Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive50

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Linking non-free content

Hi, I was looking at the FAC Grindcore and there are a number of pieces of non-free content linked in the body of the article, not currently a common practice. Non-free content links are not uncommon in appendices at the end of an article, however the body I consider to be something significantly different, an article can stand on it's own without the appendix, however the body is a different matter. Is this non-free content via the back door, or a clever way to avoid using non-free content in articles? Fasach Nua (talk) 20:32, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

The MOS's line on the matter is "External links should not normally be used in the body of an article. Instead, include appropriate external links in an "External links" section at the end of the article, and in the appropriate location within an infobox, if applicable". When an unfree external link is unavoidable (an illustration which cannot be licensed, is too detailed to upload at low resolution as fair use, but is essential to the understanding of the article, is usually the example used), generally it ought to be done using the {{External media}} template. Without comment regarding this particular article—I haven't looked at it—external links in the body text without using the {{External media}} template would generally be grounds for failure at FAC unless the nominator can justify their inclusion, since they by definition breach the MOS. – iridescent 20:44, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
The wording at Template:External media troubles me, because it's use is supposedly temporary, which creates ... strange issues. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:44, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
The use here appears to be calling out to (agf) appropriately licensed use of the music on external video sites. They appear to be simply examples of this music's genre as opposed to any significantly discussed work. In such cases, they are highly inappropriate - eg they fail WP:ELNO #13 if I had to give a specific reason. If there's something unique about the music or video that is discussed in the context of the article, then the user can upload an appropriate low res sample per NFC. --MASEM (t) 15:04, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

non-breaking space gobbledy in edit mode

I worry that the plusnbspsemicolon gobbledy makes the text that bit more impenetrable to visitors and newbies in edit-mode. That's why I don't add them myself.

Is there an insistence that this string be placed in many places in FACs? In my view, what we need is a short-cut keystroke. Noetica tried to gather momentum for it a while ago, but it seemed difficult. I would like this to be a priority, along with an easy way of inputting a non-breaking hyphen. Until then, could we know what are the high priorities for non-breaking spaces (and the low priorities)? Tony (talk) 14:28, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I would say
  • a single letter word as part of a longer name or title
  • parenthetical abreviations or the like
  • short foreign phrases which use a number of 1-2 letter words.
  • words with more than 3 letters
  • phrases like "episode 25" or "chapter 14"

Jinnai 14:41, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Add "times and dates" to high-priority. – iridescent 14:48, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I buy that "6" at the end of a line can be meaningless until the reader sees it's followed by "January" on the next line. I don't buy that "January" at the end of a line makes a reader think, "Whatever can that mean??" It's true that the "6," at the start of the next line is not visually appealing, but it doesn't slow the reader down. More to the point, I'm not seeing why the WMF servers can't learn not to break a line between "6" and "January" when they render the page ... unless of course the user is surfing on their smartphone, in which case they might well want to allow line breaks wherever possible ... and the servers have that information, we don't. - Dank (push to talk) 18:32, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Linguistic parsing is magnitudes more computationally expensive than most of the other tasks that the Wikimedia parser does already. There are likely a number of "simple" cases that can be incorporated but in general, it does require language knowledge of what's being served. It is better to delegate that to the humans editing the work. If that is going to fall on us, then we need to make sure the cases that nbsp should always be used (and likely where they should never be used) are well-known, and make it as simple as possible to add those in. --MASEM (t) 18:51, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not seeing it. There's no reason the servers have to do it on-the-fly; they can check new edits overnight, and insert non-breaking spaces (invisible to us). It will be a performance gain, not loss, not to have editors pulling up edit screens and laboriously inserting these by hand. And 95% of the cases where we want nbsp's are cut-and-dried: "6 January", "8:00 a.m.". - Dank (push to talk) 18:55, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Dank's earlier statement about the usefulness of the NBSP. I haven't been doing this as long as the others, but I still don't see why there is a need for NBSPs at all. I understand that seeing "28" on one line and then "March" on the other could be confusing, but that goes for almost any combination of words and numbers. For instance, if I was to read on one line "George Washington was the" and then "first president" on the next line, I would understand that the sentence did not end at "the". I don't see why numbers are any different. Personally, I don't use the NBSP unless asked or suggested to, because I have no idea why or where to put them.-RHM22 (talk) 19:10, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with RHM22. I throw them in between a number and a noun, and in times. But I worry about the way the text looks in edit mode and would really prefer a simpler way or not doing them at all, actually.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:59, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
The big ones I worry about are the ones I listed as high. Foreign phrases and single-letter words at the end of a title mostly.Jinnai 21:00, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

