Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive37

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Image review needed

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:46, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Billie Jean promoted?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but was Billie Jean's FAC promoted in this edit with zero supports? —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 20:56, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

It was archived. See Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Archived nominations/April 2009. The bot will run later today to make everything look right. Karanacs (talk) 21:04, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, my original message didn't sound as right as I wanted it to. I was attempting to point out a possible mistake. :-) Anyways, apologies for my confusion; I don't understand much about the new system. Cheers, —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 21:09, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
There was actually a single support, just FYI. Majorly talk 21:15, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I totally appreciate all mistake pointing-out. I'm so new at this it's likely I'll make (at least) a few! Karanacs (talk) 21:45, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, I tried to point out a mistake, but it apparently wasn't a mistake. :) By the way, from what I've seen you are doing just fine, Karanacs.Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 00:13, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Serena Williams to be prepared for Featured Article nomination

Several editors believe that this might be the first tennis-related article to be nominated, and even to be promoted as a Featured Article. We are keen to attract editors to the article over the next month. The timeline for nomination is vaguely by the end of May. Please join in! Ohconfucius (talk) 15:13, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Box at head of article under revamp

TRM and I have begun our latest (first in a while) collaborative effort to get an article to FAC and thence to FA.

The current one, John Wark, was in poor condition when we started. I therefore customised the under construction template, to help readers of the article understand why they may find empty sections, cn tags, patches of text saying "xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx" and the like, and directing them to a recent version that was readable, while encouraging collaboration.

Both under GFDL and in the spirit of collaboration, this is better (IMHO) that using a sandbox.

If you'd like to see the tag, check the article. If you'd like to improve it or use it elsewhere when you overhaul an article, I'd be only too delighted. --Dweller (talk) 11:18, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

FAC for an article with a known period of instability upcoming

Some time ago, I got the idea that it would be neat to bring John Tavares (ice hockey) to FA quality and try to get it on the main page for the same day the National Hockey League Entry Draft is held in late June. Partly because he is one of the most talked about junior players in a while, and is expected to go first overall in this draft, and partly because I love showing that junior players/sport can be notable. Nurmsook and I have subsequently brought the article up to GA standard, however before we push further, I wanted to find out if the expected changes in Tavares' status will impact its ability to move beyond GA. His status will, of course, change once he is drafted, and again when he signs his first contract, plays his first games, scores his first points, etc, all of which will happen by the end of October. Some preliminary discussion at SandyGeorgia's talk page suggests that this would be an issue at a FAC, and it was suggested I ask here for greater input. Nurumsook and I are quite happy with the improvements to the article, whether or not it gains a bronze star, but it would be interesting to see if I can bring this lark to its intended conclusion. Especially knowing that if we could successfully pass it at FAC, and convince Raul to make it TFA for June 26, knowing that there would be a status change on that very day. Thoughts? Resolute 14:51, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

As I said over at Sandy's talk page, I think you'd struggle; with so much upheaval likely—certain even—to come in the months ahead, that would probably be commented upon during the FAC. Not because of the "usual" additions to an established sportsperson's article (season statistics and the like), but because the player's first games are sure to attract significant commentary from the wider sports press. Using an analogy from my own area of "expertise" (define that loosely!) it would be like my nominating a film article prior to the film's release—before we knew the critical reception and box office performance, and before any reasonable analysis of the themes had been written in secondary sources. That's not to say any article is ever complete, but when reviewing articles my own interpretation of the comprehensiveness requirement is to ensure not only that the article covers all significant facts right now, but also that no new information is likely to come to light soon that would alter the article in a major way. That's why a featured article on a politician, for example, is perfectly legitimate while said politician is established in his or her post, despite any speculation that he or she is a potential future presidential candidate—something that might be years in the politician's (and the article's) future. Steve TC 15:08, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
My view is slightly different: I don't think the instability bullet point of the FA criteria applies yet, so you might be able to pass FAC. (There's some disagreement on this amongst FAC regulars so those who share Steve's point of view might well oppose.) My concern would be that even if you get it to FA, it's not really a great use of your time, or of the time of the reviewers at FAC. I can see why you'd like to get it passed for June 26, but it's not an efficient use of resources, given that the article is likely to change a good deal. . Mike Christie (talk) 11:46, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I think you should discuss this with Raul. If he is open in principle to putting it on the front page if it passes, I say go for it. It's always cool when the front page has topical relevance, and there are certainly other cases where unstable articles have made the front page, e.g., Barack Obama and John McCain on election day. Looie496 (talk) 17:29, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I'll have to think on it. Mike makes an excellent point. Thanks for the feedback thus far, everyone. Resolute 22:43, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
If John McCain can become featured during a presidential campaign, and if Barack Obama can remain featured during the same campaign, there's no reason that this article doesn't deserve a chance at FAC. The key is not to nominate Tavares too close to the draft. If a nomination occured two weeks before the draft, I would be the first in line to complain about instability, but two months seems like enough time that I would treat it like any other article. Giants2008 (17-14) 21:34, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
The goal is to have the article featured as TFA, as such I have asked Raul if he is open to the idea of a TFA that will endure a significant status change on the day it is featured. If he is, Nurmsook and I may go for it. If he isn't, then I certainly agree with Mike Christie's argument, and will hold off. Resolute 23:39, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Images (2)

commetn: then how is anyone suppose to know what should have images and what shouldn't??? Where is the guideline / policy page to find if an article likely should or should not? if there isn't one, which i doubt, who's going to take up that responsibility and create it?

this comment is specifically for but anyone can feel free to take up the stated responsibility, or provide answers that are accurate.

WhatisFeelings? (talk) 23:25, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Some judgment must go into this decision - no hard and fast rules can be created. I haven't really seen much dispute in this area at FAC - only disputes about which images or how many. Seemingly, this is an area where consensus is usually rapidly achieved. Awadewit (talk) 23:52, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Potential arbitration remedy involving FAs

The Arbitration Committee is currently considering a potential remedy that would tie the lifting of certain editing restrictions to work on featured articles. Any comments from the FAC regulars on how feasible this might be, and any other issues, would be appreciated. Thanks! Kirill [talk] [pf] 04:26, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for the notification. Where do you want the comments, here or at an RFAR page? Skomorokh 04:33, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Commenting on the RFAR page might help to keep everything in the same place, but the structure there is somewhat less amenable to pure threaded discussion because of the separate sections for different types of participants. I'll make sure to review both locations, in any case. Kirill [talk] [pf] 04:36, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

RFC on the reform of ArbCom hearings

The attention of all editors is drawn to a Request for Comment on a major issue for the English Wikipedia: a package of six proposals to move the ArbCom hearings process away from the loose, expansionary model that has characterised it until now, to a tighter organisational model. The RFC started Tuesday 29 April. Your considered feedback would be appreciated. Tony (talk) 16:18, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Need assistance for nominating

I need assistance in completing the nomination as Featured Article of Korean Air Lines Flight 007Bert Schlossberg (talk) 06:19, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Click on the red link at the top of the article talk page to finish the nomination. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:25, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Good prose

I'd like to take some of the vitriol out of this discussion by reorienting it towards what appears to me to be the heart of the problem. Specifically, that what constitutes good prose is subjective, and that what might strike one person as perfectly fine writing, someone else will find something to nitpick in it. I'd like to discuss this in general, and perhaps hammer out some way of dealing with the problem of subjectivity in assessing writing. Raul654 (talk) 08:34, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, and nominators shouldn't feel obligated to implement each and every suggestion made. Its ok to have differences of openion over subjective matters, over preferences; just let it stand and move on. The timing of this is ironic though, when there are now more nominators than reviewrs. O well. Ceoil (talk) 10:55, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Nominators often take on board someone's seemingly picky suggestions and implement them with discretion. An example are these FAC comments by Tony1 on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Rudolf Wolters, an article I had thought I had edited close to perfection![1] As always, I appreciate the opportunity to see wording from another person's point of view, and most of these suggestions were implemented by the main editor Wehwalt, even though some issues had been discussed many times before. A reward for those of us who primarily edit and review is the "fun with words" aspect, the exploration of better ways to express, no matter how well done an article is. —Mattisse (Talk) 12:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, I feel like this will force reviewers to list grammatical errors and explain why, according to some writing handbook or other, the writing style of the article is poor. I generally like to offer suggestions in a less dictatorial way than this, but if the aforementioned list would sound less subjective, I have no problem doing this. Awadewit (talk) 13:36, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Just an idle observation, Awadewit, and there is no need for you to take it seriously. I was just pointing out a situation where one reviewer is allowed to be picky, where as another is threatened with being taken to ANI for being so. An RFC was opened on me because I reviewed an article and improved it by upgrading the article myself. The environment is not positive for reviewers. Ceoil notes there are now more nominators than reviewers. I wonder why? —Mattisse (Talk) 14:06, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I didn't even click on the link nor was I referring to a specific situation. I was articulating a way in which prose reviewing could become more objective, but which would, I feel, not necessarily be a net benefit, because of the tone that would develop from the review. Awadewit (talk) 14:10, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • OK. I won't bother with more comments then. —Mattisse (Talk) 14:12, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Mattisse - I made my feelings clear about that RFC on you. I don't appreciate double standards in any kind of regard, especially when they harm people. However, I do feel that it dealt more with off FAC matters than not. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • (Reply to Ottava Rima) That is not true. I had thought that you had read through the RFC, as my other defenders there did, and so were defending me on substantive reasons. There were non issues introduced to confuse, such as edits I made in 2006. The issue was FAC, issues related to my perceived treatment of FAC editors, like Calisber and his attempt to get me blocked. Nothing off FAC and related matters were substantive, relevant, and/or more recent than over a year ago. The only conceivable reason for bring it was to ban me from FAC. I will say no more on this issue. But it does point out the substantial dangers of daring to review at FAC, and while reviewing FACs is so unappealing that there are more nominators than reviewers! —Mattisse (Talk) 15:03, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I feel like we are getting slightly off track here, from Raul's original question. Awadewit (talk) 15:04, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
(Reply to Raul654) I don't think anyone is saying that a reviewer's suggestions should be implemented one and all by the nominators; I am certainly not. Neither am I saying that everyone should conform to my stylistic preferences. (I have read enough English prose—from Fielding, Defoe, and Swift to Naipaul, Philip Roth, and Raymond Carver (for example)—to know that there are vastly different styles in the corpus.) However, in an encyclopedia a kind of lucid precision is a must for effective communication. A featured article in Wikipedia is not the same thing as a feature article in the New York Times. An author of the latter is allowed to take liberties with language that a regular "hard news" correspondent presumably is not, although correspondents too have different styles of writing.
Similarly, here, my "nitpicking" is not about style, not even, in the end, so much about grammar, but really about clarity and precision. So, when I say "poor prose," I'm really often saying that the prose is neither lucid nor precise. (Lucid precision, however, can be packaged in manifold literary styles.) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:50, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

The MoS is clear about hyphens and some other points (including placement of punctuation in regards to citations). It is not clear about grammar. If there are run-on sentences, then this should be brought up and the nominator shown where (it is a very simple fix). If there is a lack of proper nouns (too many pronouns instead) that causes confusion, then this should be brought up and the nominator shown where the passages become unclear. If a handful of sentences do not unite in a paragraph or there is no topic sentence, then this should be brought up and the nominator shown why this is confusing and needs to be addressed. These are the three things that matter most in my view of things - they deal with encyclopedic clarity. I see "brilliant prose" in the original sense - lucid, revealing, and clear. We want people to be able to read our encyclopedia and understand what is said first and foremost. The little things can be picked about, but are best left to people who feel like going through and doing such to articles. There will always be things missed. There will always be little changes. Most textbooks are filled with spelling errors. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:53, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
F&F and OR agree that brilliant prose is about "clarity" and "precision"! Clearly that is our new definition of "brilliant prose". :) Awadewit (talk) 13:57, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, but the key difference is that my use of clarity and the rest deals more with topical than anything else - do I actually gain knowledge on this topic. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 14:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I think the key is that many, many prose suggestions are subjective. Heck, some of them are even wrong—I've been called out for making incorrect suggestions in the past. Whenever I oppose on 1a, I expect the nominator to fix things that are plain errors. However, if they have a reasonable argument for disregarding my more subjective complaints, I usually let it drop and won't maintain my opposition over it. To work, this behavior has to be present on both sides of the table. The reviewer must be willing to let subjective matters drop if there is a reasonable argument, and the nominator must be willing to take suggestions gracefully without getting defensive. To often, one or both parties entrench themselves needlessly. But then again, sometimes there is a need to entrench yourself. --Laser brain (talk) 16:17, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Your right, but to say defensively or aggresively entrenching is bad and against the spirit of what we are trying to do here, what us all working together and all. Just respectfully say no, No, NO and let it go; tis ok to disagree. Ceoil (talk) 16:30, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I could not disagree more strongly with Raul's notion (which may be simply a discussion position) "what constitutes good prose is subjective, and that what might strike one person as perfectly fine writing, someone else will find something to nitpick in it".

This attitude itself is the heart of the problem, if generalised. Prose critiques can and sometimes do include personal preferences, but I usually make it clear when a point I've made is that; I believe reviewers should be careful about explicitly making this distinction. Mostly, my issues are with redundancy, grammatical problems, and poor flow—whether logical flow or to do with the way ideas are allocated among the clauses and sentences.

I have a problem with the use of "nitpick", which appears to denigrate attention to detail in pejorative terms. To follow that line would be to reward sloppiness. Is that what you intend? Tony (talk) 16:48, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Tony1 - In my reading of what Raul has stated, it seems that he is saying that one person can find it necessary where another person may find it nitpicking. It is not saying that all close readings for grammatical problems are nitpicking, but that people can have that opinion, especially if it is approached in a certain manner. No one wants to "reward sloppiness", but we all must realize that two people can have completely different views. Since consensus is not an up or down vote but a coming together, we need to figure out how to accommodate very different perspectives, no? Ottava Rima (talk) 17:12, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
No, your stance appears to be pointing towards a general strategy for rejecting reviewers' criticisms of prose. This is the oldest trick in the book here, and one that we got over a few years ago. Reviewers' comments on prose are usually spot-on, and result in significant improvements in (or the rejection of) nominations. Most FACs (most English text) is in signficant need of feedback/editing by others. I think we have a low tolerance of people who gripe about that. Tony (talk) 17:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I consider myself as having a low tolerance for language errors. However, there are many FACs which I have worked with nominators because they were opposed over language related problems that I could just not agree with. Sure, Tony, you do great work. However, you have to be willing to admit times that such things are taken way out of proportion. I don't understand how you are wanting to defend every single review over language. Furthermore, we aren't the French. There is no one unified grammar in the English language. There is no master school that decides what is right or wrong. Grammar rules change every day. "Them" and "Their" is now appropriate for third person singular when used to denote mixed gender. This was not true four years ago. If we have a "low tolerance" then we lost what the primary concern of this place really is. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:06, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree with Tony and disagree with Raul654's formulation of the dispute as one of subjective tastes. What we had before us was quite another kettle of fish. The lead of the FAC began with 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 do you think an editor at Britannica or a journalist for any English-language newspaper or news service anywhere in the world would react if they happened upon those three sentences on the Wikipedia main page? They would smile to themselves. There is a difference between innovative (unusual, even quirky) prose and ludicrous prose. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:54, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
In this case, I would say that your first complaint about that passage is a personal preference and your second more objectively grounded. The first two sentences of that article are clear, precise, and unambiguous. Your complaint about them is subjective ("staccato"); that doesn't mean it's misplaced, but it's certainly subject to discussion between you and anyone who disagrees. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:14, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
There is a reason criterion 1a isn't "The prose is correct." --Laser brain (talk) 00:20, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Nobody said otherwise. As I said, the fact that a criticism reflects a personal preference does not mean that it is misplaced. It is however subject to dispute, because it is subjective, which is what Raul is saying. For instance, Tony appears to make a distinction above between his personal preferences and "redundancy, grammatical problems, and poor flow—whether logical flow or to do with the way ideas are allocated among the clauses and sentences". But I would say this distinction is false: surely the latter and to a lesser extent the first of those three are subjective - there is no universal opinion over the correct allocation of ideas among clauses and sentences. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:30, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm looking at the list of things I just taught in my writing class in the last few weeks, covered in even a basic writing handbook like A Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker: "mixed grammar", "illogical connections", "misplaced words", "misplaced phrases and clauses", and "dangling modifiers". These are all objective ways to evaluate sentence organization - these are not personal preferences. Awadewit (talk) 00:43, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
And all fall under "gramatical problems"; about which I said nothing. Christopher Parham (talk) 00:52, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually, they don't fall under the "Grammar" section of the book - they fall under the "Clarity" section. Awadewit (talk) 01:06, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Now, for "clarity", there are many, many books that each have their own opinion. Rhetoric tends to be based on personal opinion but is very prescriptive. I can show contradictions between a few. I favor the book Style to be honest, but even that has some problems (I think it is interesting that Style is a book about grammar and clarity, but yeah). Rarely can you teach "great style". You can give hints, but a lot of it boils down to genetics (in my experience, that is). Awadewit - remind me sometime and we should swap book titles to see what other regions are teaching and what fads are happening where. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:27, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Problems of clarity I feel fall into two categories: errors of grammar or usage (where the sentence does not say to the reader what is actually intended) and other errors (where the sentence does say what is intended, but could say it with more lucidity or better emphasis). The latter class is subjective. I can't account for that author's organization of her book, but "misplaced words" and "misplaced phrases and clauses" are usually grammar /syntax errors - they serve the wrong role in a sentence or modify the wrong object, making them unclear. Christopher Parham (talk) 01:29, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


I thought a comparison might make some of these "subjective" criteria clearer.

Example 1 (From Mary Shelley)

"It proved a wet, ungenial summer", Mary Shelley remembered in 1831, "and incessant rain often confined us for days to the house". Amongst other subjects, the conversation turned to the experiments of the 18th-century natural philosopher and poet Erasmus Darwin, who was said to have animated dead matter, and to galvanism and the feasibility of returning a corpse or assembled body parts to life. Sitting around a log fire at Byron's villa, the company also amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, prompting Byron to suggest they each write their own supernatural tale. Shortly afterwards, in a waking dream, Mary Godwin conceived the idea for Frankenstein:

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

She began writing what she assumed would be a short story. With Percy Shelley's encouragement, she expanded this tale into her first novel, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818. She later described that summer in Switzerland as the moment "when I first stepped out from childhood into life".

Example 2 (same passage, not "brilliant prose", but still grammatically correct)

Mary Shelley remembered that it was a “wet, ungenial summer” and the group was forced to remain indoors due to the rain. They discussed science, particularly the experiments of Erasmus Darwin, who was said to have animated dead things, as well as galvanism and the feasibility of returning a dead body to life. The company also amused themselves by reading German ghost stories, prompting Byron to suggest they each write their own story. Mary Godwin thought up the idea for Frankenstein in a waking dream:

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

She began writing a short story and with Percy Shelley’s encouragement, she expanded it into her first novel. She later described that summer in Switzerland as the moment “when I first stepped out from childhood into life”.

