Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive35

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Multilingual Wikipedians needed

Sandy has suggested that we write a Dispatch on the featured content processes on other wikis. We have already had volunteers translate the requirements for the Spanish, French, and German wikipedias. Ideally, we'd like to cover the 10 most popular, so we are looking for editors who can translate the featured content rules on the wikis for these languages:

Italiano · Nederlands · 日本語 · Polski · Português · Русский

If you are able to read one of these languages (at minimum at the intermediate level), please feel free to add notes about their featured content processes at Wikipedia:FCDW/OtherWikis. Thanks! Karanacs (talk) 15:45, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm doing Dutch (Nederlands). Эlcobbola talk 15:54, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
In the "credit where credit due department", actually it was Awadewit's suggestion at WT:FCDW. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:09, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
I think I can get someone to translate the Portuguese one. Awadewit (talk) 06:52, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Fvasconcellos can do that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:00, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Never mind then. :) Awadewit (talk) 17:49, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

We still need Polish, Japanese and Italian. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:07, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I may be able to find someone to do the Italian one. Wrad (talk) 17:57, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Millennium '73

Could use some fresh FAC reviewers on this one. The FAC has seen a few of the same people commenting back and forth, but could use some previously uninvolved editors to take a fresh look and give an evaluation. Comments would be appreciated. Thank you, Cirt (talk) 21:46, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Original research and images

I notice one area of checking seems to have escaped everyone's attention — checking the sources of maps and diagrams. Very often, I notice that many maps, charts, or diagrams might be WP:OR. We certainly need a source/sources on the image page to back them up eg Image:ComunerosCityControl.png, Image:BattleofTordesillas.PNG, Image:ProtonTransfer.png, unless the images explain an abstract concept. Does this sound doable? =Nichalp «Talk»= 07:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I agree. --Moni3 (talk) 13:47, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I see a problem here. To create free images, editors often have to draw their own. Modern maps can be checked by anybody with a good atlas. My virus diagrams—see my user page—are used to help readers with descriptions in the text of the articles. The text is referenced, but the diagrams can not be (directly)—they are entirely home–made. Insisting on sources for diagrams could deplete the project of many good illustrations as sources other than WP contributors are probably going to be copyrighted. I think it should be part of the FA review process to check that images illustrate only what is in the text and that no original ideas or research is included. In short, this idea needs much thought and further discussion before any new rules are introduced. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 14:06, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
The maps would depend on the context. This is how I have added references to this map: Image:India-locator-map-blank.svg. Back to the diagrams: When drawing the diagrams, it would be obvious that the author would refer to some illustration, and then use his or her creative talents to draw the image. For such cases, cite the original sources. (Please note that *information* cannot be copyrighted) Finally, did you draw this image: Image:HBV replication.png without referring to any previous illustrations(s)? =Nichalp «Talk»= 14:26, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Graham Colm Talk 14:32, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Graham, I have little idea what that image is supposed to mean. I'm not too familiar with microbiology (but can learn it up fast). I managed to understand what a capsid is from Virus#Structure, but I'm sorry a "Schematic diagram of the hexon of a virus capsid" makes little sense to a first-time user. How do we verify that it's supposed to look like that? =Nichalp «Talk»= 15:22, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
They don't look at all like that. It is a schematic diagram not a portrait. Graham Graham Colm Talk 15:40, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Just like electron-positron collisions look nothing like this:Graham Colm Talk 20:23, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Feynmann Diagram Gluon Radiation.svg
Indeed they don't, most of the time (photons don't often decay into quark-antiquark pairs). But it does look like electron-quark scattering, with a bit of gluon radiation thrown in for good measure. :-) Geometry guy 23:53, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I images are generally exempted from WP:OR. See here. Ruslik (talk) 14:40, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
.....where WP actively encourages editors to draw images like Image:Hexon.png, which although not illustrating an abstract concept, originated entirely in my head. Graham Colm Talk 14:48, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
I've added self-created images to Indigenous people of the Everglades region and Stonewall riots, but I used materials to reference from. I think it's generally a good idea to require FACs to have images with sources, whether they were taken from the internet, or given by some kind of agency, or from a print source used. Since I don't deal with a lot of medical or legal articles, I don't come across a lot of editors who claim to be experts in their field as licensed professionals. So Graham's images are trickier. I think some verification should be included on the image page to confirm the image came from an expert of some kind. To put the image beyond reproach would be a book with page number. If Graham is claiming his own expertise to do the self-made work, should he put his own name as the reference, something like "Graham Colm, licensed physician/microbiologist in the United Kingdom" or some such? --Moni3 (talk) 15:14, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Moni's concerns. I think that we would want some sort of verifiable source. If it's a synthesis that popped into your head, the original info came from somewhere- at least referencing where similar info can be found would be nice. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:17, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) Given that WP already has a policy on this, I can not see what we can achieve here. Illustrations illustrate the text which is sourced. I have seen thousands of images of bacteriophages, many directly using an electron microscope. They are as familiar to microbiologists as cars are to drivers. If an editor draws a picture of a typical car can we demand a source? Surely not. With regard to 'phages, this image also came from memory Image:Phage.png it's not controversial, it's not original research, but it is an original drawing. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 15:35, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, this depends on why the image is being used. If the 1978 Ford Pinto is being illustrated to show why it was a firetrap, then yes, I think a source is in order. If a steering wheel is being illustrated, perhaps not. Viruses and bacteria are technical enough to equate to a braking or steering system of a car, if cars are what we're comparing. If the engineer who designed the Pinto, or just an engineer, provided the image, I think his/her name and credentials would be quite helpful. Because Essjay left a legacy for all of us to remember. --Moni3 (talk) 16:01, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I think it's important to recognize the distinction between self-made images of "tangible" things (e.g. virii) and "intangible" things (e.g. distributions). Just as it would indeed be silly to source a drawing of a car, so too would it be silly to source a drawing of a virus (although, as always, there may be rare exceptions/caveats - I saying knowing nothing about autos or virii). Alternatively, self-made images involving compilation of data (e.g. an election map) or distributions (e.g. a battle plan) do need a source. Both are, ultimately, mere visual representations of some underlying data. Images, like prose, are subject to our content standards (WP:V, WP:OR, etc); we need to source data/facts/statistics, even if they've been manifested visually. Эlcobbola talk 16:08, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Graham Colm Talk 16:28, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Sure (couldn't resist this!) :) Wikipedia contributors, "Automobile," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 26, 2008). Posted this to lighten things up here. Will reply in detail in a short while to avoid e/c. =Nichalp «Talk»= 16:41, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Graham, we're not saying that *all* images "must" have a source. WP:V should answer what needs a source. I think it would be better if one could source the location from where the images are inspired from, not necessarily a graphic design, it could also be understood from a book. If you're drawing the cross section of a virii, I'm sure you must have read some books that describe the structure, and then were inspired to draw this. That's perfectly fine, just label the image as an artist's impression. See the article on Pluto – we have several artist renderings of the minor planet, and it goes without saying that a source/reference will not be needed. This map: Image:Alexander-Empire 323bc.jpg has a reference, so we can say the regions that Alexander the Great conquered is as per xyz source. Conversely, why should one consider Image:MacedonEmpire.jpg to be reliable? Do you now get what I am trying to say? =Nichalp «Talk»= 16:56, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

That's a beautiful map and by the way please, the plural of virus is viruses. Yes, I do see your point but you gave this as an example: Image:ProtonTransfer.png, which rattled my cage. A diagram, almost by definition, is an artist's impression, and it would be redundant to place this tag on very diagram in an article. Diagram's can of course, have mistakes. I had to redraw this one Image:HBV genome.png because another editor spotted a small error—but this is why images have talk pages. I think we have to use common sense here and I agree with Зlcobbola. Simple diagrams, (like mine) will probably not be contested with regard to the text they illustrate. On your other point, inspiration can come from sources other than books. Much of my inspiration comes from over 40 year's working as a virologist. We should not confuse volunteers with amateurs, I think Wikipedia should use editor-created images more. We are as creative as any other set of encyclopedia editors and should not have to rely so much on second-hand images. Thanks for starting this discussion; it has been most useful. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 17:41, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Interesting that under Car, sources for all images are given, and there is no attempt to say there is a generic "car" or "automobile", perhaps because the generic word "car" is relatively meaningless. The picture provided about of a "car" presumably could be a truck or a bus, for example. Unless an editor discovered the nature of a virus himself (OR), the information in a diagram of a virus must have come from somewhere. It may be clear to Graham that a virus equals a car in the information base of the general readership of Wikipedia, but I do not agree. I would like to have a general source for a medical diagram provided. In textbooks etc., diagrams are usually sourced. Is not a diagram of a virus really a model or a concept? You are not literally picturing a virus, are you, or am I mistaken? —Mattisse (Talk) 17:45, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Addendum - When I made a comment recently, a much milder equivalent to the one by Graham above in an FAC: "Much of my inspiration comes from over 40 year's working as a virologist. We should not confuse volunteers with amateurs." - I was accused of "elitism". Does this not apply here also? You declare you are an expert, so your diagrams should be accepted. But the fact I am an expert in a certain field does not give me any more weight in opinions over content than those who clearly are not. Is this not the same issue? —Mattisse (Talk) 17:51, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Yes sorry I withdraw that. Here's my pre EC reply:
Hi Mattisse, the first book which comes to hand is "Understanding Viruses" (full reference given in Virus). Most of the diagrams do not give sources. The photographs do, apart from the ones taken from Wikipedia! No, I am not literally picturing a virus, (unless the image is one of my electron micrographs). I concede your point on my over-familiarity with viruses—but please, can't I just provide a simple diagram to help explain a fact without pretending I got the idea from elsewhere? Graham. Graham Colm Talk 17:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Requiring books as sources as opposed to just requiring reliable sources

I'm trying to get Jackie Robinson up to FA at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Jackie Robinson. A couple of editors have mentioned using more book sources, one of them opposing for this reason. Changing sources requires changing all the associated text, so I'm wondering what the consensus is on requirements beyond just reliability for sources. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 21:44, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

First I've heard of this requirement. Although some reliable sources are more reliable than others has an oddly familiar ring... Seriously, it sounds like the conversations we've recently had here about FAs needing to be more notable than notable. I disagree. --Dweller (talk) 21:51, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, I suggested you use Robinson's biographies and autobiography because they are the best possible sources, not because they are books. But I think I made that clear in the FAC. I opposed History of Indiana for that reason as well. --Moni3 (talk) 22:01, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
I hope there is a definitive answer, because there's no point in improving the article's prose if it's all going to have to be replaced. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 22:03, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Moni's comments don't seem to add up to what you posted here. I suggest you resolve this at the FAC. I think we're done here. --Dweller (talk) 22:05, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

I must say, for almost all FAs I have needed some offline sourcing (in most cases books). I think there are a few articles one may not need them but I haven't encountered any. Some medical articles (due to the quality of secondary sources, review articles and texts online) come to mind (as long as one has good access to fulltext), and I think some astronomy articles, teh bulk of referencable material is, but not sure what else. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 23:23, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Different articles require different levels of sourcing. Most articles on baseball players would be fine with newspaper, magazine and reliable Internet references, but Robinson is a special case. As one of the most important people in the history of American sports, there have been many biographies done on him. We should always use the best sources possible, even if it requires more work; the books are the highest-quality sources for Jackie, and should have been used earlier. That doesn't mean that online sources should never be used in such articles, but the highest-quality sources should be used most often. Giants2008 (17-14) 23:35, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
That seems to assume that all book sources are better than web sources, which is not the case. Wrad (talk) 23:48, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) That's true. If books on a topic are junk, they shouldn't be used. I'm just saying that good biographies are the best route in this case. The highest-quality sources for a given article will always vary, and it is the editor's job to find and use them. Giants2008 (17-14) 00:15, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

To answer the original question, there is no requirement that books should be used. But there is no doubt that "some reliable sources are more reliable than others". What is "more reliable" is a subjective judgment, but the best sources should be used, nevertheless. And Ies, using them will likely require a whole rewrite. --RelHistBuff (talk) 00:48, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Reliability is a side issue. The quality of the sources is the most pertinent aspect. Comprehensive and well researched biographies will always trump good news articles etc. Plainly speaking, it's impossible for an article to have the same level of information and analysis as a well written book. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 07:05, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
So we have a hot topic. Should short FAs be allowed; should reliable web sources be allowed! In this case, I have an article on the line, so what exactly are the unwritten requirements that I have to meet? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 07:14, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Short FAs have nothing to do with this. Reliable web sources are allowed. There are no unwritten requirements you need to meet. Chill. --Dweller (talk) 09:08, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with using internet/newspaper sources. This is a false dichotomy. Merely, you should think about what sources you're going to use in an article. If there is a well written and well regarded book on a topic I would be very surprised if reading and citing it didn't improve the article. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 14:16, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
London is a extreme example of a more-than-once-failed FAC that relied almost entirely on web sources when, God knows, there are books by the thousand on the subject. Where books exist, many reviewers will expect to see use made of them to produce the highest standard of articles. If for some reason, they have been read but the editor chooses not to use them, thatr is one thing, but if it looks as though they have not been seen the article is almost certainly the worse for it. Any good editor knows how hard it is to patch up a decent article or even section from the web in the absence of good books on the subject. Johnbod (talk) 16:20, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
That's an approach I would agree with. Wrad (talk) 18:11, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
If it's that the article isn't good enough, it needs more X, and one suggested way to improve it is to use books, that's fine with me. If it's the content of the article is fine, but you need to use more books, then that isn't what our criteria says. I think the specific criticism at Jackie Robinson was about half way between the two. If it needs X, I'll put it in, that's how FAC works. I just don't think there should be any strings attached on what reliable source I use to add X. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 08:03, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Even if you have perfect prose and online sources for the topic (say Jackie Robinson) are more than sufficient to support the perfect prose, I would still demand books be used for such a notable figure. It is a matter of accessing the original documents, the documents that the web sites used, that the newspapers used, because after all, this is a featured article we are talking about.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 18:33, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Should this be noted in Wikipedia:Featured article criteria so that people will know what is required of their article? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 19:03, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Certainly something along those lines. You should always ask where did these web sites get their information?Manhattan Samurai (talk) 19:12, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

I think video games are one of the few subjects in which you can write a good FA without relying on print sources (the magazines usually publish their reviews online.) That said, with older games and for more in-depth coverage magazines and newspapers are often helpful and sometimes required. Books are never used unless the game has become such a phenomenon or so influential that years after books talk about it (as is the cast of the Myst franchise. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 17:50, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Also certain current events articles. I used no offline sources in Jena Six and we used next to none also in Natalee Holloway.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:28, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Anyone here want to review/copyedit my article on the Atlantic essay "Is Google Making Us Stupid?". I have tried to use books wherever possible.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 18:17, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Bah, our professor made us read that essay in class... I'll see about looking at it this weekend. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 18:56, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I would appreciate that.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 19:14, 29 November 2008 (UTC)


Copyediting bores people to tears. Talking about how to do it is much worse, and proposing a process in which we'll talk about how to do it ... well, if anyone is still reading, I'm shocked, but then again, if you've got that much dedication, you just passed your first test. Please see WT:WikiProject_Featured_articles#Kicking around some ideas about copyediting. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 17:06, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Short articles

What are the current guidelines for that? I've noticed some disputes over that, and I wondered if nominating an article such as Tiny Thompson would be worth my time.--Maxim(talk) 02:09, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

There are no current guidelines. As long as the article is comprehensive and places the subject in the appropriate context, then feel free to nominate it for FA. That one is over 1700 words, anyway, which is beyond most thresholds that have been proposed (and so far have failed to gain consensus). I haven't read the article, so no opinion on whether it meets these or the other criteria or not. Karanacs (talk) 02:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
The long answer is very long indeed, but fortunately the short answer is that Tiny Thompson is well over the length which has been regarded as troublingly short. I've not evaluated the article for compliance with FACR at all, but it is not short enough for the length, by itself, to cause problems with reviewers. Take a look at User talk:Dr pda/prosesize.js for a "page size" script; Tiny Thompson is 1714 words of readable prose, according to that script. Down at around 1000 or 1200 words you might find you were running into trouble. There is no absolute length minimum, at the moment, so in theory a much shorter article could pass, too. That's one of the places the debate has been focusing on. Mike Christie (talk) 02:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
It's 10 kb, so it's just a big longer than "short", I'd say. Gary King (talk) 03:10, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • According to Dr. Pda, which FAC seems to use to measure article size, Tiny Thompson is the following:
  • File size: 80 kB
  • Prose size (including all HTML code): 18 kB
  • References (including all HTML code): 25 kB
  • Wiki text: 23 kB
  • Prose size (text only): 10 kB (1714 words) "readable prose size"
  • References (text only): 3223 B

From my point of view, overly long FACs with too many unnecessary bandwidth-hogging images and formatted references are more of a problem. An article I looked at yesterday had references that equalled the readable prose in kBs. The formatted references were over three times the kBs of the formatted prose. The many images accounted for most of the article's download time, not only because they were large and there were many of them, but each image represents a separate call to the server. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:13, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Tiny Thompson looks shorter than it is because of all the stubby headings, basically. From previous discussions, I think the general "questionable" length bright line (for those who see it as an issue) was between 1000-1200 words. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:46, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, Tiny Thompson doesn't look that short to me. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 19:50, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

What's the view of short sections? Is it fine as long they exist, or it doesn't have a chance until they're expanded a bit more? GA allows to omit section likes "personal life" in biographies since the comprehensiveness standard is different; what about FA? Maxim(talk) 20:53, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

There's nothing really wrong with short sections per se, but in terms of appearance it looks shoddier and incomplete. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 21:04, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I know of at least one FA on an athlete that passed with no "Personal life" section. It was brought up on the FAC as a fatal flaw. However, since the athlete in question had no documentation of a personal life, except that he saved a few things for a scrapbook to give to his son, it was successfully argued that such a puny "Personal life" would be ridiculous, and furthermore, would make no sense as the "Personal life" section comes before he had done anything athletically outstanding in the article to put in a scrapbook. So, to that degree, FAC is flexible. —Mattisse (Talk) 21:28, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I think there is sufficient material for Tiny Thompson to be FA. The smallest FA we have is around 8kb. As far as "gaps" in material, we are only using Reliable sources anyway; I have encountered plenty of articles where I am familiar with the background material and can compare with what can be sourced and what is unable to be (and noted some glaring gaps!), and at the end of the day, an article shouldn't be penalised if the appropriate information on a part of it just hasn't been published. Thus in a paradoxical way, restricting to RSs can be liberating as well as binding Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:56, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks to everyone for their input. I've made the plunge and have nominated it. Maxim(talk) 02:46, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


It seems that quite a few editors at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Tropical Storm Erick (2007) have proposed a merge of Tropical Storm Erick (2007)2007 Pacific hurricane season. I have explained why it should remained a separate article, but is it really the responsibility of FAC to handle the presentation of content? –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:13, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, yes, and no. "Yes" because FAC is made of editors, of course, and editors can WP:BRD. "Yes" again because anyone can say anything (civil) related to the topic at hand. "No" not in the sense that FAC's mission is to be a place to make such decisions. But that argument is weaker than the other two, so the answer is more "yes" than "no." Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:25, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
What a nuanced answer! I love those. But people at AfD are very good at what they do; if you decide that you really don't know the answer, then run it by them. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 14:17, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Science FAC

The FAC going on for acid dissociation constant is of some interest. For those of you who haven't looked at it, there is some disagreement about the accessibility and prose quality. The ones who appear to be expert chemists (Petergans, Eaglefalconn, Physchim62, Itub) are supporting; several who oppose have scientific backgrounds but do not appear to be expert chemists. The opposes generally assert that the article, or specifically the lead, is "dense and difficult to follow". The experts counter that various proposed simplifications are in fact technically incorrect. TimVickers did a copyedit pass on the lead, and eventually reverted all his edits after opposition from the experts, who identified problems with what he did.

I think the FAC is an interesting test case, and others may like to chip in at the FAC or comment here. I don't know enough chemistry to know if the experts or the non-experts are right in their assertions. I do know technical material can't always be simultaneously precise and easy to read, though sometimes it can. Is that the case here? How do we tell? Are the opposes valid if they are technically incorrect, though they have given examples of actionable changes?