FAC challenge! Fun for your whole family!

  • I will personally bestow the barnstar of your choice on anyone who can successfully pass Chinaman's Hat (Port Phillip) through FAC and get the FA star for it. Let the merriment begin! • Ling.Nut (talk) 08:56, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Collapsed comments

For a while now, there's been some discussion over how to make it easier for delegates to determine when reviewers' comments have been addressed. Some of the proposals currently floating around include listing concerns on a FAC's talk page, and then only posting concrete supports/opposes on the main FAC. I know that template use on FAC is discouraged, but would collapsing content via {{Collapse top}} and {{collapse bottom}} be beneficial here? It seems like an elegant way to remove addressed comments from a continuing discussion, while serving as a visual marker that one editor has completed their review. This has been used on Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil, and I think it makes it much easier to determine consensus.
--Gyrobo (talk) 15:46, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

For what its worth, capping is widely used at FLC, and seems to work well there. —WFC— 17:47, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
We went through a phase where it was being widely used here, but then it stopped, so I'm sure there was a discussion at some point. --Andy Walsh (talk) 18:06, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Here's a link to that discussion, and another discussion regarding an automated script for this purpose. I think the main issue back then was the concern that editors would cap the unresolved comments of reviewers. FAC has changed in the last three years, and I think it's certainly worth discussing whether those concerns are still pressing, and whether, given the length of modern commentary, capping has become preferable. --Gyrobo (talk) 18:25, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
This link is also relevant. Sasata (talk) 18:38, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I used them on the Somerset Levels FAC, and SandyGeorgia warned about hitting the transclusion limit on the FAC main page. That may be a reason why it is not used. Reaper Eternal (talk) 18:57, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

