Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive36

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search



Based on the discussion above, it would seem that some more reviewers are needed to help with FARs. I'd be willing to help out whenever I can, although I'm not sure if I should. So far, I've nominated three articles which failed their FARs (and I have another review active). I feel like I have a good idea of what makes an FA and what doesn't, especially after the helpful comments in the failed reviews, but I don't want to review something incorrectly for FA-Class. Should I try to help out, or would you guys rather that I work on other things to avoid making mistakes at this (important) location? Thanks. -Drilnoth (talk) 19:17, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

DEFINITELY help!!! I had no idea what I was doing when I started reviewing, so I paid attention to other reviewer's comments and gradually learned. It has helped me a great deal in writing my own articles, too, because I now have a better idea what reviewers are looking for. Don't feel like you have to always enter a Support or oppose either - you can just put down comments for now. The best thing about this process is that it takes multiple opinions to get an article promoted to FA, so even if one of us is having an off day and misses some big problems in an article, the hope is that another reviewer will pick them up. Reviewers can have different opinions on whether an article is of FA-class, too, and that is okay. Just wade in, and if you have any questions, ask here or at the talk page of any of the regular reviewers. Karanacs (talk) 19:35, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I felt the same way my first reviews. I'm not a regular reviewer, but I try to help out when I can. And every time I review I get a better idea about what standard to apply. It's definitely a learning process, so don't worry about making mistakes. (Guyinblack25 talk 19:58, 10 February 2009 (UTC))
Great, thanks! I just wanted to ask first. -Drilnoth (talk) 20:07, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Karanacs isn't quite right I don't think; the best thing about reviewing is that you learn so much more about what your own articles ought to look like by looking closely at others, and seeing what other reviewers have to say about them. Makes your own FACs much easier. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 20:58, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Karanacs comments both here and immediately preceeding this section. NancyHeise talk 21:22, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

More help is needed with FAR. The back door is too low there....especially if one proper reviewer is arguing with a few article owners who just go "keep" without bothering to improve it. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 02:13, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I think Drilnoth was referring to FAC, although I agree that FAR could use with more activity. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Script for removing date-autoformatting and date-fragment links

Just to let nominators and reviewers know that the temporary injunction by ArbCom against the use of this script applies only to "mass delinking". Nominators are welcome to continue its use to satisfy Cr. 2 (compliance with the style guides). Tony (talk) 12:32, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Promotions and archiving, 10 February

The FAC reviews of candidates removed for promotion or archiving on 10 February appear to be still open. Can these be closed to avoid the addition of further comments? Brianboulton (talk) 12:43, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Sandy is back soon; if Raul has not been asked to step in, we should probably be willing to hold on. We have the luxury of a list that is fairly well under control. Tony (talk) 12:50, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I left a note for Gimmetrow; I'm unsure why he hasn't run the Bot yet. I've had some internet access the last three days, but will have less until perhaps after the 16th. In the event there is a problem with GimmeBot, Maralia (talk · contribs) knows the drill. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:15, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Somebody might want to put {{FACClosed}} on the closed reviews. Dabomb87 (talk) 13:16, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) As an interim measure the templates {{FACClosed|archived}} or {{FACClosed|promoted}} or {{FACClosed|withdrawn}} can be added by anyone to all of those FACs that are in archives as withdrawn, archived or promoted but remain unbotified. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:18, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
I will do it. Dabomb87 (talk) 13:19, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Dabomb87!! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Done. Dabomb87 (talk) 13:34, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks again ! (Perhaps Maralia or you can follow up on what happens with Gimmetrow/GimmeBot). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:38, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Will follow up. Sorry I didn't pick up on the problem in the first place; I was only watching one of those, and I must have missed it on my watchlist. Maralia (talk) 15:13, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Gimmetrow has since botified. Dabomb87 (talk) 22:24, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Retouching photos...OK? (Henry Cornelius Burnett)

  • Can someone point me to a policy or guideline that says whether or not retouching PD photos is ok? Because that photo of Henry Cornelius Burnett is just butt-ugly due to its deterioration. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:07, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Surely it's allowed as it's public domain, as you stated? Nev1 (talk) 01:12, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
I started on it (at least his face isn't suffering from plague or something any more.) --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 01:13, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
I did a bit more on the sleeve and upper background. That's probably enough, I think. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:45, 12 February 2009 (UTC)


Is it acceptable for a reviewer to make minor edits to an article, e.g. fixing puncutation and copyediting, including to resolve concerns raised by other reviewers, or is that generally not a good idea? Thanks. -Drilnoth (talk) 17:24, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Definitely okay. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 17:26, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Great, thanks. I just want to do some fixing of These are the voyages... after numerous minor problems were pointed out, and wanted to make sure that my review would still be valid and fair. -Drilnoth (talk) 17:29, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually, some nominators will get feisty if you list minor problems that you could just as easily have fixed. If the minor problems are all over the place, though, I'll usually list one example and ask them to check throughout. --Laser brain (talk) 18:21, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Laser, but with isolated grammatical issues, if I have the time, I make the edit and put "suggestion" in the edit summary. Graham Colm Talk 21:08, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Accident, please help?

I'm afraid I accidentally created a FA nomination for List of awards and nominations received by Adele, when I meant to create a FL nomination. I went ahead and created the FL nomination, but I am not sure how to delete the FA nomination (in other words, this page still exists). Can someone please assist me with removing the FA nomination, while leaving the FL nomination? Sorry for any confusion. -Another Believer (talk) 04:30, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I've marked it for speedy deletion, hope this is consistent with your interests. Skomorokh 04:34, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. -Another Believer (talk) 04:36, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
 Done by Sarcasticidealist (talk · contribs · blocks · protections · deletions · page moves · rights · RfA). –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 05:06, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

accurately represent the relevant body of published knowledge

Hi all. I'm gonna start a thread at WT:WIAFA about adding another requirement—that applies to FAC but not to Wikipedia.. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 00:15, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Oi, it's already there! No need. here is is "accurately represent the relevant body of published knowledge". Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 00:51, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
On third thought, that phrase is ambiguous. Starting a new thread at WIAFA. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:43, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

An interesting proposal

See User:Physchim62/Sandbox. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:31, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Small things make a difference

I've been doing some work over at DYK and lo and behold a little welcoming template was dropped on my talk page, thanking me for my recent work and explaining the basics of DYK to me (see User talk:Awadewit#Welcome to Did you know...). I was wondering if we should create such a template or at least make an effort to welcome newcomers to FAC. It might make reviewing seem less intimidating if we provided a contact for new reviewers. Awadewit (talk) 09:27, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

There are always hordes of folks eager to make a template for every purpose. They will now approach. Let them go ahead... Sure, why not? :-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 10:01, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea (as long as someone actually uses it to welcome those who contribute useful reviews ... not looking for another task myself :) ... our version should link to Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:14, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Nice idea for those who contribute valuable reviews but Sandy is right—who will "award" them? Graham Colm Talk 17:19, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Featured article candidates featured new reviewers candidates, obviously. Physchim62 (talk) 17:24, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
The DYK template is located at Template:DYK welcome FYI. Gary King (talk) 17:46, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Anyone can give this out - it is a welcoming template! Let's make something and the community of FAC reviewers can give it out. Let's not get bogged down in making a welcoming committee! Awadewit (talk) 21:45, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Here you go: {{FAC welcome}} Get to it! Gary King (talk) 00:42, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
That's pretty spiffy. --Laser brain (talk) 02:09, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

I've been trying to leave a personal message for nominators who self-identify that it's their first FAC nomination. I thank them for getting involved in the process and, when opposes have already popped up, explain that some of these issues are common to new nominators, and they shouldn't get discouraged. I haven't been doing this long enough to see if it will encourage nominators to come back, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Too often FAC is seen as a fight between nominators and reviewers when it should be more of a partnership. Karanacs (talk) 15:12, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm in favour of anything that makes FAC a friendlier place for nominators, particularly first-timers. We have at least one teenager nominating for the first time at the moment and there are more to come. And, although I don't think we should make a special case of them, or even worse become patronising, we should recognise that FAC can be scary. Graham Colm Talk 15:33, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Review drive?

With the current success of the Spring 2009 GAN backlog elimination drive, does anyone else think that a similar system could be used here to help empty the current backlog? -Drilnoth (talk) 21:38, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The backlog is quite a bit larger than normal right now because both Sandy and Raul have been off-wiki for an extended period of time. Usually we hover at about 30-40 nominations at a time, which seems to be working out okay. Sandy is back today, so hopefully the list will shrink soon as she gets caught up! Karanacs (talk) 21:41, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Ah... gotcha. -Drilnoth (talk) 21:52, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm still catching up IRL, and am hoping Raul will be able to get through tonight; if not, I will over the next few days. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:16, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Problem with page?

I'm not sure if this is an issue or not, so I figured I'd just ask here. WxGopher (talk) 04:20, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Fixed: [1] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:24, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

FAC symposium

Strange request...

My nomination, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/The Million Dollar Homepage‎, is getting plenty of support but no comments. I'd hate to think it became featured without being properly reviewed—and I'm not saying those who have haven't done it properly—and I'm sure someone will be able to find a mistake somewhere. Please, can somebody please review the article The Million Dollar Homepage‎ and find something wrong with it! I'm getting a bit worried! Thanks, :) Matthewedwards (talk contribs  email) 07:30, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Done. It's a pretty good article, I couldn't see anything which would be an automatic fail on the current criteria, but I'd like to read you replies to my comments before I commit myself that this really represents Wikipedia's very best work. Physchim62 (talk) 12:30, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

FAC backlog

Hi. I've posted along these lines before. I don't have the time for regular FAC and FAR reviewing any more, but am happy to be called on to review a particular article and I'll try to find the time, if the requests are not too frequent.

I'm sure there are other experienced FAC reviewers like me and perhaps a register can be kept. We may even have started one, once. --Dweller (talk) 11:11, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Why not just pop by once a week and pick something from the Urgents list? --Laser brain (talk) 17:38, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
That is what I have been trying to do as well - the list at the top of this page is very handy :) Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:11, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
You can watchlist User:Deckiller/FAC urgents to keep track of the latest articles needing review. BuddingJournalist 20:24, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I find the urgents list difficult to work with. Probably a deficiency on my part, but when I pop into one, it often looks like it's already adequately manned. --Dweller (talk) 23:07, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm unsure why you say that, Dweller; typically, those listed on the Urgents list do need additional review (I can't speak for the last two weeks, as I've been traveling). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:10, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

lol, I'm just a simple soul. If you need me, just give me a shout. --Dweller (talk) 10:04, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


I have created two new userboxes so you can express your views on whether FAC standards are too high or too low:

Featured article star.svg This user thinks the featured article candidates process is generally too strict.
Featured article star.svg This user thinks the featured article candidates process is generally too lenient.

szyslak (t) 02:06, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Isn't there one missing? --Malleus Fatuorum 02:11, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
It's like Goldilocks! Apterygial 02:12, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
Medieval writing desk.jpg This user thinks the FAC process should not be subject to the arbitrary whims of popular opinion, but guided by well-reasoned standards.
Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:01, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
While we're at it:
Female officer saluting.jpg This user thinks the FAC process is completely FACked up!
Physchim62 (talk) 12:52, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

1(f) "well-researched" added to Wikipedia:Featured article criteria

Resolved: Please discuss at the FA criteria talk page. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:12, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
    • (f) well-researched: it reflects a comprehensive survey of literature on the topic, and relies primarily on sources representing the most stringent quality standards available in the industry or field.
And I have just removed it again. Please discuss at Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria. The Land (talk) 14:14, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Hi Land. You are very clearly in a weak minority position. reversion is not an act of consensus. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:46, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
And unilaterally adding something isn't either. Have you discussed this addition? --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 14:55, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Discussion ongoing at Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria. Need more eyes before deciding what to do. BuddingJournalist 15:04, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
Please keep the discussion in one place (over there, in this case). There should be no need for hurry to add a new criteria that hasn't yet been widely discussed and gained broad consensus from many FA, FAC and FAR regulars (I don't recall ever seeing WIAFA destabilized before). Since it's not clear to me that the proposal will change any current practice, it won't hurt to take the time to develop broader consensus with a wider and longer discussion. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:16, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
In this particular case, surely the people you are gathering for the "FAC–Science Symposium" might want a word to say, instead of having FA criteria changed under their noses… Physchim62 (talk) 16:17, 20 February 2009 (UTC)
I left a note at WT:FAR, as well as WP Tropical cyclones, WP MILHIST, and WP Video games. Anywhere else? Dabomb87 (talk) 22:45, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Agree with SandyGeorgia please comment there. Let's close the discussion here and resolve there. (My reading does not show consensus for this important change; so it should be resolved first). Arnoutf (talk) 23:07, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Eyes needed

Most of the discussion at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Kannada literature in the Kingdom of Mysore has (again) verged off-topic relative to WIAFA and FAC; would an uninvolved admin be interested in refactoring the page to talk and encouraging parties to keep discussion focused on WP:WIAFA? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:26, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

referencing headache

I have a Talk:Amanita_muscaria#Referencing_headache for discussion, which i would like to sort out before making alot of changes. Casliber (talk · contribs) 20:36, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I've always followed the pattern of listing the author in whatever way they list themselves on the work. Thus if the author is Nicholas Brooks on one work, but N. P. Brooks on another, I list it how it's done on the source. And I use templates for the formatting... so it always puts in a comma for me. Ealdgyth - Talk 20:45, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
OK, well the books generally use the author's name on the cover, so that is easy :) Casliber (talk · contribs) 21:22, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
If I'm making major changes to an article, I convert everything to Pubmed style, on the grounds that any unnecessary punctuation is just eye clutter in a long list of refs. Looie496 (talk) 03:05, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
So you ditch all teh first names of primary authors? Casliber (talk · contribs) 06:19, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I guess it doesn't matter ultimately, as long as the usage is consistent. Speaking as a matter of style/preference/taste, I would use the style that seems relevant to the article's topic (e.g., PubMed style for med articles or related ones). But as far as rules go, AFAIK only consistency is mandatory. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 06:44, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Yet more featured crud

Yesterday's TFA contained a hanging participle in its very first paragraph: however, it wasn't present in the FAC version, so it would be unfair to suggest that the corresponding sentence was even worse in the version passed by FAC reviewers… Today's featured article was promoted in September 2007, and that is no doubt the reason why it has entire paragraphs which are unreferenced, something that would get it thrown out of FAC these days. Still, it's on the main page as "representing Wikipedia's very best work", so surely it must be good. Physchim62 (talk) 00:52, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Well I agree that TFAs should be at modern standard, however, last year I complained about a 2006 FA with little refs and evryone either supported and Raul didn't care... and he chooses them, not anyone here. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 00:58, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I guess as Raul's selections on TFA/R aren't overturnable, the obvious way would be to nominate them for FAR before he schedules the out of date ones, correct? YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 01:03, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I doubt anything we will do short of deleting FAC will address Physchim62's complaints. He'll continue to find problems in any FA he chooses, modern or not. No piece of prose is perfect, not articles, peer-reviewed journals, or printed media. Physchim62, I sincerely believe you are acting in good faith and are interested in improving the quality of articles we place on the main page, but I have to question your motivation for posting this kind of message in here. Open an RfC. --Laser brain (talk) 01:18, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd rather hope that it it doesn't come to an RFC, but in the meantime you can hardly blame me for pointing out the obvious deficiencies in the current Process. If you can come up with a way of ensuring that TFA represents Wikipedia's best work without abolishing FAC, please let me know and I'd be happy to hear from you. Physchim62 (talk) 01:42, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
We need more reviewers. Many FACs get one person reviewing the sources, one person reviewing the images, and 2-3 prose reviews if they're lucky. If the article is long, or boring, or on a pop culture topic, they're lucky to get one substantive prose review. What if that prose reviewer misses things? And we do miss things, as you point out. Subject matter expert reviews are far too rare. We need to coordinate with WikiProjects so their members know when an article is up for review. This happens for medical topics I've seen and we do get SME reviews. The answer is NOT to give over control of TFA to WikiProjects. We need centralized review and control of featured content to make sure standards are consistently applied. You may argue that they're not being applied correctly now, but you can't seriously argue that the situation would improve under direct control of WikiProjects. --Laser brain (talk) 02:03, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
To state the obvious, this is a volunteer effort and the project hasn't, for various reasons, reached a critical mass yet of involved editors to ensure that every issue or forum, including FAC, is addressed adequately. So, we'll do the best we can. For some reason, inane admin discussions get more participation than the FAC and GA forums. See, for example, the recent ANI debate and RfAR spill-over on "secret" user pages. Anyway, I haven't been doing my part with FAC and have committed to myself to review at least two articles the next time I nominate a FAC. Otherwise, the A-class forum with MILHIST is backlogged enough to occupy much of my spare time. Cla68 (talk) 02:44, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
You bring up a great point though: effective checkpoints along the pipeline definitely help. MILHIST sends some of the best-prepared articles to FAC, so clearly your time with the A-class process is well-spent. --Laser brain (talk) 02:50, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Physchim62, we know featured articles are inherently crap. We should just delete the whole process. No need to tell us every few days. :) –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:51, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore, the hanging participle doesn't even create any real ambiguity, it's much of a muchness. Perhaps you should start reading the daily corrections columns that they publish in your least favourite newspaper as a way of getting your schadenfreude. Besides, we all know what FAC's problem is—it's reaching a high capacity with a lack of reviewers. Devolving powers to WikiProjects is silly because only two or three could feasibly meet current demands, I know that at my previous FAC that three heads-up postings to Projects resulted in zero comments. Judging things on a human scale, the Projects could not manage running their quota, just as Texas currently would not run itself as well if it were given national status. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 06:38, 25 February 2009 (UTC)


This discussion is misplaced and should be at Talk:Main Page or WT:TFA. FAC exists to check that an article is Featured quality at a certain point in time. FAR exists to periodically review the worth of the article and do maintenance or remove its status. The Main Page selection process people should ensure it's up to scratch before appearing there. --Dweller (talk) 14:56, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Coordinators' working group

Hi! I'd like to draw your attention to a new working group, an effort to bring both official and unofficial coordinators together so that projects can more easily develop consensus and collaborate. This group has been created after discussion regarding possible changes to the A-Class review system, and that may be one of the first things discussed by interested coordinators. We are also planning a better coordinatopn among all projects and centralizing.