How "subjective" are these differences is one of the questions we are asking here. The differences - lack of sentence variety, imprecise diction, repetitive diction, missing details, etc. - are to some extent subjective, but at times such decisions are clear. I think a comparison like this helps illustrate that. Awadewit (talk) 01:51, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I subjectively enjoyed and preferred example 1...Modernist (talk) 02:00, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I could point out some technical clause errors in the first, but I think it would destroy the rhythm. Also, it would be mean. I'm just saying. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 02:02, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Bring it on. Grammar cage match! Awadewit (talk) 02:06, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you've introduced a few clear errors (e.g. "own" in the first paragraph no longer has an unambiguous object) and obviously you've removed some content. Some of that content was arguably not significant; for instance, unless you plan to address the other subjects they discussed, it is fairly meaningless to point out that they discussed other things - who cares? You've also removed what I would say are essential facts (like the title of her book). The fact that you've so dramatically changed the content, however, damages the comparison you've offered by making the distinction between the passages more about selection of details than prose. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:10, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
The content has not be dramatically changed - both passages explain the famous summer and Shelley's inspiration for her novel. The difference is partially about details (an element of good writing), but it is also about the expression of the ideas. Frequently, when I am copyediting, I ask for additional details to be added to an article because an idea isn't fully explained or the vauge language obscures the idea. I am trying to replicate that here. The most important thing to recognize is that all of the issues that can be raised about the second passage are essentially "subjective" (I fixed the "own" issue), but the fact is that the second passage is, without a doubt, of inferior quality. Awadewit (talk) 02:21, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Well we'll have to disagree on that - I believe you've removed crucial facts; the passage discusses the same topic but presents substantially different information. "You didn't mention the title of her most well known book" is a glaring criticism to make of passage #2, but not at all representative of the types of criticism that raised this dispute or that are being discussed here. Christopher Parham (talk) 02:38, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
To Awadewit (showing how I can be nitpicky) - Well, I will mix wiki and grammar stuff to make it fun. :) The lack of a citation after the first quote definitely sticks out. :P The second sentence is causing some problems - "who was said" needs a clarification to clue in who said it. :P The third sentence uses a clause that normally has a temporal aspect to it - logically, the action is floating around in space. It could be fixed with the application of a word similar to "while" (or actually "while") to begin the sentence. The last clause beginning with "prompting" is off but I can't think of the name of why. I'm too lazy at the moment to look it up. "Shortly afterwards, in a waking dream," You are following the first clause with a parenthetical statement (there is a better term for it, but it is a subset of "parentheticals"). This could easily be fixed with "In a waking dream shortly afterwards". The "s" should also be dropped. It is spoken because of regional dialect but it is not written except in a few situations (very common problem and I do it frequently - spell checkers hate it, mind you). I can get out a few books and really comb through it if needed. :D
Should these changes be made? Or any changes made? In my opinion - no. The style and flow is more important. Even the ungrammatical "s" makes it sound more true (and probably will be true as time passes). Ottava Rima (talk) 02:23, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I live for this - I was just telling my students the other day that they didn't have to follow the split infinitive rule because it was forced upon English to make it more Latinate. 1) All citations have been removed for ease of reading. 2) "who" comes immediately after and refers to Darwin, so that is fine; 3) We could add "at night" to the third sentence to clarify this as well; 4) "prompting" phrase is perfectly acceptable - I forget the exact name, but it is some sort of "verbal adjectival phrase"; 5) "Shortly afterwards in a waking dream" could just be fixed by removing the comma - inverting the order causes confusion; 6) dictionaries list afterward OR afterwards (is this a BE thing?) Awadewit (talk) 02:36, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Quick note - the "who" thing was a reference to this cute little doozy. :) Also, dictionaries list "aint" and it has been in use for 300 years but I still disagree! :) Ottava Rima (talk) 03:18, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
(edit-conflicted) I think Ottava Rima was referring to the passive construction with respect to "who". We don't know who said Erasmus Darwin had animated dead stuff. (Tracing out where that tidbit came from would disrupt the evoked sense of gossip-sharing. Perhaps this is an example where less detail, in fact intentional vagueness, serves the purpose of good writing.)--ragesoss (talk) 03:22, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Bingo! :) Ottava Rima (talk) 03:35, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Oh, gods. Word nerds. (flees) Ealdgyth - Talk 02:42, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

But this is an encyclopedia made up of words. I would think there would be more of us. Word nerds unite! Awadewit (talk) 02:47, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
words and pictures....that is..Modernist (talk) 02:56, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Eh, pictures go here, for the most part. –Juliancolton Tropical Cyclone 14:21, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Now that's a common misperception...Modernist (talk) 14:45, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Gods, puns too! ARGH! Ealdgyth - Talk 14:53, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Ottava said:

... we aren't the French. There is no one unified grammar in the English language. There is no master school that decides what is right or wrong. Grammar rules change every day. "Them" and "Their" is now appropriate for third person singular when used to denote mixed gender. This was not true four years ago.

But the extraordinary aspect of English is that despite:

  • (i) its being "big and baggy" (Clive James),
  • (ii) its ownership by so many far-flung native speakers,
  • (iii) its notable feature of resisting centralised control—even when it was spoken in the British Isles alone, and
  • (iv) its dynamic nature, of being a "borrowing" language and being relatively unstable; that is, quick-changing,

it is still possible to agree on most aspects of good writing, and that a given wording is faulty and can be improved. That is remarkable. WP, and FAC in particular, is living proof of this: the wonder is that there is not greater complaint, fuss, objection, to reviewers' critiques of specific problems; but there isn't, because this genius of a language we share embeds within each of its owners a sense (a strong sense in good writers) of right and wrong, whether based in easy textbook rules or more subtle requirements.

To those who are trying to draw a distinction between "subjective" and "objective" right and wrong, I say that it's not a binary phenomenon, but a continuum on which each criticism or suggestion for improvement might be placed on a point from the extreme of a (quirky) individual preference, through matters of individual style, to the other end at which no one in their right mind would disagree. All parts of the continuum except the quirky are useful in this process, and reviewers should probably declare it if a point they make is on the subjective side of the continuum. The default, I believe, given the generally talented prose reviewers we have here, is to consider each point to be advice worthy of adopting. Polite discussion is welcome, although reviewers' time is stretched. Tony (talk) 14:45, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


"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."

I disagree that criticism of the opening is somehow on the subjective side of the equation. The stubbiness of the first two sentences are far too disjointed to engage the reader just when it is critical to do so (and just as obvious as the grammatical error in this sentence). Such shorties are more appropriate when it is appropriate to stop the reader in their tracks, to slow them down, to make them sit up and take notice of a major statement. It's almost a rhetorical device. But here, the stop-start experience at the opening is most unsatisfactory. A related problem is the repetition of "Johnson", twice within six words, and the fact that his name starts both sentences within 1.5 seconds of each other (and yet again by back-reference in "he"). That this is a most unsatisfactory opening is hardly a "personalised" view, and is a good demonstration of the fact that wording doesn't have to be strictly ungrammatical to be the subject of general agreement as to the need to improve it. What nominator would object to being told this?

Nor are the repetitions of "His ... his ... his ... his" ungrammatical; but they are regrettable. Neither the language nor WP can legislate against this form of bad writing, but a reviewer who points it out is far from guilty of "nitpicking", a word that was bandied about above with reckless disregard (ahem ...).

As a reviewer, I'd be inclined to criticise the use of "various" as adding nothing—and to point out that families do comprise members, so the inclusion of both references is clumsy (and whose early life was not dominated by family experiences? Starting to be workaday, this opening). This is perhaps further towards the middle of the personal—universal continuum of prose criticism, but one that no nominator should ignore on that basis. Professional writing demands more than the grammatical. Then we have "attempt" and "trying", another awkward couplet that weaken the structure. Do they imply initiation and subsequent failure? If so, it would be better to spell it out for the poor readers. Again, it's not a matter of easy right/wrong categories, to which some people seem to want to restrict comments.And what is "down" doing, if it's not idle? And the apparent parallelism of "attempt at college, and finally trying to" fall into a ditch because their grammar is anything but parallel.

The job of reviewers is to point out examples of not just incorrect grammar, but poor flow and illogical structure that defy easy categorisation into right and wrong. This is why professional-standard writing, like fine music performance, is elusive. But we continue to struggle towards it, and should enjoy the process on as both nominators and reviewers. This is one of the most stimulating processes at WP. Tony (talk) 15:13, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't disagree that the first two sentences are unsatisfactory, so you don't need to persuade me. I am merely saying the matter is one of taste and not of rule. I do think that the "fixed" version is equally bad, however. Probably the largest problem with that part of the passage is that the second sentence, his place of birth, is more or less a piece of trivia. It does not belong in the topic sentence of an article. "Samuel Johnson was an English author" at least has the virtue of directly stating the most important fact about the topic in the opening sentence.
My point isn't that reviewer's comments are often out of place; it is that they are subjective. Just as nominators need to be polite to their reviewers, reviewers need to accept disagreement with these opinions as a consequence of their subjectivity, rather than rejecting the idea of subjectivity as "a general strategy for rejecting reviewers' criticisms of prose". Christopher Parham (talk) 18:47, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Tony - Questions - 1. Does that one sentence mean that the whole page is not worthy of FAC? 2. If you feel so strongly about it, why not change it yourself? This is an encyclopedia for everyone to edit, and no one owns any page here. While working on the Johnson page there were dozens of reviewers who took liberty and made small changes to suit themselves. Some neutral, some great, some not so great, but they still did. Just because -I- nominate something from FAC does not mean it is my page and that only I can edit. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:49, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
(1) No, but it's not looking good as an exposed representation of the standard writing at the opening, where you'd expect editors to take particular care. (2) Ah, no thanks. Everyone can edit—very true—but the converse is not true. I critique, I don't copy-edit; that way, I have a larger footprint on WP and, I hope, encourage improvement over a broader field that direct copy-editing would allow. Tony (talk) 16:25, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I -never- expect people to care about the lead. The lead is always the last, always the worse part, and serves very little except as a base opening. That is why I never work on them. But as to your part of reluctance to go ahead and edit - we don't need people who just sit back and "critique". Otherwise, you would just stay in peer review. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:23, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to stick my nose in here, but as a reviewer I absolutely hate the nominator refrain of "why don't you make the change yourself?" Nominated articles are expected to already meet the FA criteria, and the nominator is essentially assuring the reviewers that (s)he's already checked against the criteria. In my opinion, then, when issues are pointed out in the article, it is the nominator's responsibility to fix them, because (s)he is the editor who previously testified that the article was ready. I have no problem jumping in to fix the occasionaly minor problems while I'm reading through (and I've even been known to copyedit an entire article, especially for new nominators), but there are lots of other nominated articles which also deserve to be reviewed. If I had spent all my time correcting all the prose issues I saw in articles then my reviewing would be cut down to about 10% or less of what it was (and we'd also be encouraging more nominators to submit sub-par work). Karanacs (talk) 17:04, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I feel 100% the opposite, Karanacs. Since each reviewer has a different standard for what actually meets the FAC standards, it would be impossible to claim that an FAC must meet all of the standards before going in. It is also not a peer review process, so simply stating its flaws goes against what FAC is. Its either a support or an oppose. I think it would be 100% necessary for any reviewer to directly take part in the article as a whole, otherwise, they are making empty votes. And if your reviewing had to be cut down to 10% of what it is to make sure something is done right, then I say we should pass much fewer FAs in order to ensure the higher quality. I think we need to get beyond FA as an individual editing experience which you are giving a star for being great. This is a community and it should be seen as part of a community effort. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:23, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

To reviewers: "Thanks, but no thanks"

While the grammar wonks trade issues above, the same question remains for me: at some point someone will suggest changes or oppose based on an issue that is just not a wise move. I would like to see what Sandy, Raul, and Karanacs would say to a nominator flat-out refusing to make a change because s/he feels not only would it not improve the article, but it would be a detriment. Twice I have suggested in contentious FACs that nominators who may have personality clashes with reviewers simply note to the FAC closer, "No. I will not make this change, and here are my reasons..."

In my mind, that neutralizes the escalation of bad feelings and petty exchanges, but it also puts pressure on you to promote or archive based on how valid the suggestions are vs. the quality of the nominator's argument about how the changes are unnecessary and probably harmful. Is this an automatic archive, or a case by case basis? --Moni3 (talk) 15:51, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Flat out refusal may not be the way forward; but argued refusal to make change may be a good way.I t should be possible to state something like: "I understand the reviewers point of view, however based on the evidence (provide evidence), I think the proposed change is not improving the article". Of course, the presented evidence needs to be strong, and proving without any doubt the reviewer was wrong (e.g. something I once encountered like: We never explain things in WWF articles; as we only aim at fans, is not a good reason...) Arnoutf (talk) 16:30, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think a nominator necessarily has to prove the reviewer "wrong", but to prove that there are viable alternatives. I've refused to make changes in articles I've nominated when I felt that the reviewers were wrong. The key is to be very polite (because the reviewer likely spent a significant amount of time on that article) and to provide an explanation of my rationale. Occasionally, the reviewer will respond back and I realize that I misinterpreted what they were asking; most of the time the reviewer graciously accepts my reasoning, even if they don't necessarily agree with my conclusion. (As I reviewer, I try to extend the same courtesy.) On the other hand, I frequently compromise and make wording changes that I don't necessarily think make the article better, but that I don't believe make it worse. I try very, very hard not to begin an argument with the reviewer - 99% of the time neither mind gets changed, and it results in hard feelings and an overly wordy FAC so that other reviewers are scared off. (It's also important to recognize that both reviewer and nominator play important roles in this process, and should be working together, not fighting.) Karanacs (talk) 16:57, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
During a previous FAC (I wont say) two previous users (I wont name) both made claims about corrections and then added some of their own. Not only did they disagree, but many others later stated that the changes damaged the article. Two opposes can sink a FAC, and people are unwilling to support when they feel such a way on language. I think its best for the integrity of an article to just ignore such people when your intuition is strong and not get that fancy little star. Why? Because the encyclopedia matters more, even if people who will destroy it (unintentionally) are in your way for having your work recognized. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:26, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Just so that we have concrete examples, here are the original reviewer's comments that I made on The Lucy poems FAC and the Samuel Johnson's early life FAC. Can any one not directly involved in the dispute state that I was either excessively rude or way out in left field (with regards accuracy or relevance) in my comments? Both comments were dismissed (as absurd or irrelevant) by Ottava Rima. I have now added new comments on Section 1 (Parents) of the Samuel Johnson FAC (see Post 3). As a real-time experiment, why don't we examine how these comments are received and responded to in the coming days. I plan to do the same for each of the remaining sections of the page. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:42, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad to report that the experiment is proceeding apace in both predictable and unpredictable ways. Please see the relevant portion on Real-time experiment for FAC Talk page. Please also notice my interaction in the control groups: Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Manchester_Small-Scale_Experimental_Machine and Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Federal_Bridge_Gross_Weight_Formula. Is there someone other than Ottava Rima who thinks that my suggestions will not improve the article? I'd like to hear from them. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:45, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Am I the only person skeeved out by the fact that FAC is being used in some pseudo-scientific experiment to prove a hypothesis held by one editor? My question up there was for the entire community, and now it has rocketed back to Fowler&fowler and Ottava Rima. The fact that you have a point that you are trying to prove leads me to think your reviews do not have the quality of the encyclopedia as your highest priority. Quality may be up there, but here it seems as if it is more important for you to run your experiments. Regardless, I was hoping to get feedback from FAC participants and closers about how to handle commentary on articles that may not be for the benefit of the article, not rehash old arguments between two specific editors. If I can veer the conversation back to that goal, it is for the benefit of the FAC process. --Moni3 (talk) 15:24, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid I'm not running the experiment for my own gratification, but rather to provide an opportunity for these issues to be thrashed out. As for my point, what is it? What is my hypothesis that you so glibly characterize as "psuedo-scientific?" I'm just generating the data. Again, I don't have any particular focus on Ottava Rima. The detailed remarks I have made on his FAC are no different in their level of detail from the ones I have made on the Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Manchester_Small-Scale_Experimental_Machine (and on the article's talk page). The only difference is in the content of my remarks; in the former they mostly concern syntax and diction and in the latter, incomplete explanations and poor organization. The main difference is in the response. Whereas Malleus F. and I are making progress and the article is already much better, Ottava R. and I clearly are not. I have left an open invitation to any Wikipedian other than Ottava R. to point to any excesses in my reviewer's remarks. So far, no one has taken up the challenge, including you, Moni3. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:12, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I think that the point that is being lost on a lot of FACs is that FAC is not supposed to be a battleground. I've seen many nominators become unnecessarily defensive and take offense at well-meant comments, and I've seen many reviewers use unnecessarily harsh language and become much too attached to their specific suggestions. It's okay for nominators to say "no thank you because...". It's okay for reviewers to then say "I hear you, but..." and then just DROP IT. Everyone has made their point, and if there is no sign of either side budging, let the FAC delegate(s) weigh the points that have been made. Karanacs (talk) 16:14, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Well, part of the problem at FAC is that most reviews are facile ones that point to a sentence here or a sentence there, and when an adequate response is provided by an author, the reviews end in a support vote. That may be one reason why so many articles are being nominated as FACs. There may be a sense out there that you can quickly write up an article, get a peer review, and promptly park said article on the FAC conveyor belt. And there, all things being equal, you'll get a pass soon. In the unlikely instance of someone such as Fowler&fowler appearing as a reviewer, you can let him do all the work and correct only the sentences he provides explicit corrections for; when he doesn't, simply state that the comment is inactionable. Alternatively, when he does provide explicit detailed corrections, you can say that F&f has an obsessive vendetta against you, and draw a line, then and there, in the FAC sand. What is being forgotten in all this is that Wikipedia needs to spruce up its quality if it wants to be taken seriously. In the days when professors farmed out to their graduate students the short articles they were sometimes requested for by Encyclopaedia Britannica, the graduate student efforts were subjected to much greater scrutiny than Featured Article candidates are on Wikipedia. What is wrong with high reviewing standards? Why are painstaking efforts by reviewers being regarded as instances of old or new rivalry? (By the way, Karanacs, I'm not saying that you are saying this. :)) Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:39, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
FAC is clearly a potentially difficult situation for both nominators and reviewers. From the nominator's perspective it can seem like it's them taking on all-comers, all on their own. From the reviewer's point of view it can seem like the work they've put in to read and consider the article before making their comments/recommendations has been rubbished and thrown back in their face. It's down to each of us, whichever side of that divide we may find ourselves on from time to time, to bear that in mind. I was initially a bit taken aback by Fowler&fowlers' comments at my FAC, not because of any presentation problems on his part, or defensiveness on my part, but simply at seeing such a detailed analysis of only one section of the article, suffixed with the ominous "more to follow". After carefully considering what he had to say I felt that the vast majority of his points had merit, and could be dealt with fairly easily, and would be a help not only to this article but to other historic computer articles to follow. At no point did I feel threatened or abused by what he had to say, and at no point did I feel that he was motivated by anything other than improving the article.
By contrast, I was not so happy about some of the remarks made by reviewers in this FAC, some of which I felt were at least bordering on the personal. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:01, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
Lets not kid ourselves - Britannica never did and still doesn't have standards higher than GA nor do they use scholars working on their articles. Most of the time, the articles are horribly flawed, biased, or just flat out incomplete. If they used graduate students to write their articles, then I hope those students never received a degree for their shoddiness. Ottava Rima (talk) 05:28, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
"... nor do they use scholars working on their articles."
I'm trying not to get into arguments with user:Ottava Rima; however, I cannot let stand a blanket dismissal of Britannica's contributors, especially the authors of its long articles (the so-called "signed articles"). The Britannica article on "English Literature," for example, is a collaborative effort involving nine authors who are among the best-known scholars in the world (see here). Here is a sample of the prose from the sub-sub-section on Ben Jonson in the Britannica article (see here). How often do you encounter prose like this anywhere on Wikipedia (let alone in GAs)? It is one thing to have healthy self-confidence in our common enterprise, Wikipedia; it is quite another to be self-satisfied, grandiose and dismissive. The latter attitude does nothing except thwart efforts to improve standards by fruitful collaborations between nominators and reviewers (which requires a little humility—as Karanacs and Moni3 have wisely observed—on the part of both parties). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:31, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
LMAO! Anyone who tries to put John Beer as any kind of "respectable" level within scholarship really doesn't understand literary theory or criticism. They had to stoop to get Beer in one of the most heavily discussed time periods is only indicative that Britannica is filled with unscholarly hacks. Hell, the people they chose don't even specialize in most of the stuff that they are assigned according to the list. A simple side by side comparison of literature FAs with their filth can show that. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:05, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
I have no interest in arguing with you, but Professor John Beer is a living person, and your remarks about him constitute a violation of Wikipedia's policy on the biography of living persons. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:03, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
This is not his biography, therefore, it is nothing even close to a BLP. Please, if this is about your understanding of English (which it is to a great part), don't only verify that by showing that you weren't able to comprehend that page. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:50, 22 March 2009 (UTC)
Well you thought you had a great chance to pounce on Fowler&fowler and rubbish his comprehension of English. But it just happens to be another futile attempt like the previous "non-native English speaker" diatribe! Even though there was no "biography" in question here... WP:BLP still applies as per "inappropriate commentary" (Jimbo Wales' comment on deletion of inappropriate commentary at WP:AFDs [2]). -- Logging in and editing has its benefits —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:15, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Amusing how an IP tries to lecture on anything about Wikipedia and yet refuses to sign their own entries. Way to undermine your claims of understanding how Wikipedia works. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:00, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is amusing how random IPs have better understanding of wikipedia policies and norms than experienced editors. Please do read WP:BLP ("This policy applies equally ..."), and feel free to add your apology here once you comprehend it. another anon user 18:41, 23 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
IMO, the prose is disgustingly wordy! - Signed by me - an anon user 18:59, 21 March 2009 (UTC) NO PAs
 :) True, the sentences are long, but there is little redundancy; it is impossible (as far as I can tell) to delete a single word without changing the meaning. I suppose I picked out that example to illustrate an example of literary flourish ("brilliant prose?"); most writing in Britannica is matter-of-factly descriptive. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:23, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I have been mulling both the original question posed by Moni3 and the posts of Karanacs and Malleus F, and couldn't help thinking of book reviews in literary magazines and journals. Typically, the reviewer writes a review and this is sometimes followed by a response from the author(s) and a further response to the response by the reviewer, at which point, the back-and-forth stops. A look at Real-time experiment for FAC Talk page suggests that not much purpose is served by going beyond this point. If it is felt, however, that this format leaves the reviewer at an advantage, a further response by the nominator can be considered (but no more). Perhaps we might consider making an informal rule or suggestion: "Both reviewer and nominator are encouraged to limit their (individual) exchange to one initial review/response followed by one further response each; additional points can be made on the article's talk page," (or some more lucid amendment to my version. :)) Of course, if this is too confusing, we could stay with Karanacs's more common-sense version. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:23, 21 March 2009 (UTC)