The issue with the Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil is that some of the commentary was collapsed by the nominator here as "resolved comments". Now, I was one of the reviewers whose comments s/he collapsed, and I've undone that because despite my declaration being changed to neutral, I still feel the prose could be better, and having the commentary collapsed and marked resolve indicates otherwise. If reviewers want to cap their own commentary, so be it, but having the nominator do so is generally not a good idea. The other issue, and I know this is something Sandy's commented on in the past, is that including lots of templates on FAC pages is a problem. Nikkimaria (talk) 19:03, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Your point about nominators misrepresenting reviewer intent by changing content is the reason I didn't bring this topic up earlier, but Sandy's comments in these diffs ([1], [2]) implies that it is, in fact, the responsibility of nominators to alter commentary to better enable delegates to gauge consensus. I don't have an issue capping or transferring resolved reviews to a FAC talk page, or just leaving the commentary where it lies if that's what reviewers want; but if I'm being told that inaction on my part will lead to archiving, it suddenly becomes a no-win situation, and I'm likely to err on the side of what I think the delegates want. --Gyrobo (talk) 19:12, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Gyrobo. As long as the discussion is actually over, I see no problem to allow nominators to collapse content. Obviously, as long as he/she does not edit, change or modify other editors' messages. A good example can be seen at Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil: the version with collapsed content (here) is far easier to read and understand than the one without (here). --Lecen (talk) 19:32, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
To Nikkimaria: I sent you a mesage to your talk page (Here: [3]) asking you to give any further comments, suggestions or criticisms to the article. All you did was to change your vote to "neutral" (here: [4]). Since you declined to point out what is wrong with the article I considered that you don't want to dicuss the matter anymore. --Lecen (talk) 19:36, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I've replied to your most recent message at my talk page. The discussion here should probably be kept more general; my point in raising that specific FAC (beyond that it was raised above) was to point out that allowing capping can be a problem when someone other than the reviewer caps said reviewer's comments. Nikkimaria (talk) 21:11, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
That's really the crux of the problem. We have reviewers saying "nominators, don't mess with my comments!" and delegates saying "nominators, you need to keep your FACs in order!" The status quo isn't working, and the role of nominators in maintaining reviewers' commentary needs to be explicitly defined. --Gyrobo (talk) 21:21, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
There can also be problems where an issue is raised and adressed to the satisfaction of the reviewer, but without the article actually being changed. If that is collapsed, later reviewers may raise the same issue again. Personally, I don't like collapsing, except for long lists of very specific little points. Johnbod (talk) 21:28, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
To Gyrobo: I got this one from Sandy too (here: [5]).
To Nikkimaria: What you wrote in your talk page has nothing to with what has been discussed so far. You implied here that you wanted to make more comments in the nomination page and I abruptly prevented you from doing it. I still haven't seen any more remarks from you there. Does that means that you're done there? --Lecen (talk) 21:31, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
To Johnbod: How is possible to have the same issue raised by another reviewer if collapsing would be used only after the discussion about the subject was over and resolved? --Lecen (talk) 21:34, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
As I said, when the matter is "resolved" without the article changing - eg if the nominator pursuades the reviewer no change is needed, as very often happens. In fact several reviewers often raise the same point which the nominator resists. Johnbod (talk) 04:51, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
Lecen, my latest comment, the reply to your question about why I undid your collapse. As to "how is it possible...", I'll give you an example: say someone wanted to add an "In popular culture" section to an article at FAC. The nominator explains why they don't want to do that, the reviewer agrees that their explanation makes sense, and the issue is resolved. Now, supposing that discussion is collapsed (since the discussion is apparently over), but a week later another reviewer comes along and asks about adding an "In popular culture" section. I think that sort of situation is an example of what Johnbod mentions (although he can correct me if I'm wrong). Nikkimaria (talk) 21:48, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant. Johnbod (talk) 04:52, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Johnbod - reviewers don't always read the capped portions, so it's easy to repeat a point already raised. I do strike points when they're resolved to my satisfaction, and when I see strikes on a review I tend to ignore them but if I think information might be there that I need, I'll try to read through the strikes. I'm not sure I'd take the time to uncap everything (but then I'm always multitasking). Anyway, I think the status quo is fine. Sometimes the list gets long and nominators have to wait a long time. I think we all have to understand that the delegates have to review all the reviews and all the articles - last week there were about 50 articles waiting to be looked at. That is an enormous job for a volunteer to undertake in a single day. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 22:22, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to see subsection headings used for longer review pages, which become difficult to navigate without them. Headers using the name of the reviewer would be sufficient; then when that reviewer was satisfied, they could note at the top of the section that their issues were resolved, perhaps using the resolved tag as an AN/I. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 22:27, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Subsections would definitely be an improvement. It would help me, as a nominator, determine whose comments I'm addressing, and who I still need to address. --Gyrobo (talk) 03:05, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree also; simply giving each reviewer their own subheader would make FACs much more organized. Ucucha 04:56, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I like the subheader idea better than the collapsed comments. I also think that some might simply collapse the comments when they don't agree with the reviewer comments. Subhears would help organize the FACs but would not obscure the comments and responses.-RHM22 (talk) 20:38, 25 March 2011 (UTC)
I prefer collapsed comments. It makes things much easier to scan quickly and see what unresolved issues there are. subsectioning won't help that. However, I do think subsections should be allowed for long reviews (collapsed or not), but for technical reasons. Editing large sections on some slightly older computers can be quite difficult due to lag issues. I've experienced this myself on systems with slower CPUs and lower amounts of free memory.Jinnai 02:34, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Templates cause the FAC archives to exceed Wikipedia:Template limits, which then causes the archives to drop FACs from the bottom of the list. When one FAC starts using them, it's not long before all of them do, so I try to nip them in the bud whenever I see them. Generally, if your comments are so long they need to be capped, they might have been better placed on talk or at peer review. At FAC, we should be determining if articles meet FA crit, not rewriting them to meet the criteria. SlimVirgin's suggestion is workable for very long FACs, but not necessary for most. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:50, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