All designated project coordinators are invited to join this working group. If your project hasn't formally designated any editors as coordinators, but you are someone who regularly deals with coordination tasks in the project, please feel free to join as well. — Delievered by §hepTalk on behalf of the WikiProject coordinators' working group at 20:42, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Trial reactivation of Wikipedia:Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive

Hi all, given discussion on esoteric nature of some FAs and GAs, I thought reactivating this might be worthwhile. My take would be the best candidates are large, general articles which are reasonably comprehensive, non-controversial and might not be too far off GA or FA. I thought barley but feel free to discuss or think of others. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:37, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Image checks needed

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:43, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Ralph Bakshi should be added. Nominator claims image issues outstanding from the last FAC have been resolved, but there hasn't been an image review in this candidacy. Brianboulton (talk) 23:23, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:01, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:14, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Correlation between FA promotions, peer review, GA class and A-class

Given recent discussion about FA process, thought i'd make some enquiries about suggesting peer review (and/or GA class) as a requirement before FA nomination, as I thought this would make things more efficient for everyone. I reviewed Jan 2009 FA noms to see what evidence there was to support such a change but found different results to what I expected:

106 noms in January: 48 promoted, 58 unsuccessful. About 40% of both promotions and unsuccessful noms had completed a recent peer review (within two months of nomination). I was surprised it was that low and that it was a similar proportion for both promoted and unsuccessful. About three quarters of both successful and unsuccessful nominations were already either GA class or A-class. Again, surprised it was a similar level for both promoted and not. The only significant correlation I found was that, of the 13 A-class articles (12 milhist, 1 chess) nominated, 11 were promoted, confirming the view that a formal A-class review is a good stepping stone to FA promotion. Tom B (talk) 16:00, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Nice approach, however I think you have not completely interpreted this to best potential.
To get these stats right, it is probably more interesting to analyse slightly different. I.e. what is the success rate/percentage of promotion for Recently reviewed articles; for A articles; for GA articles, and for none reviewed B or worse articles.
Also I think you cannot conclude from your survey that A class is a good stepping stone, as your sample is most likely not representative for the whole of Wikipedia (12 out of 13 A classes is Milhist project). With that sample you could as easily conclude that falling within Wikiproject Milhist is a good stepping stone for FA promotion (correlation is not causation). Arnoutf (talk) 16:17, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I think what you're showing is that success at FAC does not correlate with any of the other quality assessment schemes on Wikipedia, with the one exception of A-class review at WP:MILHIST which is FAC-like in its procedures and criteria. Physchim62 (talk) 16:56, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it seems that way, but that conclusion is confounded by the nominated articles, of which 75% seems A or GA. As of all articles on Wikipedia (that are not FA already) far, far fewer than 75% are A or GA; the nomination process attracts more than its share of otherwise rated high quality articles. I.e. the chance of an article being nominated AND promoted is much, much higher for an A or GA article compared to a non rated-Stub-Start-C-B class article being both nominated AND promoted. The selection seems to be in the nomination, more than in the promotion though; which means low quality articles are self selected for non-nomination. Arnoutf (talk) 17:41, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
That would be normal and quite banal as a result. However what is interesting is that not being A-class or GA seems to have no impact on the success at FAC. It's hard to tell for sure because of the small sample size. It does point out that FAC could cut its workload by one-quarter by making A-class or GA a requirement for nomination at FAC. Physchim62 (talk) 17:50, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Poor, backlogged GA. :) Awadewit (talk) 17:52, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure it would not cut it by a quarter as most people who wanted to nominate would still nominate, they would just go through the other hurdle first. It would increase workload at GA, as Awadewit highlights. This increase might be about 20 GA nominations per month, though about half of those should sail through, on current evidence, with little work. Overall workload might be slightly reduced as there would be less comment/work on premature FA nominations i.e. work would be transferred from FA to GA and compacted. Tom B (talk) 18:35, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I should have been slightly less categoric on the A-class point, but it does provide positive evidence regarding that class, particularly milhist. On looking at the way Arnoutf suggests, i've already posted the a-class results, the other results are naturally about 45% given this is the overall success rate for that month and the proportions of successful/non-successful noms that are peer reviewed, GA or B are the same, as stated above. Tom B (talk) 18:17, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
The backlogs at GA and WP A-class reviews are already substantial, requiring those would just increase their burdens, leading to lesser-quality reviews and no net positive result. Dabomb87 (talk) 19:44, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
We cannot know about what would happen with a requirement change i.e. that is a counterfactual assertion. It seems unlikely it would result only in an increase in workload at GA without any reduction in workload at FA. Tom B (talk) 20:13, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to play devil's advocate here—I strongly oppose the suggestion that there should be any requirements before coming to FAC, especially GAN. In my experience reviewing FACs, the GA process more often than not falsely emboldens authors to bring articles here. "I'm nominating this because it just passed GA" and so on. The quality gap between what passes for a GA and an FA is considerable, and due to the subjective and singular nature of GA reviews, the quality gap between individual GAs is also considerable. Some GAs are ready for FAC and the author seemingly went through the process just to get more feedback or because they were under a false impression of requirement. Some GAs arrive here so far away from meeting WIAFA that I would barely rate them B-class. Some editors consider GA a waste of time if the overall goal is FA. Overall, I think putting this requirement in place will be a net negative as we plant the suggestion that GA is the "final step" on your way to FA.
Why there should be no requirements at all: If you are an experienced FA writer who works hard to get an article ready and meet WIAFA, why should you have to jump through hoops? Some nominators here are so consistent in bringing high-quality content that I would hate for them to have hassles and backlogs to deal with en route. --Laser brain (talk) 20:42, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Just to echo this. My impression is that articles which come to FAC within a few days of passing GA often don't do well here. I would be interested to know what the numbers say. Is there any difference in the FA rate for an article which starts FAC within 1 week of going through GA, vs. one that starts 1-2 months after going through GA vs. one that has had one failed FAC? Gimmetrow 20:57, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
As the criteria for GA and FA are significantly different, it should hardly be a surprise to anyone if articles taken to FAC straight after GAN rarely faired well. That's not to say that such articles aren't worthy though, just that although they meet the GA criteria they dont meet the FA criteria. I sincerely hope this topic isn't going to degenerate into another GA bashing vehicle, 'cos if it is I'm out of here. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:35, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't mean to impugn GA. It has its place. Its place just isn't as a required (or nearby) stepping stone to FA. --Laser brain (talk) 21:41, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely agree, and I have never supported this idea of FAC prerequisites. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:45, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Gimmetrow, I had a look but it's quite hard to define what with repeated noms and also some are nominated 1-4 weeks after being listed as GA, Tom B (talk) 18:50, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Most A-class reviewed articles come to FAC, and most pass. Hence, why bother with A-class? I would do away with an extraneous step and bring articles straight here. DrKiernan (talk) 09:00, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Agree. A seems redundant with GA and FA around. Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:43, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Need the eyes of someone involved with FAC/FLC/FAR/etc....

A discussion on the assesment scale is currently taking place at.[2]. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 02:39, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

April Fools

Time is running out to get something submitted to FAC in time for April Fools.

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:43, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I like Nishkid64's suggestion. Seems like as good a choice as anything else. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 02:55, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

My suggestion several months ago was Rings of Uranus. Because bwahahahah!!! About the only article on the suggestion list I might be inclined to work on feverishly is the Museum of Bad Art. I've been fascinated with this establishment for years. --Moni3 (talk) 13:11, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Or Moons of Uranus. :) Ceranthor 13:45, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Nishkid's will almost certainly take too long. Durova's article is obscure, so it can be short and sweet. Help would be appreciated! Then there's always Lake Titicaca or Extraterrestrial real estate, which I've started work on. Ceranthor 13:45, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
"Will almost certainly take too long" isn't a concern when we have a whole group of editors collaborating on it. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 15:46, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Two more, for Moni, since she primarily works on LGBT articles, Gay bomb, and Raining animals. We need to decide by today or tomorrow. Ceranthor 15:56, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
I like the idea of Lake Titicaca and might be able to find a photo of a diesel powered reed boat that took me to the isle of the sun. But there are some interesting candidates on the suggestion page. What do people think of Louis of England and the French invasion of England? WereSpielChequers 16:05, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Someone has to take the lead on various possibilities, as Karanacs did last year, before time runs out. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:27, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
A while back, Risker and I were discussed the Rhinoceros Party of Canada. Think of the blurb that could be written! However, I don't have enough time to take the lead, I'm already committed to several projects. -- Scorpion0422 16:29, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Sandy, I can do Museum of Bad Art in about a week, but I would need assistance with copy editing and image concerns. --Moni3 (talk) 16:37, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Moni's sense of humor and April Fools ... now there's a winning combo! You might call in Ceoil and his arts crowd, and even try to entice Outriggr. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:39, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I've started a discussion here, and contacted Ceoil. --Moni3 (talk) 17:24, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I did... :o Ceranthor 17:35, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#April_1st_guidelines_for_2009

Hi! You might be interested in the discussion at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#April_1st_guidelines_for_2009. Thank you. Ipatrol (talk) 23:02, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

FA cleanup listing

Wikipedia:Featured articles/Cleanup listing is frightful. I hope editors will:

  1. submit the worst of the bunch to FAR,
  2. cleanup small issues that anyone can address, and
  3. leave notes on article talk pages and WikiProject talk pages encouraging other editors to clean these up.

It's not encouraging that we have so many deteriorated FAs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:30, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I've submitted one to FAR, but that means I've now got two nominations currently on the FAR page. I would submit one or two more but I'm not sure if that's allowed (I'm not likely to disappear and never come back!). D.M.N. (talk) 19:34, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
They won't bite, Nishkid put up 3 in one hit once. Other times, I put up once every ten days and have them in teh pipeline. YellowMonkey (click here to vote for world cycling's #1 model!) 03:12, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
Useful list! Can someone explain what "Articles containing potentially dated statements from xxxx" mean ? For example Giant Otter is listed as, "Articles containing potentially dated statements from 1997", but I didn't see any visible maintenance tags on the article page. Abecedare (talk) 05:28, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
Oh I see: The article uses {{As of|1997}}. (Ignore my question above.) Abecedare (talk) 05:30, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary limit on noms

RE: "Users should not add a second FA nomination until the first has gained support and reviewers' concerns have been substantially addressed" ... Any limit on the number of noms is stifling to the production of quality content and contrary to the purpose of an encyclopedia; which is the creation of quality content. RlevseTalk 22:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

That precept was introduced because it had turned out to be needed. Having no limit on the simultaneous number of nominations from a single user is stifling to quality, as it tends to encourage inexperienced users to nominate spectacularly un-ready articles, thus stretching the already thin reviewing resources even thinner. Bishonen | talk 23:03, 4 March 2009 (UTC).
Since when was the "creation of quality content" the purpose of an encyclopedia? Isn't that just a little-teeny-weeny-bit self-serving to the so-called "FA-writers"? Physchim62 (talk) 23:15, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
"Any limit on the number of noms is stifling to the production of quality content and contrary to the purpose of an encyclopedia" Eh? How exactly does limiting the number of simultaneous nominations prohibit people from creating/writing/expanding/editing articles? The FAC process exists merely to judge whether nominated articles meet the FA criteria.
There are a number of reasons why the limit is there.
  1. Because reviewers are lacking, it prevents resources from being stretched too thin. FACs deserve to be reviewed by multiple editors. Lifting the limitation would only increase the backlog at FAC; many nominations already languish with little to no reviews.
  2. It prevents nominators from over-burdening themselves. Some FACs are quite involved; the less burnout the better.
  3. What Bishonen said: "It tends to encourage inexperienced users to nominate [multiple] spectacularly un-ready articles." The limit gives the FAC coordinator a handy way to deal with these typo of nominations; no longer must the FAC process be tied up by a flood of nominations by inexperienced editors, crowding out the nominations that deserve a good look from reviewers. BuddingJournalist 00:38, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
FA status =/= "quality content". I could point to many articles I firmly believe to be "quality content" that will in all probability never come to FAC. And even to some FAs that I believe are not quality content. FAC is a review process, not an arbitor of quality, however you choose to define that term. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:12, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The argument of lack of reviewers is lame-now THAT is self serving; and as for having of goal to impede new contribors - that's what speedy removals are for. RlevseTalk 02:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
If that was in reply to me, I really don't understand what you're saying. FAC is not the arbitor of quality; it is the arbitor of whether or not an article meets the FA criteria. The two things tend to converge, but they are not the same. Would yoy have the same concerns if FAC didn't have the ability to award litle gold stars? I somehow doubt it. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:03, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, it was considered improper to nominate one's own articles for FAC. Then there was the invasion of the Socks, and it was seen that such proprieties were useless as a defense against the Vanglorious. Your current Bard was around then, but noticed too late the risks. I rang the Clarion Bell when the number of registered users was approaching the number of articles! I believe that the nomination restriction dates from that period, not that things have gotten any better since. Alas, we now have more than three times as many "users" as we have articles! Sometimes, it shows! Physchim62 (talk) 02:24, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

  • My comment here is relevant to this thread, as well. What we need is common sense, not an arbitrary limit. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 04:31, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
    • An arbitrary limit is easier to enforce than common sense (one editor's common sense is another's...etc.). Common sense (and fairness) would dictate that editors hold off on adding multiple noms when the list is quite long and reviewers are lacking for the other FA candidates already there, but when we relied on common sense in the past, it didn't work. What's the pressing need to nominate multiple articles anyway? Is waiting for the first one to finish such a horrible thing? Quality content is quality content, irrespective of a bronze star. BuddingJournalist 00:51, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with the one-nom-per-editor rule. Common sense is relative, unfortunately. Editors have individual views of the function of FAC or their own abilities, and I can see "use common sense" to be construed abusively. What about nominators who resist every suggestion, not overcoming by changing the article, but by arguing? What if that editor decided to nominate 5, 8, 12 at a time? Because the editor had a much different perspective on his own abilities, the role of FAC, and quite honestly, what his fellow editors are willing to tolerate? Is there any reason not to wait? We do not seem to be bound by time constraints. --Moni3 (talk) 00:59, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Agree to the rule also. Unfortunately, it's one of those rules that had to be made because a small number of individuals did not recognize "one at a time" as the common sense action. --Laser brain (talk) 01:58, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
It is one of those rules that should be observed by most, but I've seen Sandy relax it for a couple experienced FA editors who are usually well-prepared. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:33, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Agree with the abritrary rule' there are enough nominations already. I have at least one article I want to take to FAC, but see no point at the moment given the backlog. Allowing editors to nom multiple articles will just make that worse. There's still GAN and ACR, and Peer-Review. Skinny87 (talk) 13:46, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Nothing prohibits editors from creating quality content outside of FA. We need to restrict nominations here because of the severe lack of reviewers. We can always raise the number once we have more reviewers. :) Awadewit (talk) 13:53, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Why so few reviewers?

Why so few reviewers? A question that's a hardy perennial on this page; Awadewit speaks of the "severe lack of reviewers" just above. I suggest an answer: because reviewing is frustrating in so many ways. For instance, for once I assuaged my conscience by writing up a FAC review, on The Lucy poems; but when I came to paste it in just now, it turned out no more comments on The Lucy poems are wanted at present. I think both the unexpected moratorium—meaning wasted effort—and Ottawa Rima's embattled responses, are the kinds of things that totally put off reviewers. Bishonen | talk 21:07, 9 March 2009 (UTC).

  • I think it is more likely that people realise the whole FA process and its reviews is fatally flawed. People spend months of their lives writing a page, others come along and make puerile comments, then it may or may not pass FAC. Then a few months later it goes to FARC nominated by some idiot who either was not born when the page was promoted, or does not understand it or cannot be bothered to try and find a few footnotes (if they must have them) or as often happens one particular discontented troublesome editor who has a personal axe to grind. The page is then demoted and sinks into the mire and abyss of shit that pages become when abandoned. No, writing and reviewing FACs is a complete waste of energy and time. Giano (talk) 21:17, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
You guys are better than Prozac. --Moni3 (talk) 21:40, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Giano can always be counted on to turn everything into a hitlist for editors just because someone nominated his previous star at FAR. And as such, the topic veers wildly from actual process discussions into pointless drivel! ...To the more germane point, perhaps shortly before closing the delegates can leave a mention for a sort of "last call"? That it abruptly archives isn't my issue so much as when that abrupt process takes place is arbitrary to everyone else. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 21:44, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I for one will appreciate seeing Bishonen (talk · contribs) review of The Lucy poems when it's can use a fresh voice..Modernist (talk) 21:55, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Just a note, FAC isn't the only process with a "depression" of reviewers. FLC also lacks many reviewers, although its less stressful to review.--RUCӨ 22:12, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
The Lucy poems is a poor example as it is the exception rather than the rule. I didn't read into it that further reviews were unwanted, only that the bickering parties agreed to take a break. At any rate, I maintain that almost everyone operating at FAC is doing so in good faith. The nominators believe their content meets WIAFA and the reviewers either agree or try helping them get there. FAC is certainly different from what it was a year ago or longer, but that shouldn't devalue the time and effort of its current participants. --Laser brain (talk) 22:32, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Just to be clear about the Lucy review; it was becoming entrenched and heated in one area, so we hoped that a cool down time might be helpful. Thats not at all to say that other reviewers are unwelcome, least of all editors with the ability of the likes of Bishonen. Ceoil (talk) 23:43, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
(echoing Ceoil, Modernist and Lazer Brain) I believe all that was meant was that some of the more heated parties were taking a breather. I think further comments are welcome. Kafka Liz (talk) 00:06, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • In order to get more reviewers an incentive may help. We give out baubles for those who nominate an article, why not give out awards for reviewing them too? Otherwise it's just a thankless, tedious job.   Will Beback  talk  00:16, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
FLC had a contest (but it was mainly about nominating lists, but maybe FAC can turn it around to get more reviews)--RUCӨ 00:20, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Isn't GA holding something similar? I'm not sure whether a contest for reviewing is necessary; besides the time wasted in organizing one, it may not promote quality reviews, which is more important than receiving a lot of reviews. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:43, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm strongly against any sort of competition. The occasional barnstar, verbal recognition, and the satisfaction of seeing articles you helped review or fix earning FA statues are pretty good incentives, in my opinion. --Laser brain (talk) 04:03, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Giving prizes as incentives to review; cheapens the whole process. It is a voluntary project; and should stay that way...Modernist (talk) 04:24, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Is doing nothing an option? If not, then something needs to be done. Management books on "creating change" typically divide strategies into two categories, decreasing resistance to the desired change and encouraging it - and most say that no amount of encouragement (or pressure) will work if the main reasons for resistance are not minimised first. I think you need to do a bit of market research to discover what the main reasons for resistance are. Besides regular reviewers, I think you need to ask reviewers who have dropped out, and any who have been invited to review but have declined. --Philcha (talk) 09:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps everyone just needs to be a little bit nicer to one another? DrKiernan (talk) 09:45, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Now your talkin'...good idea...Modernist (talk) 10:35, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I tend to generally avoid FAC like the plague because I don't have time to nitpick articles anal-retentively down to every little minute detail. I generally tend to prefer reviewing GAs, because the criteria are pretty reasonable without being overly nitpicky, and you don't have to worry about really fine details,... As someone who can be considered "expert level" in the chemical, biological, and health sciences, I will occasionally try and review those for scientific accuracy,... but even then, I don't like being very nit-picky about minute things like commas and non-breaking spaces between units of measurement. Dr. Cash (talk) 17:29, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't think many people have the temperament to be that nit-picky, but that shouldn't keep you away from FAC. You could certainly come in and provide general comments on whether you believe the article meets the criteria of comprehensiveness and sourcing. I also think it's reasonable to say you believe the prose meets 1a having read the article. Most reviewers I've seen who are inclined to notice MoS issues will either just fix them or make a general comment that the article needs work to meet MoS. We need reviewers who will approach the reviews from different angles, not just MoS wonks (although they are needed as well). You can certainly write "The prose is brilliant and compelling, but someone needs to check it through for MoS issues because I spotted some things along the way." I'll give you a cookie if you do it. --Laser brain (talk) 18:07, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
What'll I get if I write "Support this flawless embodiment of MoS, prettiest non-breaking spaces I've ever seen, P.S, the prose blows"? Bishonen | talk 21:18, 11 March 2009 (UTC).
Probably ignored, but I can't say for sure. I would probably ignore you, at least. (Non-breaking spaces are pretty??) But what do I know, I just do sources. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:26, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Some scratchers. --Laser brain (talk) 21:40, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

3 Images

Does the main section of an article require mutiple images under 3 Images of the criteria? - which isn't specific. WhatisFeelings? (talk) 20:43, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Technically, it doesn't have to have any number of images, it's just preferred. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 21:13, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll make 3 Images _clear_ WhatisFeelings? (talk) 23:30, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Some articles must have images (The Swimming Hole, for example). Some do not. There's no hard and fast rule for this. Raul654 (talk) 20:14, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

What do you mean???

"doesn't add clarity" —Preceding unsigned comment added by WhatisFeelings? (talkcontribs) 23:35, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

No one cares about accuracy —Preceding unsigned comment added by WhatisFeelings? (talkcontribs) 00:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Does nobody visit this talk page or something?? .... —Preceding unsigned comment added by WhatisFeelings? (talkcontribs) 00:14, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

I have no idea what the heck you're talking about, thus I haven't replied. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:23, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

You are funny. You don't know how to click on links? And you can't read?
Dicussion over at —Preceding unsigned comment added by WhatisFeelings? (talkcontribs) 00:25, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
It's not in the criteria because for some topics, it may be necessary to have an image; it's up to reviewers to decide. Please do not attack editors here, as well. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 00:31, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Hey. Be respectful. If you want a discussion then be clear about what you want. Don't insult people. --Moni3 (talk) 00:31, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
"what the heck you're talking about" is an insult. So glad you take sides already. WhatisFeelings? (talk) 00:33, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
You have not asked a clear question or made a point. Clearer: I don't understand what you are protesting or asking. What is your issue? --Moni3 (talk) 00:40, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
It looks like WhatisFeelings? is trying to adjust criterion 3 to explicitly state that images are not mandatory for an article to become an FA. His/her changes were reverted and I suspect that is the cause of the apparent frustration. Эlcobbola talk 00:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Does this translate as "you want criteria 3 removed, or made clearer that it is not essential that an article include an image to reach FA status"? If so, say so; if not, then add me to the list of people who don't understand exactly what point you're trying to make. – iridescent 00:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I believe this is what s/he means. Note that this is a new editor. BuddingJournalist 01:01, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
I believe that "It has images ... where appropriate" is clear enough. Shouldn't this discussion be moved to the talk page about the FA criteria? Dabomb87 (talk) 01:18, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Most number of failed FACs for a single article

Just an idle question: Any idea what the largest number of failed FACs for one article is? (I ask this in hopes that one particular I'm working on will not break that number) Noble Story (talkcontributions) 12:37, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Off the top of my head, Real Madrid has had eight FACs. I don't know whether that is the most ever though. If you go through a peer review first and invite comments from experienced reviewers, the article you are working on should have no problems at FAC. Woody (talk) 12:41, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm fairly certain there have been articles with nine failed FAC noms, though I can't see to remember which. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 14:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Real Madrid has had 9! And Google suggests it's the only one - rst20xx (talk) 20:57, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Point violation?

