Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive47

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

Nom viewer counts gone strange?

Is it just me, or have the nom viewer counts gone strange of late? Like showing no. of participants as 1 when there are several, or not showing any supports when there are several. PL290 (talk) 20:19, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

You'll probably get a faster response at WT:NOMV. Dabomb87 (talk) 21:40, 16 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks; it's partly to alert others. I'm not dissing the good tool, but folks need to be aware the counts may be misleading. I've now posted at WT:NOMV, but Gary finds it's working okay for him, even on specific examples that show wrong counts for me. Please can some nom viewer users check some of the counts? Just to give two examples, this is what I see at the current moment:
PL290 (talk) 09:42, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
On Banksia verticillata I'm seeing 4 participants and 0 supports (actually 2 supports); on Jocko Thompson I'm seeing 1 participant when there are actually 4. Also, on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Manchester Mark 1/archive1 I notice it's saying there are three supports when there's currently only 1. I agree, the figures it's giving have gone haywire. – iridescent 10:26, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Reviews needed

Could we please get some more reviews at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Menominee Tribe v. United States/archive1; an opposing reviewer has not revisited concerns, and I need feedback on whether they are resolved.

Also, I need reliable sources feedback at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/No Rest for the Wicked (Supernatural)/archive1‎; it is troubling when Supporters add a declaration without addressing outstanding sourcing queries. Brian and Ealdgyth put a lot of work into reliability reviews.

Also, I have archived today four FACs that were ill-prepared, and added them to Category:Good articles in need of review, and there are several GAs at FAC whose reviews are stalled. Perhaps now that the US summer is over, we will see more of this. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:25, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Did a sourcing look over Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/No Rest for the Wicked (Supernatural)/archive1‎. Normally I don't duplicate work when Ealdgyth has already reviewed an item; only did so because it was requested here! Fifelfoo (talk) 23:55, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Prose is still an issue on Menominee; I've opposed with an extensive list of concerns at the review page. Nikkimaria (talk) 02:06, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

FAC nomination eligibility

Juwan Howard was recently closed as not promoted with no opposition or support. When can I nominate 1997 Michigan Wolverines football team, which is near completion of its copyedit? When can Howard be renominated?--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 03:25, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

P.S. I still have an ongoing conom for Exelon Pavilions.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 03:26, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Two weeks from September 22, when it closed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:31, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
So I believe you are saying I have to wait until October 6 on both articles.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 03:46, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, essentially you cannot nominate another article until October 6. At that point you can nominate one or the other. Karanacs (talk) 19:01, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Being partial to the "noobs"

Just an FYI, I moved the page I created during the "lets be nicer to new nominators" prompt to here. Hopefully someone will find it useful someday =) Improvements welcome. Cheers, ResMar 22:02, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

"Know there were more country, large city and statesman FAs in the old days, this was also partly due to the fact that lifting them off internet minibios was done quite a lot, eg Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman."

I definitely agree with Mael. Like it or not, large FAs like country articles are just too much work. If I were to write such a thing, it would probably take me at least half a year to accomplish, followed by constant badgering on the talk pages over all sorts of things, new events and the like. Some people are crazy enough to pull stuff like Barack Obama out of the hat; most aren't. It's a serious commitment both on the short and the long term, and rewarding or not, you'll get very tired of it quickly. ResMar 00:15, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Ah, heck, now I feel derelict in my duties-- I'll have to start leaving notes for newbies!

I suppose that's what Good article nominations are for: they can function as a stepping stone for new writers. GAs are not nearly as hard to pull out of the hat, and after you read a few of them you get the picture. FAs on the other hand... ResMar 00:15, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I know, very late response, but I wanted to put out my views on paper, er, web-page. ResMar 00:15, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I was thinking, tuna wrap for lunch, or beef noodles? What to do, what to do... • Ling.Nut 00:35, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Beef noodles, definitely. Malleus Fatuorum 00:36, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks! I'll tell the waitress you sent me. I mean, if I can translate "Malleus Fatuorum" into Chinese, that is. • Ling.Nut 00:48, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
  • My embarassingly limited knowledge of Chinese leads me to believe that the language recycles old ideas in its ideograms, so I'd suggest something like "dark lightning". Malleus Fatuorum 01:02, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Wow, that was totally unexpected and completely off topic. Score =) ResMar 01:13, 28 September 2010 (UTC)


After the above entertaining shenanigans, I'm afraid I am not going to be so interesting, so I'll keep it short.

Basically, I would like a serious discussion about the effects of the twin policies WP:OWN and "Be BOLD!" on the standards of WP articles in general and featured articles in particular. It is possible that this has been chewed over before, but I think it's worth airing again. As a starting point for the current discussion, we might recognise that most editors who create featured articles feel at least some sense of proprietorship, if not ownership, over their creations. This is almost inevitable after their commitment to an article and its subject-matter often over weeks and months. I believe this feeling of responsibility is a positive thing, as it helps to achieve and maintain high standards by, among other things, diverting unhelpful, trivial, POVish and inaccurate edits.

However, editors who seek to preserve and protect their work in this way are on thin ice. WP:OWN gives every editor equal rights to edit any article, regardless of the normal rules of good manners and scholarly practice. Its effect is exacerbated by the "Be BOLD!" guideline. As a result, the battle for standards often has to be fought with one or both hands tied. Although few editors actively seek to destabilise or sabotage an article, the main problem is with underinformed editors who know a little, and want at all costs to see what little they know mentioned in the article, regardless of questions of appropriateness and balance.

My own view is that in the interests of (a) maintaining the quality of featured articles, (b) enabling major articles on significant topics to be written without endless edit warring and (c) hanging on to quality editors who are getting seriously pissed off at seeing their own hard work devalued and/or having to wrangle constantly with drive-by editors, the emphasis in WP:OWN and "Be BOLD" needs to be changed. The problem is how to do this within the WP constitution. Do others share my concerns? Are there any practical ideas that can be tried? Or is it time I took an extended wikibreak? Brianboulton (talk) 18:13, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

I share your concers; most editors who have invested the effort required to produce an FA know the research inside and out, and have to defend the article. Please don't take a break :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:22, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
WP:OWN is not really relevant to factual and quasi-factual matters, but it is to "questions of appropriateness and balance", which I think is what Brian is concerned with - those editors who insist on adding any connection the subject has with Poland or the Philippines for example, which may be accurate but unbalances the article. If you don't have enough support on the talk page to see off obtrusive additions, a clear-out every few months often goes without opposition. WP:UNDUE is of course a useful counter-argument. Johnbod (talk) 18:43, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Brian, most editors misunderstand WP:OWN. They want it to mean "allow my crappy edit" when it means "don't remove edits just because they belong to someone else". WP:OWN at least needs to include a caveat stating that adhering to very high standards does NOT mean ownership. Check it out. --Moni3 (talk) 18:32, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree, see my edit below. Brianboulton (talk) 20:32, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
A very clear way of explaining the problems, thanks Brian. On patrolling, I keep a daily eye on the two FAs that I nominated (they are not much trouble), problem comes when nominators retire from WP or are otherwise engaged so the discussion and suggestions below might be useful. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 00:06, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I often try to ameliorate too-esoteric-for-main-article info by finding somewhere on a daughter article for it to go. Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:31, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

FA patrol

Brian's asked for practical ideas. I completely agree with what he said (no wikibreak needed there!): we need a way to keep FAs in good shape so that the quality of the encyclopedia isn't needlessly slipping away like this. My suggestion: we establish an FA patrol. I'm willing to watchlist a number (10? 25? 50?) of FAs, keeping an eye out for LQ edits and adding my opinion to the WP:BRD cycle for those articles. I'm happy to add my name to a list where we allocate patrollers to each FA (all FAs? those up to 2 years old? plus selected ones?). The only qualification for volunteers offering to be an FA patroller: nominator/co-nominator of at least one sucessful FAC. An FA with a bunch of such people watchlisting it is in a far better position to stay in good shape than one with only its original FAC nominator(s) tending it, meanwhile being accused of "owning" it. PL290 (talk) 08:34, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

I like the idea, and it sounds very reasonable. I already do something similar in my own way. I have all of the FAs from my main wikiproject watchlisted, and except for TFA days, I try to improve any LQ edits or revert them as needed. Imzadi 1979  08:38, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
There's a potential here for a FAC cabal to meatpuppet articles. [ha ha ha ha]. Obviously, being the good editors they are, FAC editors would only watch and intervene on FAC passed articles on the basis of their own encyclopaedic and editorial judgement, not on the basis of protecting FACs as they were passed. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:43, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
WPs that act the way Imzadi would want are far and few between. Congrats if your project is able to keep things good though. Whenever I have checked up on an old Australian FA to source, the sources tell me half the article content was never there. It'd be the same in other places too. If there were real experts on WP (and they were not affiliated to Wikiprojects and felt a need to not speak out about shortcomings) lots of FAs would be mauled YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 08:59, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
The idea of a patrol (we could call them the vigilantes!) is a good one, and would certainly help to protect FAs. Mostly, however, this would eliminate only the most obviously pernicious or inappropriate edits, which could not anyway be defended by reference to WP:OWN. My concern is with seemingly reasonable edits, properly referenced to reliable sources, which are nevertheless harmful to the article because they create imbalance, or introduce trivia, or espouse a POV. While WP:OWN goes overboard in describing, and condemning, "ownership behaviour", it has less to say about the kind of editing that provokes primary editors to acts of so-called ownership. Why not introduce into the policy a clause which recognises a difference between the ownership that assumes a power of veto over editing, and the responsibility that merely requires that content edits to featured articles be mediated on the talkpage? That's hardly revolutionary, and I would have thought unobjectionable. Brianboulton (talk) 20:31, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Spend time crafting a rewrite of OWN in user space. In the rewrite, try to find a way to introduce the radical idea that "some folks know what the hell they are talking about" in a mild but meaningful manner (with lots of alliteration, I suppose). Solicit input from as many long-time contributors as you can. Then unleash it on that page's Talk. I highly suggest that you do the evil vile evil deed (which everyone does; Wikipedia is so hypocritical sometimes) of informing many people of the date that you go to the policy page. Crap, put it in red letters atop the page in user space. • Ling.Nut 20:44, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I love the idea of that addition (and would love to use Ling's suggested phrasing!), but let's not make it so specific that it applies only to FAs. I've got lots of B-class articles waiting for that final loving polish; I've had some hot weeks trying to convince people that in those articles "the stuff I read on the internet, or learned in my 6th grade class 30 years ago" does not trump the "stuff the actual experts (you know, those people who teach graduate-level classes at university) wrote in books that were published last year". Karanacs (talk) 21:37, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
In principle I would agree on a wider application. But with FAs it can be argued that they have been through a rigorous review process, often involving many editors, and have been designated as examples of Wikipedia's best work. That might help to build the case for separate treatment. Brianboulton (talk) 23:47, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree that we should limit any addition to policy to FAs, and that we should simply talk about there being a presumption in favour of the original authors being responsible for maintaining the page. That works both ways of course, because if they don't maintain it, they risk losing its FA status. So OWNership in the sense we're discussing will require some work if it's not to be forfeited. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:35, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I hate the idea of "patrolling". It creates an image in my mind of officious kids wearing police uniforms. Malleus Fatuorum 23:21, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
More like the Eager Young Space Cadets.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:23, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it could turn into that. Whatever, it wouldn't resolve the issue that I'm trying to address, per above. Brianboulton (talk) 23:35, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Be scared—be very scared! ResMar 00:22, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Brian, the issue of requiring that edits be discussed on talk is a double-edged sword. I've only brought one article up to FA that has a vigilant audience because it's a contentious issue, and it's the last time I'll do it (which speaks to the issue raised earlier of why FA writers often prefer to write articles that won't attract a lot of attention). I don't want to have to discuss every update, every tightening, every fixing of a dead link on the talk page. I wrote it, and I know what it needs. But that's the classic OWNership position that we're not supposed to have. Authorship is always going to imply some ownership, and that's not a bad thing unless it becomes very clear that the author has got things wrong. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Huh. You'll all be sorry the day it becomes clear that sword-wielding skeletons were involved ! Bishonen | talk 01:11, 23 September 2010 (UTC).
I've seen the film, I know the truth; they were involved, else how could they have been filmed? More seriously, this "ownership" issue has surfaced with this article on a series of child murders that's scheduled for the main page in a few days time. Is it ownership, or is it due diligence? I would far prefer that someone else had written the article, but they didn't, and so Parrot of Doom and I stepped in. After having struggled so hard with it, it's difficult to stand back and watch it turn back into the usual wikipedia grey goo. Malleus Fatuorum 01:31, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
But seriously, the best feature of FA is the date promoted, so there is a natural reference-point for high traffic FAs that have experienced Quality Erosion can be compared to. Watching them is like building sandcastles in the tidal zone at the beach... :/ Casliber (talk · contribs) 01:33, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Which begs the question: is there a theoretical limit? ResMar 01:41, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
PS: Well thank god I write volcanoes then: they take a long time to erode away; bishops only last something like 60, 70, 80 years :P ResMar 02:47, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
You've obviously never tried to work on an article like Thomas Becket then, which I'd say ought to be a core article. Who knows, maybe it is; I take no notice of what some unelected committee considers to be "vital". Malleus Fatuorum 02:52, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
To play Devil's advocate, I most certainly do not consider an article such as English literature to be a pressing call on editors' time here. It's well covered elsewhere, therefore although it may be "vital" in some general sense it's not vital to wikipedia. Malleus Fatuorum 02:57, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Everything is "well covered elsewhere" somewhere, but it is precisely big topic subjects that can otherwise hard to find a useful summary of on the internet. I don't think the view that WP has no need to cover big subjects, or do so at all well, is widely held. If nothing else, the fact that it gets over 2,000 hits per day suggests it ought to be of a respectable standard - not FA necessarily, please note, but better than "start". Johnbod (talk) 04:36, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
My view of Wikipedia is pretty much diametrically opposed to yours (Johnbod's). In my opinion, Wikipedia is at its best on obscure topics. If I wanted to find out more about cricket, there are any number of places I could look; if I wanted to find out about Keith Miller in the 1946–47 Australian cricket season, Wikipedia is the only reliable and easily accessible source. – iridescent 15:42, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Obviously that is often how it is now, but I'm not aware that WP was ever intended as "the encyclopedia of really obscure stuff" ("everything" came into it somewhere, I seem to remember), and imo at least the aspiration of comprehensiveness should not be abandoned. And actually it is very often easier to find very obscure stuff elsewhere on the internet (and elsewhere) than straightforward accounts of large topics. Johnbod (talk) 20:53, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. I would challenge you to find a better account of this obscure topic anywhere, either online or published. To be perfectly honest, I'm struggling to understand why anyone would go to even a conventional encyclopedia and look up "English literature". Isn't that just literature written in English? Malleus Fatuorum 21:01, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Disagree with what? That "it is very often easier to find very obscure stuff elsewhere on the internet ...."? I expect you are right about the MM, but as is often the case with you, a proposition advanced with an air of triumphant refutation in fact has no logical connection with the one it is supposed to refute. Johnbod (talk) 00:21, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
It's a pity that you have felt the need to resort to personal comments, but so be it, no surprise. If you feel that it's important to write a decent article on English literature (which I don't particularly) then write one; don't moan because nobody else has written whatever it is that you consider to be "vital". Malleus Fatuorum 00:44, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, in the spirit of kicking everyone else's ass... :P ResMar 03:11, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Thanks to those who contributed to this discussion, even if only the odd cynical comment. I see no need for a surveillance system or "patrol" I merely want WP:OWN to be redrafted so that the positive efforts of primary editors to maintain the standards of their work aren't classified as "ownnership" in the derogatory sense. I don't think it will be easy to change what is basically a core Wikipedia policy, and I won't be rushing to attempt a solution. But I am glad to have given the problem some airing. Brianboulton (talk) 00:03, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm glad you did; I happened across some ugly accusations of this very issue on another forum, but I fear posting that here could be construed as canvassing. It happens :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:06, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I've added some words about FAs to WP:OWN here. And I've left a note about my change on the talk page here. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:11, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
TFA is exempt from 3RR? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:20, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Sort of: the intentionally vague wording is "Considerable leeway is given to editors reverting to maintain the quality of a featured article while it appears on the main page". – iridescent 01:41, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, SV. If this added wording stands, it may just work. It gives some justification to those removing edits to maintain quality in articles rather than to exclude editors, without specifically contradicting the ownership policy (of course, I could have added similar wording myself but I didn't think it could be that simple). Let's first see if the wording is challenged, and then how it works in practice. Brianboulton (talk) 09:10, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I've been reverted—i.e. it wasn't that simple :)—and there's now a discussion on talk about how to find wording that others would agree to. Any input there would be most helpful. See Wikipedia talk:Ownership of articles#Featured articles. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:15, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

FA editnotice

As a separate idea, to pursue at in parallel with any others, is there any way to display a standard FA editnotice? Such as this cut-down version of the policy wording just added to WP:OWN:

Note: this is a Featured article. While Featured articles are open for editing like any other, they have gone through a community review process as Featured article candidates, where they are checked for high quality sources, a thorough survey of the relevant literature, and compliance with Wikipedia's Manual of Style and media licensing policy. Editors are asked to take particular care when editing a Featured article; it is considerate to discuss significant changes on the talk page first.

This would seem beneficial by providing awareness at the relevant moment, i.e., the earliest point when it can affect whether/how any editor proceeds when considering making an edit to an FA. PL290 (talk) 09:23, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

"Just added", and just removed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:50, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

What is essential in an FAC on a musician?

