. As for the egalitarian argument, we have already hashed this out. We have limited reviewers and if we don't deal with this, then most of the FAC list will be filled with mediocre-notable articles that were created based on a huge list of xyz somewhere (think quarter-mile roads or a short-duration storm that never reached landfall). --RelHistBuff (talk) 07:36, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Excellent suggestion which I strongly support. Possibly, field of "enquiry" rather than "interest", but that's a quibble. Brianboulton (talk) 09:32, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I couldn't disagree more with this proposal. Any article needs to be notable to exist. Any higher hurdles of notability are a barrier to encouraging editors to improve articles to FA. How disheartening would it be to polish an article on something dear to your heart to the high levels expected at FAC, only for our reviewers to deem it insufficiently notable. If that happened to me on my first attempt at FAC, I wouldn't be back. How can this proposal possibly help? What problem is it fixing? Very very strong oppose from me. --Dweller (talk) 09:48, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

An FA "exemplifies our very best work and features professional standards of writing and presentation" – I've always taken that to mean that you can take every criterion and prepend "In a good encyclopedia, ...". For instance, "In a good encyclopedia, articles are well-written," and "In a good encyclopedia, articles are comprehensive." From my point of view, your new criterion doesn't fit in. "In a good encyclopedia, only particularly notable stuff gets a lemma"? I don't think so – a good encyclopedia strives to be as inclusive as possible. Hence the adjective "encyclopedic": if you have "encyclopedic" knowledge, it doesn't mean that you just know the most important stuff about a topic. You know the minutiae. Your knowledge is comprehensive. Granted, in any paper encyclopedia, editors will need to select. But you can judge the importance they attach to comprehensiveness by the fact that, even given the pressures of budget and sales, the most respected encyclopedias still run to an impressive number of volumes. Being electronic, we do not face those same problems.
Also granted that there must be a lower notability cut-off – that follows from the fact that we rely on published, reliable sources, for instance, and from the several criteria for what an encyclopedia is not. But I don't see the need to add another criterion that states: to be part of our best work, a lemma must be exceptionally notable. I think it runs counter to what a good encyclopedia is all about. That kind of criterion would be great if we were writing a text-book, for instance, but for an encyclopedia?
If your main reason for your proposal is "too many FACs, too few reviewers", then a) I'm not at all sure that adding a new criterion, especially one that is bound to lead to heated discussions on what's notable and what isn't, will result in less work for the reviewers, and b) surely there must be more efficient remedies, such as: you're only allowed to submit an article as a FAC if you have contributed to at least four FAC discussions in the week before, or something. Markus Poessel (talk) 09:52, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Comment The main problem with notability in the context of FAC is that this criterion is not actionable. Currently all opposes should be actionable to be valid. Any oppose based on notability (N) of the subject is not actionable by definition. Therefore when someone opposes on the basis of N, under the current rules such an oppose is invalid. So introduction of N will require a serious change in the way the FAC discussions are conducted and closed. There are number of questions: How will notability be decided? By vote, consensus, reverse consensus? Who will determine the result of this process? Would not this turn FAC into a branch of AFD? Ruslik (talk) 10:05, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Oppose from me too. Notability standards at AfD are battlegrounds as is, and have been fought over often and for a long time. This would introduce a whole new bone of contention to fight over. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:24, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Predictably, I too am against this both for reasons I've stated before and most of the reasons stated by the opposition above. (This old essay of Uncle G's might be of interest here). Yomanganitalk 10:51, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm also against this. Take a look at Awadewit's list of FAs, and consider an article such as Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, which is well supported by scholarship. Is it "a significant topic in its field of interest"? Not unless the topic is quite narrowly drawn: it's significant in Wollstonecraft studies, but perhaps not in literature overall. A criterion that would disqualify one of Awadewit's featured articles from FA seems off to a bad start to me. But if we allow a narrow definition of "topic", the criterion does nothing at all: even Space Science Fiction Magazine is a significant topic in the field of late 1950s US science fiction digest magazines. Neither outcome seems right.
I suspect those who would like some notability criterion such as this are all on the side of "FA = showcase" articles, not "FA = best a given article can be". I wish we could come to consensus on that issue first, as it would simplify some of the other discussions, but these issues are so intertwined it doesn't seem possible to separate one point and consider in isolation. Mike Christie (talk) 11:45, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment I am not currently taking a stance +O or +S. my position is that I am +S in my heart, but i doubt it will pass, and if it does pass, it might be a bear-and-a-half to actually bring to reality.
  • I think we should point out that the standards of AfD are irrelevant. the whole point would be to introduce a new, higher threshold of Notability for FAC.
  • However, by no means am I saying that the experience/history of the AfD battles is irrelevant. It is probably very relevant. Eventually there will be a series of battles, which (I suspect) "them bleeding-heart trivia-huggers" will eventually win. NOTICE: The remark within quotation marks was "humor". In the event of a real insulting remark, you will be notified where to take shelter. That will be all. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 12:25, 21 November 2008 (UTC)


  • The criterion is not for defining what should be included in the encyclopedia (where we have unlimited electronic resources). The criterion is for defining what should be a FA (where we have limited human resources).
  • I would not presume that Awadewit's article would fail the criterion. I am certain she could easily address any challenge based on notability.
  • The final decision on any challenges based on the notability of an article would be made by consensus as usual on Wikipedia and it would be Raul and Sandy to judge.
  • FAs are not equal to the best a given article can be. FAs are considered to be the best articles in Wikipedia, as determined by Wikipedia's editors.

--RelHistBuff (talk) 13:16, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose: I'm not typically one to comment on the inner workings of FAC, but this proposal worries me. What I appreciate about the process is that any article is a potential Featured Article. After a certain point (AFD and the rules that lie therein), notability becomes subjective; I may not necessarily believe an article about a small stretch of highway to be particularly notable or interesting, but someone else may think the same about articles dedicated to German polar bear cubs -- impossible, I know! I believe that all subjects, no matter how minor, deserve a chance to be judged fairly by the FA criteria. Besides, the definition of "significant topic" is what is currently sinking the TFAR process in that everyone has a different opinion about what is notable and what is otherwise tangential, which leads to arguing, favoritism and overall unpleasantness. I think that such a thing would be similarly problematic here. Gigantic can of worms, etc. María (habla conmigo) 15:24, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support the rationale behind the criterion. It took so many AfD's and finally a FAR to delist Spoo, an article about a fictional food which consists almost entirely of primary sources and never properly met WP:GNG, and was such a minute topic there was no way comprehensive coverage of Babylon 5 would suffer if it was wiped from the earth. But according to criteria, if it was back at FAC I couldn't argue "wait a minute, it doesn't meet notability criteria". As we've pointed out with the short article discussion, not every article can become featured, and it seems contradictory to feature articles which shouldn't be on Wikipedia in the first place. At the very least, I want notability concerns to be actionable at FAC. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:30, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment As someone that's been involved in the notability issues of the past few years, I really caution about this. Some may take the adoption of "FAC must be notable" as raising WP:NOTE to the level of a policy (I know, FAC is not policy, but trust me, people will see it as such). WP:NOTE needs to stay as a guideline because it is a practical guideline, not an easily-enforced policy. That said, I think there does need to be some need to be able to call out an article as lacking the evidence that makes it a stand-out topic for an FAC, but I will note that this is a different quality than being non-notable and thus not deserving an article. There are likely many many articles on WP that have managed to show fringe connections to sources to be kept but are otherwise weakly notable, however, despite making the rest of the article as perfect as possible for FAC requirements, shouldn't be an FAC because it doesn't demonstrate why the topic is sufficiently notable to be an FAC.
  • I believe this is related to short articles as well, and maybe there's a way to combine these issues. For example, many of the short hurricane or road articles certain have some notability - they exist(ed) and have been recorded, but when a hurricane doesn't make landfall and thus creates no damage, or if a road only lasts for 20 miles and has no notable features, there's an issue of their notability relative to other FAs on the topics. In such cases, at least personally, a better approach would be to combine the shorter articles to lists or another article that groups them, keep all the information present but moved to the new article, and work on getting that one up to FAC or FLC. How to qualify or quantify all this, I don't know, but this is tied to a stronger requirement for notability than what WP:NOTE offers. We don't want topics that barely pass WP:NOTE as FAs, we want ones that clearly surpass the minimum. --MASEM 16:27, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Can anyone tell me what a "significant topic" will be defined as under this new criterion? Without a clear cutoff point, all this will do is stir up drama. No thank you; there's already enough of that at FAC. By the way, the shortage of reviewers has nothing to do with the prevelance of short articles. Shorter pages are simply easier to write, and longer, more substantial topics always get more "attention" when they come here. Giants2008 (17-14) 17:08, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the above oppose reasons but also because this could potentionally bring a lot of un-needed drama to FAC's. D.M.N. (talk) 17:12, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As suspected, I am very much against adding a notability criteria. It is not for FA reviewers to decide what is or is not notable. I really can't see what perceived problem adding such an inherently subjective and unquantifiable criteria would be intended to address. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:24, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I don't think we should create an underclass of articles that can never reviewed with FAC's high standards. For example, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters by Wollstonecraft is not "significant" by any stretch of the imagination, but I appreciated being able to subject it the extra scrutiny of FAC, as I did A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft's most important work and one of the first works of feminist philosophy. (I would like to mention I was horrified to see Thoughts on the main page - Vindication has yet to appear there. Of any of the Wollstonecraft articles, to choose her least important? Ah!) Since so many editors seem concerned about a particular set of articles appearing on the main page, perhaps our real discussion should be about WP:TFA. Awadewit (talk) 17:29, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

(ec) *Oppose - Notability above the minimum criteria in WP:N is subjective and therefore impossible to define. I believe it is apt to reflect bias and personal opinion. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:31, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Support. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 17:33, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Way too subjective for me. Wrad (talk) 18:49, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support: "Significant" is not more subjective than "reliable", which is accepted without fuss in relation to sources. I am struck by how many of the opposes to this proposal seem to come from an internal perspective, that is, the principal concerns relate to the rights of editors and reviewers rather than to the credibility of the encyclopedia. This credibility is undermined if articles of minimal notability and very little content can be presented to the public as examples of Wikipedia's best work. That is why I support the idea of a modest raising of the notability bar at FAC. This is not revolutionary. It is, I believe, a small step towards improving the encyclopedia. Perhaps, this time, it will be voted down, but I am sure the issue will arise again. Brianboulton (talk) 19:39, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Reliable is defined by WP:RS. Notability is defined by WP:N. Are we thinking of adding to both of these for FAC? —Mattisse (Talk) 19:50, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Very very strong oppose - This is crazy. You wanna make FAC very subjective, selective and communist? That will never happen, and if that happens, an Request for comment/FAC is in order. I am sorry, but this is acting like a selective big brother syndrome.Mitch32(UP) 21:04, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Mitch, please take a deep breath. We're just discussing a possible change, and so far opinion seems to be in your corner. There's no need for such a harsh response - those can have the unfortunate effect of stifling people from suggesting other ideas for improvement. Karanacs (talk) 21:09, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I am getting rather annoyed on how FAC is going, and have totally flipped out over this idea.Mitch32(UP) 21:12, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose- you will eliminate the fun of Wikipedia for many a young budding literary giant who might be learning and sharpening their skills by trying to get their article about the latest teenage video game to FA. I would hate to see potential squashed by making FA so narrow minded. NancyHeise talk 21:21, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Far too subjective. And anyway, what's wrong with the best possible article on less popular articles. Peanut4 (talk) 23:04, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Really now. --Rschen7754 (T C) 23:05, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Is this not covered by the notability guideline? –thedemonhog talkedits 02:10, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose and suggest that this discussion be closed per WP:SNOW. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:40, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose for numerous reasons. First and foremost, FAs are "Wikipedia's best work", not "Wikipedia's most important work", not "Wikipedia's most notable work", and not "Wikipedia's most well-known work". Wikipedia is "the sum of all human knowledge", and its notability guidelines are intentionally low to allow for it to cover a very broad range of topics. To limit what can be considered "featured" to what is arbitrarily considered "notable" would be utterly ridiculous, for lack of a better word. That brings up another issue. What is notable enough to become featured? Would the new rule exclude everything but core topics? Would that exclude hurricanes, roads, video games, geographical locations, etc? If so, we're effectively limiting Wikipedia's status as a volunteer project to which editors can contribute what they wish. If the new rule is implemented, than only the editors who work in significant topics get to receive recognition for their hard work. Additionally, even if there was a guideline regarding the minimum significance for an article to become featured, there would still be unnecessary drama at the borderline articles, which comprise much of FAC. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:53, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - the only good effect it will have is to encourage people to fix up core articles, but there will be too many riots in the meantime. As for Spoo, that should've been binned regardeless of the proposed change in criteria. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 02:51, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