I am being accused of having committed a "point violation" in my FAC review of Samuel Johnson's early life. What is a point violation and how have I committed it? I have tried to be unfailingly civil in my review (although I have been blunt). Also, why is the fact of being copy-edited by two dozen people adequate defense against further criticism (which includes a compilation of errors)? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:56, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

The discussion between Ottava Rima and Fowler&fowler is taking place in multiple forums. I just responded to OR's complain on Raul's talk page. Can we get links, diffs, and examples in a central location before this turns awful because no one has a clear picture? --Moni3 (talk) 14:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Sure. Would you like me to move my examples to some other page? Please suggest page name. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:09, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Let's start with this one. I just asked Ottava Rima to place his objections here as well. To both: please be clear what it is you want others to do, if anything. --Moni3 (talk) 15:12, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

  • My only post on the matter, because Moni doesn't seem to understand what this is about. I accused the user of a WP:POINT violation which is the disruptive part of a clear WP:STALK. This is a behavioral problem dealing with disruption that needs administrative opinion in order to determine if a block or some other form of censure can be used to keep Fowler from disrupting the encyclopedia. This has nothing to do with FAC criteria, FAC process, or the rest. There were no "multiple forums". There was his actions and my statement to Raul that I intended to go to ANI and I would like him to know of that since people might be looking at the FAC process inappropriately instead of dealing with the real issue. I will not respond to this further. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:46, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

My take, as an uninvolved editor: F&F seems to have legit concerns. Ottava Rima may not agree with them, but I don't think that the oppose can be called "pointy" on those grounds. Now, whether the opposing editor has Wikistalked is a different matter entirely. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:09, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Fowler&fowler's examples per Moni3's instructions

Fowler&fowler FAC oppose

As I stated in the FAC review, the article has many errors of grammar, usage, clarity, and logic. Here are three examples from the lead paragraph. However, I am happy to add numerous examples from other sections of the article.

  • (Sentence 3) "His early years were dominated by his eagerness to learn, the various experiences with his family members, his eventual attempt at college, and finally trying to settle down into a career."
    • (Grammar) The parallel structure in the sentence is faulty. The first three in the series are noun phrases, the last is not. It should be "His early years were dominated by his eagerness to learn, his various experiences with ..., his eventual ..., and his efforts at last to settle into a career," or other consistent formulations.
    • (Usage) Which of the meanings of "dominate" applies here? (a. To control, govern, or rule by superior authority or power. b. To exert a supreme, guiding influence on or over c. To enjoy a commanding, controlling position in d. To overlook from a height) In other words, "dominate" is not the word that applies to all elements in the sentence. Is "marked by" or "occupied by" meant? Or does the author mean "the course of his early years was determined by ...?"
    • (Clarity) What does it mean to say, "his early years were dominated by his various experiences with his family members?" How is that much different from "his early years were dominated by his various experiences of his early years?" In other words, this part of the sentence is all too vague.
    • (Logic) How can "early years" be dominated by an "eventual attempt at college?" Is "sustained effort at remaining in college" meant?
  • (Sentence 4) "After attending Pembroke College, Oxford for a year, Johnson was forced to leave due to lack of funds."
    • (Clarity) Lack of whose funds? In any case, lack of funds is not the cause. Do you mean "non-payment of fees?"
  • (Sentence 5) "He tried to work as a teacher, but he was unable to find a long lasting position."
    • Was he unable to find such a position or was he unable to make a position last long (since he apparently "tried to work")? In the former case, you want to say "he was unable to find a long-term position;" in the latter, you want to say "he was unable to last long in any teaching job."

Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:06, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I guess I'll step into this buzz saw. A couple of these seem needlessly picky to me. Especially the ones about sentences four and five. If we were engaging in a debate, then perhaps the points might seem more important to me, but this is a lead paragraph and we're trying to give an overview of the content of the article. Especially with sentence three, the phrase is a well worn one "lack of funds" is a commonly used phrase. I had no difficulty understanding either sentence, nor what was intended to be stated. Sentence three, I will not judge the grammar part (I cheerfully left behind parsing sentences when I left school) but which meaning of dominate is meant is clear to me. Likewise, I see quite clearly what is meant by "dominated by his various experiences with his family members" Not everyone grows up with a family, nor does everyone's experiences with family members necessarily impinge much on your later life. I did not see it as vague at all, and quite clearly it meant that his early years were influenced by his family members. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:30, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Sure "lack of funds" is a common expression. You can say, "he couldn't attend college for lack of funds." Lack of funds is a condition, not an event. However, getting booted out of college is a specific event which requires a specific cause. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:46, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
(Side note, can we try to indent when you're replying to someone? It makes reading the threads much simpler). But the article doesn't say he got "Booted out of college" it says "he was forced to leave due to lack of funds." The college didn't "boot" him, he left because of a condition, the lack of funds. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:50, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Do you realize that you are debating one or two points. That still leaves a large number that you are not acknowledging! Well, "forced to leave" is at the very least ambiguous (since it can certainly include "booted out of college") If you don't mean he was forced to leave by external event (which is what most uses of the expression involve), then say "obliged to leave" or even "compelled to leave." A major goal of an encyclopedia is to communicate clearly. Using the expression "forced to leave" does not do so. Besides there are other problems in that sentence. There is the common error of confusing "due to" with "because of." Are you seriously defending the prose of this article as even remotely close to being "brilliant?" Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:19, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
(sighs) I'm not debating one or two points, I'm pointing out that some of the concerns you brought up are not concerns to others. You brought up a couple of points on the FAC from the lead and Moni asked folks uninvolved with the FAC to weigh in on whether or not some of them were nitpicky as Ottava was alleging. I weighed in that I found some of them nitpicky. (not all of them, some of them) That does not logically follow that I feel that the prose is or is not "brilliant", it was addressing the issue above whether or not Ottava's concern that some of the points raised were nitpicky. You claimed that the points you raised made the prose unclear. I disagreed with a few of those points (once again not all of them). Now, whether or not Ottava or yourself are correct or incorrect, is not something I addressed. And now I'm remembering why I said "buzz saw" before. It's important for reviewers as well as writers to realize that we are talking about the written word. English is a wonderful language in that there are many different ways of saying the same thing, and thus not everything is going to be able to be written the way the reveiwer would necessarily find good, but the reveiwer cannot just call a style of writing that differs from what the reveiwer would write as wrong. The idea of FAC isn't to make over an article to what the reveiwer would have written, it's to make sure that the writing is clear, concise and understandable to the general reader of our encyclopedia. I have one pet peeve with FAC and it's this fetish for one particular style of "concise" writing. Too many opposes on prose seem to me to boil down to "It's not a style I like so I'll oppose". There is some sort of totemish worship of pared down prose that makes any other style of writing bad and sometimes it's nice to read something that is not bare bones prose. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:42, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
A totemic worship of pared down prose might result, for example, in a recommendation of Jack London as vastly superior to Joseph Conrad. This, however, is a different kettle of fish. We are looking at two staccato sentences followed by an ungrammatical howler: "Samuel Johnson was an English author. Johnson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire. His early years were dominated by his eagerness to learn, the various experiences with his family members, his eventual attempt at college, and finally trying to settle down into a career." How would you characterize that style? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:05, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

It's no different in the later sections:

Examples from section 1
  • (Sentence 2): "Michael was the first bookseller of "reputation" in the community, having opened a parchment factory which produced book bindings."
    • What does "reputation" (within quotes) mean? Is the author quoting someone or is he being ironic? The former requires a citation; the latter is a POV.
    • "was" is incorrect here. It should be, "Michael had become the first bookseller of reputation in the community, having opened ..."
  • (Sentence 3) "Little is known about Michael Johnson's past, or what his background was."
    • (verb ending) It should be "Little is known about Michael Johnson's past or his background."
    • (usage/logic) What is the difference between "past" and "background?"
  • (Sentence 4) "He and his brothers were apprenticed as booksellers, and his father, William Johnson, was called a 'yeoman' and a 'gentleman' in the Stationers' Company records, but there is little evidence to suggest that William Johnson was from nobility."
    • (Logic) Why is the "but" there? Is there an a priori expectation of nobility in his lineage? In any case, we weren't told about it earlier.

Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:38, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

As for sentence 3, I think it's clear that past refers to his own past life, and the background refers to his own ancestry/family etc. For 4, yes, there might be if you say "gentleman" you imply that it is possible that he might have nobility in his background. Gentleman in the context of the times was someone from the gentry, and as the English do not have an aristocracy in the same sense as the French do, it is entirely possible for a son of a baron to be simply a "gentleman", if he was the second or younger son, he would not inherit a title and would not have a courtesy title, so gentleman can imply a noble background. Or it can imply nothing of the sort, it needs clarifying. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:48, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Fowler&fowler, you're being accused of being overly picky with this language. It in fact does seem to me that these are very fine grammar issues that are brilliant writing either way. Can you assure us, now that the objections have left the FAC, that your points are so important that should this article appear on the main page, it would be a detriment to Wikipedia? This is my bottom line on how I judge if an article should be supported. What I hoped to accomplish by centralizing the discussions that have taken place in multiple venues is an common understanding about the responsibilities of the nominator, the objector, and the FAC closer. The way contentious FACs are handled will help to establish a protocol for how regulars step in to mediate or sort through them. --Moni3 (talk) 17:02, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I have to go to a meeting and will reply later in more detail, but let me say just for now that user:E has picked one or two of the finer points of usage that I made and has held them up to be ones of nitpicking. Even if you ignore those,
  • the faulty parallelism in "His early years were dominated by his eagerness to learn, the various experiences with his family members, his eventual attempt at college, and finally trying to settle down into a career."
  • the verb ending in "Little is known about Michael Johnson's past, or what his background was."
  • the incorrect "was" in "Michael was the first bookseller of "reputation" in the community, having opened a parchment factory which produced book bindings."

are all significant errors. They should be inexcusable on the Main page. (It would be well-nigh impossible to find them on any page in Britannica (even a stub page)). More later. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Like Fowler, I have to run at the moment, I just wanted to point out the common ground here. Two people who care enough about writing to argue over individual words? Please! We need both of you! You are a rare breed on Wikipedia. Awadewit (talk) 17:49, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Awadewit, your point is why I believe there is a point and possible stalk violation. Care enough? He has only shown such care on two pages, both of which I was listed on. There are dozens of FACs, yet he chose these two and made statements to suggest both needing copyediting. The fact that the Johnson page received so many copyedits by many of our finest copyeditors show that the caring is to a point that ignores reality and is detrimental as a whole. Why should he care to such an extent yet not on any other page? There is only one answer. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • (ec) Agree with Awadewit. If FAC wants more conscientious reviewers to participate, then be kind to them when they do appear. Many FAC reviewers on other FACs in the past have left long lists of, what can seem to some, petty concerns. I commented to the editor of Rhyolite, Nevada that I was bothered by his use of "relies". He fixed my nit picky complaint and thanked me for noticing it. Do you want to encourage reviewers to participate or not? —Mattisse (Talk) 18:00, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • A reviewer must be civil when reviewing, which means to respect the effort, to actually review the whole page, and to not oppose unless there is a serious concern. Reviewers should also not follow certain users around and should review all pages equally. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:11, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that editors are not allowed to pick apart the lead as a example/sample of the writing in the article? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:06, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
If you are unwilling to look at the article as a whole, then you aren't following the purpose of the FAC. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Parallelisms are not necessary, especially not to lists. Parallelisms are found in all forms of syntax, and are found within repetitions of sentences and paragraphs. To harp on parallelisms is not an appropriate grammatical focus because this is a stylistic point and not a reflection of impropriety. Now, for tenses - "was" is necessary for background because it deals with the past only (hence "background"). The second "was" deals with the tense of the structure. This is a historical topic and "was" is necessary. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:56, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Can any of the copy-editors that you claim have edited the Samuel Johnson's early life article defend any of the three sentences above or perhaps support your explanation? If so, why don't they step forward? Also, why did user:Malleus Fatuorum, who apparently is helping you, change all the sentences I objected to if there were no issues? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:07, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
If you want them all to respond, why don't you directly contact them yourself? This is the list. By the time Tony1 came onto the page, he was satisfied so he didn't directly participate. And Malleus did not change all of the sentences. Regardless, if he was to respond to why, I am sure he would definitely tell you 100% how he feels about your comments. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Please please please can we take this thread to (at the very least) the talk of the FAC in question? This really doesn't involve the FAC process as a whole. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 22:12, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Moni3: How should I proceed now? user:Malleus Fatuorum had in over dozens of edits removed many of the objections I had. Clearly, he did think there were issues, otherwise he wouldn't have made his edits. Should I now list the remaining grammatical/usage issues? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:11, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I agreed with quite a few of your objections to the lead, others I went along with because I didn't see that they made much difference once way or the other. I didn't agree with your extrapolation of problems in the lead to problems with the rest of the article however, so if you can see other issues then you ought, of course, to give examples so that they can be addressed just as speedily. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:18, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Please close these pages

Could someone close the FAC pages that were archived/promoted by Raul on 11 March? The promoted articles have been updated on WP:WBFAN, but no stars show on the actual pages. Brianboulton (talk) 17:04, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

GimmeBot goes through on Tuesdays and Saturdays (see WP:FAC/ar and {{FACClosed}}); in the meantime, anyone can add {{FAClosed|archived}}, {{FACClosed|promoted}} or {{FACClosed|withdrawn}} to the bottom of any FAC that has been moved off of the page. It is helpful if FAC regulars keep up with this sort of tedious and routine work. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:35, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Noted (I am very bad at admin stuff) Brianboulton (talk) 19:03, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Resolved: See "Good prose" section below
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


It seems there is a completely different twist to the entire "Samuel Johnson's early life" FAC. Please read the Johnson section on Malleus F's talk page, especially this post by Ottava Rima. Apparently, the entire hurried FAC submission on 12 March (for an article that had last been edited by user:Ottava Rima on September 5, 2008) was orchestrated to provoke me. This also explains his sudden disavowal of the Lucy FAC on 11 March (editors are not allowed to simultaneously have two FAC at one time). He then encouraged others to start an AN/I thread against me at 02:18 on 12 March 2009 (the others didn't bite). His FAC nomination was made at 18:27 on 12 March 2009, the explanation for which was provided cryptically in this post on the article's talk page. In other words, user:Ottava Rima has made a hurried and less than good-faith submission to entrap me and to make a point. If others agree with me, then I want some appropriate action taken against user:Ottava Rima by the admins usually involved with FACs: user:Moni3, user:SandyGeorgia, user:YellowMonkey, and user:Raul654. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:16, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Point of order ... Sandy's not an admin. Otherwise, I've stepped into enough buzz saws today, I'm not getting involved. (I'm not an admin either) Ealdgyth - Talk 23:21, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Ealdgyth beat me to it. I don't know what to say, but are you sure that this is the correct place for this issue? I don't like to recommend the house of drama, but this is starting to get ridiculous... Dabomb87 (talk) 23:22, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Palace of drama, surely. Ceoil (talk) 23:43, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
It is the talk page of the FAC. Where else would you make a post for a less than good-faith FAC, the evidence for which is in the diffs above? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:28, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Sudden disavowel? I haven't had a major contribution to the Lucy poems page since November. It wasn't sudden in any regards. The Johnson early life page has been ready for FA since it was split from the main page. I don't put many pages up for FA because I don't care about "stars". I put this one up because I talked to people and we figured that you were specifically targetting me. We decided that since this page was already approved by so many people in its previous form, if you opposed it it would only confirm that you were targetting me to be disruptive. You did just that. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:37, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
F&f, fair enough it was a trap it seems; but given you took the bait, I'd let the whole thing go, and would strongly recommend Ottava does the same. What good can come of this? I'd send both of ye to opposite corners with naughty hats for 15 minutes or so. After than, water under the bridge. Ceoil (talk) 23:49, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Seconded...Modernist (talk) 00:00, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
No doubt, this has already taken up way too much of writers' and reviewers' time. The whole thing has boiled down to little more than "I know you are, but what am I?" and "Liar liar pants on fire." Go back to writing and/or reviewing, please. --Laser brain (talk) 00:46, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I got involved because I thought I could help out, and FAC is usually the last place to find drama. I had honest intentions to assist in a dispute that was quickly spiraling out of control. I intensely disliked the fallout from the FAC for Major Depressive Disorder, and I would never like to see that happen again here. Now, due to the Fowler&fowler and Ottava Rima Show, I feel like a great stupid prat. I do think this was orchestrated by both in a comedy of egos. I am ashamed and angry that it dragged uninvolved FAC regulars who also intended only to be helpful, and that I was manipulated by these two. Shame on me.

It is clear to me that neither especially care about the betterment of their articles. Instead they care about winning. So. You both win. Does it feel as wonderful as you had hoped? Dropping it as the best case scenario. I think there may be good cause to block both. What a shame, because I have lost all respect for both of you. I feel like I stepped in to build a bridge between colleagues and ended up chastising a couple of brawling 10-year-olds. I apologize to Ealdgyth, Awadewit, Sandy, Raul, Mattisse, and anyone else who tried to get involved due to my interference. As much as I would love to tell both of you to grow the fuck up, instead I'm going to urge you to find whatever respect you have for yourselves individually and figure out the right thing to do. I suggest the first thing to do is archiving the threads for today. --Moni3 (talk) 01:11, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

As I told you before - it isn't about me. It was about Fowler's heavy handed approach to Ceoil's page which I had very little to do simply because I was listed on the nom. Everyone knows that I sat on the early life page for a very long time. Ceoil is a very good contributor and didn't deserve to be disrespected in the way he was. It is a shame to this whole place to have him treated in such a manner as that. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:17, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
This is all so sad. I was looking forward to copyediting The Lucy poems this weekend along with everyone and working towards turning the FAC around. I even did some research and some consulting with a professor of mine. How appropriate that I discovered Lewis Carroll's parody of one of the Lucy poems! This entire debacle is like walking through the looking glass. Awadewit (talk) 01:22, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Moni, same conclusion today.[3]. Ottava, I am able to take care of myself, though I did appreciate, very much, that you stood up for me. But, sincearly I think everything that needed to be said has been said, two or three time. Its all there, to me the timeline is very clear, but now hopefully distant. You have an FAC, foucus on that man, and just leave F&Fs objection stand. Ceoil (talk) 01:24, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

A comment: When I took up my new "day job", I resolved that one of the ways I'd keep my hand in with content was doing FAC reviews, which I thought would be interesting and positive. Instead, every time I opened an ongoing FAC on a subject that intrigued me, I'd find one or more of a handful of names bickering or casting aspersions about the writers at the same time as critiquing. Well, I get more than enough of that the rest of the time, thank you; it's completely demotivated me. I've since had many others tell me that they've stopped reviewing and/or bringing articles into the FAC process for exactly this reason. While I would not wish to dictate to those who invest far more time and effort into the FAC/FAR process than I, perhaps it is time to give consideration to requesting or imposing topic bans on those whose behaviour makes the process unnecessarily stressful and divisive. I have seen plenty of editors with nasty reputations come to these pages and behave very well; there is no excuse for what is going on here. Risker (talk) 02:23, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Risker, ever wonder why I have only nominated three pages over the court of a year? :) Ottava Rima (talk) 03:15, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

After the bell III

I made the following post in the section above. The post was later refactored by user:Modernist into this new section with a seemingly deprecating title. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:56, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm all for generosity, but what user:Ottava Rima has done is a major repudiation of the entire premise of nominating articles at FAC. If user:Ottava Rima felt that I was targeting him, they should have pointed that out to me, pointed it out to others, and complained to the appropriate official or forum, but nothing gives him the right to start an FAC to test whether I as targeting him. Besides until 5 March 2009 I was involved in the Kannada literature FAC, where I made dozens of posts. On 6 March 2009, I as involved with flushing out sockpuppetry on the Talk:British India page. On 7 March 2009 I made my first post on the Lucy FAC (and later became aware of the existence of user:Ottava Rima). On 22:33 11 March 2009, I made my first (long) post on the Federal Bridge Gross Weight Formula FAC (longer than anything I made on SJ's early life). Finally, at 13 March 2009, I made my first post on the "Samuel Johnson's early life FAC." How is this targeting any one person? user:Ottava Rima says that this was a collective decision made with other editors? Who were these editors? Please identify them if you want to make that claim. user:Malleus Fatuorum was clearly unaware of this scheme as is obvious in his replies to the posts by Ottava Rima here. At the very least, if this was a trap, the FAC will need to be withdrawn, and user:Ottava Rima will need to promise to not repeat this in the future. I am not looking to get him banned or blocked, but I'd like to hear both from user:YellowMonkey and user:Raul654. As I see it, this is a major boo-boo. Why are people blaming me for this? Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:42, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Enough already...Modernist (talk) 01:47, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Frankly this has gotten boring, very boring...Modernist (talk) 01:56, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Repeating myself and asking that these threads be transferred to the FAC/article talk page. I'm not convinced this involves the entirety of the FAC community, and as it stands now it appears to be a grudge match. Other than this I'm steering clear...--Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 02:07, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