I have raised a question at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Bix Beiderbecke/archive1 that I thought I would mention here so i can get an answer if there is already one on which a consensus exists. Should we promote to FA an article about a musician or performer if there are no audio samples of their work in the article, despite recordings being readily available? This does not seem to be a copyright issue. Examples of FAs on musicians whose articles include audio samples include Madonna (entertainer), The Kinks, and Uncle Tupelo, all of whose works must still be in copyright. Samples exist also in articles about composers such as Bedřich Smetana. However, audio samples do not appear to be universal. There is no sample in Ram Narayan, nor Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, also FACs. (Although, Ram Narayan did have one at one stage - the file was removed from WP - i haven't followed up the detail of why). How can an article about a musician be comprehensive ("it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context") if we don't know what the performer/composer's work sounds like? Similarly, I'm not sure we would get an article on a visual artist through FAC without an example of their work illustrated; should we do so for a musician? Views? hamiltonstone (talk) 00:39, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure these media samples are expected to be there as a norm. I guess for an artist of any kind, flair, verve and style is more important than say for a sportsperson, but I don't see anyone asking for FU videoclips/photos of a sportsperson to see how smooth/graceful their movements are YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 00:44, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec)I think that requiring audio would be a nice option, and perhaps a recommendation, but I don't think it should be necessary. One problem that I can think of would be deciding what selection of music to include. For very old musicians, like Beethoven and Mozart, it becomes a matter of choosing whatever reproduction you want, since they died before the existence of the phonograph. That can become very difficult to standardize - do we pick the New York Philharmonic recording of Beethoven's Fifth, or the Vienna Symphony recording of Moonlight Sonata? It's different from the image we choose, as they are simple visual representations of a person, but I think it is unreasonable to require the ideal aural representation of a selected musician. Look at the Beatles. How could you really choose an audio sample from such a diverse catalog? On the other hand, how could you choose an audio sample from someone who has a very limited, nonexistent catalog? Just my two cents, coming from a Wikipedian and a musician. Hurricanehink (talk) 00:51, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this is something one would need to standardise - and the reliable sources will usually give one a clear lead on what are the major works / representative works etc. I don't think choosing is the issue. The issue is whether one can reach a full understanding of the subject in the absence of any such work. (Of course if there are no existing / surviving recordings, that would be a different matter). hamiltonstone (talk) 00:58, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, no, I don't think you could get a full understanding without listening to a piece of music, but neither can you get a full understanding of a great novel without reading it, or a movie without seeing it, or a food without eating it. It's our job as an encyclopedia to provide as much context as possible in words, in my opinion at least. Hurricanehink (talk) 01:07, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I think if you are the reviewer, and can demonstrate that an appropriate free audio sample is available that would arguably improve the article, you are within your right to choose not to support (or "oppose") if the article does not use the media. I would that think to qualify as "Wikipedia's best work" it should make the best use of the available sources/resources. Sasata (talk) 01:13, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I would fully support including samples of food in future Food/Drink FAs - particularly if someone wanted to tackle Category:Desserts. Seriously, though, as regards audio samples - in some cases, they are essential, but not in all. Particularly with long-dead composers or musicians, you can run into the issue of fidelity, as Hurricanehink noted above. Nikkimaria (talk) 01:57, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Strictly from an NFC standpoint, I'd be wary of any "requirement" to include non-free content. If we can't write a darned good reason for each and every piece of non-free media, we have no business using it. Courcelles 02:05, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I had only meant to the extent that free content was available, but I take your point. As a side-note I should add that NFC samples have now been added to the article that triggered this question (Bix Beiderbecke), and I'm really pleased with that addition. hamiltonstone (talk) 02:09, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

FA category changes over two years


FA Category as of Sep 16,
Sep 16,
Pct chg
Sep 2008
Num chg
Sep 2008
Art, architecture and archaeology 72 117 62.5% 45
Awards, decorations and vexillology 26 28 7.7% 2
Biology 155 261 68.4% 106
Business, economics and finance 19 22 15.8% 3
Chemistry and mineralogy 31 34 9.7% 3
Computing 17 17 0.0% 0
Culture and society 48 61 27.1% 13
Education 34 36 5.9% 2
Engineering and technology 37 38 2.7% 1
Food and drink 11 9 -18.2% -2
Geography and places 158 181 14.6% 23
Geology, geophysics and meteorology 90 129 43.3% 39
Health and medicine 36 42 16.7% 6
History 154 189 22.7% 35
Language and linguistics 15 13 -13.3% -2
Law 34 41 20.6% 7
Literature and theatre 134 161 20.1% 27
Mathematics 14 19 35.7% 5
Media 171 221 29.2% 50
Music 182 232 27.5% 50
Philosophy and psychology 13 12 -7.7% -1
Physics and astronomy 82 98 19.5% 16
Politics and government 67 98 46.3% 31
Religion, mysticism and mythology 44 73 65.9% 29
Royalty, nobility and heraldry 90 94 4.4% 4
Sport and recreation 162 268 65.4% 106
Transport 74 107 44.6% 33
Video gaming 96 127 32.3% 31
Warfare 173 318 83.8% 145
Total 2,239 3046 36.0% 807

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:34, 17 September 2010 (UTC)


While these say good things about WP:MILHIST; it is scary that other areas aren't attracting nominators, particularly the currently small areas. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:22, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Regular FAC participants know the editors behind some of the categories leading to the largest percent increases (Warfare 83.8%, Biology 68.4%, Religion, mysticism and mythology 65.9%, Sport and recreation 65.4%, Art, architecture and archaeology 62.5%, Politics and government 46.3%, Transport 44.6%, Geology, geophysics and meteorology 43.3%), and most of those nominators help out with reviews across the board at FAC. Others don't :) FAC is picking up again, promotions are increasing, archivals are declining, and we could use more reviewers. Both Karanacs and I have started reviewing again. I don't know what we can do about the underrepresented categories, other than getting Malleus/POD, Brian, Ealdgyth, YM, Wehwalt, Iridescent, Ruhrfisch & Co, and the (too many to list) bio/ship/hurricane folk to take an interest in food! Maybe the secret is to focus on drink instead of food! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:06, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

I guess I'm saying that maybe the Closers could sweep in to first-noms, new-noms, rare-category noms and warn people like me who use arcane technical short-hand and put up "Play Nice" signs. I guess there's a training and development issue, how do we get more great article polishers / writers! (Speaking of, I do dip down into GAs and MILHIST review processes to help get at problems there and develop them before it hits FAC). Fifelfoo (talk) 14:08, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Most of the things I write about can be eaten; you're just placing them in the wrong category. Ucucha 14:17, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Now there's a constructive idea :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:50, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Drinks! Now you're talking. I'm rather astonished that the Computing category has seen no expansion over the last two years, especially given what absolute junk most of them are. Malleus Fatuorum 14:55, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Don't forget the effects of churn - there's seventeen in September 2008, and seventeen in September 2010, but only ten of those are the same in both. So that's 40% more added, but simultaneously 40% removed due to lack of quality! If we go back to 2006, the category had 32 members - only nine of them survived to 2008, and only three of those are still around today. Shimgray | talk | 17:41, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
The thought of turning pavlova into a FA is...rather entertaining. If only because of the inevitable fistfights. Maybe that's the trick: controversial recipes... Iridia (talk) 06:04, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Now we know why NZ really withdrew from ANZUS and why Harold Holt disappeared! Fifelfoo (talk) 06:12, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
It's one of those well-kept secrets: he was taken out by Australian nationalists because he was going to tell the truth about the origins of pav. Iridia (talk) 06:46, 18 September 2010 (UTC)


Copied with permission from a user talk page:

OTOH, if we don't get a chance to copyedit them before FAC, the FAC delegates and some voters get annoyed. Yep :) We urgently need more non-ship people to get involved in ship articles at FAC, and all help is appreciated. (See Reviewers achieving excellence.) The ship articles dominate FAC, but most independent reviewers won't go near them because they are sometimes dry, jargon-filled, or burdened with excess detail, without telling a compelling story about the boat. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:33, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

We've got the usual problems: some of the MILHIST editors are completely confused by FAC and don't know what they could offer, some don't feel a connection to FAC, and some expect bad results if they nominate or review at FAC ... we've been working hard on these problems and made good progress over the last six months, although clearly we've got a ways to go. Thanks for the link, Sandy, that's helpful. MILHIST editors are not insular and not ungenerous with their time, so I'm optimistic. I've made an offer to swap copyediting; I hope more people will take me up on it. On the other point ... hey, not everyone can write about fungus :) There's a huge readership, even today, for war stories. I've been pushing gently to get some of the details moved into infoboxes, where they won't slow down the narrative. And it's not like we have the option of saying "the pointy part at the front of the ship" instead of "bow"; sometimes we can rewrite or explain in-line, but often the best we can do is offer links, and we do. - Dank (push to talk) 16:50, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps the ship folk could toss around ideas about using the model of HMS Calliope (1884), which tells the story of the ship, while moving design details to the class article at Calypso class corvette. I'm wondering if that will help make the boats more appealing reading to a wider audience. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:03, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Inserting: yes, actually, I think there's already a lot of support for this, I'll point to this article and this conversation and see how it goes. - Dank (push to talk) 18:01, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Another insert: I believe the only time we don't do that is if the ship was unique – i.e. part of a single-ship class. For a good example, see SMS Seydlitz and how Seydlitz class battlecruiser redirects to it. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 18:47, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
The Design and construction section of HMS Calliope (1884) is similar to our other articles, but it condenses design, construction, armor and armament into one section (as we sometimes do), leaving the rest to the article on the multi-ship class. Of course, we'll need more detail for ships that undergo a major refit, but we haven't gotten any major resistance to moving more of the measurements to infoboxes and to the multi-ship class articles. - Dank (push to talk) 19:05, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Having worked for the Naval History & Heritage Command, I think that part of the problem is that many, many naval/military history books approach the subject on such expert-interest terms; the best quality sources are often the driest. I'd argue that's bad scholarship on their part, but unfortunately it means for most ships, tanks, your ability to write in an engaging manner is strangled before you begin (although jargon is something that is easily dealt with with outside eyes.) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 17:50, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
That's exactly right; OTOH, it's a fair criticism that some of our editors aren't venturing away from the dry sources. There are other kinds of articles to be written, too. - Dank (push to talk) 17:58, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
What David Fuchs says above is right when it comes to a lot of topics, particularly in technical areas. Most people publishing in obscure fields assume (rightly) that people won't be reading a book about 19th-century battleships/disused railway stations/Gothic architecture/1940s hurricanes unless they already have an interest in the topic, and thus leave out much of the background. When it comes to something like Brill Tramway, for instance, I found it far easier to source the "varying types of passenger car used" and "manufacturers of the locomotives" aspect of it than it was to source the more general "why the hell build a rail line connecting five places with a combined population of less than 3,000?" aspect—which is precisely what most general readers are most interested in. I imagine this is the same across the board; it's probably a lot easier to find sources for "USS Foo was built in 1890 for the coastal defense of Mississippi" than to explain why the US government was concerned about a potential invasion of Mississippi. – iridescent 19:28, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Some of that is fixable by expanding your source checking. (I'm not specifically telling Iri this, it's more to the general "your" here) It's not enough to read the specialist works, you also need to read the broad general works. I can't just read biographies of my bishops, I also need to read the accounts of the king's who reigned as well as the broad social/legal/economic histories. Sometimes I think folks expect to read a few specialist works and be able to grind out a FA on some obscure topic, but that's not enough. It's often the broader works that you need to read to see WHY something happened. In the case of the ships people (not to pick on them) they need to not only read the technical works on the ship's specifications, but also read the history of the various navies, plus the general works on the various conflicts, plus other sources, just to give a well rounded view of things. FA isn't easy, even for something as simple as a horse. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:46, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Iri, that's completely accurate. One of the major references we use, Conway's All the World Fighting Ships, does exactly that, and many others do something similar (DANFS or Friedman comes to mind...). Speaking at both you and Ealdgyth now, I thought we were doing that rather well. Parsecboy and Sturmvogel always use a couple generalized histories on the naval actions of the First World War for their German and British ships (respectively; I'm thinking of Tarrant and Massie, possibly others). I've been using two of Schenia's books for my work on South American battleships. Are there any ways you think we can do this better? I'm fully open to any ideas :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 21:27, 17 September 2010 (UTC)


  • This is why The Signpost is thinking of offering prizes for FA promotions during 2010 in areas that are poorly represented—like economics, management and business, Africa-related articles (it's embarrassing), and like health-related articles from the list chosen for the google translation project, probably none of which is an FA. This targeting would be better, we think, than the wide-scope huge circus that was being considered. Tony (talk) 16:51, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
That seems sensible, but I think the relative importance of subjects should be factored in as well. As the shortage of editor resources has clearly set in for the mid or long-term, the glaring lack of improvement in major articles is another source of embarassment, & I'm getting increasingly concerned that FA, and GA, DYK etc, encourage the diversion of effort from important articles to (frankly) unimportant ones. I mean (not to pick at it), do we really need an FA on Banquo, when English literature and English Renaissance theatre are at start class, and Elizabethan literature a stub? Johnbod (talk) 16:58, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
What's "(frankly) unimportant" is of course in the eye of the beholder, not any kind of an objective assessment. I do agree that the examples you've picked out are shameful, but so is Information technology, it's across the board. The problem I perceive is that to tackle some of these "big" articles you have to take on what seems like the whole world. It's difficult enough battling away to clean up what you'd probably consider to be unimportant articles like Guy Fawkes. Malleus Fatuorum 17:48, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm troubled enough that we will have Google-translated articles anywhere on Wiki, but I hope they don't aspire to FA, considering Google barely translates. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:09, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Johnbod, I don't think there is a solution there except for the recruitment of people minded to write such articles. FA writers will not be told what to write, and I personally do not believe that points at TFA/R incentivize people to write articles in those fields (as SG pointed out, all those food related articles that keep pouring into FAC, despite the fact that any such article would probably get a minimum of three points, which is usually enough for a successful TFA/R run). Beyond that, there is no solution. Assuming there's a problem, of course.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:20, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
True! Several years ago, FAC was dominated by pop culture articles, video games, literature and theatre, and hurricanes; today it's bio, ships, bishops, trains and railroads, Malleus's morbid curiosity division, politicians and Texas history-- topics that were scarcely present at FAC three or four years ago. FA writers will write about what interests them, and I wonder if we can "train" FA writers by offering them prizes. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:38, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Apparently not, judging by the fact that when we do get an article on an African politician (there was one about a year ago), it practically skates onto the main page. Although personally I try to mix it up, I have articles in ten different FA categories, though politics is my joy.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:43, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Hey, don't knock morbid curiosity; in lots of areas wikipedia is by far the best online resource for less well-known but not necessarily less important stuff. I've also written a few more mainstream articles as well, but to be perfectly honest I just couldn't be bothered with a topic like English literature. I mean, where are the boundaries? There are very likely no good supporting articles and it would end up being a battleground. My belief is that the big articles are better tackled from the bottom up, not the top down. Malleus Fatuorum 17:59, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
PS. I'm reminded of a recent FA, Alboin, a little-known king in a very under-represented period of European history. I'd say that was an important article no matter what the compilers of the "vital articles" list think. And it wasn't written for brownie points. Malleus Fatuorum 18:02, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Of course such "big subject" articles are far more difficult to write, and then taking them through FAC might (though in fact far from always) also be a lot of work on top of that. What concerns me is that editors who could be taking one of the examples I quoted to a solid B or even C are instead putting in what is probably a similar amount of effort getting a micro-subject to FA. Obviously that's their choice, but it's a worry that so many make that choice, and seemingly so few the other. We are indeed tackling topics from the bottom up, but it's just not carrying through to the top. I bet there are in fact dozens of decent supporting articles to Elizabethan literature (as well as gaps & crap ones) - that's what WP is good at. It was one thing to be like that in 2006 when it seemed plausible that someone better-qualified than you would arrive next week to do the big subject properly, but it's been clear for a long time that we're no longer in that place. On prizes, the recent GLAM/BM ones surely showed the dramatic effect of cash ones at least, and the idea that people who put themselves though FAC aren't at all motivated by recognition or whatever you want to call it is prima facie rather odd. Johnbod (talk) 18:57, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Not all odd, as we're all anonymous volunteers. If I was offered money to write one of these "big" articles then I'd very likely consider it. In the meantime I'll write about what interests me or catches my attention. Malleus Fatuorum 19:33, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't follow you there, but never mind. Johnbod (talk) 19:46, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Mainly because we do it because it is fun for us to write these articles. We enjoy it. I am a lawyer, for me to write law articles would be work (I did write one, trespassing on Malleus's domain of oddball British happenings with Ashford v Thornton). For me, writing on law generally would be work. If I was paid, I might reconsider. As it is, I will indulge my interest in politics which I got into as a teenager reading Allen Drury's political potboilers.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:01, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes obviously, but I'd better spell out my point again. Clearly something is impelling people to go through all the hassle of FAC, and I'dont think it's just concern that they might have got their footnote formats wrong, or (present company rather suitable for this argument) actually missed anything out. So what can it be be? Recognition, prize points, something like that. So I'm not convinced by SG's argument above that FA effort is a free wild beast that cannot be directed at all. Johnbod (talk) 20:18, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Wehwalt has it exactly spot on. For him to write about legal articles is just an extension of his job, just as it would be for me to write about computing articles. This is a hobby until I start getting paid. Malleus Fatuorum 20:41, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
SG, you, and I think Wehwalt are the ones talking about changing subjects! I'm not at all; I'm talking about larger topics within the same subject, or just any subject. Johnbod (talk) 20:48, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm afraid that's it's you who's missing the point Johnbod. Nobody in their right mind would want to write anonymously about stuff they have expertise in, that's just another job but without the pay. Malleus Fatuorum 21:11, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
It is work. I can't even watch The Paper Chase. I've been at rock concerts with people who perform themselves. They always get this look in their eyes, and I know they are not enjoying the show, they are mentally critiquing the bassist and the stage moves of the frontman. Anything is work when it is your job.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:14, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
So Iridescent knows nothing about railways then? Please don't trouble to reply. Johnbod (talk) 01:59, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Malleus: I do (though it's not quite professional expertise). Ucucha 02:05, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

(od) Why no-one will tackle the big articles like english literature et al is simple: as Malleus says, you have to take on the entire (usually uniformed) world. I desperately want to see Operation Market Garden as a GA or even FA. But every time we try and rally people to get it written, about a dozen ips or SPAs turn up, decrying the fact that either someone isn't represented enough (the Poles, in this case) or that the WP:Truth isn't being told ('zomg, every other [uncited] wikipedia language article on this says it was a German victory, why doesn't this say so, I demand it gets changed'). That's why my few FAs are on subjects no-one really cares about. You want the big, really important articles to get to FA? Semi-protect them while a band of editors tackle them, take it to FA, then protect it permanently. Otherwise, no dice. Hell, I've seen World War II take down a brilliant, long-term editor because of this very scenario. Skinny87 (talk) 21:31, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