10 things I hate about FAC[edit]

Actually 11 things that I think might bear discussion, distilled from my subconcious in about 10 minutes, so expect plenty of typos, repetition and gaps in logic. I've put it at User:Yomangan/FAC, as I think it might get a bit unwieldy if I were to copy it over here. Yomanganitalk 12:52, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I read your points, Yomangan, and I found myself agreeing, disagreeing, and having no opinion on your points, but found it interesting enough to respond.
I don't know if you mean that the entire system is broken to be tongue in cheek. Perhaps you did. I tend to think Wikipedia is much like a republic democracy, as it has been for ages in the US that people will complain about how the government freakin' stinks until something about it (Bush) becomes so intolerable that people get completely fed up and change something. So we change it by making suggestions, arguing about it, going through drama, politicking, and either getting tired and giving up or seeing it change only to have a different set of people do the complaining. Honestly, I have no idea if a system can change without all these dramatic steps because we are, after all, only people. Complaining about government is a national pasttime that goes back to the first meeting of homo sapiens in caves.
I'd like to think I have such a loftier goal here to produce and review FAs than a minion who reviews AfDs all day. Yes, I am so lofty. We do, however, produce some of the best factual literature on the Internet. And it's completely free to anyone who has Internet access. I think that's kinda cool.
What we must accept: Our standards will change constantly as editors come and go, as better articles are put through the process and have higher standards to live up to.
There will never be stability for the aforementioned reason. We have new ideas. We go through changes. What we expect from ourselves and our fellow editors may be acceptable one month only to become intolerable the next. Whatever comfort we're trying to find in stability, or claiming stability as a goal... we'll just be able to release a lot of stress by accepting the FAC system and Wikipedia itself, while not necessarily unstable, will never be without blemish to consider it complete, finished, or without needing to be fixed somehow. That's a good thing. There is just as much danger in complacency as there is in anarchy.
I would like to say that I completely agree with you on the Swallowing pride point. Whatever we have to do to remind ourselves why we spend months working on an article to see it pass the FA, let's do it daily. Clearly it's not for the money or the notoriety. I don't do it really to put the bronze star on my page, though that's nice. Or to see my name crawl up the WBFAN page, because that reminds me of measuring. I'm sure there are editors who actually churn articles at the barest standards just to do this, but good for them. That doesn't make my articles any less extraordinary or make it any less neat that I am shaping the knowledge for the tens of thousands of people who are reading my articles.
So let's embrace two things: we have to bitch in order to grow and improve. And we have to praise each other in order to make it worthwhile. I have been pushed to excel in ways I did not feel was necessary or possible for me, only because other editors set a high standard in demand and in example. If we make ourselves better writers, researchers, and people, then that is really the best use of our time here. While I realize this doesn't address each of your points, it is what I though while I read them. So thanks for the opportunity to put that in words. --Moni3 (talk) 15:11, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Erm, you may wanna strikethrough that Bush comment. Political topics are thataway --> Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 17:30, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
In the spirit of general musings: No process is perfect, therefore all processes are broken. FAC (like other processes) has limitations (real or percieved) and opportunities. Some will translate its limitations into barriers. Others will use FAC to assist in acheiving their goals. The policy wonks will keep the review system evolving as priorities shift. maclean 21:02, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

The forum rather than the boundary; and TFA as a subset[edit]

Things we're having trouble agreeing on include:

  • Should FA be made up of "the best articles of Wikipedia" or "articles that are the best they can be"?
  • What, if any, criteria can be used to define such a boundary? Context, length, mergeability, notability?
  • Should there be a separate forum for anything outside such a boundary? E.g. WP:FSA.
  • Is there any relationship between the boundary and TFA?

I wonder if it would be easier to tackle the last two items first, since the first two are very difficult to get consensus on. So:

  1. I would like to see all articles that are attempting to be "the best they can be" reviewed here at FAC, using the FA criteria. This is without prejudice to what label is placed on those articles, or what the answer is to the first two points above. This doesn't get us far without agreeing on the boundary criterion as well, but it would be a start at definiteness. Conversely, if there's consensus that whatever distinction is drawn would require a separate forum, that's valuable to know too.
  2. I would like to see the boundary criterion, if we end up with one, aligned to TFA in the following way. Anything inside the boundary is eligible for TFA, and Raul can apply his own criteria. Anything outside the boundary is not eligible for TFA. For example, we were to implement a notability criterion, we might make the less-notable articles into a new class (WP:Low-notability FAs, or whatever); or we might simply leave them on the FA page. I'm not proposing any specific answer to that. However, whatever the distinction was, it would map to the TFA restriction; only articles passing the higher notability bar (or whatever bar we pick) would be eligible for FA.

-- Mike Christie (talk) 18:42, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I think that FAs should be any article that is "ready for publication" or "ready for TFA". Basically, any article that will make Wikipedia look good, rather than bad, if by some miracle it becomes TFA. In theory then, any FA can be TFA, but the community and Raul ultimately decide what is and what isn't eligible. I have yet to see any article denied TFA status because of length, so it doesn't seem to be a concern. Wrad (talk) 18:47, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
I do wish there were a better way to exclude some articles from TfA. In my own work, there is a mix of articles that would be interesting to a wide audience and those that really, only Texas history buffs or Texas schoolkids will search out. With the limited number of main page spots, I'd rather save them for one of those articles that is more important - and Raul can't be the expert on every topic to know, for example, which Mary Wollestonecraft work made the larger impact on literature or which Texas Revolution battle had a more important outcome. While I would support an opt-out system from TfA, I'd want the primary contributor or the wikiproject to make that call, and to have the ability to change it (when the top priority article for the project has made the main page, maybe allow for the next priority one to move to the TFA pool). I worry about letting "consensus" decide which ones belong in that "don't put me as TFA" category. There are always going to be topics that the majority think are "unimportant" but that a significant minority is interested in, and those should have the potential to be TfAs too. It would be very difficult to determine where to draw the line. And, I would hate to see the standards change. Those articles that might not be destined for the main page should still be held to the same FA criteria as those articles that want to be in the pool. Karanacs (talk)
Since FA should represent Wikipedia's best work, that excludes: non-notable items (not enough secondary sources to demonstrate notability), too short items (items that lack context for the reader, simply don't have enough content, or could be better off merged into another article), and, in general, articles that meet all of Wikipedia's core content policies and guidelines. I don't see where the whole issue of "what is an FA" is coming in here. I understand that "importance" is subjective, but notability shouldn't be, and importance shouldn't be an issue for any article if all content guidelines are followed; sure, Wipeout 3 is a relatively minor game that few people care about, but as it was determined to meet WP:N, video game content guidelines, WP:RS, and is well-written, it deserves FA. Whether is makes us 'look good' is too murky a criteria. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:21, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
TFA should showcase Wikipedia's "best work", but I think this should be understood relative to the topic. Quite a few articles on TV episodes may be as good as they can be, but some of these probably fall short of the "best work" for episode articles. TFA shouldn't necessarily exclude "relatively minor" episodes, but more significant episodes will generally produce deeper third-party analysis and commentary to draw on when developing the "best" articles. Gimmetrow 19:38, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion, TFA has its own process and FA shouldn't meddle with that process. In other words, we shouldn't prevent articles from becoming FAs because we think they wouldn't make a good TFA, whether it be because of its lack of notability or its length. Leave the TFA process to decide that. FA is here only to determine whether something is "professional and ready for publication". Wrad (talk) 20:00, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank god I have Wrad to explain what I'm trying to, except clearly :P Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 00:10, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

I think it's an error to say that we shouldn't pay attention to what is suitable for TFA. The current definition of "suitable for TFA" is "any FA"; if we change WIAFA we are changing the criteria for TFA. "Suitability for TFA" seems very much in scope for a discussion about what should be FA; I suggest we acknowledge that but agree that we might use the FAC process for some kinds of articles that would not be suitable for TFA.

I also think that conceding limits on TFA might be a suitable compromise between the two ends of the spectrum of opinion here. Limits on TFA implies not all FAs are equal. Allowing articles to use the FAC process without automatically being eligible for TFA would eliminate a big concern expressed by some FA regulars. If we could agree on those points, we could start talking about what kind of articles would not be suitable for TFA, which might be a decision that could acceptably be made on a fairly subjective basis. That in turn would lead naturally to the question of whether articles not suitable for TFA were still called FAs, or were given some other classification (FSA, whatever).

Without some compromise, I'm afraid that the "TFA = FA = best of Wikipedia = some articles should not come to FAC" position is simply too far from "TFA = FA = best an article can be = any article can come to FAC". We've tried a couple of other starting positions above; TFA seems to me to be the best wedge into this gridlocked argument. Mike Christie (talk) 00:15, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Has anyone discussed this with Raul? He is the one who decides what goes on the main page, rewrites the intros for the main page, etc. Recently he featured an old one that went directly to FAR—Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me). I think he has his own ideas, so it is not for us to say. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:25, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this might be a good way to compromise. TFA has changed quite a bit in recent months, as a natural reaction to a backlog of articles that haven't been featured yet. The community now has a lot of say in what becomes featured. Along with that has come many trends against certain types of articles. For example, film articles, video game articles, and other pop culture articles have a harder time getting through, as do hurricane articles. Often, older FAs will be suggested, and someone will point out that the article no longer meets the criteria. The article is then pulled from the system. It isn't perfect, but it all works out pretty well. Wrad (talk) 00:55, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
And Mike, to me, "professional and ready for publication" basically means "ready for TFA". However, it needs to be acknowledged that some FAs are more notable than others, and those articles are more likely to be TFAs, which I think is what you're saying. Wrad (talk) 00:59, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Plus there is unease among some of us about anything that could be seen as broadening the definition of what can be an FA, and hence a TFA. If we can agree that in any change to what articles go through FAC, there may also be restrictions on what ends up as TFA, that would help address that unease, without automatically assuming such articles also end up as FAs. Mike Christie (talk) 01:07, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, obviously any article that doesn't meet the current criteria shouldn't be TFA. Wrad (talk) 01:13, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
And the current TFA process rewards points on the age of the article, which has the unintended consequence of bringing to light articles in need of an FAR; it's a side benefit. As for the reaction to pop culture/media articles, it's just because most promotion occurs in those areas and we want variety. But every article is suitable for TFA (assuming it meets criteria); I would pick a history article over any video game article I wrote since the history article is more likely to have importance (Bone Wars over Iridion 3D, for example.) Raul's comments would enlighten this discussion. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:01, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