How does an FAC that was started to make a spurious point not concern the entire FAC community? Every one is saying "How depressing, boring, tired, ...." But has anyone pointed out any errors in my post? Is there a Wikipedia rule that says, "Let errors stand in the interests of congeniality?" Will any one (other that user:Ottava Rima) care to say that he didn't set a trap for me and didn't violate some basic Wikipedia rules? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 02:14, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I did, if you'd listen. You are missing the point here, in a big way. Ceoil (talk) 02:16, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Fowler&fowler its over: At this point you should drop the stick and back slowly away from the horse carcass...Modernist (talk) 02:25, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Who knows why any of us make FAC nominations? Masochism? Whatever the reason, the effect is to improve the encyclopedia, and that's all that should matter to any of us. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:31, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I have to say I like your attitude user:Malleus Fatuorum (and you can write vigorous prose to boot). OK, I will let it go. Let me be very clear though: it is not over as some people seem to be implying. It is a flagrant violation and I can easily start an AN/I thread on this, I won't because I trust what Ceoil, Mattisse, Awadewit, Kafka Liz and you Malleus F. have said, and I trust you to keep Ottava Rima from doing such things in the future. I am, however, very disappointed in admin Moni3, who after asking us to undertake certain tasks didn't respond either to my posts in the section above or my reply to her post on my my talk page. And when I managed to catch user:Ottava Rima red-handed, she seemed to fall apart and resort to intemperate language, such as, "As much as I would love to tell both of you to grow the fuck up," or vague statements, "I think there may be good cause to block both" (without giving a warning or providing the cause). So, I will let it go, but I want this thread to remain here, at least until user:Raul654 and user:YellowMonkey have responded. I think I can do business with Malleus F., Ceoil, Mattisse, Awadewit, and Kafka Liz, and will work with them to improve the two articles. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 03:42, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Hopefully we're moving into a more positive arena now, less focused on individuals and more on our end product. I wouldn't blame Moni, who'd want to be an admin? It's a tough and thankless job; certainly administrators get very little thanks from me anyway. BTW, I'm often in trouble here on wikipedia, and in desperate need of character references, so I shall file your very kind comments away for future use. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 04:04, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I take back my comments about Moni3. I just read what she wrote on Raul654's talk page, and she's obviously both sharp and fair. I've scratched my comments above and my apologies to Moni3. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:08, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Needing image review

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:31, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Um, I did note in my support statement that all of the images meet our policy requirements. Awadewit (talk) 16:43, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, sorry, thanks! (I haven't read the full FAC yet, just scanned to see which pieces are done, and I typically encounter a separate image review.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:04, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I did an image review though haven't done one before so someone should check, thanks Tom B (talk) 18:06, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I'll double check it. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 13:29, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:43, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

New FAC and FAR delegates

Marskell has been missing since last year, and Sandy has told me she's going to have less time in the future to help out on FAC. At her request and the request of others, I'm going to appoint a few new delegates for FAC and FAR.

I've asked YellowMonkey and Karanacs, and they've both said yes (although with a baby on the way, Karanacs did so hesitantly). So what I'm going to do is this -- I'll make YellowMonkey FAR delegate, and Karanacs FAC delegate. Depending on the workload and Sandy's thoughts, I might also add another FAC delegate. Raul654 (talk) 20:29, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Support both, without any hesitation. Ceoil (talk) 20:34, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Enthusiastically endorse both, and depending on how things work out with my time, suggest we revisit the possibility of yet another FAC delegate some months down the road. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:42, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • YellowMonkey has -nothing- on me. I think that the only way he should be any kind of delegate is to first bow down and worship me. But, besides my ego related stuff, he should be fine. Karanacs doesn't have to do any of the such, because... I don't know. I'm fickle. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:21, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't know Karanacs at all, but since I suggested YellowMonkey to Raul, I can only endorse :) Xasodfuih (talk) 21:27, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • This is very spooky. I was thinking about Sandy and her arduous, and often thankless task, and having switched off my PC for the night, I decided to re-boot to suggest to Sandy that she should delegate some of her "responsibilities". My plan was to suggest that Raul or Sandy should invite and nominate other FAC delegates to take on the task of FAC pr/ar in areas were those editors have shown particular critical skills. To let nominators know what has been decided, we could add to the top of the FAC something like, "User:Karanacs will promote or archive this candidate". Just a thought, Graham. Graham Colm Talk 21:28, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
PS. Having said that, I must stress that IMHO Sandy has done, and will hopefully continue to do, a great service to the project. Her high standards and admirable sense of fair play are central to the success of featuring articles and in turn to the high esteem that Wikipedia is held in many countries and by millions of people. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 22:06, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both candidates and the idea in general - spread the workload around. Awadewit (talk) 21:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both. I think it will be interesting to have someone in charge of things who is not in North America (YellowMonkey), and I am doing my best to overlook the inherent arrogance all Texans possess. As long as Karanacs admits she and her kin have no abilities to drive in snow or on steep hills, I guess we're ok. Yes, I live in Florida where there are neither hills or snow, but I did live in Colorado for years and can spot a Texan driver at 1,000 ft. She edits like a mad fiend, though, and has my respect. --Moni3 (talk) 22:01, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both, and I also strongly support adding at least one more immediately, given that YellowMonkey will not be at FAC and Karanacs will be at FAC only intermittently. Mike Christie (talk) 22:36, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both. Babies are funny things time-wise and very unpredictable, so I will keep my fingers crossed. Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:59, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes and yes. Sandy shouldn't have to shoulder the entire load at FAC, like she's been doing recently. Having at least three delegates to share the job would be ideal in my mind, but just adding Karanacs should do for now. It will also be nice to have YellowMonkey work at FAR, since he has a great deal of experience there. Giants2008 (17-14) 23:24, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both, though ideally I'd like to see another FAC delegate, in addition to Karanacs and Sandy. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 23:26, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Good choices, Raul. I echo some of the other comments about adding to these two - there's a lot of work to do, and much of it is unlovely. --Dweller (talk) 23:49, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both will do an excellent job -MBK004 00:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support both, but agree with Julian and Dweller. Along with Graham, I'd like to thank Sandy; I would have never been able to do half of the work she does/did. :) —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 01:18, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Sensible picks and agree with Julian, but if FAC is still too arduous someone can scream uncle and we can add another delegate if needed. Damn, another editor I have to suck up to get to know... :P --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 01:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support No reservations at all. Sandy's dedication has been admirable; I hope she continues on here for a long time to come, with the reduced FAC workload. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:30, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Excellent choices. Good to know that SandyGeorgia will have such fine editors to work together with her on this important area. Risker (talk) 01:31, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I've never been able to fathom how anyone managed this work alone for years. Glad to see the load spread out a bit, and fully support both choices. Now, if only acquiring more reviewers was so simple! Maralia (talk) 01:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Object to YellowMonkey. Gimmetrow 02:18, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Object to YellwoMonkey also. --—Mattisse (Talk) 02:40, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Karanacs I'm unfamiliar with YellowMonkey's work at FAR (or indeed anyone's work there since I rarely visit), so I can't offer my support or opposition. BuddingJournalist 03:12, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

When did this become a vote? I thought that Raul was simply making an announcement, not asking for an endorsement of his decision. I'm confident that they've both demonstrated their ability to do the job well; Raul wouldn't have chosen them otherwise. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:49, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

MF, everything is a vote on WP...we vote for breakfast, lunch and tea...Casliber (talk · contribs) 03:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
If I recall correctly, Sandy's appointment wasn't subject to a !vote. That is, I don't think Raul asked for a !vote, though there I seem to remember multiple expressions of support. The same thing appears to me to be happening here; Raul did not ask for community approval, but people are expressing support. I'm fine with him simply appointing delegates, but if there were to be a strong expression of concern I expect Raul would reconsider. Mike Christie (talk) 10:23, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and made the appointments official, so to speak. That is to say, I've added them to the FAC and FAR instructions. They're free to begin promoting/demoting/archiving noms whenever they feel up to it. Raul654 (talk) 08:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I would like to express my desire to move away from my position in FAR. If another delegate is appointed I would step down from my position. Joelito (talk) 19:32, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

More on style editing

I think perhaps it is worth pointing out that in publishing houses, an author almost always is assigned one editor, or at any rate only works with one editor at a time. I believe this is because trying to please multiple editors at the same time would often be a very frustrating experience -- especially when they disagree with each other. At Wikipedia we can't completely avoid placing writers in this position, but we ought to cut them some slack when it happens. Looie496 (talk) 14:33, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

This is different from my experience. In the journal issue I am currently editing, each article has been looked at by four separate editors. Awadewit (talk) 15:39, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Let's not confuse different tasks that are related to editing a scientific journal.
  • First task: Receive papers and send out for review
  • Second task: Review- whether the content does live up to the quality required. This needs in general more than one view to deal with different expertise and points of view.
  • Third task: Decision to publish; decision which issues need to be fixed prior to publication.
  • Fourth task: Preperation for final publication finalising prose, style etc.
While I can see the preference for a single editor to contact the author for the last phase, the input of the process is from earlier stages.
In wikipedia's FAC it is essentially tasks 2 and 3 that are being conducted. Peer review, identification of grounds for improvement, and decision to promote. So no need for single editor-author relations in my view. Arnoutf (talk) 16:25, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm editing articles on literature and four different people commented on the content and language - in literature, everyone comments on the prose along the way. :) Awadewit (talk) 16:31, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
In science we also comment on the language (we hope ;-). For the better journals/publisher there tend to be inhouse copy-editors fixing last typo's etc. Arnoutf (talk) 16:37, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Community support

One of the gravest problems facing this process is the lack of reviewers (I know, tell you something you don't know). Many great reviewers have been driven away. There's no lack of nominations, but there is also a distinct lack of nominations from some people who have been similarly chauffeured. The more I look at our interactions, the more I believe that these missing persons are repelled by assumptions of bad faith, attacks, name-calling, and other behavioral problems that would get a 5-year-old sent to the naughty step.

We need to do a better job supporting each other as a community and discouraging shitty behavior. I think everyone here is acting in good faith. However, the relationship between authors and critics has always been a strained one. If you see someone pushing someone else in the wrong direction, step in and say something. Back people up if they're being wronged.

  • If you're a nominator, take your criticism gracefully and carry on smartly. You did ask for it, after all. If a reviewer crosses the line, call them on it. If you're right, people will back you up.
  • If you're a reviewer, review the article and not the author(s). Back up other supports and opposes so we can get things out of here. If a nominator replies to your criticism as if you just took a dookie on their front lawn, call them on it. If you're right, people will back you up.

I'll be first. If anyone sees me being rude to someone in FAC, send me to the naughty step. --Laser brain (talk) 05:03, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

You're not rude, you're just brutally honest :) --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 19:58, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Laser brain. I have created a subpage: Real-time experiment for FAC talk page where we can evaluate whether I am adhering to the principles enunciated here. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 03:07, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Laser brain I agree in totality with every single point you stated. I don't understand why certain peeps nominate articles and expect them to be reviewed if they just can't take any damn suggestion! Why the fuck do they expect people to review "their" articles, huh? What fun do we get by reading what "they" came up with and thought to be "featured quality"?
It takes real courage, patience and goodwill to take the effort to review articles. If nominators can't undertsand this and act ungratefully towards the reviewers, the FAC should be ended then and there. -- Yeah you can dismiss me as an anonymous ip as if you guys are not anons?? signed on by an anon 07:20, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Image reviews needed

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:27, 21 March 2009 (UTC)


To my fellow reviewers: if possible, please take some time to check the sources of the articles you review. In the last two months, I have found six articles at FAC that have had copyvio issues. Please also check to make sure that sources are not being misrepresented (that the claims in the article are actually backed up by the citations). BuddingJournalist 19:18, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll

The above link leads to a community poll regarding date linking on Wikipedia. The poll has not yet opened, but the community is invited to review the format and make suggestions/comments on the talk page. We need as many neutral comments as we can get so the poll runs as smoothly as possible and is able to give a good idea of the communities expectations regarding date linking on the project. Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 19:44, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Note The first phase of this poll will start on 30 March. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:59, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

PD review

This started as a result of image reviewing at Featured List Candidates on en wiki but I know it's a problem other places. This is directed at a general situation, not at any person. Why do we have to reverify an image's PD status because of something like links changing? If it was PD, it's always PD. It does not lose that legal status because some website dropped off the net and User:JoeBlow can't find it anymore. But as it is, there is a trend to say "I can't find it, so you have to prove it even though we all know it was PD". Here I'm talking cases like it was sourced to a known PD site or even just trusting the uploader didn't invent a URL, but no, we say "the guy could have been faking a URL, so prove it again, to me". This is all unnecessary and avoidable by using a method that is used on Commons where trusted users verify a flickr image's status for Commons; it's called Flickr review. We could have "PD review", where trusted users verify a PD status and tag the image with a template. That way, two years later when User:JaneBlow posts a FLC/FAC, etc, you, me, and others don't waste our time reinventing the wheel. Not to mention a known PD image can't be used anymore because a URL changed or whatever. Do we do this with images from books? Not yet, but we probably will...Do we say "I don't own that book and it's not in my local library so you have to prove it's PD from 1900 by sending me the book", nope we don't yet, but that's basically what we do with images. Obviously, I'm not talking cases such as when the uploader didn't source the image at all. Food for thought.

Could someone help me with a bot of some description?

Hey, over at Michael Jackson and Thriller (album), I want to make alterations to the formatting of references, which would take days to complete manually. I want to change the dates from the current format 11-11-05 to November 11, 2005. Can this be done using a tool of some description? If so, could somebody help me, I can't be trusted with anything hi tech. Best. — R2 16:17, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Okay it should be done now. I don't think Lightmouse's script would do the trick for you as it would only return dates in references in the YYYY-MM-DD format. I just wrote a script right now to do what you wanted. Gary King (talk) 18:00, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks!!! :) — R2 18:39, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll now open

The date linking and formatting poll is now open. All users are invited to participate. Ryan PostlethwaiteSee the mess I've created or let's have banter 23:00, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

New FAC/FAR nomination procedure

We missed the Signpost deadline, so this may run next week: Wikipedia:FCDW/FACRollout. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:17, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Eyes needed at Vasil Levski FAC

Resolved: FAC archived.

Reviewing FACs can be a thankless task

Oh my :-( User_talk:GrahamColm#Prose_issues Graham Colm Talk 15:59, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

What are we supposed to do here? Jump on the "you were right" bandwagon and justify your actions? --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 16:04, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Not at all, but some advice might help. Graham Colm Talk 16:09, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, since there haven't been many responses ...

Yes, it is a thankless task, and we wouldn't have quality FAs without our best reviewers, which is why serious FAC reviewers should be held in high esteem and supported. Our best reviewers are rarely thanked, sometimes abused, get little recognition for their dedication, and must be internally motivated to maintain quality and FA standards.

It is rare to see nominators thank reviewers for the effort they put into FAC; they don't always acknowledge that, without reviews, they wouldn't get their bronze star, or the bronze star might not represent quality. Ealdgyth quietly and laboriously reviews sources on every single FAC—a daunting task, yet she has soldiered on for more than a year. Others, like Jappalang or Awadewit, review images on every FAC, and editors like GrahamColm, Giants2008, Laserbrain, Karanacs, Dabomb87 ... and too many others to name everyone ... consistently review articles thoroughly, rather than just dropping in a Support or Oppose. Others work behind the scenes (like Gimmetrow, Rick Block, Brighterorange and Maralia), but are rarely thanked, their work taken for granted.

Advice? If nominators aren't aware of how much work selfless editors are doing to make sure FAs are at standard, other reviewers might help by being more aware of supporting each others' work and effort, backing each other up on reviews. I often see one lone reviewer lodging an Oppose, with no other reviewers stating whether they agree or disagree with that review. Backing each other up more might help.

Perhaps we might need to start archiving some nominations much sooner, on the chance that nominators will begin to understand that FAC is backlogged, reviewers are working hard, and some nominators might be encouraged to do more serious reviews themselves or bring their articles to FAC better prepared?

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:42, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Y'know, I see where the chap arguing with Graham is coming from. I realize the FAC reviewers are rare, and that they should be supported and rewarded (moreso than they are right now), but as an FA nominator with three FA articles, I can see why there are complaints like this. I don't expect (and I doubt anyone else does who nominates) a reviewer to list everything wrong they've found, but I often see reviewers making irritatingly vague remarks about articles, especially over prose issues. Simply saying 'Oppose per 1a', for example, is seemingly becoming more common, and it's extremely annoying; so is a reviewer doing so and then refusing to state even what is wrong with the prose, and thus seemingly expecting the nominator to endlessly c/e the article in a vain attempt to satisfy this vague oppose. This is often coupled with 'I don't have to give details, this isn't Peer Review.' Yes, fair enough, it isn't, and prose should be quite a good quality when it arrives at FA, but giving details are extremely important if the nominator is to change anything for the better; reviwers might not all be Tony1's, but even a simple 'fragmentary' or 'run on sentences' or something like is extremely helpful. So, I guess I'm saying is that it's a two-way street - nominators put in a hell of a lot of work during the review process as well. Skinny87 (talk) 15:59, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
"and prose should be quite a good quality when it arrives at FA[C]". No, the prose should be "engaging, even brilliant, and of a professional standard" when it arrives at FAC. If it isn't then the nominator has come unprepared, is contributing to the backlog, and any help and advice received during FAC should be considered a bonus. Colin°Talk 16:56, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
That's hardly a helpful attitude; I've seen more than a few articles go through ACRs and PRs where no-one has commented on the prose, and what if the nominator isn't a genius at professional-level writing? During my last FAC, I thought the prose was quite good, although no-one had commented on it apart from obvious spelling mistakes and things that needed rewroding. Yet I got picked up on multiple uses of 'Noun-plusing' and I didn't even know such a thing existed before it was brought to my attention. Skinny87 (talk) 17:06, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
This isn't a "helpful attitude" problem -- the "helpful attitude" is abundantly shown by many reviewers and editors who help with the process of bringing an article to FAC. A nominator who "isn't a genius at professional-level writing" needs to do some networking on WP to get help in that department before they get to FAC. Colin°Talk 17:47, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Most reviewers are also nominators, so they's perfectly aware of what it feels like to be on the both sides of the fence; not all nominators are reviewers though. You seem to be claiming that reviewers are commonly unhelpful, saying things like "I don't have to give details, this isn't Peer Review". I can't say I've ever seen that for myself. What I have often seen though is reviewers giving a few examples of problems, which seems to me to be quite right and proper. FAC isn't a repair shop. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I never said they were 'commonly unhelpful', and I acknowledge that there are many who are very helpful. But I do see many reviewers (perhaps newer/inexperienced ones) giving very fragmentary and unhelpful comments, and pften refusing to elaborate. That's all I'm saying. Skinny87 (talk) 16:16, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
"It's not fair to ask for examples of poor prose, this is FAC not Peer Review. I didn't realize that we were not supposed to know what exactly is wrong with an article, just accept that it's wrong and find someone else to fix it (assuming of course they can figure out what is wrong, given the lack of information regarding the opposition).  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 16:22, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that anyone seriously subscribes to the view that reviewers shouldn't give a few examples of what they're objecting to, do they? --Malleus Fatuorum 16:49, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Bignole and I have reached an agreement to work together on the article in the hope that we can resolve the prose issues. The above has been a very healthy discussion and I got the advice I needed and more thanks to all of you. Colin, by the way, has a great attitude and he has spent hundreds of hours helping to prepare many, now featured articles. Thanks again, Graham. Graham Colm Talk 18:04, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Guild of Copy editors

Note: There is (again) a copyediting project on Wikipedia to which we can direct needy articles - Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors. Awadewit (talk) 02:06, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