"the entire (usually uniformed) world". Fascinate me Skinny, what uniforms do they wear?--Wehwalt (talk) 21:42, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, these nice, comfortable white jackets, with the sleeves that wrap around the back. Everyone else has one of those, right? Right? Skinny87 (talk) 21:45, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Agree with Skinny87. It takes a great amount of work to get a minor article to FA. It would take work on the scale of masochism to get a major article to FA. One person is not likely to have the time and energy to do it, especially if it's an article that gets more than 5,000 hits a day. The way article improvement usually works is that one or two editors work in a concentrated period to rewrite it. Although the Wikipedia model appears to foster article improvement on a collaborative scale--suggesting dozens of editors work toward that goal--this simply does not happen. One or two editors write an article and the visitors to the article, or editors who have watched it languish in poorly written uncited prose, then assault the rewrite with questions and complaints. Or worse, restore the older poorer version for a misunderstood consensus. I don't get this, but I've seen it. It's very frustrating, like being assigned a group project in school, doing the work, and the other people in your group criticizing you for doing their work for them. Main page day and just general maintenance of the article is an often ongoing headache. So yes, very ostensibly important articles should be written, but pragmatists realize the limitations they would encounter in the current editing atmosphere. The prospect of someone giving me brightly colored pixels on my talk page does not diminish the difficulties I would encounter, nor make it any more pleasant to do so. I have to be very invested in the material. --Moni3 (talk) 21:48, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Or, these days, the way article improvement doesn't work, since this clearly isn't happening in far far too many cases. Please note that it was precisely my point that getting a "big topic" article to FA is an enormous amount of trouble, far too much for most of us. But I am suggesting the project might be better off if a similar amount of effort to that needed for a micro-topic FA was instead expended getting a big article to C or B. But clearly I'm in the wrong place for that - the thought does not seem to compute. Johnbod (talk) 01:59, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I also agree. If I weren't dedicated to lemurs, I wouldn't have taken on the large articles I've done so far: Lemur, Subfossil lemur, Lemur evolutionary history, Ring-tailed Lemur, etc. (Granted some of those don't get huge numbers of hits, but they are very broad and heavily studied topics, making comprehensiveness challenging to achieve.) In the case of the Lemur article, it took me 8 months to complete, I still have several subpages to complete, and I was blessed with a lack of competing edits. I have considered "taking a break" many times in the sense of writing about the more obscure lemurs, especially since it's common for visitors and novice editors to pick up a copy of Lemurs of Madagascar and plagiarize it to fill out the articles. Honestly, I have no idea how to find or entice editors to write the bigger articles. Personally, I'm just picking a corner of Wiki and aiming to take every article within that scope to FAC eventually. But maybe we could do what they were talking about at WikiCup and give more "credit" or more lavish awards than a standard GA or FA credit for the larger articles. – VisionHolder « talk » 03:44, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
(EC)I would agree with both posts immediately above, it is near impossible to take control, as an individual editor, of popular or high profile articles without appearing to 'own' the article. I believe that this is why we see relatively obscure subjects get promoted frequently, not one person complained while I was working on the obscure Rolls-Royce R, the Merlin was slightly more difficult as it is a high-profile article and I had to politely, but forcefully, ask editors to stop adding basic mistakes to it during the run-up to FAC as it was increasing the workload. I did not get accused of 'owning' that article, I still maintain it to FA standards but all the time I feel like I am 'owning' it when I'm trying desperately not to!! Many editors are very capable of getting a high-profile article like the Battle of Britain (currently B-class, a delisted good article) to FA standard but the process of doing it would burn most people out (the article apparently suffers from 'too many cooks' and is unstable because of it). I don't need any incentive to raise articles to FA level but the community should look at ways to make it easier for large, popular articles to be improved by single editors. One method I use for article improvements is to do all the improving in a sandbox and update it all in one go (with a link to the sandbox in the edit summary). I personally find it hard enough work on articles that have little following, my last attempt at FAC failed and I am admitting defeat with FAs for a while!! Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 22:07, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
It depends on the field, but that has not been my experience. I almost completely rewrote Raphael, which gets around 3,000 hits a day, a couple of years ago, & it gets a fair amount of vandalism & the odd other edit, but has been relatively little trouble. same with Medieval art, which gets about 500 views per day & is absolutely no trouble at all -1 screen on the history takes you back 6 months. Johnbod (talk) 01:59, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
All this is why I have been proposing differential point award multipliers at next years' wikicup. Casliber (talk · contribs) 07:11, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
You need more than a 3X multiplier to encourage someone to write a 60k FA about a major war/general/national leader etc where the sources violently disagree than a bunch of small 8-15k articles, often as the many of these are similar and the author can do them in a more templated way with an established technique, less or no source conflict...With the major topics or pioneers Mozart Feynman etc, they were usually way different to anything else so the article can't be formulated in a predictable way whereas a series of shorter articles on different machinery (eg boats, planes, racing cars, hurricanes, sport) etc are relatively easy as strict rules or physics laws govern the behaviour of such things whereas warlords can do all sorts of weird things. And as hardline economic rationalism determines how people act, the series of similar small articles will prevail. Not to mention one guy who writes 4k GAs objected and said that his articles were not easier YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 02:18, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

This thread has wandered somewhat from its original point, which was whether prizes or some other recognition should be awarded for bringing articles on the less represented topics to FA standard. This became a discussion about the relative difficulty of bringing "big" topics through the FAC process, and eventually about the question of article ownership. I haven't anything to say on the early discussion that hasn't been said, but I've plenty to say on the ownership issue. Rather than continuing with this thread I will wait until it expires and start a new one, focusing on this specific issue. Brianboulton (talk) 10:42, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

I always enjoy putting up stats because you never know which way the discussion will go; I see all sorts of things in the data that haven't even been touched on here yet. Health and medicine surprised me, but getting articles up to FA status in that topic area is very hard because sourcing standards are rigorous, there are few qualified editors, and everyone and everybody has an opinion and wants to lob in primary sources. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:40, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I'd be interested to hear what you have to say about ownership, Brian, because I find that's the biggest issue. It's not just during the write or rewrite, or during the FAC process, but afterwards too, because FAs have to be maintained, so the ownership aspect is ever-present. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 14:25, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Ditto me. Ownership accusations are a perennial problem.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:33, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Do we really need…

(ec) Way way up at the top of this section, Johnbod wrote: “…do we really need an FA on Banquo, when English literature and English Renaissance theatre are at start class, and Elizabethan literature a stub?” I think that's a good question, but I think my answer is the opposite of what he had in mind when he posed it (disclosure: I'm helping the nominator copyedit Banquo during its current FAC). I'm one of maybe 3–5 members of WikiProject Shakespeare that are active at any given time. Most of our sometime and potential participants have burned out or been scared away by our topic-local fringe theory, its adherents, and the resulting endless confrontations. FACs have been particularly bad as everyone even remotely invested in the topic will come crawling out of the woodwork to stake their claim to some little section of the article that they want rephrased or expanded or… We have since about 2007—with the most concerted effort we've been able to bring to bear—managed to get exactly three articles to FA: William Shakespeare, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. We spent over a year getting The Tempest to GA; not because the article was in particularly poor state (I'd estimate it's 80% of the way to FA, nevermind GA), but because people now shy away from the FAC process for these articles. Meanwhile a few of us have brought the relatively obscure Judith Quiney, Thomas Quiney, Hamnet Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, and Fleance (and a few assorted others) to GA; entirely without controversy, but, sadly, also without much input or assistance from anyone other than the main author. For a very limited topic—such as Banquo—it's actually possible for a single editor to write an FA-class article, with a little help with copyediting and other such tasks. For The Tempest it, right now, looks entirely unfeasible because the effort exceeds what a single editor can reasonably be expected to do alone, and we've shown ourselves to be unable to mount concerted effort on an article without devolving into the behaviour that's led us to mediation (and ArbCom looms on the horizon).
The only way, then, we may get—to keep with the example given—Macbeth to FA quality is by starting from the ground up: build the supporting articles up to a decent quality (measured by GA and FA criteria in the relevant process) and then tackle the main article. This is of course the exact opposite of the ideal process where excessive detail is split out from the main article into sub-articles, but it's the only approach that's currently possible.
We would have stood a better chance with more editors—to voice arguments and opinions so that it would be possible to determine a consensus, if nothing else—but the most likely way of attracting more editors (apart from resolving our fringe-theory conflicts) is to produce more Featured content. The state of Shakespeare-related articles on Wikipedia is, frankly, crap (the most important play articles aren't even GA yet, and some are in a deplorable state) and nobody not already invested in the project will be crazy enough to get involved on that basis. A FA level article on Banquo on the other hand, may be just the thing that gets someone interested in Macbeth to hit that Login/Register button at the top right and come help out.
In other words, I think the answer to Johnbod's (presumably rhetorical) question is a resounding yes; not because these relatively obscure articles are more important than, say, Elizabethan literature, but because it's the only feasible way to ever get the more important articles written.
PS. WikiProject Shakespeare desperately needs more participating editors—and there's scary amounts of low-hanging fruit to be had—so anyone with even the tiniest inkling of literary inclinations would be able to make a tremendous difference. If this sounds like unseemly begging, well that's a measure of the need! --Xover (talk) 11:12, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree on the low hanging fruit issue. Turning that on its head, that is why I will not waste my time and energy on a FA effort where there is likely to be conflict. I'd rather go edit some other article.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:30, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Reviving FA collaboration

Ahem. Many of the comments above about problems with big topics apply not only to attempts to bring some topics to FA quality, but also to some controversial articles that attract large numbers of inexperienced or POV-pushing editors (where I waste a lot of my editing time). I seem to spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to educate other editors on Wiki policies, guideines and standards in that area. (Do we hope I know something about that, considering I spend all day every day reading FAs and FACs? I recently devoted wasted hours to discussing problems with the word "however" vis-a-vis WP:SYNTH.) This is not a problem unique to FAC or big or important articles-- it's a problem with "the encyclopedia anyone can edit" where "collective blocs of editors" can use mere numbers to overrule Wiki pillars, or where experienced FA writers have to deal with many more editors who just don't know policy, guideline, or good standards on Wiki.

But, in terms of FAC: ahem. Does any remember Marskell's good 'ole days or another FA collaboration project? 1FAPQ brought together a broad group of experienced FA writers, where they could help each other out; why not revive it to address some of the issues raised in this thread? (I was less enamored of FAT, because it brought together editors in one topic area; I thought bringing together editors whose expertise was general was more effective.) Who knew the Shakespeare editors were having such problems? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:13, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

To bring back the food comments from yesterday, there is an expression about chefs and broth I seem to remember. I do not think it would work well in groups of above 2 or 3 people.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:14, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
But ... it did ! A few writers took responsibility for each article, while others could come in to help copyedit, cleanup, weigh in on talk discussions, etc. It wasn't an issue of too many cooks, since one or two editors were still primarily writing the articles, while others could check in to add expertise. (It also worked spectacularly at Ima Hogg, where Karanacs primarily wrote the article, but at least a dozen of us chipped in where we could, mostly on talk.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:21, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I recently had a very successful collaboration in writing Fossa (animal) with several experienced FA writers. We each wrote a couple of sections individually, and helped with copyediting and source finding for other sections. It was fun, and the easiest FA credit I've had to date! Would definitely do it again. Sasata (talk) 16:20, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, I think I've done about five collaborations. I just think it is harder to do the more editors you have to add to the mix.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:45, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that's necessarily true Wehwalt, take a look at the history of Peterloo massacre for instance. Half-a-dozen of us worked together for three weeks or so to take it from start to FAC, one of the most satisfying things I've ever done on wikipedia. Malleus Fatuorum 13:23, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Collaboration is good; even Shakespeare needed a copyeditor now and then. Kablammo (talk) 13:24, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
"Tempermental git" my arse. Instead of futilely trying to inject humor into WT:FAC, don't you have some boat FACs to review? There are better places for humor. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:08, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, ok. I apologize. Kablammo (talk) 16:45, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, won't argue with history. Is the idea that this could be a way of getting a major article up to speed?--Wehwalt (talk) 13:25, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
That, and bring more experienced eyes to areas where others are dealing with inexperienced editors on topics that get lots of views, edits or interest. Experienced FA writers 1) know standards, and 2) usually know how to collaborate (the worst FAC my name was ever attached to aside). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:34, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah yes, those inexperienced editors!--Wehwalt (talk) 13:41, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

As Sandy said, the Ima Hogg collaboration was amazing, and there were at least a dozen editors involved. When I've seen these large-scale collaborations work best, it's usually been within a defined time frame, with one person acting as sort of a project manager (in the case of Ima Hogg, that was Sandy) who coordinated the tasks, another acting as chief writer, and everyone else pitching in where they could - copyediting, research, images, MOS, analyzing and tracking the remaining deficiencies, and gently arguing with the uninformed who show up. I think this is the only possible way to get some of these larger and more controversial articles to FA status. As penance for the stream of low-level Texas history articles I keep sending through FAC, I desperately want to see Catholic Church become an FA; the talk page environment is finally mostly conducive to this, and Truthkeeper88 and I have been reading scholarly works until our eyes are crossing, but it's too big a task for the two of us alone. We could use 4-8 more editors who are willing to research and/or take our notes and turn them into prose, help determine appropriate summary style and ensure we stay away from undue weight, be vigilant about NPOV, look at images/captions, and help educate some of the regulars on the talk page on WP policies and FA standards. In general, I'd love to see an FAC regular collaboration of the quarter that focuses on the bigger articles, even if my pet projects aren't included. Karanacs (talk) 14:18, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

  • If I can help, I will. • Ling.Nut 14:21, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I have to agree, despite my post above, that I have been involved in astonishing collaborations. They so astonish me that I think of them as not business as usual and I'm embarrassed to say that I forget sometimes that it occurred. I wrote 4 articles about the Everglades in 5 weeks and improved the main Everglades article, and very little of it would have gone to FAC or anywhere near so smoothly without the FA Team, which was headed by Awadewit. I wrote some more comments about rewriting large articles and decided they weren't worth posting. --Moni3 (talk) 14:29, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I think I will wait until something more substantive is proposed to comment further. I can see definite positives, on the other hand, a couple of things that have been said have set off alarm bells ringing in my head, part of which stems from personal experience. I will wait and see.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:43, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Another kind of reward

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Speaking of incentives, or maybe disincentives, I was just updating one of my FAs, and looking to see whether anything new had been published that I needed to add, and I found that my article is now a little book, selling for $49 no less. I see the same editors' names on quite a few other Wikipedia articles as books. It's both flattering and a little depressing. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:06, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! The Muhammad al-Durrah incident took place at the Netzarim junction in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000, on the second day of the Second Intifada, amid widespread rioting throughout the Palestinian territories. Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by France 2 cameraman Talal Abu Rahma as they sought cover behind a concrete cylinder after being caught in crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security forces. The footage, which lasts just over a minute, shows the pair holding onto each other, the boy crying and the father waving, then a burst of gunfire and dust, after which the boy is seen slumped across his father's legs.
There you go-- load your FAs up and get paid for it :/ SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:13, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
With this I think I am leaving on a book signing tour.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:23, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Jack Levy MD is making money off of TS, these folks claim our copyright, these aren't mentioning Wiki, etc. The way to find these is to google an exact obscure phrase from the article that you know you wrote and won't be found anywhere else. If they're making a lot of money off of our work, without crediting Wiki, I go to the copyright page and get it dealt with. I found (years ago) a really obnoxious site that was using Wiki articles to promote quackery-- gone now. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:31, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what's more offensive, the potential copyright issues or being paired with a jockstrap! Эlcobbola talk 21:38, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Bwaaahaha, Slim gets $49, and you only get $14 (what have you got against jockstraps?). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:59, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to leave a bad review. :D SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:39, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Didn't you get a book deal, Malleus?--Wehwalt (talk) 22:06, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
There's an extraordinary 64,882 of these books listed on Amazon. With all due respect to SlimVirgin and Wehwalt though, the pricing seems to be way over the top. Malleus Fatuorum 21:40, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
And then some. I did like SV's book cover ...--Wehwalt (talk) 21:41, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I wondered what the point was of those prices, because surely no one would pay that for a tiny paperback that you can get free on WP, but it looks like someone's bought at least one al-Durrah book, because it's being sold used. [1] (Maybe it was my mum.) :) SlimVirgin talk|contribs 21:45, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Back on track, do you feel rewarded by having discovered that someone is trying to make money out of your freely contributed work? Malleus Fatuorum 21:54, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I feel rewarded that Tourette syndrome is replacing the kind of crap that used to be on the web, whether I get paid or recognized or not. It's putting the quacks out of business. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:03, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I feel somewhat the same. Although none of my trivia appears to have been ripped off, before I finished the account of one of my favourite witch trials the web was full of contradictory rubbish. I was pleasantly surprised when I did the search you suggested above to find that most accounts are now pretty good, in fact copies of mine. It's kind of a strange feeling though, as my immediate thoughts were "did I copy my stuff from here"? The phrasing looks very familiar. Malleus Fatuorum 22:09, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I was accused once, and the copyright folks cleared me and got the site taken down. It was not a pleasant experience :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:11, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Commercial use is a condition of freeness, so it's something to which we've all agreed by contributing here. Now, if we're not being attributed, that's another matter. Who wants to buy the Sholes book to find out? If $14 weren't bargain enough, I'll even throw in a signed athletic supporter. Эlcobbola talk 22:13, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
You're on! I'll let you know when it arrives, so you can send me the jockstrap. I plan to frame it, so make it an attractive one. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:15, 19 September 2010 (UTC) Yes check.svg Done
Be careful what you wish for; you're talking to someone who used to play what is so affectionately called "old man's hockey" and is still in possession of related equipment. ;) Эlcobbola talk 22:29, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
"Related equipment"? That would be balls, but not brains? Kablammo (talk) 22:34, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
You're not in possession of it anymore, Elc-- it's mine. I hope I'm not getting more than I bargained for, per Kablammo. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:36, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Well once I find my camera, you're both going to be getting an email. Эlcobbola talk 22:43, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, funny you should mention the BBC in this context... – iridescent 22:16, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
They are selling Oryzomys albiventer for 51 dollars. That is 6 cents per word; I must be a very good writer when I can achieve that. Ucucha 21:58, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
The book is apparently 106 pages long though ... Malleus Fatuorum
Thanks to Greg Kohs (fetch the smelling salts, matron!) for this link. "Of course you can have all these contents free of charge from Wikipedia, but there is a reason for having bought a book on a specific topic. Under certain circumstances you are more up-to-date with an Alphascript-book instead of buying a book of last year the contents of which are possibly not up-to-date any more. We do live in rapidly passing times." So there. – iridescent 22:13, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
They all seem to show 6 new and 1 used available. Perhaps someone thought it was a series, Great Books of the World ...--Wehwalt (talk) 22:18, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Tom Baker (bowler) is $65 for 219 words. Can anyone beat 29 cents per word? – iridescent 22:25, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Sure. Oflag XII-B is 94 words; that makes 34 cents per word. Ucucha 22:45, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Geeeeez! All I did was put up stats, and now we're getting paid by the word, I'm the owner of a jockstrap, and Elc seems to be threatening to e-mail porn! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:49, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
60 cpw with M2M (Eclipse). Ucucha 22:51, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

This is discovered afresh every few months by someone. It was on the Signpost.