There are several restrictions that are placed on FAC pages: hide boxes are discouraged, sections are forbidden, and graphics like  Done are also frowned upon. The reason for these restrictions seems to be that all of the FACs are transcluded onto WP:FAC. My question is this: Why are all of the FACs transcluded? Why can't they just be linked to? The WP:FAC page itself is entirely useless because it takes so long to load and navigate. Couldn't we kill two birds with one stone by linking instead of transcluding? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 00:54, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Interesting idea, I share your opinion on the current behemoth FAC page. Perhaps the FAC page could just be a listing of the current open FACs showing the date started, and the initial comment of the nominator. Sasata (talk) 01:36, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
WP:FACL was designed to fill this need. Unfortunately it is currently broken, presumably as a result of the recent change to FAC candidate organization. Mike Christie (talk) 01:47, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure I'm not the only one to find the full transclusions at WP:FAC useful; when looking for something to review, I like to be able to just scroll down (or up) the page for a likely candidate, and I'm sure it's useful for the delegates when looking for those to promote or archive. I'd find it irritating to have to click through to each one to see what kind of a state the nomination is in. The better option would be to find a way of repairing WP:FACL; that way we can cater to both preferences. That we can't use graphics or sections is only a minor inconvenience to some, and not at all to others; we get around both well enough by judicious use of bolding and bulleting. Steve TC 07:29, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Another reason graphics such as the green checkmark image are frowned upon is because many folks consider them unbearable eyesores. And embarrassingly childish and Geocities-ish. And by extension, unprofessional. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 14:11, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
All interesting comments, but they fail to address the compound issue. Mike, I must admit that I had never seen WP:FACL, but that doesn't solve the problem of restricted templates/sections. Steve, no offense intended, but I think it's a bit selfish to be willing to restrict the actions of reviewers just to make it a little easier to browse the various FACs. Also, I am of the mindset that the state of a nomination should not affect your decision to participate. Only two questions should be asked before making such a decision: Am I capable and interested in reviewing this subject matter? Do I have a conflict of interest with the authors? If anything else factors into one's decision, it may hinder one's ability to participate objectively. Ling, sorry, but your argument is foolish. Childish and unprofessional? Have you ever even seen a user page? Besides, regardless of whether or not you think a particular graphic is "unbearable" or "Geocities-ish", it is for the participants to choose whether or not they want to use the graphics. Not everything we're discussing here falls under the category of bright childish graphics. Sections and hide boxes are incredibly useful and could not conceivable be lumped in with the checkmark. The point I'm trying to make here is that you all seem willing to make fairly major sacrifices in convenience and usability without getting any real benefit out of it! --Cryptic C62 · Talk 15:31, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm struggling to see how my desire to compare the states of nominations could possibly affect my objectivity. When looking for something to review, it's often just a case of browsing the page to look for those that haven't yet received an in-depth review; other times it's because a specific issue has been raised that I can offer some useful input on. You're partially right to say that my finding it useful in this way is a little selfish, but that was just an example from my own personal experience; I'm sure it's a lot more useful to the delegates when looking for FACs to promote/archive, or for spotting any other issues. Steve TC 15:55, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Aye, I was a bit vague on the objectivity thing, so here's what I'm getting at: If you are consciously aware of the fact that you are the first person who is substantially reviewing an article, you are probably going to be extremely thorough, which is great. If, however, you are aware that Casliber has just finished a line-by-line prose tweak or that LingNut has just finished poring over the source material, you probably won't be as thorough. In some cases, such as this, you might just assume that all of the flaws you would have noticed have already been covered by someone else's review. This is not good. It is important for reviewers to realize that regardless of how massive someone else's review might be, even if 31,441,012 - 1 editors have given thoughtful reviews, there will still be something you notice that others don't. If you decide to review an article that you aren't particularly capable of reviewing simply because you will be the first to review it, this will be bad for the review in the long run: other users who would be more capable of reviewing the article than you might shy away from being thorough because of your earlier review. The conclusion is this: If you have time to participate in X number of FACs, the articles that you choose should be the X number of articles that would most benefit from your participation, not the X number of reviews that would most benefit from your participation. I hope this is a little bit clearer. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 21:05, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
As for your suggestion that the transclusion page is useful for the delegates, I disagree. Ideally, the decision to promote/reject an article should be the result of a thorough read-through of the entire review. If you're going to have to do that, how much time could possibly be saved by not having to click on a link? Perhaps instead of transcluding, WP:FAC page could just show links to the individual FACs along with the date on which they started as well as the number of unique contributors to each FAC page. This will be useful for the delegates and for people who think my above explanation was rubbish and want to quickly see which reviews haven't gotten comments yet. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 21:05, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
As a delegate and a reviewer, I found the transclusions incredibly helpful. Like Steve, as a reviewer I often scan through to find articles that have zero (or very few) substantive comments. (This does not mean I do not review articles with a lot of comment, but many times my goal is to help nominators who have received no feedback thus far.) As a delegate, it is useful to be able to scan large numbers of nominations and see quickly how many need image reviews, for example. Also, as a delegate I need to have beaucoup windows open already just to promote/archive. If I had to open each FAC page individually I think I wouldn't be able to find anything in my overloaded taskbar. I understand that the page is slow to load and that some reviewers are turned off by the transclusions. The solution to that is not to do away with transclusions completely (because, as noted, many people find them useful), but to fix the page that showed the no-transclusion version. Karanacs (talk) 21:29, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
PS Even without transclusions, I'd try to deter people from using the graphics. They clutter up the FAC page and make it hard to read, especially if users put them after every single line of a very long review. My eyesight is bad enough, and distracting graphics tend to make it harder for me to (literally) focus on the important stuff. Karanacs (talk) 21:33, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm not sure at what point this discussion became focused on graphics. I don't like graphics! I never use them! Who cares about the graphics?! I've struck that portion from my original post, but I implore readers to actually read the rest of that sentence. Hide boxes and sections. Incredibly useful to me as a reviewer, and I'm sure every other reviewer will agree. This discussion is not an attempt to answer the following question: "Why does Cryptic keep bugging us about graphics when all we want to do is transclude stuff?" The point is to answer the following question: "Why are should reviewers be restricted from using helpful tools simply to make things slightly more convenient for the delegates?" This is my idea of a perfect win-win solution: No more transclusion. The WP:FAC page lists and links to every active FAC. A bot comes along and, for each FAC, lists the date that each FAC started, the timestamp of the most recent edit, and the number of unique editors to the FAC page. When a delegate deems an article ready to be promoted, they do *something* to the FAC page. A bot comes along and, upon seeing that special *something*, does all of the other work. User:Krellis has a series of bots that do very similar work to what I just described. This genius system is a win for everyone. Sections and hide boxes for reviewers, WP:FAC becomes easier to navigate, less work for the delegates, and Krellis gets a few barnstars. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 22:06, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

It's not just the delegates who don't like the idea of no transclusions, it's a lot of the reviewers. As a reviewer, I find the current method of transclusions invaluable. Karanacs (talk) 13:40, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

proposal:eliminate all nominees' names from all noms

  • I propose to eliminate any and all opportunity for people to take individual credit for any FA.
  • Really, really, I know you're rolling your eyes, but this is the heart of all FAC's ills. Along with this, I'd surely love to MfD WP:WBFAN. However, that will never happen. People who love WBFAN hang out at WBFAN. I'm hoping the folks who hang out here love Wikipedia more than they love WBFAN.
  • My reasons are as follows:
  • Why have I been burned out? The real core reason is this: when I review a FAC, I go down the list of all the sources. I read the darn things. No really—if i can find it, I read it. Then I do my own research, reading other sources. I do the entire amount of research for a single FAC review that the nominating editors should have done, but seldom actually have done. It's hard work. It actually gets exhausting after a while.
  • After doing this, what do I find? Far, far too often, the nominators have not done their homework, and have not even come close to doing their homework.
  • I cry foul. And what's my reward? I get slammed/insulted/knocked about by truculent folks who want their damn bronze stars... I won't name the most recent FAC where this happened. Again. As usual.
  • So I ask you, "Why haven't they done their homework?". The answer is, because they're in such a rush to get their names on WBFAN. They want personal credit. They wanna be able to brag, "Oh I need to slam out another FA now, it's been a few weeks" etc.
  • And what's the cure? We can't find more reviewers, apparently. We need to make it less cool to get an FA. You may say, if getting an FA is less cool, then there will be fewer FAs. Well, I hope so. having fewer FAs is far better than having a greater number of substandard FAs.
  • I propose to remove all nominees' names from all FACs.
I'd disagree with that; anyone wanting to recreate WBFAN could just look at the original diff for who created the FAC, so it wouldn't take away the high-score-table problem, but removing the nominator would mean we wouldn't be able to see if the nominator was someone who'd actually worked on the article; wouldn't know if the person replying to comments made was the actual nominator; wouldn't know who to address any questions to. It would also mean people could flood FAC with dozens of nominations at a time. – iridescent 10:04, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree w Iridescent's comments on the disadvantages of hiding nominators' names.
I don't think much of WP:FAN for various reasons. Not all FAs are equal, see the recent discussion on "core topics"; for example getting Bird to FA probably required at least 5 times as much research as an article on a bird species, and much more thought about structure and level of summarisation. Some FAs are just touch-ups after someone else has done most of the research, yet the touch-up artists claim the credit. Etc., etc. However there's no point in fighting human nature.
I'm puzzled by Ling.Nut's complaints. Where a reviewer does "the entire amount of research for a single FAC review that the nominating editors should have done, but seldom actually have done", the result should usually be a prompt fail for lack of citations or gaps in coverage. Ditto for other cases whether the reviewers have to do a lot of actual work on improving the article, as opposed to pointing out (explicitly and at least with examples) where improvements are needed.
I also think Ling.Nut may be doing more work than the average FA reviewer and may need a break from reviewing. I review articles for GA, and there are times when it's a grind - what constitutes "broad coverage" and how do I judge whether the article meets that criterion; checking refs, which is as essential for GA as for FA; etc. If I've just finished one or 2 big GA reviews on complex articles, I take a break.
It's also possible that Ling.Nut tends to review research-intensive articles, which adds to the stress - as I know from experience at GA level. It might be good to review a few articles on lighter subjects, and perhaps adopt a different role in the review. --Philcha (talk) 11:24, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if the real problem is FA counting or intellectual laziness in general. I know a lot of nominators bring articles here not for the personal credit, but because they really want the article to be recognized (and potentially be TFA). This doesn't make their articles any better or well-researched than those of nominators who are motivated by their own FA counting. The underlying problems that I see are that
  • A lot of people simply don't seem to understand what constitutes a good source. They either misinterpret the WP guidelines or assume that an online source is just as good if not better than a book (because the online source is more easily verifiable! because the self-published city website is obviously more accurate on city history! because my library doesn't have that book!).
  • Some nominators do understand that books are important and know how to identify a reliable source, but they don't know how to compile a survey of the available literature. They find three or four high-quality sources and are happy, but they just never learned how to determine if that is an appropriate representation of opinion or not. This leads to articles being potentially noncomprehensive or potentially POV.
  • Some nominators have an underlying idea in their head of what the scope of the article should be, and they don't even realize that certain topics or sections might be useful to be included in the article. Often, these nominators are willing to go look for that information when it's pointed out to them, but some get a little possessive over their vision.
What's the solution for this? Smack the schoolteachers, school boards, and others who set school policies until students are actually trained in how to do basic research (my preferred method)? In reality, though, it's patience and education on our part. Reviewers need to make it really clear where the problems lie so delegates can archive articles that just aren't ready. In my opinion, removing names on FACs is not going to do anything to solve any of our problems. Karanacs (talk) 15:12, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
You know, I hate to sound like a Citizendium user, but I think part of the solution might be to try and find some expert opinions. I've been working on Gamma-ray burst with Jehochman for a while. I was well aware that it probably suffered from outdatedness, POV imbalance, and a lack of focus as a simple product of the fact that neither of us are astronomers. So I found some experts. User:Daniel Perley, an astronomer at UC Berkeley, has agreed to pitch in. His comments at GRB's FAC have already proven invaluable. His expertise in the field combined with our expertise with Wikipedia seem like the winning combination to make the best possible article. Why choose consensus over credentials when you can just have both? --Cryptic C62 · Talk
Ling.Nut, I wish you would just pipe up and say what articles you're talking about. Yeah, it sucks when editors get in your face when you disparage their (what I will assume is) slipshod work, but there really is no other way to challenge a poor FAC than by opposing for valid reasons, or bringing it to FAR. I don't think it's a matter of folks wanting to get higher on the WP:WBFAN list because at some point on that list you start to realize you're at the point of diminishing returns. I think long and hard now if I want an article I have worked on for weeks or months to go to FA because the high profile articles listed at FA are targets for such dumbassery that watching, maintaining, and justifying their content becomes a painful chore. I don't necessarily agree with Karanacs that poor quality FACs are a result of a broken public education system, but a reflection on the inevitable human nature to do the least amount of work for the most value. I don't believe this is exclusive to Wikipedia, either. I spoke with a co-worker who watches NIH bulletins about researchers at major U.S. universities who are censured for making up research data. The FAC process, like Wikipedia, is evolving to make criteria more stringent, which is good. But it's also painful as most change is. People will complain and holler and call you names because change hurts. As individuals, we have to make a decision if it is worth it to say what we think and protest what we consider to be a noble cause. As a group of FA editors in this sub-community, we have to support stringent standards and make clear to those unfamiliar with the process what should be expected of them. First and foremost, in my experience, everyone should expect to work hard, and be very flexible. --Moni3 (talk) 16:03, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I support Ling Nut's proposal to eliminate nominator's names from FAC nominations. Some FAC reviewers oppose articles simply because of who is nominating. I would also like to add that some people aren't looking for bronze stars for the wrong reasons, they want their articles to be categorized in the appropriate place because the article meets FA criteria. My article Ten Commandments in Roman Catholicism recently failed FAC after one support and one oppose. I am very upset about this because the one oppose was asking for information that is not in modern scholarship on the topic of the Ten Commandments in Roman Catholicism. It is not included in any of the most relevent books written on the subject but Karanacs asked to go searching for them anyway and closed my FAC. At some point, at least for religion articles, it would help to have a rule that requires opposers to provide some relevent reference to support their oppose. Otherwise people like me who spend months creating a decent article are held hostage to the whims of FAC reviewers who don't have any reliable references to support the original research they are asking us to include. The FAC director's assistants are not, in my opinion, doing anything more than counting supports and opposes no matter how absurd and unreasonable. This scenario is what eliminates any reasons people like me might have for creating another article for Wikipedia. NancyHeise talk 18:37, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not really sure those are issues that removing the name of the nominator would solve... --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:07, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Ling, it won't help. In addition to what Iridescent said above, they can just look at the edit count for the article. Ceranthor 19:49, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I am in agreement with the two editors above me in that this will not help. WP:FAN can go on almost as easily by looking at the page history. Mm40 (talk) 20:05, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Pile-on opposes really aren't helpful at this point; clearly we've already found flaws in LingNut's idea. We need to start treating this not as a discussion of a solution, but a discussion of the problems: How can we insure better work from our FA writers? How can we consistently insure that FAs represent the best possible articles? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 21:14, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm only an occasional visitor to FAC, but I don't get the impression that there's really a problem. Yes, there's the occasional article nominated that isn't up to speed, but that would be the case whatever – the issue is more with what seems like "brilliant refreshing prose" to the author of an article can look different to someone else, and that the occasionally arbitrary nature of the GA process – where it is sometimes possible for a poor-quality article to slip through – give people a false impression of what's good quality. Looking over the current batch of FACs, while I can see some that I don't think will pass I can't see any that scream out "that shouldn't be here". – iridescent 22:37, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Amazingly, I think for the first time ever, I agree with Ling.Nut. The FAC process reaks of WP:OWN, and the WP:WBFAN page is a joke. I'd have surely nominated it, but have not for the same reasons as Ling.Nut - it would have been snowballed closed by those who hang out there. Majorly talk 22:42, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Agreed; FAC in general needs some significant changes. –Juliancolton | Talk 23:13, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