But whose responsibility is it to determine whether commentary has become long enough that it should be moved? If a single editor's review takes up an entire vertical screen, and has been resolved, would it be against WP:EQ for a nominator to move it to the talk page? The current arrangement has been to place the burden of managing reviewer comments entirely on the reviewers themselves, but your edit summaries made it seem like nominators need to be more active. --Gyrobo (talk) 13:49, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
I am no template expert, but I wonder if there are ways around this. For example, I noticed ExpandTemplates; I don't know if that's applicable here. Also, according to WP:Template limits, there are ways of working with templates to avoid complexity, so perhaps the collapsible comment templates can be reconstructed in a way that is more parsimonious with regard to the limits. If any template expert is reading this, perhaps they can comment; I'll also post a query to Geometry guy, who is very knowledgeable in this area.
I also want to mention that I recently experimented on several FACs with putting my comments on the talk page; the FACs are Maya (M.I.A. album), Rosendale trestle, HMS Speedy (1782), Sacagawea dollar, and 2010 Bowl, if anyone wants to see what it looked like. One nominator moved the comments back to the main FAC page, thinking it was a mistake on my part. None of the nominators objected, though perhaps some of them had reservations they didn't voice. Sandy indicated on one FAC it was a benefit to her to do it that way. However, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the experiment myself; it seemed like extra work for the nominator to have to go back and forth between the nominations page and the talk page, for one thing. A worse issue is that in looking through a FAC, I expect to be able to gauge progress by glancing through it, without necessarily reading all the details. If everyone were to post comments to the talk page and wait to update status on the main FAC page until the comments were dealt with, the FAC page could become quite uninformative of status; and I could see that FAC readers (including the delegates) might find themselves needing to skip back and forth between the FAC page and the talk page. I think some form of collapsible comments, if the technical issues can be resolved, would be a much better solution. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 14:25, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Additionally, we have people using all kinds of other templates (collapse isn't the only one). Gimmetrow investigated the template problem way-back-when, and knows what the problem was. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:45, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

@ Gyrobo, when a reviewer places lengthy comments on the FAC, and then caps them, the nominator can ask them if they can instead move them to the talk page of the FAC, which leaves a cleaner FAC. As long as a link is provided to the FAC talk page, where I can read the resolved commentary and convince myself it was a thorough review, this is preferable for me, and cleans up the FAC to encourage subsequent review. Nominators should not be moving commentary to talk without agreement from the reviewer, but neither should reviewers be capping commentary, causing a template limits problem. Nominators need to resolve this so I can avoid doing all the bookkeeping. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:48, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

Moving a longer discussion to the talk page will only make everything more complicated. So now anyone who has the interest of looking at a FAC has to search in two different places? Collapsing comments will simplify and organize a FAC. Anyone who wants to see User X's comments will only need to make on click instead of looking around on sub-sections or even in the talk page. Lastly, no one would use collapsing to hide comments from someone who does not agree with the nominator. You can't "cheat" a nomination without everyone knowing it. --Lecen (talk) 15:11, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you missed the part about how if everyone collapses their comments, we have issues with going over the template limits for pages? Ealdgyth - Talk 15:22, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I saw it. But we need to evolve. We can not stick to the same standards as 6 years ago. --Lecen (talk) 16:09, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, until someone "evolves" the Wiki software template limit, I have to spend a lot of useless bookeeping time removing templates before I can archive FACs. And that's not all-- not only do I often have to resolve caps, I also have to check according to whom something is "done" when editors go through and stick done templates onto a reviewer commentary without signature and by appending them to the reviewer commentary. The only way to sort that mess is to step back through the diffs on each FAC-- time spent that I could be reading articles. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:13, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Guilty. ^^ —  HELLKNOWZ  ▎TALK 17:56, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
Perfect :) As long as you leave a link, this results in a cleaner FAC, and less discouragement for subsequent reviewers, with no template problems. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:03, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