I've supported the FAC, because I was able to read and understand the great majority of the article, stumbling only at some highly technical points, but it was a difficult article to read. I'd be interested in other opinions, both at the FAC and here, on the general question. Mike Christie (talk) 12:27, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Mike, I backed away from this one after striking my original oppose. I'm disappointed that the nominator and the supporters do not seem willing to work towards a consensus. They could have worked with Tim Vickers and the article would eventually have been improved. Instead, they told him he was introducing errors and so he reverted his edits and left. The nominator seems to be very reluctant to change the article—almost to the point of arrogance I feel. Graham Colm Talk 12:53, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Converting jargon into plain english without losing meaning can be formidable, but I feel in many cases very possible. Sometimes these have to be broken down on a sentence by sentence basis. I have not looked at this one yet. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:03, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • I thought the lead in particular should be expanded to explain the basic concept further for non-chemists. The nominator said somewhere on the FAC that the article was written so as to be understood by school students studying chemistry with no previous knowledge of that concept, but having been such a one once, I'm fairly sure he has badly misjudged this - he is evidently not a teacher by his self-description. The article looked very thorough & so on, but for those not needing to read the whole thing, a much simpler explanation of the basic concept should be provided in the lead. I would have opposed on these grounds. Johnbod (talk) 15:08, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • As a non native speeker I did part of my Promotion with hydrogen bond reactions and even I had to read it several times to get it all. I must state criteria of a professional standard is fully given and it is one of the better explanations of the topic. But what do we want for FA understandable to everybody, but not really accurate in the lead and giving the 100% later in the article, or being not understandable for everybody, and these persons have to get the info by reading several articles before they are up to the level or skipping this one and reading the simple english version. I would not dare to chose one of these alternatives. --Stone (talk) 16:04, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry but in my opinion Wikipedia is not a technical encyclopedia for experts in the field; but an encyclopedia for the interested (intelligent) lay-person. I got lost in the first two lines of the introduction; so apparently this articles fails that and should not become FA. Note that this is not only the issue in this article, e.g. I have seen Wrestlemania articles being nominated that were jargon constructions that were completely incomprehensible for non-Wrestlemania fans. Arnoutf (talk) 16:29, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not arguing against these opposes, as I'm genuinely unsure about the argument the expert chemists are making. However, a related discussion on the talk page did lead to Geometry guy reminding me of this: "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers" which is from the five pillars (my emphasis). Geometry guy's point was that some technical articles simply can't be written for a general readership. I think he's right. I'm not sure whether this is such an article, or how FAC can answer that question in general. Mike Christie (talk) 17:12, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I refuse to believe that is impossible to write at least an explanation of the basic concept (in the lead) that is both accurate and more widely comprehensible. If some of the later sections are beyond a non-chemical audience, that may well be acceptable. But I'm not convinced the attempt has been made here. Johnbod (talk) 19:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Let me just say that this saddens me very much. I understand the frustration of seeing weeks, months, or even years of work "ruined" by poorly informed (if well-intentioned) edits, but Petergans' request is completely incompatible with the goals of Wikipedia. If this article is featured, what will happen when it goes on the Main Page? Surely the authors understand that with FA comes increased visibility, and visibility leads to vandalism and uninformed edits. We can't simply rollback the article to its featured version whenever new content is introduced! Fvasconcellos (t·c) 17:20, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Not to mention that the sentiments expressed are a flavor of WP:OWN, and not working towards wikipedia's goal to boot as said above. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:11, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

This comment says it all: "The general reader should be able to walk away with a solid understanding of what the topic is basically about and how it basically works, while chemistry savvy readers should still be able to walk away with a technical understanding. These are not mutually incompatible goals. The article could generally progress from a layman's explanation to technical details." There needs to be a compromise here. People might be afraid of "dumbing the article down", but honestly, if someone can't even grasp the most basic of basic ideas the article is trying to communicate, what good is it? I don't expect to be able to understand everything, but I'd like to be able to understand something, and I think that's part and parcel of what "incorporating elements of general and specialized encyclopedias" is all about. Wrad (talk) 19:48, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

As one of the "expert" chemists (I hardly consider myself as such...I'm just about to finish my bachelors) on this, I will conceed that the article is difficult to read. And I'm willing to lend credence to the possibility that the article, as written, may not be accessable to a general audience. Unfortunately, the acid dissociation constant is a very important concept in chemistry. As such, it bears on (and is affected by) many different parts of the discipline. This results in the lead being very dense in mentioning these ideas. I will continue to stress, though, that this is not a basic chemistry article. It requires background knowledge, and the complexities of the topic are not always presented to high school students. But the body of the text is, in my opinion, VERY strongly structured and provides an excellent introduction of the material as long as you have some low level chemistry knowledge. When working on structure of the article, it is basically centered around how Brown, LeMay and Burnsten (one of the top gen chem textbooks in the US) present the topic. Is the problem purely with the lead?

To directly address Mike Christie's question: I'm torn. On the one hand, it is a topic with many subtleties that bears on a lot of subjects. That leads me to want to write a very technical article. Flip side: It is something taught to highschool students, but with many of the subtleties left out. I'm strongly opposed to having a "layman" part of the article and "heres all the subtleties thrown back in" part of the article. I'm not sure how to find that balance. When we wrote the article, though, I feel like we went out of our way to present a lot of the background needed in a simplified but correct manner (first two sections of the text). Is this not true? EagleFalconn (talk) 21:40, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

  • to write an explanation of the basic concept for the lead is not sufficent! So you are not allowed to limit the lead to the basic concept, but it has to summerize the whole article, with all subsections. This is FA criteria, I thougt, which makes it hard to have both: All the article and the a simpliefied basic concept. Not easy to fulfile both.--Stone (talk) 21:58, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
    • Thank you for eloquently stating what I was trying to say and failed. EagleFalconn (talk) 22:04, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
      • Why not have a "Basic overview" section which summarizes the subject at the high-school level? Wrad (talk) 22:11, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Isn't this what the "Definitions" and "Equilibrium Constant" sections do? EagleFalconn (talk) 22:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I am pretty sure that consensus leans against adding "disclaimers" concerning the level of technical articles, but people are generally fine with hatnotes. Would it help to have a hatnote saying, "for a summary of X (subject), see (article)"? It seems to me there's a larger subject here, tangent to the dreaded "featured short articles". Some FAs have to be long; there was no way to break up Stonewall riots into subarticles. But I think a lot of FAs could be broken into two articles; they might even be easier to follow that way. But people get the idea that their FA is their "magnum opus" and prefer it long, or perhaps they don't want to have to push two articles through FAC. Long FAs are not generally a problem, but shorter FAs should be okay too (think 1200-1600 words ... I agree 800 words is very tough to get up to FA standards). So, what would be wrong with letting the authors break acid dissociation constant up into two articles, and using a hatnote that hints that if you aren't a chemist, but you want to read the second article, it would be a very good idea to read the intro article first?
However, that's just a suggestion; do it in one article if you prefer. Mainly, I want the editors not to get too stressed over this. Some reviewers feel that the editors are demonstrating "ownership", and they're allowed to say that; this is an important issue that has to be worked out at FAC, and the best way to argue these things is in the context of one article at a time. But don't take it personally or get discouraged, or try too hard to make everyone happy at once; that makes the FAC experience stressful, and that inhibits the production of future FACs. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 22:31, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
I suppose this is theoretically possible Dan. Unfortunately I feel like it may set a bad precedent, where if an article is difficult to read the editors will simply create a fork that avoids the issue of good writing entirely. EagleFalconn (talk) 23:12, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Surely the people who want to write high school texts should be at wikibooks, not here. Wikipedia was still supposed to be an encyclopedia the last time I checked. Physchim62 (talk) 22:51, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Let me give just one example of the problems: suppose the article were to say "The acid dissociation constant is a measure of the strength of an acid." Very clear, absolutely true (although in a circular sort of way) and utterly misleading for anyone who doesn't actually know what a strong acid really is. The carborane superacid H(CHB11Cl11 is a million times stronger than sulfuric acid, but entirely non-corrosive; hydrofluoric acid is a very weak acid, but extremely corrosive! Hydrocyanic acid is dangerous, in part, because it is a weak acid: it's much safer to handle solutions of sodium cyanide than hydrocyanic acid. I could go on ad nauseam, just please don't try to tell me that the acid dissociation constant "measures" anything, it hasn't got hands and can't carry a ruler or a stopwatch: it "is a measure of"… All the time there are FAC reviewers who feel that their personal view of article "readability" is more important than accurate text, FAC will remain the farce that it currently is. Physchim62 (talk) 23:07, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

In the example you give here, I understand that an acid's strength is not its strength as a layperson might imagine it, but why would it be a problem to use wording similar to that above but with a link to strong acid piped to "strength", or at least a link to a note in the References section that states "The strength of an acid is not..." etc? And please, try to keep this civil. There is no farce here, merely what was a mature discussion about what should be required in a FA of this nature. I'm sure this is but one example of many in the article, but if each is considered in turn in a similar manner, there may be some movement that is acceptable to all parties. Steve TC 23:15, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
What I would need is a place where I can have a chance to get the basic idea of acid dissociation constant, a overview section with a disclaimer, that this is far from good explaination and that it is only a basic concept would be fine for me. But to start the article in a way that everybody thinks Ah I got it!, but only has read the oversimplified version would be dangerous.--Stone (talk) 23:41, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Einstein was able to explain his stuff in simple terms, so why should we all get away with being obscure and technical? What's our excuse? Wrad (talk) 00:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Because any explanation that Einstein provided that is viewed as "simple" is inevitably "oversimplified." The amount of math that goes into computing even simple GR problems is breathtaking in its awesomeness. If I wanted to provide a one line definition of ADC, I could do it and sound cute too. But we're trying to provided a comprehensive treatment, which is inevitably uglier. EagleFalconn (talk) 01:53, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm aware of that, but here's a question: If Einstein is okay with "oversimplification" in order to communicate basic concepts to the masses, why shouldn't we be? Wrad (talk) 17:03, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Because we are not attempting to communicate a basic concept, that is more or less correct, to the masses. We are writing an encyclopedia, not a textbook. We have to be correct, all the time. EagleFalconn (talk) 17:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
But this encyclopedia is more accessible to the masses than anything Einstein ever wrote. Our science articles should be both accurate and understandable. Wrad (talk) 18:13, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

As a science ignoramus, but uninvolved editor and FAC regular, as nominator and reviewer, I'll be happy to take a peek. --Dweller (talk) 11:21, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Semi-arbitrary section break

Thank you user:stone for alerting me to this discussion.

  • There is a issue here of which non-scientists may be unaware. It is this: the topic is important enough to be part of many schools’ syllabi, but the treatment at that level is oversimplified because the complications, or subtleties as user:EagleFalconn calls them, are way beyond what can be taught at school. Therefore we have sought to write an article in which all the simplifications are properly explained, which is why the article appears to be so technical. I have been reluctant to make the lead “easier to understand”, not through any arrogance, but because I believe that it is important that WP does not fall into the same trap of oversimplification and thus perpetuate the errors that result from it. There is a large constituency of young science students who will look to WP for an authoritative answer to their queries.
  • As user:Mike Christie says in the introductory paragraph there is matter of principle here. Is an article such as this, in which a rigorous scientific approach is adopted, merit being included in the category of “best work”? By its nature, it will not be as easy to read as Charles Dickens. Personally, I often have to work hard to understand articles in subjects I am interested in, like mathematics or biochemistry, but that is not a comment on the quality of those articles, just the normal process in science.
  • Looking at the list of featured articles in chemistry (wp:fa), one is immediately struck by the fact that they all come into the category of “descriptive” chemistry. The absence of even one featured article relating to physical or analytical chemistry is notable. Acid dissociation constant would be a first. I suggest that WP should go boldly into that unexplored region of cyberspace.
  • It has been suggested that more linking could be useful. I have to say that in the process of preparing this article I have had to revise many articles linked to it, because the quality of those articles varied from poor to appalling; pH, which is something that school children learn about, was an example of the latter. Some articles, such as aquatic chemistry are so unhelpful as not to be worth a link. In addition I have created equilibrium constant and Determination of equilibrium constants and re-written parts of chemical equilibrium. The category equilibrium chemistry has been created. All of this is part of my overall plan to improve the quality of articles in this area of chemistry which was, frankly, disappointing.
  • I hope that this background information will be a useful contribution to this debate. Petergans (talk) 11:17, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I've starting commenting at the FAC, but I do think that this is a conversation (here or at the FAC) that could do with Raul's input. --Dweller (talk) 12:45, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Note - per the Essjay incident, as well as the charges of "elitism" that arise at FACs when anyone claims to know what they are talking about, it is not a good idea to throw around credentials. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:35, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
    The link to Essjay only says "Retired". Is there another relevant link? Petergans (talk) 17:13, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
    See Essjay controversy. Wrad (talk) 17:15, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  •  ::Question: Has anyone yet considered the viability of writing an "Introduction to.. article? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 10:14, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I've been meaning to comment on this thread for some time (not only because Mike Christie mentioned me), but I'm late to the party as always. First of all, I have always promoted the Pillar One statement that Wikipedia incorporates aspects of specialist encyclopedias, not only general ones. With articles on technical subjects, that means, ideally, that a little will be understood by everyone and more by those with some background. However, it also means that there will be articles in which almost nothing can be understood by every reader (to pick a mathematical example at random, I can't see any way to say anything about Motivic integration which could be understood by someone without at least two years of university mathematics education). Second, I firmly support the Pillar One statement that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia (not a textbook). It isn't our job to teach, but to provide a resource for readers who want to find something out. They may be trying to learn, they may be checking something, or looking for a definition of a term used in another article. Third, I'm a fan of "Introduction to X" articles as summary style spinouts for the lead section of X, in cases that one cannot provide a introduction and summarize the article on X in a reasonable amount of space.

In this case, however, I don't see the need for an "Introduction to..." article. Instead we need better articles on Chemical equilibrium (which is not so bad), Equilibrium constant, Activity (chemistry) and the like. Also, this is not an article which is beyond the reach of the educated reader. The basic idea is taught in school. I agree with Petergans that an encyclopedia cannot simplify in the way a school textbook can, but it can still give the basic idea as well as explain the subtleties. Per Petergans comments, I hope this article will be featured in the future, but I don't think it is ready yet. I've commented further at the FAC. In this case, in my view, several opposers had valid points, and I think opportunities to engage and improve the article have been missed. Geometry guy 18:26, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you, but I have a question prompted by your comments as well as others' at the FAC: to what extent is a featured article candidate liable for the content of the articles it links to? For example, let's say that the candidate article linked to Le Chatelier's principle and that that article were crap and did not help the reader understand the part of the candidate article that mentions it at all. Can that affect the FAC? Does the candidate article needs to compensate for the failures of other articles? Are the nominators required to improve the linked articles? If the answer to either question is yes, it wouldn't seem fair to me, when the nominators are ostensibly writing one article about acid dissociation constants, and not the entire Wikipedia "volume" on acid-base chemistry and chemical thermodynamics! --Itub (talk) 23:37, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
This question can be sharpened a little by supposing the target article doesn't even exist (a redlink). There have been FAs with redlinks, I believe: it is better to link to an article which is needed, than not link at all. However, it is much harder to write a decent FA without backup from other articles. The FA criteria are demanding. I think it is actually easier to improve a weak link slightly than compensate for this weakness in the nominated article! But there is no requirement or liability on nominators, as far as I am aware. Each article is judged according to the criteria. Linked articles are not required to meet any criteria. Geometry guy 21:42, 7 December 2008 (UTC)


I'm trying to decide if this is worth a comment, since it is an old story and is probably even less common now than it was then, but what the heck, there is no harm in a "heads-up".

"Frank Barson" has recently been listed at Good article reassessment. On looking over the (less than stellar) sources, I found a lot of plagiarism. The reason I mention it is that it went through peer review, GAN and FAC a year ago without this being picked up. Of course the FAC failed, but a quick look at the sources can save time spent considering finer points of detail! Geometry guy 20:29, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

I think this is an important point with books as well as web sources and still common. FAC does not do thorough "fact checking" and book sources are to be taken on "good faith" (despite such real world incidents such as historian Doris Kearns being "found out"). Wikipedia used to have a liberal policy on plagiarism, as I found through experience, and that copying word-for-word books in the PD was considered OK. When I check sources, I often find the wording is only mildly changed from the original copyrighted texts and is not really "original wording" in the same way the EB is. In my mind, this is a huge weakness of FAC and Wikipedia in general. Also, many feel it is permissible to cite a book as a reference when they have only read a snippet on the web through Google books and such, or cite the book through reading a book review instead of the book, or quote the book using a third party's quotation allegedly from the book.
Also, when editors are upgrading an existing article, they do not know whether or how much is original. Often, when asked about the factuality of a statement, the editor will reply that the section was already in the article and has no idea of its origin.
A somewhat related issue, in my mind, it when an article is made up of too many quotes. Although most reviews agree in the concept that an article can have too many quotes, in practice there is no agreement. Some articles on FAC have a large number of quotations interwoven in the article text, as well as many blockquotes. —Mattisse (Talk) 21:02, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree in trying to keep quotes to a minimum, unless the quote is a memorable one in itself, but i find most can be changed. Books are tricky, as almost all FAs require some offline review of hard copy. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:00, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a memorable quote is one thing, and that is a good justification for using it. But often I feel that the editor just finds it easier to use a quote than to bother to reword the content. I agree that most quotes can (and should) be changed. —Mattisse (Talk) 22:50, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Quotation is a valuable tool. For example in articles on literature, the intent of a literary critic is often much better represented by quoting them (with attribution) than paraphrasing the idea they express (with a cite). I agree, however, that quotation should not be overused. Geometry guy 23:09, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I think it depends on the context of the article. If interpretation is being introduced, that should be quoted, not summarized by the editors. Otherwise, that starts to enter into Synth and OR. Historical significance, or literary per Geometry Guy should be quoted by experts in the field. Some articles would not necessarily need a lot of quotes. Others would, and the manner in which they are used. --Moni3 (talk) 23:15, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Sources question

I've got a bit of a dilemma at the FAC for Boeing 777. The article contains a table that gives orders and deliveries for each year since 1990. This information came from doing searches on the Boeing website and writing down the results for each year. The searches can't be saved, so there is no way to cite the information to a particular combination of search terms (or a particular snapshot in time; the date could potentially change depending on how the search software was written). Does this cross the line into original research, or is this an acceptable use of a primary source? Karanacs (talk) 20:35, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't see an original research issue here. Primary sources are OK for data, and there's no interpretation involved in this search, it seems. It might be handy to have the first footnote that cites this give some details about how to replicate the search, if it's not too lengthy a process. Mike Christie (talk) 20:38, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. Interesting. I don't really think we can accept it as a reference if that's the case, but I see MC's point. —Ceran [ speak ] 20:42, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
I concur with Mike. The searches are easily replicated and verifiable, and there is no interpretation of the results. Of course, websites change and go away. Though, if the access date is given, that should suffice. --Aude (talk) 20:58, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Problem with Coenred of Mercia section

I don't understand why this section got duplicated, with errors. I thought I edited correctly; but something is still awry and I can't fix it. Can someone please explain it, and set things right? Thanks!

¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 00:28, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I can't decipher what you're asking. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:35, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Sandy, could you not decipher what I wrote because you checked and saw no evidence of a problem? Well, earlier there were two sections headed Coenred of Mercia in the list of candidate articles. I think I may have been responsible for this by my editing; but the fix I made did not work. Anyway, it is somehow resolved now.
¡ɐɔıʇǝoNoetica!T– 02:06, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Equipartition theorem

I note that today's featured article didn't even use consistent naming for "specific heat" vs. "heat capacity" even when it was promoted (more than 18 months ago now). Yet again the FAC process fails on picking out simply and easily fixable points in scientific articles: an utter shambles. Physchim62 (talk) 20:08, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

the solution is to review FA candidates. Isn't it? Ealdgyth - Talk 20:22, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

The solution would be to stop pretending that FA's are somehow "the best on Wikipedia" after their review. The candidacy process is not fit for purpose, by its very own standards. (apart from that, the first half of equipartition theorem is pretty good). Physchim62 (talk) 20:29, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you're talking about, since the quality of the process depends entirely on the quality of the reviewers - trying to imply that the process itself is intrinsically flawed is nonsense. Nousernamesleft (talk) 21:28, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, lets hope the WP:DASH was followed at least, and there were no periods in captions with incomplete sentences. That is the important stuff! —Mattisse (Talk) 02:23, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
"Specific heat capacity" (or "specific heat" for short) is a different concept from "heat capacity", and as far as I am aware the article used and uses the terms correctly. I checked again the reviewed version and the only thing that comes close to being an inconsistency is the use of the synonymous abbreviations "molar heat capacity" and "molar specific heat" for "molar specific heat capacity". The choice of term depends upon the context: for instance, when discussing the heat capacity of a mole of a substance, it is natural to use the term "molar heat capacity". The usage varies from field to field, and is often confused in the scientific literature.
In contrast to FAC being an utter shambles, vague and inaccurate criticism like this should not be used to hoodwink the scientifically illiterate into an argument about the state of FAC 18 months ago. In fact, it missed a dash problem: in one place "molar-specific heat" is used. Big deal. "The best of Wikipedia" is an entirely different concept from "Wikipedia's perfect articles". I don't see how anyone can argue that "Equipartition theorem" is not one of Wikipedia's best science articles. Name three substantially better ones. Geometry guy 14:50, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Admin watch

Back during these discussions, I gathered that I should flag to the attention of the community FACs that needed to be watched for contentious issues before those got out of hand. Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Arena Active Protection System. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:05, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm watching the FAC, as of this notice. --Moni3 (talk) 23:15, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Certainly! If that is what she says! Strange that Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Scout Moor Wind Farm was not on there! Be good! Cheers, —Mattisse (Talk) 04:19, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Dude, what? --Moni3 (talk) 04:36, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
It's ok that you don't get it. Gimmetrow fixed it. Cheers, 06:29, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Promotion of Scout Moor Wind Farm to FA

Why was this promoted? It seems my remarks were not fully addressed. Nor were my comments included in the "blued section" of the archive. See strange way of archiving: Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Scout Moor Wind Farm. I know about the FAC clique and that the nominator of this article does [all the right things], but it seems like the promotion could have waited for a clear "support" verdict. Why the rush? Is this a (not so subtle) hint that I need not bother copy editing or reviewing FAC's any more? If so, than please do not complain that you do not get enough reviewers. I think if you look at the evidence, I have put a great deal of work into FA articles in terms of copy editing and feedback. This feels like a way of driving me away!

However, I believe FAC belongs to the community in general, not the FAC clique. Nor are any subjective determination to promote when others are denied for lesser reasons are going to be acceptable, in the future. My comments regarding the problems with this article merely mirrored Tony's and our comments were not addressed. This type of promotion does not give FAC credibility in my eyes. That does not mean I will not continue to try to improve this very flawed and subjective process. Regards, —Mattisse (Talk) 03:46, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I'd just like to point out that I merely nominated this article at the request of its major contributor. In retrospect that seems to have been a bad idea, as it has escalated a personal disagreement far beyond its worth. --Malleus Fatuorum 04:24, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
And the "blued section" is cut off at a {{reflist}} template. I suspect replacing that with <references/> would resolve the odd cutoff. Gimmetrow 04:34, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I have been having major cutoff issues using the reflist template, so I have to split it into another column in order to fix it. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 04:36, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Reflist -> references seems to have fixed that particular cut-off on my browser. Gimmetrow 05:34, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing, Gimmetrow! Regards, —Mattisse (Talk) 06:24, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Help with FAC and Wikisource

Even though the style guidelines look like a morass to many outsiders, it's actually ... usually ... not that hard to find consensus (and I never would have guessed that, considering how many mindsets and how many countries we're dealing with). But this time, I'm totally stumped. The issue of the moment at WP:Layout#Proposal is whether links to Wikisource should be inline, or confined to just the External links section, or external links for details plus no more than one template notice at the first relevant place in the article (see example). I think the bottom line is that there's no chance that we're going to get a consensus that covers all of Wikipedia, so we have to decide what we want to see at FAC, what we want to see at GAN (and WP:1.0, I think), and what we don't want to see anywhere on Wikipedia. The best places to find relevant arguments at the moment are s:WS:Scriptorium#WP guidelines on links from WP to Wikisource (discussion mainly by Wikisourcians) and WT:Layout#Proposal (discussion by Wikipedians). What do you guys want to see at FAC? - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 15:26, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

See Prometheus Unbound (Shelley), where I was able to have inline pages directed straight to Wikisource. Such a system seems to be compatible with the wikisource link at the bottom also, because it goes directly to a page. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:46, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
  • As you say, there have been discussions in the past on this issue. One argument by FAC people was that Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects should go only under external links, the rationale being that they are not reliable enough to be included in the body, not being subjected to the same rigorous fact/accuracy checking. I think those arguments have ground to a halt with no consensus, as you note. Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects has very liberal rules (more so than I remember from the past) and a Wikisource can be put either in the section of the article to which it was relevant, or under External links. (Not sure how much overall consensus this has, as I think FAC may object to some of this.) There is a current FAC, Akutan Zero, with a Wikisource in the body of the article and no one has objected to this in the FAC. So I am concluding that putting Wikisource in the body of the text, rather than under External links, does not violate FA criteria at this point in time. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:58, 24 December 2008 (UTC)


What is the specific criterion regarding stability?

Reason I ask is because there is an editor who keeps inserting incorrect stuff into California State Route 78. I hope to nominate this article as an FAC in a few weeks.

By "incorrect stuff" I mean incorrect facts (that I can concretely back up), or incorrect style (that I can back up with links to appropriate policy or guidelines) - it's not just WP:IDONTLIKEIT. The editor usually lets it go after I revert pointing to the guideline or proof or whatever. I'm just concerned about people seeing the number of reverts I have to make... --Rschen7754 (T C) 19:32, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Stability means no contentious edit wars that result in drastically different versions of the article. It's also sometimes applied to "breaking news" articles that are constantly changing. BuddingJournalist 02:23, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay, because there really isn't an edit war since it ends after 1 or 2 reverts and the reverts don't result in drastic changes. --Rschen7754 (T C) 02:53, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Help needed on reference PDF formatting question

Hi. I obtained a halt yesterday to the running of PDFbot yesterday which was in the process of changing hundreds or thousands of articles about historic sites listed on the U.S. National Register, because I believed it was malfunctioning. The PDFbot owner, User:Dispenser, suggests at in copied in complete discussion at my talk page that FAC is where experts in reference formatting reside.

The issue is about appropriate formatting of semi-complex footnotes for historic sites, involving 2 PDFs: one PDF providing the National Register nomination text document, and another PDF providing accompanying photographs. In response to comments a year or two ago, when I started creating a lot of these references, a format was evolved. I've implemented this format in thousands of NRHP articles and promote it in wp:NRHPMOS.

The change is illustrated, for example, in footnote 5 in this version of Falls of Clydes ship article, vs. PDFbot-altered version of footnote 5 in next version of same article]. The PDFbot is definitely making some improvements such as correcting actual PDF filesizes from a 32k default statement (erroneous) to accurate filesize. However, in my view it treats the 2 PDF file links differently, which seems odd. At my talk page, Dispenser comments also that he finds the original formatting odd, but disclaims expertise on reference formatting. He speaks about cite vs. citation and parsing of regular expressions which is beyond my ken.

I am just looking for any opinions on what PDFbot should be doing with respect to all of these NRHP references. Help! doncram (talk) 17:56, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Firstly, both occurances of the file names need to have a publisher given, and second why do you feel the file size needs to be listed? Otherwise, I can't see much difference between the two different citations. I'd just treat them as two different files, and continue listing them as two separate references. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:09, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, it is really just one document package, in my view, but provided by the U.S. National Park Service in two parts. A "publisher=National Park Service" appears in the reference, attached to the first PDF for the text. I don't want two separate references, as the 2nd PDF is just the photos that are part of the whole package, in my view. The 2nd PDF would not be at all complete on its own. They have not been treated as 2 separate references, they are part of one reference footnote. doncram (talk) 18:18, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Then perhaps, to make that clear (because you can combine more than one reference into a footnote) perhaps use this format: Author Title of pdfA Title of pdfB (Pdf notice) Publisher Retrieved date.? Ealdgyth - Talk 18:31, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Your preference is to change the order, so the title of the second PDF "Accompanying photos..." appears right after the first title and before the publisher? Unfortunately, although i am no expert, i think that is not possible in cite or citation references. As far as i know, you could not construct a footnote that appears with two titles and one publisher in the order you prefer. By the way, see also the NRHPMOS flegling style guide (which i mostly wrote out) which gives more examples at Wikipedia:WikiProject National Register of Historic Places/Style guide#Formatting of references to official NRHP/NHL inventory/nomination documents and following sections. The Pennsylvania ARCH examples present several documents within one footnote. Again, though, in my view these NRHP references are to one document package. I don't see how to implement an improvement to the NRHPMOS "standard". doncram (talk) 19:05, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I, too, have created many articles using these references. I agree with Doncram that they are really all one document package. In fact, in newer nominations such as the one referenced at McChord Field Historic District, the text and photos are all part of the same PDF. Lvklock (talk) 21:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia talk:Controversial articles#Words to avoid

The issue is how the usefulness of WP:Words to avoid and its talk page tends to wax and wane over the years as the "terrorism" and related arguments take over, and why that might be a bad thing, and a suggested solution of moving discussion over this and similar hot-button issues to the guideline WP:Controversial articles. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 19:51, 31 December 2008 (UTC)


I know that you can't use images like {{done}} on FAC pages, but could the text-based alternatives like {{done-t}} be used? Thanks. -Drilnoth (talk) 00:14, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

It's the template limit we're worried about, as much as the actual images. Too many templates make the page go boom ... Best is to do an indented done underneath or similar. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:18, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. -Drilnoth (talk) 01:08, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


The GA reviewer for Sponge suggested that the artcile is very close to FA quality. Could someone please give it a quick look over and comment on how much work woud be needed for it to pass FA. Please respond at Talk:Sponge. BTW I'm aware of the redlinks, I can create adequately-sourced stubs for these very quickly. --Philcha (talk) 10:22, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

What are the Top 10 Featured Articles of 2008?

Hi: Does anyone know which were the top ten featured articles of 2008? It's been three days now and I have yet to receive word of such a compilation. I hope the individuals responsible aren't getting bogged down by some misplaced concerns over neutrality. That would be unfortunate. Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:31, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

How would one make such a list? –thedemonhog talkedits 08:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Hard to say. What are their criteria? I was thinking they must be looking at page hits, but that's difficult to judge for newer featured articles. Maybe they are judging the featured articles based on the value added to the encyclopedia? Or even whether they were discussed in the news (how often does that occur)? Really, quite interesting and I'm eagerly waiting to find out what they come up with. Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
That was actually more of a rhetorical question that subtly alludes to the nonexistence of such a list due to likely problems in picking who decides and with what criteria. –thedemonhog talkedits 09:00, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, a Featured Article is a quality level; each article that passes the minimim FA criteria can be one; but no explicit marks are given (it is a yes/no level). Popularity (page hits) has not much to do with this, nor does value to the encyclopedia (whatever that may be). Arnoutf (talk) 09:26, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Mine is an imaginational question: what criteria would such individuals use to come up with a Top 10 list of featured articles promoted in 2008? Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 09:29, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure having a broad coverage of topics is important to them in their selection of featured articles for their list.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 09:45, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay fine. There are obviously many potential lists of Top 10 featured articles of 2008. An important one is based on 'page hits', which would be based on averages and so on because how many of these featured articles were existent for the entire 365 days? I'm thinking another list would have a newsworthy component, such as how well the material informed you about current events that took place in 2008; Oil shale and Panic of 1907 would be high up on such a list. There are other such potential lists. Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 09:59, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
A top 10 list of scientific featured articles would have articles such as "Introduction to evolution", a few space ones, but as a list it would try to cover as many scientific topics as possible given the year's promoted featured articles. Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 10:03, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
How many articles were promoted in 2008 btw?Manhattan Samurai (talk) 10:11, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Featured article statistics. Dr pda (talk) 11:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
So that's 719 featured articles promoted in 2008 (possibly including some that may have been demoted within the same calendar year). So let's now work on some sort of "The Year in Featured Articles" or "A Review of the Year's Promoted Featured Articles", taking on some form which includes Top 10 lists. When the effort is sufficiently complete a small banner could appear on the main page saying "Take a look at last year's best work" or something. Do not dismiss my idea. You must address it. Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 12:31, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

There seem to be several directions this list can go.

  • The best quality - 10 articles promoted in 2008. I think this is impossible as that would require a different kind of promotion process where instead of a not-promoted/promoted some kind of mark (e.g. point out of 100) can be given during the process. Only then can we easily compile a top 10 list. As it is now, it would require re-review of all 719 articles, which is not feasible. In other words this option would require a complete overhaul of the FAC process; and cn only be considered after that has been completed (ie not for 2008)
    We could go for originality here. Most original? Many featured articles at a glance are quite boilerplate. Most have to be. But occasionally I see some interesting innovation. For a while just having music was a neat inclusion. Or animations. Or graphs. There was a magazine article recently that had graphs in it about its publication. We could come to a consensus—if we wanted to—and that would be enough. We don't have to be perfect on these lists, just our best attempt at a sort of indicator of what 2008's featured articles were like.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 13:47, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
    Wikipedia's commando forces are already on their way, aren't they? I mentioned "original". I mean, interesting turns of phrase, beautiful prose, and those sort of things could be used to compile a "most innovative" list of articles or something. Please call off the dogs.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 13:55, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • The 10 most important articles promoted. This might be slightly more easy. I would suggest to consider all vital articles that have achieved Featured Status this year (note this may well be fewer than 10, but I don't think it will be many many more). If we decide on this option, however, I would not limit it to 10 but include all Vital Articles promoted (whether that are fewer or more than 10).
    Great idea. Include a list of all vital articles promoted. That's one list that can be done. But there are others too. I think if we came to a consensus about which featured articles had an important news quotient to them we would have a useful list of a sort.
  • Give a random selection of 10 articles from the promoted articles. Or alternatively give a random article promoted in each month (ie 12 - Article promoted in Jan 2008). This gives a relevant sample of what articles made featured this year, without assuming unknown and non-given quality levels.
    A possibility but of limited use. For some of these lists we should come up with an idea first and then form a consensus of how it should be done. A list of scientific articles promoted in 2008 is quite a useful thing to pull together, but how to do it.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 13:12, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Besides my 2nd and 3rd option I don't see a relevant approach to this, and even these options maybe far fetched. Arnoutf (talk) 13:02, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Should we be creating a page that could serve as an overview of 2008's promoted featured articles where we could decide on what it is we should do? I think it would also be interesting to look at the kind of pop culture articles that were promoted in 2008. We should really examine what these 719 featured articles are all about. No?Manhattan Samurai (talk) 13:39, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
If you think that is the way forward, just be bold and create such a page (the information can be found in the Featured article logs - see stats link above). Arnoutf (talk) 13:51, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Is there enough interest in doing the work to achieve this overview? I couldn't do all the work myself and the idea is that everyone pitches in with their recommendations.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 13:59, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Hate to be a wet blanket, but rather than worry about this, I think we'd be better off reviewing FACs. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
No, I really think we should be looking into this. We should know more about the yearly productions of Wikipedia, especially within the best work category. I understand that it cannot be a primary concern but I am quite confident that a major effort should be made to understand what last year's featured articles meant on the whole.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 14:57, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we need to create bad feeling among FA contributors by trying to agree on which articles are the "most important" or "most innovative" or whatever. What a drama fest that would be. Let's just work on creating more FAs, shall we? Awadewit (talk) 15:04, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Awadewit 100%. Cannot see how this would be accomplished without arbitrary decisions and bad feelings. —Mattisse (Talk) 15:10, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Also agree with Awadewit - all FAs are equal once they pass that line, and even if there's no prize for being a top FA, it will encourage weaker standards at FA to try to get articles to pass. --MASEM 15:13, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, as much as I would enjoy a drama fest, I was more interested in an overview of the year's featured articles. There are 719 of them. This is more of an internal study I am talking about. Top 10 was more of the nascent idea... But I think that this would be of more interest to those who aren't the greatest reviewers and are interested in working on other aspects of FA. I remain quite confident in this matter and believe there is a very serious idea here that could be worked out if anyone was interested.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 15:30, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I worked on the ten most important articles of the year, evidenced by how much time and effort I spent on them. That should be at least my criteria. Otherwise, I'm not sure what such an in-depth study would accomplish, except take time from reviews and writing other important FAs. --Moni3 (talk) 15:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to get you all excited. I was trying to figure out a way of providing a clearer picture of the 2008 productions that came out of Wikipedia's FAC process. I guess I've picked up some of the bad habits of the web, of listing everything.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 16:54, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't see anything wrong with statistics and measurements, but you aren't really going to have a "top" FA. There are little metrics I'd be interested in, such as if for certain FAs readership increases after promotion or there is a general trend of more people reading them, talk page comments (more/less?) Which areas are most read, et al. Don't jump on Manhattan, his intentions are good and I hardly think he's trying to cast aspersions on others' work. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 16:21, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
The idea of Top 10 lists could be considered more or less a sort of categorization, I guess. I would like to know how many of this year's promoted featured articles had relevance to current events. There was once (2007?) an FA of a terrorist who had been killed in Iraq, I believe. Your metrics also sound like they might discover interesting trends that are not yet known. Until I made the calculation it wasn't known that 719 articles were promoted in 2008. That's a little under a third of all current featured articles, promoted in one year. There's a lot of work to be done here in terms of study and analysis.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 16:40, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I think there is someone who often compiles this sort of info (not to the extent I'm talking about, but similar) for FA, but maybe I'm just getting confused with the RFA statsaholics :P Either way I'd probably be too lazy to do thorough examinations, especially without the wizardry of programming behind me. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 17:04, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Cycling at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men's road race was promoted weeks after the event occurred. Gary King (talk) 19:22, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That's a pretty interesting fact. So that is yet another FA article with a high news quotient.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:21, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the best of the year was El Senor Presidente. The first FA to be completed as part of an academic assignment at a university, and one of five that pushed the FA count over 2000. I think truly notable FAs are their own reward and there is no need to give them artificial attention. Wrad (talk) 19:33, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
That too is pretty interesting. I didn't know that Wiki articles were becoming academic assignments at universities, or even an option that you could consider.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:21, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) What purpose would compiling a list of "best" FAs serve? "Best" is a very subjective term; so many variables would factor into the considerations. I appreciate the enthusiam, but feel that it could be channeled into a more productive activity. You could, however, take the idea to WT:FCDW, they always seem to be looking for ideas. Dabomb87 (talk) 19:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Tooting my own horn here, but Partners in Crime was nominated sixty hours after transmission, and was on DYK while it was at FAC. Similarly, The Stolen Earth, by the time it was promoted (six weeks after transmission), was the longest/second-longest episode article (if it was second longest, it was by less than a kilobyte), and is now about 40KB larger than its nearest article, Meet Kevin Johnson (last article to be promoted in 2008). Sceptre (talk) 19:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
WT:FCDW would be the place to discuss this, but I've never heard of such a list, don't know how it would be generated, and don't see why it's needed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
But we want information... more information... about last year's featured articles. Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:23, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree this is not the place. At WT:FAC, we should instead spend our naval gazing time considering the top 10 FAC discussions of 2008 :-) Criteria on a postcard please... Geometry guy 20:10, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Naval gazing time? I've never seen an aircraft carrier. It would be cool to do so. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 08:30, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Ummm... this "naval gazing" that you two speak of is properly "navel gazing". And I suggest you use the term "Omphaloskepsis" next time to avoid the redirect. Geometry guy: Why do you want criteria on a postcard and what is your address? Sincerely, Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:43, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Re-read my comment. Then think. You'll see that I know the diff b/w "navel" & "naval." Moreover, the postcard thing was surely yet another facetious remark. As Father Mulcahy said "Jocularity, jocularity..." Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 08:48, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Ling.Nut, I'm not sure but I think I also may have made a facetious remark or two in my comment. This would be a first for me so I'll have to give it some thought to be absolutely certain.Manhattan Samurai (talk) 08:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Withdraw request

Can somebody archive Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Hurricane Hernan (2002) for me? I don't have time at the moment to work out the issues. Thanks, –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:16, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Image reviews needed

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:22, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to modify criterion 3

It has just come to my attention that we don't actually link to or mention Wikipedia image policy in criterion 3. This is a serious omission. We link to WP:IMAGES, which deals more with placement in articles and is a guideline. WP:IUP is a policy and outlines the basic elements of copyright, image description, uploading, formats, size, etc. I therefore propose that we make the following change:

I think this makes our expectations regarding images clearer. Thanks. Awadewit (talk) 17:50, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. The link to WP:IMAGES is not particularly helpful, but the link to WP:IUP would be. Finetooth (talk) 19:26, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Looks good to me too. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:52, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I also agree to this change. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 20:12, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Fine with me. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:13, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
My only suggestion would be to remove the parentheses. --Moni3 (talk) 20:18, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 20:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Has anyone run it by Elcobbola? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:26, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure why Elcobbola would be of any help here. This is Wikipedia's policy regarding images. It should be part of WP:FA?, like Wikipedia's policies on sources. Awadewit (talk) 20:35, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Agree, but no need for the (). Johnbod (talk) 20:28, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes. Dabomb87 (talk) 20:38, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Why not just simply change the wikilink from WP:IMAGES to WP:IUP? Compliance with policy is expected of all articles regardless of FA status. That expectation is even supplemented for the FA process by the opening paragraph of WP:WIAFA: "In addition to meeting the requirements for all Wikipedia articles..." where "requirements" links to the list of policies to which WP:IUP belongs. That being the case, it doesn't really seem necessary to make the criterion more wordy when we could just replace the current (frankly, worthless) WP:IMAGES link with something more meaningful. Shame Tony's criteria simplification proposal didn't get traction... Эlcobbola talk 21:41, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I wondered the same, but I thought I must be missing something. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I would argue for keeping it or replacing it with a link that discusses image layout. That is the one benefit to the link. Awadewit (talk) 23:14, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
I generally support the change, leaving it to the image and prose experts to figure out how to best word it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:16, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
To opinion about simply changing the link - I would hope that both would apply to an FA, to be honest. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 01:03, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I had the same reaction as ElCobbola: yes it makes sense to link to WP:IUP, but can it be done more concisely? Don't forget there is a whole second sentence "Non-free images or media must satisfy the criteria for inclusion of non-free content and be labeled accordingly" which covers several issues from WP:IUP. Geometry guy 23:50, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
+S for the idea; y'all can wrangle over the exact wording. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 23:56, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Why wasn't this already there? By the way, support for the obvious addition. >.< Ottava Rima (talk) 01:03, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Makes sense, but the brackets aren't needed. Sceptre (talk) 01:05, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I would lose the brackets and replace "which" with "that". Like the change overall, though. Giants2008 (17-14) 01:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I would like an addition clause to include references and original research. =Nichalp «Talk»= 06:44, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I've gone ahead and changed the criteria, leaving out the parens and using "that".[1] Awadewit (talk) 17:31, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Seems redundant -- why not just link to the image policy instead of adding a half dozen words? — Deckiller 02:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Both links have important information - unfortunately, there is not one page with all of it. Awadewit (talk) 02:39, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

April Fools' Day featured by April 1st?