There are two seperate issues raised above, actually: that nominators are seeking recognition as their primary motivation and that reviewers will oppose things because of who nominated them. Both suggestions stink of bad faith, frankly. Why shouldn't an author be proud of their hard work? I support giving credit where credit is due. If someone nominates something substandard because they just want a star, we need to send them away using the system that's already in place. I don't see adding complexity as solving any problems. --Laser brain (talk) 23:05, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Oh and also, knowing who nominated something, at least for me, is a fairly reliable indicator of what work has and hasn't been done. This indicator gives me an idea of where I need to look for problems. --Laser brain (talk) 23:07, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Answer: spelling and grammar. Always spelling and grammar :P --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 23:19, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd suggest not MFDing WBFAN or removing the nominators. Instead, can those who are interested in such technical pursuits just make more silly charts please. There are no end of meaningless statistics to be sorted and ranked and I'm sure most people can reach the top of one of these skilfully sliced charts without the need to annoy reviewers. A typo correction I once made to an article at FAC converted the prose from lacklustre to brilliant thereby securing its promotion; the only thing that prevents me from reprimanding the nominator for claiming the credit that is mine by rights is the knowledge that one day "Wikipedians by number of single letter corrections to articles that were eventually promoted but looked likely to not be promoted at the time of the correction" will make them look very foolish. Yomanganitalk 01:14, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Of reality versus necessity: Laser suggests my comments are bad faith. I actually agree (surpise!) and disagree. The whole idea of AGF is that everyone is not only innocent until proven guilty, they are in fact innocent until proven guilty multiple times in more than one way and in multiple forums. And that is a good policy. AGF is a social construct that is proper and necessary for our ongoing work. It keeps the system running. It is a check & balance against ad hominem attacks by (for example) nationalist POV pushers etc. It is also a nod to the reality that no one is perfect, and we all have some combination of a greater or lesser number of ongoing less-than-noble motivations or one-off tantrums on bad days. By these standards, my comments are open to criticism under AGF. I accept that. I even endorse statements to that effect. Having said all that, the fact that we all happily agree to operate under the assumption that everyone is innocent and innocent and very innocent and exceptionally innocent has no genuine connection with the reality of human behavior... so back to the issue at hand, why did I suggest this? Simple: anonymous noms, if practical (I doubt they are—would involve a process of emailing noms to a designated nominator etc.) would de-cool-ify the process. That would rmv the starseekers. It might also reduce passions a bit, in some cases. It would make the whole process.. you know.. more impersonal. Dare I say it.. more professional. Many journals use a double-blind review process. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 01:43, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate your not taking my comment personally—it speaks highly of your character. In the end, as you admit, I don't see any way for it to work practically. Most people want some credit for their hard work, even if it's just being able to say they did it. You'd be taking that away from leagues of editors just to remedy the handful of star-seekers you claim want to jam whatever they can through the system—and I'm not convinced that even exists. --Laser brain (talk) 02:22, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

People would just credit themselves regardless of what happened. I know a guy whose FAs have mostly been delisted because they were written 4 years ago and not brought up to date (or have been completely rewritten by others and no longer resemble the original), but he still goes around telling other people that he has 17 FAs and all that. There is also a group factor. Some Wikiprojects like to take group pride in their FA count, so unless you chuck out the stats tables by QikiProject they will always be there. Some Wikiprojects used to have a 90%+ turnout among regular editors and 95%+ support overall, although since mid-late-2007 this kind of voting is becoming obsolete as one proper oppose trumps a pile of reflex votes. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 02:01, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Content-checking process

I've started thinking about a two-pronged system of checks and balances. The FAC process would remain exactly as is: spell check, MOS compliance, prose tweaks, all that jazz. The point of the FAC would be to insure that the material in the article is presented in the best possible way. If the reviewers don't take LingNut's initiative and really delve into the sources and do a thorough fact check, so be it. To take care of that, there would be an (almost) entirely separate system which I'll refer to as the Verification Report, in which a neutral participant (one who has no conflict of interest with the author or the subject matter) gathers and reads all of the sources presented in the article. This verifier would make a report of his findings, including:
  • Statements in the article that do not accurately represent statements in the sources
  • Contradictions between distinct sources that have not been adequately addressed in the article
  • Significant variation between the article and the sources regarding the representation of POVs and subtopics
  • Significant POVs, subtopics, or statements presented in the sources that are entirely absent from the article
  • Citations or references to other potential sources which have not been used in the article
This report would be linked to from the article's talk page (just like a peer review) and, upon its completion, the author would be notified. The author would be given a chance to remedy any of the verifier's complaints (if any exist), and once both parties are satisfied, the verification is archived. Perhaps the article could feature a little magnifying glass in the upper right corner, too. If, for whatever reason, the verifier's complaints are not addressed, the report can then be used as a reason to delist the article from GA/FA or oppose any future GANs/FACs. The authors would not be able to deny a request to commence a verification report for any reason other than that they are not finished working on the article. To prevent this from allowing authors to sneak past the verification report, perhaps the author would be required to place a template on the article's talk page stating that it is ready for the report when s/he is "done" editing. An article could not be submitted for FAC without the presence of this template. Any thoughts? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 03:43, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Thought: do you really think that this would work? How many people are going to spend oodles of money to acquire references for a subject they probably don't like (oh wait, can't like - would be a COI if they did per above)? Frankly, I don't think that anyone in their right mind would want to do this any more than once, and that would be a definite problem, as we are all volunteers; it's not a job, and we can choose to do what we want to do. —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 04:07, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Erm, maybe I don't fully understand your point. So what if people don't want to do it? Go ahead and choose not to. If we end up having 10,000 articles with unfulfilled verification reports, so what? As I see it, if people choose to do the reports, it will improve the quality of the article, but if no one does, then the system works exactly as it does now. It's win-win. Or at the very worst, win-draw. Also, your idea of spending "oodles of money" is a bit off. For most scientific articles, all you'd need is access to a few subscription databases and a good library, something most university students and professors would have. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 04:22, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid Cryptic C62's comments are totally unrealistic. They assume WP is trying to produce a PA (Perfect Article), but there's no such thing, not even in peer-reviewed journals. In the sciences (i.e. subjects where hypotheses can be refuted) the typical journal article is dead meat within about 5 years - either refuted or subsumed into a more comprehensive view. And despite the peer-review system, some downright bad articles get through. The 2-stage system is impractical and may lead to endless loops, where the "verifier" has to recheck that rephrasings in the "style" review haven't misrepresented the sources, introduced a new POV, etc., and changes made by or in response to the "verifier" need to be rechecked for style, etc. And "For most scientific articles, all you'd need is access to a few subscription databases and a good library, something most university students and professors would have" is pure fantasy, as very few editors that I know are university students and professors. If we restricted editing to academics in the relevant subjects, WP might as well fold. --Philcha (talk) 06:26, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
There's no chance of this content vetting program being implemented in practice, even if it is passed. Even for a medium range statesman like Ngo Dinh Diem there are at least 80 books out there that dedicate at least one chapter to his rule of South Vietnam. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 06:57, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Understand where Cryptic C62 is coming from but I also think the two-tier content vs. presentation method will be impractical. On the other hand, and not trying to push a particular WikiProject's barrow, the A-Class Review process that is heavily employed at say MILHIST does emphasise content verfication, and this helps make many MILHIST FACs a presentation exercise more than a verification one. Of course the WP ACR process differs from his suggestion in that the reviewers do have a least a broad interest in the subject, but again I don't think you'll find many completely disinterested reviewers going to the trouble that he's looking for in verifying content. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:09, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Well the third and fourth points in C62's comments require people to read a wide range of books before they know if the author has selectively emphasised certain stuff. I don't think the articles in there do get that treatment, unless the reviewer writes stuff on the same country as the article in question I don't think that will be the case. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 07:16, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, no suggestion that ACR routinely goes to the depth of verification that C62 advocates, just that one of its main purposes is content review. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:22, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
To throw in an example from a completely different subject area, I've been working on a very specialized topic—machinima (essentially, the use of video games as real-time filming tools)—and even that has a substantial amount of reading. The sources currently in the article (at GA level) constitute about 1,000 printed pages of material, at least. That's not exactly a small amount of material to digest. And there are many other reliable magazine/news articles and academic papers on the topic. I note this example mostly to show that the reading burden isn't confined to traditional academic subjects, especially as academic treatment of popular fiction increases. — TKD::{talk} 08:59, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

This has been suggested at least a couple of times before. The last time I saw it I believe the idea was that A-class review replace those aspects of FAC that address content, for a small subset of WikiProjects -- essentially FA would "license" content review duties to those projects it trusted. One of the reasons the idea did not gain acceptance was the difficulty of managing the definition of which WikiProject gets to do this and which are not approved; another was a concern that third party content review has often been very valuable at FAC and should not be forced into the WikiProject process. I think Cryptic C62's idea has merit in principle but there are real difficulties; his/her version is different from what has been suggested before, but has other shortcomings, as others have mentioned above. Mike Christie (talk) 09:26, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

A few things I'd like to address: First, at no point did I say that the verifier had to be "completely disinterested" in the subject. All I said was that they shouldn't have a conflict of interest with the subject. I like theater, so I would be comfortable verifying Her Majesty's Theatre, but not Westport Country Playhouse because I've worked there. Second, if the verification process is too difficult or time-consuming to be done by one person, then why not split it up? There would be even be some real value in splitting it up so long as there would be a little bit of overlap between the verifiers. Third, perhaps the reason that this sort of process has been suggested/attempted before is because it needs to happen. The incredible Mariusz Pudzianowski-like strength of Wikipedia comes from its collaborative processes and from every aspect receiving attention from multiple perspectives. While this is true in most cases, it is not true for the verification of facts when an article is brought to FA by a single author. I don't see how we can force users to collaborate (feel free to prove me wrong here, this is an interesting notion), so neutral verification seems like the best solution. The only other solution I can think of is, as I mentioned earlier, to bring in experts to do some external peer review work as has happened here. Somehow I don't think that would be a universally accepted (or feasible) solution either. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 16:58, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I understand that some articles don't have their content verified at all at FAC, but others do. If we wanted to split up the two types of reviews, the content review would by necessity need to come first. A lot of nominations get archived because of sourcing issues right now. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of deliberately promoting some articles to "FA" quality because they look pretty when we know that they are non-comprehensive, or use bad sources, or have plagiarism. And, as a conversation above indicated, many of the reviewers see no point in judging whether the article is formatted and written well if the content is crap. Karanacs (talk) 17:05, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
(Apologies if this has already been said somewhere) There's a practical issue with checking sources as well, especially on obscure topics. Taking my Noel Park as an example, what's apparently a straightforward "history of the area" geographical article veers into the role of Victorian philanthropic companies, trends in late 19th century housing design, and the impact of changing public transport links on urban development, and includes some very specialist books as sources; even on a fairly straightforward article like this, there are going to be very few people who have sufficient knowledge of WP rules, sufficient knowledge of the subject, and access to the books. Realistically, nobody is likely to have a copy of Victorian Houses and Their Details: The Role of Publications in Their Building and Decoration lying around the house, or arrange the nine separate inter-library loans that would likely be necessary to verify the sources I've used. Hopefully, the current FAC process works in that people with knowledge of specific areas can question points that appear to be wrong; without some degree of trust, the entire process will just logjam. – iridescent 17:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I actually do a "verification report" when I do GA reviews. I only review things that lie within my area of expertise, and I "fact check" them pretty rigorously. I'm not eager to do that here because in the FA process I would just be one voice out of many, and because the process is so chaotic. Looie496 (talk) 17:57, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I highly encourage you to fact check at FAC!! The reason FAC requires multiple reviews is because we want to get multiple opinions and hope that between the reviewers everything will be covered. Often a lone oppose in a sea of supports will be granted greater weight, because the opposer has a really good reason (plagiarism, noncomprehensiveness) and the supporters just didn't catch that. If you don't feel comfortable entering an oppose, put it as comments. Sandy and I read those too, and it still helps the nominator to know what should be improved. Karanacs (talk) 18:09, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
"Some articles don't have their content verified at all at FAC"? Eh? Every article has its content checked at FAC, although obviously some more thoroughly than others. This proposal is grossly impractical; it's completely out of the question to expect every reviewer (or even any reviewer) to check that each of the citations precisely supports what it's claimed to support. The citations are not uniformly important in any case, some supporting material that noone in their right mind would be likely to question anyway. If a process similar to the peer review academic articles are subjected to is thought to be necessary (and I remain unconvinced that it is), then panel of specialists in each relevant field would need to be set up to vet articles in those fields; not by laboriously checking each citation, but against their own background knowledge of the area. The only things that need to be checked are those that someone familiar with the subject area would question, or have doubts about. Doing what Ling Nut says he does is just inventing busy work that won't get done. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:20, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
It seems people are rarely willing/able/at a sufficient level of insanity to do anything as extensive as the verification report I suggested. I do the occasional spot-check if something seems fishy, but for the most part I just trust the authors as iridescent suggested. When stuff like this does happen at an FAC, that's great. The article is improved and the high standard for FAs is maintained. The problem I see is that with the current system, contrary to Malleus's position, this won't always happen, nor will it happen to a consistent level. It just depends on who chooses to participate in the reviews. So the question is how do we insure some degree of verification at FAC without introducing a convoluted system? Could we just not allow FACs to pass until at least one of the editors makes some comments on the accuracy of the article? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 18:28, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand my position, perhaps because I was not clear in stating it. My view is almost exactly the same as Iridescent's, that a degree of trust is necessary to prevent the system grinding to a halt. All I added to that was the observatiuon that the content of any article which is read by a reviewer is by definition being checked for content, albeit not as formally as your proposal requires, allied to the practical suggestion that the only citations that really need to be checked are those which seem in some way fishy, or in support of material which is counterintuitive. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:41, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Despite my criticisms of Cryptic C62's proposal, I have some sympathy with it - FAC does seem rather variable, and I'v seen suggestions that, if no-one turns up except a few of the nominator's pals, a pass is easy. Malleus's post of 18:20, 30 April 2009 contains the germ of a workable lite version of Cryptic C62. FAC could recruit a panel of editors who are known to have reasonable knowledge in various fields, and ask them whether they have any doubts about accuracy, completeness, neutrality, etc. Members of the panel could comment on anything they found questionable, but would not have to search all the literature every time, although they would be expected to cite sources whenver they contest statements that are backed up by good sources. Does that soudn workable? --Philcha (talk) 18:53, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it sounds workable, there are too many fields to cover and how could you guarantee someone has reasonable knowledge in an area? Does someone have to have produced a GA or an FA in their chosen subject or can they claim to have formal qualifications (how would this be verified)? Nev1 (talk) 18:59, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's any more workable than the original proposal, and carries with it the danger of adding yet another layer of bureaucracy in the choice and composition of these panels. Besides, is there really a problem here that needs to be solved? Are many FACs being passed which shouldn't because their sources were abused or misused? To compare FA with publication in an academic journal is in any event a poor analogy. Once published an article can't be unpublished, but FAs can always be demoted. Why are we only concerned about an article's accuracy when it gets to FAC anyway? Shouldn't all articles always be accurate? Why are we less concerned that an A class article may be inaccurate than we are that an FA might be? Some of the navel-gazing that goes on around here might be more productively directed towards a new PAC (Perfect Article Candidate) process. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:18, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Now I know you're kidding, Malleus :-) See my comments (06:26, 30 April 2009 (UTC)) on the impossibility of the Perfect Article. --Philcha (talk) 19:26, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Given the impossibility of achieving perfection, we have to be able to recognise "good enough". I remain to be convinced that there is a real need for any such formalised content checking as has been suggested, beyond the theoretical. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:56, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just read the very first post by Ling Nut. When we simply scratch the surface, it will always appear that in-depth fact checking is unnecessary. But when we do delve deeper, as Ling Nut does, it sometimes becomes apparent that the fact-checking is necessary and that authors are not always doing the best job of summarizing their research. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 20:28, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

I have suggestions to offer for content checking: My articles on the Roman Catholic Church are of sufficient interest to the organization that I have been able to get some experts to read them and offer comments for improvement and accuracy. For high profile articles it is easy enough to alert professionals and ask for advice. I emailed several professors of Church history and theology, some of whom were used in the article. Most did not respond but some did. Why not do the same for other FAC's? Professors are very flattered that you use their books and are interested to see what others have written. Most professors have readily accessible emails - just google them and send them a link to the Wikipedia article that is using their book as a reference. Ask them if they think the article is accurate, comprehensive, etc or not. It's so easy. NancyHeise talk 22:10, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that's a brilliant idea Nancy, I'm going to start doing that with future FACs I submit. At the worst, there will be no response, at best, some of them may be lured into becoming valuable contributors. Sasata (talk) 22:48, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
It's worth a try - provided academic squabbles don't get carried over into FAC. --Philcha (talk) 23:29, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Philcha here. I emailed the co-discoverer of the Chicxulub Crater about looking over the article, and he was offended that the article discussed the multiple impact theory (which essentially diminishes the importance of the crater). They aren't exactly any more reliable than anyone else in terms of neutrality. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 23:32, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Quite, I think we need to recover our grip on reality here. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:20, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I think it is better to encourage academics to get involved in Wikipedia and learn about our policies and culture than to ask them to review individual articles. Academics are concerned with truth (not necessarily verifiability), original research, and POV (that is how they get tenure, particularly in the humanities). Academics will therefore not always assess articles based on Wikipedia's own internal expectations. Awadewit (talk) 00:26, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
That, I think, is the sensible and pragmatic approach. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:29, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Seconded (or thirded), I have had some great experiences with academics or experts in fields, but some where the paradigm shift between WP and academia has been evident and caused issues. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:45, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Quoth Awadewit: "Academics will therefore not always assess articles based on Wikipedia's own internal expectations." I see this as more of a strength than a weakness. A non-Wikipedian expert has the inherent ability to ignore all of the frosting and strawberries and get straight to the otherwise inedible angel food cake: the content. Is it up to date with the general consensus in today's academic community? Are the more specialized/technical elements presented accurately? These are questions that could be answered by an extremely time-consuming verification report, but could also be easily addressed by someone who, to put it bluntly, knows their shit. I think David Fuchs made an error by contacting the discoverer, as this presents a fairly obvious COI. I'm sure if I contacted Dale Frail asking him to look over GRB 970508, he'd be appalled that more emphasis isn't given to his discovery of the radio afterglow. Regardless, I can't imagine any instance in which contacting an expert wouldn't cause some good to come about. Just take what they say with a grain of salt. Surely by now we've all learned how to do that, haven't we? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 02:05, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