As a test, I just added 100 collapse top/bottom templates to the FAC I currently have going, saved that, went to WP:FAC page, and there was no message about exceeding a template limit. According to WP:Template limits one can see how close one is getting to the limit by looking at the HTML source; I did that both before and after and the "expensive parser count" did not change between the two versions; it was 2/500 in both versions. If this test is accurate (and someone else should try it, just to be safe), it would seem that the collapse template, for whatever reason, isn't expensive enough to trigger this problem. So shouldn't we be able to use this template? We might still want to ban other templates that do cause problems, of course. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:46, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

You're doing unnecessary work-- Gimmetrow knows exactly what the problem is and what causes it. If I recall, it had something to do with transclusions causing multiple copies of each template, so that you won't see the problem on any given FAC, but Gimme knows the exact problem, and attempting to reproduce it isn't a good use of time (in other words, no need to dispute the problem, since we know it exists). Also, you don't get an error message-- files just drop off of our archive pages, with no explanation. Someone might search the talk page archives here for when it first happened, and Gimme explained why. What you did will not duplicate the issue. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:54, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

I still haven't located the original discussion where Gimmetrow explained the problem (it could be FAC talk archives, my talk archives, or Gimme's talk archives)-- so far, the earliest mention I've found is here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:09, 26 March 2011 (UTC)

The issue is not the "expensive parser count" (which is rarely a problem as very few templates use expensive parser functions like #ifexists, and in most of the cases I know the template is substituted, which eliminates the problem). The problem is the "post-expand include size" (which I will abbreviate as PeIS). I took the PeIS of the current FAC page ;) and obtained:
NewPP limit report
Preprocessor node count: 1828/1000000
Post-expand include size: 645624/2048000 bytes
Template argument size: 1513/2048000 bytes
Expensive parser function count: 2/500
Each individual FAC page is transcluded like a template onto WP:FAC, which makes the PeIS of WP:FAC quite large. Fortunately the maximum PeIS (2048000 bytes/characters) is large enough that the total content of FACs would have to more than triple to break the limit. You got it easy here compared to WP:PR, which operates close to the limits regularly (current PeIS: 1432316/2048000).
The problem with templates is that they contribute disproportionately to the PeIS, due to a bug in the mediawiki software in which a transclusion within a transclusion counts "double". For example each raw use of {{collapse top}} and {{collapse bottom}} on an individual FAC page adds about 326 bytes to the PeIS of the individual FAC page, but almost twice that to WP:FAC. If editors add a section header then the length of that header is added to once to the PeIS of the individual FAC, and twice to the PeIS of WP:FAC.
To evaluate the size of the problem, suppose there are 40 reviews, with an average of 10 collapsed comments per review, and about 74 characters (=bytes) of section header in each. That adds about (40 * 10) * (2 * (326+74)) = 320000 bytes to the PeIS of WP:FAC.
This doesn't seem to me to be large enough to cause a problem on its own, and it could be that other templates were more responsible for past problems. For example it is a complete disaster to use {{collapse}} or {{hidden}} to collapse comments, because these templates read in the entire content of the review, thus doubling contribution of the review to the PeIS of WP:FAC: editors should only use the "top/bottom" versions of these templates for extended content.
As a final suggestion, the contribution of collapse templates to the PeIS could easily be halved by using template substitution. Both {{subst:collapse top}} and {{subst:collapse bottom}} are templates which can be substituted. Then the template code (basically wikicode for a collapsible table) would contribute only once to the PeIS of WP:FAC. Geometry guy 04:08, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation; that's very useful. I went back to look at the old collapsible sections to see what template was being used; I found that here, for example, it was {{hidden}}, which is like {{collapse}} in that it puts the entire contents of the collapsed section in the template, which leads to the higher PeIS.
The FAC page can get as large as fifty or more candidates, though the delegates get more aggressive about archiving at that point. I think a more conservative estimate would be 55 candidates, with 10 collapsed comments each. That would be 645,624 * 55/40 for the base page size, which is 887,733; then (55 * 10) * (2 * (326+74)) = 440,000 for the additional PeIS due to the templates. The total size would then be 1,327,733. That's still less than two thirds of the limit, and I think that's a fairly conservative calculation.
It occurs to me that if we decide to do this it would be hard to tell by glancing through a FAC whether a nominator had used an "approved" (i.e. low-PeIS) template. Perhaps a way around that would be to have slightly modified versions of these templates that have some easy way to identify them -- "OK for FAC" in small letters in the collapsed header, for example. Then readers of the FACs could easily see if an "expensive" template were being used. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:21, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
This sounds like a good idea. Note that we can't change the existing collapse templates: the slight modification ("Is the transclusion of this template at FAC?; if so print a message") is possible, but costly in terms of template size, and not all of Wikipedia revolves around FAC. Slightly modified and approved collapse templates can, however, be made immediately identifiable, for example by using the FAC blue instead of the standard green. Geometry guy 01:20, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Gimme had explained it differently, but yes, basically the problem was that transclusions within transclusions count double, and we have editors persisting in using all kinds of templates at FAC. Also, it's not only the size of the FAC page that matters-- it's the size of archives. When I first discovered the problem it was because some of our featured articles were disappearing from the featured archive. The long and short of it is that there are just about no templates that are helpful at FAC (I do add the red color on FFAs), so I don't know why we want to use them. Very long commentary on FACs is still very long even if it's hidden, still discouraging to subsequent reviewers, still adds to the page load time, and still indicative that the article might not have been ready for FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:35, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