Any chance we could get April Fools' Day up to featured status by April 1st? RJFJR (talk) 17:17, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

That's going to need a total rewrite. The first step is to find a group of people willing to work on it. Last year we got Ima Hogg to FA from a basic article in less than 8 weeks (this year it is someone else's turn!). I'd recommend gathering a group now and starting to work right away. Karanacs (talk) 17:20, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm hoping to finish and run WP:FCDW/AprilFools in the Signpost at the end of January. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:05, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Question about Greece Runestones FAC

I'd like to solicit opinions about Greece Runestones, which is currently at FAC. The article is structured to have the lead provide the background information, and then the body lists each runestone and gives detailed information about each one. This doesn't seem to comply with the lead guidelines: specifically, since the body is a list of runestones, the lead does not include quite a bit of information from the body; and conversely the lead contains information which is not in the body, such as summary comments about the runestones as a group. For example, the lead says "The primary reason for the creation of the relatively large number of inscriptions that refer to Greece was that Greece was home to the illustrious Varangian Guard." There are plenty of references to the Varangians in the article, but this particular piece of information is only in the lead.

However, the article, to me at least, is clearly not a list, and so should not be punted to the featured list process. I have not yet opposed on the basis of the lead because I have to say this is a very natural and sensible organization for the article. What do others think? Mike Christie (talk) 14:32, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

FACs requiring extensive third-party copy-editing

I think these candidates should be archived and re-submitted because:

  • It is getting hard to distinguish FAC from Peer Review.
  • Of more concern (to me at least) is that it is not fair on those nominators whose FACs require extensive, third-party copy-editing, but do not receive any offers.
  • Occasionally supporting comments no longer relate to the current version of the article after the CE, because errors have been introduced, (I am not throwing stones, I am guilty of this).
  • These candidates remain at FAC for too long.
  • Subtle pressure can be applied to reviewers to take on the task of copy-editing.
  • It does no harm.

Any comments? Graham. Graham Colm Talk 18:00, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Just one: Amen. Dabomb87 had a great quote at the Sunderland FAC, which just closed. In response to a reviewer who was critical that opposers didn't want to edit the article, Dabomb said: "FAC is meant for fine-tuning, it is not a build-a-Featured-Article service." He's right and so is Graham. The point about new errors being introduced by copy-editing in particular is excellent. I haven't been re-reviewing articles that I've supported because my time is invariably taken up by new reviews. This is something that I will pay closer attention to in the future. Giants2008 (17-14) 20:27, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the key is that we as reviewers need to oppose rather than leave it as comments. Without opposes, Sandy can't archive. Karanacs (talk) 20:35, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I suppose I could, if I wanted to be regularly chewed out for closing FACs with no commentary, and I do if I must, but I'd rather think that my "job" is to measure the consensus of reviewers rather than make all the decisions myself :-) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:49, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I for one would welcome our new FAC overlord :P Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 21:02, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I think opposing based on the prose and saying something like "these issues are too extensive to fix at FAC" vs. "these issues can probably be fixed by one quick copyediting sweep" might help us (and Sandy) determine the difference between articles that need a quick polish and those that need hours of work. Awadewit (talk) 22:30, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. As a side note, I think it might be a good idea to gather a group of editors who are willing to help copyediting FACs upon request. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 22:35, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for all these very helpful comments. I think we should oppose those FACs when "these issues are too extensive to fix at FAC", apply, (thanks Awadewit), and maintain our opposition despite offers of extensive copy-editing. It might be helpful to find a diplomat and ask them to write a generic comment to explain this, thank and encourage the nominator to re-submit. (I think Tony could do this well IMHO). Graham Colm Talk 23:25, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

The prose would have to be pretty dire for me to oppose on that basis alone, rather than dig in and fix the problem. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:35, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

How many hours are you willing to put into the copyediting? Awadewit (talk) 23:37, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Depends on the pay. ;-) To be more serious though, I tend only to get involved in the FACs of those articles I have some interest in, so in those cases the answer is usually as many as it takes. Just for the sake of completeness I'll point out that I already do a very great deal of copyediting at GAN, and similarly would never fail an article just because of prose concerns. Sometimes that involves a great deal of work ... --Malleus Fatuorum 23:47, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
That seems to be the nub of the issue. There aren't a lot of editors who are willing to take on a decently researched article that needs major copy editing; many of the editors who are capable of doing a good job of this (quite reasonably) prefer to work on their own choice of articles. A good number of my copy edits have been done when the article was on FAC, or in preparation for FAC; however, I tend to avoid articles that don't or won't meet other criteria (images, reference sources, external links, etc.). I've willingly put in up to 40 hours to work on an article that I know is within reach of a successful FAC, and the primary editor(s) are interested in collaboration rather than ownership. Requests for assistance, however, have always outstripped my availability by a margin of 3 to 1 (and I'm even less available now than ever before). I've yet to figure out how we can encourage more editors to focus on improvement of content instead of just expansion of it. Risker (talk) 23:55, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
  • More people need to be ready to read & place quick opposes on articles when the prose clearly falls short, even if they are not willing to fix it and are not interested in the subject. The main problem is that some articles then receive half-assed copyedits that don't move them much nearer the proper standard, but you have to keep rechecking the article to confirm that. Johnbod (talk) 23:55, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
If it is a new person who has not submitted before, I will often try to use comments or apologise for opposing and be helpful. However, I will use opposes for definite dealbreaker issues. The other issue is the degree of copyediting as a benchmark. Very tricky. I am willing to copyedit, though limited time often means I prioritise those I am interested in. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:00, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
eg, I didn't actually think the Sunderland AFC one was that far off, still maybe focussing on it now and listing outstanding issues woill be good to show the reviewer that it is not a catastrophe to fail. This might be a good thing for prose fails. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:02, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
As reviewers, we should differentiate between quick-fails (problems that can't be fixed during a candidacy), regular opposes (substantial problems that can be fixed during FAC) and straight comments (polishing). If an article should be quick-failed, we should put that in bold instead of just opposing. This will allow the closers to measure consensus and have a good reason for quickly archiving an FAC. Giants2008 (17-14) 00:34, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
From my chair, there is no such thing as a quick fail; I will archive a nom sooner rather than later if many reviewers find it seriously deficient in many areas. Otherwise, as long as FAC instructions were followed, they all get a fair chance. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:30, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
It's not so easy to differentiate, and except in the most obvious cases I'd be against quickfails. Committed editors can achieve the most surprising results, particularly if one or two FAC regulars are assisting. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:38, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
How many "regulars" are there that are willing to assist? Do we have the resources to offer a copyediting service and keep up a good reviewing rate at the same time? Awadewit (talk) 00:47, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I remain to be convinced that the reviewing rate is a problem. However, you make a good point. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
As a supplementary, I wonder how many articles get through FAC without copyediting help from the FAC "regulars"? None? --Malleus Fatuorum 01:34, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Good question. I can't think of any that I have nominated or seen. I will chekc mine for the 'smoothest run' Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:37, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Some of mine have - see, for example, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Mary Shelley. Awadewit (talk) 01:40, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I think an excellent writer like yourself can probably do it in niche areas like 18th-century literature, but there are very few with your skills and knowledge submitting FACs. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:45, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I just started looking at the FACs promoted in December and there are quite a few that were promoted without copyediting by the regulars. I haven't looked at other months. Awadewit (talk) 01:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Also without copyediting from any of the reviewers, whether you consider them to be FAC regulars or not? --Malleus Fatuorum 02:01, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
If you mean, are there any FACs that passed without a single change during the review process, probably not, but this is a wiki. There are, however, FACs that have passed without extensive copyediting efforts on the part of reviewers (regular or not). Awadewit (talk) 02:05, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
For the record, by far the smoothest runs I have had are Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Banksia spinulosa and Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Amanita phalloides, most need double the amount of work or more. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:39, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
So that would be a "no" then. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:46, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:48, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Butting in, I agree with Awadewit above. I seriously doubt that there has ever been an error-free article—but that's not the point. Honestly, IMO, too many articles nominated here need substantial copy editing (I'm an offender, excuse me), and should pursue a second or third peer review. I also believe that an article should not be allowed to be nominated without at least one PR. Ceran →(slipsled →snow) 02:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, there I will have to leave you. I think that PR is by and large a waste of time, but I fully accept that's just my opinion. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:44, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
PR is useful for getting articles to GA; for anything more significant, it can sometimes slow everything down. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:49, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Slow in what sense? I find that peer reviews slow me down in a good way. I take more time to assess my prose and I am able to respond the needs of readers unfamiliar with the topic which I may not have been aware of before. Awadewit (talk) 02:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I think regardeless of whether an official PR, or a request to uninvolved editors is immaterial, as long as there have been more eyes to look over the article is the thing really. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Quite. PR is an irrelevance. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:23, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Aaawwww, that's a bit mean. I do try and pop in from time to time, just overloaded alot of the time these days :( Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:31, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that sounded harsher than I meant. I didn't mean to say that PR was generally irrelevant, as I suppose that those who are lucky enough to get anything other than an automated review are grateful for the feedback. I simply meant that I don't see PR as a useful step towards either FA or GA, unless the article's editors have no other third-parties to call on for advice. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:38, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
OK, everbody's Good Deed for the Day, --> Go to WP:PR, take 5 mins to look and drop a few notes on a PR candidate, anything, doesn't matter, pretty quick and easy to find some content or prose issues. Go for it and make WP a better place! Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:43, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
A thought: In addition to making a LoCE-esque list of people willing to help at FAC time, could we have a list of folks who could be "run-by" people, who might indicate to potential FACers – before the FAC is started – whether the prose is ready? This would take much less time, and could save a ton of trouble. (IE: "The prose needs work. Get a copyedit before you submit it to FAC.") Just a thought. Scartol • Tok 03:45, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I was going to raise this point - PR and (in particular) LoCE traditionally gives little feedback; as long as editors are able to get some feedback and help from PR or LoCE, then FAC would stop being an avenue of first resort. - Mailer Diablo 03:18, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

No matter how much copy-editing is done, there are bound to be editors who are not satisfied with the prose. There are too many hands in the cookie jar -- too many stylistic preferences and overlooked glitches. None of us are perfect, and all of us differ slightly on everything from optional commas to the use of certain transition phrases. Perhaps it's better that all of this is occurring on one level; otherwise, FACs will always encounter turbulence on the basis of prose (I used to generate a list of what I considered to be prose issues in even the most well written articles). — Deckiller 04:47, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, to a point, but a FA is not supposed to be perfect, and it is often not too hard to broadly differentiate between poor and good prose. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:50, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, and that's why I started voting "neutral" toward the end of my time here; I was a nitpicky bastard. If an editor not proficient in copy-editing notices significant prose glitches, then it's obviously a problem that cannot be remedied with a few casual passes. If a couple editors agree, then they should be bold and move the page to a copy-editing center of some sort. After two weeks, a consensus could determine if the article is suitable for FAC or should be placed on a two-month probation from FAC. Heck, I think all failed FACs should be placed on two-month probation, specifically to avoid "luck-of-the-draw" reviewing. — Deckiller 05:04, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
The point about the commas is worth considering for a moment - there are several styles of comma usage. Rather than complaining about an article's style, I would much rather see editors focusing on consistency in this matter. The serial comma, for example, is optional, but if an article chooses to use it, does it do so consistently. Awadewit (talk) 05:01, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Good point. After all, the article writer(s) are usually innocent scholars who don't want to get involved in Wordnerd Wars Episode XLIV. — Deckiller 05:04, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I started out 18 months ago at LoCE, and it was wonderful until the to-do pile fell over one day and squashed everybody. Then I moved to PR, where I happily beaver away when I'm not writing about obscure creeks. The PR pile might have toppled and squashed everyone there too except for User:Ruhrfisch and other sturdy souls. Often the reviewers suggest to authors that more c/e would be helpful, but with LoCE kaput, where are they going to find a copyeditor? Some don't, and they bring the prose problems to FAC. It would be easy to solve this problem if a pile of extra editors were kept in a big bin behind the cooler. Hmmm. A 10th-grade biology teacher recently encouraged his students to submit their Wikipedia articles to PR. A lot of them did. They seemed extra fond of ghastly diseases and poisonous snakes. Well, my thought is that maybe a batch of college students in English and journalism could be induced to copyedit for Wikipedia. It would give them hands-on experience that they couldn't get in a classroom. Finetooth (talk) 05:08, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I was there too. The workload just became unbearable, and the articles required more than one copy-editor; someone had to be the poor soul to go through it first, and then watch their changes get edited, and then those changes edited, and so on. The problems were just so deeply rooted that the copy-editors were practically rewriting the articles instead of simply going through the usual glitch checklist and offering some other pointers.
You have an amazing point: Wikipedia has huge potential for hands-on lessons. Why write a boring research paper when you can do the same thing on Wikipedia, especially since the typical high school research papers has less than an ounce of independent thought? Why review the same ten examples from a textbook when you could copy-edit whole articles? Wikipedia has so much potential -- scholars need to stop stigmatizing Wikipedia and start tapping into the project to actually, gasp, make it better. — Deckiller 05:26, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
It might not be such a hard sell. The problems here are real, and nobody has the answer book. The subject matter is anything you can think of that can be sourced. The interactions are with real people, mostly total strangers, from all over the world. Everybody's work gets edited and published, and the best of it is really really good. Not boring. So, anybody know any English professors? Finetooth (talk) 06:05, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
As an English-professor-to-be who teaches writing, I have often thought of having my students copyedit Wikipedia as part of an assignment. There are three problems with this: 1) Learning how to edit Wikipedia takes too much time for such a small assignment; 2) The majority of the students I have could not successfully copyedit a FAC or even a GAN - their writing is too poor (sad, isn't it?); having them copyedit stub through "B" class articles seems pointless, though, as these often need to be substantially rewritten; 3) Copyediting Wikipedia requires understanding Wikipedia's basic policies, which take a while to learn. Usually, therefore, we just copyedit a Wikipedia article together as a class. Awadewit (talk) 19:44, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

<outdent>You've thought this through much further than I, and, alas, you are right on all three counts. I have another idea, although I don't know what to do with it. A sizable group of retired writing teachers and/or journalists might find the project exciting. I'm pretty sure most of them use Wikipedia, but they might not think of themselves as potential Wikipedia editors. Since they don't all hang out in the same place, maybe the best way to recruit is by word-of-mouth. Not sure. Finetooth (talk) 20:18, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

To what extent is this about ease of reading and understanding and what extent is it about to MOS minutiae? --Philcha (talk) 20:44, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
To what are you referring? When I consider whether or not have my students copyedit Wikipedia, for example, I never worry about the MOS - what I worry about is how long it will take them to understand WP:NPOV, WP:V, etc. Awadewit (talk) 20:51, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
I think your priorities are right. Unfortunately MOS minutiae have put some editors off submitting articles for FA review, and the private comments of others who have not been deterred would sometimes make Sigmund Freud blush. --Philcha (talk) 09:42, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Oi, I Opposed the Japanese racing thing for this reason, and everyone jumped me like I was a malodorous sass-monger. Now I'm copy editing. Ahem. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 10:47, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Wrong. I was the only one who jumped you :). A general comment though: opposes based on a general view of the article must be actionable opposes; nominators can easily be turned off by comments that say "the grammar is clunky" or "I don't agree with the sentence structure". You can talk about the dangers of turning off reviewers, but equally you don't want to turn off nominators. Apterygial 10:53, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Wrong, but I'll elide several points and stick to those that can be discussed here. ;-) The word "actionable" is the catalyst that has permitted the transformation of FAC into PR. It's the hole in any membrane separating the two. Some devotees to that word are those who have enacted the transformation. It could well be deleted from WIAFA, in my opinion. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:27, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
"It could well be deleted from WIAFA, in my opinion." Ling, do you mean FAC instructions? The key here is balance; I think that it is more helpful to provide examples of problems that need to be fixed. However, it is hard to draw the line between giving the nominator something to base their copy-editing off of and actually copy-editing the article for them [as a reviewer]. Obviously, the former is preferable. Dabomb87 (talk) 13:41, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Just saying "This is badly written" or "There are defects in the prose" is not only unhelpful, it evades accountability and allows people to oppose for personal reasons. People who oppose on grounds of quality of writing should give examples, and be prepared to justify the objection. --Philcha (talk) 14:04, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

That's it

I'm taking my template back :-P I'm thinking about changing "FACs needing feedback" to "FACs requiring a copy-edit". Support? Oppose? Leave Wikipedia again because we know you're only back for like two days? — Deckiller 04:39, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Careful! If you don't stick around this time, I may stalk you up there, track you down, and haul you back in here! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:04, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Once again, FAC produced featured crud

Susianna Kentikian (on the main page 2009-01-23) contains the obviously ungrammatical phrase:

"At the age of five, she left Armenia with her parents and her four-years older brother, Mikael, because…"

This very same mistake was in the promoted version. It's obvious that the reviewers of the article simply didn't read it, at least not with an ounce of intelligence or respect for the English language. It seems more than likely that they simply ran their precious little scripts over the things that can be checked by such automagic tools without giving a damn that featured articles are meant to represent "Wikipedia's very best work" (or simply not knowing what "Wikipedia's very best work" might be). This is hardly the first such problem with Main Page articles, nor will it be the last without a root-and-branch redesign of the system. Once again, I assert that WP:FAC is simply not fit for purpose. Physchim62 (talk) 00:23, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