I think you should read what Awadewit said again, more carefully. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:16, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I want to go back to the "degree of trust" remarks by Iridescent and Malleus. I and M, I love you. I really do. Come here and get a big sloppy hug. I mean it. But you are wrong. This whole, whole journey into perpetual FAC pessimism for me began with an article that... hey... looked really plausible. It hung together kinda well, had plausible-looking sources, etc. But the nominators hadn't even read their own sources! In fact, they didn't even have possession of many of the sources. And one extremely POV statement which was cited to a respectable source was in fact the complete opposite of what the source actually said. Is any of this ringing a bell? And far more recently I was engaged in curmudgeonly dueling over an article that was... the content that it had was reasonably well-researched, but there was a huge hole in the article. Its editors had entered into the writing process crippled by their own preconceptions of what they intended to write about the topic. They let their preconceptions drive the research instead of letting the research drive the writing. They did not bother to start researching from ground zero; they researched what they thought the article should say. Thus, they left out an entire area that was mentioned again and again in the research I conducted. So the conclusion is: Never trust the text. Never trust the editors. And no, Laserbrain, that isn't a violation of AGF; it's a philosophy or an approach: Always start from ground zero. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 02:28, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Aye, it's important to keep in mind that "assume good faith" does not mean "assume people don't make mistakes". Quite the opposite. It means "recognize that people do make mistakes, but don't put leeches on their genitals when they do." If people didn't make mistakes, we wouldn't need to cite sources at all! We could just always assume that the author is perfect. But people are people. And people are stupid. Sources don't lie, so let's verify. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 02:46, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Sources may not lie, but they not infrequently contradict one another. Those sources are written by people, who as you say are stupid. Why assume that "mistakes" are the fault of the (often substantial) body of an article's editors as opposed to a so-called expert? Have you never come across errors in standard texts? I certainly have, many times. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:57, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I can think of one professor whom I would trust to look over any literature article, but he's a wikipedia editor himself. I have some ideas as to how wikipedia could be more inviting to professors, but I'm not sure this is the right forum. Wrad (talk) 02:59, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
When you use the term "professor", do you mean what we in the UK would call an acknowledged expert in the field, or in the US sense of simply being a teacher? --Malleus Fatuorum 03:03, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I mean someone with a PhD and tenure. Someone who regularly teaches college classes and conducts research for publication in scholarly journals and presentation at major conferences. An acknowledged expert and a teacher. Wrad (talk) 15:24, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent) But the whos and whys of why the text is wrong are not important. Only the assumption that everything could be wrong is important. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:00, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Exactly. Which is why the most important checks of all are for plausibility and consistency. --Malleus Fatuorum 03:05, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


Along with source checking and image checking, all FACs should be minimally fact-checked. That is, at least one reviewer needs to take it upon themselves to spot-check a handful of facts from the article. Awadewit (talk) 03:08, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

What about facts that I know to be true, such as that most human beings have five fingers? (I'd try to find that request for citation, but I'm optimistic that Iridescent will come up trumps.) No point in checking random facts from easily available sources; we need to use some common sense and focus on plausibility and consistency. There has been a raft of articles on Polish history coming through recently, for instance, and I've seen quite a few on Norwegian transport infrastructure as well. Inevitably many of the sources will be in Polish, Norwegian ... and we'll have to trust the accuracy of the translations. I'm not about to learn Polish just so that I can check the precise deployment of a Lancer regiment during the Peninsular War, how about you? --Malleus Fatuorum 03:22, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Malleus, as you said earlier, "I think you should read what Awadewit said again, more carefully." I hardly think that the request for articles to be "minimally fact-checked" or for reviewers to "spot-check a handful of facts" is any reason to start babbling about fingers and learning Polish.
Back on point: Awadewit, I completely agree. Every FAC should have at least one reviewer making an effort to check the fishy stuff. The question is this: What happens if, for whatever reasons, this doesn't happen? Do we just let the FAC drag out indefinitely? Should the delegates send out a distress signal asking for qualified editors to chip in? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 03:46, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
This would necessarily involve keeping a chart of which facts had or hadn't been checked, and by whom. Complexity rears its ugly head. Not that complexity is always bad. But most folks shun it. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 03:54, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Fact-checking is all well and good, but I fear we could easily end up with articles where each sentence is followed by HTML comments duplicating the information in the sentence and stating who verified it. This also contributes to an image of articles as collections of facts, rather than expositions of a topic. Gimmetrow 04:46, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Although "at least one reviewer making an effort to check the fishy stuff" (Cryptic C62, 03:46, 1 May 2009) is in the spirit of WP:V, you'd need a reviewer with sufficient knowledge of the topic to spot most of the "fishy stuff" eaily enough. It would also be desirable for a non-specialist to check that all points not known to the "general public" are supported.
"Should the delegates send out a distress signal asking for qualified editors to chip in?" (Cryptic C62, 03:46, 1 May 2009) Yes - in addition to fact-checking, an FA is supposed to be comprehensive, neutral, etc., and judging these points is a job for people with knowledge of the field. The problem is sub-fields within fields, e.g. in real science Stephen Hawking is a top authority on theoretical physics but not on stellar physics or fluid dynamics or ... etc.
"keeping a chart of which facts had or hadn't been checked" is way over the top - no wonder Ling.Nut wrote about feeling burnt-out. --Philcha (talk) 07:27, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent) "keeping a chart of which facts had or hadn't been checked" is exactly what I did in the case I rant about above. Actually, it wouldn't be hard to automate the generation of a table of refnotes preceded by perhaps four or five words, e.g., "and Smith disagreed".<ref>Some big hairy reference</ref> There would be a column for foks to initial a particular row, see this for an idea. Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 10:34, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

"I hardly think that the request for articles to be 'minimally fact-checked' or for reviewers to 'spot-check a handful of facts' is any reason to start babbling about fingers and learning Polish." The term "babbling" is generally considered to be pejorative Cryptic C62. so I suggest you rein in your intemperate language. Spot-checking only a handful of (the more easily checked) facts will simply give a false sense of security, and will add very little, if anything, except more busy-work. Philcha makes a very important point which has been largely ignored, that there are just too many fields/sub-fields to make it practical to have independent expertise available in all of them, or even most of them. Anyone who feels they want to is of course perfectly free to check whatever facts they like, whenever they like, but to formalise that in the way being suggested here is completely impractical IMO, and will inevitably lead to a two-tier system where certain types of articles are given a much harder ride through FAC than others ... although come to think of that's already the case. Compare Roman Catholic Church with the typical tropical cyclone, for instance. The RCC article also demonstrates that it's not always so easy to establish the "facts" as the proposal is assuming. --Malleus Fatuorum 12:56, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
The RCC article also reveals that some FAC reviewers don't know their facts and I think these should not be counted against the nominator unless they have a source to support their personal opinions which the nominator has tried in vain to source in an effort to win their support. NancyHeise talk 19:59, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, but you have to expect that when you're working on such an important topic as the RCC, on which everyone and their dog has an opinion. Please don't give up on the idea of getting it through FAC, I'm sure you can do it. --Malleus Fatuorum 00:43, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Featured content sorting ala Deletion sorting?

What I read above suggests that there needs to be a topic expert to review the accuracy and completeness of the article per other WP standards for that article in addition to any general comments that reviewers will have. Would it then seem to make sense to create a "Featured content sorting" project ala the Deletion Sorting project to categorize FA noms and potentially other Featured content noms into both broad and narrow categories that editors that are interested in those fields can opt to watch or visit frequent, in order to bring those interested editors to review the articles? It would not necessarily guarantee a fact check but will improve the chances that can be done. --MASEM (t) 12:46, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

It's like this: Anything you wanna do to sort/list etc. FAC noms, and do as a sideline that doesn't require reviewer time, is almost certainly highly appreciated. ;-) Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 13:58, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
It's definitely a lightweight approach thanks to the fact that most (all?) FA processes use transclusion, so that all it would take is a few volunteers (even nominators or reviewers themselves) to drop the transclusion onto the categorization lists, possibly leaving a note on the review of which lists it is present on. --MASEM (t) 15:13, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I am of the mindset that sorting into "both broad and narrow categories" is the biggest strength of this idea. I am not an astronomer, nor an astrophysicist, nor do I study rocks. As an aspiring mathematician, my fact-checking on 243 Ida is limited to those statements which "don't seem right" mathematically. Still, I do catch some things, and it's much better than zero fact-checking. I suspect that this would be true for nearly all articles in the natural sciences, and a category system which clearly indicated such articles would be incredibly useful to me. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 16:28, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Can we also please include some proposal that addresses the incidents where FAC reviewers ask for the incorrect, original research or the impossible? Some FAC reviewers don't know their facts and ask for material that is not in modern scholarship on the article topic. Their oppose should not be counted against the nominator of the article if there is no source to support their assertions. Some of us feel that our articles will never pass because these opposes are counted as valid by Sandy and Karanacs who are just looking for consensus. I think that their job should include something more than that. I appreciate their work and I am sure they have enough on their plate, I just feel that my articles have endured both the best but also the worst FAC reviewers have had to offer and that Wikipedia is not helped by just counting consensus where more is required. NancyHeise talk 20:06, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Effectively, the new Article alerts system does this already, at least for those projects which have it enabled, by posting a list of all open FACs, GACs, FARs, AFDs etc relating to pages tagged for the project. (See here for what the new system looks like in practice.) – iridescent 20:15, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Excellent point on AA - I wonder if it can be expanded to handle more broader categories (for example, the general class of fiction elements do not have a single project but fall under a given category)...I think encouragement of this it helpful. --MASEM (t) 20:33, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm somewhat sympathetic to your viewpoint Nancy, but I don't think it's fair to blame either SandyG or Karanacs. Personally I think the wikipedia idea of consensus sucks. Who cares what Joe Blow from Idaho thinks about anything, if indeed he's even capable of rational thought? --Malleus Fatuorum 00:35, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
(Ooops, there goes what little chance I had left of ever being an administrator, but "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." :lol:) --Malleus Fatuorum 00:47, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Truce term

Hi. I would like this article to go for FAC at some point but am really struggling with any sources from other cultures. I have asked around on other wikis and occasionally people tell me what they used as children but no sources! There may not be any as it is a very obscure subject. Does the fact that this article is based entirely on sources from the English speaking world make FA impossible?Fainites barleyscribs 08:01, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

I'd say it depends on how you define the scope of the article. "Truce terms in English culture" or similar would surely be perfectly OK at FAC. --Malleus Fatuorum 15:58, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I can easily define the content as that but it makes a rather clumsy title. Do you think the title needs to be changed or can I just define it in the lead? (The trouble is, I'm sure all cultures have them, humans being humans, and I have some knowledge of some - but no sources and little prospect of getting them.)Fainites barleyscribs 16:27, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I think that the title would need to be changed to reflect the restricted scope, but others may have a different view. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:31, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
Sadly I think you're right. Fainites barleyscribs 16:37, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Why not ask for help in relevant wiki projects? Religious, national etc. ϢereSpielChequers 15:34, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Done that (though by no means all yet). I get personal recollections but no sources. I have evidence therefore that truce terms are used in other European countries but no sources nor any evidence that sources exist, and as yet no evidence that they are used in non-European countries, apart from Japan where they use variants of the American "time-out".Fainites barleyscribs 21:00, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
  • What about in S&M? In sado-masochist games there are "truce terms" where one partner lets the other know that the game is over and to stop the play. —Mattisse (Talk) 15:38, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Foreign-language dictionaries yield some results; searching for "pax", for instance, gives French "pouce"[3][4], Russian "чур-чура"[5], etc. But that doesn't give you the same kind of folkloric analysis as contained in the rest of your article. Lesgles (talk) 07:22, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Lesgles. I've had some discussions about these two on foreign wikis and projects. There is a paucity of sources but there do seem to be european aswell as english speaking culture truce terms with some but not extemsive sources. No luck at all with non-european.Fainites barleyscribs 07:10, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

different pages

I was curious, as to why FAC and FAR are seperate pages, if the two are being judged by the same standard, surely one process should fit all, or am I missing something? Fasach Nua (talk) 21:08, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

My guess would be that the process is subtly different; an FAC is someone who's worked on the article "defending" it from assorted critics; for an FAR, the original contributors may have long gone, so the question-and-answer format of FAC isn't necessarily appropriate. – iridescent 21:55, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
In practice, FAR is not held to the same standard as FAC, about GA standard roughly, except mostly when the nominator doesn't like the author of the FA and is intent on bringing them down YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 01:42, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Yet another area of Wikipedia where standards need to be raised? Agh! Awadewit (talk) 16:45, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
or harmonised? Fasach Nua (talk) 18:05, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I think what YellowMonkey is trying to say is that FAR's attitude and process is geared towards retaining bronze stars, while FAC is the process of getting one (and is much easier to fail). With FAR you have to notify parties of the review and the first phase attempts to fix the article rather than outright delisting. For that reason it would be a poor idea to try and mash FAC and FAR together. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 17:39, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Why the double standard - especially when it is acknowledged that many old FAs would now fail GA? --Philcha (talk) 18:54, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Because an article that goes through FAR and stays an FA is more valuable than just summarily delisting articles that don't meet quality. Sometimes it takes the threat of delisting to mobilize people to save an article. I would say that's more worthwhile than just casting everything aside. --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 19:52, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Would you agree with Yellowmonkey's comment above that "FAR is not held to the same standard as FAC, about GA standard roughly"? --Malleus Fatuorum 19:55, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I think it has a significantly diffeent effect on morale to refuse a group of editors FA status rather than take away FA status when they already have it. I think because it is so difficult to undo a promotion, FAC need to be done right, and as of late I think they have not been given sufficient time to be considered properly, some recently promoted candidates are not even up for a week, and have been stalled mid-discussion. Fasach Nua (talk) 20:14, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I will be really blunt - requiring new nominators for FA to jump through hoops (e.g. MOS:CREEP) which editors with dozens of bronze stars for older FAs have not had to endure looks corrupt. --Philcha (talk) 20:57, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm with Philcha; not only does it look corrupt, it is corruupt. --Malleus Fatuorum 21:02, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I think this discussion may need to move to WT:FAR. I doubt anyone is suggesting that FAC lower its standards, and if standards should be raised at FAR, well, the discussion ought to take place over there. Karanacs (talk) 21:05, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Is the FA process a way to reward editors or a means to improve the encylopedia? If the former, then applying differing standards is certainly unfair, if the motivation is the latter then it encourages editors to improve articles without demoralising others, which in my opinion improves WP. Fasach Nua (talk) 21:13, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
What are we even discussing here? I'm confused. FAC and FAR are different pages because they have different audiences. There is some cross-over, but not a heck of a lot. As to the standards... communities of practice change as the community changes. There is never the same ensemble of people working on an FAC or FAR. In theory, the standards are applied evenly, but I wouldn't be surprised to find variances within individual pages that are on the list right at this moment. We all do the best we can with the current community of writers and reviewers. --Laser brain (talk) 21:18, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
You seem to have missed the point. It's been suggested that articles passed at FAR would in reality struggle to achieve GA. The "different audiences" are irrelevant, the same standards ought to be applied. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:31, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
See Ahmedabad. Survived FAR mid-2008 IIRC. And rail transport in India. Survived FAR mid-2007 after no comments on that FARC, although that example is dated. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 01:37, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I didn't mean that FAR has a different philosophy to FAC because of the longer time period for the article to be cleaned up, as David Fuchs was alluding to. I meant that the bar to which an FAR article has to improve to hold onto the star is not as high as for a new article at FAC to gain it. 1a is rarely checked there. The articles are mainly checked for the basics and don't really need to be much better than early-2007 standards to survive. I thought this was quite obvious. I think in one way it is the psychology of the status quo; people are less likely to want to take something away and downgrade something, compared to denying promotion to something of the same quality until it gets polished more. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 01:25, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