Now how many of you can point to a book that isn't by Books LLC, Icon Group International, or Alphascript Publishing that copies your text wholesale? ☺ Uncle G (talk) 23:36, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

  • That says something about how many editors (don't) read the Signpost. And I got a free jockstrap anyway. (Noting that Ealdgyth might want to add all of these publishers to her non-RS list.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:45, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
    • … or the Village Pump, or Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks, or User:Fences and windows/Unreliable sources#Wikipedia mirrors, or indeed our articles on Icon Group International and VDM Publishing. ☺ Uncle G (talk) 23:49, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
      • I can't find any mention of Books LLC, $14 is a great price for Elcobbola's framable"related equipment" (no, I don't read the Signpost or Mirrors and forks or someone's userspace). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:56, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
        • It's second on the list in the first Village Pump discussion hyperlinked above. Uncle G (talk) 00:00, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
          • I suppose I shall have to watchlist the village pump then (does this mean I have to return the jockstrap?). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:02, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
            • You're probably better off watchlisting Fences and windows' page (where Books LLC is third on the list). Xe's taken it upon xyrself to track this stuff. Uncle G (talk) 00:07, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
              • Ealdgyth may want to watch them, to make sure she adds those publishers to her list (thanks :). I'm curious why some ambitious editor hasn't gone through all of those amazon reviews and added a review saying "You can get this content free at <fill in the URL>"? It would take a long time, but mostly cut and paste, and would discourage the trend. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:23, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
              • "73% of users bought this product" Wow. Maybe I should post a "YM" book: could make a sizable 75$ profit. =) ResMar 00:31, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
All sixty thousand or whatever it is? Bet Amazon would take down the reviews.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:33, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────What gets me is that printed (book) format is already built in to Wikipedia; choose "Create a book" from the "Print/export" menu, add whatever articles you'd like and will make a bound version for you. Apparently it's $8 for up to 100 pages and 10 percent goes back to the Foundation. Эlcobbola talk 00:42, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Took much too long, but finally figured out how to find some of "my" articles. What bugs me is that Amazon searches on some topics are returning Wiki material before other sources. Something occurs to me, based on one of "my" articles I found (they titled it weird, not sure where they got it): what if they grabbed a version of an article that had an egregious BLP vio (like saying someone had TS when they didn't). Wouldn't that be a way to stop them legally? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:09, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Bwaaahaha, Elcobbola, you've got me beat: everything I've added to Wiki is only worth $12.73. Keep 'yer jockstrap! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:12, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Good deal for me. After all, I think we can all agree that my loin garnish is priceless. Эlcobbola talk 01:17, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

(edit conflict) They should be required to post a disclaimer on the summary page at Amazon. Of course, Amazon doesn't give one tootle about it, so... I wonder if something of mine is up there? Or am I too niche :/ ResMar 01:14, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Woot: 19.99$!!!! :P ResMar 01:18, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Great. I'm the village loser. Anyone top my $12.73? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:21, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
14.14$ I'm so proud; first time I got seriously ripped off :) ResMar 01:22, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I confess to being somewhat stonkered by the "free trial membership" in the publisher's book club, allowing free access to over a million (ours) articles. Is there then a monthly subscription fee?--Wehwalt (talk) 01:24, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm thinking of leaving 5 star reviews on my bunch =) ResMar 01:25, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Hey, more! 78$: wow. ResMar 01:28, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Um, what is that on the cover? ResMar 01:29, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
There's something really strange going on here. How does "7 new from $73.36, 1 used from $172.98" work? Malleus Fatuorum 01:35, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
The "used" ones are mostly or entirely new in fact. I doubt these "books" exist at all until the first idiot places an order. Then they probably drop from 70 odd to 15 odd, as the compilation work has been done. Ridiculously high prices just mean they don't have the book but want to keep the entry live; no doubt they'd be happy to buy one & resell for that. Johnbod (talk) 16:15, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't even think they exist "on paper". If a fool orders one, they will print out and bind locally, with the sheets of paper bound together with some sort of easily applied binding. I suspect the "used" one is to make it seem like a real book. Surely it violates no consumer act to give someone a new book rather than a used one, where antiquarian books are not at issue.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:25, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
That's what I'm saying. And plenty of perfectly legitimate "used" books on Amazon are in fact new remainders etc, which the detail usually states. Sampled ones of these do too. Johnbod (talk) 17:02, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
It means that I deserve a bar of choclate for writing 7 books =) *consumes chochlate* ResMar 01:37, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Chocolate yesterday and chocolate tomorrow, but never chocolate today.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:42, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, why so? As a bonus, I didn't even know the country existed until I found out they were publishing from there =) ResMar 01:44, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
What country? And I am alluding to a quote from Through the Looking Glass. Btw, they charge you $14.99 a month for their book club if you "join" ad don't cancel within a month. Wow.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:52, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Presumably he means Mauritius, which is where Alphascript are mailing these things out from. – iridescent 11:02, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
User:Resident Mario/Userbox/Published-Sorta. You can use it if you like - I certainly will have fun with it :P ResMar 01:55, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Hey, mine are out of print/limuted availability. They're just that popular! Skinny87 (talk) 06:22, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

We're all giving Brian such great material for his ownership thread! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:07, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Love the title since they borked the ligature there for one of the bishops... I guess I'm not worth more than $15 or so... Ealdgyth - Talk 12:55, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
So is there a scam here with these books? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:26, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I doubt if it is illegal; I also see public domain books (pre 1923) being "reprinted". See here for example. No, it is certainly taking advantage of people's gullibility or perhaps Amazon's one click, and obviously they make money if people sign up for their book club (giggle) but I doubt it is illegal. Newspapers might have a field day with it though.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:33, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
There seems to be an article on the publisher: see VDM Publishing. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:42, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
It's illegal if they're violating the terms of the GFDL/CC license (for example, if they're publishing the articles without attribution and/or without making the license clear), which is why the article I linked above is interesting. It really would be interesting to get a copy of one of these. Эlcobbola talk 16:47, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Amazon says my copy of your typewriter will be delivered on the 23rd. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:48, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
What, too cheap for overnight shipping? Don't let my Edding dry out... Эlcobbola talk 17:02, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
At $12.73 for four years of work, I'm not gettin' rich, 'ya know ! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:15, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
You bought one? Oh you are desperate :P ResMar 21:08, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
1874: Jockstraps and typewriters

Elcobbola's book arrived:

  1. It's a cheap pamphlet: $14.99 is a real stretch-- we're probably all worth $2.99 :)
  2. Inside the back cover says: LaVergne, TN USA, 20 September 2010-- meaning it was printed after I ordered it.
  3. Inside the front cover:
    Publication Data
    Title: 1874 Introductions
    Subtitle: Sholes and Glidden typewriter, Jockstrap
    Published by Books LLC (American Series), Memphis, TN USA in 2010
    Copyright (chapters):
    Online edition:

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:54, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Dude, you have way too much money if you paid for that. If you have extra cash hanging about, just buy me something pretty. --Moni3 (talk) 23:01, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Is this one of the "Books" already on Wikipedia? For instance, is the Oryzomys albiventer "book" mentioned above the same as Book:Oryzomys? Gimmetoo (talk) 00:01, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. The above suggests they're just printing everything in a given category. Ucucha 00:03, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Solution for more "important" articles to FA

The problem now with the featured (good) content system is that incentivizes less amount of work (i.e. easy, obscure articles) over the hard(core) articles. Just to offer a few examples:

  • wp:DYK: no way core articles can get through this
  • wp:FOUR: core articles cannot fall within its scope due to the DYK
  • wp:Triple Crown: incentivizes quantity and therefore essentially everything there is easy pickings
  • wp:CUP: gives the same amount of points to for a core FA, or for a just-created, obscure FA (actually the later gets at least the DYK bonus)
  • wp:FT: there are essentially no topics on core content (people are scared to work on a core article, and working on more the whole core topic is even worse)

There are probably more examples than these. I am sure that by far the most entries submitted for recognized content is submitted by users that are at least in some ways interested in getting also the recognition of some of these also. If something similar would be offered for core articles, but it was made clear that it looks "shinier" those users will also start caring about core content. A solution might be to start a wikiproject aimed at improving the recognition of such efforts, and rewarding them sufficiently well. If DYK, FOUR, TC give barnstars, make sure there is a super-awesome barnstar for doing a wp:CORE article. Or have a project aimed at recongnizing featured content that is core; perhaps introduce some nomination/voting procedure for level-4 core content that is GA+ so people don't just add their stuff there but get some form of official approval for having worked on a truly "important" article? Nergaal (talk) 21:45, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

The disconnect here is that you could give me 10 barnstars, a nuclear triple crown, declare me the winner of whatever cup is being offered, and make it Everyone Worship Moni Day and I would still not work on a contentious core article that really needed to be rewritten. All those sparkles do not make life any easier. In fact, they distract editors by setting some an arbitrary standard that turns into a shared illusion.
You're approaching this the wrong way. Don't recognize my efforts. Make it easier to work within Wikipedia guidelines. Educate general editors. Help on talk pages, explain about the five pillars and the higher standards for FAs. Encourage general editors to work, go to the library, and expect more. --Moni3 (talk) 22:01, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Moni, and repeat: WP:1FAPQ. Everyone helped each other, no silly rewards or prizes. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:08, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Like it or not, it appears that "official" prizes by a committee carry more weight in the people's minds, and affect people's editing quite a lot, so even if one doesn't like it, it can be used as a force for good (I can't blame them when there are some cases of one guy with 25+ FAs and one barnstar, and someone with 100-150 article edits (all small tweaks) with 15+ barnstars). I would like to know about if FAs have become shorter (esp among these competition participants) over time. I know there were more country, large city and statesman FAs in the old days, this was also partly due to the fact that lifting them off internet minibios was done quite a lot, eg Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Ziaur Rahman. There also tons of GAs by cup participants out there that are less than 5k prose etc. But just as long as there are statistics, people will game them, many Wikiprojects say they have the most rigorous self-assessments yet the average article in the bracket is usually worse and a lot shorter than the ones on the example assessment page. People don't look beneath the stats much, and many people are just happy to con the ignorant majority, so that's what happens. As is far bigger than the rest, there isn't an impetus to bump article counts with empty articles, but over 99% of the 1000 odd cricket articles on Marathi are empty infobox/stub msg [probably most of the encyclopedia are ghost articles] as for smaller Wikipedias (and wprojects) are under pressure to overtake people. YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 01:28, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I remember one editor (now long gone) who churned out four enormous FAs on massive and difficult topics in the days before inline citations were required. They were all original research, POV, and now de-featured. So, yes, it used to be much easier to write huge FAs, and they are probably now more compact, concise, and hopefully less POV :). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:35, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, even concise articles on core topics couldn't be less than 20k YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 01:49, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Another example is that while many members of WP:MILHIST are openly very critical of GA, and say it's much worse than A-reviews, especially the senior officers so to speak, lots make pit stops at both GA and A before FA. There is a very strong incentive to make pit stops everywhere as they all attract barnstars YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 01:31, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Not all core articles are contentious, in fact many articles that are now very poor are probably too high level to get involved in the really contentious issues - to take an example from above, the Shakespeare authorship issue need not be addressed in English literature, surely, or only in 5 words, and even a dedicated follower of Looney can see that. It's at least arguable that it's the contentious subjects that get developed, by contenders, while it's the ones no one wants to argue about that have languished essentially untouched since 2007. There have been, and no doubt still are, various efforts to encourage development specifically of core content, many within particular projects - I'd forgotten Wikipedia:The Core Contest till just now - & I won't call for a new attempt along these lines, but the issue won't go away. Johnbod (talk) 01:04, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Re to Moni3: your comment expresses the opinion of one editor; Sandy's of another one. But if you really care to move FACs toward more important subjects then you should care to understand the mind of average people who submit content. Take the milhist project: why is it so successful? For one is the ONLY project holding contests periodically. With a contest you attract more editors, more content is produced, and therefore more prestige is gained for the events held by the project. Is a cyclic even perhaps best seen in the outcome of the WikiCup: it started as a small competition, now it produces probably 1/3 of the recognized content around. While without it a good part of that content would have still been produced, I am pretty sure that at least of the more obscure content that is dumped away once it reaches the GA level would have never (or at least soon) been produced. So something like this did help the production of recognized content - and a large part of it not produced by users like you, but users who would care a little more with a barnstar of a little star placed somewhere. All I am saying take this reward-based model and apply it towards the production of core-content. Tweak the interest of those reward-based editors towards such content. I remember on one of the signposts some external person attributing the lately decline of wikipedia to people getting over the original hype, and proposing a reward-based system to keep the project going. Nergaal (talk) 02:17, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I've thought of it for a while, but I wonder if Wikipedia will turn into a giant bidding war some day. Allegedly the daily activity rates are not increasing or are decreasing, but there are more hat collectors and politicians around, many of them trying to buy more loyalty and disciples by creating more hats, working groups subcommittees etc to give prestige to supporters (in the same way a military junta gives majors, colonels and gnerals more stars etc). Will more WikiProjects think that the labour is going short and thus everyone starts their own (or more) contest and keeps on raising the "salaries" so to speak to try and divert everything? Or then every project starts their own elaborate (usually pure PR with only positive news) to recruit for their Wikiproject and we end up with a burgeoning class of armchair officers. That would be amusing, depressing and not surprising generally. But more generally, I wonder, suppose some general group give more awards for core articles, if Wikiprojects would counter with more inflated awards; awards lead to microslicing of articles and edits and this benefits wikiprojects as to the casual observer, 200 FAs of average length 10k (eg on small hurricanes that didn't do anything, 2km highways, soldier notable for one act of bravery) are better than 60 of average length 30k (eg on a major natural disaster, national railway or a top general). This is what awards do. So suppose I was a Wikiproject leader and wanted to make myself look good off other people's work, I would counter a core article bonus with more barnstars for FA/GAs at a flat rate to make it again more attractive to write stub FA/GAs, as 100 stub FAs would trick the casual observer more than 30 weighty ones. It'd be pretty amusing if this led to a bidding war; in soccer, real money would stop it, but here, the "real" "appreciation" of an employee is to print endless barnstars like paper money without causing real economic inflation.... apart from the fact that "100 barnstars per FA" would render a collection of 1000 barnstars noting at all (ah Obelix & Co. is so educational :P) YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 02:33, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
@ both: I can't even count (well, I could, but I'm too lazy :) how many talk pages of FA writers and reviewers I have watchlisted, and I don't see barnstars or rewards being a factor for the huge majority of them. Most of them just enjoy writing excellent articles (maybe I have a self-selecting sample:) Perhaps this is more of an issue at the GA/DYK level? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:40, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if Sandy has my talk page watchlisted or not, but my personal motivation isn't purely reward based, but it's more goal-oriented. I write articles on highways, specifically the ones in my homestate of Michigan. Our national project has a score called WikiWork which is a numerical average based on article assessments. Right now, the Michigan subproject is sitting at 3.060. which means that the average article is just worse than pure B-Class, which would be 3.000 on the scale. Now, there's a lot that are still C-Class, but there are a bunch that are Featured, Good or been through the A-Class review. My "goal" isn't so much to get trinkets and awards, so much as it is to see how low I can drop my state's WikiWork score, as lower is better, and how long I can keep it ahead of the other states in some friendly competition. I look at barnstars like thank you letters or birthday cards. Getting one means something for a little while when received, and then it's off to be stored in a corner of the user page while I tackle the next set of articles towards my next goal. Arguably, my topic choice isn't "core", but it is what I know and what interests me, and that's why I do it. Imzadi 1979  03:09, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
@Nergaal: But if you really care to move FACs toward more important subjects then you should care to understand the mind of average people who submit content. It's time we start expecting better, simply because editors are capable of it and just aren't asked to do it. I'm mystified that discussions have taken place to say that experts are unnecessary on Wikipedia. Clearly they are very necessary because we cite them all the time. Wikipedia forces a give-and-take. Experts need to be willing to explain how they formed their knowledge and we amateurs need to bootstrap up and be able to speak intelligently with experts. Standards at FA are higher. We should expect better. I completely understand the mind of people who respond to rewards. I taught 5th grade once. The behavior is not much different in adults who seek to be rewarded for work. I apologize if you find that offensive, but rewards create an illusion of approval, especially here on Wikipedia where standards for guideline and policy adherence often are dependent upon individual interpretation. Rewards do more harm than good. They do not address the problem. If you shower an editor with barnstars, his frustration will be even greater when he is accused of owning an article, challenged with ridiculous misinterpretations of policy, and the article he spent 3 months researching and writing assaulted by "Randy in Boise". How could anyone fault an article when the editor received such a shower of barnstars? What if the editor gets all these rewards and there are major faults in the article? What kind of standards are set for people unfamiliar with FAC expectations? There are very real problems that should be addressed and rewards for editing is like improving education by repainting schools. --Moni3 (talk) 03:07, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I think you are missing the point: 1) I am not looking at getting rewarded, and instead I presented my opinion formed on what I saw at various places, including FAC; 2) I am not arguing for extra content creation, but for skewing interest towards core content improvement; 3) it is not like improving education by repainting schools, but instead like telling people they get to be on TV if they donate money to schools instead of giving that money to less worthwhile causes. Nergaal (talk) 05:39, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Come now, gathering awards is one of the best things on Wikipedia. Looking good often becomes a race to see who can gather the most barnstars. Imo most FAC writers are WikiDragons, so award-giving between one another is sparse at best. 100 awards per FA is extreme, and 25 with one award is another extreme. The problem with FA is that it is exceptionally unfair to new users. It's like throwing yourself to the lion: a RfA in miniature, every time you list an article. I would know: I've gone through 6 complete FACs so far, and only one passed. Hawaii hotspot almost single-handidly put me on WikiBreak for a month. It's frustrating. I think the best solution would be a page for new writers interested in the process: you get a list of editors of different categories, and contact them for help. Remember: 99% of new editors never pass the 50 edit mark: if we can move that even 1%, it would result in a serious burst of activity. ResMar 20:46, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
This is not meant to be rude (I don't think I've ever interacted with you, at FAC or elsewhere), but "I've gone through 6 complete FACs so far, and only one passed" may (emphasis on "may") be less a sign that FAC has failed as a process, and more a sign that you're being wrongly advised at what is and isn't ready for FAC. I've nominated at FAC 24 times with 23 of the 24 passing, and I think most others have a fairly similar rate. I can't think of any example off the top of my head since Mattisse left of the kind of newbie-biting you imply goes on; if anything, most of the regulars spend an excessive share of their time helping well-intentioned newcomers. – iridescent 20:54, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Iri that I don't see as much newbie-biting anymore at FAC (thank you!), but ResMar is also right that it can be a very unwelcoming place for a newcomer. The criteria make perfect sense to those of us who spend lots of time here, but editors who don't - and who are very proud of the work they've put in to improving an article - can feel quite smacked down when they realize that what they thought was "great" is considered by others to be merely "mediocre" or downright "bad". A lot of these nominators could easily get that article, or another one, through FAC if they had some encouragement and the right advice; I suspect at least a portion of these vow never to come back to FAC because the experience wasn't great. When I notice that a new nominator's article has been archived (and I often don't notice that it's a new nominator), I try to leave some encouraging remarks, especially if they've had a good attitude through the process. A few have followed-up asking me for advice, and, if I can, I provide the names of a few editors who might help out in that topic area. Whether we can/should set up something more formalized to deal with helping those whose expectations/understanding may be a little out of sync with reality....I don't know. Karanacs (talk) 21:29, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, heck, now I feel derelict in my duties-- I'll have to start leaving notes for newbies! I think we can all be kinder to newbies (and we generally are), noting that ResMar is not a newbie and should know the standards. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:35, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I might start a page about it. Maybe. Possibly. Depends on how many awards I will get for it – 5 is a minimum (in reference to the above discussion) =) ResMar 00:17, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Well maybe you've had a different pattern. With me, FACs as a rule consists of several layered oppose votes right near the end of its life. It's changed somewhat, now. Guess I have enough people following me. Also, 24 FAs is much, please go get some fresh air. =) ResMar 00:13, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Regarding welcoming new users to the process, I'm writing something here. Comments? Critiques? Think it's horrendous? ResMar 01:42, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
You can get rid of "the green "+" circle or small bronze star above the article they are reading … are used to detonate articles of particularly stellar quality", for a start. FAC and GAN are about MOS compliance and accuracy of sourcing, not article quality; some superb articles will never pass either, and some dull-as-ditchwater articles can and do. – iridescent 15:38, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Er... I would have to disagree there. FAC and GA require accurate sourcing and MOS compliance but that's not what they are about, they're about being good or excellent representations of the topics they are discussing. Cavie78 (talk) 15:43, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Nonsense. The FAC process, in particular, is explicitly about accuracy, reliability, and MOS compliance. We ditched WP:Brilliant prose candidates as a process way back in 2004. – iridescent 15:49, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Using words such as "nonsense" isn't exactly conducive to debate is it Mr Iridescent? Anyway I think we have a case of semantics here - I take "stellar quality" to mean that an article is as good or better than an article on the same subject which may appear in a quality printed encyclopaedia, specifically that it addresses all major aspects of a topic in a clear manner. Accurate sourcing and MOS compliance are important but they are not ends in themselves otherwise tens of thousands of articles could reach FAC simply by only using reliable sources and maknig sure they had no dab links &c. What matters is the substance of an article not "brilliant prose". Cavie78 (talk) 11:19, 24 September 2010 (UTC)
(e/c) I particularly like the idea of the GA or FA symbol being used to "detonate" the article... I can imagine Sandy thinking as she promotes: "Well, enough people have read about this minor closed railway station / horse / bishop , it's time to blow up the article to prevent anyone else reading it". Or perhaps detonating symbols are reserved for MILHIST articles? BencherliteTalk 15:46, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
I like it too. Perhaps, though, we should instead use the detonate function to blow up articles when Quality Erosion has become irreversible and we must simply start again. PL290 (talk) 16:52, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps also ensure that the author doesn't replicate his work somewhere else by taking the approach that Ivan the Terrible took with Postnik Yakovlev, according to legend?--Wehwalt (talk) 17:08, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Well then, let us get the ARB-motor purring! ResMar 20:46, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