(colonophobe) I think we just need a greater quantity skilled of reviewers who are unafraid to pull the trigger. Wikipedia is the #8 (last I heard) site on the Internet. Why are there less than 20 of us here? What we really need is <proposal deleted by various angered & lightningbolt-wielding FAC gods and demigods, link left behind here>. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:36, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

We desperately need more reviewers, but they won't be easy to come by. I was reading this old Dispatch when one sentence caught my eye: "All Wikipedians are welcome to review articles at FAC and FAR; reviews that are well grounded in an understanding of the featured article standards are most helpful." How many editors around FAC truly understand the criteria? There aren't a whole lot, which leads to the accusations of a reviewer cabal. The problem is that this isn't a welcoming place for newcomers. To be a skilled reviewer, you need plenty of experience with the criteria to understand what does and doesn't meet it. When I was new here, I was afraid that one of my declarations would be torn apart, and that people would think I was a bad editor. I stuck with it and have become a skilled reviewer (I think) with time, but how many others will do the same? Ling's idea is a solid one, but keep in mind that other review processes need more hands too; it's not just us. What we need is more people willing to put themselves out there and help, and there needs to be some acknowledgement from us that newcomers will make mistakes along the way. That's how they learn; it's certainly how I did. Giants2008 (17-14) 16:45, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure many passers-by get the impression that reviewers are expected to produce a screenful of technical or specific points, and are put from commenting off by this. This has I think changed for the worse even in the last 12 months as FAC continues to turn into a workshop rather than a jury room. Johnbod (talk) 17:40, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I think that your analogy is most unfortunate. Whatever happens in a juryroom happens in private, without the presence of the accused. I am much happier to see reviewers being helpful and supportive in a workshop environment than I am to see them acting as a jury. Also, juries return verdicts as directed by a judge$, but the verdict at FAC is determined by the FA director or his delegate. Al in all, a very poor analogy IMO. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:19, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
$Only in the UK, Malleus, or anyway not in the US. There is nothing wrong with jurors being helpful, but they are not supposed to turn into the prosecution or defence. Johnbod (talk) 00:25, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Again, I think that this discussion is becoming too fragmented to resolve any of the issues we want to address. I propose that we focus on one question at a time (tedious, but hopefully effective). What about focusing on the question of whether or not all FAs can be TFAs? Awadewit (talk) 18:46, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

I think that question is in itself causing a lot of confusion, because the two are separate processes. It is quite clear that not all FAs can become TFAs, (Jenna Jameson as one notable example), and neither is there any reason why they should. Whatever the criteria for TFA may be from time to time has nothing at all to do with whatever FA's crioteria might be. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:12, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
However, since many people see FA as a way to get their work on the main page, perhaps we need to be more explicit about what the differences are. Perhaps it is not FA that needs a notability criterion, but TFA, for example. Awadewit (talk) 19:16, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Quite.I don't see FA has anything at all to with TFA except insofar as it acts as the source from which TFAs are chosen, rightly or wrongly. The criteria for TFA are already very different from those for FAC, witness my example above. The answer to the simple question "Should all FAs be able to be showcased as TFA?" is clearly "No". From which it logically follows that it makes no sense to have being able to be showcased as TFA part of the FA criteria. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:25, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm sticking by my definition of "professional, publishable quality". Wrad (talk) 22:20, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I would like to see FAC move in the direction of Malleus' comment, that TFA and FA are clearly distinct; however, I think he is too definite in saying that's the case now. Aside from anything else, my understanding is that at one point they were very closely tied, in that FAC was the process by which the TFA pool was filled. There has been no explicit revocation of that, and comments above make it appear to me that many FAC regulars still feel that's the right and proper attitude. So I think it would be good to try to get some consensus around this; as Awadewit says, we need to focus on something and stay there.
I'd answer Awadewit's question above this way: at the moment, yes: all FAs can become TFAs, subject to Raul's filtering out the odd one or two (I believe Jenna Jameson is actually the only FA that will not be considered for TFA). If we don't change the criteria; if we don't come up with some new criterion or definition of the process, things stay that way. I would like to see us put articles through FAC that are not destined for TFA, but I concede that as currently defined FAC does not allow for that. Mike Christie (talk) 23:19, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how much things need to be changed. TFA, for example, already has some notability criteria. I guess you could strengthen those criteria, but the framework is already there. Wrad (talk) 23:27, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

No, TFA has no notability criteria. The date requests page does, but TFA itself does not. We are talking about totally changing the nature of TFA here because as Mike points out, there has never been a explicit rejection of the "all FA can become TFA" idea. Awadewit (talk) 01:27, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Agree with A, in fact, very confused by some of the comments above. Raul has said (somewhere) that there is only one article he is currently withholding from the main page (Jenna Jameson). There is no other restriction, and even that is vague. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:36, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I rejected that idea a long time ago, Awadewit, as I think you know. So did several other editors. That's why we all pushed for increased activity at the TFA requests page. We need to find a balance between honoring notable articles and honoring new FA writers. I think the requests page comes closer to finding that balance than anything else and we should use it more. Wrad (talk) 03:00, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Is that true, that editors go through FAC for a little screen time on the main page? I really did not think of that. Somehow, I do not believe that is the motivation for most, although I could be wrong. —Mattisse (Talk) 04:55, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I guess it's possible it may not be true. Wrad (talk) 05:00, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Main page time is apparently a motivating factor. See here, under "why do you bring articles through the FA process?", for example. Awadewit (talk) 05:27, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Proposal: TFA should have a notability criterion[edit]

Not all FAs will be able to appear on the main page, thus we must find a way to choose them. One way to narrow the pool would be through a notability criterion such as that proposed by RelHistBuff ("the article covers a significant topic in its field(s) of interest"). One argument would be that we should showcase our best and most important work to the world. Awadewit (talk) 01:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

See Raul's statements on Resource starvation. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:00, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Which, of course, raises the question of to what extent TFA is for editors or for readers? Awadewit (talk) 02:07, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the notability criteria we have now is fine, isn't it? We do need to make sure that editors who have never had TFAs are able to get one, right? I think that is important. Wrad (talk) 02:37, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean that we don't need a stricter notability criterion for TFA than for Wikipedia as a whole? Awadewit (talk) 02:42, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I think that the points criterion on the requests page is good. It balances notability with new editors and community input. The more we use that page, the better. Wrad (talk) 02:44, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
But those criteria don't apply to all TFAs - this proposal would apply to all TFAs. Awadewit (talk) 02:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I think an alternative way to make it apply to all TFAs would be to put all TFAs through the requests page. I like that a lot better than just saying "This group of articles can never be FAs." It seems like that creates some serious resource starvation. Wrad (talk) 02:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
What difference does any of this make? Raul decides anyway, and I am perfectly fine with that. I think he has better judgment than any "criteria" produced through this process. —Mattisse (Talk) 03:40, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Raul's discretion is limited in that he chooses only from the pool of FAs. If we decide that we wish to limit what is a TFA, we can do that by limiting what can become an FA. Implementing that, of course, would require more discussion than just these few editors here, but the statement of principle is true: Raul's discretion is limited and hence this discussion does have a point. We could, separately, choose to extend FA status to articles we did not feel were TFA-worthy; I agree that rendering that distinction in a way that affected Raul's discretion would probably need agreement from Raul. Mike Christie (talk) 04:24, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I did not know he was constrained. Somehow I had conjured up the idea that the TFA is one of his few real pleasures. —Mattisse (Talk) 04:32, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

I thought that on a wiki, the community could change the process if they wanted. I don't think we need Raul's permission to change TFA if we want to alter it. Awadewit (talk) 05:23, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, Raul is the TFA director. If the community wanted to relieve him of that position and create some other structure for TFA, I suppose we could... but why would we? Raul does a great and largely thankless job. This really does strike me as an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:26, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
But the community could also say "we want a certain kind of TFA", thereby altering TFA as well. There are lots of options here. If we think altering TFA will help solve some of the problems at FAC, we should go ahead and make those changes. Note: many reviewers are uncomfortable about every FA appearing on the main page, but we have not found a way to restrict the FA criteria to anyone's satisfaction. This proposal tries to restrict the main page criteria instead. Awadewit (talk) 05:30, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I just don't think that there's anything wrong with the kind of TFA we have now. (Of course, I would say that today, when Doctor Who missing episodes is on TFA. I fully admit my bias here.) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:34, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
(Thanks to Raul!) Is this not an overemphasis on the main page? In almost three years of active participation here, I have never once read the main page article. In fact, I hardly ever look at the main page, unless I expect something of mine to be featured on it. No data to base this on, but I would hazard a guess that most readers are drawn here by entering something in "Search" and since Wikipedia, because of its deal with Google, nearly always comes up first, or close to it, they go to a specific article. I would like to see some data on whether this "main page thing" is mainly a preoccupation of a few editors, or whether it is actually of such importance that this is an "issue". —Mattisse (Talk) 05:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Editors are making it an issue. We need to try and solve the problems with FAC. In the ongoing debates, this is one that kept coming up - some editors did not want all FAs to appear on the main page. Rather than dismissing this concern, let's try to address it. Let's see how widespread this feeling is. Awadewit (talk) 05:54, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) According to the stats, the Main Page is the second most highly visited page on the English Wikipedia, after Special:Search. See also here. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:56, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
If an article is on the main page, it can expect to receive over 80,000 views in one day. It can expect edits possibly reaching into the hundreds. The article will also be emailed to users as the "article of the day" through various programs, and downloaded to people's PDA's (I know, my PDA does this). This isn't just an editor issue, rest assured. Wrad (talk) 06:14, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Have you followed an article's stats to see if this interest continues beyond the 80,000 views in one day? (That is still only a proportion of the 197,059,001 main page hits. And although some article receive constructive edits, most receive a large number of vandal edits.) I think this is an editor preoccupation and not for the general readers. But then, FAC is for editors and not general readers. So this TFA question remains important for that reason. —Mattisse (Talk) 19:16, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Comment The main criterion in TFA (as I understand it) is suitability of a particular page for a particular date. In my opinion, notability is an implicit part of this criterion. If the article is of little notability, than it is unlikely to be suitable for any date. So I do not see any need to change anything, as notability is already implicitly required. Of course, you can argue that this criterion should be made explicit, but it is another matter. Ruslik (talk) 09:59, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Those constraints only apply at the date requests page. Raul is free to pick any other FA for all of the other days. What we are proposing is limiting the pool from which Raul can pick. Awadewit (talk) 17:40, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I think that making this criterion explicit is exactly what's under discussion here. The lack of additional explicit criteria for TFA has been repeatedly cited by editors as an issue when we talk about FA criteria; that is, we've see comments such as "changing FAC to allow X would lead to X appearing on the main page, so I'm against it". Personally I'd be willing to add some limitations to TFA criteria, if that would lead to an overall consensus on the issues we've been talking about. For example, I'd be happy with a limitation designed to prevent Space Science Fiction Magazine, had it reached FA, from being a TFA, on the grounds that it is too short, or contains too little context. Notability is less likely to be suitable as a criterion, I feel. If we want to only discuss the notability option, rather than other possible TFA criteria, then I'd suggest someone who likes the idea of a TFA notability criterion goes through, say, the first five or six articles in each of several FA categories, and indicate which ones they think would be acceptable FAs for notability. Mike Christie (talk) 10:41, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
But there are no criteria for TFA; Raul basically picks whatever takes his fancy. What criteria there are apply only to the date request page, from which what, only five TFAs are chosen each month? Has Raul agreed to be constrained by anything that might be decided here about what others feel is fit for the main page? If he hasn't, then I fail to see the point in discussing it. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:52, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
But this is a wiki - we can change the process if we want. Awadewit (talk) 18:00, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Parts of this wiki are run like dicatorships though, and the dictators have to agree to relinquish some of their authority before anything can change. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:11, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
We can take back some of that power, if we want, or we can ask Raul to use it differently. (Viva la revolution!) Awadewit (talk) 18:16, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Note: many reviewers are uncomfortable about every FA appearing on the main page, but ... It is not clear to me that this has been established as a widespread concern or as a concern at all. In fact, the focus of this discussion isn't clear to me, either :-) Also, there are several misstatements throughout. Raul does not choose only five requests per month from WP:TFA/R; the restriction is five requests at a time, which does not equate to five requests per month. And the main criterion in TFA is not suitability of a particular page for a particular date. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:56, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