There's no doubt that mistakes get through the process. As you know, the process is only as good as the reviewers and the time they volunteer. You've posted here before about problems with FAC. I think everyone involved with FAC would like to find ways to improve it; if you have ideas I'm sure we'd like to hear them. Believe me, you can't think of or point to a problem that hasn't been discussed; I'm more disappointed than surprised when you identify a problem, but I would be delighted and surprised if you could think of a way for us to improve the FAC process. Mike Christie (talk) 01:05, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but what purpose is WP:FAC meant to serve? If you want good articles on the main page, devolve the task to the WikiProjects: that way you will instantly increase the number of reviewers and their competence in the subject matter being discussed. If you want to improve articles and promote the WikiIdeal, why not have a random stub article on the main page? The only response here is that FAC is very difficult for the reviewers, that they don't have the time to do it properly etc etc… FAC would not be difficult for the reviewers if it didn't exist, which is an option that no-one seems to consider. Physchim62 (talk) 02:25, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Suggesting that main page articles pick from WikiProject selections and that FAC be scrapped is a suggestion instead of a criticism, so I'm glad to see it. I'd prefer to engage people such as yourself, with subject matter expertise, than ignore them. Personally I think other problems would surface with the approach you suggest; I won't go into details as I suspect you are not seriously proposing such a change; at least not with the intention of finding out whether your suggestion has flaws. If you are serious, let's talk. Mike Christie (talk) 02:48, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think WikiProjects can be trusted. A lot of weak projects would then just pass any old article so that they don't miss out on their main page quota. Secondly, if you want to talk about weak FAs, I can think of some WikiProjects where the members never oppose their own FACs, always vote keep on FARs even with swathes of unreferenced materials and peacock terms and so forth. And nothing stops project members from commenting at FAC and as I said before wiki project members are usually speeding up the promotes instead of slowing them down for more through checks. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
And obviously, when it says "Wikipedia's best work" it means the upper percentile, not perfect. Just look back at 2005 or so when WP was less developed and all sorts of worse things got through. But as a lot of unrenovated 2005 stuff is still there, maybe you could help patrol FAR and get rid of them, because there are a lot of really bad old ones out there. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
But if it's is such an egregious grammatical error, why didn't you fix it? [2] Perhaps it's not obvious to everyone else? Perhaps readers on 1-23 saw that line, thought it perhaps an odd turn of phrase, but deferred to the main authors of the article? Gimmetrow 01:41, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The simple answer is to review articles that "obviously" have these issues, instead of coming here and bringing it up here. Talk is cheap; action is a lot more dear. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 02:50, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but what if I happen to think that WP:FAC is detrimental to Wikipedia, in the resources that it sucks from more productive activity? Physchim62 (talk) 03:08, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Maybe you should MfD it, but that wouldn't be a good idea. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Either way you're not helping solve any problem. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:26, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Several featured articles which have appeared on the main page are obviously not "Wikipedia's very best work": that is the problem. If you don't think it's a problem, then there's no poit in discussing it. An article doesn't become good just by passing WP:FAC, and yet that is the impression I get from people who are too involved in the Process. Physchim62 (talk) 03:51, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Were these 2004-06 era FAs or early 2007 even? Most of these are quite poor, an artefact of the lower standards of yesteryear. I agree that many of these are a relic of the past and need improvement or else punting off. I think you should participate at FAR then, which is undermanned, and most of the articles there are so bad it only takes 2 minutes to inspect them, so it would hardly be a waste of time. Especially as the FAC bar is rising a lot and not so much the FAR bar. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The only way to prevent errors from passing through FAC is to review articles yourself. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 03:42, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
The only way to prevent errors passing through FAC is to stop people pretending that FA is an indicator of (some hypothetical) article quality. Physchim62 (talk) 03:51, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
To put this bluntly, Physchim, you are trolling. Please desist. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:55, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
It is, for contemporary articles, although, most of the abandoned 2004 articles are B class articles, and some of them really atrocious too, which is why I suggest you FAR a few of them to stop them embarrass the better ones. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I take that as an admission that you can't answer the question I put above: What purpose does FAC actually serve? If your only response is that I'm a troll, you're in trouble. Physchim62 (talk) 04:10, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
FAC is a review forum to determine our best work; and yes, you are acting like a troll. — Deckiller 04:18, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
As Gimmie said earlier, if there something that you feel like should be fixed, either come here and tell the guys "Ok gents, fix x, y and z" or you can fix the articles that appear on the main page. As for the suggestion to go by Wikiprojects, I think that is not wise, because what some Wikiprojects consider a good piece of work, others will feel like it is not. With FAC, there is a set standard that all have to follow. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 04:21, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
"It's obvious that the reviewers of the article simply didn't read it, at least not with an ounce of intelligence or respect for the English language." So Tony1, who offered a rare support in his review, never reads any articles that he reviews and doesn't "respect the English language"? Could have fooled me. :-) Giants2008 (17-14) 15:52, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
What Zscout said is important to note, because while some projects could theoretically do just fine without FAC (Milhist and Tropical cyclones to name a couple), others have no featured content or experience thereof and would hav problems. How would such Wikiprojects be able to evaluate articles against the high standards? That would also put the smaller or less-active Wikiprojects at a disadvantage, and potentially degrade the quality of those articles becuase less eyes are looking at them. FAC may not be perfect, but it is the best we have now. I agree that as long as the process suffers from a dearth of reviewers, there will be some articles that will "slip through the cracks". The only solution is to review more. To that end, we might just have to start some kind of mass canvassing program from ANI to WT:RFA to recruit more reviewers (only half joking here). Dabomb87 (talk) 16:02, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't see what is wrong with that sentence. It states that her brother was four years older than her, which would make him nine. It's a roundabout way of saying it, but I fail to see why it's worth making a fit over it. - Algorerhythms (talk) 16:19, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
1): I just cleaned it up myself.[3] That took less than a minute. After the original post, the error remained for almost 16 hours, which disappoints me.
2): The WikiProject idea would lower FA standards, for the reasons that Dabomb gave above.
3): The reviewer shortage is awful, especially when there are more than 50 articles at FAC. Everything grinds to a halt. The problem is that FAC is not an inviting place for new reviewers, and I don't see what can change that. Giants2008 (17-14) 16:29, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Physchim62 said: "...featured articles are meant to represent 'Wikipedia's very best work'...". This is correct; FAs are the very best work on Wikipedia, but that doesn't mean that they're perfect. (Some are.) To find a single typo (even if it's representative of a small number of typos in a small number of articles) and use it to condemn the entire FAC process is just silly. I don't think it makes sense to require FAs to be perfect — and even if it did, it wouldn't be possible due to the aforementioned fallibility of human beings. (How much nicer the world would be if not for that most hated of flaws!) Scartol • Tok 17:19, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I (obviously, if not notoriously) disagree that featured articles currently represent "Wikipedia's very best work". On the other hand, I welcome the comments made about my "WikiProjects" suggestion, and I'll try to come up with a full proposal for discussion. Physchim62 (talk) 01:35, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

One wonders if the above is aware that even with published works, that have professional and paid copyeditors, errors still get through? One also wonders if the above has submitted college or uni work, work which they have spent hours or even days on, only to have the odd typo or grammatical error pointed out to them after review - even if one has read and reread that work countless times...--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 02:07, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

If that were the attitude that was taken with Featured article candidates, it wouldn't be surprising that so many errors got through. It's not of course: FAC for the average editor is pure WikiTorture – a little like jumping through hoops on a terrain of quicksand, given the idiosyncrasy of some reviewers. For information, I make a substantial proportion of my RL income from writing or correcting English, and I've both submitted university assignments and corrected them (not the same assignments, obviously!) I don't, however, have the pretension that my work is "the very best" in its field: according to a well known online encyclopedia, "[i]n almost every list pride (or hubris or "vanity") is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins". Physchim62 (talk) 02:51, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
So you admit and have exp in knowing that errors do slip through even with a decent standard of work i.e. uni work and/or published articles/books etc
Then surely the fact some errors are slipping through the FAC reviews that doesn’t stop them being the best work available on the wiki.
Isnt a big deal being made out of nothing here? If articles were being passed but were completely inaccurate then I would agree with you that something needs to be done but a few grammar/spelling errors, which have been missed but most likely will be sorted out – whats the big deal really? Aren’t you just making a mountain out of a molehill? to fall back on a cliché --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 03:03, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I read the first two posts in this thread, but TLDR the rest. Yes, shit slips throught the FACs. There are only two answers, but one is unacceptable to Wikipedia: Either have someone with top-down authority to override fan-club votes (with or without any Opposes from reviewers), or get many more reviewers.. many more competent reviewers.. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:23, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
FAC already has some-one with top-down authority, but how does it propose to get more reviewers? Physchim62 (talk) 02:51, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) To the best of my knowledge, no one has top-down authority to Fail a FAC that has three or so fan-club votes and no Opposes. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:00, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

This biggest problem with rubbish FAs are the relics from olden days that the original author/wikiproject can't be stuffed fixing unless someone puts a gun to their head and threatens to bin their FAs, eg dreadful stuff like Malwa or Brian Close (punted off last year). Having said that, a lot of old timers are pretty delusional and still count their olden day ramblings as legit FAs after they have been removed for having multiple formatting styles mixed together etc and harp on about the modern punks and how articles in the old days were better, which there patently were not. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Suggestion for images

Please can you see my suggestion at WT:FA#Images? Simply south not SS, sorry 21:59, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Page size

The FAC page size is approaching 60, reviews are lacking, and we're on track for the lowest number of monthly promotions in about four years, while worthy nominations are stagnating. I've suggested to Gimmetrow that I temporarily return to daily closings to help lower the page size; I also suggest we strictly limit nominators to one FAC at a time until the page size normalizes. Any other ideas? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:21, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

How about not allowing new nominations to be added to the page until the page size reduces below some limit? Nominators in the queue might then be incented to do reviews. Mike Christie (talk) 15:24, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I follow that as a personal rule, but it doesn't seem like we gain much from stopping them altogether either. I'll just get back to more reviewin'. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:26, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd prefer not to limit overall nominations, but by closing daily, I should be able to move off the time-intensive, ill-prepared FACs more quickly. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:28, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Re-thinking, struck my comment above; would rather hear more ideas, and keep all possibilities open. Something needs to be done. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:18, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I remember once seeing someone suggest dividng the FACs into "Active Reviews" and a "Queue". So, say the "Active Review" pool is X articles in size; all other noms are in the queue, in chronological order. The Active Review articles have a time limit of Y days or weeks until they are Passed or Failed. At that point, the top of the stack is popped off the Queue into Active reviews. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. [There might be a mechanism for extended reviews (aka "Marathon Wholesale Rewriting Workshops") This is a bone of contention, though. Let the bickering begin. Grrr.] I've forgotten who suggested that idea. I think I'll try to track it down and give him/her a barnstar. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:59, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

I think you're remembering a similar suggestion I made last year. To avoid bureaucracy I would suggest we make it much simpler: Sandy or Raul can choose to comment out new nominations whenever they want to. Commenting out preserves order, so that is automatically a queue. They can uncomment them whenever they want. If there are commented-out nominations, new ones should be added already commented-out; if not, things proceed as at present. Mike Christie (talk) 17:08, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Actually, I was talking about myself behind my back: I made the suggestion above. But I think I'll have 2 hours or so free time today. And I may become more regular (an interesting term) in a few weeks, if RL permits. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
    I believe you're right; sorry for trying to take credit. I think I agreed with you back then too. Mike Christie (talk) 11:46, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
As a more drastic measure (not one that I would recommend, but all the same, it might be considered), we could have an admin protect WP:FAC and place edit notices and a banner at the top of the page, explaining that because of the immense backlog, no more nominations are being accepted until FAC has under X number of nominations. Dabomb87 (talk) 17:17, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Just an idea. But how about all FAC candidates must have been through a peer review before they come here. It might not do a lot, but perhaps might just put candidates in a better shape before they appear on the FAC page. If they are in a better shape, they might take less time to pass through the system. Peanut4 (talk) 17:19, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
An idea that has come up before, but has been rejected each time I believe. I think that there is general opposition to forcing articles to go through another process before coming here (as going through WP:GAN has also been suggested as well). Anyways, I have been reviewing video game FACs lately, so hopefully at least those will build a consensus sooner than normal. Gary King (talk) 17:27, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Really, everyone participating in this thread should just get out and review an article or two. There are very few changes that will preserve the free-flowing nature of the page, or will not drag down other processes (like requiring a peer review; I know poor Ruhrfisch would probably retire if we foisted that upon him.) --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 18:04, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree in principle, but if that answer could solve the problem in practice I don't think we'd be having this conversation. Mike Christie (talk) 18:30, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
The fact is, it is a lot easier to sit around and think up ways to address the backlog rather than just doing the dirty work. Not an accusation, just a statement. Having said that, I repented for my participation in this discussion by doing two peer reviews just now [4], [5]. Dabomb87 (talk) 18:47, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps what we are experiencing is a version of the Tragedy of the Commons? A possible solution described in that article is to limit the relevant community to a small enough number that cooperative behaviour is prevalent; I'm referring to the paragraph about Dennis Fox's work. Limiting the number of active nominations might have a similar effect. Mike Christie (talk) 18:30, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

That's a very interesting analogy. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:03, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I think being alerted to the fact there is a backlog is helpful as tehre are so many areas to spread oneself that one can miss a page for a while. I have not reviewed much for a while but have been busy elsewhere. Having seen this thread I will try to have a look now. Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:40, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Everyone should take it easy. Remember a couple months ago, when we were seeing FAC dip below 30 noms? Back then, we weren't seeing enough activity here. This is just a shift in the opposite direction, and I have a feeling that it's cyclical. Maybe this is what some mean by FAC "scaling up". I do think that reviewers become discouraged when there are this many noms, because it looks overwhelming. Can't say that I'm overly concerned about it, though. I have a feeling that activity will drop down to normal levels soon. Then again, I don't have to close all of these nominations and deal with upset nominators. Giants2008 (17-14) 01:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)


  • I'm pressed for time; am shifting much responsibility/work to the nominator(s).
  • See User:Ling.Nut/HARI for a review method I will adopt whenever I see the need.
  • Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 06:19, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I think this looks like a very sensible idea from a nominator's perspective as well. It's easier to engage with specific points and the format ("This source says X - is it already in the article, or should it be?") is quite non-confrontational. So I look forward to dealing with this style of review for Dreadnought. The Land (talk) 11:41, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Currently Ling's review generates a subheading, which is a no-no per the FAC instructions. Ling, can the review be done without the subheading? Mike Christie (talk) 11:48, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I put that there manually, because I thought that fourth-level subheadings work OK with transclusion. Have rmvd it; thanks. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 12:24, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Image review needed

Question about FA notability

During a recent FAC, someone stated that only notable events should be brought up in an FAC. I feel that this is 100% untrue, and that a biography should contain all of the important information, if its independently notable or not. Regardless, the information that the user wished to dismiss was 5 years of the biographical subject's participation as a Privy Counsellor, an extremely important political position in Great Britain. Not even a bit is mentioned about anything he worked on, who he worked with, what projects happened, what his philosophy was in the position, etc.

Is this truly acceptable? Is "comprehensive" limited to just what someone says is "notable"? I'm really upset about this. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:25, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you Ottava, that's complete rubbish. The subject has to be notable, of course, but the article has to be comprehensive. Two quite different things. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:33, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Objections based on the subject matter are not actionable, and (per the top of the FAC page) are therefore not valid. Raul654 (talk) 16:45, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Objections based on the subject's lack of notability would likely lead to a concurrent AfD and FAC. But if I've understood correctly, Ottava was talking about the content of an article about a notable subject, not the notability of the subject itself. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:55, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Ottava was talking about the content of an article about a notable subject, not the notability of the subject itself. - So if I understand you correctly, you are talking about non-notable content (e.g, trivia) in an article about a notable subject? (For example, person X was born at 742 evergreen terrace, etc) Raul654 (talk) 17:03, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Ottava says perfectly clearly what we are talking about at the top of the section. Johnbod (talk) 17:13, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Although people sometimes fail to grasp the distinction, there are no WP guidelines etc defining or requiring "notability" for content within an article, only for article subjects. The nearest we have is "defining" in the context of categorization, but no one has ever suggested articles should only mention what is defining, which would be absurd. For what to include in an FA, we have only the requirement to be "comprehensive", and bringing up the concept of "notablility" in such a discussion is just confusing. On the specific issue, one would think it should be mentioned - you don't say what date we are talking about - nowadays it is not really "an extremely important political position in Great Britain" and rarely involves any actual work, let alone projects. But this was not always the case. Johnbod (talk) 17:07, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
    • So at the risk of introducing new terminology, we are talking about relevant information versus non-relavant information (trivia) in articles about things that are definitely notable (e.g, would survive an AFD nom). So the questions here are:
      • Is it OK to object on FAC if an article is missing relavant information?
      • Is it OK to object on FAC if an article contains trivia?
      • Is it OK to object on FAC if an article is missing trivia?
    • I believe the answers to these questions should be yes, yes, and no. But deciding whether or not something is trivial or not is obviously subjective. Raul654 (talk) 17:12, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Better stick to the existing terminology! This is an issue about whether the article is comprehensive without this aspect being covered. Being a Privy Counsellor can't really be called trivia, whether or not it is required for comprehensiveness. What was the article in fact? Johnbod (talk) 17:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I do not want to list the article because I do not want it to make it seem as if I am campaigning or forum shopping. I would rather not attract people to it. I want to see opinions and if opinions are against me I would strike my oppose. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:36, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Clarification: I believe an FA must be comprehensive and define that as including vital information on a subject. Vital information, as I see it, must cover the basics to understanding a person (in terms of biography). Having a large chunk of a career missing, especially when it is a major political position, seems to fail this. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:34, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Returning to Ottava Rima's original question, whether events etc. that are not notable in themselves should appear in FAs, the answer has to be "Yes, if they were significant for the subject of the article." For example the spouses and children of politicians and sports stars are seldom notable in their own right, but one would expect to see such details in a bio. Mikhail Botvinnik's chess talent first became obvious when he won a game against world champion Capablanca in a simultaneous exhibition in 1925, and that simul is not notable in its own right. --Philcha (talk) 00:26, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
OR wrote: the user wished to dismiss was 5 years of the biographical subject's participation as a Privy Counsellor, an extremely important political position in Great Britain. Not even a bit is mentioned about anything he worked on, who he worked with, what projects happened, what his philosophy was in the position, etc.. I would certainly mention that s/he held that office. As for discussing his/her actions of that period, I would work backwards from whatever is most notable about this person's actions. If s/he is notable for standing up for agriculture & farmers in later years, forex, I might look for seeds of that stance in earlier actions, but would tend to disregard unrelated issues, e.g., s/he lobbied to have some library refurbished. Etc. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 00:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I believe that's the view that most reasonable editors would hold. I find this artificially created dichotomy between "notable events" and trivia to be rather puzzling. Is it a "notable event" that someone has a brother or a sister, for instance, or the occupation of their father? Bizarre. This paranoia about BLP is starting to go way too far. Best if there are no wikipedia articles at all about living people, then nobody can complain. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:54, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and no pictures either, what a nightmare they are! --Malleus Fatuorum 00:57, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Thankfully, the subject of the article is long dead. So, he wont complain. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 01:29, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I steadfastly refuse to get involved in any article about a living person. Don't need the hassle, I get enough of that at home. But if this person is dead, then it adds even more weight to your privy counsellor argument, because that has been a very important political position until relatively recently. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Having found the article (see my or OR's contributions), in fact the position is very much mentioned, but nothing is said about his term in the position pre-dismissal, probably because there is nothing to say, although this itself should be explained. Johnbod (talk) 01:47, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I did find one article that emphasized the importance of the PC during the dates that he was a PC member. I also believe that the biographies used have more information on the time but I did not check them. There would be public records of votes, discussions, etc, if at the very minimum. If its all boring, that's fine. People may need to be shown that it was boring. It at least shows that something happened. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:59, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

(after ec) As Ling.Nut said, it may or may not be important to discuss, what a person who has been on the Privy Council worked on, who he worked with and what his philosophy was in the position. To give a concrete example: Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma was a Privy Counsellor but given the many other much much more important positions he held, that is not a significant component of his biography. In fact, our FA article does not even mention the fact; while it would be ok to add another sentence to remedy that, discussing the role as Privy Counsellor in any great detail would simply be undue in this case. The same logic also holds for Winston Churchill, another Privy Counsellor. I don't think these are the article Ottava Rima is referring to. Abecedare (talk) 02:00, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