  • I know I am late commenting, but I have quietly followed this discussion. I helped bring a core article to FA and it was hard, but rewarding work. My first FA nomination of this article was a disaster, [2] mainly because at the time I hadn't a clue how Wikipedia worked. This was a powerful lesson. At it's subsequent, successful FAC, one reviewer said this, "This is one of Wikipeida 1.0's 150 Core topics, so this article has to be extra exemplary" [3], and, at the time, I felt Wikipedia was being a little unfair (I don't now). Moni, who writes above, is spot on and I have pasted a quotation from her on my user page. It reads "I'm mystified that discussions have taken place to say that experts are unnecessary on Wikipedia. Clearly they are very necessary because we cite them all the time. Wikipedia forces a give-and-take. Experts need to be willing to explain how they formed their knowledge and we amateurs need to bootstrap up and be able to speak intelligently with experts." Regulars will know that I have great respect for, among others here, Colin. This is because he understands this. He was a great help with Rotavirus (FA), Phagocyte (FA) and Virus (core article and FA). Of equal importance was Sandy who went out of her way to show a newbie the ropes. I think "experts" can be very poor at writing articles, particularly FAs—but we need them, should encourage them, must be able to recognise them and help them. Graham. Graham Colm (talk) 21:26, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

The Political Cesspool

This is an article about a white supremacist American radio show, proposed for TFA on October 26. I have concerns about this, and would like to ask for fresh eyes.

I have two problems with it. First, this is a very nasty organization, deeply and openly racist. That doesn't mean we can't put it on the front page, but we ought to think carefully before we do, because we'd likely attract more listeners to it. Secondly, I can't see that this is featured-article quality. It was prodded in March 2009 as non-notable, recreated and nominated four times for FA between December 2009 and June 2010, getting promoted on the fourth attempt. The writing is not good—not terrible, but there are issues. The sources are mostly primary sources, or poor secondary sources. There are a couple of good secondary sources, but they mention the show only in passing, so far as I can tell, which again raises the question of whether it's notable enough for FA and main-page exposure. Additional input would be appreciated at Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests#October 26. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 02:50, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

WP:FAR if it has any concerns. Secret account 02:55, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I have concerns about the article quality, too, but under no circumstances should Wikipedia give a thought to not putting this or any article the addresses controversy on the main page for fear of what might transpire. I've received several complaints that the article for Harvey Milk exists and Ann Bannon was on the main page because kids might read those articles and just gay all over the place. --Moni3 (talk) 03:00, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't feel I can FAR it now, Secret, because I objected to its appearance on the main page, so FAR-ing it will look political. Moni, we should only put this kind of thing on the main page after a lot of consideration and if the article's quality clearly justifies it. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 03:34, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I didn't think this was a combo thing from your original question, but even if this article was without question one of Wikipedia's best, we shouldn't try to censor what's on the main page. --Moni3 (talk) 13:18, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
"Notable enough for FA" doesn't make any sense. Any subject that is notable enough to have its own article on Wikipedia is also notable enough to make it to FA or TFA. Wikipedia doesn't have a "higher bar for notability" for FAs than for non-FA articles; any subject is either notable or it is not, and The Political Cesspool's notability has already been established as a consensus. Stonemason89 (talk) 03:45, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
The article mentions every publication that has mentioned the radio show even in passing, when they were actually writing about something or someone else. Those sources are then listed in multiple ref tags after sentences to make it look as though the sentence is heavily supported. So one quote from The Nation had five ref tags after it until recently, including from publications that simply repeated The Nation quote. That's not only unnecessary, it also gives a false impression of widespread notability, not to mention making it harder for the reader to find out which refs directly support the edits. This isn't something we should see in an FA. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:32, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Ping User:Jj98. He'll FAR it. He'll FAR anything. • Ling.Nut 04:41, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
 :) SlimVirgin talk|contribs 06:42, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Eh? Can we move this discussion to the article talk page? Stonemason is right about there being no question of the subjects's notability, and this is not going to FAR it would seem (and I happen to agree that it shouldn't, even though there are a few issues). And Slim, you'll get no argument from me about having the refs in the exact location in the sentence or para, but you and I are at one extreme of the spectrum on this issue - we've both I think been asked at FACs to have refs at ends of sentences / paras. There's a range of views on this and I don't think it is germane to the argument about whether the thing should be on the mainpage. So, if it isn't at FAR, and it isn't at AfD and it isn't a current FAC nominee, then surely this conversation should be at Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests#October 26 and/or at Talk:The Political Cesspool. hamiltonstone (talk) 04:49, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
The reason I posted here about it, H, was to ask for fresh eyes, but also because if this is an FA, then I no longer understand what that means. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:55, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
  • If you've done enough research to justify your claim (above) that the refs are baloney, then FAR it, including great, meticulous detail about why it's at FAR. Screw COI, screw political appearances, etc. If you do not do so, then you are (somewhat impolitely, methinks, although I understand your reasons) forcing other people to duplicate your research. If the article is OK, then it will survive FAR.• Ling.Nut 06:30, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I created one contentious FA myself, where after it was promoted editors who didn't like the politics tried to destabilize it, hinting that it might be FAR-ed, so I don't want to do that to anyone else. If I FAR it, I'll wait until the decision about the main page is over.
I also think it needs to be merged (or have other articles merged into it), because it's barely notable but we've had four articles about it, two of which survive: The Political Cesspool, James Edwards (radio host), List of Political Cesspool guests (deleted at AfD, now a redirect), and Views expressed by James Edwards (deleted at AfD). SlimVirgin talk|contribs 06:42, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Citation question

I have a question I'd like to get input on from the regulars here on a citation issue. I am working on Galaxy Science Fiction, and in this section, in paragraph three, I added a note at the end of the paragraph which contains an additional comment I felt was not necessary to use in the body of the article. The reference for that comment is embedded in the note; that same reference is also the reference for the rest of the paragraph. I was reflexively going to put that citation in both places: inside the note to cite the comment, and outside the note to cite the paragraph. Is that the usual way to do it? Or would you leave the reference inside the note on the grounds that it performs both functions in that location? Thanks for any input. Mike Christie (talk) 12:22, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I cite in both places in this situation; that way, if someone rearranges the text at a later date, both pieces of information still have their correct citation. Besides, a reader could easily not think to look at the note and will assume the body text's uncited. – iridescent 12:44, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Citations support items likely to result in either contest or reader interest as to origin. It sounds like you should (and correctly) cited both the body and the note. Fifelfoo (talk) 13:12, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
OK, I'm convinced; I'll do it that way. I agree it seems the most sensible. Mike Christie (talk) 13:17, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
There's never a problem with repeating citations, because they need to be available to readers at the point in the text or footnote that people are likely to look for them. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 01:48, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Al Pollard

Hi all. I don't know where else to put this. Someday I will try to bring Al Pollard to featured status, but I don't want to pay $$$ to access all the articles on him. Does anyone have a subscription to Proquest Archiver/NewsBank that could e-mail me some news articles on him? ~EDDY (talk/contribs/editor review)~ 19:18, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

You could try WP:RX, but you might have more luck with specific requests for specific articles than a blanket request like that. But I dunno, you might hit the jackpot. • Ling.Nut 02:04, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Input needed concerning WP:V and third-party sources

There's a suggestion that WP:V should stop using the term third-party sources. The discussion has not resolved exactly how that term's application in the policy differs from secondary sources, or what parties it identifies, depending on the topic area. Enlightenment would be welcomed at the RfC that's just started. PL290 (talk) 09:20, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

A little nervous about length criteria

I've been thinking of sending Mount Cleveland (Alaska) through a PR and then an eventual FAC. However I'm concerned that it might get turned down because of length. The article is based on this list, and the Alaska Volcano Observatory has done an amazing job digitalizing all of the good references on it (and even a few passing ones). I've actually talked to the AVO, and they told me that "if it's not there, it probably doesn't exist." So what do you guys think? ResMar 02:19, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Not being a content editor; the length appears to reflect the availability of scholarly sources, and it is long enough to provide ample opportunity for engaging writing. It isn't of a trivial length, it is exhaustive for its subject. If you're deeply worried about length could it be combined into an article on the Volcanos of the Islands of the Four Mountains without breaking Volcano style? Fifelfoo (talk) 03:40, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
There is no minimum length criterion on FACs. Minimum limits have been suggested from time to time, but this is above anything that has been proposed. If you are satisfied that the article is comprehensive and that the other criteria are met, nom it. Brianboulton (talk) 09:03, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree; as long as you're satisfied that it's comprehensive, that one's well above any kind of minimum length. At 16,850 b there would be 78 other FAs at the time of writing which are shorter (including recent promotions such as Sherlock Holmes Baffled and Halkett boat, so we're not talking about old FAs which wouldn't meet today's criteria). – iridescent 09:34, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Good, good, the stuff at the bottom of the list is shorter then Cleveland, but the articles that you mentioned are actually longer, I think. ResMar 03:21, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
As for combining them, I'd say no: each are notable by their own right. Cleveland the most however, owing to its highly active state and all. Kind of amazing to see an active volcano that they can't do any better then satellite feed in terms of monitoring =) ResMar 03:23, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
If combining is out (for any reason, the notability one is the best one), and you can produce wikipedia articles exhaustive of the current scholarship state, then don't be worried about length! Fifelfoo (talk) 03:27, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Meh. This horse's poor corpse was beaten aeons ago, and there is now no corpse left to beat; only the dust of corpses past. The final decision was something like this: "While some people may make arguments based on the size and composition of the TOC, the only argument that is truly bulletproof is one that homes in on the whether an article is more properly dealt with as a subsection of another one, based on the somewhat-subjective concept of notability (and thus should be merged into the latter)." I can't see how any volcano should be merged into a larger article, so... • Ling.Nut 03:35, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Quoting out of copyright material

Looking at a FA candidate today I noticed that there's a long sequence (34 words out of about 40) which are almost exactly taken from an old source. The footnote gives the source correctly, but it's not done as a quotation; it's just part of the text. The source is out of copyright. I don't think I've run into this situation before, and I had a look in a few places such as WP:MOSQUOTE and WP:QUOTES, but I couldn't find anything that indicated whether this was regarded as OK. I would avoid it myself in writing an article, but does it actually break any policies or go against any guidelines? Mike Christie (talk) 00:54, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

It sounds like plagiarism (regardless of whether it's out of copyright). See Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-04-13/Dispatches. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:39, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree, but as it's cited, it doesn't sound like bad faith. I would email the principal editor and ask him to clean it up and once he does so, I would do a random check for others. If it doesn't happen, of course, oppose and say why.--Wehwalt (talk)

Disappearing nomination

I just spent time reviewing "U.S. presidents on U.S. postage stamps", via the "candidate list". I cannot find this nomination at the full page. What is happening? Tony (talk) 01:48, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

It looks like the FAC was never transcluded to the FAC page. Imzadi 1979  01:56, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Now transcluded. Dabomb87 (talk) 04:43, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
It's a pity when non-transcluded FACs are reviewed, as then we often have to carry them when they shouldn't have been nommed at FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:51, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
As someone who just reviews, and doesn't nominate, should we not review untranscluded nominations? How do I tell the difference? Fifelfoo (talk) 11:04, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
If you go to the main FAC page, those are all transcluded. The candidate list is generated by a bot, and has the problem of including non-transcluded FACs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:11, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps some other bot could be trained to transclude FACs. Ucucha 11:13, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
  • When you say "It's a pity non-transcluded FACs are reviewed", I presume you mean "Sorry, Tony, we need to deal with a system where they appear on the Candidate list but are somehow not on the list, to prevent the wasting of reviewer resources." Tony (talk) 02:43, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
Lovely =) ResMar 02:19, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
There have been several discussions of this problem here at WT:FAC (I'd be happy if the candidate list went away, but that's not happening); we thought we had solved it by adding the disclaimer at the top of this page that it is a TOC only. Where do people find that list if not here? It is only useful for locating untranscluded FACs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:39, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Sources reviewing

Unless more of the regular FAC nominators are prepared to give a hand, there is soon going to be a considerable backlog with sources reviews. I am the only one doing it on a regular basis at the moment; this week my wiki time is restricted as I am busy offline, and I shall be away later in the month. Some of the recent noms have very lengthy reflists that need checking, and this dull but vital work should not be skimped. Brianboulton (talk) 08:55, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

My own time is kind of constrained, but I'll try and step it up. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 13:00, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not just dull, it's bone dry dull. ResMar 02:19, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Source checking is exciting and fun work... stop looking at me funny... at least on Humanities and Social Sciences articles. I find popular culture's endless list of web sources to be draining. Brian, is there anything that you do, that I don't, that I should? Fifelfoo (talk) 02:49, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Fifelfoo, you have never ever tried had to read an entire, thick geological paper looking up that one paragraph of information it produced. Ahhhh. ResMar 03:21, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but Geologists know how to appropriately cite the origin of their information and data, and their citations are more fun than [Generic Staff Writer Who forced a By Line] (2010-THIS MONTH-YESTERDAY) "Trashy Celebrity Drug Scandal! Sub-title to bring further interest!" webnews-source of no note outside of US Celebrespam [no indication of which section of work consulted or used to draw conclusion]. Yes I am a snob about high quality citation, no I don't care who knows. I was born with subeditor's crayon in my mouth. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:33, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Ealdgyth (whom God preserve) and Fifelfoo have cleared the backlog, so the immediate problem is resolved. But my point remains: more regular nominators should be prepared to lend a hand at this task. I am working my way through Tracheal intubation so, like Captain Oates, I may be some time... Brianboulton (talk) 08:57, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I would reply Amen, but Amen stuck in my throat ...--Wehwalt (talk) 14:35, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
If it sticks in your throat, then just remix The Winston's Amen, Brother Fifelfoo (talk) 03:51, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
When working through medical articles, please keep WP:MEDRS and primary sources in mind-- they should rely mostly on secondary reviews, which are explained at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-06-30/Dispatches. Most of the medical GAs, and some of the medical FAs, overrely on primary sources and violate MEDRS. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:23, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that is why I am spending time on this. Brianboulton (talk) 13:33, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
You should have said "Ealdgyth (whom God preserve her hard drive)" since my desktop machine's hard drive died yesterday (right after running through FAC!) ... so it'll be a day or two before I'm up to full speed again. The laptop is just not a ... workable ... machine. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:37, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I have some concerns about the quantity of sources on Tracheal intubation rather than the quality of the sources. See my FAC comments. I'm mentioning this in case anyone is wading through them. Colin°Talk 16:40, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Brian, are you checking the formatting and reliability of the sources, or also checking that the sources actually backup the statements cited? It seems like it should be a shared job among anyone who reviews the article. --Spike Wilbury (talk) 17:11, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Only telling one side of the story is probably more of a problem among the abusive, but Dhaka Residential Model College was pretty bad; about 50% of the online refs didn't match the prose YellowMonkey (new photo poll) 23:23, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
On the Tracheal intubation article (the sources review of which which has been taken over by Jimfbleak, incidentally), I was checking sources for format, reliability and quantity. I was not checking that the cited material backs up the statements given in the article; it is not realistic to do this (190 citations!) except on a sample basis. I do sample checks on subjects more within my ken; on a specialist article like this, I think this needs to be done by someone with relevant knowledge.
I can check sources for formatting or for accuracy, but I can never check them for accuracy regarding whether what they are sourcing is actually there, because that's like rewriting the whole article all over again. Fifelfoo: Geology papers are very dry, it makes me want to sleep waay too often. You were born with a crayon; I was born with a Sharpie. Also, as a point of interest, you might like this. ResMar 03:32, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
<rant>There's a simple solution to that problem: pay academics to do nothing. And I'm very serious about that. The culture of unnecessary publication is a result of inflicted work discipline and proletarianisation. The outcomes measures in terms of publications represent the production of commodities: items of interchangeable use-values. The solution is flat payment and removal of work discipline. In my industry the government for the last 20 years has inflicted quantity measures on the academic workforce. The results have been Stakhanovism: a few fucking foremen boss the rest of the pit crew into useless over exertion and the production of unremarkable bulk commodities while ripping off the piece work system of result assessment. The state's response to the crisis in quality? Inflict work discipline measures of quality. To quote zombie Lenin: research activity equals semanticisation plus academic Taylorism.</rant> I'll just get out my crayon again now, in a soothing cyan. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:51, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Now I know my suggestions inevitably lead there, but if someone would write something on reviewing for the Dispatch section of the Signpost, that would stupendous...ResMar 03:43, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
That has already been done: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches. The routine source checks done by Brian and Ealdgyth are only a minimal check for reliability. Reviewers should spot check that sources actually verify text, yet although WP:V is a pillar of Wiki, they strangely rarely do (which is why delegates often have to wait for a topic expert to weigh in). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:41, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Roger Waters

I would like to request an image review for FAC Roger Waters. — GabeMc (talk) 04:49, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Double-done. How do you like them apples? --Andy Walsh (talk) 22:48, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, to both of you! — GabeMc (talk) 00:23, 18 October 2010 (UTC)


Why does FAC mandate against sub-headings? I understand the issue with transclusion, but GAN has the same issue and still allows level 3 headings or lower. It becomes a nightmare to insert a response in a long FAC without editing breaks. SpinningSpark 12:20, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

I think an additional reason is that subheadings tend to lead to a bias towards the text that immediately follows a heading. I think one solution that should be unproblematic is placing each reviewer's comments under its own (level-4) subheading. Ucucha 12:29, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Is level 3 a problem at FAC? SpinningSpark 12:33, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, because the heading of the FAC itself is level 3. Ucucha 12:34, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Ucucha is correct-- one of the problems with sub-headings is that they were frequently used to introduce bias. When a FAC starts to get really long, I'm not opposed to individual editor headings for temporary ease of editing, but I remove them once that editor's concerns are resolved. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:44, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Stalled again

Karanacs and I had started reviewing articles ourselves, and that had helped reduce the page size to 25 noms. Karanacs has been offline for some time, and the page size is creeping up again. While she is offline, I could use some help in reviewing some of the FACs that have been up for some time (particularly those in the "older" section-- I'm finding very little that I can close).