This was not always the case; if this is happening now at FAR, it could be due to lack of reviewers or because articles are moving through faster now. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:43, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I think it has always been the case. I've only been speeding up the FARs that have no attention and fall far short of GA standards. The other keeps are always basically by Joelr31, he tends to be more lenient and is satisfied earlier than I am YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 01:14, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree with YellowMonkey, and would like to thank him for his pragmatic and definitely beneficial presence at FAR. —Mattisse (Talk) 01:47, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Wow, I can't believe that Philcha and Malleus think that raising both FA and GA standards at the same time, leaving some older FAs unqualified for the bronze star (and even perhaps for the mythical green dot), is somehow "corrupt". Corrupt? Really? The word "corrupt" implies that someone does it deliberately in order to somehow personally benefit from it... do you really believe that's the case? If so, then you are more cynical than I am, and that is saying something... Now, if you wanna say "unfair"... well... the word "fair" is basically undefinable, but it isn't completely bizarre to say that shifting standards is "unfair". I don't agree that it's unfair, but some could make that case. But "corrupt"...? Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 05:18, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Ling.Nut misses the point. My complaint and, I think, Malleus' was that the 2-tier system is corrupt - all editors and all articles should be held to the same standards. --Philcha (talk) 06:05, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
This is all boiling down to the "for the editors or the articles" debate again. Anyone who gets an article through FAC now can pretty much guarantee that it will be better in certain departments that any "old bronze star" articles, especially in referencing. The idea of corruption suggests that we have new nominators clamouring for an FA pass while the "old guard" sit there proudly showing off their hoarded old stars. This is an odd approach to the problems which have essentially been created by an incremental improvement in FA standards.
Getting back to the original question, FAC and FAR are and need to be different things. Newly passed articles should be nothing short of excellent, and people generally bring in articles that somewhat meet current standards. FAR articles generally have a great deal of problems, though the texts themselves tend to be pretty good and of some merit. Different skills are required. If I may offer an analogy: no one will buy a new car with problems. However, many will try to keep an older car tuned up and running to a decent standard, albeit not a perfect one. If you just junk all cars (FA articles) that have suffered a little in the passage of time then we (a) miss out on the opportunity of patching them up and putting them to good use and (b) just end up with a heap of scrap. Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits) 06:13, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
I see Folkboy's point. I'm going to digress, sorry, because I am intrigued by Philcha and Malleus's "corrupt" statement. Philcha said (quote) "the 2-tier system is corrupt - all editors and all articles should be held to the same standards." Which of the following are you suggesting:
  1. New FAs/GAs should be held to the same standard as old FAs/GAs. That is, the standards should never change. This option is possible but counterproductive (it implies that progress is never good).
  2. Old FAs/GAs should NOT be held to the same standard as new FAs/GAs. That is, no FA or GA should ever be delisted, even though the standards can change. This option is also possible, but would involve an MfD for FAR, and would furthermore mean that even the shittiest FA still wears the symbol of "Wikipedia's Best"TM.
  3. Old FAs should be held to the same standard as new FAs; old GAs should be held to the same standard as new GAs. That is, some FAs and GAs should be delisted, if they do not meet the current standard. This option is the goal we are seeking, I believe, albeit imperfectly.
  4. FAs and GAs should be held to the same standard; there should be no difference between FA and GA. We can collapse them into one ranking. This option is a novel idea that the community would never support.
  5. All current FAs should be held to one standard (that is, the current FA standard). All current GAs should be held to one standard (that is, the current GA standard). This option is also ideal, but unfortunately the emphasis on consensus and the volunteer make-up of Wikipedia make it impossible in practice (read the essay on my user page for further elaboration). Ling.Nut (talkWP:3IAR) 08:02, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
I vote for 6: FAs are not routinely delisted if/when the criteria change, unless the article has substantially changed since the FAC, but that older FAs are marked in some subtle way (a different color star, maybe?) so that newcomers to the process know not to take old FAs as "templates" for current work. The FA criteria haven't changed that much recently, and it's been a long time since these were considered to be our best articles. – iridescent 23:09, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, IIRC, 1a hasn't changed for a long time but back in 2006 it was never enfroced apart from by Tony, who could not do all FACs and even if he did he was outvoted about 8-1 usually. Back in those days, one-line supports and lax wikiporject voting, expecially among nation state wikiprojects was common, and rampant in the case of the latter. Some FACs/FARs had 100% support from members/diaspora/citizens of nation-state wikiprojects while all opposers were not from the said group, and I know one nation-state wikiproject where their members have a combined 100% support record, usually just "Strong support" without even looking for improvement opportunities. I don't think anyone will cop the paperwork of having more categories of stars, and if it was implemented, people would go and renovate their FAs and seek an upgrade to a more polished/updated star. It would be easier to simply remove those that are not renovated per the usual FAR. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 01:18, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I'll vote for 3: "Old FAs should be held to the same standard as new FAs; old GAs should be held to the same standard as new GAs. That is, some FAs and GAs should be delisted, if they do not meet the current standard." In theory that's what's supposed to happen now, but we have plenty of comments above that FAR does not apply current FA standards. --Philcha (talk) 23:50, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
Well kindly help out at FAR. It only takes 2 minutes to nom an ancient FAR if you are offended by it sharing the same status as a new FAC pass. I can think of a few FARs that are being partially improved and will probably scrape through by dragging its heels even though it would not pass at FAC or would be held up there until done properly. I could jump and and down about it on teh explicit articles, but then I wouldn't be able to close it and Joelr31 closes things more leniently than I do so it might be pointless if I cited all this stuff myself anyway. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 01:18, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Surely 3 is the only honest and rational choice? Although I'll admit I'm not clear on the distinction you're making between it and option 5, as I haven't yet read your essay. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:35, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I think option three is pretty much a given. However, at the risk of proposing the already proposed and rejected...
Responses have consistently shown that most readers don't have any idea what the star means (if they notice it) and coloured ones would largely only serve as an internal rating system. I really think a little sentence in the top right corner (or next to the "from Wikipedia" line) stating "A (insert year here) featured article"' would not only be useful to editors, but readers too (perhaps inspiring more interest in what these "featured articles" are). The added bonus of the statement's simplistic appeal to readers is matched by the fact that an editor will know pretty much what those years' FA standards were like. Successful FARs could renew the year in the banner. Am I talking sense here? Those usability findings really showed that we've got to explain things better. Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits)Calling All Athletics Fans! 05:14, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I wonder whether the 50% (or whatever %) of people who renovate their articles without being asked would go and pile up their self-polished articles so that they could get "upgrade-validated". That could just overload the system YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 05:32, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
So it's an idea, but one which could be spoilt by vanity? Although, I'm not too sure that would happen as I can't imagine current standards being stepped up much further... Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits)Calling All Athletics Fans! 05:52, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Even if it does potentially strain the system by prompting a flood, surely "it would encourage people to improve articles" is still a good thing? – iridescent 11:18, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
enforcing the FA criteria does force people to work to improve articles. But inspecting the articles that aren't worked on are easier and more efficient to begin with than being swamped with a bunch of almost-modern-FA quality article being improved. for instance, FAs on current sportspeople like Harbhajan Singh I could just nom it for upgrading after updating it after every tournament and people would spend 1 hour to check whether I fixed it properly. If consistency of standards is the main priortym, it's easier to simply get rid of those that are not updated or otherwise brought up to speed. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:03, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I think YellowMonkey's argument is that it might make people focus more of their time on an article which is already substantially good. I very much empathise with the view that GA to FA takes as long as start/B/C to GA, even though the biggest jump in article quality is the latter progression. I think the fear is that the volunteer time and expertise could be put to better use than shining up perfectly good FAs.

A system which prevents/throttles this kind of activity would be needed—such as only upgrading if an FAR is needed. Otherwise, the FAR crew could just reject the review out of hand as unnecessary (the same way that bad FAC noms are quickly removed). I don't think that today's FAs could really head back down to FAR so easily, so abuse is prevented while FAs in need of true improvement might benefit from an editor keen to see the article listed at the current WP standards. Are there any obvious faults in this mechanism? Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits)Calling All Athletics Fans! 11:54, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

I wasn't worried about people's time allocation to actual article editing, I think it would just mean that people would swamp FAR/FARenovate with articles that are not in most need of repair/delisting and as most people are focused on the really glaring problems first it wouldn't get checked out properly anyway, unless there is a drastic pick-up in activity. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:03, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
That's why I suggested that only those articles which clearly needed attention/renovation/delisting should be accepted, and if renovated, fixed, and retained as FAs then they could be listed as that year's FAs (giving the impression that the renovation marked a complete overhaul of the article). Mere expansions on perfectly fine FAs wouldn't really qualify for an FAR at the moment would they? Or have I misunderstood the system? Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits)Calling All Athletics Fans! 00:38, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Expansions of current FAs don't necessitate FARs under the current system, but people could just keep on sending current sportsmen to FAR every six months if the new developments are not added; certainly happens on GAs. But people might want to send their BLPs to FAR every six months so it can be validated as "cutting edge". As for "complete overhaul" FAR isn't currently held to FAC standards so it would end up in a pile of cheap stunts unless more people become hard-nosed. Geoffrey Boycott is currently getting hammered on FAC but if it was at FAR it wouldn't get hauled over for all the faults currently. Psychologically I also think people are less willing to insist on fixing the last 10% at FAR because they are hesitant about confiscating something from another, whereas at FAC they are simply waiting until the author does it properly before they hand over the star. I think a lot of people know this and do half-hearted clean-ups at FAR when they would never nominate similar articles at FAC until they are at a higher state, and that they play on the guilt of the FAR reviewers to drag their feet through the review. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:48, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see the BLP problem, saying a certain year might imply it was out of date. That goes for a number of other topics too. Scrap that idea then.
The entanglement of emotions in difficult FARs is obviously holding some articles back from not only being delisted, but also being improved. Apart from telling the original author to grow up and get working or face a delist, there's not much you can do about that; it shall always be a problem. Sillyfolkboy (talk) (edits)Calling All Athletics Fans! 01:00, 14 May 2009 (UTC)


speaking of the FARC theme, there are a few that need attention. Since people are complaining about accountability.....

YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:27, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Images need reviewing

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Blue Dragon/archive1

In the page is a link to itself. Can someone help me fix it?--(NGG) 12:51, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Don't worry, that's normal. Steve TC 13:12, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

En-dashes and image file corruption

File:Henry Fuseli — Hamlet and the Ghost.JPG
Corrupted version: Horatio, Marcellus, Hamlet, and the Ghost (Artist: Henry Fuseli 1798).
Correct display, with hyphen in filename: Horatio, Marcellus, Hamlet, and the Ghost (Artist: Henry Fuseli 1798).

Interest in en-dashes seems to be a consistent concern at FAC, so posting here. From 17 May until today, two illustrations at an existing featured article failed to display because an attempt to implement MoS compliance corrupted the filenames (which contained hyphens).[6] The surprising thing is that this filename corruption remained uncorrected for so long at the article Hamlet. The problem was quite noticeable and prominent: redlinks appeared in place of these images and one of them was very high on the page. After correcting the problem, posting to article talk, and notifying the user who performed these edits am also posting here because this went unnoticed and unfixed for a week at Shakespeare's most famous play: one wonders how many other articles (featured or otherwise) may have been damaged in a similar manner. On my other account I caught similar problems at non-featured articles several months ago. Respectfully submitted, Hamlet, Prince of Trollmarkbugs and goblins 17:49, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

First, you smell bad and your points are stupid.
Second, ignore the first thing I said. That was for the Prince of Trollmark. Image names with endashes and emdashes are not required in file names for FAs. I've had misspelled and misnamed images in FACs, and ha ha I loaded a few of them. I'm not sure what the objection is. It sounds like whoever named the images did so with endashes and emdashes. Can you clarify? --Moni3 (talk) 18:01, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) - Hi, this is not really the place for this discussion; maintenance of FAs is outside the scope of this project. But, I guess this has happened as a result of careless use of semi-automated scripts and the editor not carefully checking the results before saving. Graham Colm Talk 18:06, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
And Shakespeare editors who know a lot about their subject but get lost when it comes to technical stuff. :) Wrad (talk) 18:10, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
AWB or whatever that thing is continues to fix a grammatical adjustment in one of my FAs that does not need fixing. I think this was a zealous editor that did not see the hyphen was in a file name. --Moni3 (talk) 18:12, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
I concur. Graham Colm Talk 18:14, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
I think we probably all suffer from time to time with over-zealous users of AWB in particular. Not a complaint against AWB, which I like and even use myself occasionally. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:16, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
It's also probably a good idea to avoid hyphens and dashes in file names completely. --Moni3 (talk) 18:18, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. CamelCase is the only sensible naming convention. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 18:20, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
PS. Having just been amazed to find we have an article on CamelCase I've added a link. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:22, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Re: filenames, bear in mind that most of these images are hosted at Commons. That multilingual project is not going to stop using hyphens. It's like talking to the Tower of Babel over there. Hamlet, Prince of Trollmarkbugs and goblins 18:29, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm beginning to feel that you're trying to teach me how to suck eggs. ;-) --Malleus Fatuorum 18:42, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

(several ec's) The uploader put a hyphen within the filename at each image. By changing that hyphen to an en-dash within the code for the image display, the system looked for a different filename and turned up a redlink. Have also notified MoS talk; interest in en-dashes is strong at FAC, so after consulting a couple of people posted here at their advice. Please excuse the tardy reply; my connection is unusually slow today and it's difficult to get a word in edgewise. Hamlet, Prince of Trollmarkbugs and goblins 18:21, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

I think we've got the point Prince of Trollmark, but you're really preaching to the converted here. :-) --Malleus Fatuorum 18:23, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmph. Even if those changes weren't inside an image title, that edit wouldn't be correctly implementing MOS: MOS says unspaced emdashes. Anyway, wholeheartedly agree with the main point—scripts are not foolproof, and eyeballing is necessary. Maralia (talk) 18:26, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

"Please do not split FA candidate pages into subsections"???

Among the FA criteria, not surprisingly, is criterion 2b:

"appropriate structure—a system of hierarchical section headings and a substantial but not overwhelming table of contents;"

With this in mind, does the following line on the current page need fixing/removing, or am I missing something?

"Please do not split FA candidate pages into subsections using header code (if necessary, use bolded headings)."

PL290 (talk) 18:19, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

This does not refer to the article, but to the discussion page for the FAC nomination. Graham Colm Talk 18:24, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Thank you

A big THANK YOU to all of you who reviewed an article in the last week. I was able to close 12 nominations today :) Reviewers rock. Nominators rock. Everyone keep up the good work! Karanacs (talk) 22:02, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I've been pleasantly surprised lately at the abundance of reviews. The FAC urgents box is getting lonely. Good work, all! --Laser brain (talk) 22:06, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
No kidding! The list is below 35 for the first time in months!! Thanks to all who contributed reviews, so more nominators can nominate! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:29, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Michel Platini

This article was nominated, transcluded onto WP:FAC, and then removed by the same editor who nominated it. It appears that the article won't pass (no references) but I'm not sure what to do in this situation. Mm40 (talk) 11:47, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Seems like an incomplete nom, and that the FAC subpage was never actually created. I'd just remove the {{featured article candidates|... header from the article's talk page and leave a message to the nominator about it. Might want to also reinforce that FACs should be high-standard and point out the criteria. BuddingJournalist 14:58, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Lacking image review

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The Battersea Bridge ones have all been checked and cleared by Jappalang (eventually) so that one shouldn't cause any problems. – iridescent 20:26, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:27, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Note: on rereading this it looks snarky; that "eventually" isn't meant to imply that Jappalang was slow, it's a comment on the fact that I added two new images which slowed the whole review down. – iridescent 19:10, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:36, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

links to Google Books

Hey, during copy editing a FAC I rmvd all the links to Google Books, because I thought I remembered all and sundry agreeing heartily that links to Google Books are a Very Bad Thing to have in a Wikipedia article. Was I wrong/delusional (yet again)? Ling.Nut (talk) 08:46, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

They can be very practical in theory, leading directly to the relevant page and highlighting a cited passage, but they decay over time and require refreshing. That latter point I've heard as a reason not to use them. JN466 09:11, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't recall we have any clear policy on the Google Books, but their links' use is recommended at Wikipedia:Citing_sources/example_style#Electronic_equivalents. Yes, they occasionally decay when a book is shifted to a more strict copyright mode, or when some editions are combined, but in my experience, more then half of the links I've added few years back still work. I strongly suggest keeping such links, and even demanding them, as they are very useful; if they rot, they should be dealt with as any other rotten links - recovered when possible, removed when not. However, removing those links - which are extremly helpful for insta-verification - is (no offense and IMHO) akin to the v-word. I suggest that once we hopefully reach consensus that Google Book links are helpful, we can discuss where this should be clarified, policy wise, and how we can update the existing citation templates to work with them. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 12:21, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I find GB links very useful. I don't think they're WP:COPYVIO in any way, as they are only links, and AFAIK are the product of a marketing agreement between GB and the publisher. --Philcha (talk) 12:53, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't have much of a problem with the links being included, but I do not want GoogleBooks links to be a requirement in an FA. --Moni3 (talk) 13:07, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm with her. Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:19, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Why not? They are extremly useful. We should encourage the use of this great (and free) database. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 20:46, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Me three. Kafka Liz (talk) 13:42, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Why not link to project Gutenberg? or the Internet Archive? I think requiring people to link to a single project is not a good idea. Bibliographies are there for a reason. Awadewit (talk) 13:44, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't think any suggested making any online content link mandatory - I interpreted the original question as "are GB links forbidden?". Likewise IMO we should not exclude other online content links. --Philcha (talk) 13:59, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I understand. I just wanted to nip that issue in the bud. Process creep happens sometimes when a bunch of FAs within a short period have similar characteristics. I don't ever want it misunderstood that links to GB in some articles means they're required for all. --Moni3 (talk) 15:16, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

(Undent) I thought someone said blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, and when you post links to Google Books it reveals personal info. Or something. Even if it doesn't, I think it's free advertising for Google books, which is kinda unsightly. But that's certainly not the Unforgivable sin. Ling.Nut (talk) 16:22, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Google's free, and it provides us with a useful tool, so why not advertise for it? :) It's kind of like saying that we shouldn't use GPS coordinates (advertisement for GPS and services like Google Maps) or list camera type for photos (advertisement for cameras). Anyway, can I presume that the GBooks links that were removed will be readded, and that some policy (WP:CITE?) will now have a mention that GBook links are ok to add to citations. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 20:46, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I share Awadewit and Moni3's concerns. Google Books is just one of several online providers of page views of published books, and should not be favored over any other. Process creep is also a real problem--many books do not have page views available on Google Book Search, and I don't think we want to head in a direction where reviewers will demand editors cite only books that are electronically accessible. (And if you don't see that as the likely outcome of the promotion of GBS links, I have some brilliant prose to sell you.) DocKino (talk) 20:59, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with a person using the source linking to it for others' convenience. A lot data, eg sports statistics are available at different websites and if one person chooses to use CricketArchive instead of Cricinfo or vice versa I don't think that is advertising just because of the link. YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:58, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I don't view it that way, either. What I'm concerned about is formally prioritizing one electronic resource, especially a commercial one, over others. And what I'm even more concerned about it the process creep promised in a line like this, from Wikipedia:Citing sources/example style#Electronic equivalents: "Eventually we can begin linking all book citations to their electronic equivalents." Can we, really? Should we? Must we? The slope from the presumption "we can" to the decree "you must" won't need much grease. DocKino (talk) 01:25, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
My concern is slightly different, I worry about too much usage of just searching Google books for information without striving to secure the entire work and understand the entire context of the author's arguments. While I'm not going to discourage links to Google Books, I wouldn't want to encourage them either. I'd rather see links to various non-profit sources of these works (such as British History Online or the Avalon Project or Project Gutenberg before Google or Amazon. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:20, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Depends very much what the book's subject and structure is. E.g. many books are compilations of papers, each of which is standalone; and even in books written in one piece by the same single author / team one can e.g. mine the chapter on arthropods and ignore the one on molluscs. OTOH a book on a large new theory may devote a few chapters to summarising and critiquing existing theories, and one has to be careful to distinguish between what is the author's theory and what is a summary of another one. --Philcha (talk) 21:48, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
I think there is a big difference between Amazon and Google. I'd prefer to link to an open source archive (if possible, wikibooks or wikisource), but the bottom line is that we should link to the best archive, and in my experience, Google Print with its links to the page and highlighting of key phrases is currently the most user-friendly. Perhaps a compromise solution would be to develop some template or function, similar to how our links to ISBN work, that would tell the reader which online archives have this page and let them chose from it? My point is not that we should prioritize Google Print over other archives, my point is that we should encourage using the best online archive that currently exists. The bottom line, as mentioned by several editors, is that such links are helpful, both to editors and readers, and thus they are a good thing.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 09:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Lady Ealdgyth has a fair point that like googling with a certain bit of information you're looking for, just getting a snippet of a preview page may not give you all the info you need, especially if the previews cut out. (Of course, you can just delete cookies and the cache and then read the rest of the book that way, but some books just dont have the full text online, which might be necessary.) --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 03:22, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I started a thread at Wikipedia talk:Citing sources/example style. Ling.Nut (talk) 21:55, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Please note that our Harvard citation template works with external links (like Google): [7]. Ling.Nut, I hope you'll find time to restore the links you removed (at least from my FAC article)... thanks. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 09:19, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

My understanding is that we do not link to GB because the address is not static. Fine, but an inderect through the internet archive solves that problem. I think a link would be useful as it would reveal those who are working from actual books, vs. thoes who are gleaming a word or two from snippet view, and piecing together the rest. Further, although I do not have direct access myself, I do know a few eternal students, and I would very much like to see JSTOR articles hyperlinked. A far better resource than GB (at least for the areas I work in), if you are fortunate enough to have the avenues. Ceoil (talk) 23:42, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
All links are affected by linkrot, Google Books in my years of experience is doing so-so with this - most links (75%?) that I've added few years back still work. PS. As far as I know, Google Book links are not compatible with Internet Archive.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:09, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Very pragmatic, but I don't like it in principle. We should not be preferentially linking to a particular external web site across a broad scope of articles. The reason that there is a special ISBN follow-through link page is to allow the reader a choice in accessing further information about the book. (I believe there is a Wikipedia option/plug-in that allows the reader to bypass the intermediary page and go straight to Google Books or WorldCat or whatever. Not helpful for the Average Reader of course. Nor do all books have ISBNs.) I'm torn, because Google Books is just that useful, but I think the principle is paramount. In that vague conceptual notion of Wikipedia--a self-standing encyclopedia--the fact that it is a web site that can contain links to the WWW is incidental. Outriggr (talk) 05:44, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

The crucial point here is that ISBNs don't allow us to link directly to a specific page. Google Book offers a single, relatively stable link linking directly to the cited page. If there would be an open content alternative, I'd say we should use it instead, since there isn't, we should use the best option remaining. And let's be frank - Google is not that evil, really :) --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:09, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
What is the principle on which you object? If it's "We should not be preferentially linking to a particular external web site ...", we do it all the time - for academic journals. At least Google Books does not have monopoly rights over the content it presents, so editors are free to link to other sites that are similarly helpful. --Philcha (talk) 09:34, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I also do not understand this principle. Since Google Books is that useful, a link to content the reader will find useful (for verifying, or for further information) can hardly be described as problematic. The reader still has a choice to access further information about the book, since information about the book (Author, date, ISBN) can be found on the left-hand side of Google Books. I also prefer linking to JSTOR articles over no link at all. Although JSTOR requires a subscription (which most readers won't have access to), readers don't need a subscription to see the first page of the paper. There's often an abstract on that page which can verify the material in the Wikipedia article. Even though the fact that WP can contain links to the World Wide Web is incidental, making the content easier to find by including relevant links is a service to the reader, and shouldn't be discouraged. Firsfron of Ronchester 10:22, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I also find Google Books useful for verifiability, and created {{Google books quote}} to provide easy links to source material in footnotes or during talk page discussions. It is amazing how it cuts through an argument if you not only tell other editors what the sources say, but let them see for themselves via a handy link.
OTOH, I wholeheartedly agree that use of Google Books should be entirely optional, and diversity of offwiki sourcing should be encouraged. In most cases the ISBN link does that job perfectly. Geometry guy 10:59, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Good articles which are found wanting at FAC

Following this discussion on what to do when an article's GA status is brought into question at FAC, I have set up Category:Good articles in need of review to provide a mechanism for drawing GA editors' attention to problematic articles. The category is automatically listed by a bot, and changes can be watchlisted here. At the moment this list is transcluded onto the good article reassessment page.