For passing users who might not have followed all of the above, the article being discussed is Edgar Speyer which I nominated. The matter of notability which Ottava Rima has raised seems to revolve around a period of five years in the subject's life during which he was a Privy Counsellor and what he may have done in that role.
The article contains a large section regarding his expulsion from the council after World War I following accusations of his having traded with the enemy and having been in contact with enemy citizens. In contrast to this, there is only a short mention of his having been a Privy Counsellor but little about what he did as one. The reason for this apparent disparity is that one of the things Speyer is notable for is that he was the last person to be struck from the Privy Council (although others subsequently resigned). There is quite a bit of information available for this, but there is very little on his activities in the Privy Council itself - possibly, as JohnBod commented, because he didn't attend many of these or do much when he did.
The issue as to notability is over my comment: "Whilst it is notable that he was a Privy Counsellor, what he did as one is not necessarily notable." to which OR took exception. OR is misquoting me, I did not "state that only notable events should be brought up in an FAC", I simply stated that what he did in the council may not be notable. Therefore, it may not be recorded and not be capable of being included in the article. There are already a number of items in the article included to try and give colour to the subject which could be considered non-notable. For example, his owning a number of Stradivarius violins - which was queried in the FAC for this reason.
With regards to the information contained in the biographies that are available - there are two: one in Who was Who, which gives only the barest minimum of facts, and one at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which is one of the principle sources for the article. The rest of the listed sources contain just minor references to Speyer dealing with his interactions with the people in his life. OR seems to be of the view that I am deliberately withholding information that is readily available, I am not. There are minor things I could add which I found through my trawling of the Times newspaper archive but most of this would probably be considered unnecessary gloss and would, possibly, be objected to under the second of Raul654's suggested tests above.
There does seem to be a different standard being applied to the Speyer artcle than has been applied to existing similar biographical FAs. As I remarked in the FAC review, the recent main page featured articles on Richard Hawes and Robert Sterling Yard have parts of their careers covered in minimal fashion and focus on the bits that really make them notable. Speyer, I believe has three claims to notability which are covered in the article, yet one aspect of his life over a period of five years seems to be generating a lot of controversy. --DavidCane (talk) 03:39, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I have just done a quick count of the counsellors alive when Speyer was appointed to the council (listed at Historical lists of Privy Councillors, they are appointed for life) and there were approximately 180 in total, some of whom had been appointed as far back as the early 1870s. Whilst it was a significant honour to be appointed, it was not that exclusive a club as might be supposed. --DavidCane (talk) 04:05, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
But remember, even a US House of Representatives member (one of 435) still has a track record. The Richard Hawes article does not have a big blatant section that is pure negative, let alone two. Robert Sterling Yard is also not a politician. However, I have a strong academic relationship with the history of British politics, so I am able to examine such pages with an eye to see things that should exist. Now, as I pointed out on the FAC - a cursory search found an article devoted to the time and dealt a lot with Speyer, so much that it even credited him with the beginning of an economic cycle. That doesn't happen out of no where. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:10, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
If I can comment on the Privy Counsellor issue (all that reading I did when finding references for the article at FAR comes in handy!): Once upon a time, say 500 years ago, the Privy Council met as a council of the King and did actually have power. By the turn of the 18th century, when the Hanoverian Kings ascended the throne, power was exercised by a subset of the Council, which is what is now the Cabinet. The monarch ceased attending Cabinet meetings, and when s/he did meet with a quorum of Privy Counsellors it was merely to approve the decisions made by the Cabinet. This is still the case today—Cabinet ministers are appointed Privy Counsellors (for life), Privy Council meetings are held monthly, consisting of the Queen and four or five Ministers, typically those with responsibility for the regulations/legislation being approved. Everyone stays standing at the meetings, which are very brief and consist of the titles of the orders being read out and the sovereign saying "approved". However membership of the Privy Council is also awarded as a titular honour, much like a knighthood. This was true even in the time of Speyer, for example The Constitutional History of England by Frederic Maitland, written in the 19th century says on p.401 "A privy councillor made so as a mere honour—e.g. an ex-judge—goes to the council board once to take the oath, and he never goes again". A House of Commons fact sheet from 2005 says "Membership of the Privy Council is today a titular honour, with the office recognised as a reward for public and political service." and "On rare ceremonial occasions a larger meeting, including members other than Ministers, is convened – for example, to proclaim a new monarch or to hear a monarch give consent to a Royal marriage." The situation therefore has not changed for the last 150 years. As Speyer was not a Minister he would have attended a Council meeting once to swear the Privy Counsellor's oath, and most likely never attended again. Even if he had been a Minister and regularly attended he wouldn't have done anything much beyond showing up. A modern-day analogy to the calls for Speyer to be removed from the Privy Council may perhaps be found in the revoking of Robert Mugabe's GCB.
So to summarise, meetings of the Privy Council are more-or-less a constitutional formality; membership can be also be awarded as a titular honour; Speyer's appointment was of this sort; therefore he has no actions as a Privy Counsellor to discuss in the article. Dr pda (talk) 07:04, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
The article that I quoted on the FAC page makes it clear that he did notable things while on the PC and through the PC. If he started an economic movement through his position, it definitely cannot be dismissed in the manner that you just did. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:13, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have omitted my last paragraph—the point I was making was in the first paragraph of my post, namely that membership of the Privy Council does not confer any political power. Such a statement is a simplification, for a good description of the powers/role of the Privy Council see p140–144 of Mathiot's The British Political System. To summarise the main points
  • The full Privy Council only meets for the marriage, death or accession of a sovereign
  • Meetings of a small subset of members occur more frequently (~monthly). Between three and six Privy Councillors are usually summoned to such meetings, all of whom are Cabinet Ministers
  • At these meetings the Council does not deliberate on matters, but simply gives formal assent to executive acts already decided on by ministers or the Cabinet.
  • Such meetings can also approve Orders in Council, which are used by the Government to enact delegated legislation, i.e. statutory regulations
  • I'm ignoring the Judicial Committee since Speyer was not a judge
Thus in the British political system the Privy Council is essentially a "constitutional rubber stamp" (again I'm oversimplifying to make the essential point)
Nevertheless appointment as a Privy Counsellor has a certain social cachet, conferring the title of "Right Honourable", and appointments, beyond those necessary for constitutional reasons, were used as an honour, much the same way as knighthoods. This practice predates Speyer's appointment (see the references in my last post). Such honours are awarded on the advice of the Government; Speyer was a supporter of the Liberal Party, and a friend of the Prime Minister. The article implies this is the reason for Speyer's appointment; the Prime Minister's response when Speyer offered to resign his Privy Counsellorship and Baronetcy refers to these as "... marks of distinction which you have received in recognition of public services and philanthropic munificence." Indeed even the journal article you found says that Speyer's baronetcy was presumably awarded for his financial support of the Liberal party. Thus it appears clear to me that Speyer's appointment to the Privy Council was simply a titular honour.
Turning now to the journal article you mention, I don't find anything which implies that Speyer accomplished anything through his membership of the Privy Council. Taking it point by point again, remembering his appointment to the Privy Council was in 1909.
  • Speyer came to London in 1887 and took over the London Branch of the family bank
  • Speyer helped to extend and electrify the London Underground between 1903 and 1908
  • Abroad his family were involved in American railway speculation, 1906–8
  • London railways and other domestic investments performed poorly in 1907–8, therefore like many investors Speyer began to transfer his investments abroad
  • Thus by 1912 Speyer was heavily involved in Brazilian railway schemes
Pausing for a moment, here we have Speyer after his appointment as PC, but his actions don't involve the PC, instead they follow from what he was doing beforehand
  • Speyer financially supported the Liberal Party, for which (presumably) he was created a baronet in 1906
  • In 1909 he "held aloof from the City's anti-budget agitation, and was sworn as a Privy Councillor in June, to the disgust of the Council's snobbish clerk, Sir Almeric FitzRoy"
Pausing again; the narrative here is basically chronological. His holding aloof from the budget agitation (whatever that was about) is not necessarily to be interpreted as the cause for his being appointed to the Privy Council (though one could imagine him using his position in the financial world to support the government's position, in which case it is not implausible that he would be rewarded with an appointment to the Privy Council). In any case Speyer is not yet using his PC appointment in any way.
  • George Paish's association with Speyer began in 1904. Paish believed overseas investment would revive the economy; Speyer delivered the same message in a speech to the Institute of Bankers, in 1905 (according to footnote) "which if it did not start the Edwardian capital export boom (as Paish claimed) at least broadly coincided with it".
Pausing again, you mentioned Speyer being credited with an economic movement, however this again predates his appointment to the Privy Council.
This appears to be the last mention of Speyer in the article, and again does not mention his Privy Council membership. While the article does indeed have some information which is lacking from the Wikipedia article, this is of Speyer's activities before his appointment as a Privy Counsellor. Even if they had been during this period, I hope I have explained clearly enough above that there is political power associated with membership of the Privy Council. To try and be even clearer, I would support, on grounds of comprehensiveness, the inclusion in the article of relevant information about Speyer's life while he was a member of the Privy Council, but I don't believe (for the reasons given at length above) that he undertook any actions as a Privy Counsellor during this period. Dr pda (talk) 22:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Many thanks Dr pda for that detailed explanation and analysis. As I said above, I am more than happy to add information to the article to expand it further. The 1909 budget agitation mentioned would be with regard to the People's Budget, which precipitated a constitutional crisis when the House of Lords rejected the budget and eventually led to the Parliament Act limiting the power of the House of Lords to veto legislation. --DavidCane (talk) 00:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Dr pda - regardless if you can attribute the various political and economic actions that he was able to accomplish (setting policy is rarely something a non-politician can do) to him being a member of the PC, those five years that he was a member saw many, many things happen that were prompted by Speyer or that Speyer was involved in. He would have been know that time as a member of the PC. Regardless, those five years are utterly missing. There are a lot of details missing. WP:UNDUE would require us not to have 40% of an article taken up by two negative events, especially when there are sources devoted to other time periods. My point is simply that it doesn't matter if the author of the wiki page thinks that the events are "boring" or not. It is not an encyclopedia editor's job to edit it so that a life only appears interesting. We are not a tabloid. We should report the times, dates, and events of a person's life that are important to the person. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:01, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
For curiosity sake, I put in Edward Speyer and Privy Counsellor to see what is found at google. Privy Counsellor/Privy council and comment. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:04, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Many references there which indicate that this article also falls short on background information about German-Jewish financiers of the period. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:40, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
We do now seem to have gotten away from the original purpose of this thread which was the matter of whether "only notable events should be brought up in an FAC". As this was raised on a misreading of my comment and there does not seem to be a disagreement as to what is to be included and what not then there is probably no more to be said on that matter. Will Ottava Rima be striking his/her Oppose as he proposed?
On the matter of what Speyer's role may have been in the Privy Council, I submit, in further support of Dr pda's comments above, the following extract from the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica published in 1910-11 (volume XXII, p. 372) which discusses why a person might be appointed to the council and how it operated in practice. This is contemporaneous with Speyer's membership, so seems to explain most appropriately what he might have done in that role - i.e. nothing:

Although the true privy council is the cabinet, the name is to-day given collectively to a large number of eminent people whose membership and position are titular only. All members of the cabinet if not already privy councillors become so on appointment to cabinet office. Occasionally, subordinate members of the ministry and some of its private supporters are made privy councillors as a special distinction. The lord chancellor, the lords of appeal in ordinary, the president of the probate division, the lord president of the court of session in Scotland, the lord justice clerk and the lord advocate of Scotland are always privy councillors, as are the archbishops of Canterbury and York and the bishop of London. In 1807 all the premiers of the self-governing colonies were made privy councillors. Of recent years, retired ambassadors, judges, retired civil servants and persons distinguished in science, letters and arts have been appointed. The custom seems also to be growing of using the honour of privy councillor to reward political supporters who do not wish for hereditary titles. The collective title of the council is “the Lords and others of His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council” The members are addressed as “Right Honourable” and wear a state uniform. The appointment is informal, the new privy councillor simply being invited by the king to take his seat at the board. He is then sworn in, and his name placed on the list. Office lasts for the life of the sovereign and six months after, but it is the modern custom for the new sovereign to renew the appointment.

Meetings of the whole council are held at the beginning of a new reign or when the reigning sovereign announces his or her marriage. The lord mayor of London is then summoned to attend. The whole council might also be summoned on other occasions of state and ceremony.

The formal meetings of the council are attended by the few councillors concerned with the orders to be issued These are generally ministers or officials. The chief officer of the council is the lord president, now a cabinet minister of the highest rank, but without departmental duties. The office of clerk of the council dates from 1540 and his signature is necessary to authenticate all orders.

I will be adding clarification to the article to make it completely clear that the appointment was an honour without responsibility.
Regarding Ottava Rima's most recent comments; please refrain from putting words in my mouth. I did not say that the information left out from the article is "boring" - that was your word - but minor gloss which could be considered trivia. I could, for example, have:
  1. included names of many other charities of which he was a board or a committee member: the Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses, the City Council for Organisation of Charity, the Research Defence Society, the Invalid Children's Aid Society, the Royal Amateur Orchestral Society, the Association of Subscribers to Charities and the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, etc.
  2. listed numerous appearances in the court circular listing his trips abroad with his wife
  3. listed dinners and functions he attended
  4. listed very many small donations and subscriptions to charities which are recorded
But this would not be especially interesting.
Thank you for your helpful search of google books, of which I am already well aware. I have already trawled this several times just searching on "Edgar Speyer" looking for useful information and you will note that three of the books listed in the references section already link to that. Yes there are a many matches for Edgar Speyer, but when they are investigated you will find that most of these are passing references of minor interactions with other people who are the subject of the linked book.
There are two new pieces of information gleaned from the first of the lists of matches that you offered (probably because new stuff is added all the time) - that Nancy Astor was "quite fond" of Sir Edgar but thought his wife a "tiring noisy woman" and that Lady Speyer was asked to remove her daughters from their school after the war broke-out as other parents were threatening to remove theirs and she was ostracised from a number of societies that she had belonged to. The first is trivia, the second I will add to the article.
The second, longer list of 192 matches appears at first to provide a great number of links but a substantial number of these are of no use because they provide no access to the text ("no preview available" or "[ Sorry, this page's content is restricted ]" messages are shown) or because they provide links to snippets with just his name and a few out of context words. Please also note that, as structured, your search finds any book or article which included any Edgar and any Speyer and any Privy and any Council. "Edgar Speyer" "Privy Council" produces 20% fewer matches. Of those for which brief summaries can be read, something like 90% refer to Speyer in the context of his being removed from the Privy Council, which the article already has plenty on. There are a number of new documents listed which might have additional information for inclusion and I will read these to see if there is anything worth adding.
Regarding Malleus Fatuorum's most recent comment, I will see what I can do, but this is a biography not an economic history.
Can I suggest that further discussion goes either on the article's talk page or the FAC page--DavidCane (talk) 03:43, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Suggestions for review criteria

I think the criticism raised above is essentially that FACs are at least sometimes inadequately reviewed. We currently have article criteria but no review criteria, so although we have high standards our enforcement of those standards varies. To address the specific grammar issue raised above a criteria could be added to the FAC process along the lines of "at least one of <some set of grammar experts, perhaps members of WP:grammar> has reviewed the article for grammar". A similar criteria to address domain expertise might be "before being promoted as a FAC any article tagged as within the scope of any (active) wikiproject must be reviewed by at least one member of each such wikiproject". If we're looking for consistency another criteria might be "at least N members of the FAC review board have reviewed the article" where the FAC review board would be a wikiproject of folks willing to dedicate significant time to the FAC process (I would expect this would be more or less the existing "FAC regulars").

Another way to address at least the grammar issue would be to have an explicit checklist for reviewers to fill out based on the FA criteria. The checklist could be coded in a template that reviewers would include in their comments indicating which of the items they had specifically reviewed for. This would become a declaration of sorts - e.g. I reviewed this article for FA criteria 1a(grammar only), 1b, 1c. An article would then only be promotable after at least one reviewer had checked each criteria in the checklist. The implicit assumption today is that each reviewer reviews against all criteria, which is (I think) obviously false.

I think the bottom line is unless we enforce standards for the review process the output of the process will vary - this is sort of a basic quality control issue. Anything of this sort to be implemented should be carefully balanced against m:creep. -- Rick Block (talk) 17:26, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

On your first proposal: At the core, this is a good idea, but I am afraid that this might lead to specialization, which has already happened in the source- and image-checking areas. Reviewers who usually look at prose and MOS will be less confident in checking sources or content because they are not considered as the "authority" on the subject areas. Your second proposal sounds interesting, although I don't know what to make of it yet. Dabomb87 (talk) 20:17, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd say that more of the hard noses are needed at FAC. A lot of things (at least implementation and scrutiny if not the explicit WIAFA) have risen a lot at FAC, but it seems a bit odd that the FAR enforcements aren't as stringent and the difference between the top 20% of FAs and the worst 20% of FAs is increasing a lot. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
"The implicit assumption today is that each reviewer reviews against all criteria, which is (I think) obviously false". Yes certainly false on my part, and to my mind it goes against the basic wisdom of the crowds idea of a Wiki. I don't think that specialisation is wrong amongst FA reviewers. I've been reading those FA candidates that interest me for a while now, fixing minor errors and pointing out what I perceive as anomalies and gaps. But going from that to saying that a particular article in every way meets the FA criteria would still be a very big step, and would have been an even bigger one from where I was four months ago. IMHO A guide for FAC reviewers with FA Criteria might make it easier for new reviewers, and be something that could be used to invite potential reviewers from say the typo fixers or those IP editors who make really good IP edits to articles. But it needs to emphasise how easy it is for someone with the requisite reading skills to do something interesting and useful in this area. Not present FAC as some esoteric area for WP aficionados only, or imply that you are only useful as a reviewer if you can do a complete review against all criteria. WereSpielChequers 14:06, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:13, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Sandy that's perfect. WereSpielChequers 14:47, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
If anyone thinks it needs an update/refresh, we could probably run it again this year. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:57, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Its probably worth running an updated version every year simply because of the turnover amongst Wikipedians, I can't remember when in 08 I started reading the signpost or whether I've read that article before. Some stats as to how many articles are involved, how much they change as a result of the FA process and how many readers they get when they go on the mainpage would give context and more reason to rerun the article. Also, and this may be a wider issue it implies that when you spot something wrong at FA you raise that as a comment or a reason to oppose. Surely if you spot something that is as easy to fix as to comment on you should just fix it? WereSpielChequers 15:21, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


THis may have been mentioned -> but the instructions to re-nominating a FAC is flawed.

The instructions are wrong, and the pre-loaded templates won't load if there is an archive already stored.

This is to do with the {{fac}} tempalte, and should be fixed.  The Windler talk  11:33, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Still need image review

How to attract new reviewers?