This concern has already been made clear in previous discussions. Awadewit (talk) 18:00, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
As I saw the concern expressed, it was about the standards at FAC (whether we were passing articles at FAC that we would never want to see on the main page). That problem is solved/solvable at FAC, not TFA. I don't see a widespread concern that not every FA should appear on the mainpage. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:02, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Here are some examples I found in a quick archive search - there are more (these are all from different people):
  • " I certainly think TFA should be different from FA, on terms of notability. I have no problem with Tropical Storm Erick (2007) being labeled as an example our best work, but I would certainly object to its being showcased as such. People will want to read about something interesting, educating, surprising; not about something dull, however excellent the article about it is."
  • "I do wish there were a better way to exclude some articles from TfA. In my own work, there is a mix of articles that would be interesting to a wide audience and those that really, only Texas history buffs or Texas schoolkids will search out. With the limited number of main page spots, I'd rather save them for one of those articles that is more important"
  • "The lack of additional explicit criteria for TFA has been repeatedly cited by editors as an issue when we talk about FA criteria; that is, we've see comments such as "changing FAC to allow X would lead to X appearing on the main page, so I'm against it". Personally I'd be willing to add some limitations to TFA criteria, if that would lead to an overall consensus on the issues we've been talking about. "
  • Eligible for the star but not for the main page" (from a proposal regarding excellent short articles in the archives)
  • On "Excellent short articles proposal: "To get maximum results, the "game" should be as attractive as possible, so I completely support the "featured" designation rather than "excellent", although of course these articles should never make the main page." Awadewit (talk) 18:14, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and a change was already enacted at WP:WIAFA to address these concerns, which were about what was being passed at FAC. These discussions started in October, and November FA production will hit the lowest level in about two and a half years, to about half of what it was before these discussions started. How much deeper is the intended cut, do we want permanent resource starvation, and do we want only core articles on the mainpage? That seems to be the direction this is heading. I submit that our readership is more varied, and that these issues have more than been addressed by proposed changes to WIAFA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:24, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't support the notability criterion for TFA directly; I'd rather see a TFA criterion based on one of the other issues we've discussed, such as context, comprehensiveness or length or mergeability. I do think an agreeement on some such constraint on TFA might be helpful in catalysing further consensus within the group. With regard to resource starvation, I feel that limiting what can be a TFA and limiting what can be an FA are identical in their resource starvation impact at the moment. The debate over the last couple of months has been as much about whether we should expand FA's scope (to shorter (etc.) articles) as whether we should limit it. Resource starvation doesn't seem to me to be an issue until we look likely to come to consensus on a proposal that would reduce the pool that Raul can draw from. Mike Christie (talk) 21:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
The important point is that Raul chooses; what happens at WP:TFA/R is a sideshow. There is no criteria for TFA and Raul is free to pick whatever he likes from the FA pool – and not to pick whatever he doesn't like. This proposal is only worth consideration if Raul has agreed to be restricted in his choice of TFA candidates. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:09, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
No, we can change the process if we want. This is not the dictatorship of Raul. Awadewit (talk) 18:14, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed.--ragesoss (talk) 20:27, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
  • And I believe Raul was appointed/chosen by our founder Jimmy Wales who has whatever control he wants (dictatorship, if you will) and does not assert that Wikipedia is a demoncracy. He can decide Arbcom members regardless of votes, for example. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:40, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Raul was doing the main page job and was confirmed as FA director by a vote many years ago. Gimmetrow 00:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • The amount of misinformation being posted to this talk page is escalating. Raul was not "appointed/chosen" by Wales; he was chosen (and endorsed) many times by the Community. I'll leave the rest of the misinfo posted on this page to others. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:04, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Whatever. I'm not sure of the relevance of this regarding the current situation. Are you saying that Raul, whose interest in FA seems confined to scheduling the main page articles, does not have to be consulted if we decide to constrain his power? That we have more power in determining his role than he does? I am very unclear how much power we have if he does not agree. The answer to this question would clarify the point of this discussion. Is there an answer? —Mattisse (Talk) 01:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
And if we could talk about the system, please, instead of what we personally think of Raul, I think that would help, too. Wrad (talk) 01:35, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • As the system currently stands, any article which is FA is potentially TFA. Raul obviously does some selection to pick the TFAs; this selection is a form of filtering. In my own opinion, Raul's filter works pretty well - he has not selected for TFA any of the handful of FAs that I personally wouldn't want to appear on the main page. If people want additional filtering, they can place the filter between FA and TFA, which I think would at least be impolite without Raul's OK, or before FA. The latter can be handled either by changing the FA criteria, or by objecting to individual articles for not being WP's "best work". So far, objecting to individual articles seems to work fairly well. It should continue to work so long as that sort of objection is taken into consideration when closing FACs. Gimmetrow 01:44, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm also not really convinced that the system is broken. I mean, yeah, I would like to have the requests page field all TFAs, but I'm not thinking that the whole site is going to fall apart tomorrow if it doesn't. I think it will all just naturally come together in time. Wrad (talk) 01:51, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm not either. But I think we should identify the document, guidleline, policy or whatever we want to change, if we do want to change anything. Perhaps if we looked at that, and decided on a concrete way of proceeding to change it, if we want to do so. There are limits to consensus Wikipedia:CONSENSUS#Exceptions but I am unclear on this situation. Raul was "radified" here. There is some discussion of his role there also:
Before an article is put on the Main Page, the Featured Article Director will list it as "tomorrow's featured article" for at least 24 hours. One article will be listed as tomorrow's featured article, and one will be listed as an alternate. Any editor can comment and discuss the choice. After reading the comments, the Featured Article Director will freely choose which of the two articles to feature on the main page.
Is this what we are thinking about changing, if we want to change anything? If so, how would we go about changing it and in what way do we want to change it? Are there other policies/guidelines regarding this? —Mattisse (Talk) 02:06, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

1) We can say they have to be notable - and let Raul decide from there. 2) We can create a pool of such articles that we decide on as a community and then Raul simply selects from that pool. I'm sure there are more options. The general question is whether we want to restrict TFA in this way. The mechanics of it are less important, in my view. Awadewit (talk) 02:11, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

If we did, suppose he did not agree to go along with that? I am not clear that he would be restricted to any confines we put on his choices, if the quote I have given above from his "ratification" is indeed a description of the process. It says he chooses the two articles, he listens to community comment, he freely makes the choice between the two. —Mattisse (Talk) 04:56, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
It would almost be better to just let Raul know our concerns so he can take them into account, then keep an eye on the requests page accordingly. Wrad (talk) 05:11, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
In other words, option 1. Wrad (talk) 05:12, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't see the point of getting into a power struggle with Raul when we have no real complaints over how he does his job. I am not sure what we are complaining about. It does seem like bring our concerns to him would be the path most likely to lead to constructive change, if we can agree on what we want. (I am not clear about what we want, except more power to control the main page choices, in general. Do we have specific complaints about his choices?) —Mattisse (Talk) 05:36, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
No one is complaining about Raul - he is simply scheduling FAs. If you want to see the concerns of editors on this page, see the list of quotes that I provided above. Awadewit (talk) 05:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

One thing this discussion seems to be missing is the fact that in addition to Raul's natural judgment, there are already two "filters" which can be used to oppose an FA becoming TFA. One is the process at TFA/R, where any editor is welcome to express opposition to a TFA proposal. If someone put Jenna Jameson up at TFA/R, I'm sure that there would be a vigorous debate, even ignoring the fact that Raul has said that he won't use that one article as a TFA. The second "filter" is communication with Raul. If an article is promoted to FA, or under consideration for promotion, and editors have concerns about its appropriateness for TFA, Raul is easily accessible and quite reasonable. If there's a compelling argument why a particular article should be featured but not put on the main page, why not make that argument to Raul? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 05:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Featured short articles and systemic bias[edit]

On Wikipedia, systemic bias refers to uneven coverage caused by imbalances in the editor demographics. For example, most Wikipedians are American, so American topics are well covered. In contrast, few Singaporeans edit Wikipedia and hence coverage of Singaporean topics is lacking. Systemic bias is a severe problem, but it often goes unnoticed.

I oppose the proposed FSA process as I believe it will worsen systemic bias. There are two main types of short articles: those on over-represented topics and those on under-represented topics. Based on the discussions I have read, FSA is clearly intended to recognise short articles about things like American roads and popular culture, which fall into the former category. Articles in the latter category will be left out in the cold, discouraging editors from working on them and thus worsening systemic bias.

Comprehensiveness is not the only reason why the FA process puts articles in the latter category at a disadvantage. Editors who focus on the latter category of articles are usually not native speakers of English, making criterion 1a an impossible mountain for them to climb. A Singapore-related article that failed FAC for this reason would be Odex's actions against file-sharing. There are other reasons, which I shall not go into here.

The last time a Singapore-related article passed FAC was in July 2007. But in the following seventeen months, over thirty Singapore-related articles achieved GA status. These include many short history articles written by Aldwinteo, such as Long Ya Men and Early Founders Memorial Stone.

GA is still the best process for recognising excellent short articles in both categories. Since FA (and FSA) cannot include both categories of short articles, they should exclude both categories and let GA be the inclusive process. Instead of introducing an FSA process, we should give greater recognition to GAs - such as by letting GAs appear on the Main Page and showing a GA plus on the top-right corner of GAs. This proposal would keep FA status reserved for the best articles, better recognise short articles, help fight systemic bias and keep down the bureaucracy that would arise from the proposed FSA process.

It is time for the bitter rivalry between FA and GA to stop. It is time for us to unite. It is time for GA to be integrated with the other processes that recognise quality content. It is time for us to fight systemic bias. Can we change? Yes, we can.