To add an article, just place its talk page in the category. This feature is experimental, and comments and suggestions are most welcome. The intention is that GAs which are unsuccessful at FAC and have obvious weaknesses be added to the category for review by the GA process. Geometry guy 11:11, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps it might be good to surface a more visible way of determining that someone has added this to that category? Like a template of some sort that automagically adds the talk page to the category and that provides a parameter for users to give some sort of reasoning as to why they are putting the article in that category. The template could be just inserted in a new talk page section rather than cluttering the top of talk pages. Would also help to contribute to discussion. TwilligToves (talk) 11:19, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Something like this? Geometry guy 11:50, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. Thinking about this a little more, this strikes me as a bit of process creep. The whole idea of GA is that it's supposed to be lightweight, no? Therefore, if someone comes across an article that s/he feels doesn't meet the GA bar, shouldn't they just open a GAR? TwilligToves (talk) 12:08, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
They should, and it isn't the intention of this to discourage that: please see the discussion that initiated this idea and the parallel thread at WT:GA. In particular, this mechanism is intended to provide an easy way for Sandy and Karanacs to notify the GA process when they close unsuccessful FACs of weak GAs. They surely don't have time to make multiple GAR nominations with all the work they do for the encyclopedia. Geometry guy 12:59, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Correct! It would be a bit uncomfortable for FAC closers to be put in the position of initiating multiple GARs :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:18, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Empty FARCs

There are quite a few at WP:FAR. Most of them are pretty obvious but don't have much feedback YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 03:36, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

I'll take a stab at it. Obvious keeps or obvious removes? :) --Laser brain (talk) 22:15, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Mostly obvious removes for no references but I removed some of them with only 1 nom + delist because they were so obvious and traffic is so low YellowMonkey (cricket calendar poll!) 00:51, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Synthetic diamond

GimmeBot has closed FA nomination synthetic diamond here and there in the midst of a review. Could someone have a look at that please.Materialscientist (talk) 01:45, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Please see WP:FAC/ar. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:49, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, I was asking the reason for delisting. There was no unasnwered doubt on the content or quality of this potential FA, and the reviewer was just gradually improving the presentation. Technically we can continue by renominating, but I'm sure the reviewer(s) would prefer to have their old comments back. Any advice ? Materialscientist (talk) 02:02, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

It wasn't "delist[ed]", it just wasn't promoted. There was no consensus to promote. I saw two opposes and no supports. I suggest working with the reviewers to finish implementing their suggestions, then renominate. The long review page (and two opposes) turns off other reviewers. Dabomb87 (talk) 02:26, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Two questions: (i) what would you say if I renominate the article now and we continue the review (i.e. are there limits on successive renominations ?) (ii) FA is all about quality of the article; how about quality of the review comments ? What I mean is that anyone who "opposes" FA should provide a valid reason, which should be judged by a third party; am I missing something ? Thank you. Materialscientist (talk) 02:49, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Please take a few weeks to work with reviewers on finishing up issues raised, and bring it back in a few weeks; other articles also need a shot at increasingly limited reviewer time. Carrying FACs too long bogs down the page; peer review is a better venue for continuing work. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:07, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Once again I find myself wondering why FACs keep getting closed during the midst of ongoing discussion. Everything I had written up to that point, both on the FAC page and in my edit summaries (see this as an example) very clearly indicated that I was going through the entire article and that I wasn't done. Aye, Dabomb is right in that there wasn't consensus to promote, but that's only because the only person who actually looked at the content of the article (me) wasn't finished! Instead of making these decisions arbitrarily, perhaps the FAC delegates could actually discuss the matter with the reviewers or, at the very least, read through all of the material to make sure that all the involved parties seem to be "done", since it doesn't seem like that happened here (nor did it happen at GRB 970508, nor 243 Ida, nor Euclidean algorithm). If these obviously premature closings occur as an attempt to satisfy the burning hunger to produce featured content as quickly as possible, please stop, and consider reading my first thought. In any case, please reopen the Synthetic diamond FAC. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 04:04, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

It's not necessary for the article to be at FAC for a reviewer to finish working with the nominator. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:08, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I have to agree with Cryptic here. The atmosphere at FAC has become increasingly hostile over recent months due to what appears to be a race to get the nomination closed. Surely we can all agree that reviewers are few and far between these days, but it is a volunteer project after all; no-one's required to participate. Ideally we should be working together to produce quality content, not preparing for battle and proclaiming "Every man for himself"... –Juliancolton | Talk 04:18, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, we should be working together to produce quality content, but that can happen off-FAC, at peer review, at article talk, any number of places. There are greater problems when the FAC page hits 60 to 70 open reviews. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:22, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
The problem is, those other venues are toothless, and are even more deprived of participants than FAC is. I'm not by any means suggesting that FAC should be used as a substitute for peer review, but it just seems detrimental to archive nominations so quickly. –Juliancolton | Talk 04:27, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Nominations are not being archived quickly; by keeping the page size down, we've actually been letting them run longer than they could several years ago (so folks got used to that, and want increasingly more time ... FAC should not be used as peer review). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:33, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, what about a set time limit: say, perhaps, 3 weeks (excluding of course obviously premature candidates)? That would resolve quite a few issues that have driven off reviewers in the past. –Juliancolton | Talk 04:41, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
More than two weeks, and two opposes, is not a quick close; it's a normal closing. The nominator has engaged reviewers and has plenty to work on. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:05, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. If there were two outstanding opposes with no effort to address the issues at hand, then I would agree; but to archive the nomination in the middle of a productive collaboration seems a tad arbitrary. –Juliancolton | Talk 05:10, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I hate these *&! colons. At some point, we do need to say that FAC is a forum for recognizing FAs; not producing them. Ling.Nut (talk) 05:15, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
In that case, FAC could be run in a format similar to that of FARC, with a review period and a subsequent voting period. –Juliancolton | Talk 05:18, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I'm not gonna take sides here; I'm gonna say that we've been kicking this poor dog of a thread over and over and over again for months upon months. [Note that it isn't a "dead horse," because the latter is an issue that is either wholly resolved or wholly unresolvable]. If we leave FACs in too long, everything gets clogged up. If we close them quickly, nominators get pissed. We've had proposal upon proposal upon proposal; I personally have made enough proposals to terrorize and engulf a small village in Wales. None has ever been accepted; I'm not really sure that any proposal is acceptable to a majority of FAC folks. FAC is often(perhaps always) undermanned. From what I hear, PR is undermanned too (I haven't been there much). Yes "FAC shouldn't be PR", but from my extremely limited observations, PR isn't always PR. Even at its best, the reviews at PR are not (or seldom?) as rigorous as those at FAC. But the quality of the reviews at FAC is highly variable as well. I'm starting to think that there's no hope of really finding any solution where PR does PR and FAC does FAC. It's a pipe dream. The only answer is 100 more highly committed, highly skilled reviewers... or OK may 20 more (ten apiece for FAC and PR). Without that, all I see is an endless arc of yammering and pointless talk from here to eternity. Ling.Nut (talk) 05:01, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, the answer to many of the problems at FAC is often more dedicated, skilled reviewers. However, what about adding a timeline guideline that would give nominators a clearer picture of when they can expect an archive? Say, "In general, if no consensus has been reached within three weeks [or whatever the timeline should be], the nomination will be archived. Contributors are encouraged to continue working on resolving issues that arose during the nomination process." The "In general" is to give leeway to Raul/Sandy/Karanacs so that if a nomination is close to achieving consensus (perhaps say a copyedit has been undertaken and the two outstanding opposes just have to revisit) then they can delay archiving. TwilligToves (talk) 12:42, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Since I was the one who closed the review, let me give my take on this. The nomination had been up for over two weeks. In that time period, it garnered no support or neutral commentary but had gotten two opposes. I did note that the nominator was diligently working on fixing the problems identified, and that almost all of those on the page had been addressed; however, I also noted that Cryptic had not finished the review yet, so there would likely be more issues to come. It looked to me as if the nomination had turned into more of a peer review, and since Cryptic and the nominator were already working well together I thought it best to let them continue to do so outside of FAC. I couldn't see leaving the nom open another week to finish fixing Cryptic's concerns, and then hoping that the length of it would not scare off other reviewers so that there could be supports after that. I hope to see the article back at FAC in a few weeks, with all of Cryptic's concerns addressed; at that point it will likely be in better shape to gain support. Karanacs (talk) 13:50, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I respect Kara's intentions and decision-making, and of course I would be happy to continue working with NIMS/Materialscientist outside of FAC. However, upon mulling this over, I've come to the conclusion that the real problem is that there is a fundamental incompatibility between, as LingNut put it, "FAC is a forum for identifying FAs, not producing them" and WP:FAC's "Each objection must provide a specific rationale that can be addressed". If I were to try to follow the first guideline, I would be forced to simply write "Oppose. Prose needs tweaking." but not write out individual concerns, which would violate the second guideline. If I were to try to follow the second guideline by listing out my concerns, I would apparently be violating the first guideline. I've seen examples of both extremes: This for the first guideline; the closure of Synthetic diamond for the second.
Since these two guidelines are incompatible, only one of them can be correct. Let us assume that the first, "FAC is a forum for identifying FAs, not producing them," is correct (I realize that neither Kara nor Sandy have stated or endorsed this rule of thumb in this discussion, but it seems to encapsulate their points of view quite well). The nominator would have to, in order to avoid an oppose from me or any other line-by-line reviewer, essentially predict which FAC reviewers will be reading through the article and work with them before the FAC actually happens. Neither authors nor reviewers should be obligated to work in such a way. It appears that this guideline is false and that the second guideline is correct.
However, there is one other problem at hand: At the FACs for Euclidean algorithm, 243 Ida, and Synthetic diamond, I did line-by-line reviews. In all three cases, the FACs were closed before I was finished going through the articles. For the first two, my review was listed under a "Comment"; those two passed. For the third, my review was listed under an "Oppose"; that one failed. To some, this may appear to be a mere coincidence, but considering that there is often only one reviewer who takes the plunge and really picks apart the article (although this wasn't the case for Euclidean algorithm), I remain unconvinced.
All that having been said, there are some questions that need answering: How can editors do their line-by-line reviews without being interrupted? How can such line-by-line reviewers list their comments without necessarily endorsing or opposing the article's promotion? The answer that Kara and Sandy seem to advocate is a peer review outside of the FAC. However:
  • The peer review with the FAC reviewer can only occur after the FAC has already started.
  • It is both inconvenient and illogical to have two FACs and one peer review page created simply because of one reviewer's compulsive need to go through the article line-by-line.
  • The FAC for Gamma-ray burst spanned approximately a month and a half, during which time very high-quality work was being produced by all of the involved parties. Best of all, neither Wikipedia nor the world itself exploded as a result.
Finally, I would like to invoke one of the most useful phrases ever written: "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it."
All that having been said, I have come to one conclusion: Forget about closing FACs early. Forget about opening peer review pages when reviews are already in progress. Forget about inconveniencing everyone for the sake of "unclogging" the FAC process. If there is ongoing discussion at an FAC which will result in improvements being made to the article, let that discussion continue in its original forum for as long as is required. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 15:18, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Hear, hear. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, it is a contradiction that can only be overcome with experience. This is particularly vexing for newcomers who have limited involvement in witnessing the FAC process, so I understand MaterialScientist's frustration. I think almost everyone has had at least one article that has had to be archived to start it again. It is difficult not to see it as a failure. We should do our best to change any culture of viewing archived nominations as failures. However, it is unreasonable to expect reviewers to give line-by-line criticisms in all nominations, and FAC should not be treated at peer review. You're willing to give very detailed reviews, which is very commendable, but taxing to expect it of all reviewers. I'm not sure what the happy medium is. --Moni3 (talk) 15:29, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Commenting on something that has been mentioned a few times here, but Peer Review isn't useless. I find it very helpful and get at least one independant, helpful review with each PR I start. I think more folks need to see PR as a step in the process towards FAC, not as a "useless" bit of nothing they can avoid. Another thing, if you're going to do a line-by-line review, that's really better taken place on the talk page of the article, whether before or during the FAC. As a reviewer, I find a long huge FAC page to be offputting. I'd rather see detailed point by point discussions take place on the talk page, especially when there is a lot of back and forth between the nominator and the commentor. As a nominator, my goal is to get my article ready before I bring it to FAC, but that's my goal. Obviously, there is a difference of opinion with other nominators, but I think it's best to agree to disagree, and understand that not everyone shares everyone else's opinion. The FAC delegates have to balance a number of different viewpoints on the process. Ealdgyth - Talk 15:37, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

To answer Cryptic's question, state your oppose and summarize the rationale on the FAC with some examples, and take your line-by-line review to the article talk page, where it can continue. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:53, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Hmm... I suppose that would work. That way, whether an FAC is promoted, archived, or eaten by bears, my review can continue in the same place. I had thought that this separation of the review from the FAC would be inconvenient, but from Ealdgyth's point of view, it seems to be the opposite. Fair enough. Henceforth, I will review FACs on the article's talk page. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 16:36, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Synthetic diamond 2

Forgive me, I am newcomer here, I do not know the past debates and do not want to criticize anyone. I am just a professional scientist dedicated to wikipedia who wants to make it better. What I wanted from the above thread is to get answers what have I done wrong and what should I do to make things better. I haven't got those and therefore starting a new thread asking the same questions. I was given answers, but let me explain why I don't understand them:

  • My article is by no means ideal. it raised questions, but they were all minor technical, and I answered them all. Delisting from FAR does mean rejection to me. How could I make it better ?
  • I understand it took time to raise and answer those questions, but I replied ASAP. What could I do better in this regard ?
  • It was suggested that the review process can be finished aside of FA project. Forgive my rudeness, I am grateful to all referees, especially to Cryptic C62, but I feel they took the assignment (of reviewing my article) because they wanted to help wikipedia and the FA process, not because they were eager to read my article (yes, science is often boring !). In other words, this review process is the part of FA system, and that yields the best WP articles. How can I recreate it outside FA ? Best regards. Materialscientist (talk) 08:31, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Start a peer review, and ask the editors who commented on the FAC to continue listing their concerns at the peer review. Dabomb87 (talk) 12:23, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Also, Materialscientist, please understand that because wiki is a volunteer venture, a closed FAC here in no way resembles the peer review or "rejection" one may receive when submitting to a professional journal. A closed FAC is merely a chance to come back in a few weeks, better prepared, after working with the objectors on the original FAC, usually with quicker results than letting the FAC stagnate at the bottom of the page, where it might not attract further attention, would yield. Unlike a professional journal, we rely on volunteers; we must keep the page manageable to optimize the time of those volunteers. (I'm not in favor of any constraints, such as those mentioned above, on the FAC page, because every FAC is different, and the closers try to do what is in the best interest of the article.) Tips for getting an effective peer review can be found at WP:FCDW/March 17, 2008. We hope to see you back in a few weeks, with a successful outcome! SandyGeorgia (Talk)

Minimum size for an FA?

I don't know if this has been discussed before, but a quick look through the archives shows nothing. I've noticed several FA nominations with less than 1000 words in the last few weeks, and personally I think that is simply too short for a featured article. Of course 1(b) of the criteria states that an FA should be "comprehensive," but I think we should complement this with a requirement that an FA have at least 1500 words of readable prose (the DYK Checker can be used to count this quickly). Generally speaking, articles shorter than this simply do not represent Wikipedia's best work, even if they do technically pass the criteria.

As an (extreme) example of the following, consider if I wrote an article on Jaguars in Antarctica. The article would simply read: "There are no jaguars in Antarctica." Assuming I could find some reliable sources for this, the article would technically pass all of the criteria (if it didn't get speedily deleted).