One constant refrain I hear on this page is that FAC needs more reviewers, and I don't disagree. However, the question I have always wanted answered is this: what, if anything, can we do to make the pool of reviewers larger? We can bemoan the lack of reviewers all we want, but the truth is that FAC is the least inviting place possible for beginners. The standards are subjective, even for experienced reviewers; newcomers have little chance of understanding them right off the bat. I also feel that potential new reviewers are concerned that they will be criticized by fellow reviewers if they make a mistake, such as supporting an article with problems. I'm not the first to complain about this, but I've seen few suggestions on what can be done about it. Does anyone have any ideas that can improve the situation, which is causing strain for everyone here? Giants2008 (17-14) 03:29, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Simple: Every nominator must review another FAC for every one they've nominated. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Even if one is not a "good reviewer", there are so many things to look for on an article that it is impossible to not find something to improve on. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:36, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Also note that most FACs have maybe 5-6 pundits, so that wouldn't make up the whole balance. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 03:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I'm concerned that implementing requirements as Dabomb suggests will lead to a lot of commentless support !votes, since those are easiest to put down (or, if we implement a comments requirement, support !votes followed by "prose is excellent, all references in order"). Wikipedia as a whole is pretty short of reviewers (see WP:GAC, WP:PR), but to the extent there is a solution I think it involves approaching people who are good article writers and encouraging them to given reviewing a shot, especially within their areas of interest. I actually think that FAC might be less intimidating than GAC, since you're not unilaterally responsible for promoting or rejecting the nomination. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 03:41, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't see it that way. I see GAN reviews as a one-on-one relationship, with the reviewer and the article's nominator. In FAC, when a comment is made, sometimes the nominator will respond, and sometimes others will respond and perhaps criticize, too. Gary King (talk) 03:47, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I think an issue with GAN is that because one person holds the verdict, a person from within the wikiproject/knowledge area is more likely to abstain for want of looking or being accidentally biased. Probably why my cricket FACs are always faster than my other FACs, but for GAN, it's the other way around because cricket can be a bit hard to understand for outsiders. I know some guys who nom at GAN put a note asking specifically for outsiders. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 03:56, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
You could carrot them with awards etc, which might not excatly feel pleasant, but it works. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 03:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Looking through the archives, it seems like there were way more reviewers in 2006 than now. Gary King (talk) 03:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I think a larger problem is that FAC has gone through gone through a culture change. We have gone from a make a few tweaks and !vote to the Write-an-FA workshop (I am not saying all FACs are like this). I think the fact that we now have dedicated source-checkers and image-checks gives some nominators the idea that "Oh, they take care of the source and image issues there [at FAC], so we don't have to worry. Maybe they will copy-edit the article and do research for us too!" An overstatement to be sure, but I think there is an issue with this. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:45, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, which is why there's been talk that reviewers need to be less reluctant with outright opposes, instead of just comments; those allow Sandy to archive nominations that aren't ready, rather than leaving them languishing there awaiting copy-editing and the like. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 03:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that people not opposing is really the problem here. Gary King (talk) 03:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I think nobody checking is the problem, becuase they know that it takes a while to check if a good looking articles really is good. The weaker FACs normally get singled out with 5-minute opposes really quick. Back in 2006 anmd before, five minutes was all it tooked to reach the good/bad verdict. It's more the fact that relatively sound articles aren't being inspected. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 03:53, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there's any reasonable way to attract reviewers. People are either drawn to it or they aren't. Forcing noms to review won't work either for the same reason—the FA writers who are inclined to review content are already in here doing it. What we can do is work on retaining good reviewers by self-moderating the nom pages and making sure the review process is reasonable for all parties. If an article is way off, multiple reviewers should send that message right off the bat so the article doesn't languish here while people make attempts to pull it up to FA standard. If it can be fixed up in a day or two, great. If not, build a consensus to get it out of here quickly. This process of using FAC as a peer review and copyediting service is single-handedly responsible for over-taxing the system, and it's not fair to reviewers or nominators. --Laser brain (talk) 04:00, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Institute a quick fail procedure. Institute some form of training help for new reviewers (I've been nagging about this at FAC and GAN for 2 years). Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:08, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
We have the dispatch. Dabomb87 (talk) 04:14, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I've stopped reviewing FACs because of the many baseless opposes. Back in the day, people would vote according to the FA criteria. Now, it's "Oppose - too boring", "Oppose - Too short", "Oppose - OMG how dare we have an FA on a road?". I think it's easily fixable issues like this which lead to an unfavorable atmosphere that drives reviewers away. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:10, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

"Oppose - too boring", "Oppose - Too short", "Oppose - OMG how dare we have an FA on a road?" I don't see how this has become a recent epidemic. These kinds of opposes have been around since I started reviewing. Sandy/Raul know to ignore these frivolous opposes. How does this drive reviewers away? BuddingJournalist 15:38, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I have to admit, that has been bothering me lately. FAC is not AfD. Dabomb87 (talk) 04:14, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I can see that might be a reason to stop nominating if it were true, but not to stop reviewing. --Malleus Fatuorum 04:16, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
One of the problems is that I'm not sure how much weight Sandy assigns such comments, and as a result, I'm uncertain of the affect that my participation will have on the discussion. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:19, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect, this issue doesn't require fixing because I don't think it matters. I've yet to see Sandy or Raul fail an FAC that had substantive support over non-actionable opposes. It might fail for not attracting significant support, but I doubt it would fail for the reasons you mention. --Laser brain (talk) 04:16, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
"If nothing can be done in principle to address the objection, the director may ignore it." Says it all. Dabomb87 (talk) 04:21, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
"Unfavorable atmosphere" is a code word for "no one liked my nom". FAC is not a hand-holding, kumbaya-singing social event. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:27, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah, but "unfavorable atmosphere" is a code word for "why should I contribute to this hell hole?" –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:31, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
It might help if essays were created, such as Wikipedia:FAC is not Peer Review, so reviewers could just link to them when necessary. Gary King (talk) 04:29, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

(undent)mmmmmmmmmmm I saw one about GAN not being triage.. written by ElCobbola? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:32, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Three ways of looking at it

I think standards have gone up and that requires more reviewer effort. The supply of reviewers hasn't gone up to match, so when Awadewit and Ealdgyth volunteer to take on the image and sourcing reviews, they are in danger of burning out -- and in fact Awadewit has just decided to take a break from the image reviews. Looked at as an optimization problem, you can (1) increase the supply of reviewers, or decrease the effort needed from reviewers by either (2) simplifying the review process or (3) reducing the number of FACs to review. I don't know a way to do any of these without some negative side effects. Solving (1) is just plain hard. (2) requires us to get away from FAC-as-PR; (3), if implemented as some form of queue, would cause frustration among article-writers. I've argued in favour of (3) in the past (and I still like the idea), but how about formalizing (2) -- putting some rules in place that require discussion to happen on the article talk page, and only the !vote left on the FAC; plus (for opposes) the FAC criteria on which the oppose is based. One downside of that is that it's harder for Sandy to scan the discussion and get a sense of what's going on, but might it be worth it? Mike Christie (talk) 04:45, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm gonna fight tooth 'n nail for credit for the queue idea. I think I suggested it first. Na na na na boo boo. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR)
Yes, that was Ling's idea. Mike Christie (talk) 12:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
How about PR-as-PR instead of FAC-as-PR? Editors frequently take articles to PR before bringing them to FAC, especially first-time FAC nominators. In fact reading through WP:PR just now, the vast majority of articles are listed there with statements of the form "I want to know what needs to be done to get this article to FA standard" (or FL or GA). There is obviously a recognition that extra work needs to be done to get an article to FA standard, a willingness to do that work, and they're even advertising the fact before taking the article to FAC! Therefore why not pre-emptively review such articles while they are still at PR, and do the necessary article building there? PR has no time limit, which avoids the problem of articles failing and having to go through several FACs because the work needed cannot be done in time. If the articles arriving at FAC basically meet all the criteria, reviewing there will be much easier (and faster). Dr pda (talk) 09:55, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
In the terms I used above, the answer is that initially this would increase the workload and decrease the workforce. Speeding up PR would cost effort from reviewers who might otherwise be here, and to start with the result would be faster flow to FAC from PR. I suppose eventually we could see better prepared FACs and hence less effort needed here, but I'm sceptical that we'd ever get to that point. Instead I think it would encourage more FACs, which is not the problem we are trying to solve. Mike Christie (talk) 12:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
<Begin weary explanation>People continually nom articles at FAC because they can wow their buddies and score points at RfA and so on by having an FA article (even if it was entirely passed by members of the relevant wikiproject, with no other reviews.. integrity means nothing). However, no one can score points by bragging that they are a FAC reviewer. It is—or it should be—a labor-intensive task; it requires saying "no" to those fragile egos and thus being labeled a WP:DICK, and it requires real writing and research skills (whereas if you nom a FAC, you can let folks with real writing and research skills—known as "reviewers"— fix it up for you). In short, reviewing at FAC requires both work and skill, yet has NOTHING TO OFFER IN RETURN (sorry for the all caps), while nomming at FAC requires less work and less skill, and carries a high probability of receiving many good returns, from PR-style help to the coveted Bronze Star</weary explanation> Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 12:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Footnote scripts

Is there any script tool to automatically re-order grouped citations so that it is numerically ordered, eg [14][5]->[5][14]? YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 05:42, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Can you show me an example of what you're talking about? Tks Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 06:03, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
It's generally considered ideal to layout cites "The literacy rate is 99.5%.[1][2]" not "The literacy rate is 99.5%.[2][1]" so that the multiple cites are in numerical order. I was wondering if there was a script that did this. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 06:06, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I could do this fairly easily with Python (programming language), but that would be offline. I have always wanted to write a Wikipedia script... Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 06:15, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
That's probably a job that a script like User:Gimmetrow/fixRefs.js should do, in addition to what it already does. Perhaps talk to User:Gimmetrow about that. Gary King (talk) 15:48, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Drastic, but perhaps required, idea

Has anyone thought about just stopping any more FACs being submitted for a few weeks (or however long) until the current backlog is cut down a fair bit? Crikey, at this rate there'll be 50 FACs in a little while. I have a few articles I want to put in the queue, but there's no way I'm doing it at the moment. Please, can't something be done? Skinny87 (talk) 10:39, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

We had 60 FACs a while ago. Dabomb87 (talk) 13:50, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
And it's been as high as 100 before. The something that needs to be done is more reviewing. Lots more reviewing. Karanacs (talk) 14:31, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
100 must be pretty rare; I don't think I've seen that in the past year. The average seems to be around 40. If we stop submissions for a period, then once that period is over, the submissions will just balloon from all the submissions that were held off during that period. Gary King (talk) 15:46, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

FA quality, and more FARs to improve it

Per, the latest kerfuffle: This biggest problem with rubbish FAs are the relics from olden days that the original author/wikiproject does not raise the article's quality to keep pace with modern standards unless someone puts the article under the hammer and threatens to bin their FAs, eg rather disorganised pieces like Malwa or Brian Close (punted off last year). I think that it humans normally work that way and need to be put under pressure, for the most part. So I think FAR is a pretty strong incentive to improve poor FAs, and the vast amount of problems with FAs is from the way old FAs, rather than current FACs that have skated through with errors. There are hundreds of 2006 and before, and even a few poor FAs in early 2007 like Technopark Kerala, a lot of which are worse than GAs and even some B class articles. The other thing is that with the likes of Ealdgyth etc on FAC, the standards in FAC have been rising a lot but with FAR this has been less so, and I think the standard deviation between the worst and better (new) FAs is increasing. Especially because of the need for consensus to change, sometimes a couple of dubious WikiProject "keeps" at FA is enough to get a FAR to crawl home when an article is still only half fixed up.

Having said that, a lot of old timers seem a bit disconnected and still count their olden day work as legit FAs after they have been removed for having multiple formatting styles mixed together, substandard English, no sources or random geocities websites used as sources etc and sometimes harp on about the modern trends and how articles in the old days were better, which there patently were not. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm more than happy to pop over to FAR when requested, I just can't add another duty to my pile... I had to drop FLC as being too much time away from writing articles (which, in the end, is the point, right?) Anytime someone wants me to weigh in on an FAR, drop a note on my talk page. Sandy already had that open invite for FAR, anyone else is welcome to it too. Ealdgyth - Talk 02:00, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Gosh YM, you taking the Australia's dismal run pretty badly good point. I have my finger in a few too many pies but try to pop in every once in a while. Just trying to help out with a few current FACs first...Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that I was in an angy mood and not because of the cricket, but I have reworded it because looking at it again it doesn't look pleasant. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 23:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
In my locale, "rubbish" is a very loaded, dismissive word. Thinking about the real spirit behind policies like WP:NPA, which gets quoted any time someone acts a little naughty... well, I'd rather have someone tell me to "fuck off" on Wikipedia than I would have someone describe the effort of any volunteer, including me, as "rubbish". No, your attitude and the existence of FAR are not "incentives"; in fact, they're very much the reason why a person seeking any sort of middle way on wikipedia learns eventually to just stay the hell away from it, at least in any substantive capacity; especially to stay away from the self-appointed experts on what constitutes a quality article. –Outriggr § 06:54, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
YellowMonkey isn't trying to denigrate anyone's work, but let's face it; many of those articles are poorly written and under-referenced, making them less than middling GA rather than FA according to today's standards. We don't need "self-appointed" experts on what makes a quality article because we have criteria; and frankly, if you don't want your work being judged critically, why the hell did you try and have your writing featured in the first place (let alone write on the wiki?) --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 12:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Critical assessment is fine, but "rubbish" isn't critical assessment. I'm quite willing to believe that YM has reason for his comments and that the cited articles are below current standards, but like Outriggr I'd prefer it if we could avoid such terms as "rubbish" in this sort of conversation. There's plenty of scope for people to get upset without starting off with emotive language. Mike Christie (talk) 13:12, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Sure, I didn't mean that the articles were useless, so that was a pretty poor rant on my part, so I've reworded it as it might be seen as being aggressive and hostile. I do think that the gap between the standard deviation in FA quality is getting very large nowadays. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 23:37, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Hi Outriggr & all: I use strong language when reviewing and speaking to reviewers. I simply believe that being all hugs 'n love will do zero-point-zero to staunch the flow of crap (did I say crap? I think I did) that people shove into FAC simply because it has fewer ungrammatical sentences than grammatical ones... even though the grammatical sentences are usually merely WP:COPYVIO. I think... Wikipedia's reputation sucks. It's improving, but I have been looked at like a Martian by professors when I mention it. It's considered a toy—an inaccurate, useless toy. WP:FA represents (or is supposed to represent) Wikipedia's very, very best, period. It is not Romper Room; it's not a place where love 'n hugs are distributed to boost the self-esteem of junior high students. Those junior high students need to go home and crack open a grammar book (and one about research skills, etc.) before they even set foot here. Our job is to present a high-quality product, not be baby-sitters. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:29, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I've no more interest in hugs at FAC than in insults; I guess I wasn't being clear. My comment to YM was only about his language, not his meaning. If he has critical comments to make about FAs I think they should be made. One can write accurate and condemning comments about an article's shortcomings without insulting the author of an article, however; and I think anyone who can write an FA understands the use of language well enough to do so. Mike Christie (talk) 02:41, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
The flow of crap pushes onward. If we had tons of reviewers who would fail and fail and fail and fail the crap, then folks might get the message without any need for a dash of vinegar. But we don't. And they don't. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:47, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
How does one define "crap"? (In FA terms, of course. I know too well what the main definition is. :-)) Is it just bad articles, or are you referring to repetitive FA topics? We're usually good at spotting the ones that aren't ready yet, and there are no real solutions to the latter problem. Editors will work on what they want to work on, even if they end up copying formats after a while. As for our reputation, every article on Wikipedia could be FA-quality and we still wouldn't be considered a reliable academic source. At some point, we should recognize that and accept it; we can still be a great free source of information for anything encyclopedic that you can think of. That's our advantage over Brittanica, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Giants2008 (17-14) 17:57, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


  • Writing and researching are processes that require substantial input of time and effort. If the text is WP:COPYVIO copy/paste, the article is crap. Even if the text of the article is so imbued with the its sources that the voice of the article is the voice of the sources, the article is crap. If the references do not truly reflect the breadth of the literature, the article is crap. If the references are cherry-picked for a POV, the article is crap. If the article is incomprehensible to the lay reader, but could be made comprehensible with enough effort, the article is crap. If the article has five references, all online, and took a long afternoon to write, the article is crap. If an article goes all the way through FAC and no one reviews it except 1 systematic image reviewer, 1 systematic references reviewer, and 3 or 4 members of the relevant Wikiproject (all Supporting), the article is probably crap: reviewers, being unable to state the obvious for fear of being argued to death, have "voted with their feet" that the article is crap. Does that draw a picture? :-)
  • However, having said that, I'm growing ever more and more weary of being the only one willing to call a piece of crap a piece of crap. On the one hand, crankiness is tiring. On the other hand, the folks pushing through substandard articles should be Opposed. Firmly. Decisively. In a memorable manner. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 10:09, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Just to give an example, there is a FAC that has obvious deficiencies in regards to sourcing. Two regular reviewers made comments noting the problems (but did not vote) and they were simply brushed off by the nominator(s). I have made my oppose vote, but I am rather surprised that no one else has opposed this FAC even when the problem is so obvious. I leave the FAC unnamed because I do not want to attract undue attention to it. --RelHistBuff (talk) 10:32, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Obviously, candidates that copy sources should be quick-failed (why is this still on the page?). These other source concerns are all valid, but it's not easy to defend against them due to lack of time on our part. There are sometimes hints, though; I'm thinking of city pages that use mostly primary sources, for example. The best advice I can give is to get out and review the articles, which you seem to be doing more of lately. Sandy/Raul can't read the minds of those who don't show up. Giants2008 (17-14) 15:57, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
      • Just an aside - FAC doesn't have a quick-fail process. Currently, noms are being promoted/archived twice a week to work around GimmeBot's schedule. If the nominator agrees to withdraw the nomination, we can remove it early, but that's usually the only time we do so. (I've left a note with the nominator of the example given to see if he's willing to withdraw.) Even in copyvio situations, there's always an outside chance that the nominator could clean the article up into an acceptable status within the FAC time. Karanacs (talk) 16:08, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
        • If there is not a quick-fail procss for copyright violations, there should be. There should be a powerful disincentive to bringing plagiarized text to FAC (and anywhere else in Wikipedia, for that matter). There seems to be an attitude by some (and I don't mean anyone commenting here) that copyright violations are OK if you don't get caught. Copyrighted text remains in the article history even if removed; it should never be there to start with. We have a situation where "rewards" are given for successful FACs, but there is no real downside to theft of intellectual property. Kablammo (talk) 16:20, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
          • There's no way a nomination will be promoted if there are copyvio concerns. This problem is not confined to FAC; it's appeared at DYK as well. I'm not sure if there are actually more copyvios now than before, or if we are just getting better at catching them. I think some people don't understand sourcing, and they really don't get it that you can't copy text verbatim. Sometimes all we have to do is explain to them and they are cured of the bad habit. Karanacs (talk) 16:29, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
            • Agreed. But where competitions or simple pride rewards promotion, the tendency to create content by cut-and-paste moves becomes stronger. (And how often are copyvios missed? Do all reviewers regularly check for them?) Kablammo (talk) 16:35, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I'm gonna start a quick-fail for FAc thread, just to irritate Sandy. :-P I promise much bolded and bolded-with-italics text, a few exclamation points !! and several ambiguous remarks that might or might not be insulting. :-) Hey seriously though: do any of those "how to" FAC essays deal with copyvio and quoting? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:40, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Don't know, but I'd like to think that most nominators know that it's bad. As for quick-fails, they may not be official, but if six reviewers oppose something right off the bat, it's a de facto quick-fail. This is a prime example of what I mean. By the way, what happened to the backlog? Guess things are back to normal now. Giants2008 (17-14) 21:32, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Not really "normal"; this month may have been the highest "fail" rate ever; we still need reviewers. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:38, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
I'll try to help out a little but I just can't do more than one or two thorough reviews a week. NancyHeise talk 21:34, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

FAC logjam

The FAC list (48 as I write) is longer than it need be, because of absentee opposers, who do not update their comments even when comprehensive efforts have been made to address their concerns. This is particularly the case with two FACs I have reviewed: John Wilkes Booth and Edgar Speyer. The Booth article was opposed early in its candidacy on various grounds (prose, comprehensiveness), and rightly so. It has since been worked on to a considerable extent and is now a different proposition, yet the old opposers have not revisited to comment on the changes. If they are maintaining their opposes, fair enough, but they should update their reasons and provide a basis for further improvement. Allowing two-week-old opposes simply to stand, regardless of the current state of the article, helps no one. The Speyer article has four supports and a single oppose dated 28 January on a point that excited no one else, and the opposer has not commented since 29th.