--J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 16:00, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Until I can make some time for this, my suggestion is: don't push any one solution to any one problem too hard. Let people air their grievances over their own issues at their own speeds. It will all work out. (Disclaimer: this does not mean that it's okay for sour people to drop in on random FACs sowing discord. That's a topic ban waiting to happen if I ever saw one.) - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 16:41, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Paul Gondjout failed FA for two reasons: shortness and verifiability (it was partially translated, which is apparently a big no-no around here). He was a Gabonese politician, and consequently there was little about him outside French, which I can't even speak. ~the editorofthewiki (talk/contribs/editor review)~ 19:16, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I looked over that and it seems like the concern wasn't just that it was translated, but that there was reason to believe that, since no professional, fluent translator had looked over the sources, it may not be ready. Other articles have had translated material and been just fine, such as El Senor Presidente. Wrad (talk) 19:26, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Is FSA an existent, live, approved by consensus element within Wikipedia? The pages there give the impression that it is and is not, depending on how you view them. It's most peculiar. And I strongly object to the concept per se - and wonder where I can/should/should have registered my opinion. --Dweller (talk) 20:11, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

It is a proposal only. Some heated discussions regarding it usually became diverted to other issues. For example, the issue of TFA became entwined with it, some wanting to rule out short FAs because they then would be in the pool for TFAs. If you look in the archives, you can find the discussions. Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive32Mattisse (Talk) 20:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Gosh, I've missed a lot. But if it's just a proposal, the project page should be labelled as such. --Dweller (talk) 20:29, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Here you go, Dweller: Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive31#Wikipedia:Excellent short articles. It was something that Marskell and Worldtraveller kicked around for years, years ago. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:47, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Wiki-GDP per capita of Asian WikiProjects

Ah, wrt JLWS, this gives me a chance to flaunt some statistics I made on the Asian nation-state WikiProjects. I gave points on a 3-2-1 basis for FA/A/GA and then divided them by the millions of people in the country. Per capita, Singapore is miles ahead of most of them (data as of earl 2008). I'd say the main problem is that the Singaporean editors don't seem to be effective at votestacking, unlike some of the other nation-state/ethnic WikiProjects, which have 100% support for their own WikiProjects' articles. Also, some of them have very high turnout rates compared to active editors, eg 300 edits per month for an active editor. Also, as to the language comment, English is a mainstream language in Singapore, as it is in Israel, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, moreso than the other Asian countries. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 00:56, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Send all short articles to GA by default? I concur, wholeheartedly! And so I think would Outriggr, if I understand his "Send to GA" suggestion a while back. But will this pass, or if it does, will it pass smoothly? I doubt it... It's all about the pride of bearing the gold star. No really, every bitter argument at FAC is about that. People just want that damn gold star. It makes them feel proud, special, etc. Then... some people get the star who (in my opinion, at least, but I think objectively as well) don't deserve it... then people who are stopped from getting it are pissed because they compare their articles to the ones that got it but didn't deserve it.. and.. so on.. and so.. on. And people who write short articles will be pissed if the gold star is disallowed for their efforts. It's all about the pride of getting the gold star. All of it. For that reason, there will always be at least some level of acrimony at FAC, because not everyone can get the gold star, and some people will be axe-grinders and poison-spewers when they don't. So... color me a little cynical about all proposals to help the problem. :-) But I support sending all short articles back to GA by default. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:42, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    I think the problem is that there are competing visions of what FA is or should be; we've failed when debating changes that address those visions because there are too many choices, and we've failed when discussing individual changes because without agreement on the overall raison d'être of FA there is little chance of agreement on individual points. I'm not optimistic we'll get anywhere at this point. I'll participate in any likely-looking discussion but am not expecting to see one. The status quo, though it's not where I personally would like it, still generates good quality articles, and it'll do if we can't figure out how to improve it. Mike Christie (talk) 02:51, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    PS In addition to supporting short articles back to GA by default, I now have changed my position regarding GA: I agree they should get the green dot, and I agree that some GAs should hit the main page from time to time. The GA process should very, very, very carefully select the GAs that go, giving preference to shorter articles. I say all this because the damn gold star is just too unique and precious, and as long as that's true, There Will Be Bitterness... people need to have some reason to value GA more as well. It's all about pride... but if those ideas don't fly, then I'm with Mike: keep the status quo, be far stingier on FACS, that's all. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:55, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    What exactly is a short FA? As far as I've heard, no article has ever been opposed solely because it was short. There is no length requirement in the criteria. Wrad (talk) 03:01, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    (ec @Ling) Sounds to me like if you want GAs on the main page and you want short articles to get deserved recognition, that's the same as acknowledging the wisdom of Marskell (recognizing excellent short articles). But since he's no longer here to make it happen, and make it happen well (as he did the FAR redesign), I don't expect it will: a shame that we lost a contributor of such dedication. If you want short articles on the mainpage, I'd rather see them vetted through a community process wrt WP:WIAFA then a one-editor-pass process. And I was never convinced by the argument that short articles would drain resources from here (I will claim that I was proven right, since the discussions of the past months have effectively cut FA production in half, yet the page still lags for reviews, because the people reviewing the long FACs are still the same group, while a different group reviewed short articles). Whatever: so instead of recognizing featured short articles, we'll have half as many FAs and one-editor-pass GAs on the mainpage? Doesn't make sense to me, but what do I know? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:05, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    I guess we are fated to live in the past, talking about discussions that have already happened, repeating them over again, and mourning over editors who have left. Same old, same old. —Mattisse (Talk) 03:12, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    @Sandy: First of all, I am not wedded to any proposal. But... Implicit in my remark "The GA process should very very very carefully select" is the idea that the GA on the main page would be vetted by the whole GA process; not just any one-editor-chosen GA can pass. As for Marskell, I had nothing to do with him leaving, so please don't throw that in my face. @Matisse: I do not see any valid contribution in your remarks. I only see some form of unhappinees or ill will. if you're unhappy, then take someone to RfC, or drop it. You are just making everyone unhhappy.. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:27, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    @ Ling, re Marskell, see your talk. My point is that a short article "vetted by a whole process" is what WP:FSA was proposed to be; the two are equivalent, while GA isn't set up for community vetting relative to WP:WIAFA, our highest standards. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:43, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Quickly, I have to go please forgive typos. The only diff b/w letting GA have short articles and letting those hit the main page versus marskell's SFA is who would be doing the reviewing. I have always said, the only reason I oopose SFA is the drain on reviewers. I meant FAC reviewers. But but but if we let GA reviewers do the brunt of the work at SFA, occasionally supplemented by FAC reviewers, that would be excellent. First it would alleave ny fears about reviewer drain. second it could be a bridge betwenn the processes. Gott run bye. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:52, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm all for the bridge, but my other point was that I never agreed that FSA would drain reviewers. After reading thousands of FACs, I submit that there are different reviewer pools for different kinds of articles. The reviewers who participated in the topics that lend themselves to shorter articles aren't always the same reviewer pool as those looking at the long articles. I offered as proof that even with half of the traffic now at FAC, and half as many FAs, we still have dozens of FACs that I can't close, because we have the same reviewer pool looking at the same (longer) articles. So we're turning out half as many FAs, and the short articles are ... where ? Further, the enthusiasm for FSA was instant; there are a lot of editors who would eagerly staff it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:04, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • @Ling.Nut - Please let GA be! I wish you would leave GA out of this discussion. GA is still a pleasant place and an enjoyable experience. Whatever solution you want for your "short" FAs, find some other solution. —Mattisse (Talk) 04:19, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    @Matisse: I was a GA reviewer long, long before you ever were. ;-)
    @ Sandy: I suspect the GA folks would be thrilled to participate in a new project which was a bridge between the two processes. But as for other pools of reviewers... didn't you see me kinda throw down the gauntlet here a few days ago? I said "I SUPPORT SFA, if and only if we can get enough short articles folks to do the reviewing"? And all I hear in reply was... the crickets chirping in the weeds. Silence. SO... yeah maybe, there may be more reviewers hiding somewhere in those weeds.. but initially at least FAC and GAC reviewers are all that we have. And so if we have SFA, then I suggest a pow-wow between the two processes, handing the bulk of the reviewing of SFA over to the GAC process regulars. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:50, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    I don't see this division between GA and FA reviewers that you mention (many do both), and some of those reviewers, who were very enthusiastic when the proposal was first launched have ... yes ... picked up their marbles and left. Did you see the enthusiasm here and on my talk page when the proposal first surfaced? Now we can't even get consensus here to add six little words to WP:WIAFA, so I'm unsure if we get any substantial changes in place, particularly without Marskell, who was good at shepherding just that sort of thing. And, I still see a lot of resistance, so we may need to dialogue around all of these issues a lot more still before we all decide which way to go. Point being, in the meantime, we're not producing FAs, and we sure haven't lowered the page backlog by eliminating the shorter articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:30, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    @Ling.Nut - despite your huge superiority in experience, I have not seen your around GA recently, doing the normal, daily review work. In my opinion, GA reviewers don't want to wear the iron nit-pick chains of FA reviewers. They seem to handle whatever problems crop up in a refreshingly uncomplicated and direct way. Please leave them be. Ask Malleus his opinion. Besides, you are not Marskell, for heavens sakes! —Mattisse (Talk) 05:01, 26 November 2008 (UTC)


  • Support. Once again, I support the SFA process.
    I strongly suggest a pow-wow between FAC and GAC reviewers. I don't care if there's overlap between the processes, etc. I just don't want the whole burden of SFA to fall on the folks who review at FAC. New blood! plus it may be a bridge, as I suggested.
  • Ah, my life is hectic! I may be leaving Taiwan soon (like next week-ish??) to go to the States, to defend my dissertation. Or I may go a bit later. Or I may go much later. I have no idea! We are scrambling to work things out. So I have no idesa when i will be participating I vote support here and now; add my name to that list. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Discuss, don't vote. There are many ideas, going many different directions, and moving prematurely to votes and straw polls doesn't usually yield ... anything :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Yeah sorry. I was being...mmm... overly cheery? My point was this: If there ever is a poll regarding SFA, I support. But please do go to GAC and drum up reviewers. I also said (above) that we should have a brainstorming period first, with no polls... but no one responded. ;-) But anyhow, I may or may not be here for a while. I dunno. later. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 07:37, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose per my opening post. FSA will recognise short articles about American roads while neglecting short articles about Singaporean politicians. Since FA to FSA cannot include articles in both categories, the only fair solution is for FA to exclude articles in both categories, letting GA include articles in both categories. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 08:10, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Excuse me? --Rschen7754 (T C) 08:13, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Excuse me is right. Not all highway articles are short. I've worked on two, M-28 (Michigan highway) and M-35 (Michigan highway) that are definitely not short, and both are currently listed as FAs. Other articles are quite long, but with somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 articles on various state highways in the US, not all will be short, and some will never be long. Imzadi1979 (talk) 18:38, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • How on earth did we get back on this? FSA is a solution without a problem, and if anybody ever manages to provide evidence that shortness is itself a problem, we'd still need to see how FSA would help. Yomanganitalk 09:54, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Section break to refocus discussion[edit]

Hardly any of the replies discuss the problem of systemic bias. Could everyone please reread my original post and keep the discussion focused on the issue (systemic bias with regards to the FA/FSA process) and my proposal? --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 14:24, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't see the depth of problem that you apparently do. Yes, it is often harder for non-native English speakers to meet 1a. You must also recognize, though, that it is often hard for native English speakers to meet that criteria. Writing an FAC does not have to be the work of one person - this is a wiki and we should be taking advantage of other people's expertise and willingness to help. If someone writes a lot of articles that consistently are archived due to 1a concerns, then that person needs to find a good copyeditor and then renominate the article. We have lots of FAs on Vietnam-related topics; there is no reason why articles related to other countries cannot meet the FA criteria. It's just a matter of pairing the right editors to meet the criteria. Karanacs (talk) 15:17, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I might point out I have lived my entire life in Australia, and none of the FA/A/GA in Vietnam appear to have been written by Vietnam-born editors at all. The 20-odd A-class articles are written by an American fellow who did grad work on the VN War. Anyway, in respect to what JLWS said, per my "GDP graph" above, Singapore still has the highest per capita wiki-GDP of Asian WikiProjects, which isn't surprising as English is a mainstream language in Singapore, official IIRC. YellowMonkey (click here to choose Australia's next top model!) 00:26, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Per Karanacs, above, I am happy to copyedit articles on Vietnam-related or any other country-related topics, provided the topics are nothing to do with either astrophysics or professional wrestling. Brianboulton (talk) 17:49, 27 November 2008 (UTC)