In particular, some independent review of the two Brazilian Pedros would be helpful, and I've engaged heavily in the volcano FAC; more feedback in these three FACs would be helpful, so that I can close them, and if anyone has time to update the Urgents template, that might also help.

Specifically, I don't want to close the Pedro noms without clear independent review, and I've become heavily enough involved in the volcano, which has been substantially rewritten while at FAC, that I may need to restart the nom unless there is more independent review and clear consensus. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:56, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Good to have a heads up. I have been really busy but will see what I can do. Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:24, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you! And thanks to all of you (I'm sure Karanacs would agree) who do so much here (too many of you to list, but you know who you are :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:29, 15 October 2010 (UTC)
Can I add that I am reviewing Stark Raving Dad, which has slipped towards the bottom of the list with virtually no comments on content - a sad fate indeed. Brianboulton (talk) 10:25, 16 October 2010 (UTC)
I'll take a look at Pedro II, but it may take some time, it is a very long article. SpinningSpark 12:40, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
As of yesterday, there was not a single FAC I could close. As long as Karanacs is offline, I can't review articles myself, and we're missing her reviews, so unless nominators start pitching in to carry more of the reviewing load, the page is going to be stalled. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:45, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Karanacs is back. Secret account 22:17, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes! And so is Laser brain-- glad to see him again! But we still need more reviews-- a few of us can't do it all, and it's not optimal for Karanacs and me to resort to reviewing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:50, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm reviewing one article right now Secret account 23:00, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Opinion request about length

I was told to seek an opinion about article length here. The Shakespeare authorship question has undergone a substantial re-write with the goal of seeking FA status sometime in the near future. However the article, which is still unfinished, comes in at 158kb, with a projected WAG of ~175kb at completion. Is that too long, or does it depend on the complexity of the topic? The discussion can be accessed here. Tom Reedy (talk) 01:06, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Over 150kb sounds a lot, but because of the amount of references the prose is about 65kb or 10,000 words. Nev1 (talk) 01:11, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
KB is not a good way to measure article size; it is only an approximation. As Nev mentions, the prose size is 10299 words, which could be fine. The more important question is whether there are any sections in the article that could make better use of summary style (I haven't looked). I did just look at the talk page, and see that Bish raised concerns about listiness and readability, which are also a more serious concern than actual size. I've not seen an article formatted quite like that one before. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:27, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I see two very list-like sections that could be moved out to.. lists. • Ling.Nut 01:39, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
  • All of that strange bolding makes the whole thing read listy. There are also WP:MSH issues, with the constant repetition of "Shakespeare" in the headings. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:48, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree with all the above. The headers need work, "Authorship question annals" section should be condensed to prose (whether it merits a spinoff list is another question), and the "{Alternate/Full list of} Candidates" sections should be prosified (as it is it looks more like an integrated list). It's also odd that "History of the authorship question" comes after the arguments for and against. I would suggest a peer review is a better place for feedback. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 11:44, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
I have provided some comments at the talk page. To Fuchs: it has been at peer review once before, but it seems that the PR people at that time felt the issues facing the article were not amenable to PR discussion, because of disagreements amongst involved editors about the overall form of the article. That appears still to be a factor, though as an outsider I'm no judge of what's going on there. It does look like a case where some uninvolved input could help kick things along. hamiltonstone (talk) 22:57, 18 October 2010 (UTC).

These comments are really helpful. Would you all take a look at this version real quick [[4]] and tell me if this is more what you are looking for? Here is the RFC about the two versions: [[5]]. This other one lacks the bolding and the lists and is formatted a little more like regular wiki articles. Your comments at the rfc would be really helpful - to both versions. We seriously need to decide on one or the other as the starting point for a new article. Thanks for your consideration. Truly! Smatprt (talk) 16:19, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

US inflation templates

I hear tell these are being protested at FAC. What are the arguments for this? --Moni3 (talk) 18:45, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Bad trivial research. The comparison of money at point in time A and B is not a simple conversion. Two things need to be borne in mind:
  1. What kind of money is being converted
  2. For what purpose is the conversion being made
Capital expenses need to be compared with capital expenses; consumption bundles with consumption bundles. Capital expenses, when answering the question, "What level of onerousness did this investment cause, what opportunity costs were lost through this investment," need to be converted in such a way to make this opportunity cost apparent.
Further, inflation templates are only relevant when comparing monetised economies. There are stricter and less strict opinions on the usefulness of this, but using measuring worth's estimates (and how does measuring worth qualify these, greatly) for consumer prices and incomes from the 13th century is a bad idea.
Users have also converted values in one currency and then inflated in terms of another. When, for example, the Argentine and American consumption bundles differ in the 19th century, when the capital good is an Argentine capital good, it is ridiculous to inflate in terms of US dollars.
Currently the inflation templates only offer consumer prices. Currently the inflation templates fail to cite their sources. Currently the inflation templates fail to mention they're only good for consumer prices. Currently wikipedians rely on the inflation templates to inflate wages and to inflate capital goods prices. Attached is a discussion an handy table I mentioned elsewhere, about using Measuring Worth.
Inflation is a tricky beast. When we compare money from one time, with money in another time, we're really answering a question about what the meaning of money is. The way money over time operates when buying sausages is different from when paying people is different from when dealing with capital goods. This is because while the money may be interchangeable at the moment "1 May 1970" from sausages to wages to battleships, the relationship between sausages and sausages, wages and wages, and battleships and battleships from 1 May 1970 to 2 May 1970 is different.
First things first. Never inflate an amount of one currency in another. Inflation calculations are only good for the _economic unit calculated_. British money is not US money is not German money. You can't translate £ into USD in 1910, and then inflate by a USD 1910-2008 series.
Second things second. Never inflate values prior to ~1850. Prior to 1850, capitalism was not the predominant form of social economic relations between people in the UK or US. Local petty commodity production and non-market production and consumption predominated. Money, being the instrument converting alienated waged labour into capital, and back again, expresses the wage relationship and capital relationship after about 1850. Prior to 1850, money could simply represent vast feudal hordes, or semi-feudal hordes, etc. Measuring Worth is only good for the modern era.
Third things third. Figure out what kind of money you're dealing with: personal consumption, wages, capital goods. I recommend the following:
Kind of money UK Measure US Measure Japanese Measure Chinese Measure
Household consumption by people who work for a living (see list below), sausages, rents as paid for personal lodgings excluding conspicuous consumption RPI CPI CPI CPI
Wages and income earned or received by proletarians, lumpenproletarians, owner-operators, employers of fewer than 10, self-employed professionals, household consumption by people who don't work for a living Average Earnings Unskilled Wage Average Wage GDP Per Capita
Capital and Government Expenses, income earned on investments, profits, rents as received for personal lodgings, commercial industrial agricultural rents (relative share of) GDP (relative share of) GDP GDP GDP

Fifelfoo (talk) 22:07, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Ok, so if an source (such as the U.S. Census) states the median family income for 1949 was $500 and that is inflated for 2010 dollars, only in US dollars for an article about a US topic, what is the issue? Is the inflation template incorrect? --Moni3 (talk) 22:53, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I am not familiar with the US Census' reporting scheme. Let us assume that the US Census median family income is derived overwhelmingly from statistics of self-employed wage earners. If the US Census themselves inflates the value, the correct thing to do is to footnote the method of calculation they used (#The US Census produced this figure using Consumer Price Index inflation). This would be an _incorrect_ inflation, but it would be true to the reliable source's incorrect calculation. If a wikipedian were to calculate inflation, they'd need to determine what kind of money (median income: => in a capitalist or Soviet-style society, median income is derived largely from wages and small business income), then find a reliable inflation device (say measuring worth's US Unskilled Wage over time series), then inflate and note in the article's footnotes the reliable source they used, and the inflation measure (#In 2009 dollars, that would be $40000, according to Measuring Worth's US unskilled wages measure). Inflating using CPI or GDP for wages would be as bad as, for example, converting grams into ounces using the wrong kind of ounce.
The inflation templates on wiki are correct for a miniscule subset of inflation measures. Users are not aware of the problem of measuring price, value, worth or cost over time. In particular, FA authors (being the lovely souls they are) want to make historical prices "jump" for their readers. Being unaware of the different action of money as a time series, and the limits on capitalist relations in history, and the different time series for different economic units (Argentina=> US), reliance on the inflation templates isn't a great idea for featured article authors. Fifelfoo (talk) 23:03, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Here's a can of worms to open: just how official is it that US inflation templates should be forbidden at FAC? Is the issue simply Fifelfoo's or is this widespread, like cquotes? --Moni3 (talk) 00:29, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
I must have missed the vast feudal hordes of 1849, or 1549, but it is certainly true that inflation measures are highly problematic. Fiflefoo's description is only one approach to the problems with them. That unfortunately does not mean they can really just be outlawed. Ideally we should have a page explaining the issues with them that accompanies all usage more than say 20 years back, and another explaining to editors how to use them. Johnbod (talk) 01:10, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Article moved during FAC

The article Arnold's expedition to Quebec has just been moved to Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec; do we have to move the FAC page too, or can Gimmebot cope as it stands? Mike Christie (talk) 14:33, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

I've moved it, to avoid confusion (and fixed the important incoming links). Dabomb87 (talk) 14:41, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Image review request

Would some kind image reviewer take a look at Galaxy Science Fiction? The FAC for it hasn't had an image review; two reviewers have commented on images so far but said they feel the issues are too complicated for them to be confident in their answer. Any help would be much appreciated. Mike Christie (talk) 14:40, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Done.DCGeist (talk) 19:57, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Question about inline citations

policy requiring google book links for in-line citations


I don't know where to post this, so will post here. Is there a policy requiring google book links to be added in-line for each cite? It makes for a very messy edit window in my view. I think it's find to add the convenience link in the sources instead, but am interested in feedback on this issue. Thanks. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 14:39, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

On balance I don't see the point of ever including Google links, as they're neither stable over time nor over the geographical location of the reader. It's easy to get to whatever Google has made available online via the isbn links in any case. Malleus Fatuorum 15:03, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is that they're variable and not static - ever. Is this something that should be written into policy? Truthkeeper88 (talk) 15:36, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Malleus; unless the article is about Google, I can't think of any circumstances when a Google link is appropriate as a citation. They give a different result depending on the reader's preferences, geographic location, and the copyright law of the user's host country, so there's no way to verify that what you're seeing as a result is what anyone else will see as a result. – iridescent 15:48, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I would disagree that "It's easy to get to whatever Google has made available online via the isbn links in any case" - it's quite a faff, and I doubt many do this. I just paste the title to new window & search. But if we are not to link we should agree on some quick shorhand way to indicate that there may be, depending on etc etc, most of the book available on line, as opposed to a two-line snippet. This is important and valuable information for those not sitting in a large university library. On the specific question one link per book should be enough, and never actually in the text. Johnbod (talk) 16:42, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't consider two clicks rather than one to be much extra "faff". Malleus Fatuorum 17:31, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I have never understood the utility of the ISBN link, and didn't know they could be used to locate online versions: can someone teach me/us? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:28, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Just click on the isbn and scroll down; you'll find Google Books as the very first link. Malleus Fatuorum 17:34, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I use them all the time. Am often disappointed to find only snippet view or no preview. As to my original question above - is there any reason to have a url for each citation/page of book throughout the text in the article? Truthkeeper88 (talk) 17:47, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
In case it wasn't clear, that's a resounding "No" from me. Malleus Fatuorum 18:29, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Not exactly! Firstly you get the "Search for book sources" which if you arrived by hitting an isbn is already filled in, & so a complete waste of time. You then scroll through various other stuff you don't need to the "Online text", where it is indeed the first link, though it isn't actually as useful as a normal google books search as it will only find that particular edition, which might not be available online when others are. The problem remains that using the format most FAs do, this is complete pot luck; you have no indication in advance whether the book might be online or not. Johnbod (talk) 17:50, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Sorry for being dense, but I can't make anything work with the Kushner book at Tourette syndrome as an example. Could someone put up an ISBN link here to help walk us through a working example? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:00, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Reply to Johnbod: whether the book is online or not depends on several factors, as Iridescent outlined above. It is my firm belief that links to Google Books are inappropriate, as it only takes two clicks to find the book on Google without the link, assuming that you're in the same geographic location as the reader, copyright law in your country and the reader's allows it to be online, ... Malleus Fatuorum 18:26, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Repeating what I just said is not a reply! There is no need to make these assumptions, which of course may be wrong. A normal Google books search will produce a far better view of what google actually has for a particular viewer, and the best option may relate to a different isbn. What would be useful would be a generally understood shorthand to indicate that the text may be available on google books, which the reader can then pursue for themselves. Johnbod (talk) 22:48, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
You seem to be confusing "missing your point" with "disagreeing with your point". There is a difference, believe it or not. Malleus Fatuorum 22:52, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Click the ISBN which takes you here. Scroll to "Online text" and click "Find this book at Google Book Search online database". That brings you directly to the book. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 18:09, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Wow, cool beans (since my Kushner book is somewhere in a box). Thanks! I don't have an opinion on the larger question yet-- still uninformed since I've not known about this feature. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:17, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Ah, so I use this feature; if the book is searchable I find the relevant page number. This is a static url - the specific page number urls are not. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 18:27, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, educate me pls-- why aren't the specific page numbers static links? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:29, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I think Malleus or someone more technically inclined than I can explain this. The specific page urls "shift" they move, they are not static or a permalink. What you or I in the US see may not be what Malleus or others in the UK. That's the quick explanation. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 18:37, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The url changes depending on several factors, such as how you reached the page and your preferences. For instance, here are three links to page 2 of Kushner: [6][7][8]. Added to which whether or not any of those links work depends on where you live. Malleus Fatuorum 18:41, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
In any case we have no reason to assume Google Books is in itself static (what books it may show online content for, and how much of that content). A new search each time seems preferable from all points of view. PL290 (talk) 18:56, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

I have to disagree partially with some of things mentioned further up. First of all it seems somewhat questionable to me to exclude an otherwise accepted citation for featured articles, i. e. as long as online copies at Google Books or other digitalization project accepted in general featured article criteria has no business in excluding them. This is not question of article quality but of convenience for readers and maintenance/quality control. The most important aspect of it is that other readers and editor can verify an articles content on the spot, which for a project like WP is imho an invaluable asset. This doesn't mean of course that one has to use Google Books or other online copies for citation in featured articles, but there is no good reason for blocking it in general.

As far as Google in particular is concerned, one need to consider at least 4 different cases that need to be considered separately:

  • a) no text snippet, no preview
  • a) text snippet only, no preview
  • b) restricted preview
  • c) full preview/full online copy available for download.

b) Seems to be of questionable use, since the snippet is often incomplete and hard to read and you often have to guess/speculate what the exact content/meaning of the whole paragraph is. There you might argue a good article (and as such featured articles) should not resort to it. Authors are expected to have original source anyway and the snippet is not usable for reliable verification or additional information (as explained) above, hence it is of little to no benefits to readers or editors.

c) This is a case that may have to judged on an individual case. Obviously some restricted previews are little better than text snippet, however in other cases they provide access to large part of a book including complete chapters. In the latter case all material relevant to the WP article or at least the citation can be accessible. For instance you might have big book on roman emperors and the chapter on Tiberius is completely accessible. Now if you use that book as a reference for the WP article on Tiberius, providing a link to the chapter is beneficial to readers and editors, you can easily verify the article content and even find additional information.

d) Well that case is like any other complete digital copy and I can't really see any good reason for not providing it to other readers or editors.

Now above there was mentioned that the restriction for Google Books is probably not static, which potentially could render good restricted preview in c) useless over time. However for that we would need some facts rather than speculation. Does anybody know exactly what Google is doing here? From personal experience I'd say it seems rather rare, I'm using regularly Google Books for 3 years now and I've only noticed a very few links gone bad, that presumably worked earlier. Also d) is not affected by this, since there is no restriction.