I raise these two as examples, not to start a discussion here on their merits. They are articles I have been tracking; there may well be others. I agree reviewers should be prepared to use the oppose button more readily, but as a way of seeking improvements, not just as a means of shooting articles down. It is incumbent on every opposer to monitor the progress of the article they are objecting to, and to make clear the grounds on which the oppose is being maintained. If opposers did this I am sure that several of the longer-standing candidates could be shifted. Brianboulton (talk) 10:02, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Then frankly the nominators need to put out extra effort to ping the opposers and ask them to revisit. I can't pay attention to all the FAC pages, especially when they grow longer like JWB. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 15:19, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
No, but you can and should pay attention to pages where you have registered an actionable oppose. Pinging opposers doesn't always work. Brianboulton (talk) 15:53, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Good point Brian, one that is often not considered in the discussions about FAC backlogs. In the past, I would sometimes inadvertently forget to revisit an article becuase I didn't see the nominator reply on my watchlist. Pinging doesn't always work; I ignore the new message bar if I am busy. To amend this problem, I created a list of articles that I have reviewed or am in the middle of reviewing, which really helps me to keep track of where I am. Then again, I do quite a bit of reviewing, so I have gotten used to checking up on articles that I have opposed / commented on. I think that if a nominator is motivated enough, they will get the opposer to revisit the article eventually. Dabomb87 (talk) 22:19, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
If I feel that an article is deserving of FA but is stalled by stale opposes, I don't mind notifying the opposers myself. Dabomb87 (talk) 22:22, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

FAC quick-fail

  • OK, I'll be the lamb to the slaughter. I propose quick-fail criteria for FAC. Not sure what those criteria are yet, other than WP:COPYVIO. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:48, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
    • How about 4 opposes in the first 24 hours = quickfail? Or were you thinking of something more quick? --maclean 04:24, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
      • It should still depend on why those people are opposing. We shouldn't straight out just fail an FAC because a number of people opposed it so soon. Gary King (talk) 17:10, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
    • What about just encouraging people who think a candidate is too far from featured quality to make it there during the review to !vote "quick fail", thereby allowing Sandy to do so? Sarcasticidealist (talk) 17:16, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
      • My personal criteria: Copyvios, articles that have cleanup banners such as {{refimprove}} or {{expand}} (unless they are clearly not applicable) and articles that are completely without / seriously lacking inline citations. Also, articles is lacking a major section (e.g. a hurricane article missing a meterological history section or video game article missing a gameplay section) should be quick failed. Dabomb87 (talk) 17:30, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
        • Those criteria seem, if anything, too narrow. Given that so much FAC reviewer time is taken up with improving prose, I think quick failing articles where the prose is nowhere close would help ease the backlog more than anything else would. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 17:38, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I would not like to see people voting "quick fail". If an oppose is for good reason, and the reason is stated, I think it's up to Sandy or Raul to determine if there is no reason to allow the nomination to continue. That is, articles can be failed quickly at the director's discretion, but I don't think reviewers should make assertions that they should do so. I believe Raul once requested that we stop posting "Snowball opposes"; please don't make me find the diff but it'll be back in the FAC talk archives, probably around mid-2007. I understood his post as a request for civility; "quick fail" and "snowball oppose" aren't easy for a nominator to accept without irritation, and there seems no need to use them. Mike Christie (talk) 17:43, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Clarification: I am not advocating any type of "quick fail" criteria. Common sense will dictate which FACs should be archived early and which should be allowed to run. As for previous discussions, they are all over Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive23. Dabomb87 (talk) 18:22, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I am in favor of some sort of "quick fail" system. It should be made clear to nominators that there are some problems that cannot be fixed in two weeks or four weeks. For example, if an article has no citations, this cannot be fixed. The main reason for this is that the nominator does not have time to gather the available material, read it, and rewrite the article. If an article is missing citations, the nominator cannot just "fill in" refs, serious research must be done to see if the current state of the article is even appropriate. Also, if a the sourcing is poor throughout the article, the article can easily be quick failed for the same reason. It means that the editor needs to do serious research to see if the article needs to be rewritten. The idea that we just "replace" sources is a flawed one. I see no reason why articles which will require extensive work should sit at FAC for weeks, giving the nominator false hope or leading to an extensive peer review. Awadewit (talk) 21:15, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I understand Awadewit's comments above but I want to throw in another angle to consider. Some people,(like me), learn from the FAC process. Even if an article fails, the comments generated during the review help article creators learn more about what Reader's want to see in that particular article regarding content and sources. We also gather interested parties that are willing to work and help with the article who might never have come across it without the FAC nomination. I think it might be in the best interest of Wikipedia overall if we leave the process as is and expect that some new editors, who might or might not be experts on their particular subject, will be encouraged to hang around and become part of the permanent process if we don't toss them out too quickly. NancyHeise talk 21:43, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I think Sarcasticidealist has a very important point, above, and it shouldn't be buried here: Most articles don't have quick and obvious problems once they get posted here. If they do, they usually earn several early opposes and get archived pretty quickly anyway. Quick-failing on copyvio or gross MoS issues would affect 1 in 25 noms, if that. The biggest issue is that articles come here with major prose issues that didn't get treated at peer review or GA. Speaking to Nancy's point above, however, nominators are often broadsided by being told the prose is substandard because it's usually the first time they've heard it. So, do we say "quick-fail" and send them back to the very place where they didn't get substantive prose feedback? We can leave it here to get more feedback, but if there are major issues, the burden on FAC is too great. Ho hum. --Laser brain (talk) 22:01, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't think there's a particular need, because if any article is very weak, there will be a lot of 2-minute/1-lines reviews with strong opposes and it won't take up reviewer time, unless the reviewer is a bit naive and pastes a big long list...Any other person comes along later will take a scroll up and down the article for a minute and probably come to the conclusion. The same guy improving the article won't lost much as they are improving the article all the same. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:12, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

  • Returning to Ling.Nut's first example, is it agreed that FAs which violate copyright should be immediately failed? Theft of intellectual property should not be a hard case; editors should know that if they nominate articles which contain copyrighted material, those nominations will fail. Kablammo (talk) 13:43, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

nominating a GA

I've just had a Good article passed. I feel there is nothing else I can do to the page and want to nominate it here, but is there an unspoken rule or anything about how long one has to wait? Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 00:28, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Gary likes to nominate them ASAP after passing, but you don't want to follow his example :P No, there's no unspoken rule, but just make sure that you believe it meets FA criteria, especially prose, as GAN is rather lax on that score. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 00:30, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
There's no prohibition. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:08, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I always thought that after an article passed GAN, you only had 24 hours to submit the article to FAC, otherwise you could never submit it? Gary King (talk) 01:34, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
There is no such rule. In fact, I always encourage people to get a peer review in addition to a GA review and often do so myself. The point of peer reviews that other editors see things what we cannot. Awadewit (talk) 01:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I forgot to add a <sarcasm> tag to my comment :) Gary King (talk) 01:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I always throw mine through a peer review between GAC and FAC; in general, those are more in depth than a GA review (though it's a crapshoot in each case), and I've never had a peer review that didn't improve my article. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 01:37, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Matthew, just ask someone nicely who hasn't seen it and might be interested in taking a look. Folks won't bite (well, most won't) Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:57, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

The "Queue and QF" option

  • This thread is a supplement to the QuickFail thread: Speaking frankly, I think the current system is very heavily (and probably deliberately; I'll explain later) slanted in favor of producing quantity over quality. People used to explicitly link to WP:100K (argh! Beware of WP:BEANS!), using it as the rallying cry for some sort of Noble Quest. Well, bah! And humbug! If quantity over quality is what you want, then I say "Let them eat Big Macs!". But I, for one, have no desire to see a Big Mac Bonanza when I look at WP:FA. I do not want FAC to be a mass-production line. Speaking frankly again, I have subzero sympathy for folks who would cry that a slower FAC process would make those poor, poor persecuted FAC nominators have to... what's that word? .. oh yes, wait.
  • Once again I say: adopt a queue format. Ten or even fifteen (I'm being generous, write that down please) Active Reviews at any one time. Everything else sits in a FIFO waiting queue. If you wanna have a time limit for active reviews, you can. But every time one or more article(s) are removed from the active review pool, the same number are popped from the stack ot the queue and placed in the active review pool. If reviewers want to peek at articles in the queue, that's on them, but NOTHING can be promoted until its time.
  • This format would be more congenial to the use of a concomitant QuickFail system. That would help move articles out of the active review pool more quickly.
  • As I said, the "quantity over quality" is probably a deliberate move that involves an element of self-deception: people buy into the idea of "those poor nominators, waiting, outside, alone in the bitter cold, with no shoes on their feet, in the knee-deep snow, and nothing but frozen grubs and worms to eat" without realizing that this is an explicit request for quantity over quality.
  • Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:03, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
Well I doubt 100K was taken seriously by anyone, it would've taken 50 FAs per day every day from 2006 to 2012, even with the 2006 standards and those who wrote the essay don't even write much. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 04:08, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
After a moment's reflection, a 21/21 system sounds reasonable to me: 21 articles in the Active Review pool; 21 days to sink or swim (maybe some allowances made for holidays such as Christmas, but not too many)....But one of the advantages of this approach would be that it's congenial to recalibration: if we don't like 21/21, we can try 10/21. Etc. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 04:27, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what I think of this idea. Working closely with nominators could excite them - it could demonstrate the wonders of research and revision. We could really show them how to improve articles. It could produce those epiphanic teaching moments that I crave. :) On the other hand, waiting in the queue could annoy people to the extent that they won't nominate articles - I have noticed that editors seem to have very little patience on Wikipedia. The timelines here are very short. No one can wait a week for something, for example. (I'm definitely for restricting editors to a single nom, but I'm on the fence about this idea.) Awadewit (talk) 08:11, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
People will nom no matter what – they want that bronze star. As for working closely with noms, better quality noms will have 3 weeks to drum up collaborators and co-conspirators. :-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 09:36, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the promise of a bronze star only goes so far (just like the promise of a good grade only goes so far - not every student tries to get an "A"). Also, what do we do with topics that no one knows? I can only really help on a limited number of topics, the same as everyone else. There are going to be topics that we lack helpers for. Awadewit (talk) 09:40, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Huh? I don't understand what you're getting at. Why do we need any special helpers? We get along without them now... Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 09:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

I think what Awadewit means is that there are noms that need an SME to come by and figure out if the article is comprehensive and if the best sources have been used. If one of those gets active, it could hold up one of the finite spaces for a long time. Also, how is this fair to noms who really do bring their articles here ready to go? They have to wait behind people whose articles need a lot of work? --Laser brain (talk) 15:45, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
"People whose articles need a lot of work" get failed— either by outright fail, or by quick-fail, or by hitting the wall of the pre-determined time limit for remaining in the Active Review pool without gaining consensus for PASS. Reviewers would need to be a lot BOLDer about explicitly stating Not Pass for articles that do not deserve to be a FA when the time limit is reached, but are better than an outright FAIL (and could be Passed after more than a little work, see your comments). The outcome is the same (article Not Promoted) but some folks have fail-a-fac-ophobia, and so may have need for a kinder, gentler terminology. ... we could also have Productive Reviewer points or Productive Reviewer awards, moving people up the queue in return for reviews. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I think this proposal could actually decrease the number of articles that some of us review. I review articles that interest me for some reason or another, and frankly, some article subjects don't hold my interest long. As an example, if a large portion of the the currently available nominations were centered on cricket, wrestling, or car races, I still wouldn't review them (no offense to the people who write those articles - I think the articles do deserve a shot at FAC). If I don't have interesting-to-me alternatives to peruse, I'll go write an article rather than try to review one. Karanacs (talk) 16:59, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
FIFO - Ling nut are into accounting? What are you doing on Wikipedia? Just kidding - I read your proposal and I think it is inventive but I don't agree that it would help. Because some reviewers know more about certain subjects than others, they are more likely to review those articles they know something about and I think having all of the articles up for FAC as opposed to some of them will maximize the review process. For example, I, as a reviewer, might take a look at the FAC nominations on Sunday when I have a bit of time to kill. If I find an article that I might be able to help, I will review that article. If that particular article is not on the review page but on another "FAC in waiting" page, I might not be around much when it finally does make it to the review page. NancyHeise talk 19:47, 9 February 2009 (UTC)


  • The largest two of the snarls that I am trying to address here are:
  1. fan-club passes (that is, articles that do not see any serious reviewer attention—yes, Virginia, they do exist), and
  2. the backlog.
  • I think we need a system that focuses reviewer attention on a small pool of articles, along with incentives for reviewer attention on unpopular articles. Our only alternative is the current system. Would you like me to start compiling a list of fan-club passes, in order to elucidate the current problem? Beware the dramaz! On the other hand, a queue would preserve a backlog, in a sense, but it would be a managed backlog – no articles sneaking under the cordons with fan-club passes just because everyone is busy with one or two articles... If we had a queue and Productive Reviewer points etc., the FAC director (or someone) could designate one or more unreviewed articles to rec'v an extra point for reviewing.. but don't panic, a point system could still be kept both simple and manageable. It just requires some forethought. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:49, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
    • User:Deckiller/FAC urgents serves as a way of focusing reviewer attention on a small pool of articles that urgently require reviews (there's one on there now that has not seen any new reviews in a week!). "Fan-club" FACs often end up on the list and are exposed to more critical eyes. I would not like to see any sort of point system introduced. As you say above, quality over quantity. We should emphasize this trait in both nominations and reviews. BuddingJournalist 02:18, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
      • The FAC urgents thing helps, but there are still fan-club passes. Points would only be given for good-faith reviews, not for "Support as per <insert username>" Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:24, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
        The queue seems a workable idea to me. Nancy and Karanacs' points about a shorter list restricting the topics seems to me to be balanced by the need to focus limited reviewer resources, and by the possibility that nominators who find themselves in the queue might go ahead and review FAC articles. That works for good article nominations, after all. I think the Productive Reviewer points is not a bad idea in theory, but it is unworkable in practice; Sandy's efforts in the past to identify top reviewers were very time consuming. The effort needed would be better spent on reviewing. Mike Christie (talk) 03:14, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
        • Thanks for your comments. I envision a lightweight Productive Reviewer process: Every reviewer can receive either 2 or 4 points 3 points per week, but no more: 2 points 1 point for one or more Good Faith reviews of a non-distressed regular FAC; 2 points for one or more Good Faith reviews of a distressed "low activity; needing feedback" FAC. So max 4 points 3 points per week. You don't get 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 points for 3 distressed "low activity; needing feedback" reviews; only the 2 points. Each point is one slot in the queue. Altruistic folks can decline to use their points from time to time, if they want, so the top reviewers won't always have something in the Active Review pool...[On second thought, maybe only 1 point for a non-distressed regular FAC. It can be tweaked.] All Sandy needs to do is eyeball a review and make a call on whether or not it's "Good faith." ... and GF doesn't mean "they voted their conscience" it means "they did a conscientious amount of work"... Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:53, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
          • I have three important questions about this idea:
          • 1): Would reviewers have to look at articles twice (once in the queue, and once at FAC), or would reviews carry over? The former option would be a hard sell for some; there's only so much time that reviewers have. Personally, I have enough trouble keeping reviews updated as it is.
          • 2): Three noms per editor per week? Give it a while and the backlog will balloon out of control (see WP:GAN).
          • 3): How will this stop fan/project supports? If a couple project members offered quick supports, wouldn't an article be moved to FAC anyway? Giants2008 (17-14) 14:23, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Hi Giants, and thanks for the questions. The answers are:
  1. Not only would no one be required to look in the queue, the unstated assumption would be that reviewers are mildly discouraged from doing so. Anyone can do what they want, but no articles can be Promoted until they hit the Active review pool. Moreover, no points are awarded for reviews done on an article while that article is waiting in the queue. Whether or not points would be given for those comments at the time the article hits the active pool is a matter for further discussion. I personally would be against it, as it seems to me that it would more or less undermine the whole rationale of the system.
  2. I'm sorry, I must not have been clear. Anyone can review as many articles as they like—and we hope they will—but they can only get points in two categories: "distressed noms" "low activity; needing feedback" noms (two points) and regular noms (one point). If they do one (or two, or five, or...) GF reviews of regular noms in a given week, that gives them one point for that week. If they do one (or two, or three, or...) reviews of distressed "low activity; needing feedback" noms in a given week, that gives them two points. In other words, the first regular review counts for one point and the rest do not count for anything; the first review of a distressed "low activity; needing feedback" nom counts for two and the rest count for nothing. This may be a mild incentive, but it is an incentive nonetheless. Currently we have no real incentives.
  3. Nothing can stop fan supports or fan-supported Promotions. If no one reviews an article other than its WikiProject members, then it gets a fan-supported pass. The goal, however, is to narrow the pool of articles that anyone can review at any one time. The hope is that conscientious reviewers will hold their noses and review articles that they otherwise might not, simply because they have already reviewed all (or most) of the other articles in the Active Review pool
As a reviewer and as a nominator, I think this system would do nothing but annoy me. Idon't think this will solve the backlog; instead, it will push the backlog out to the queue, which will eventually get really long. It may or may not solve the fan support issue. I'm still probably not going to review articles that don't interest me at all. I'll just stop reviewing until more interesting-to-me articles appear. Other points:
  • Also, this system seems to encourage people to nominate articles that aren't ready for FA. I suspect our complaints about writing/researching articles during the nomination will only get worse. That in turn may drive off nominators.
  • As a nominator, I am going to be pretty aggravated with the wait to actually get on the list. When I nominate an article, I usually also take into consideration my real-life workload so I ensure I have time to take care of the nomination. If my articles have to sit in an ever-growing queue and will turn up in the main list at some point I can't predict, then who knows whether I'll actually have time to address any concerns. If the queue is very long (which I think it likely will end up being so), we run the risk of nominators deciding that they don't care by the time the article finally reaches the main list. Or, nominators like me may have already moved on to writing other articles and may not have the sources easily available anymore.
We need to remember that we're all volunteers, and we mostly just participate in things that interest us. Making the process too bureaucratic may scare off the nominators, and making it too restrictive will likely drive off the reviewers. Karanacs (talk) 16:22, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Hi Karanacs:
  • "This system seems to encourage people to nominate articles that aren't ready for FA". That's why it works well with a Quck fail scheme.
  • "If my articles have to sit in an ever-growing queue". If you've built up a stockpile of reviewer points, those points can pop you to the top of the queue.
  • Thanks! Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:30, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Here's a question for you.. how will you handle reviews like mine or the image reviews? They are needed and necessary, but are they a GF review? Also, I dont think adding a burden of keeping track of points to Sandy's plate is very fair. Who decides if someone earned a point? I certainly can't say that I want to or need to review articles that don't interest me. I don't do it at GAN, why should I at FAC? Like Karan, it'd probably make me less likely to review articles than more. (I'm very mulish, if it's obvious that folks are trying to force me to review things I'm not interested in, I'm not going to do it.). And like Karan, I have to time my FAC noms to make sure I have time to attend to them, I don't want to be at the mercy of some queue. This isn't to say I think the current system is perfect, but I'm not seeing this one being an improvement. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:34, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with just about everything Karanacs has said right above this. I don't like this idea on so many different levels it would be difficult to know where to begin in enumerating them. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:35, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Sandy determines what's GF. I would say, set the standards at a very modest level, but higher than "Support as per Whomever". I would also say, save up review points 'til the time when you can use them. :-)
  • Moreover, no one is forcing anyone to do anything. The small active review pool amounts to... silent nagging, at best, to use a negative characterization. "Moral suasion" would be a positive term. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:47, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I think the more significant point is that it may well discourage reviewers, rather than persuade more participation, as ha already been said. Certainly it would discourage me, and I've no doubt that I'd end up doing even less at FAC than I do now. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:51, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • (Undent). I was wrong; if points only accrue to reviews done while in the active review pool then it's more than nagging. It limits your set of articles that you can review.. unless you don't care about points..
  • It does seem to rely somewhat upon reviewer commitment to reviewingLing.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:56, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • SO my conclusion is this, and forgive me if it seems pointed (it isn't meant to be); There is a tradeoff between reviewing only articles that you like, and preventing fan-club passes. The system is undermined to the same degree that we value the former more than the latter. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 16:59, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
    • I think that is the same trade-off that we have right now. There is nothing stopping me from choosing one of the pop-culture articles at the bottom of the list over a history article at the top, except personal preference. I'd love to find a way to convince or train the people who do enjoy those articles in how FAC noms are supposed to be reviewed. This proposal doesn't do that, however, but relies on forcing, to a certain extent, reviewers to look at articles that don't otherwise interest them. It seems like at least some of the existing reviewers think this would actually decrease our output. There may be other types of editors who would respond more to a system like this, and then it would balance out. The problem will be verifying that the other pool of editors exists and would like this proposal. We shouldn't let our existing reviewer pool speak for everyone, but we shouldn't take measures that might shrink our reviewer pool unless we're sure we'll be able to make that up. Karanacs (talk) 17:07, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
      • Excellent question. It's 1 am here, though. G'night. :-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 17:13, 10 February 2009 (UTC)