Sandy pointed this out up above, but it has been lost in the slugfest. Anybody interested in revisiting it? I see little point in pushing ahead with discussion of other changes if they are likely to be reverted on the same basis. Yomanganitalk 12:20, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Is Christopher Parham the only Opposer, then? Just asking. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 12:37, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I doubt it. I did not revert, and didn't object to the attempt to add it, but I think Christopher was right that there was not a definite consensus for it and that it was not clear how the new phrase would be interpreted in practice. I think it was reasonable for someone to revert.
How about nominating four or five editors, who represent some of the differing points of view on this, to work together at the Wikipedia:Content_review/workshop and try to come up with a consensus suggestion for review by everyone here? That workshop has been silent for a while; the idea was to give interested parties a separate location for the conversation. It had one success -- the automation of peer review -- but has not been very active for a while now. Mike Christie (talk) 12:48, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
That would be better? I would propose (ducking) another method, but I suppose it will be shot down: I would suggest that everyone (except me) participate in a "brainstorming session" to come up with better verbiage. I would further suggest that arguments be kept to a bare minimum; only comments that refine or seek to refine a given suggestion should be offered. No Opposes to any suggestion allowed, for a period to be agreed upon (beforehand or after the fact, whatever). I'm just thinking, crap, the cycle is endless: we have one or two ideas, we bicker over them endlessly, etc. Then while we're busy bickering over proposals unlikely to pass, no one is thinking of new ones. How's about we temporarily skip over the bickering part? Just a thought.Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
We need specific proposals to debate, I agree, but we need to be sure that once they are agreed upon by those discussing them, they are not reverted by one person. If one person can upset the consensus, then these reform efforts are fruitless. Awadewit (talk) 22:12, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Sadly true. It appears that this mythical wikipedia "consensus" is at best illusory if one editor can overturn what's been agreed between the other interested parties. What's the point? There will always be someone who disagrees with anything; should that person have the deciding vote? "Consensus" on wikipedia is simply another name for "stasis". Nothing changes, except insofar as it just continues to get worse. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:20, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
No offense is intended to either Mike or Christopher, but I just reverted Christopher's reversion of yesterday. After carefully reading the FACs that were linked in that discussion, it seems clear that the community already uses this standard to determine what passes and what fails. You can argue that the wording isn't perfect or that we don't know exactly what it means yet, but I think it's clear that the criteria including Awadewit's phrase are a better representation of reality than without. Even if that weren't true, please re-read the discussion. We rarely get that kind of consensus around here; let's cherish the moment! - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 22:30, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
The reason that the community already uses this standard is that it is already present in the criteria and has been for a long time. An article that does not establish context does not contain all major facts and details about the topic. Nobody, so far as I can tell, has claimed differently. At the same time, there's no agreement that the outcome of any past or future FAC would be changed by this addition. The implication that this is a "reform effort", when nobody believes that it alters either the spirit or practical application of the criteria, mystifies me; immaterial changes in wording do not constitute reform. Christopher Parham (talk) 23:34, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Since the additional wording apparently makes the criterion clearer for some people and you believe that it doesn't doesn't alter the criteria there is no reason to remove it. Hooray, consensus re-established. Arf. Yomanganitalk 00:25, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Christopher, we have worked together at WT:MOS and WT:Layout and you are good at seeing these things ... when you take the time to read it through and think it through. Don't cut corners here; there are a lot of FACs to read in order to pick up the pattern. Read those links above, and consider whether coverage of "context" or "background" isn't a reasonable way of describing whether recent short-ish FACs have succeeded or not. IMO it's a much better description of what's actually happening than just looking at how the relevant "facts" of the subject were covered. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 00:27, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Just my two cents on this issue: the context phrase is definitely needed in FAC criteria. Stating facts without giving Reader any context surrounding those facts can be a very POV way to present a subject. I cant see how any article could be considered FA quality if it does not give Reader context and I support Awadewit's proposal. NancyHeise talk 15:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. I imagine an nominator in the future will omit a section on the larger implications of a subject because the FA criteria did not mention it. There are some categories of articles that are so small there are too few FAs to model after, so at times, the FA criteria is all to go on. --Moni3 (talk) 15:30, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

(←) I'm in favour of the context clause too, and believe it has consensus support. Geometry guy 21:37, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I too favor the context clause. I don't see what harm it causes, and it can only help. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:51, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I support the "context" clause - I think it helps clarify what "comprehensive" means. Awadewit (talk) 15:13, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I too support the context clause. You need context in any article, but especially a FA. --Falcorian (talk) 20:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

"places the subject in context"[edit]

I want to get a wider audience for the posts today at WT:FACR from Kaldari and Sandy. As Kaldari says, if Tropical Storm Erick (2007) passes, and if we can't get agree to mention a lower word count limit at FACR, then why shouldn't people just nominate a bunch of short articles for FAC and take their chances? I think we already have agreement on this, but I'm not the one to say: for our "best work", it's not enough to give people facts, we also need to tell them who cares and why. There are now fairly well-established criteria (in the U.S. anyway) for "journalistic" writing (I mean newspapers, magazines, popular science writing, and most of the non-fiction best-selling books these days; roughly, everyone who follows AP Stylebook). If a literate reader can't figure out by the time they get to the end of an article why anyone cares, then they're going to feel a little disappointed that they spent the time. Julian is of course one of our finest writers, but I am opposing Tropical Storm Erick (2007) until I can get a sense from you guys of whether this article "places the subject in context" per WP:FA?. A storm blew up, then it went away. Did someone at least get some good surfing out of it? Are there people who study these things that learned something important? There's got to at least be a claim that this is interesting to someone for some reason, otherwise it's more suited to a professional journal or an almanac.

That's not a problem with Acid dissociation constant, because it's taught to every graduate student in chemistry. The editors have made the case, I think, they can't write it in the same form that shows up in the textbooks because, well, education sucks, and the form that is generally taught is hopelessly over-simplified, even wrong. But now we have to "place the subject in context"; a lot of quite literate people have complained that, not only can they not make it through the article, they can't even understand enough to place it in context. In cases like these, would we be out of line to require (for FAC) that another article has to be written of a high quality (ideally FA) that introduces the subject enough so that graduate students in chemistry could follow the harder article after reading the easier one? - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:21, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

There isn't a new criterion that says "If an article is short it need not meet any of the other criteria" which is why people shouldn't "just nominate a bunch of short articles for FAC and take their chances" Yomanganitalk 19:44, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I've got one for ya. I wrote Robin Starveling, a short article. I'm pretty sure I've said all there is to say about the guy, so the article is comprehensive. Is there any reason the article can't be an FA? Should I just take a chance? Wrad (talk) 19:28, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I see some problems with Robin Starveling that would persuade me to oppose at FAC unless they were addressed, but its length isn't one of them. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:47, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
We'll keep the discussion on length here, but if you'd like to briefly mention other reasons on the article talk page, I'd be interested. Wrad (talk) 19:50, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
There doesn't have to be a claim that it is interesting to someone. It was a minor tropical storm that most people have never heard of, I grant, but this is an encyclopedia. Even if three people read it per month (as an example), Wikipedia will have succeeded in being comprehensive enough to include this article. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 19:30, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I've already asked these questions of Julian in the FAC. Why is this article of interest? The thesis seems to be that the storm was not unusual in any way and had no impact. Why not merge it with all the other nondescript unimportant storms of that season then? What is it that justifies this storm having its own article? What does it tell us that would be lost in a list of other run-of-the-mill weather events of 2007? It would seem to be an ideal candidate under reason 4 of WP:MERGE. I don't think we should be afraid of suggesting Merge rather than Support or Oppose in an FA. (there actually seems to still be a merge discussion on this active from the time of the last FAC.) Yomanganitalk 19:44, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Note that since the merge discussion was initiated, WPTC has agreed that all storms may receive articles, so long as they meet project standards in terms of quality. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:22, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps someone can test the FA criterion by writing an article on "Sunny weather in mostly hurricane-free Aruba" by combing through dispatches emitted by government weather agencies and adding on a few inevitable independent media mentions. After all, the government agency that exists for the purpose of reporting on every minor weather occurrence does confer notability by Wiki definitions, so let's see some sunny weather instead of all these storms ! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:42, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Exactly my point. FA has been evolving, but these days, a minimum requirement for FA seems to be that it's a "good read"; that you can at least imagine that it would be an article in some paper or magazine, even if it's a specialist paper or magazine. Tropical Storm Erick (2007) could be in some magazine, in some form, but in its current form, it doesn't answer the general reader's question, "Why did I just spend 10 minutes reading this?" Readers are okay with not following everything, but they have to follow something, and if it doesn't relate to their world, they at least have to believe that it relates to someone's world, and that they've been privileged to share that world for a few minutes. The trick that journalists use when reporting something that's dry, but has to be reported anyway, is to paint a little bit of the bigger picture. First they'd look for some human-interest angle to that particular storm; if they can't find it, they'd look for some human-interest angle to all tropical storms, something about beach erosion or effects on the oceans. Maybe it's evidence of global warming, I don't know. At least something to make the reader think that it's not just an entry in a yearly almanac. The MERGE question above could be relevant, but I don't know much about AfD. Assuming it survives the MERGE, my impression is that we think it still needs to be "engaging" to be a FA, and that this comes up again and again in one context or another at WT:FAC. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 20:41, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
A "good read" is not synonymous with "well written". I am not aware of any FA criteria that demands a subject be interesting, and somewhat alarmed to see the apparent proposal of journalistic tricks in the construction of what is, after all, supposed to be an encyclopedia article. Not a tabloid newspaper report. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:56, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
That wasn't the direction I was headed either :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:59, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Wikipedia is not a newspaper, so I'm having a hard time understanding why you're comparing it to such. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and should be written in an encyclopedic manner, not in a way which a newspaper would write. Regarding your "why did I just spend 10 minutes reading this?" argument, a reader is not forced to read anything. Thus, there is no need to prove to them why they've read an article; they read it at their own will. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone
Speaking of newspaper articles, I'm sure you've heard of the famous headline in The Times: "Small Earthquake in Chile; Not Many Dead." It won a most boring headline award in the 1920s. But I digress ... :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 21:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
If the article meets all the featured criteria, then surely it can be featured? If it doesn't deserve to be featured because it's short or non particularly interesting, then surely that is a problem for WP:N not WP:FAC. Quoting the "Tropical Storm Erick (2007)" article, one line stands out to me: "Because Erick remained away from land, no effects, property damage or fatalities were reported; no ships were affected, and no tropical cyclone warnings and watches were issued." That doesn't seem to me to make it interesting at all, but that's not WP:FAC's problem is it? Peanut4 (talk) 21:09, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I'll make the point that I thought Sandy was making (apparently not!): if an article on a storm can be an FA without any claim that anyone was actually interested in the storm, then why not the daily weather report? (I want to be clear that this isn't about storms, and certainly not about Julian's writing or values; Wikipedia doesn't suffer from too many storms and roads, it suffers from not enough of everything else.) I'm thinking about newspapers because I'm thinking about copyeditors; let me spin these ideas in my head a bit and see what they look like from another angle. I'll get back to you. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 21:12, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
WP:NOT#NEWS applies. Weather reports are essentially news, and unless there is a significant weather event, they will never receive significant coverage in reliable sources. Tropical cyclones, on the other hand, are notable weather events that receive extensive coverage not only from government and hurricane tracking agencies, but from news reports, journals, and oftentimes, studies and other sources. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:23, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I have added my own oppose, partly in the spirit of Ling. I do not believe that the solution to articles like this is to merge them. Per Pillar One, "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers". NB "Almanacs" and "gazetteers", mentioned already in this thread. It is an entirely reasonable position that Wikipedia should have articles on every hurricane for which there are reliable sources, meaning, as Juliancolton says, a mixture of government weather forecasting agencies and independent news. However, it is not entirely reasonable to imagine that all such articles should be featured. For me, this is a compelling case that the featured article criteria refer to "our very best work" and not "all articles which are as good as they can be". This article may well be as good as it can be, but featuring it is pointless. If editors deserve a pat on the back for their excellent work, give them a barnstar. Geometry guy 21:27, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I would very much like to see a convincing definition of "our very best work" which would exclude an article like Erick, given that our best work presumably need not be also our most interesting work, or "only those articles that I think are on important topics". --Malleus Fatuorum 21:35, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
(To Geometry guy) Very well put. But does that mean we need a new rating, for articles which cannot get better but it is pointless giving them featured status? I guess this is what WP:GA was for, but most of the articles there could be improved or expanded. Peanut4 (talk) 21:41, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I must say I am extremely disappointed in how FAC is handling this article. "Too boring to feature" is not part of WP:WIAFA. As always, it's good to know that my work is disregarded as "boring". –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 21:48, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
It is not your work, but the topic we are discussing. And your work is far from disregarded, but is receiving massive attention! Geometry guy 21:50, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Malleus makes a very good point (how to define "our very best work") and Peanut4 makes a very good point (GA serves multiple purposes). I don't know a better way to answer Malleus' point other that the "in context" criterion which we are discussing. For the second issue, I have long argued that some GAs should be given greater recognition. Which ones, and how, is a matter for debate. However, even if this were resolved, finding a place or a way to recognise them is very difficult. Geometry guy 21:50, 2 December 2008 (UTC
A headline on my small town paper one day expanded on the pleasant nature of the weather the previous day. It would have been slightly amusing had I not been trying to instill a sense of what kind of story my students should have been choosing for their current events assignment. Front page news, I said! It must matter! Three students decided to report on the pleasant day... I still admit I'm stuck on this. I don't know what to do with these articles that don't seem to have any real-world implication. --Moni3 (talk) 22:23, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm reminded of the Diary of a Nobody. Everything that happens is potentially of interest to someone. Who are we to judge? --Malleus Fatuorum 22:42, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Actually, that's a classic example of a couple of articles that really ought to be merged, but I digress again. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:51, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Maybe I'm not following the above too well, why exactly is featuring this "pointless"? Seems pretty subjective to me. The article isn't even really all that short. Wrad (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Or to turn it around, what purpose does featuring it serve? (This is not a question about shortness.) Geometry guy 22:35, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
To recognize an article as Wikipedia's best work. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 22:36, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Which consequently motivates editors to improve their work to a certain standard. Take featured status from a group of articles, and those articles will dissappear. A "standard", mind you, is a set of rules that is the same across the spectrum. What gives you the right to change the standard just because you think an article is boring? Wrad (talk) 22:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely right. It's not the article that's boring, but the reader who is bored. Quite different things. One may be the fault of the article, the other may be the fault of the reader. --Malleus Fatuorum 22:44, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
(Actually I don't find the article particularly boring, because I understand the science, but if I read a hundred articles like this, I would probably be bored. Bored reader isn't the point. Vanilla article is. Geometry guy 22:58, 2 December 2008 (UTC))
"Vanilla article" So you're opposing because there are too many other tropical storm/hurricane articles that are already featured? That doesn't make any sense. Judge the article for itself, not for what other articles are. Wrad (talk) 23:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Nope. "Vanilla" was a bad choice of word, but seems to have generated a whole new section anyway - oh well. Better would be "devoid of significant additional content". If this were the only tropical storm that had ever happened, it would be significant. As one of thousands since 1950, it is a particularly dull one. That statement has nothing to do with how many articles Wikipedia has on tropical storms, or how many are featured. It is just a fact about the subject. Geometry guy 18:59, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
We seem to be agreed that FAs are about Wikipedia's best work (rather than "articles which are as good as they can get"), so, to quote Malleus, how do we define Wikipedia's best work? Geometry guy 22:58, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
By whether or not it meets the listed criteria. The criteria is the standard by which we judge the highly subjective idea of "best work". Wrad (talk) 23:01, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay that's an answer, but it is pretty bland. Apparently these criteria describe "Wikipedia's best work" rather than "articles which are as good as they can get". Is that your view? Geometry guy 23:22, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
You have to have criteria to be able to judge whether an article is "as good as it can get" in the first place. Wrad (talk) 23:27, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay. All the best, Geometry guy 23:34, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