Another issue here is that some people may view the use of a private company (Google in particular but there are others as well) as problematic and as a form of covered advertising. I agree that this is indeed problematic but in the end it comes down to a cost-benefit-analysis. Personally I can bear alittle bit of covered advertising if it comes with an important benefit for readers, editors and WP's overall quality. Also one has to be aware, that any citation/reference to commercially sold journal or book is coverted advertizing as well, i. e. it is somewhat unavoidable anyhow and the cost-benefit-analysis is the key here. Personally I'd say whenever you have have a non commercial online copy available (for instance, gutenberg, universities, public institutes & foundations, etc.) use that one, only if no other online copy is available use a commercial one like Google Books.--Kmhkmh (talk) 20:51, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

As I read the original question here, it's about whether they should be required on FAs (that relates to WIAFA), and it seems to me that there are good arguments that they should not, although I'm open to the idea of using them as convenience links, but I'm curious as to whether that creates a maintenance nightmare if they change over time and not all readers can see them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:53, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
If the question is really only about the requirement, then I think we probably all agree. No Google Books links or other online copies are required for a featured article. However some of the opinions here prominently stated in essence "I want no google books links whatsoever" and I've already seen a reaction in a featured article (film noir), where the removal of a google book link was justified with the discussion here. Hence my longer posting to make sure we don't go overboard or that individual opinions aren't interpreted as policy. Also note that for at least a year or so we do have special template for Google Book links (Template:Google books, but there seems to others as well).--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:22, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm simply asking about links for each citation/footnote in the text. It creates an editing nightmare. Convenience links are another issue altogether. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 21:25, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
If you use either a template or the google link to a particular page rather than the original search string used as url by your browser then it shouldn't be that messy ( {{Google books|ID|displayed text|page=}} or [<id>&pg=PA<page number> ''book title''] ). This is not much different from any online link to a journal, newspaper or a book at or gutenberg. But in any case all agree that you don't need to use Google books, so if it bothers you personally when writing an article, just don't use it.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:50, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
There seems to be a misunderstanding on your (Kmhkmh's) part; Google Books doesn't have a "full preview/full online copy available for download" setting. Each country has a different set of what material is available, and Google pings your IP to confirm where you are and what material to show you; they also restrict the total number of pageviews for each user to given books, so a book which did appear readable can suddenly vanish into "not part of the preview". Thus, something that allows you to view the full book in the US, might display in snippet view in the UK and no-preview-at-all in most European countries. (The US has far laxer copyright laws than most countries, and the legal settlement only covers US publications; France, in particular, takes a distinctly hostile view of Google's attitude towards copyright. Google's own explanation is worth reading.) The issue isn't the validity of Google Books as a source; it's whether direct links, in the knowledge that they won't work for some readers, do more good (by pointing people towards the original source) than they do harm (by annoying readers whom we point towards what will appear to them to be a broken link). – iridescent 22:04, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we need an equivalent of {{subscription required}} for Google Books links. Ucucha 22:11, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Well first of all thanks for the details regarding Google restricted view. Nevertheless those specific details do not really change my argument above regarding Google Books links as an important convenience feature for readers, editors and WP quality management in general. That simply reads: If a referenced text is available online at Google books for large part of our readers/editors, then a convenience link is beneficial readers and editors, it significantly speeds up proof reading/verification. It also helps to avoid potential argument about proper citation in problematic or debated articles, since most or all editor can easily consult the original source. So indeed the issue is not about validity of Google book as a source (the actual source should always the referenced book anyhow), it is about practical accessibility of sources and convenience of use for readers and editors alike--Kmhkmh (talk) 23:08, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
... which they can easily find anyway by following the ISBN link, if it's available to them. Malleus Fatuorum 23:18, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
No, they can't. First of all the ISBN link not that transparent to most people and second it is clearly less convenient and doesn't link you a particular page or chapter in a book. Also older books _don't_ have ISBN number.--Kmhkmh (talk) 00:08, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
You've given your opinion, I've given mine, and clearly we're not likely to agree any time soon. The bottom line is that that the FA criteria do not require them, and there are valid arguments against them, whether you agree with those arguments or not. Presumably you meant to say though that older books don't have ISBNs, whatever difference that might make. (The "N" at the end of ISBN stands for "number" btw.) Malleus Fatuorum 00:24, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I skipped the word "don't above" above. I argued at no point that the FA criteria should require them, on the contrary I stated it should be the FA criteria's business to begin with whether they are used or not. Concerning the "valid" arguments against them (their use not their requirement) are concerned, I already stated in the beginning, that it is a question weighing pros versus cons and imho the pros win out. I haven't read anything here so far, that has convinced me otherwise.--Kmhkmh (talk) 00:35, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
"... some of the opinions here prominently stated in essence 'I want no google books links whatsoever'". You must be looking at a different discussion to the one that I can see. Malleus Fatuorum 21:56, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Well I'm happy to hear that you have no objections to Google Books link then?--Kmhkmh (talk) 22:56, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm unhappy that you appear to be unable to read. I have never objected to Google Book links. What I have said repeatedly is that I see no point in them. Is that clear enough for you now? Malleus Fatuorum 23:23, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Fine - problem solved.--Kmhkmh (talk) 00:04, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
The point of them is that, even if the link doesn't work, they convey the highly useful information that somebody, somewhere was once able to read the text online on google books. A linked isbn does not do this. Johnbod (talk) 23:31, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
In what way is that more important information than that someone, somewhere, was able to read the actual book? You're having a laugh. Malleus Fatuorum 23:58, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Really, unless your comprehension skills improve, you are just wasting people's time in these discussions. There is no question of it being more useful than the other, nor has anyone suggested that, but it helps a reader who wishes to read the source themselves, not I hope just to verify the WP text, but for "further information". Johnbod (talk) 02:42, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest that you pay some attention to your own comprehension skills John, because they are very far from impressive. Malleus Fatuorum 03:14, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Johnbod, I'm also not seeing your point here. If I happen upon a Google Books link that does not work (because of my geographical region, because somebody asked Google to take the content down, whatever reason), how is knowing that the user who added it then had access to it more helpful then the knowledge that the person who added a non-Google book source presumably at some point had access to the print book? Nikkimaria (talk) 03:30, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Because you can then just do a Google books search and more than likely find a link that does work. That's a very long sentence, & regurgitates some of Malleus's red herrings. No one has said anything is more useful than anything else. Johnbod (talk) 04:43, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Not necessarily. As was explained further up, Google Books' available content varies by geographic region and other factors (per Iridescent: "Each country has a different set of what material is available, and Google pings your IP to confirm where you are and what material to show you; they also restrict the total number of pageviews for each user to given books, so a book which did appear readable can suddenly vanish into "not part of the preview". Thus, something that allows you to view the full book in the US, might display in snippet view in the UK and no-preview-at-all in most European countries."). Therefore, just because one person at one point had access to the book via Google doesn't mean that I (for example) can access it via a Google search for an updated link. The original person may not even have access! Nikkimaria (talk) 13:18, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm still a little unclear about whether separate page links should or should not be added inline for each footnote. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 23:49, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The bottom line is that's not a part of the FA criteria, and so the answer is No. Malleus Fatuorum 23:58, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
All seem to agree that it is not required, so you can do as you like.--Kmhkmh (talk) 00:11, 24 October 2010 (UTC)


Everybody agrees there is no policy requiring them nor should there be one.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:05, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Further discussion, including "should Google book links for inline citations be banned from featured articles"

Links to google books can be a useful (but optional) enhancement to verifiability of quotations and other source material: see e.g. {{Google books quote}} for a tool which has been used to this effect. Geometry guy 00:48, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Old thread, but I dislike links to Google books, too. More objectively, if anyone can establish that the links break on a regular basis, I'd suggest banning them. • Ling.Nut 05:43, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Are you referrring to page number links, or the books in general? Do links to the entire book break as well? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:50, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't know if they break or not – I never suspected that they break until reading this thread. I suppose that links to individual pages are more suspect than links to the book. If Iridescent is correct(and I have no reason to doubt that), I !vote Ban. • Ling.Nut 09:24, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Google enforces a per-user page view limit,[9] so all Google Books links "break" after a certain number of views (which is irritating albeit understandable; Google Books is explicitly intended to "help you discover books, not read them online"). Per my previous comments, links to particular books vary according to the geolocation of your IP; pre-1923 books which appear full-view in the US will often appear in snippet view in the rest of the world, and certain things are censored in accordance to the local laws of the host country (a lot of Hitler-related stuff won't display in Germany, for instance; this tool will list which results are being blocked from Google searches in given countries). I can see both sides; it is potentially useful to indicate that a book might be available online, but it also has the potential to annoy readers if a book we describe as available leads to a blank page for readers in a different location to the author of the article. – iridescent 09:42, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure whether I've fallen prey to tricky Google Redirect, but the 2 pages you've linked appear to me in German and their content does not at all support what you claim. They talk about limiting the number of pages being viewed, but that cannot be understood that the link breaks for person X after viewing it Y times, it might just mean, that X might be never be able to access page Z. The latter is the behaviour I personally observed in practice. The tool you've linked compares the rresults of regular google searches in different countries/national domains, which in general irrelevant to the discussion here. How do you get it to work to compare direct google reference to a particular book and page? We need to ascertain how the template ( {{Google books|ID|displayed text|page=}} ) and the direct link to a page<id>&pg=PA<page number> ) behave if accessed in different countries or repeatedly by the samer user. As far as the template is concerned it seems to use the US Google book's view always no matter where you are. By the way de.wp seems to use a variation of that template, where you can even pick wich national Google book view it should use. As far as Google Books adjusting to national copyrights are concerned, while it might to true that some pre 1923 books might to visible in all countries, more or less all have a copyright expiration, meaning if you shift the year back somewhat, you usually can expect those books to visibile everywhere.--Kmhkmh (talk) 12:00, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
(sigh) As per the three links I've provided above to Google's own policy documents, they have a limited number of per-user-per-book views. That is, if the same user tries to access the same book more than a certain number of times, they'll be blocked from further access to that book. GBooks is explicitly a search engine, not a book hosting service; in their own words, "The aim of Google Books is to help you discover books and assist you with buying them or finding a copy at a local library. It's like going to a bookstore and browsing - with a Google twist." – iridescent 14:03, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry. i didn't understand what you wrote. Would you repeat that again, please? [Note my large, innocent eyes]. • Ling.Nut 14:06, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I've encountered before what Iri mentions. I guess my question is whether any individual is likely to hit that limit when browsing an article, and whether the link to a book (not a page) can be justified anyway. Perhaps we can solve this by adding a note to the link that explains the google problem? No opinion really, just trying to understand this. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:08, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
@Iridescent: You're not responding to my concrete point above nor does your link shed any light on it. So let me reiterate it. The question is about how the Google books template and the direct Google book link to page behave with regard to their accessibility. To pick a concrete example, the article on the Stolz–Cesàro theorem uses as a reference a book, where the restricted preview gives full access of the book's treatment of that theorem including a proof not given in the WP article. Now the question is simply, whether (restricted online copy, p. 85, at Google Books) or [10] is accessible for most/many readers or not.--Kmhkmh (talk) 14:25, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I run into the limit issue every month - the later in the month, the more often I've accessed the book, the fewer pages are available. I order books from the library. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 14:28, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
That may be separate issue using the google books interface in general. The question is really whether to 2 exact pages referenced above stay accessible (note sometimes if the page get not displayed properly at the first click you simply have to hit reload, that seems to be a web/connection issue rather than a google restriction). To my experience they do.--Kmhkmh (talk) 14:39, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
No, the question is "Is there a policy requiring google book links to be added in-line for each cite?". The answer is definitely no. – iridescent 14:48, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok, now you misread the discussion thread. This is a follow up on Ling Nut's posting, which has nothing to do with the original issue.
  • The original issue was: Is there a requirement to link google books for inline citations. The answer to that one is no and everybody agrees there.
  • The issue raised by ling nut (to which this thread belongs belongs): Are Google Books useful at all or should they be banned in general from (featured) articles.
And for the settling the 2nd issue, you would have to answer the exact question I asked you above.--Kmhkmh (talk) 14:59, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've already answered you repeatedly, as have at least two others; there is no such thing as a stable Google Books link, and Google Books is explicitly a search engine rather than an ebook host. I wouldn't go as far as to ban them; I'd say, if someone finds them useful by all means keep them in, but the use of GBooks links should be discouraged if there's a stable alternative (Gutenberg, etc) available, and the onus should be on whoever puts them in to deal with any issues they cause. – iridescent 15:04, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Sorry you did not answer me. Nor do you actually read Google statement correctly. Google states that it restricts page access to a book (in a non-disclosed manner) and it stores user IPs over a limited time period for that. However that does not necessarily mean that Google blocks you from accessing a particular page for the nth time and even it Google would have implemented its restriction in that way, it would would be only for time period, after which you would be able to reach the same page again. In practice that means anyway that (most) other editors/readers clicking on such a Google link would be able to see it (they are most likely reading it for the first time (in a time period)). That's all we require for offering a (convenient) link for verification/additional information. That other online solutions should be preferred to Google is probably something we might all agree on as well (I stated that already in my first posting). So maybe we can close thread as well by stating that google book links can be used in (featured) articles, but that other (non commercial) online sources are preferred (if available).--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:19, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
    • For people with Google accounts, it wouldn't need to store the IP addresses. Indeed, anyone here with a Google account can go back in their own WWW search history and find that Google Books records every book read, the individual pages viewed, and the number of times the book was viewed. It's all given right there in the "Web History" that Google displays. Uncle G (talk) 03:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
      • Not sure what this has to do with posting/argument above. Nobody was talking about Google compiling information on its registered users, which btw. is rather common (and annoying feature) of most registration sites. The argument above was about how Google uses that data or that from IPs to determine the accessibility of a book page and period of time refers to that determination and not to whatever else Google might do with its data.--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:19, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Given the unreliability of clicking a Google Book link and getting the actual page/info intended for use, compared with the ability of a user, given the ISBN or other unique ID and using whatever sources they have to find the book themselves, we should avoid them in all instances (save for articles talking *about* Google Books). --MASEM (t) 16:05, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

So far we have only a claimed "unreliability", that does not match my experience (and I'm using them regularly). The notion that the isbn links contrary to the google book template is easier to use and/or more reliable strikes me rather odd.--Kmhkmh (talk) 16:38, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • No, they should not be banned. For all their limitations they give the very useful information that large amounts of the book may, in fact probably are, available online, which a linked isbn does not. The isbn covers only one edition/format - the US & UK paperback & hardback editions may have 4 different isbns even in the case of a new book with a single publisher, and identical page numbers. One of these may have online text and not the other three. They are only worth adding for "preview" books, not "snippet" ones. If there is a full online text this should be added in preference, even though it is often harder to use. I favour adding a link to the search I used at the end of the entry in "References", piped as "google books", but of course there are other ways. Only one link per book should be used. Just to be super-clear, I am not opposing in any way the linking of isbns, although that should not be compulsory either. Johnbod (talk) 17:38, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Not if you do them first! Since I always do (though god knows why), i didn't know that. Johnbod (talk) 03:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Rumors of google books links being unreliable have been greatly exaggerated. I checked a large proportion of the transclusions of {{Google books quote}} and the vast majority (over 95%) took me to the relevant page and highlighted the relevant text. The template was coded nearly 2 years ago, and several of the transclusions are nearly as old. Of course google books breaks if you try to browse many pages of the same book, but that is not the purpose of linking to it.

    The purpose of linking to individual pages of google books is to aid verifiability. In the rare cases where the link does not work, too bad, you have to go to the library to verify a claim. Without google books you would have to go to the library every single time. This is such a colossal effort that many editors favor inferior quality (borderline reliable) online sources to print sources. Conversely, linking to google books encourages greater use of more reliable published print sources, and any attempt to discourage that would be a gross retrograde step. Geometry guy 17:54, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

    • Linking to Google Books encourages the use of one specific book source over all of the others, including a few others that also provide limited content on-line (such as Amazon, for example). In contrast, verifiability is actually aided by a proper citation — giving all of the relevant details of the book so that it can be found in a library via its catalogue, in an on-line book source, or in a bookshop — which doesn't require a Google Books hyperlink at all. Example: From the citation "ISBN 9781110329441 pp. 137", which I just used in discussion of Boston Gentlemen's Driving Club (AfD discussion) (I sometimes don't bother with full citations on discussion pages.), you have the exact page number and your choice of book source to use to find and access the book. Uncle G (talk) 03:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • If you've read the discussion so far you should have noticed several statements that nobody is suggesting replacing full citations with google links. This discussion is unfocussed enough already without bring that straw man up again. Personally I would only use an isbn to search for a book as a last resort for the reasons given at length above. Johnbod (talk) 03:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
    I agree and would support a guideline that Google books should not be used if no ISBN is supplied. However, Google books provides vastly more content online than Amazon, and I'm not aware of any other comparable site. Finding individual pages via ones "favorite book source" (even if it is Google books) is much more time consuming than clicking on a link that takes you 95% of the time to precisely the page you want. Geometry guy 20:37, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • It's against the open-access principles of Wikipedia to link to anything that's not full text. I don't link to abstracts, Google books or any of the other semi-commercial sites. I wouldn't put in doi links except that the bot will do it if I don't. Use these semispam sites, but don't promote them by linking Jimfbleak - talk to me? 18:42, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
    • I respectfully disagree: linking to source material for the purposes of verifiability contradicts no open access principle, because the material being sourced is freely available in the article (hence the need to verify it after all!). Your position suggests Wikipedia should have nothing at all to do with commercial publishers, as they do not provide free access to the full content of the books and articles they publish. While I might be sympathetic to such a position (as an academic myself), writing articles using only open access sources is an unacceptable constraint, which would contribute relatively little towards making more human knowledge freely available. Geometry guy 19:14, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
      • Is that Jim's point? Not linking to GBooks because the links may change or they do not allow full access to the articles does not mean that only open access sources be used in FAs. Or something. I don't know what this discussion is about at all. --Moni3 (talk) 19:33, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
        • I only wanted to know whether it's required, or even necessary, to add google book links to each footnote in an article. Has to do with something I'm working on. The discussion seems to have grown a bit. I didn't mean to start a huge meta-discussion. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 19:40, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
          • The conclusion should surely be "live and let live". Linking to google books is not a requirement, nor is it disallowed. Links to google books have remained stable over 2 years (claims to the contrary without explicit evidence are misinformation: the templates provide stable links). If free content is available online, link to it directly, not via google books or any such provider. Beyond common sense like this, I also do not know what is Jim's point, so I extrapolated it to a point of view I do understand: open access to everything. That is a wonderful goal, but we do not yet live in such a world. Geometry guy 22:21, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
            • You haven't understood the repeatability problem at all, if you think that it's one relating to the passage of years. It's a geolocation problem. Uncle G (talk) 03:18, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
              • It is is a claimed geolocation problem for which we have no evidence, whether it matters much in practice or not. Much of what was said above regarding the geolocation has little or no meaning in practice for the template. For instance the fact that google searches may depend on your location is of no consequence for the template, since it does not perform a search but constructs a fixed address (based on the internal ID and the page of the scanned book). Then we have the rather general and vague statement, that Google may change the restricted or full preview depending on local copyright laws. However there are similarities between world wide copyright laws, which makes it likely that the preview for many books is likely to be identical for most or even all countries. Furthermore we no real evidence so far, regarding how often such a local difference in copyright laws is affecting such a fixed Google books link (not a search) in practice and how many of our readers/editors are affected by it. Geometry guy is completely correct in pointing out the importance of such a Google book link for verification. It brings a verification process often to several minutes from hours or even days. As long as this remains true for large part of our readers and editors it is rather useful tool for the overal quality, correctness and reliability of WP. --Kmhkmh (talk) 03:53, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
                • The problem is quite definitely real. For example, I (in the U.S.) get the full page with this link, p. 188, at Google Books, and any of our friends in England will almost certainly not get that full page. Ucucha 04:01, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
                  • Nobody suggested the problem was not "real", the question was how big the effect in practice is and that for many links that effect simply does materialize (see for instance the example I've given above). You're particular example I can't see either btw. (I'm in Germany). Actually I'm kinda curious. What dores Google offer in the US for that link? A restricted page view or a full preview and download because it is pre 1923?--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:12, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
                  • (ec) I didn't wanna put ten asterisks, but I knew if I didn't, others would come in and refactor, so whatever. Anyhow, checking in from Taiwan, I see exactly diddly squat (which means "nothing" for non-US editors) when I click that link. I see a book cover. The text appears to be unavailable. • Ling.Nut 04:36, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
                    • This seems to be an US only case. However older proceedings can probably seen worldwide. Try this one for instance this one [11]. I would be interesting to know whether in practice the distinction is mainly between US and international or whether it is completely different for every country.--Kmhkmh (talk) 04:56, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
                      The geolocation problem is interesting. However, I see no reason to remove a convenience for US editors and readers simply because other editors do not always have the same convenience. Hey, no, scratch that: lets move the servers to Motherwell, and declare that Scottish copyright law applies henceforth, and that all articles without strong national ties are written in Scots. That would be fairer, no? :) Geometry guy 20:37, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
                      I use the template outside the US, so the links I use can be seen by much larger number of editors/readers possibly by all. I suspect that in practice we have mostly a US versus international distinction rather a completely different picture for each individual countries. I also suspect that difference between US and internal in practice mostly affects the full preview, so books that have a full preview in the US (due to being pre 1923) but are not old enough or have a still undetermined status to allow a full preview internationally. However pages and chapters which are only accessible via the restricted preview of a book are likely to offer the same restricted preview everywhere. Note that the later scenario is good enough for verification, since yu don't need to read the whole books to verify a (few) stament(s) in the article, but usually just a view pages or perhaps a chapter.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:27, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
                      See Wikipedia_talk:Did_you_know/Archive_57#Google_book_links, where I and another user in Japan could see a limited-preview book, but two others in the UK and South Africa could not. Ucucha 21:29, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
                      interesting I can see that page as well so it cannot be a EU copyright thing, but apparently it seems to be based on individual countries. It would be interesting to know whether Google has published some detailed description of its procedure somewhere, that could potentially be used to improve the template, so that the template link would provide some information regarding its accessibility.--Kmhkmh (talk) 13:55, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
  • Oh pooh. I wanted to see some blood on the floor. • Ling.Nut 00:41, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • you may want to take your entertainment wishes elsewhere, outside WP that is. In case you're looking for plenty of long, pointless an rude discussion threads the usenet has plenty to offer. Or try some politics channel on irc.--Kmhkmh (talk) 01:16, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
    • The discussion was not pointless; many folks would dance with joy to see the things go poof! and disappear. However, you do seem to be personally invested in this issue. For that reason alone, I am sorry if I offended you. Good luck. • Ling.Nut 01:19, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
      It is good to lighten up a bit in discussions from time to time. Minor style disagreements have a long history of generating heated disputes! Geometry guy 20:37, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure there's even any dispute here; as far as I can see everyone except you (Kmhmkh) is in agreement that "they shouldn't be banned but shouldn't be required either". The only dispute is a very arcane meta-point about how much they should be encouraged. – iridescent 20:56, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Well there have been quite a few apparent pro-banning voices above, and they do indeed often get removed at FAC, but if this discussion has clarified that "they shouldn't be banned but shouldn't be required either", that is useful. Johnbod (talk) 21:00, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
The logical conclusion of a requirment is "Object, one of the books is on google, and you have not linked to it." Thats an argument that used to come up on "rock and roll" aricles in the old days of around 2006, if its not on the internets it dont exist. The not being able to view thing on GB is very real, and I get 'not in you country' quite a bit, with youtube also. Deeply annoying, but a fact. Ceoil (talk) 00:22, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Well if you have google books link used for verification, that really works for the US, I can somewhat understand if it gets removed during a FAC (though strictly speaking imho it should not be the business FAC itsself, i.e. it simply shouldn't bother with it). However Google book links that work internationally should definitely not be removed, if they are convenience links for verification in full or restricted preview, since they are clearly beneficial for future readers.--Kmhkmh (talk) 21:34, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