With a backlog of over 7,000 articles it doesn't really look like much help. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:55, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps they can be persuaded to prioritize FAC candidates or something like that. Awadewit (talk) 03:02, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
My view has always been that it's a waste of effort copyediting any article unless it's being prepared for FA/GA, so let's hope so. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:07, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly. Awadewit (talk) 03:16, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I must take issue with the waste of effort remark. FA and GA are not the sole conduits to articles of merit. If most of the good copyeditors limit their efforts to only those articles being readied for FA and GA, a consequence is that the vast majority of Wikipedia content will long remain deficient in copy quality. That consequence, in turn, will contribute to a general public impression of Wikipedia as nothing but a collection of amateurish articles (an impression that is still quite prevalent, even as it becomes increasingly inaccurate).
At the current FA/GA article ratios, Wikipedia could survive without the current FA and GA quality articles better than a Wikipedia consisting solely of FA- and GA-only articles could survive without the rest. With that in mind, I hope many of those in the guild will take a broad view on what deserves their attention, beyond FAC candidates. -- Michael Devore (talk) 06:16, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that non-GA and non-FA articles often have to be completely rewritten to achieve any level of decent quality. That means that the copyediting put into them before any significant research has been completed is usually wasted. I don't think that Wikipedia's endemic poor writing is what contributes to the amateurish impression that most people have of Wikipedia, but rather the poor quality of the content of most articles. Frankly, most people don't seem to know good writing if it is staring them in the face. :( Awadewit (talk) 06:19, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Here, we differ. I have scanned thousands of articles in Wikipedia, as I am sure you and most readers of this talk page also have done. I also read online content which frequently links to Wikipedia articles. This experience has lead me to draw a few conclusions about the state of articles here.
I do not believe the underlying content is terribly poor in many of the articles that exist, but I do believe that the content is often poorly presented, or if not poorly, then at least the copy is not of a good quality. This is understandable, people often know things much better than they know how to express that knowledge (insert long rants about the general level of public communication training as desired here).
As a result, Wikipedia contains a great many articles with useful content, but badly in need of a serious copyedit session. And good copyeditors are, as we are all too painfully aware, a rare resource here. In my view, they should not be encouraged to attend only to those articles which will run the gauntlet of GA and FA reviews, but encouraged to do so in concert with other articles as they see fit. Without starting a side discussion on causes and backlogs, a number of existing articles are of potential GA quality that will not gain that status for quite some time, if ever.
This is not to say that there are not many articles with poor content. However, I do not believe it accurate to state that poor content is the prime fault in a significant percentage of the problematic articles here. -- Michael Devore (talk) 06:51, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • A couple of points. I am willing, within reason, to copyedit any article if am asked. I don't think I've ever been asked unless some kind of assessment (GAN, FAC, A-class etc) was in the offing. I don't generally scan articles looking for prose faults, though if I find them I will correct them if I have time.
My primary concern, however, is the "anyone can do it" assumption. Copyediting is not just a question of knowing the MOS, it's a skill that requires detailed knowledge of the rules of English grammar and, above that, some sense of what makes "good" prose. Articles frequently come to FAC claiming to have had one or several copyedits – and the prose is still weak because the copyediting was inadequate. Somehow, the thought of a phalanx of well-meaning but under-skilled copyeditors advancing on the GAN and FAC pages makes me nervous—I have seen good prose twisted out of shape before. I don't know what the answer is; I would simply query the assumption that more copyeditors necessarily means better copyediting. Brianboulton (talk) 12:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
"Good" prose can be subjective; I prefer tight, succinct wording over flowery, bloated prose, but others who are used to writing in other formats (novels, dissertations, etc.) may disagree. Article writers are more than welcome to disagree with and/or revert changes to the prose. Could you be more specific about how copy-editors sometimes twist good prose out of shape? I can't see how that is possible, unless their edits alter the meaning or introduce grammatical faults. Both of cases are almost always reverted... — Deckiller 16:23, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
No, I'm not giving examples, because the cases I have in mind were done in good faith with a genuine desire to help. You are right, such edits can be reverted, but what's the point of a copyedit that requires lots of reverts? Articles come to FAC after one or even several copyedits with the prose still in poor shape, often because the copyeditor(s) had the will but lacked the skill. My point is that we shouldn't just assume that anyone can do it well. Brianboulton (talk) 18:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

A big problem with copyediting articles that aren't at FAC is that the text often relies on non-reliable sources, so the effort to improve the prose may be wasted. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:36, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Would you mind refactoring that statement please Sandy, some editors might find it very offensive. Physchim62 (talk) 16:41, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Eh? In what way could it possibly be considered offensive? --Malleus Fatuorum 17:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
For me, the implication is fairly clear that, according to User:SandyGeorgia, effort to improve articles which wont be going to WP:FAC is "wasted" because of the "non-reliable sources". Don't YOU find that offensive, in your various edits to WP articles? Physchim62 (talk) 17:47, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't find it offensive at all. I've looked at a lot of articles that have the copyedit tag on them. In most cases, they have a long list of other problems prominently noted at the top of the page. I've improved a lot of articles that I have no intention of taking to FAC, but when I got to them in 99% of the cases the sources were either nonexistant or unreliable. I could have spent several hours improving the prose; instead I spent those hours researching the topic and rewriting the article from scratch because there wasn't much that was salvageable. Karanacs (talk) 18:13, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
A few statistics please, to give some strength to the unbelievable 99% with "sources [that] were either nonexistant or unreliable". If your contention were true, we would have better – and more urgent – things to be doing than this page. Physchim62 (talk) 18:43, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Dude, what articles are you looking at? I agree with Karanacs. Nearly every literature article I peruse is absolutely atrocious, sourced to either nothing or something like a blog or SparkNotes. Most contain only a lengthy plot summary and random assortment of cultural references. Copyediting such an article is pointless. Awadewit (talk) 18:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
In that case, stop wasting everybody's time here and get on with improving those articles which you find "absolutely atrocious"! I find it strange that the harshest comments about articles come from the forum which should already be dealing with the best of them, and indeed spends an awful lot of effort trying (and often "gloriously" failing) to find the last faults in them. THAT is what I find offensive in Sandy's comments that it is a waste of time trying to improve the 99.9% of Wikipedia articles which aren't FACs. Physchim62 (talk) 21:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I did not say it was a "waste of time trying to improve" articles that aren't at FAC. What I said was that it doesn't make sense to polish prose if the text is not based on reliable sources. By all means, improve those articles by doing the research (different skill set than copyediting), but to have people focus only on copyediting, if the article is poorly sourced, is not a good use of resources. I agree with Karanacs stats: back when I was involved with LOCE (League of Copy Editors), that's what I saw happening all the time-- a lot of effort going into copyediting articles that were poorly researched and sourced. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:56, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't find it offensive at all either, and I completely fail to see why anyone else would. In fact I somewhat agree with SandyG, although I'd have included articles going to WP:GAN as well as WP:FAC. Hence my earlier comment about copyediting largely being a waste of time unless the article is being prepared for FA/GA, for precisely the reasons Awadewit points out. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Consideraring the rates at which FAs are produced, the chance that any article that was recently randomly copy-edited will end up at FAC, and hence be re-written is close to nothing. So yes, the copyedit will have a lasting effect, since articles are rarely rewritten and tend to be improved incrementally. Also, I have to agree with Michael Devore, as great as FAs are, at the end of the day what really makes Wikipedia the hugely usefull resource it is are the 2.8 million other articles... (talk) 14:07, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
The great thing about GA and FA is that they have the effect of a 'flagged revision' so copyediting to that point is a good goal. I agree that content is often wanting - just about every article I submit to FAC has often doubled in size from when I started the push. Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree (almost entirely) with Michael Devore. I'm in a bit of a rush right now, but I feel that this focus on Featured Articles has done more harm than good. What seems to be happening is that a number of talented people are writing articles that while very readable are neither essential to an encyclopedia, nor justify the time spent in ancillary support by others (by way of copy-editing and critiquing); in contrast, a large number of essential articles remain in various states of completion. Last week, I had yet another opportunity to experience this "first hand." After having heard one night from the local animal hospital that one of our cats needed emergency surgery, I woke up after a few hours of disturbed sleep, and soon found myself on the Wikipedia page "Veterinary medicine." Imagine my disappointment, when what I saw was this. I have since tidied up a little bit (perhaps assuaging my anxiety by overcompensating with images), but the article needs all kinds of work. Now go to the list of Featured articles; consider, for example, the first section Architecture and archaeology. How many articles (honestly) in that list are as essential to an encyclopedia as Veterinary medicine is? And this is just a random page that circumstances led me to look at. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:04, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, this is a voluntary project, and people can't be forced to write articles they don't want to (not to suggest that's what ylou want, of course). I guess it's the project's greates strength and weakness. Skinny87 (talk) 16:12, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
We can't dictate what our users work on; most users tend to gravitate towards their interests, so the only solution is to enlist more specialists in the "core" fields. Or get people to stop bickering over policies and start working on articles. — Deckiller 16:23, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)
  • I have to agree with Michael Devore and Fowler&Fowler. I know between the three of us, we have copy edited (probably) thousands of articles, both FACs and those more mundane but more critical to the encyclopedia. Yes, this is a voluntary project and people cannot be forced to write, etc. But the question is the relative worth to the encyclopedia of the resource/copy editing sink hole called FA. Much effort, both before and during the FAC process, is spent on articles that are not essential to the encyclopedia but reflect the (sometimes seemingly) obsessive interest of certain editors on particular articles or topics. Looking at the Featured article list, they in no way reflect proportionally the general interest of the readership, nor the breath of topics an encyclopedia should cover. Whole areas are woefully underrepresented, while others are filled with relatively obscure topics. There were statistics presented in a work group not too long ago that an astonishingly large number of FA articles were written by something like 10 editors. There is something wrong that this is so. Thus FA reflects the relatively narrow interests of those editors rather than the general needs of the encyclopedia. Given the FAs get enormous exposure on the main page, it is interesting to note that excepting the interval on the main page slot, most FA articles get a low number of page hits when compared to an article like Veterinary medicine. FA sucks an enormous amount of editing/copy editing resources for relatively little benefit to the encyclopedia. An on top of it, reviewing articles is enormously unpleasant, if not dangerous to one's mental health. —Mattisse (Talk) 16:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem if folk want to target their copyediting skills at "important" articles rather than the idiosyncratic selection that end up at FAC, but copyediting articles below GA level risks polishing a turd. Indeed a poorly written article may well warn the reader that the substance of the article is likely to also be poor. Look at the edit history of some AfDs and you will often find some poor soul has fixed the punctuation and wikilinked an article destined for the bin. Colin°Talk 17:15, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
The difficulty with this is that a volunteer project is much more likely to attract people who are knowledge about minor topics, but aren't experts at larger fields. The FA bias is largely due to the fact that many FA articles have between perhaps 1 to 3 primary editors. Larger collaborations are hard (especially copyedit-wise). Larger topics are even harder. Taking the example of Veterinary medicine: this article would need several knowledgeable editors collaborating to achieve FA status. Who knows about the history and origins of veterinary medicine? I presume a very large portion of veterinary practitioners have no idea; those who do might write an article/book and get paid for it.
Perhaps if people stopped thinking of FA as the be all and end all then the project might be improved and more useful. The total amount of editor time needed to take a decent B class (or GA) article to FA status can sometimes take as long as writing a whole other decent article, when factoring in copyedit work, reviewing, and the actual writing. Yet, it's probably true that having two GAs on two similar topics is better than having an FA and a C/start class article. The flip side of this argument is that traditional encyclopaedias already cover these important or "core" topics quite well, so on the human scale an FA on a minor topic is a real plus for human knowledge. I'm pretty sure that Wikipedia has the best comprehensive article on this guy. IMO: I don't see the status quo changing anytime soon. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 17:28, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Well said. Once I take my management-specific courses, I may work a bit on Business management articles; however, the fact remains that my specialty is fiction. I know many, many people who visit Wikipedia for pop culture alone; fortunately, our coverage of those areas is exceptional. The real question is how can we attract those with a deep interest and/or better knowledge of the so-called "core" topics? Like Silly said, such people could make a lot of money doing something similar but through teaching and/or writing for profit. Wikipedia isn't about money, so it would be very difficult to entice professionals to help us bolster the weak points of our coverage. — Deckiller 17:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) The question very simply is whether Wikipedia wants to continue to have such wildly uneven content, and if it does, what future does it see for itself? If the material that is being given both the imprimatur of the collective enterprise and time of its editors consists of idiosyncratic articles written by individuals who either have the talent/ability/motivation or the time to jump through the hoops, why then is it even being called an encyclopedia (which, by definition, stands for a general comprehensive reference work)? Why not the "Wiki-collection of sourced nonfiction not usually found in encyclopedias?" But, more importantly, shouldn't this be made clear to the millions of people who search Wikipedia's ordinary uncelebrated content (looking for answers it doesn't want to provide)? Especially since these are the very people who push up Wikipedia's Google rank in web searches. They are its constituency as it were. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 19:51, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I think FA does want this wildly uneven content. They do not concern themselves with the rest of Wikipedia, except perhaps DYK for advertisement purposes. But, out of all of Wikipedia, so very few editors and readers are concerned with FA that it can be considered the playground of a selected few. If only FA did not suck up so much resource so that these very few editors could indulge in their obscure, rather elitist topics. But, heck, this is the province of only a few editors, anyway. (Hopeful this will change in the nature course, as more eclectic articles are nominated, if they are not chased off.) Those few FA editors can rack up their FAC stars on their narrow topics, but I think, except for WikiCups and such, those article and their stars have decreasing relevance to the community at large, and definitely to the public, judging by page hits. This is just a tiny corner of Wikipedia populated by only the few editor who have the "expertise" to participate. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:04, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I take this to mean that my expertise in a narrow field is not appreciated or wanted on Wikipedia. It is always nice to hear that. I'll pass that along to other experts I know. No experts in anything other than popular topics desired here. Awadewit (talk) 20:18, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't begrudge you writing articles on any topic you wish. I do support Fowler&Fowler above (who is more "expert" in my opinion, in some of "your" expert topics, as he demonstrated in "Lucy".) Why should the few with very narrow academic interests monopolize and dominate at part of Wikipedia given prominence on the main page, but where all but a few editors are driven away? My extensive copy editing skills, my involvement in probably 50 FAC reaching FA, is not appreciated either. How do you know that I am not an "expert" also? I am, if your criteria is academic and professional success. I have my career and success and don't need to promote it here, nor do my professional writing here. So that puts me in a lower, "non expert" category? This is a very narrow and prejudicial assumption of yours. —Mattisse (Talk) 20:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yo, Mattisse, how about we drop the personal back-and-forth. You've made great contributions to the encyclopaedia, as I'm sure Awadewit has. No-one is intent on belittling either of you, nor non-"experts". I've never claimed to be an expert, but am a proud supporter of FAC. So let's get back on topic and think of ways the Guild can aid the FA project, please. Regards, Skomorokh 20:43, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I certainly hope that isn't what's being suggested, but if it is then I'm about as strongly against that idea as it's possible to be. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:22, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
There is no "wikipedia" with a plan in mind, and neither is there an FA that wants anything. What exists is a number of people who write on topics they choose to write on, for whatever reason. I find this focus on so-called "core topics" to be a little strange anyway. It's very easy to find information on gravity, for instance, but rather more difficult to find a reliable account of the Pendle witch trials, for instance. A "core topic"? Not to most people, almost certainly, but so what? But why has this discussion moved on from copyediting? If you or anyone else wants to copyedit articles not destined for GA/FA feel free to go ahead, nobody's stopping you. Just as nobody's forcing me to copyedit anything other that GA/FA candidates. --Malleus Fatuorum 20:22, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Has anyone come forward with the fact that many people edit more 'obscure' articles because the primary ones are full of SPAs and contentious editing that make even minor changes an often uphill struggle? And I have to say, some of this does smack of some form of 'elitist' sneering and a begrudging attitude. Look, if people want to see less 'obscure' FAs created on more mainstream articles, then a way needs to be found to ensure that said srticles can be improved without having to navigate the seemingly endless problems that crop up in them. I'd love to work on more mainstream articles; I tried to with Operation Market Garden, for example, but the endless bickering over casualties and who gets to be put in the infobox drove me away, as did it's sheer size. Skinny87 (talk) 20:55, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how it is elitist to edit articles about something an editor actually knows about and has published articles on. I would think Wikipedia would welcome such contributions (I am obviously wrong, as has been demonstrated repeatedly). However, I can tell you one reason I don't like to work on broad articles like the French Revolution. They take years to write unless one already has the knowledge. The research required to write a comprehensive and engaging article on that topic would take a very long time. If I could assemble a posse of editors to dedicate hours/days/months to researching and writing that article, perhaps I would consider it. Anyone want to volunteer? Awadewit (talk) 21:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
No, but you're obviously right. Unless you're already an expert in a big topic like the French Revolution, the task is just too great. And if you are an expert you're outed as having a WP:COI. That's why these "core topics" are relatively neglected, and why they will remain neglected until something changes. I have made a very deliberate attempt to stay well clear of almost every topic I have professional knowledge of, because I really can't be doing with having to argue with ... well, enough said. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:40, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
(Reply to Skinny87) Yes they have, frequently. There are some areas of the encyclopedia that you'd have to be verging on suicidal to want to get involved in. I could name many of them, but I don't want to upset any overly sensitive delicate flowers like Philchem. But for starters, take a look at creationism, or any Irish article. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:34, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not that sensitive! Planck constant and Avogadro constant need careful copyediting; so will musk xylene in a couple of weeks. If they don't get it, so be it: at least the information is there, merely not in an optimally accessible form. The fact that broad topics such as the French Revolution or veterinary medicine don't get the attention they merit from an encyclopedia… that is a very real problem, but I don't think we'll find the solution on this particular talk page. Physchim62 (talk) 22:18, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Musk xylene, btw, is about as near as we get to a controversial topic in chemistry! A substance which is in the no man's land between being really, really dangerous or not dangerous at all… but I agree with the commet that there are certain topics (I won't name names) where you would be foolish to try to improve WP content, only to have your efforts reduced to nothing in the following half-hour. Physchim62 (talk) 22:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I think this has veered off from copyediting and into the realm of what gets featured at FAC, which admittedly is very obscure. I mean, I'll be the first to admit that most of my work—be it fictional characters without a face, movies, video games or that book I got at a elementary school book fair and wrote the Wikipedia article on, and which probably no one else cares about—isn't that important. But an FA is simply a great article, and it doesn't make distinctions based on what the article is about. That's why it's great. The whole issue of underdeveloped core topics, I think, is endemic to pretty much all of Wikipedia—there are hundreds of featured video game articles, for example, but only one featured video game genre—but it's not FAC's problem to solve. We just review and write (or should, at least). --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 22:25, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Well-put. Now everyone get back to writing and reviewing shit, please. --Laser brain (talk) 22:27, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I read Raptor book. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:47, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


hi I would like to make Cultural depictions of turtles and tortoises a candidate for being featured. how do I do so? 123abcdoreme3 (talk) 21:01, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

It's currently a B-class article, so I would recommend you review the Good Article criteria, and once you're sure it meets them, nominate it at WP:GAN. If that works out, come back and we'll see about FA ;) Of course, you could ignore this advice and just follow the nomination procedure below the blue box at WP:FAC. Regards, Skomorokh 21:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Another route to take is to nominate it for Peer Review, a less judgemental review forum than the Featured Article Candidates page, or even the Good Article Nomination page. In the absence of passes and fails, PR is often the best place for article building. Go to WP:Peer Review and follow the instructions about nominating for PR. If these instructions are not clear, contact my talkpage and I'll help. The idea of going straight to WP:FAC is a bad one and should be resisted. Brianboulton (talk) 21:27, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Looks like an interesting and well-researched article, but I'd also recommend GA or Peer Review before taking it to FAC. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Primary sources and 2000 year old historians used in FA/A class articles

Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria#Primary sources and 2000 year old historians used in FA.2FA class articles --> See here —Preceding unsigned comment added by YellowAssessmentMonkey (talkcontribs) 06:28, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

WikiCup and possible Reviewer Cup

I just noticed the existence of the Wikipedia:WikiCup. After getting over the fact that the leading DYK and GA content creators seem to have been overlooked in the invitation process, I started thinking about whether the process could be improved. I basically had two thoughts. First, I felt that there should be a better scoring system that rewards adding value to wikipedia. Second, I thought that the cup might be able to be larger if there were a complementary Reviewer Cup for processes like FAC, FLC, FLRC, FARC, FPC, VPC, GTC, FTC, GAC, GAR, PR, PPR etc.