In my opinion the current FA criteria is not good enough to discern "our very best work". One should keep in mind our readers concerning that clause. IMO, seeing a "high-quality" article on Tropical Storm Erick will not convince the reader that Wiki is a great source. --RelHistBuff (talk) 15:58, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Then we need to find a way to make it clear to our readers that Wikipedia articles tend to be short, and they'll have to follow the hatnotes if they want an experience that is more like reading a magazine article. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 18:43, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
The issue about length is a side issue. Who cares if Erick is short or not? It is simply not an important article that is of interest to the vast majority of readers. It is just trivia and not an example of our very best work. --RelHistBuff (talk) 23:08, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you need to provide a definition of "our very best work" which excludes those articles you find boring or trivial. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:15, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and as such, anybody can write on whatever they want to. In my case, I find tropical cyclones to be extremely interesting; tropical cyclone articles are what attracted me to Wikipedia, and they are what I am here to write about. So why is my work ineligible to be recognized as Wikipedia's best work? I don't find history articles interesting, yet I don't go around opposing them at FAC because of that. In fact, I even review and support many of them. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 23:23, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I am resigned to the fact that there is no such "definition", that a "boring or trivial" FAC cannot be defined to everyone's satisfaction. The current FA criteria, for now at least, are as good as we can do. Its vagueness is an advantage, I am thinking. In the end, human editors decide. Although the results may not be consistent, so be it. —Mattisse (Talk) 23:26, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Why must we worry about an article being "boring or trivial" at all? If it meets Wikipedia's notability requirements, and it meets the FA criteria, then featuring an article is simple an assessment. All it boils down to is |class=FA and adding a little bronze star. It doesn't have anything to do with notability, level of appeal, page views, or how boring an article is. If Tropical Storm Erick (2007) passes FA, it will be upgraded to FA-Class; it will have no significance on anything else. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 23:39, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree, and I do not at all understand this new-found fascination with "interesting articles", or "important topics". Most FAs bore me to tears, but so what? The FAC criteria make no mention of "interesting" or "important" that I've been able to find. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:43, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
There is nothing in the criteria which is exactly the point. Therefore, the criteria is not able to discern our very best work. Something has to be added. FAs and the criteria should not exist for "us", the editors. One should not worry about "my work being ineligible...". We should target the readers. We all work on articles that interest us, but our best should be the best for the readers, not the best for the editors. In this specific example, there are plenty of meteorology articles that deserve work and priority over Erick. Yeah, Erick will get a bronze star which can only make its editor happy, but at the expense of other articles being ignored. --RelHistBuff (talk) 07:13, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
That's an awfully narrow definition of "best work". We're not writing a book here, or a newspaper, where each article will get lots of casual readers. In that context, it would make sense to talk about the readership in general (or about the interests of the "vast majority of readers", even). But we're not in that context. We're writing an encyclopedia. The typical user will not browse, he or she will look something up. In consequence, use of our texts is much more fragmented, and the audience for different articles will differ widely. Most of the readers who come across an article will have been looking for exactly that topic. If a very specialized article, on a topic that is certainly of no interest to 99.9% of the total number of those using Wikipedia in one way or another, gives a brilliant exposition of its subject and proves supremely useful to 99.9% of those readers who look it up, who are we to say that's not part of our best work?
Also, in line with most other dedicated Wikipedians (including you, I'm pretty sure), I'm happy about every competent editor who joins Wikipedia and improves an article about a notable subject, however uninteresting that subject might be to me personally at this particular moment. I'd never dream of directly ordering an editor around ("No more working on Simpsons characters until we have full coverage of the invention of television!"). But at the same time, I'd never want to order anybody around indirectly, by saying, in effect, "Sure, work on your unimportant little Simpsons characters. But that way, your contributions are certainly never going to be part of our best work. Teehee! Loser!"
Markus Poessel (talk) 11:50, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Again, I repeat, concerning Wiki as a whole, I am an inclusionist. I appreciate the media articles; they should be included. But for our very best work, there should be a bottom somewhere and at this stage it is the notability criterion. IMO, FA should have a higher bar. Yes, it would be more restrictive, to the disadvantage of editors of certain articles such as Erick. But the result would be an advantage to the encyclopedia as a whole. The big question is how to define that higher bar. --RelHistBuff (talk) 12:55, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Now, Ling.Nut and I might be at odds over whether there was support for excluding short articles (he's wrong, I'm right, of course), but I'm damn sure a notability criterion was roundly shot down just a couple of weeks ago (Here: Wikipedia_talk:Featured_article_candidates/archive34#Proposal_for_notability_criterion_for_FAC). Let's not start up again on that quite so soon. Yomanganitalk 14:15, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
No, I am not bringing that proposal up again. It is obvious there was no consensus for that proposal. But I am simply expressing my opinion on Erick and why some kind of new criterion is needed. Am I so allowed to do that, dear sir? --RelHistBuff (talk) 14:27, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) I think the idea of "Wikipedia's best work" needs to be put in the context of the topic. Tropical Storm Erick (2007) seems like a clear, accurate analysis and description of the storm. What more are you expecting? These are largely scientific/meteorological pieces; I read another scientific article, Osteochondritis dissecans, and though the topic is different, the approach is the same — an encyclopaedic approach to science. Sometimes hardly anyone will be interested in the article but that is largely due to the readers' interests. Even the very best academics rarely read a whole book on their own specialised topic — they cherry-pick what they need. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 16:20, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Vanilla articles[edit]