SMS Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand candidacy

User:Buggie111, the nominator of SMS Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand, has indicated on their user page that they have gone on a long wikibreak. User:White Shadows seems to be attempting to carry on the process, but if the original nominator is not able to contribute should the nomination remain open? --DavidCane (talk) 18:30, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Why not? If White Shadows is able to step up to the plate then good luck to him and to the nomination. All that's required is that any issues raised during the FAC are adequately dealt with by anyone who cares to deal with them. Malleus Fatuorum 19:13, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
We need to know if White Shadows has access to all of the sources. Also, I haven't located a diff where White Shadows agreed to take it on. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:57, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Why does it matter whether White Shadows has access or not, so long as someone does? Malleus Fatuorum 21:54, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't sure if there was some procedural step that needed to be taken for a formal amendment of the nomination. White Shadows indicated in his 12 October edit on the FAC that it was a joint nomination with Buggie111 and Parsecboy.--DavidCane (talk) 00:00, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out (it's hard to read round long colorful sigs :) I added White Shadows as a co-nom. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:07, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
Its White Shadows' area, I think hes capable enough. Good for him. Ceoil (talk) 09:58, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
In the specific, I think White Shadows is quite capable of taking it over, though I hope his RL work won't suffer on account of it (disclosure: He and I are desultorily working on getting Robert E. Lee to FA, though in both our cases it has slipped behind other work). In general (pun not intended, but gleefully noted) I do not see that it matters who does the work. If the main contributor gets indef blocked, and two IPs step up to the plate to complete the FAC, why should we care? The point is the content, not the statistic. Or, in summary, what Malleus said.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:05, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

New rule

I remember that you could only have two nominations at one time if the first had gotten a support vote. Now the rule is that you cannot have two FACs for two weeks. Why was this changed? ~EDDY (talk/contribs/editor review)~ 22:52, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Assuming I'm understanding your question correctly, the rules changed as a result of this RfC. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:41, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
OK, but why was this an issue? Was there a large-scale abuse of the old rule? It seems to be far less arbitrary. ~EDDY (talk/contribs/editor review)~ 02:00, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
The issue was too many FACs and not enough reviewers; the page Nikkimaria linked too will give you the details, if you have the patience to read through it (it's enormous). A couple of changes were made at the same time, all intended to speed up FAC. Mike Christie (talk) 13:06, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
It does allow for conoms and occationally SandyGeorgia would ok a second article if all the concerns of the first is fixed and there is consensus to promote. Secret account 00:30, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Condoms? Dude. Ceoil (talk) 00:42, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Length of FAC pages

I'm finding many extremely long FACs-- generally line-by-line prose review and corrections, looking like what we'd expect to find at Peer review rather than at FAC. If articles need that much detailed commentary, are they ready for FAC? Would an "Oppose" with samples not work better? If extensive commentary is needed, can it be placed on the talk page associated with the FAC? It's hard for me to tell if these noms that are getting soooooo long should be closed because they are unprepared. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:04, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

I think we should urge reviewers to place their quibbles either on the article talk page or on a sub page, but we are fighting human nature to some extent, as reviewers will desire to show how thorough they are. They could strike opposes once their concerns were addressed.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:05, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
That is surely a recipe to make the actual problem worse, and since people don't expect FACs to have talk pages, risks comments being duplicated, as well as making it harder for the next reviewer to work out what is going on. Johnbod (talk) 16:50, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I seem to recall an earlier discussion about this, and Sandy, didn't you say at that time that you didn't want too much moved to the talk page because it made it harder for delegates to judge consensus? That certainly seems reasonable, but I could also see reducing the FAC to simple statements of support, oppose (specifying on which criteria), or a pointer to a talk page comment. For a reviewer I think the current system is probably slightly easier because we only deal with one article at a time; for the delegates I would have thought you'd rather have the FAC be a short summary with details on FAC talk or article talk. (And putting them on FAC talk would allow those hide/show templates we have had to ban from FAC, which could be a plus in itself.) Mike Christie (talk) 14:30, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Being readier to close is really the only way out of this, since peer review seems to be barely functioning. Perhaps if delegates had a "move to peer review" option - the FAC could still be shown on the FAC list, or not, and more time might be allowed. That is where many of these should be, & it might even revive interest in PR itself. Johnbod (talk) 16:50, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't think reviewers would devote time to making detailed comments in the first place if they didn't think something was ready for FAC—they would already oppose with brief examples in that scenario. FAC is a lot of work, for all parties, and some comments—and indeed responses—can be lengthy, but I don't think hiding them away on the talk page is a good idea except in unusual circumstances. Better to keep them where they are, for general awareness during the review. Perhaps greater emphasis on striking resolved comments would help. PL290 (talk) 17:14, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Past experience tends to show that whenever reviewers try to do this, unless several do together, there are protests from the nom, demands for further examples & so on. Johnbod (talk) 17:54, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, but that shouldn't stop them; it is the fact of two or more doing so that can signal to the the delegates that a valid point is being made. PL290 (talk) 18:02, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
It is not length per se that concerns me, rather 1) different reviewers use FAC differently, so it's not easy to tell if a FAC should be archived as an indication that the article wasn't ready when commentary gets very long; 2) whether reviewers are using "oppose" when warranted; and 3) whether minor nitpicky issues might be better discussed off-FAC. Particularly, reviewing every little prose niggle on FAC increases the size of the FAC and may make it less likely that other reviewers will engage. In these cases, I don't suggest using article talk, rather the talk page associated with the FAC, with a clear link placed on the FAC, to keep everything in one place. On the other hand, I also don't want to make reviewers' work harder than it already is. When I review, I also contribute to FAC length: see Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/School for Creative and Performing Arts/archive1. The difference is that, in that case, I covered sourcing, prose, MOS, comprehensive, POV etc. in the lengthy oppose-- it's the lengthy prose reviews that I wonder about. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:27, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
The key here seems to be different reviewers use FAC differently. Ideally that would not be the case: is there scope to tighten the wording of {{FAC-instructions}} to encourage a more uniform approach by reviewers? PL290 (talk) 18:02, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
I generally leave a laundry-list of comments (see WP:Featured article candidates/Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield/archive2 for example). Yes, it makes the FAC longer, but in my view it's a lot clearer to all involved to have it on the FAC itself rather than on the talkpage; it gives a clear indication to the nominator as to what I think the unresolved issues are, and it saves other people (who won't necessarily have read the talk page) from making the same points. – iridescent 18:05, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I do that as well. I'm probably a big contributor to length on FACs where I do anything other than support immediately, and I know that I do sometimes get too deep into "prose niggles". As for the issue of using "oppose" - I tend to use it less often then most, instead using "Comments" for neutrals or when for one reason or another I don't feel able to support. I'll try being more declarative. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:34, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm with iridescent on this one. I also prefer "comments" to keep things more upbeat, recognising that closers probably recognise them as "unfinished business". Agree that a long list of items is generally a manageable one, rather than a global "prose needs alot of work" Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:07, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I may be coming in a bit late to this discussion but FWIW: 1) I think anything that reviewers believe has a real impact on the FAC should be on the main FAC page, not its talk page, however 2) if reviewers have comments or suggestions that don't strictly have a bearing on their support or opposition to the article's promotion then they could be instructed to just place those on the article's (not the FAC's) talk page, perhaps with a link from the FAC amongst their "serious" comments. I'm not sure how much an effect this would really have on FAC length -- I rarely write very long reviews myself and if I have niggly prose issues I'm usually just bold and copyedit the article directly -- but it might help a bit. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:15, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Google Books page links

WT:CITE#Linking to Google Books pages. RfC on whether WP:CITE should say Google Books page links are not required but are allowed in footnotes, and that editors should not go around removing them. All input welcome. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 20:38, 29 October 2010 (UTC)


I've been saddened by all the various statements I've read in the last two days from editors who are feeling like they are unwelcome at FAC, or that their efforts are not well spent here, or that the blame for the Rlevse situation has been laid at their door. I could go around leaving personal notes on a dozen talk pages, but this might serve just as well. Personally, I don't blame anyone here for what happened. Plagiarism and sloppy sourcing are systemic problems that transcend Wikipedia, for sure. How many of you teach first year English Comp? Well I do, and I see legions of students passing through that are committing mostly unintentional plagiarism because they don't know any better, they're just trying to pass the class, and no one is really looking at their work. The more scrutiny of their work, the more it can be avoided.

FAC is the last checkpoint before we certify something as "great work", and it is the only review process here with a relatively uniform set of criteria being applied. At GAN and PR, they are doing great work, but the quality and substance of a review varies wildly with the editor that performed it. However, here, no one person can say that an article should or should not be featured. As it is, reviewers are left alone opposing deficient articles on prose, sourcing, images, etc. and it only takes a little pressure from drive-by supporters to overwhelm that one reviewer. Is it any wonder that they might get perturbed once in a while, or feel unappreciated?

Those of you that participate here in earnest, I for one appreciate you and view you as a highly-important part of Wikipedia. --Andy Walsh (talk) 22:41, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

I can't add anything to that but cosider this a morale-boosting "ditto" Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:47, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
That was a refreshing post; back atchya, Laser brain! Sasata (talk) 22:52, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I also agree, and thank the reviewers for their sometimes thankless work.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:56, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Hear hear, and thank you Andy. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:00, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Andy. Mike Christie (talk) 23:57, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Group hug! Everyone know the words to Kumbaya? :-) Seriously though. I appreciate peoples' commitment to Wikipedia. • Ling.Nut (talk) 00:22, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Heads up on an interesting thread....

Here at User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Highlighting_problematic_sentences - I think this is a fascinating idea on teh Italian wiki for highlightign exact bits of text --> see Template:Cn-span Casliber (talk · contribs) 00:41, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

That is spooky, I thought about that only yesterday (honest!) I was reading a large section on flying the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, all of it probably correct but completely uncited (could be a copyvio but I couldn't trace it). Our 'cite needed' tags don't seem to be working, maybe something 'louder' would? Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 01:24, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Before I kill the thread I think it should only be visible to logged in editors. Of course it would not apply to Featured Articles because they contain no 'dodgy' information!! I'll get my coat! Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 02:00, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Cites in lead

I've read the Wiki guidelines on cites in the lead but I've also seen comments during FA reviews and I'm now massively confused :-S People on here have occasionally voiced the opinion that the lead should either have cites for everything or no cites at all but the guidelines suggests cites are needed for quotes and "material that is challenged or is likely to be challenged" so which is it? Obviously the latter statement is a bit vague and could be interpreted as "if something needs a cite then it is likely to be challenged therefore cites should be added for everything" but I guess the opposing view is that all the info in the lead should appear in the body and should be cited there so why should information be cited twice. Cavie78 (talk) 12:02, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

I cite quotes in the lead, but that's it. If what the lead summarises is cited within the article's body, job done. Parrot of Doom 12:18, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
When writing articles I've always tended to spend very little time reading guidelines, but considerable time reading other articles that have reached FA status. My practice, FWIW, has always been to cite in the lead only something that is not cited in the main body of the article, and since I've taken a fair number of articles to FA, I guess it's acceptable. Now the lead is supposed to summarise the article as a whole, so when it comes to major ideas, there probably shouldn't ever be a need for something to appear only in the lead and not in the body, meaning you only need citations in the body. However sometimes you have a quote (or in biographies, a nickname) that so neatly summarises the subject that it works best to use it in the lead rather than in the body, and then you need the citation in the lead because it wouldn't appear anywhere else. Likewise, there should be few occasions where you have details in the infobox that don't appear in the prose, but again I've sometimes been in a situation where a biographical subject's nickname seems to belong there alone, so that's where it has to be cited. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:27, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm very much in favour of no cites in the lead as allowed by WP:LEADCITE. I suspect that most casual readers don't get past the lead and it is nice and tidy for them to read (no strange numbers in brackets!). If there are cites in the lead of a Featured Article it indicates a problem elsewhere to me, they are often added by despairing editors after continued changes to the lead by other editors who may not understand the principle. My last FAC nomination partly failed on this point, the reviewer wanted a cite in the lead where the text was clearly cited in the body, I stood my ground and the nom failed. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 12:36, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
In cases like this, I find that putting the reference in as a hidden comment stops fly by citation tagging while still keeping the lead clean. DrKiernan (talk) 12:49, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm with Ian on this one. In technical articles, the first sentence is often a brief definition of the subject, cited to some respected or even official source: it the definition is uncontroversial, it's unlikely to be discussed any further, but if you say "absolutely no refs in the lead" you are preventing readers from learning that a generally accepted definition even exists. Physchim62 (talk) 14:52, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
In Royal Gold Cup I decided in the end to have some information like the measurements in the lead, but not elsewhere, and the lead also had quotes. I cited all this but nothing else. Somebody raised it at FAC & I explained & everyone seemed happy. Johnbod (talk) 14:58, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I think WP:LEADCITE covers it; there will often be more citations in biomed leads than in other types of articles. It depends on the text and the type of article. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:55, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
The sourcing policy is V, and it's a myth that there's an exception for leads. WP:LEADCITE is a guideline, not policy, and even it makes clear that material challenged or likely to be challenged needs a source no matter where it is in the article. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:22, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
It needs a source if it is only in the lead. If, as is usually the case, the matter is gone into in far more detail, with sources, lower down, then most people don't think cites are needed in the lead. Johnbod (talk) 18:54, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that most readers only read the lead, so ideally the material should be cited on first reference. If the aim is to avoid citation clutter, something I have every sympathy for, the citations can be bundled at the end of each paragraph in the lead—between one set of ref tags, so it's just one footnote—making clear in the footnote which reference is for which point. But to leave a lead entirely unsourced is problematic in my view, unless it contains only issues that no one could reasonably challenge. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 18:59, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
If they only read the lead, are they really going to bother looking at notes anyway? Referencing a summary of a complex matter will often lead to over-simplifying, or a raft of citations for one point, which neither of us like. Johnbod (talk) 20:27, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
If you look at this version of the lead at Ludwig Wittgenstein, you'll see how I bundled the sources at the end of each paragraph, explaining which source supported which point. Click on 2, 3, or 4 to see the multiple sources within each footnote. It's the only way I've found so far to include a lot of source material without little blue numbers all over the place. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 20:42, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
These seem to refer mostly to points not covered lower down, which everyone agrees need referencing. Johnbod (talk) 22:10, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
I wish someone would develop a way for us to see how long readers linger on the page, and whether they click on other sections. The technology exists; newspapers have it to judge where to place advertising. My guess is that people read the lead and the references or FR/EL section, and that's mostly it, except with very short articles. How many articles have any of us read on WP that we're not reviewing or editing?
So from that perspective the refs in the lead are very important, and everything should be cited on first reference. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:16, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Well this is where we came in. Software that tracks the path of readers is easily available, though usually it can only tell you the time each viewer spent on a page, where they came from (pagewise) & where they went next, plus a surprising amount of detail on their hardware etc. The average time spent on each page is usually a few seconds. Your belief that after the lead people look at "the references or FR/EL section" seems most unlikely to me. Personally I just look at the pictures. Johnbod (talk) 22:29, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Is that software available for WP articles, do you know? I'd be interested to see it. The only thing I'm aware of is this, but it doesn't break things down into time spent, which is the key issue. Is anyone actually reading the articles, is what I'm wondering. :) SlimVirgin talk|contribs 22:32, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
For small websites Google Analytics (used to be a paid for system till google bought them & made them effectively free) gives more than enough. I'm sure something is already there, or can easily be made so - checkuser probably gets into this area. The problem is handling the massive amount of data, and possibly privacy issues. But it would be interesting to know the average stay time on even a sample of pages. If the techs are asked I suspect some data already exists. The other trouble is you don't know if the user has gone off to watch tv, switched to another window, or is poring over every word. The systems I've used can't I think track cursor movements, just the time spent with the page up, so the last page seen in a session gets a huge figure. Johnbod (talk) 04:24, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
I personally cite everything in the lede, to ensure compliance with WP:V. Jayjg (talk) 02:54, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your input everyone! Think I'm going to stick with citing everything for now. Cavie78 (talk) 23:37, 4 November 2010 (UTC)