Many people say the Cup is working. I.e., they say that there are no problems at any of the review processes resulting from the competition and that the contestants are enjoying it. However, no one has said, I think the competition is encouraging people to work on the things that need to be worked on. With respect to my first thought that the competition needs a better scoring system, it is very well known that certain articles are more valuable/important to the project than others. We need only look as far as the article scoring for something like Wikipedia:Release Version 0.7. We should probably be encouraging content contributors to increase the quality of our most important articles by giving more points for more important articles. I think the current scoring system should use a factor to adjust the scores. Taking Barack Obama to FA should be considered more valuable than say encouraging someone to take Illinois Centennial Monument to FA. Whereas the former gets about 35,000 page views a day, the latter seems to get about 10 page views a day when it is not on the main page. Maybe someone should get double points for an article like Obama's (factor of 2) and reduced points (factor of .2 or something) for time spent on the latter type. Additionally, the current scoring system gives the same amount of credit for a promotion regardless of what portion of the credit a person deserves. Suppose an article is pretty much a GA and someone comes by and successfully nominates it for GA, FA, or FL promotion without making significant changes. It is not representative of the value added to wikipedia to say that this nominator should get the same credit as a person who has largely created an entire article that he promotes. Also, the current system gives DYK noms the same number of points as DYK creations and expansions. Whereas the latter had to improve the article, the former did nothing but nominate it in many cases. For example, it might make sense to divide WikiCup WP:FP points 1/3 for taking the picture, 1/3 for editing the picture and 1/3 for nominating the picture. Similarly, a DYK might be divided between the page creator, expander and nominator. Maybe a system could be used for GA, FA and FL where the most important editor gets 100% of the designated points, the second most gets a fraction of that amount such as 70%, the third, fourth and fifth get even less credit. Essentially, these are two changes I would make to scoring: one for value of the article and one for proportionate credit. These would encourage people to improve wikipedia in ways that are valuable.

The second change I have in mind is the creation of a Reviewer Cup. SandyGeorgia (talk · contribs) has previously analyzed review activity and given out barnstar rewards, but has found that ex-post (after the fact) rewards do not alter reviewer activity. However, there is no indication of how competition and ex-ante reward (announcement of possible rewards before behavior occurs) would affect review activity. It is possible that good reviewers who spend 20% of their WP time reviewing might spend more time reviewing if there were a competition that they enjoyed and possible forthcoming reward for successful reviewing activity. Furthermore, a Reviewer Cup might provide for a larger WikiCup without worrying about undue burden on review processes. I am not talking about a process that doles out dozens of bronze stars. There will be a cup for the winner and maybe a silver and bronze. This would not be formatted much differently than the current WikiCup, so there will not be a lot of bronze floating around if this comes to pass.

There has been a lot of posturing by people who do in fact enjoy prominently posting Bronze stars that they only do WP for the pure humanitarian good and that bronze star rewards mess up Wikipedia. Venture to their user pages and look at their bronze stars, infoboxes confirming WP achievement and such and then try to make sense of their statements. Many have said people should edit and review just for the sake of doing so and not for a competition or for a bronze star. However, WikiCup has passed Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:F9T/WikiCup. The consensus is that it promotes good wikipedian citizenry. I believe it could be improved and that a reviewer cup would do the same. Comments welcome--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 00:05, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

What exactly do the first two paragraphs have to do with the FAC process? This kind of stuff should be posted at the WikiCup talk page (and don't say you did already, all you did was say there was a conspiracy to keep you out of it and that you were a fictional character). A reviewers wikicup is a good idea in theory, but it would probably turn out badly because you would have so many users leaving garbage comments and poor reviews. For example, I've had several less than satisfactory GA reviews which I attribute to the recent GAC backlog elimination drive competition. -- Scorpion0422 02:12, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Since the best evidence we have on reviewer behavior during competitive processes is the GAC backlog elimination drive, let's look at it more closely. Personally, I had the following reviews: Talk:Washington Park Subdivision/GA1, Talk:Washington Park Court District/GA1, Talk:Rashid Johnson/GA1, Talk:Keith Bostic (American football)/GA1, Talk:Fountain of Time/GA1 (reviewed by a non-drive paricipant during the drive), and Talk:Thom Darden/GA1. I consider all six of my reviews to have been reasonable reviews of comparable quality to normal GA reviews. Scorpion could you please enumerate your Elimination drive reviews so that I can understand how bad your reviews were. My more recent review for Talk:Fountain of the Great Lakes/GA1 was worse than all of my drive reviews.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 06:44, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
I think my experience with the drive where my reviews were by experienced reviewers involved in the competition is representative. After the competition ended I got a review by a novice reviewer. Novices would not enter a year-long review competition, IMO.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 07:09, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed with Scorpion. Anybody wishing to get an award can easily fill out a five minute review. No effort is required, and they possible leave the article in the wrong rating class. (If that wasn't confusion, sorry I'm tired and it's late).  iMatthew :  Chat  02:20, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
iMatthew, it appears you are not understanding either the drive or the proposed cup. The minimum level for a drive reward was five reviews. I find it hard to believe someone would go through the trouble of making out five bad reviews to get a barnstar, but I await Scorpions list of GA reviews. I experienced six normal reviews during the drive with no memorably bad reviews.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 06:50, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  • (ec) I don't know what is going on. I stopped doing GAN reviews when the WikiCup started and do not know when or if I will start again. I am about to cease reviewing DYK's because of particular nominators overdoing nominations. It has become a snowball. I see people totaling up their DYK's in the hundreds. Some people nominate several every day. Is this because of these cups and prizes? Surely having a bunch of DYKs is not a reason for existence. What is driving this? All this pertains to FAC, FLC, FLRC, FARC, FPC, VPC, GTC, FTC, GAC, GAR, PR, PPR etc. —Mattisse (Talk) 02:25, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
On a side note (to the OP), er.. people aren't invited to the Wikicup, it's up to the people themselves to find it and join.   jj137 (talk) 03:00, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
The host of the contest has said he invited (sent talk page messages to) about fifty leading FAC and FLC contributors.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 07:37, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
A reviewers cup would (potentially) lead to lower quality articles being passed. I don't think we should add any motivation for more questionable articles to be moved up the quality scale. Useight (talk) 05:01, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
It could (potentially) entice good reviewers who enjoy competition to review more than they ordinarily would as well.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 07:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Interesting discussion, now the following comments are from someone who has yet to even review an article for anything, besides peer review and FAC, because I was asked or felt I should. A reviewers cup would be helpful, but only if there were certain rules. Like you must spend a certain amount of time reviewing it. Then the points system should be based off how long you spent on the review and how much work was needed, making reviewers choose articles thats need more help. Seeing they'll target the bad articles first. Those are off the top of my head and it is 1 am so I may not make sense. But I'm for a reviewers cup, it would mean more GAN reviews and I'm tired of waiting more than a month for an article on GAN to get reviewed. One rule could be is you must have reviewed a certain amount of articles for anything and raised a certain amount of articles for anything to be allowed into the contest. Just throwing stuff out there.--WillC 05:08, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

See also User_talk:SandyGeorgia#Reviewer_Cup, where the reviewer cup idea was first discussed. I'm including an excerpt from my last post there for any continued discussion here. I think one key difference between the format that the Wikicup uses, and the format that TonytheTiger proposes for reviewers is that the wikicup relies on other processes to determine value (if you get an FA, you get X points, but the wikicup organizers don't judge those articles, the FAC process does). The original proposal here for a reviewer cup would have the cup organizers determine the criteria for what makes a good review. To do something like that right is a time-consuming process (because you have to essentially define what the right criteria are and come up with a process for measuring that). It may be valuable (in that it encourages more good reviews), it may be a disaster (in that it encourages more bad reviews) and it may have a null effect (no one's behavior changes but a few people get bragging rights). I'll fight any attempt to reward reviewers based on edit-counting—and I include in this any attempt to say you must do "X" number of reviews. How long would it really take someone to write "Support, meets all the criteria" on 5 FACs, even if they don't have a clue what the criteria are really asking for? How much disruption/problems would that cause (hint: potentially lots)? I wouldn't be opposed to a system that rewards good FA reviews, I just haven't seen a proposal like that yet. I'll be interested to hear any other ideas for enlarging the pool of quality reviewers. Karanacs (talk) 21:04, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Well frankly, it couldn't get any worse at FAR really...I can't see how a WikiCup would mess anything up there, as there is basically no checks except to see that there are references at all. If a guy adds in most of the refs or even cosmetically, the reviewers will usually let it drop. Definitely a lower bar than GA.... Some unsourced articles have FARs that sit there for four weeks even though it is obviously unsourced, it would otherwsie get quick failed at FAC in about 3 days usually by a margin of 0-5 or whatever. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 04:06, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Adding my 2 cents. In my opinion, a reviewer cup is probably a bad idea. I have been involved in several GA backlog elimination drives. Those did not generate high numbers of quality reviews, however - people simply raced to see how many reviews they could do. Moreover, reviewers were also prone to pass articles so that they did not have to spend time discussing issues with nominators. In my opinion, a contest to reward reviewing would produce similar behavior and be to the detriment of the articles. (This incessant need for rewards is tiring, frankly. Shouldn't we spend our time working to improve articles rather than constructing contests in order to improve them? *sigh*) Awadewit (talk) 04:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
The best idea if we were to have one is put limitations on reviews. You must spend a certain amount of time on each review, can only have up to a certain amount of reviews happening at a time, and must discuss problems with the nominators. If there are no problems with an article, then one of the judges of the Cup reads the articles and makes sure there is no problems with any of the polocies he/she knows. Up to 60 users participating, limit being three reviews at a time, must spend at least three days on a review if there are problems, and must have enough time to discuss the problems of the review with the nominator. That is 180 articles reviewed at a time if all reviewers review three at a time. Probably a fifth or third of those articles will have no problems if lucky. If we have five judges than that is 6 or 10 a piece. Only established reviewers are allowed, that being they must have reviewed at least 3 or more articles for GAN, and must have had two or more articles pass GA. With these limitations this could work, but that is just me--WillC 04:53, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
But who would want to spent time judging other people's reviews? I would rather review - it is so much more productive. A lot of time would be spent doubling up on work in this proposal, simply because people want a contest. I don't see that as a sufficient reason to spread our reviewer resources even thinner. Awadewit (talk) 04:56, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Whoever would want to be a judge. I'm just throwing a few ideas out there. Maybe this could make people want to review. It would be helpful. Contests usually help the project more than hurt it. Just having the right set of rules could help alot. Having more reviews is better than having less. Trying something once may help the process alot more.--WillC 08:59, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


Review needed:

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:27, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Removal on promotion/rejection

Is it just me or is a tad annoying that when a descision is made, the candidate is removed instantly? I would prefer that an article remain on this page for ~3 days after a descision is made, so reviewerers can see the trends being followed in the promotion process, and editors submitting candidates can see what has been successful and what hasnt without having to search through archives. Fasach Nua (talk) 21:33, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Is it that hard to look through the archive? FAC is already long enough; leaving promoted/archived FACs would make it longer and increase load time. Dabomb87 (talk) 21:43, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
After EC. Well, you probably have to balance the usefulness of that against the sheer size of the page, which presents different problems—technological and psychological. Steve TC 21:45, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
If it stays on the main FAC page, then reviewers won't be able to distinguish which ones are active and which are not (there is a delay between the time that the nomination is removed and the time that the bot runs). If someone is very interested in seeing the trends, they can watchlist the monthly promotion and archive logs. Karanacs (talk) 22:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Poll: autoformatting and date linking

This is to let people know that there is only a day or so left on a poll. The poll is an attempt to end years of argument about autoformatting which has also led to a dispute about date linking. Your votes are welcome at: Wikipedia:Date formatting and linking poll. Regards Lightmouse (talk) 09:09, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


The recent change to the FAC process (using archiveX) has broken one of my favorite tools, WP:FACL. :( I pinged User:CBM, who runs the bot that takes care of that page. Currently, there's no way for the bot to figure out which of the archive pages is the current FAC page. To remedy this, we could add a category to the bottom of Wikipedia:Featured article preload (perhaps "Category:Current featured article candidate discussions" or something?). Then, when GimmeBot runs along and adds the archive notices to closed discussion pages, it could remove the category from the page. Thoughts? Gimmetrow, could this be easily achieved? Thanks, BuddingJournalist 02:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that tool has long been a bit wonky for a different reason too: it picks up on articles tagged with {{FAC}}, regardless of whether the nom was actually completed by listing at WP:FAC. Instead of using the preload itself, we should probably add a category within Wikipedia:Featured article tools so it's transparent to people editing the FAC pages. Maralia (talk) 02:24, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I find that particular feature of the page useful, since it allows me to see unfinished nominations. Not sure what you mean by using the tools instead; could you explain? The preload transcludes the tools; how do categories work on transclusions? BuddingJournalist 02:37, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
It is useful for finding incomplete noms...if you also keep an eye on listings at WP:FAC, but it seems most people don't. Glad to hear someone is :) Regarding adding a category, the FAC tools are a logical angle of attack because they are already both automatically added to a new nom (via the preload) and removed from a closed nom when it's botified. (If a category were added in the preload, it would create another closing step, as we'd have to remove the category somehow when the nom closed.) Technically speaking, it's just a matter of adding said category to the FAC tools inside <includeonly> tags. Maralia (talk) 03:37, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Ohhh, I see (I think). This seems to be fairly trivial then, thankfully. Any other thoughts out there? BuddingJournalist 22:26, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Image review backlog

A lot of current FACs are waiting for image reviews. Unfortunately the knowledge required for proper image reviewing can't be learned quickly, so this is really a plea for help to those who have the necessary knowledge and confidence to review images and give positive advice where necessary. Many nominators are unsure in this area, and need all the help they can get. Brianboulton (talk) 09:26, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Can you just list the ones off the top of your head like sandy? I'm a tad lazy, but I'll try and do a couple tonight. --Der Wohltempierte Fuchs (talk) 23:44, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I've already done a bunch "at the top". Awadewit (talk) 00:20, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Weeelll, not sure how appropriate it is to advertise it here, but I could do with another opinion over at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Changeling (film)/archive1 from an experienced image reviewer; the one oppose is due to the inclusion of a fair-use-claimed image. As you might expect, I happen to disagree, but if there's significant further opposition to the image's use, I'll be content with its removal. Steve TC 00:29, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Overall, though, FACs aren't being held up for image reviews, because if that's the only thing lacking, I list it here. What we really need are general reviews, Supports and Opposes. Again and still, almost nothing on the page can be closed because reviews are lacking; doing image reviews is the least of it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:27, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
And FAR Sandy faces an even worse lack of reviewers.--Yannismarou (talk) 22:15, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Yep, I know. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:17, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Luckily that only matters on a few FARs when the article gets improved a bit. In a lot of cases, a total of 2 minutes is required... YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:53, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Signpost dispatch on plagiarism

Editors here might be interested in the recently-published dispatch on plagiarism. Awadewit (talk) 23:54, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

The first example, about the sit-in, is a poor one because it's hard to see other clear, concise ways to summarise such a set of bald facts - if you gave a school class the "atomic statements" here (e.g. "Mr. X was the receiver", "Mr. X is employed by Y", etc.) and asked the class to make this more coherent prose, you'd get a bunch of near-identical answers. OTOH the computer surveillance item is a good example - in fact I prefer the paraphrase to the slightly WP:PEACOCK style of the original. --Philcha (talk)
Ah, the old "I can't figure out how to reword it, so it is ok to plagiarize" argument. I'm sure that will fly in a court of law. :) Awadewit (talk) 00:28, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
If there's no way to rephrase it, yes that argument would fly in a court of law (Feist v. Rural]]). If the phrasing is describing basic facts, the copyright would be "very weak" (Harper & Row v. Nation). Please don't mix copyright law with your personal ideas of intellectual purity or, if you do, attack the more than ten thousand pages linked by {{1911}}! Physchim62 (talk) 01:01, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Please read the dispatch. We make all of these distinctions clear. (And, yes, the 1911 template is insufficient.) Awadewit (talk) 01:02, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
What should one do when the text is so sparse that there is little that can be done to rephrase it? I have been working on a list of manuscripts, and one of my two main sources describes scores of them. Here is his description of one: "Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 211 (1812) (Ker, no. 321), twelfth century (second half), a handsome book with the ex-libris of the Augustinian abbey of the Holy Cross at Waltham (Essex), founded in 1177." I've attempted to rephrase this but given that I too am listing these manuscripts, giving their date, and commenting on the provenance, I have little leeway. I currently have "Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 211 (1812). From the second half of the 12th century. The ms bears the ex libris of Waltham Abbey, which was founded in 1177". Is this plagiarism? I would certainly like to separate the phrasing further from that of the source, but I don't see how to do it without going to a tabular layout which I'd prefer to avoid. I won't comment on the example mentioned above, not having read it closely enough to have an opinion, but I wonder if sometimes a tersely phrased original need be varied from somewhat less than a more freely articulated opinion. Mike Christie (talk) 00:37, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
IMO, this falls into the commonly-known fact category. This kind of description can easily be found in a reference work (except for the "handsome book" part). These facts do not have to be surrounded by quotation marks. The dispatch covers this. Awadewit (talk) 00:43, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the dispatch covers it; I guess I wasn't reading "commonly known fact" the right way. It comes under your description of "non-creative lists of basic information"; there is creative content in my source's comments, but I'm generally either removing those comments or quoting him directly, so I'm OK. Thanks for the clarification; I'd been wondering about it and the dispatch was timely (even if I didn't see the correct application immediately). Mike Christie (talk) 00:47, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
  • This dispatch is a wonderful resource. It will be very useful at places such as DYK. —Mattisse (Talk) 00:54, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Essential featured articles?

Let me throw something out there off the top of my head. (I won't be able to respond until tomorrow though.)

I don't doubt that it is harder to write a featured article on a "core" topic than, say, on a recondite but still important one for which an individual editor has the expertise, drive, or time. I am not by any means suggesting that people not write articles in the latter category. However, I am suggesting that the current system of rewards favors the production of articles of the latter kind. Why not have a category of featured article called "Essential featured article," (represented by, say, a platinum star, or some other suitable symbol) which we, as a collective enterprise, value even more than a featured article? How does an article qualify as essential? How about if it is listed in the top 3000 (yearly) accessed articles on Wikipedia? (as listed in first thousand, second thousand, and third thousand) This will still (likely) not bring my veterinary medicine into the fold of attention, but it will certainly redistribute the focus a little towards popular articles (i.e. articles that are demanded by the public) that have already been written and that need to be furbished or refurbished. What is the harm in having such a category? If someone wants to find the time and energy to write the French revolution article and gain the added fame, then why not encourage them? I know there are plenty of little things you could (and I already can) find fault with in this suggestion, but think about the big picture. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 00:17, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

No, that's a bonus for articles that have already been featured. I am suggesting a type of recognition that is higher than a featured article itself. WP:TFA/R is unlikely to move anyone to attempt French revolution. Plus, TRA/R doesn't allow the Wikipedia reading public to be a factor in the decision making. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 00:31, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Popular articles are some of the most unstable articles on Wiki - that does not bode well for quality. By the way, if I cared about working on popular articles, I could just work on sex and all of its related subpages. However, it is worth considering why users went to them. I'm not sure the massive group of users who visited all of the sex pages would really be interested in a carefully constructed article. And who wants to deal with all that vandalism? The whole idea of rewarding people for working on what is popular would also only exacerbate the WP:RECENTISM issue on Wikipedia. Did you notice all of the recent movies, video games, celebrities, etc. on the lists? Awadewit (talk) 00:37, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Class No.
Page links
Interwiki links
Hit count
Featured article FA 13 60,300 145 353,940
A-Class article A 7 36,171 149 294,330
GA 8 14,864 130 262,335
B 72 16,857 128 157,590
Start 1 5,476 118 193,980
The Version 1.0 Editorial Team already has robust statistics to count the "importance" of articles, and a description can be found here. I did a quick summary of the "Top-101" which is given in the table: 101 because there was a tie for 100th place. Note the high number of B-class articles, and the presence of a Start-class article. Physchim62 (talk) 01:08, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Good. I was hoping that there would already be a more robust version of the "importance" test in place. So, why not award a platinum star to the first 3000 (or suitably adjusted number of) articles in that list? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 02:17, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Clearly, also, the main hump seems to be the transition from Class B to Class GA. So, why not have a silver star for articles in this list of "vital"/"important" articles that have been improved to the GA level? That will open up the field a little and make the task of improving Wikipedia articles less intimidating (by making it more piecemeal).
I'm a little mystified too by the suggestions of various people that we have to be experts to write articles. I don't keep up with the latest version of Wikipedia's "mission statement" but that view would seem to go against it. Someone suggested that if they had to look up "Gravity," they would go to other sources. I have to disagree most emphatically. To be sure, experts out there can write a great survey article on gravity, however, no one can stop a non-expert on Wikipedia from reading the experts' survey articles and putting together an even more comprehensive summary article. That's what Wikipedia's governing philosophy is all about. I have to also disagree that large scale collaborations aren't possible for Featured Articles. Many country featured articles are the result of such collaborations; Australia and India are but two examples. Another example, that I watched from afar is the British Empire FA. The authors there, slowly but surely, worked through all the issues and submitted it for a GA, and then, soon thereafter, for for FA. Consider that! This the the "British Empire" we are talking about, a topic that has as much controversy as the "French revolution."
When I arrived on Wikipedia two and a half years ago, the governing philosophy of writing the longer articles was explained to me by user:Nichalp (whose inimitably succinct style will be sorely missed) in something like the following words. You start writing an article on a topic; eventually the various sections come alive and the article grows too big. You then create sub-articles for the sections and prune the prose in the sections to contain only the summaries of these sub-articles. So now the article shrinks in size again. When these cycles of growth and shrinkage have stabilized, you are ready to write the lead, which is the sequential summary of the different sections held together with some overall perspective. You are then ready to submit the article for GA and higher honors. I don't know how close this approach was to Wikipedia's governing philosophy, but, it kept, among other things, the focus on articles that had enough "meat" in them to have sub-articles in the first place. Among the current FACs, Obesity clearly seems to be based on this approach (no pun intended), whereas many others are not; some are little bigger than stubs, shorter in fact than what I wrote up in one afternoon. Why are such articles even being submitted for FA? No wonder people get "nominator fatigue" (to use Karanacs's felicitous expression). True, there is no explicit prohibition on article length (or lack thereof), but where's your perspective? Why complain then that there are too many FACs?
I firmly believe that the current specialization in the direction of more obscure articles is a direct result of the system of rewards that are in place. I believe that there should be (almost) equal honor for articles in "vital" or "important" areas that are well-sourced but that might not have the best prose. A similar honor could be worked out for large collaborative projects. So, all in all, I'm am proposing that there be:
  • a "vital"/"essential" featured article honor (with platinum star) for articles in "important" areas that become FAs (where "importance" is decided, say, by the first 3000 places in "Version 1.0 Editorial Team's "importance" count, as mentioned in Physchim62's post above)
  • a silver star for articles in these same important areas that are reliably sourced and have been brought up to GA.
  • Some honor (to be decided) for large collaborative projects on topics such as French revolution or English poetry that are brought up to GA level. (i.e. that are reliably sourced and tolerably written).
  • the usual FA gold star and the GA "plus" would continue to be awarded. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people writing excellent articles in their area or specialty or interest, such as the ones written by Awedewit, Brian Boulton and others. That's, after all, what makes Wikipedia unique. But there is no reason why the collaborative spirit of Wikipedia can't also be unleashed and room made for honors that recognize other achievements. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:22, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
PS Among "other achievements" I would most emphatically include copy-editors who often turn—sometimes during the FAC process itself—a sow's ear into a silk purse. Why are (in most cases) the so-called authors adding the FA star to their list of achievements and the copy-editors are not. To someone who suggests that anyone can copy-edit and that the primary task is organizing the content and sourcing it, I'd like to counter with, "any one can create the content and source it (by going to a library), but very few can turn that into readable prose." Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:46, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