I hadn't realized you felt that capping would be unhelpful even if it were permitted -- I think the delegates' opinions need to carry extra weight in an issue like this. I'd also like to hear from Andy and Karanacs (and Raul, if he wants to weigh in). The FAC reviewers' opinion also counts, of course, and from the discussion above there are some (Gyrobo, Lecen, Jinnai) who would like to see capping, and some (Johnbod, Truthkeeper, RHM22) who would not. So there's not a clear consensus in favour of allowing capping, but nor is there one in favour of forbidding it; I think the current rules derive from the template limits issue and not from a consensus on whether capping is beneficial or harmful.
I took a look at the archives; we haven't had an featured log in years with more than 55 articles. The largest I was able to find (without looking at every single one) was January 2008, which had 82; if every single FAC in that list had had ten collapsed comments it would have exceeded the template limits. I checked the PeIS and in fact it would have been OK with three collapsed comments per FAC, but no more (though there were many fewer long reviews back then). However, that may not be relevant since we don't plan to go back to old logs; the question is how many articles are we likely to see in future logs.
I suggest that we deal with this as two separate questions -- is it technically feasible to use collapse templates in the FAC page without causing us to hit the template limits problem? And if so, do we want to? I think the answer to the first question is very likely yes. I don't have a strong opinion on the second question. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 14:16, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
So my question is, when commentary belongs so excessively long that capping is required, why aren't reviewers just Opposing? The Oppose is underused at FAC, which contributes to the backlog. And then there's the issue of having to step back through diffs to see who capped what and whether it was done appropriately ... but then, I should know by now we can't force editors to read instructions, no matter what we decide. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:43, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Well getting to long because of problems is one thing; getting to long because of a discussion on a disagreement between the reviewer and the nominator is another.Jinnai 23:35, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Mike Christie left a message for me. GeomGuy seems to have explained the technical issue with inclusion limits. WP:FAC is made of review pages included as templates, so everything on a review page counts toward the include limit of WP:FAC. As I recall, some people were using a collapse template that put the collapsed text as one of the parameters, such as {{hidden}} - such text was counted twice, once for the collapse template and once for the review inclusion. Collapsing lengthy comments could quickly cause WP:FAC to hit the inclusion limit. That may have changed, but I don't think so. Collapse templates that don't use parameters, or only use a parameter for a brief caption, should be much less costly as suggested by the above analysis. Gimmetoo (talk) 15:11, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