The other problem with FACs <1500 words is that it's often hard for a reviewer to know what he/she doesn't know. After reading a very short candidate, I generally find myself thinking "That's it?" and I often have a few specific questions, but it's hard to know what to ask. Furthermore, authors often respond to queries with "sources don't say," so it's very challenging for a reviewer to figure out how to suggest fixing the article. On the other hand, a firm requirement of 1500 words would ensure that the initial author produces a fairly comprehensive piece before submitting to FAC. Cool3 (talk) 15:51, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm unclear how you can say that "a quick look through the archives shows nothing", when there is an entire archive labeled on this page as "Short FAs", and another labeled "Short FAs cont'd" (carefully set up in separate archives by moi) !! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:56, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Smacks self with trout. That's what I get for using google to search the archives instead of just looking. Thanks for pointing that out. Cool3 (talk) 16:17, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
As far as I know the shortest FA is Tropical Storm Erick (2007), at 688 words. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:57, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Nico Ditch is currently the shortest, and Intelligent design the longest. The stats are at Wikipedia:Featured articles/By length should you care. – iridescent 16:22, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Pssh, that's by file size, which is misleading as it's not by actual words. If we go by readable prose size, Star Trek: The Motion Picture blows away ID by a good 3000+ words :) --Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 16:28, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
See User:Dr pda/Featured article statistics for a more accurate measure: it is prose size, while the other (above) includes citations. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:16, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm disappointed to say that it turns out Nico Ditch has more words than Tropical Storm Erick (2007), but less wikimarkup. Beaten to the crown for shortest FA by a strong breezy! Nev1 (talk) 16:31, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Nico Ditch contains 784 words of readable prose, so Erick is still shorter. :) –Juliancolton | Talk 16:32, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
As a reviewer, I tend to read shorter FAs more critically, specifically looking to see if I had additional questions about the topic that didn't get answered (granted, I'm never an expert in the topic, so it's just my opinion on what should be covered). I also look at the sources. If the bulk of the article is sourced to self-published or otherwise primary sources, that throws a big red flag up that there might, possibly, be additional information out there somewhere. Most nominators of short articles seem very willing to list out the places they've looked so that reviewers are satisfied that a good breadth of sources have been pursued. Occasionally, I can suggest a few more places to look, and a lot of time the articles seem quite comprehensive to me anyway, so I get to support. It all comes down to the individual article. Karanacs (talk) 16:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Please can someone intervene

I have been working productively with a number of editors and reviewers on the benzodiazepine article. For some reason an editor who I have known but not known very well for 6 months has for unknown reasons taken a personal agenda against me. They are now I believe trying to intentionally sabotage the featured article review? What can be done to stop them? I believe that I can demonstrate my accusations by submitting diffs as evidence? As FA reviews are generally short lived, a week or two and the articles are filling up with drama and childish games I would like this resolved urgently before they succeed is destroying the hard work of myself and several other enthusiastic wikipedian editors who have worked on the page. Thank you for listening.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 02:57, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

When I say sabotage, I mean using a number of WP:DISRUPT and troll type behaviours such as falsifying contents of refs, quoting out of context, starting pointless debates, trying extremely hard to put the article in a bad light, eg saying it is poorly sourced when it is 95% secondary sources, demanding dozens of refs for each word in a section, continually starting arguments, making comments knowing it will antagonise me or make me pull my hair out in frustration. Saying I said something when I didn't. I have no choice but to defend myself and the article thus furthering the troll type behaviour and drama. They mix it in with productive comments as well which is quite deceptive. This may sound like a minor nuscience but it is very close to suceeding in destroying the review process as it will soon be unreadable for the length of nonsense that is listed.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:02, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry that you are stressed. See Wikipedia:Dispute resolution. FAC itself has no process in place to handle dispute resolution. TwilligToves (talk) 03:16, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately from previous experience with a troll who caused immense disruption to wikipedia for years (and has only now ended up in arbcom) that dispute resolution regarding troll and WP:DISRUPT behaviour is inappropriate and useless and encourages the behaviour by feeding the troll. Also it takes too long to resolve before end of featured article review? Surely an admin can review the situation and if necessary issue a topic ban? Maybe I should not waste anymore time and just ask for the featured article review to be canceled?--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:24, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:DISRUPT and troll behaviour I believe should be treated like vandalism, i.e., situation reviewed with quick decision to prevent further disruption and admin action discision made.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:27, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Whew.. take a step back and have a cool one! I don't see what needs intervening, frankly. His/her comments seem to be in good faith and designed to improve the article (whether or not they are correct, I cannot hope to judge). I don't see the trolling you are alleging. FAC can be stressful, especially if it doesn't go smoothly, but the best thing to do is to work with reviewers to improve the article and see if you can get it passed. If you feel their comments are unfounded, state your reasons for that position. If the FA coordinators determine their feedback to be ill-founded or unactionable, it will be ignored. From the looks of it, the reviewer in question has been willing to engage in productive dialog whenever prompted. Alternately, you could agree to withdraw the article to Peer Review and ask the reviewer to list out all their concerns in one place so you can sort them out. --Laser brain (talk) 03:28, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Yup, I know because you are not familar with the refs or the article so you can't see what he is doing. This is why it is better just to cancel the nomination and review as it is very difficult to stop these people. This is how scuro caused immense disruption for years without anything happening because it was subtle (he is now in arbcom). Sceptical started editing the article productively, he is an established editor and I have never seen him distort refs, take refs out of context, say a ref says one thing and it doesn't. Something must have ticked him off, perhaps when I disagreed with one of his edits? I dunno but he just turned on me and started all this distorting refs and denouncing the article, announcing that refs say thinsg when they don't. To me who knows the refs, knows the article and also know Sceptical's editing patterns on other articles I know what he is doing. Anyway this is a perfect flashback to scuro and people saying he is goodfaith etc and 4 years later only now are people taking it seriously and considering a ban after half a dozen requests for comments, admin notice boards saying go into dispute resolution with the troll. Been there does not work. If someone is malicious they are malicious. This also started on the article talk page during FA review and then when he turned on me he suddenly jumped on FA review. I know what he is trying to do but I really do not want to get involved in trying to convince people of what he is trying to do, so best let him win and close the nomination.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:49, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

But... you need to convince people of your point if you want action taken. I know it's burdensome but we all must assume good faith until there is a good measure of evidence not to. Could you succinctly demonstrate how and where he is being disruptive, preferably with difs? --Laser brain (talk) 04:31, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your response. If I do so, is there a possibility of a topic or article ban? I can do as you request.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 04:33, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

With the amount of personal attacks and off-topic posting to that FAC (from both sides, I note), normally I would ask an admin to clean up the page and remove most of it to talk. If any admin wants to have a look, that's an option, but there's so much attacking from both sides that the FAC might be better off with a restart, and a warning to all parties to stop personalizing the review. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:15, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Struck one portion above, it appears that the personal attacks are mostly one-sided; not sure if any admin wants to attempt moving comments to talk (looks too messy to me, but I'm tired). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:44, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Submiting evidence more to follow

Makes a large number of mostly productive edits. (See article history). Makes helpful suggestions on talk page such as here, asking if source is reliable enough for FA.[8] Thus demonstrating things started out ok.

Requests evidence for side effect list.[9] I point out that it is referenced by the British National Formulary.[10] By the way I think that because I dared disagree with him is what triggered the following disruptive behaviour. Starts trying to debunk the British National Formulary with original research.[11], claims that headache listed in BNF could be just due to placebo (never mind the fact drugs are compared against placebo) [12]

I provide him with additional evidence to back up the British National Formulary.[13] Claims that no proof is provided (The British National Formulary is not good enough, is not good enough, official data sheets are not good enough).[14]

Ok now things start escalating a bit.

This is when he starts to distort evidence.[15] He intentionally removed the first word of a sentence "severe" when copying text from the article and then trying to portray the article as being "full of errors" etc. Bare in mind 2 people had already voted I believe at this stage to support the article going to a featured article. He then went on as you can read to cite a review which spoke of 10% of people having paradoxical reactions (which includes mild or moderate paradoxical reactions). My citation was talking of severe paradoxical reactions eg rage, suicidality etc which is less than 1%. Ok this in isolation could be a simple "error" of copying and pasting but please read on. Here is source where it did not say that 10% have these severe reactions but less than 1%. [16]

In the same diff above he intentionally quoted the stats for people who had an anticonvulsant response to benzos instead of quoting the 10% who did have paradoxical reactions. Again he is trying to falsely mislead people that the article is "full of errors".

Here as I start to catch on to what he is trying to do, challenge him (I have no choice as I have to stop him trying to sabotage the FA review).[17] I then decide that perhaps if I do a compromise with him things will settle down.[18]

Here he writes in the edit summary "this article is not ready for FAC". This is when I became convinced of what his agenda was.[19] See his edit summary as well. I was forced then to quickly respond to defend myself. I cannot ignor this troll during FA review as you can see.

Much much more evidence to follow. Please let me know if this is helpful.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:06, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

The article is 95% secondary sourced, review articles, meta-anaylsis's high quality medical books from oxford, British National Formulary but Sceptical totally trashes the article saying it is poorly sourced, has stylist problems and so forth.[20] he also claimed that he was going to stop editing it.

Actually I just remembered something, above I said about him attacking the article when two people voted to support it, if I remember correctly now he actually jumped onto the FA review page after the two people supported the article being listed as an FA and made extensive efforts to make sure that it didn't make it.

More to follow.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:10, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

This does not belong here and isn't helping the FAC; the best way to help the FAC is to keep your responses brief, either address issues or say why you are not addressing them, and don't help the FAC become a battlefield. Editors who close FACs are used to reading around disagreements. Perhaps a read through User:Giano/A fool's guide to writing a featured article will help you relax. Agreeing with Laser, I see no need to intervene, but if your responses continue the battleground, the FAC is likely to end up restarted. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:13, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Sandie. Thank you for your comments. This evidence is to prevent an FA being destroyed. Where should this evidence go? I don'it want to be forced to work under this environment where an editor's sole purpose is to try and destroy the FA review process and cause me maximum distress but disguising it as just his opinion. Is it better just to give up and delist the article? I will read your link, thank you. I understand that you feel that there is no need to intervene but you have not seen my evidence, I was only just getting to the hard evidence. If the FA is restarted then Sceptical will be back disrupting it so we still need to resolve the troll/WP:DISRUPT issues. Thank you for taking the time to reply.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:19, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Please try to relax; both of you have made inappropriate statements, and a FAC can only be disrupted if one or the other takes the bait. Respond to valid criticism by briefly stating why you've addressed it, or why you don't plan to address it, and trust the persons closing the review to read around it. These extensive responses only cloud the content issues; stay focused on the article, not other editors. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:26, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I read the link and feel that you are misreading the situation. This is not cross hairs or people disagreeing with each other. It is about someone intentionally setting out to stop the article from passing by using malicious tactics like lying about what I said or what refs say etc, probably because I must have annoyed them disagreeing with one of their edits.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:31, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I don';t want to take up anymore of your time but will just ask one thing. I have lost my cool but honestly I don't think I can avoid it because I have no choice but to respond to them. My question is should I submit evidence to the admin noticeboard if it is inappropriate here? Thank you.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:31, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

The reason I have to respond is many of the reviewers won't be experts or have a reasonably good understanding of the subject to be able to see through how they are misrepresenting the refs or they may not bother checking the refs in detail and may assume Sceptical has a valid point especially if it is left unchallenged.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:33, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you do have a choice. I've just read through the FAC again, don't see anything from reviewers that can't or shouldn't be dealt with calmly, and do see several personal attacks from you. A few days off from the FAC, to rethink how you respond to critique and the scrutiny of a FAC, might help; there are some valid issues raised that should be dealt with calmly. There is no hurry. There are plenty of pharm editors who can review this article; there is no need to be so upset. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:36, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem with the other reviewers at all only sceptical. I shall submit evidence to the admin noticeboard tomorrow. Thanks. :)--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:39, 4 June 2009 (UTC)


Could somebody point me to the discussion where the "significant contributor" bit was agreed on? It strikes me as a bit odd, and I haven't been able to find it in any of the archives. Thanks, –Juliancolton | Talk 16:12, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:28, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Further discussed at Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive27#Monthly update of substantive styleguide and policy changes. – iridescent 16:32, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikilink analysis

Is there a tool to analyze which terms have been linked in a wikipedia article, how many times they are linked etc ? Abecedare (talk) 16:48, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

WP:AWB can certainly generate a list of all the links on a page. I'm sure there's an easier way though. – iridescent 16:51, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Since I am too lazy to register and install AWB, can someone with access analyze On the Origin of Species and post the results at Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/On the Origin of Species/archive1 ? Context: While reviewing the article I thought that several terms were overlinked, but a quantitative analysis will help confirm/refute my suspicion and also help the article editors deal with the issue. Cheers. Abecedare (talk) 16:57, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Heads up...

Someone's playing with the citation and cite templates. Look at the references section for Paulinus of York for an example. I've dropped a note, but I'm not very happy about the sudden additon of white space and the sudden inability to add information after a template without a new line starting. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:03, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Is that what's sudddenly (in the last 45 minutes or so) screwed up the spacing of seemingly every bibliography section? – iridescent 17:15, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
That would be my guess, yes. Feel free to head over to Template talk:Citation/core to discuss it. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:16, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Another example of why I did the citations manually at Tourette syndrome; can't stand the vagaries of those darn templates. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:17, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
If you depended on me to hand format citations, they'd show up in five different forms for five different citations. I just don't do that level of detail for citations, never have been able to. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:19, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Someone had better fix this before Giano sees the mess it's made of Buckingham Palace#References… – iridescent 17:24, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Someone should just revert the recent changes and make the person who messed it up get it right. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:26, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Someone who is an admin, that is. Ling.Nut (talk) 17:28, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Point me to the diff and I will revert. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 17:31, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure which of the last two edits there messed it up: Gimmetrow would know. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:32, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I have no clue either. Eubulides is my hero for posting a note there explaining it in template speak, which I don't speak. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:35, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Idea: revert the lot. Ling.Nut (talk) 17:34, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Nutty Ling, you are the ultimate colon non-conformist. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:40, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I reverted the most recent change, but that didn't solve the problem. Can anyone who understands these things work out which of these has screwed it up? – iridescent 17:41, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) The article that got Ling and I up in arms is Robert Foliot, which is nice and short and has the advantage of showing the changes at their worst. Blech. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:42, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

(indent) For the heck of it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:44, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
(ecx3) I hate hate hate hate those damn colons. For a while I tried counting colons, then I decided I could just copy/paste and add one... but then I decided, I hate hate hate threads that are as narrow as wineglass stems. So screw 'em. I almost never go past three colons. Ling.Nut (talk) 17:45, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Reverted. Purge the cache and the pages should be back to normal. – iridescent 17:48, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Valkyrie FAC

I have objected to the Valkyrie article, since I do not think, (largely for reasons of bad prose and poor article structure,) that it comes up to the required standard. The article has supporters. Therefore it would be useful if some other editors could review the article with a fresh eye. Xandar 00:18, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

RFC to make Wikipedia:Plagiarism a guideline

Please make your thoughts known here about whether or not we should elevate Wikipedia:Plagiarism to a guideline. Thanks. `Awadewit (talk)

Update: the above is now a guideline, but its status as such is disputed: Wikipedia talk:Plagiarism#Remove disputed tag from article page. Dabomb87 (talk) 20:20, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Printed FAs

... would look like this and be unusable. Conserve paper, no more FAs! read online. :) Abecedare (talk) 14:45, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Bizarre logic, but I so want that book... Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 09:54, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Books and DVDs of WP just defy the whole purpose of the project. Why on earth ... it baffles me. Tony (talk) 17:06, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Is there a PDF or similar, so i can print it out? :) -- (talk) 22:20, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, you can generate a PDF file of any Wikipedia article by clicking on the "PDF version" link in the toolbox on the left-hand side of the screen. Today's FA gives a 15-page PDF, of which 11 pages are article text and the rest are licensing details which would need to be included if the PDF were ever to be republished. Physchim62 (talk) 23:05, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I mean the version which Abecedare posted. ;) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Many encyclopedias are devided into multiple books anyway so not a good example, for example a book for each letter of the alphabet. Extensive encyclopedias are too large for one book. Wikipedia is no different.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 02:38, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Misleadingly precise currency conversions

Please see this discussion on the talk page of a recently promoted article. Tony (talk) 17:05, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Established Editors Association

The Established editors association will be a kind of union of who have made substantial and enduring contributions to the encyclopedia for a period of time (say, two years or more). The proposed articles of association are here - suggestions welcome.

Administrators are very welcome to join, so long as they meet the criteria for admission, and so long as they are committed to the core objectives of the Association, including supporting other members.

All nominations will be by me for the moment, but other nominations are welcome - please use the space provided here to nominate anyone who you think would be eligible and interested (which may include yourself). When there are enough nominations, there will be an election from among the nominees.

Please put all discussion here.Peter Damian (talk) 10:21, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Something spawned by this by Iridescent (placing blame where it lies) is the idea of an Article Writers' Noticeboard, currently being formed in Juliancolton's user space. I think this is an interesting idea that potentially could merge the writing issues of FA, GA, and other content issues. However, there are also possibilities of abuse. I don't think it should be used to ask for copy edits on articles that need content assistance, or be used to solve conflicts about content in contentious topics. Others may wish to anticipate problems with such a forum. --Moni3 (talk) 19:04, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Whoa. And it's live! --Moni3 (talk) 19:05, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Content noticeboard

Just as a heads-up, I've created Wikipedia:Content noticeboard per what appears to be a fairly solid consensus; see here for background context. Any suggestions/comments are appreciated. –Juliancolton | Talk 19:13, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

...and this thread entitled 'Wikipedia:Content noticeboard#FA/GA Boycott' may be of interest. –xenotalk 20:59, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Community input

To start off, I don't have anything personal against any of the FA staff. But there seems to be a lack of community transparency as to how the people who judge featured articles are selected. When, if ever, was there an election (or consensus-based process) to determine the FA director or staff members? Stifle (talk) 11:31, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Here. – iridescent 11:38, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
In addition, the ratification of Raul as Featured Article Director occurred here in 2004. While the voting pool was relatively small (25 editors), silence implies consent, and it wasn't until 2008 that Raul's position (at least as the selector of TFA), was challenged. No vote occurred, but consensus (or at least lack of it) reconfirmed his position. Steve T • C 12:44, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. Seems reasonable (on the delegate front at least), but I would prefer to see this as a community-led procedure (possibly like ArbCom elections but less threatening). Stifle (talk) 13:13, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Do you have an actual issue with the current director, delegates or whatever? Unless I'm missing something, this sounds like a solution looking for a problem. Majorly talk 13:20, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I am curious too Stifle, is there a discussion somewhere which preceded your query? Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:35, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Thirded. I think the directors and delegates have done a fantastic job, and I see no reason to indicate otherwise. Many in the community probably don't even know that there is an FA director, let alone their responsibilites; therefore, holding a community-wide poll sounds like the wrong idea, as well as process creep. Dabomb87 (talk) 14:58, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I've come to the view that wikipedia polls are a poor substitute for picking the right people for the job regardless of whether you, me, or anyone is pally with them. So I don't really see a problem here that needs to be solved. The best people to decide who would make good FA delegates are the FA director and the delegates themselves. Who better to know what the job entails, and what skillsets it requires? --Malleus Fatuorum 15:04, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

We could also have a system where there were no need for "FA delegates" or an "FA director". Physchim62 (talk) 15:11, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

That would be ideal, but as far as I see it, they are like the bureaucrats of the RFA process - they don't choose what becomes featured or not, they choose based on the comments made on the candidates. They are (usually) fair, though sometimes a little heavy-handed for my liking. I don't have a problem with the current people who do it - they know what they are doing, and are long-term veterans of the FAC process. Again, I'm not sure what the problem is here. Majorly talk 15:18, 16 June 2009 (UTC)