(outdent)I just have one comment about "big" topics vs more "obscure" topics. I'm interested in the History of Texas. This is a huge article, so I started first working on the subsections (I've brought one to FA and one to GA). Then I hit a subsection that was really huge in and of itself, so I went down another level to research its subarticles (4 of the 13 are FA). Eventually, I'll have finished the research and be able to work my way back up. I don't think it would have been possible for me to write a good survey of the whole History of Texas unless I had done more of this specific research into the more "obscure" topics underneath it. My work on the "obscure" topics is directly related to the work on the "big" topic. Karanacs (talk) 13:51, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

That's fine. Your approach is just the complement of user:Nichalp's modular approach I mentioned above. He himself said (and this was in late 2006) that ideally the progression should be from sub-article to main article, but since no sub-articles had been written (in the "big" topic of our discussion), we had to generate the spin-offs as we proceeded. In any case History of Texas is not the poorly written "big" topic article we are talking about. Judging from its lead, it (as a failed GA candidate) seems to be better written than two-thirds of the articles presented here as FACs and quite a few that become FAs. Go figure. This in fact makes me wonder if user:Mattisse does have a point that successful FA authors have (in a perversion of "nothing succeeds like success") begun to submit sub-standard articles here and, unwittingly, perhaps, come rely on each others' perfunctory support to succeed even more; in other words, if a bit of a Mutual Admiration Society has been in the works and is in danger of becoming institutionalized. I have no idea if this is the case, but I do see enough anomalies here and there that it make me wonder whether some ombudsmen shouldn't be looking into it. Or, maybe there should be a term limit of sorts; if you've written more than 10 featured articles, then perhaps you should consider submitting no more than once every other month, or work in collaboration with others, or work towards bringing "important" topics up to GA and so forth. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You should have seen History of Texas before I got my hands on it and started doing research ;) I'm glad it looks better now! Karanacs (talk) 16:39, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You make some interesting and even persuasive points F&f. Curiously though there is a great resistance to having any indicators on articles, such as the coloured stars you mention, other than the present bronze FA star. And some would even like to see that removed. BTW, I was the one who used the example of an article on gravity, but I didn't mean it to be taken in the way you describe. Of course wikipedia should have as good an article on a subject like that as it can, but I'd argue that because reliable information on what many would see as less important subjects, such as the SSEM you were kind enough to help with recently, is more difficult to obtain online, then to that extent they are perhaps more valuable to a reader of the encyclopedia. In any event though, I am by no means trying to dissuade anyone from working on whatever it is decided are the big, vital, topics, just as I hope that nobody will be dissuaded from working on the rest. --Malleus Fatuorum 15:42, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)
I didn't mean to imply that the 10 or whatever editors that have submitted the bulk of the FA articles were submitting substandard articles. My point is that in many cases the circumscribed subjects (someone's academic area of expertise) becomes overly represented. This would be fine if FAC did not represent such a drain of resources. It is fashionable to ridicule the lowly tastes represented by the interest in popular culture. To me the question is for whom is this encyclopedia here? Should the millions of dollars in grants and donations collected by Wikipedia go toward only representing the interests of a few or also of the many? Should "Wikipedia's finest" be the playground guarded by the few who set the standards for admission in such a way that only they have the stamina, knowledge and networking to gain entrance? —Mattisse (Talk) 15:47, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
(ecx2) By all means do point out any evidence of a "Mutual Admiration Society", privately if you wish. I abhor the thought, and would not want to miss an opportunity to intervene in such nonsense. In my experience, though, regular FAC reviewers are often significantly harsher on sub-standard noms from successful FA authors, as they should know better. Maralia (talk) 15:51, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
That's certainly been my impression as well. --Malleus Fatuorum 15:53, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Hey, let's not jump on Fowler&Fowler for naively blundering into the taboo subject of a "Mutual Admiration Society", rather than seriously consider the problems and suggestions he contributes. FAC would benefit from input of others, rather than discouraging it by only focusing on the mentioning of the "wrong" topic. I would like to add, on the issue of whether only "experts" are qualified to write an FAC and only a few are skilled enough to review, that I believe "experts" sometimes are over invested in their field and point of view, and that the non expert is often able to bring breadth and balance to an article, as well as accomplished copy editing and reviewing. There are a few technical topics where the interested non expert may be unqualified and may easily misunderstand the meaning of sentences. However, most topics at FAC the interested non expert is able to understand and write content without "expert" status. If FA has evolved to the point where only "experts" are qualified to write and review, then .... (I don't know what to say). —Mattisse (Talk) 16:42, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

For what it's worth: FA is a quality rating. The common reviewers on FAC/FAR are doing a very good job there. Essential/Vital articles is an importance rating. For FAC/FAR issues this should be irrelevant. Essential/Vital articles should be an invcentive to generate cooperation to get it to a high quality level. This should in my view NOT interfere with the quality system in any way. So in brief, I think this whole discussion is not very relevant. Arnoutf (talk) 16:45, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

The hell is a 'mutually admiring society'? Skinny87 (talk) 16:58, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You will have to ask Maralia and Malleus, as they are the ones that brought the subject up. —Mattisse (Talk) 17:23, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
That is quite simply untrue. I have never mentioned the existence or otherwise of a 'mutually admiring society', either here or elsewhere. Ever. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:27, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I apologize if I misunderstood your comment, "That's certainly been my impression as well." Since it was not in response to Maralia's "Mutual Admiration Society" comment, what was it in response to? —Mattisse (Talk) 17:34, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
  • This is the last time I shall be replying to you here; it is just too frustrating to be bothered with. Maralia was quoting from a comment made by F&F, as can clearly be seen by the fact that she included the term in quotation marks. I was merely agreeing with her observation that FAC regulars on the contrary often seem to me to get a rougher ride at FAC. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:38, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
It's a take on a song called Mutual Admiration Society (song), a humorous duet between two friends who clearly admire each other and have no criticism to give. Here's Ethel Merman singing it. Rock it, Ethel. --Moni3 (talk) 17:28, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I know what it is, I was just clarifying for Mattisse's benefit that I was not the one who suggested the existence of a "Mutual Admiration Society", it was F&f above. I am getting rather tired of Mattisse's continual attempts to spin away inconvenient truths in the way that appears to have become habitual to him/her. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:35, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Again, I apologize to you for hurting your feelings. I merely meant to suggest that F&F's comments be taken seriously as I wish my comments were. However, I see that was very wrong of me to suggest. It is best for those of us not welcome here to remember that fact and to keep in mind that we are in a hostile environment on this page. I realize you dominate here and certainly do not mean to contest that. I mistakenly wanted to discuss the issue of "experts". But I give up and cede to your dominance. Again, I am deeply apologetic for irritating and disturbing you. Regards, —Mattisse (Talk) 17:48, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
...and now we have the "poor pitiful me" segment of our show. Mattisse, the only person who appeared not to take F&F's comments seriously was you, with your 'naively blundering' comment; the rest of us were in fact trying to discuss his post at face value. Have you added to this conversation here, or merely drawn attention away from the subject and onto yourself and slights only you seem to perceive? Maralia (talk) 18:02, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I have attempted several times to discuss pertinent topics, including the role of experts. I had wanted my comments to be taken seriously But you seem to prefer attacking me personally. So go ahead. —Mattisse (Talk) 18:43, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I have in no way 'attacked you personally'; merely pointed out your tiresome habit of imaginary slights escalated by gross mischaracterization and topped off with the old reverse power play of 'I know I'm not welcome here' because 'powerful people are in charge'. What's not welcome here is the unnecessary drama. Now, is the sideshow over, so we can get back to the issue at hand? Maralia (talk) 19:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

As far as I know, there is no one in this conversation who has suggested that only experts should write FAs. This entire conversation is starting revolve around strawmen. Awadewit (talk) 20:29, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Whoa, whoa, whoa! Not sure what happened since I dashed off that post, but no I'm not upset by anything anyone has said. And no, I don't have any hard evidence that a mutual admiration society is at work, but I do sometimes wonder if familiarity with the FAC process makes the "successful" nominators submit more easily than newcomers otherwise might, and sometimes all too easily. But, anyway, that's a minor issue, and not the nominator's fault. I agree overall with what Malleus F. has said in his reply to my post (and apologize for misinterpreting him). It is true that you are unlikely to find an interesting article on the Manchester machine in other encyclopedias (and the same goes for Awedewit's articles on Mrs. Sherwood and other children's authors.)

I am intrigued by what Arnoutf says in his post, but I don't agree with his point of view. True, the FA is a quality rating, but it is also an incentive, an award of sorts, an honor; otherwise, why do you think people would be lining up their stars at the top of their pages until they drop off the side? If it were a quality rating alone, only the article would deserve to have it, but not the editor. My point is that there is no such incentive or award in Wikipedia to work on articles, such as the essentials, which usually cover a broader canvas, which have already been substantially written and less likely to have the brand of one person, which sometimes require collaboration, and which are likely more difficult to write and rewrite. I submit that articles such as those require more incentives then just the final FA star, perhaps a half-way stop star if you will. Someone who can get the British Empire or French revolution or History of Texas up to GA level should deserve our approbation not just for the effort involved, but also for bringing a relevant topic (which is more likely to be read by an ordinary web surfer) up to readable and believable quality.

As for the other issues, please don't worry about my feelings. I've got a pretty thick skin. Nothing on Wikipedia has fazed me yet. (That's not an invitation though for anyone to try.  :)) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:43, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd go for something like that - a platinum star or whatever for a more valued article. It seems like the beginning of the type of incentive scheme we'd need to get these articles written. Skinny87 (talk) 20:47, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
If the bronze star right now isn't motivating people, what makes us think that a different colored star would? It doesn't seem like enough of a difference to change behavior. I work (slowly) on some of big articles anyway, so am likely not the target audience. Karanacs (talk) 20:53, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the point he's trying to make is that simply achieving GA status in a "large" "essential" topic might be an undertaking of similar dificulty to writing a full fledged FA in a "smaller" topic. And while the latter get a bronze star and a shot at the main page prime spot, the former get nothing. (talk) 22:01, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You got it. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:21, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a whole different ballgame though. I've been a very vociferous supporter of the GA project, and of awarding the mainpage green dot, but it ain't gonna happen. Just look at the bloodbath the last time the issue was raised; many would rather lose the FA bronze star than allow an upstart green dot. Having said that though, I still do believe that those decorations are rewarding to editors, and I'd be all in favour of refining them in the way that you suggest. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:15, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I used to be opposed to the GA-on-the-main page idea, but after working at DYK for a few weeks, I now totally support it. So much of DYK is total crap - why should we continue to put so much undeveloped and poorly referenced material on the main page and not GAs? It mystifies me. Awadewit (talk) 23:23, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
While I don't appreciate the sometimes-subpar quality of DYK articles or the assembly-line approach to the process, I think DYK is important in promoting the creation of new content and expansion of our stubs. The idea is good, but the process and mindset of some contributors needs work. Dabomb87 (talk) 23:28, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I was just talking about the idea of a green dot on the article's page, not inclusion on the wikipedia mainpage. I couldn't even begin to imagine the number of times that both ideas have been shot down. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:39, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
(sigh) yeah - my idea was similar. I thought GAs were prefect as they were good quality (heh 'Good') yet had room for improvement that extra exposure on the mainpage might bring. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:44, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
(To Malleus) Pardon my naivete, but why in the world would anyone care if there was a GA insignia on an article? --Laser brain (talk) 04:55, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Why does anyone care that there's an FA insignia on an article? --Malleus Fatuorum 05:08, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
That's my point. If they like it there, who cares? I can see that we wouldn't exactly want to advertise being B-class or whatever, but GA and FA are nice plateaus of article quality. Maybe I'm preaching to the choir. --Laser brain (talk) 05:11, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I think we're perhaps struggling to agree? I'm very much in favour of extending the present decoration system to include GA, and even including at least some of the extensions suggested above by F&f. --Malleus Fatuorum 05:17, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry to say this, but GA status is no guarantee of quality. At PR I see a lot of articles that have passed GA which are of very poor standard in terms of prose, construction, referencing etc. Some GAs are of a quality little different from that of a typical FA, and these usually become FAs quite soon. Others, well... Do a bit of intensive PR reviewing and you'll soon see what I mean. Brianboulton (talk) 13:07, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but FA is not a guarantee of quality either, and the overwhelming majority of the DYKs that occupy so much of the current main page are a long way from being ready to be show-cased. This continual resistance to any form of change is one of the most frustrating things about wikipedia IMO. My feelings on PR are exactly the same as the feelings I expressed about copyediting above; a waste of time unless the article is being prepared for FA/GA. --Malleus Fatuorum 14:38, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
It's not a waste of time to help improve articles, however far down the order of quality they may initially be, but that's not the point here. I am questioning the assumption given above, that "GA and FA are nice plateaus of article quality." Although there are rogue FAs these represent, I believe, a small minority. The proportion of substandard GAs, from my experience reviewing them at PR, is much higher. This is not aversion to change on my part, but I think that if GAs are to be more formally recognised, say by main-page exposure, it might be necessary to reconsider the present GA review system. Brianboulton (talk) 18:32, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

→Why should it be GA procedures which need changing and not FA procedures? Why should FAs have a monopoly over the main page slot? What is stopping someone sending WP:FAC to MfD under the WP:ESPERANZA precedent? Physchim62 (talk) 19:43, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I would like to reiterate what I see as a much bigger problem: why do DYK articles, which are much worse on average than GAs, granted main page space? I think DYK needs to be reformed or GAs need to be offered main page space or something. The fact is that most users don't realize that DYKs are developing articles (despite the announcement that they are our "newest" articles). I'm not quite sure why we want to advertise these poorly developed, poorly written, and poorly sourced articles so prominently. Awadewit (talk) 20:22, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree with what a number of people (Malleus F., Brian Boulton, Physchim62, and Awedewit) have said. The bottom line for me is that the Wikipedia community has limited copy-editing resources. These resources (as user:Mattisse has observed) are being used disproportionately on the FAC process (i.e. on articles that are being prepped as FACs, whether they pass or fail). Wikipedia promotes itself as an encyclopedia, not as a specialist non-fiction resource on interesting topics. It is presumably supported by various charitable organizations or funding agencies as an encyclopedia. Encyclopedias over centuries have developed core topics. The current state of these core articles on Wikipedia is pathetic; what little copy-editing resources there exist, are being squandered on obscure (albeit very interesting) FAC articles that are sometimes written very quickly by primary authors, and often without much regard to the core topics in the area. When these articles are not promoted, they are often resubmitted right away with barely evident changes, straining the copy-editing resources even more. This state of affairs obviously cannot continue indefinitely. Sooner or later something has to give. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
PS Why don't I put my money where my mouth is and give you a couple of examples from the current FACs? Please give me a few minutes. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:48, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Core vs. obscure

I'd like to start with a personal example. As a busy academic, I don't always get long stretches of undisturbed time. I did, however, get one on New Year's Day this year. I started working on a core article on early-modern/colonial history of India. By the end of the long afternoon, I had an article of 3694 words, and 23 KB of "readable prose". True, it didn't have a lead, but the rest of the article read reasonably well, more or less as good at the average FAC candidate I see here.

Well, then I got distracted by something .... Soon my better half presented me with Lewis Rice's two-volume 1897 Mysore Gazetteer (for which she spent a bundle), and I began to read that, and then another friend gave me C. Hayavadana Rao's 3-volume and 2,500 page History of Mysore, ... and so forth. Well, since that fateful afternoon I've added some new sections, but the article in my view remains incomplete. In part, because it is a core topic, I feel it needs especial care. I could, however, have submitted the article as an FAC on January 1 itself by quickly whipping up a lead and most likely (given the state of knowledge about this topic in the Wikipedia community) no one would have found out. I am not trying to hold up my scatter-brained-ness up an example for others, but contrast this now with my examples:

Example 1
  • Traumatic insemination. Until 31 March 2009, when it is picked up by primary author user:Raul654, it has a readable prose size of 201 words and 1.2 KB. Between 31 March 2009 and April 5, 2009, 49 edits are made by the primary author and the article increases in size to 1022 words (or 6.7 KB). At this point it is submitted as an FAC. (It has no rating either on the importance scale or the quality/class scale.) What is the condition of the more important or vital articles in this area? Well, here is a list: Mating (High importance, Start class), Reproduction (High importance, C class in one project, B class in another), Insemination (Stub of a stub), Artificial insemination (B class).
Example 2
Example 3
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus. Readable prose size 1984 words 12 kB. Before it is first edited by primary author Gary King, it has reached, on 3 January 2009, a readable prose size of 1110 words or 6.5 KB 46 edits are made by primary author by the edit of 22 February 2009] and prose size is now 1978 words or 12 KB. On 7 March the article is submitted as a part of a featured topic, but not promoted. Between 29 March and April 6, the primary author makes 6 or 7 copy-edits and the article is submitted as an FAC with these words, "I started working on this a few months ago. I think it's a well-written article, and since I haven't had an FAC in a few months, I'm submitting this." What is the state of the core articles in the area? Action-adventure game is a C class high importance article, and Video game is a B class article.