I want to pick up on Geometry guy's point above, about "vanilla articles". My perception of this ongoing short article discussion is that it has very little to do with short articles per se, but is much more to do with those categories of articles for which a standardised format has been established – like roads and cyclones – and the perception that it is therefore easier to achieve FA status for such article that it is for, let's say Samuel Johnson or the Roman Catholic Church. I think the same criticism could be laid at a great many other categories of articles, films, literature, pop culture and so on, but I really don't see why anyone would be concerned about that. Who cares how many FAs editor X or Y has notched up? What matters is whether or not the encyclopedia is being improved by the effort. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:55, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Or is it that only those subjects which have enough activity to develop "vanilla templates" are able to create short articles that meet the criteria? Wrad (talk) 00:02, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure what is being discussed here. If it is short articles per se, then please see Archive 31 - Short FAs and Archive 32 - Short FAs continued. If it is notability, see various endless discussions, including Archive 32 - FA context & notability. Usually, discussions about FA criteria devolved into what articles should appear on the main page. Nothing is ever decided because there apparently is no answer to these questions. All that is required is that an FA meet notability requirements. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
That's required of all articles of course, not just FAs. Personally I get some satisfaction from helping to establish formats/templates for articles not well represented at FA/GA, such as witchcraft trials, local newspapers, or historic computers. But each to their own; this isn't a competition, it's supposed to be a collaboration. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:56, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the personal satisfactions come from work such as that which you describe. Forgive my current intolerance for any more of these discussions over what is an FA, and even more useless, what goes on the main page. There are those who want to wonk FAC into exclusivity, and those who want to maintain a more inclusive view. I prefer the latter, not wanting to exclude in advance any article, per se. Just my view. Hate to encourage any more of these FAC MUST become more exclusive arguments! I like Raul as he seems relatively free from such preoccupations when he makes his main pages choices. —Mattisse (Talk) 01:20, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
As an aside, note that 2005 Azores subtropical storm—an article even shorter than Tropical Storm Erick (2007)—was recently promoted. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 01:12, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Also of note, the aforementioned article has some claim for notability (thus not making it vanilla), due to being in the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, causing impact, and not known to be a storm until six months after it dissipated. Erick has no such claim for not being vanilla. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 15:39, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Notability is not inherited, so being part of the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record doesn't make it more notable than any other storm. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 19:46, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I've changed my mind and decided that I can support Julian's "storm to nowhere" article, but only after the addition of a hatnote at the top, "Also see Effects of tropical cyclones and 2007 Pacific hurricane season." I'm looking for the question of the cumulative impact of storms like these to be answered somewhere, and I think we should point to that right at the start. To the objection that this is a "vanilla" article, and that shorter and drier FAs will create a perception that some people "get off easy" writing FAs: Julian has worked very hard on this article, and he and others had to write the other articles that supplement this one, or I wouldn't be supporting. To the objection that making this article FA will encourage people to write almanac articles rather than improving the articles that more people are actually reading: that's not Julian's problem; if this is the article he wants to write, let him write it, and if he wants to improve it up to FAC standards, fine. We have other ways of encouraging work on the high-traffic articles, such as the weight given to hits per month at WP:V1.0. To G-Guy's objections: I understand that almanac-like articles in Wikipedia are fine; my context was FAC. Also, I understand that this article is boring, but the point is that the impact of the 2007 Pacific hurricane season isn't boring at all, and this article constitutes one piece of that puzzle. If I had my way, I would decide it differently, but I have been persuaded that current consensus sees WIAFA #4 as prohibiting details in this article that can't be tied to this storm. To the objection above that WP:NOT says that my standards of journalistic writing don't apply in Wikipedia: WP:NOT doesn't come close to saying that, it says that Wikipedia is not the news. Standards of professional writing, at least in popular science articles in high-quality newspaper and magazine articles, have always been relevant at FAC. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 15:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Re that hatnote at the top of an article, better read MoS on that. I'm pretty sure we don't put "See also" hatnotes at the top of articles :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:44, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
The hatnote adds nothing positive. The "see also" to Effects of tropical cyclones is lame, and the idea that the reader needs to be told about 2007 Pacific hurricane season before even reading the lead further highlights why this article should not be featured. Geometry guy 19:29, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Sandy, are you referring to Wikipedia:Lead_section#Link to sub-article? I have no objection to using that language; I was using the hatnote recommended by WP:HATNOTE#See also [added: but Sandy is dead right; the parent article uses the "main" template to link to poor Erick, so Erick should have had a hatnote or sentence pointing back to the partent article already.] G-Guy, let's continue the conversation we've already started on your talk page. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:36, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Dank55, for the recognition of the importance of building a body of supplementary work as a whole for a FAC. Recently I complained that a FAC was relying on useless explanatory wikilinks that not only had no explanations, but contained tags that questioned the lack of sources and notability. Essentially, I received the response, "So what? That is not my problem that those articles are in poor condition." I appreciate that the storm people have built up a body of quality storm-related articles that clearly explain storm terminology to use as explanatory wikilinks for their FACs. (So have the wrestling article people.) —Mattisse (Talk) 15:53, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Someone said at WT:RFA that WT:PW is the second-most-edited page on Wikipedia after WT:RFA, so they must be doing something right. Btw, I don't support the idea that all articles can become FAs; some roads are boring. But there aren't a lot of storms that we can't squeeze some kind of human interest out of, and I'm thinking it would be too arbitrary to pick these few out and exclude them from FAC; all named storms get some coverage, and climate change and tropical storms are about as notable as topics can get. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 17:14, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
In practice, all articles don't become FAs. Do you think that is good enough? Or should there be additional proscriptions to prohibit articles from becoming FAs, besides failing to fulfill the FA criteria? —Mattisse (Talk) 20:06, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I think it's better to cover the subject one article at a time; name an article that you think has a route to FA that you think you might get some resistance to. (That's the beauty of FAC; most of the action is on the individual FAC pages rather than here.) - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 20:13, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
(@ Mattisse) Why can't all articles become featured? Why can't we have 5,371,348 featured articles someday? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:25, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I have always stood for the position that all articles theoretically could be a FA, and argued against exclusion of articles based on subject, size etc. I am saying that in practice, all articles do not become a FA. I am hoping that fact is enough to convince those who think there should be more FAC parameters weighted toward exclusion that they can be satisfied that the FAC process is enough. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:45, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
True, not all articles should become featured, only the highest quality ones. If an article is of high quality, I don't see a reason not to feature it. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 20:53, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Maybe instead of "short", "vanilla", or "boring" articles, we should call them "Epsilons", in honor of Huxley's Brave New World. "Epsilons" are articles whose potential is limited before they are even born, doomed to never reach FA status. No one cares about them and they are left languishing in the darker corners of wikipedia. Or, we could call the articles that can be FAs "pigs", as in Animal Farm: "some articles are more equal than others". Wrad (talk) 23:34, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

(undent, free the indentured colons of Wikipedia) Did I just see Dan say at talk FAC "The reviewer has worked really hard on this article"? Please consider the ramifications. We're giving out gold stars for Effort? That would be ABSOLUTELY fine with me—so long as we massively rewrite WIAFA accordingly. By that standard, we could already have given three or four gold stars to Roman Catholic Church. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:47, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

The RCC article suffered from exactly the same problem that Erick is currently suffering from. Reviewers not assessing against the FA criteria, but instead expressing their own personal prejudices. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:55, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Malleus, you wanna put "@Geometry Guy" in your edit summary"? Howzabout "@Ling.Nut"? Consider your target before you fire, my friend... or else use a laser-sighted rifle instead of a shotgunLing.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:58, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Fair point, I'll try and remember to do that in future. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:06, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
If the article meets the criteria, it deserves a star. People have tried to change the criteria in a way that would exclude short articles. They have failed. To oppose JC's article based on criteria that failed to become official is a bit ... outrageous? Wrad (talk) 05:10, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Dude, get your facts straight. People have tried to exclude short articles. The idea garnered enough Support to Pass. BUT. Then the people couldn't agree How to Do It. Then they wrangled endlessly. Then they all got tired. Then for that reason, it all died down. History check. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:24, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Where are my facts not straight? Here's what I said: "People have tried to change the criteria in a way that would exclude short articles. They have failed." Have the criteria changed? No. Therefore my facts are as straight as can be. Wrad (talk) 05:26, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
The "outrageous" bit is.. well.. outrageous. If we could agree on a way to exclude short articles, they would get excluded. End of story. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:28, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I completely agree, but here we stand, and here stands the criteria, and to apply something that isn't there is unconscionable. Wrad (talk) 05:32, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
"Unconscionable." There you go again. I'm gonna hafta hand over the crown of "Supreme Overly-Emphatic Adjective User" to you. This whole Short Articles thing is still Very Much Alive. Weighing in on a theme that is Very Much Alive is not unconscionable. Now, the FAC Director may discount such votes... you'd have to ask her (Raul? who?). But... stilll.. such Opposes are not way out of left field. They are in line with a very popular understanding of the spirit of WIAFA. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:40, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, give me the award if you want, but there's something wrong with opposing an article based on criteria that isn't there. There's nothing wrong with challenging and discussing criteria here, but what is anybody supposed to do if their articles are judged in that way? Wrad (talk) 06:01, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah, Ling.Nut, still on the old "excluding Short Articles got enough support to pass" jaunt. If you keep presenting it as a fait accompli perhaps it will become true. What was the pass mark, by the way? On the dull articles front, whether it is is boring or uninteresting is utterly subjective and unactionable. Whether it is comprehensive and places the subject in context is less so. Yomanganitalk 10:24, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

(undent) Dear Y~(i), we could go back and interpret comments and then count them if you like. I distinctly remember many voices saying we should X, where X==one of any number of schemes for dumping SAs. I remember you, Malleus, and the roads 'n storms crew Opposing. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 11:59, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

So, just 3 against (we count the "roads 'n' storms crew" as one I take it?). Not sure how we'd count the "fors" as I don't know how we do the groupings (even assuming they weren't allowed to change their opinion as the discussion progressed). I did realise, however, that I'd been foolish in thinking that the problem wasn't length, so I made a list (User:Yomangan/Short FAs) of the many reasons given for why short articles were bad in themselves so I wouldn't forget again. Anyway, I'm really interested in why 1(b) is so poorly applied. Short articles have the advantage of being able to explain and give context without pushing the size towards unreadable lengths, so why are we letting them off with being obscure and superficial? Yomanganitalk 12:52, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Interesting that the "roads 'n storms crew" are set aside as a separate entity within FAC. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 14:24, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
@Julian: My bad. I was possessed by the Demon of Pithy Badinage once again. I shall endeavor to be more prosaic. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 15:37, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Yomangani, while I'm not sure if you were being testy in posting that link, I added two reasons why short articles are worse than longer articles, those being stability concerns (whether it could be merged) and notability concerns (whether it has significant coverage). ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 21:20, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
As I'm not allowed to put my point in Yomangani's sub-article, I'll put it here. Stability concerns – Short articles that could be merged (could as in the entire content of the article can easily be moved to another article) are less stable than long articles; long articles by their nature of having a lot of information means they are very unlikely to be merged. That is a major, legitimate concern with shorter articles, which does it exist with longer articles. Some people have complained that any article could be merged, but I'm only referring to articles whose content could entirely be merged very easily. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 16:21, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Maybe you should consider the potential harm of merges, rather than the mere size of the content. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 16:29, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I am only putting the short articles in a legitimate umbrella. If a one paragraph article somehow makes it to FAC, I would be extremely worried it would be merged in the near future. What would be the potential harm of merging such a one paragraph article? ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 16:38, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Of course a one-paragraph article would be unacceptable, not because of an arbitrary length limit, but because such limited coverage means the subject is very likely to be non-notable. However, merging articles of 9 or 10 kb into larger pages might introduce undue weight, it might create length concerns for the main article, and it would make the information less accessible. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 19:19, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Regarding your last sentence "might introduce undue weight", that is a possibility, but there is also a possibility it would not introduce undue weight. Shorter articles certainly have either possibility, but larger articles don't have that potential problem. That leads back to the original argument of an inherent problem with shorter articles. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 19:25, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
There is no "inherent problem" with short articles. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:08, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

I've struck my support. I have followed the arguments on various pages and read some previous arguments concerning shorter FAs. I'm left feeling disappointed that we're not making anything that feels to me like progress. The bottom line is that, when I read an article like Tropical Storm Erick (2007), my sense is that it will usually wind up not getting promoted at FAC for one reason or another. When the community is ready to make a good-faith effort to carefully push the boundary, to figure out exactly what kind of shorter and "drier" (probably better than "boring", which is laden with value judgment) articles can become Featured, without weakening what it means to be Featured, I'll be happy to read the arguments and toss in my vote. Until then, I'm not willing to weigh in one way or the other; harm could be done either way if I take a shot in the dark. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 14:35, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

To the people who wish to (irrationally) count the "roads and storms crew" as one vote - what do you say when roads people oppose the promotion of a roads article?

For my part, I never support a roads FAC unless I have reviewed it - and I usually have since the article has gone through our own ACR and I have reviewed it there. --Rschen7754 (T C) 01:30, 25 December 2008 (UTC)