Now you tell me, why Wikipedia's precious copy-editing resources should be spent on these articles when the core articles are in such a sorry mess? Why have these editors not bothered to even make a pretense of cleaning up the mother articles, as they are busy racking up their stars? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:24, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Just a note on your 2nd example - the only reason Hue Chemical attacks was archived was because we thought its nominator had retired from Wikipedia. When he returned to editing he renominated it immediately (with Sandy's blessing) because it had already begun attracting support. Generally, we try to remove nominations that are submitted right after archival with little or no work on them. Karanacs (talk) 21:27, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate the point you're trying to make, but there are other factors you should consider before lamenting editors' working on obscure or "unimportant" articles. For me, and I safely assume many editors, time constraints and access to resources mean that while I have the opportunity to bring an individual film article up to [what I think is] FA level, I can't do the same for, say, Film itself. To do so would require extended, repeated visits to my local library and those in neighbouring towns that my current lifestyle—family and work commitments—simply does not permit. Many of our editors have similar limitations on their focus; a few times I've discussed an article's not being comprehensive enough to receive the quite understandable reply that the primary contributor cannot meet the required standard because they don't have an adequate pool of resources from which to draw. It's no wonder that many of us devote our time—on this hobby I remind you—to the more enjoyable and short-term-rewarding aspects—writing and structuring and copyediting articles—rather than to the grind of hunting down sources that may or may not yield gold. In the time it would take to bring Film to FA or even GA, several dozen similar-quality individual film articles could be written. Steve TC 22:33, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Completely agree with Steve above. For my part, I fully intend on one day bringing the core article Fungi to FA status, but this will require monumental effort over an extended period of time - almost like work. Until then, I'll have fun bringing more obscure fungal topics to GA or FA status. Sasata (talk) 22:49, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
And joining the pile-on. Something like Noel Park takes perhaps a month to research, write, illustrate and clean up. Researching, writing, sourcing illustrations, and defending against edit-warriors for its parent articles Gothic Revival architecture and London could literally take years, and the end result would be of less use to the reader (who can easily go elsewhere to find out about the general history of London or 19th-century architecture, but will find no other online source or easily-available book about this particular topic). – iridescent 23:01, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Wikiproject Equine's been working on Horse for ages. It's finally GA, but the work involved is frightening. And the more you move towards a "core" topic, the worse the problems become. I'd love to work on Sparta or William the Conqueror, but ... it is a LOT easier to assemble sourcing for Paulinus of York. I've got some more "core" topics heading FAC way, it'll just take more time. I can totally sympathize with the folks who don't have the time I have for research... Ealdgyth - Talk 23:03, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Reply to Karanacs: I have corrected my examples above; they, however, don't take away from my main point. For example, the first sentence of the video game article says, "Metroid II: Return of Samus is an action-adventure video game," but the parent articles action-adventure game and video game have not benefited from even one edit by the primary author (as far as I can tell). The same with traumatic insemination; the primary author has not made even one clean-up edit in mating, reproduction, insemination, or artificial insemination. The FACs are being edited hurriedly in splendid isolation. What's the hurry to finish the FACs when there's never any hurry to edit the parent articles? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:18, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Reply to Steve: I understand your point and agree that taking Film to a FA or even GA might be difficult for an individual editor, but I don't see why it can't be done by a team in the same way that country articles (FA or GA) are put together. After all, pretty much all country articles are written by a collective, and there are 15 or 20 FAs. Please read the talk archives of Talk:British Empire (6, 7, and current) and notice the extensive discussion and work involved User:The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick's GA and FA drives. It is true that progress is sometimes slow, but why is slow progress on an important topic worse (from the point of view of even an individual) than quick progress on an obscure topic? It does make me wonder if each FA star is being treated by some of the editors who take their articles to FA status as part of a competitive points system. Sort of like another medal on a chest full of medals. In other words 10 medals is better than one. What they might be forgetting is that user:The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick's one medal might be worth ten of theirs. But my main point remains: so long as the core articles remain in poor shape, there is a reality out there, which might not continue to support Wikipedia; or it might support it, I can't foretell the future, but it is certainly something I'd worry about.Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:22, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

I read (most) of the above discussion with interest and want to interject a suggestion: Instead of berating editors who work on improving and bringing article on obscure topics to FA status, rather than working on core articles (after all this is a hobby, and losing such editors will only mean that neither core, nor obscure articles see the desired improvement), the focus should be on how to change the incentive structure on wikipedia to reward/recognize larger-scale collaborative writing that is essential for core topic articles to be (truly) encyclopedic. As I think all agree, writing a good article on Film, is much more work than writing a good article on a film - shouldn't that extra effort be encouraged in some way ? This may involves tweaks or overhaul to the FA, GA system, or creation of a parallel process, and the question is worth brainstorming. Abecedare (talk) 00:30, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

I think that's essentially what some of us are saying upstairs. I'm sorry if I sounded like berating anyone. I'm certainly not saying that people shouldn't write articles on interesting topics, but rather that the current incentive structure encourages such writing and that it needs to be revised or some parallel system of rewards needs to be instituted. I mentioned one such complementary reward system in my first post above. I agree that brainstorming of some sort might be in order. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:44, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's all just the reward structure that encourages more limited subjects, it's also the sheer difficulty in mastering the source material, as well as the difficulties involved in NPOV, etc with the larger subjects. Ealdgyth - Talk 01:53, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Quick idea (maybe stupid) for a reward - actually identify the primary researcher/developer for core articles? I don't know if it would mean anything, but maybe a notice on the top of the talk page, saying, "Example was the primary contributor in bringing this core topic to featured status." ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 01:59, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Reply to Ealdgyth: We are not talking about a very general article, such as Film. If on a scale of 1 to 10, Film is 10 and a typical FAC is 1, what about all the intervening numbers? Articles such as mating or reproduction or artificial insemination are nowhere as general as Film, they are more like 3 or 4 or 5 (max). They can certainly be attempted, at least by a small group of editors. The point is that no attempt has been made. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 02:16, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the attempts have been made, and editors have not only found it very difficult, but maintenance over time of such articles is difficult. Ask those who brought bird and lion to FA. Editors work on what interests them; we can't change that in a volunteer project. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:51, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't know about bird, but I was part of the capitalization discussion in lion before it went for GA. See my exhaustive documentation in Style and Convention and also the discussion above it. Most likely, without me the text would have "Lion" throughout and not "lion." I don't recall the GA and FA being that difficult. But in any case, that is my point: the reward scheme needs to be such that people will find it equally rewarding working on the "big" articles as they currently do on the "small" ones. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 10:46, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Reply to Hurricanehink: Yes, that's a good idea. The primary author could also be a group. I think yours and various other schemes need to be considered when such brainstorming begins. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 02:20, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I would oppose this. Yes, FAs are usually a product of one or two editors' efforts, but recognizing "authors" or "groups" refutes the core idea that wikis are based on collaboration and that nobody owns articles. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:24, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, then why are people advertising themselves as the "primary authors" of FAs or GAs and blazoning their user pages with the stars they have netted. Why are statistics being kept on who took how many articles to FA? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 10:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

You know, this is really irritating, and sounds so pompous and elitist; I'm sorry, but making what seem to be scathing attacks on editors just because they haven't deigned to make improvements to the 'mother' article of their topic, which is usually insanely difficult, takes a vast amount of time and will probably be ruined by anon editors in a few hours/days. And what about people who take the bottom-up approach? I'm starting on the smaller articles for airborne warfare and will then eventually work to expand that 'main' article. And I know that, for example, David Fuchs is working towards getting all of the Star Trek films to FA-level for an FTC, but the 'mother' article isn't even GA yet (I think) and he'll go for that at the end. I don't see anytuing wrong with that approach. Skinny87 (talk) 08:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Maybe you should think about why it is getting irritating. I didn't start this discussion. The discussion began with people complaining about the large number of FACs and both the slow progress and the lack of available copyediting. I am suggesting that the process is getting clogged with an ever increasing number of people who are in a hurry to put their article out there as an FAC, without regard to the overall picture. Consider for example A timeline of major famines in India during British rule: 1765 to 1947. I've written all the articles in that time line except the first and last. At least two of them, Indian famine of 1899–1900 (at 1965 words, 12 KB), Indian_famine_of_1896–1897 (at 1446 words, 9 KB) are the same length as the three examples above and are likely as well-written (or better written). Two more: Great Famine of 1876–78 (at 856 works, 5.2 KB) and Agra famine of 1837–38 (at 853 words and 5.2 KB) are close; in other words, in a few hours I could expand them to the size of the three examples. Would you like me to then clog up the system even more by submitting all four one after another as FACs? I wouldn't do that because I believe there are other famine articles in the series and the timeline article itself and some other related articles that need to be developed too. I'm afraid though that some editors seem to be in great hurry to nominate their articles. It would be understandable if newcomers did that, but these seem to be editors who already have a chestful of FA medals. I'm afraid that some editors are submitting their articles for FA all to easily. Consider Raul654's nominating note: "An article I found a few months ago and made a mental note to work on later. I spent much of last week expanding it and now I think it's up to FA quality." There are a lot of people on Wikipedia who routinely do this sort of expansion of an article, but they don't then turn around and submit it for an FA. Why complain then that the system is too slow? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 10:56, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
These seem to be two seperate issues. One, that too many FACs are being nominated and clogging up the tubes. And two, that said FACs are not core/vital/required/whatever articles, and are instead allegedly 'less important' articles. The two don't really seem to be connected; there would still be a backlog even if all these FACs weren't motorways and hurricanes and were instead things like Film and Earth and so forth. The former problem does need to be solved, and I have advocated that something needs to be done - perhaps a restriction on how many can be present at any one time (say 10 or 20) to allow reviewers to concentrate on a smaller number of articles - in combination with more rewards, perhaps. The latter problem is purely subjective, really, and depends on how you define 'important' and doesn't seem to take into consideration 1. That all editors are volunteers and have their own areas of interest, and 2. That the reason the 'most important' articles are utter crap most of the time is because of the endless stream of POV warriors and, even worse, anon IP editors who rarely discuss anything, and if they do are rarely polite. Skinny87 (talk) 11:08, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I think you and I are more or less on the same page. I am saying that if the reward structure were such that some of the editors who submit FACs on relatively minor topics were rewarded even more for banding together and improving the major ones, there would be less pressure at FAC review. (Instead of five FACs (say) in that instance, there'd be only one.) As for the bottom-up approach, I'm not so sure about its feasibility, primarily for two reasons: (a) the number of minor topics is often infinite (consider "video games" for example) and (b) even after improving all the minor topics in a sub-field, the temptation would always be there to avoid the "endless stream of POV warriors" that yet might appear in the main topic and find refuge in some other minor topic in a related main field. I suppose (b) could be easily checked by looking at the FA histories of people who have (say) more than ten FAs and see if there is any such bottom-up construction going on.
I want to reiterate again, I'm not in the least attacking editors for writing articles on interesting topics. I have great empathy with them. I have myself written articles on even more obscure topics than anything that appears on FAC review because I believe (with Malleus F.) that Wikipedia can provide a perch for content (that is both obscure and interesting) that would never make it to the mainstream. Consider my articles on naturalists in British India such as, Stanley Henry Prater, Walter Samuel Millard, Ethelbert Blatter, Herbert Musgrave Phipson. Before I wrote them, there was no mention of these people on the web. These articles will always pretty much remain at their current size, and I've never even checked if they have any kind of rating, but so what. (Phipson's article, for example, at over 1300 words is already bigger than example 1 above; and lord knows when I edited it last.) For me the pleasure was in finding 1886 copies of a journal and scanning the original images for that article. But I've also spent time taking on POV warriors on Talk:British India, Talk:India, and Talk:British Raj and elsewhere. That is the nature of Wikipedia. I'm at a state and stage in life when FA stars don't mean anything (i.e. the idea of getting them is not enough motivation except perhaps as means to seeing an article in a more complete and stable condition). I am simply urging more balance, that these FA editors also, once in a while, band together and take on a major topic. I am urging also that the reward structure be such that it makes it worth their while to do so. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:58, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm at a stage in life where I like to collect the shiny stars :) But yeah, if there was an even shinier platinum star for core articles, I'd probably put more effort into working on one. (I guess I haven't completely gotten over my sticker fetish from childhood.) Sasata (talk) 16:20, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Maybe this is tinkering on the colourful fringes but I think that a different coloured star for a core topic would be an excellent little idea, especially because the subjectivity of what is "core" is generally well-agreed upon. We could even push the boat out further and use a specific coloured star to represent its importance, but that's easier said that done (especially consensus wise). Sillyfolkboy (talk) 16:55, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

IMO all, the talk of copy-editing above is beside the point. I think there are 2 main problems about working on a "core" article:

  • To produce an FA-class article on a core topic requires as much knowledge and understanding as a dozen FAs on non-core topics. For example I've got articles on 5 phyla and 3 sub-phyla / major classes of animals to GA and know how much work that involves. There are 30+ animal phyla (depending on which book your read; the grey areas are various "worms"). Having also worked on a few big-scale topics in paleontology, I guess it would take me 6-12 months' solid work to produce an FA-class article on Animal. A professional zoologist / paleontologist might do it in half that time, but this might well require the sacrifice of his / her summer vacation. In addition for at least half the development time the article would be visibly incomplete.
  • The other big issue is agreement about what constitutes "comprehensive" coverage, because an article that provided even the briefest summary of all aspects that various people consider important would be huge. Taking Animal as an example, the differences between animals, plants and fungi (all multi-cellular organisms), the range of body forms and the evolutionary history would certainly be required. Conservation enthusiasts would demand something on on biodiversity, and it would be hard to prevent some of them from trying to turn the article into an advertisement for their cause. Enthusiasts for various animals liked by humans (as pets, working animals, companions, aesthetic objects, etc.) would want to get their favourites included - despite the fact that most favourite animals are vertebrates, i.e. a sub-phylum of one of the 30+ phyla. It's quite likely that all the negotiating between competing interest-groups would take a lot more editor-hours than the research and writing. --Philcha (talk)
(Reply to Philcha) Not sure I agree with everything you say. It all depends on how difficult one decides to make the task on hand. One can take the view that the Wiki-equivalent of Mammal Species Accounts have to be written first and then the article has to be built up meticulously through all the intervening levels of generality to whatever final core article is agreed upon. But there is no reason why an encyclopedia article has to be that rigorous. The "animal (biological)" article in Britannica (written by Virginia C. Maiorana and Leigh M. Van Valen at Chicago is not that detailed. And even if such extreme rigor is demanded by all the people working on WikiProject Animal (or whatever is the project of the moment), there is no reason why, in the interim, there can't be a tolerably well written GA article at the level of an AP Biology Book (in the US), say, Campbell and Reece's Biology, or Scott Freeman's Biological Science. If half a dozen people, get together and summarize Campbell and Reece's or Freeman's relevant sections and weave in material from some recent survey articles (here and there), there is no reason why such an article can't be written. And, if the reward structure favors articles on the core topics, then people will make the compromises (and whatever else it takes) to reap the rewards. My own sense is that the current structure does not distinguish between an FAC whipped up in a few days (as in my examples above) from one that may have required months of preparation. Little wonder that you see more and more lone rangers on the FA landscape who are adding to their stack of stars in the quickest way possible.
Consider, for example, the Flora and fauna and Geography sections of the FA India, both of which I wrote; the first in collaboration with user:Saravask and the second by myself. Neither was based on a sub-article. There was no bottom-up refinement and distillation going on. The sub-articles on the Flora of India and the Fauna of India were in poor shape (as they likely still are) and the sub-article Geography of India (as I recall) had just been de-listed as an FA and I had been asked to not use it as a model. The point is that both sections do the job that is required of a country FA. Both sections have remained stable for the last two years. (And, in fact, on the India page, it is the sub-articles that are in a sorry state, not the "mother" articles.) Sure, someone, in the same number of words, could write a better geography section, but, until that time, the current section works perfectly well. I have a feeling we are making our tasks way more difficult than they really are. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:29, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Fowler&fowler's "a lot of nickel and diming" below. However I think his comment above about making the task unnecessarily difficult misses a few things:
  • Few editors are professionals in the fields they write about - for example I'm not a biologist, but I've been interested in evolution and paleontology since I was a kid. So writing a decent article generally requires serious research.
  • Writing for WP is a more demanding task than writing a textbook, because: WP demands a citation for every point that is not common knowledge (at about western 12-year old level); textbook authors are free to present only their own opinions while [WP:NPOV]] requires that all significant views be represented; textbooks stipulate a prerequisite level of knowledge, which a general encyclopedia cannot do; one aspect of this is that after a couple of introductory chapters they use techical terms quite freely, which is also unsuitable for a general encyclopedia.
  • I suspect the Flora and fauna and Geography of India are not subjects on which many EN.WP have opinions or pet sub-topics. However the "core" topics are ones on which many people think they moderately well-informed, and discussions will not be limited to a couple of like-minded collaborators. --Philcha (talk) 23:03, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
And therein lies the rub I think. I'd be quite happy to work on computer, say, but the work required isn't really technical it's diplomatic, balancing the different ideas that everyone who thinks they know a bit about the subject feels ought to be included. I could write a brilliant article if left to my own devices, but I'm no diplomat, and nor do I want to become one. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:37, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Again, you might not in the current system of rewards; however, if there were a graded system of rewards (for example, a platinum FA star for difficult articles, such as Animal or Film, a gold FA star for less general articles, such as video games, artificial insemination, or History of India), and so forth) you might just consider the diplomatic approach, or there might be others who'd be perfectly willing to combat the various obstacles. I am essentially suggesting a out-and-out capitalist approach with payment in an FA star currency of different denominations. The current system is the equivalent of an economy in which all products cost $1. Why on earth would anyone want to put in more than $1 labor? I am exaggerating of course, but I assume you get my general point. That is why I think there very much is a connection between the glut in the FAC mill and the lack of focus on the core articles. They are both related to the lack of "big rewards" for the "big effort." There's a lot of nickel and diming going on (on all fronts). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:34, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that "big rewards" for the "big effort" will solve the problem. I've already described why I think "core" articles are exceptionally difficult and time-consuming - the amount of research required; discussions that will probably consume an even greater amount of time; the work involved in meeting the requirements of [[WP:V] and WP:NPOV even for an editor who is a real expert in the subject. Writing an artcile on a big subject requires a lot of stamina, and the willingness to keep slogging away for a long time before seeing something one can feel at least a little bit proud of. That last point is also why I suggested a "middle up" approach (in the case of zoology, working up from class / sub-phylum rather than species) - it provides a more continuous stream of satisfaction to boost one's morale. --Philcha (talk) 23:22, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm a poor graduate student. Pay me to work on a core article. :) (Entire community recoils in horror.) Awadewit (talk) 23:32, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

You mean they've not been paying you? I thought everyone was in on the secret. Where did you think that $6 million went? – iridescent 23:40, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

To anyone who believes that writing a "core" article is anything other than a Herculean effort, way beyond any possible compensation, I have only one thing to say. Roman Catholic Church. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:56, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

It is possible. Doesn't mean I'd want to do it though. – iridescent 00:00, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Islam had it relatively easy. Its editors didn't have to wade through months and months of this kind of nonsense. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:15, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure (and I'm not being sarcastic here) there are difficult articles, riven with controversy, vulnerable to the drifting relics of every shade of opinion, that, to boot, don't hold out even the wisp of a promise of intermittent snail-pace progress. However, there are also counter-examples to every pessimistic forecast, such as Law, Poetry, Islam (mentioned by User:Iridescent), and India. The last-named, for example, contrary to Philcha's suspicions, has one of the busiest talk pages on the English Wikipedia (with dozens of archives) and garnered special mention in WP:Main article fixation. Yet the FA has remained in the top 50 surfed En. Wikipedia articles for the last two years.
We can debate to death the intrinsic and extrinsic difficulty of writing "core" FAs (and I guessing there's not much more to be said by either side), but what is the harm in having a graded system of FA stars? At the very worst, no one will claim the platinum FA star. (The naysayers will say, "I told you so," and I'll say, "That's Wimpipedia for you.") So what? Anyway, why don't I put my money where my mouth is and work on some core topics. Why don't I take on three: English grammar (BIG), Cholera (Big), and Avian influenza (Big) (none of which is a GA, none edited by me, and all quite distant from my usual edits in Colonial India-topics)? Will report back in a few months. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:06, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Why don't you just improve them anyway, and give a one-finger salute to the whole FA process? With any luck, if enough people ignore them, the petty obsessives will go away and the rest of us can get on with writing an encyclopedia. Physchim62 (talk) 17:46, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Great advice. Will do just that. Thanks! Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
This is part of why I've rebelled against the FA/GA system. I've realized that the system carries its own bias, that that bias is hurting wikipedia, and that I don't want to be affected by it anymore. Wrad (talk) 18:21, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
You can put me down for English grammar. Who else is willing to sign up? Awadewit (talk) 17:51, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Great. Will be in touch on your talk page soon. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Is this a core-content FAC throwdown?? Sign me up! I'll tackle biochemistry, currently B-class. Will submit for FAC by July 1st. Sasata (talk) 18:33, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Fabulous. I'm not a biochemist, but if you think I can help in any way, please ask me. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Once I get through my remaining 9-10 FAs need for the Star Trek feature films, I'll see you at the flippin' French Revolution :P --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 21:06, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Hey everybody - over here!!!

(waves hands wildly in air and whistles) - this is why I resurrected WP:ACID - please improve yellow and barley and also Wrad should finally get green to FAC. I never know, does anyone really look up history?? Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:41, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

If someone wants to offer a peer review of Green I will respond. Wrad (talk) 00:59, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I'll try and find someone who'll be an arseho very thorough. Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:41, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Does anyone spring to mind? :-)
Green looks easier to me than History, as the latter can refer both to the study and to its subject (e.g. the "laws" propounded by Hegel and Marx). --Philcha (talk) 11:49, 17 April 2009 (UTC)