My view is that we should not let technical issues affect process decisions, and that a blanket ban on templates is akin to a ban on extended review comments. However, we should, per Gimmetrow's comments, not be wasteful.
I support Sandy's general point that FAC is primarily intended as a summative review, rather than a formative one. However, justifications for supports and opposes are vital, not only for decision-makers: a good review can bring some articles up to standard very quickly, and feedback helps to improve the encyclopedia.
Detailed reviews add more to the PeIS than most templates, despite the bug (if a template is small, then twice small is still small).
The thing to avoid is wastefulness: expensive templates can be removed or replaced by cheaper ones; self-indulgent reviews or arguments over reviews can be moved to the talk page. Such changes improve the quality of the review as well as saving space. Geometry guy 00:56, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I've tried using subsections at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/La Stazione/archive1, does that make it more readable? It certainly makes it easier for me to see how many editors have participated, and respond to each reviewer on a per-section basis. --Gyrobo (talk) 01:10, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
It makes it easier to tell how many reviewers/commenters you have and probably easier to edit, but as far as making it easier to tell what, if any unresolved issues whether those who support/oppose have good reasons it doesn't do much. There are still long sections there where its unclear what's been resolved and what hasn't. That's why I still prefer collapsed comments. It makes it easier not only for the closer, but also other reviewers. If I see something somehad took issue with, I might respond to it and agree or disagree, but if its buried under a bunch of clutter it makes it less likely I'll see it.Jinnai 02:37, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Collapsed comments do not make it clearer (to delegates) what has been resolved. Neither collapsed comments nor section headings shorten the review or help load time, although they do improve readability. If reviewers aren't going to oppose, entering commentary on talk is what improves readability and load time. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:19, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

German Wikipedia TFA

Today it is SuicideGirls. Hey, I was over there for an interwiki link; I buy it for the articles ...--Wehwalt (talk) 15:32, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

With the intials "SG" ... lovely, just lovely. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:20, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I like the Commons category: Category:SuicideGirls Lol! Looks like if you need a photo for "illustration purposes", there's plenty to choose from.  :-P   – VisionHolder « talk » 03:38, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
We should have coordinated with them and finally got that FA pornstar off our backs Umm. Our hands. No, away from us? Um, well, never mind, then.--Wehwalt (talk) 05:30, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

New tool of potential use to reviewers

Copied from WT:FA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:56, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Please forgive the spam (I'm also posting about this to WT:DYK and WP:GA), but there's a new tool that I think reviewers may find useful in helping determine if copyright issues exist in articles: Duplication Detector. It compares an article with another page, including PDFs. It has little bells and whistles, such as permitting you to omit quotations or eliminate numbers. And it lists its output by priority. Mind you, it can't catch some close paraphrasing, since it relies on strings of duplicated text and the default setting of 2 words in tandem will generally need to be adjusted (I myself use 4 or 5, depending). Too, it can't eliminate uncreative content, such as job titles. Human evaluation is still need there.

There is also a template that goes with it, {{dupdet}}, if you'd like to link to its findings. For an example of this in action on a real issue, {{dupdet|Andrei Silard|}} produces Duplication Detector report. This example is not likely to be with us long (unless permission is provided). :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:22, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Nice. I ran it on some of today's DYKs and found it easy to use:
but, found the usual greater frustrations at DYK about the quality of articles and sources there. Hopefully this tool will help them get their house in order. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:05, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

How long?

How long does an editor need to wait after a failed FAC before he/she can again nominate for FA status? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:24, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Two weeks (and, more importantly, until all the issues brought up in the previous FAC have been resolved). Ucucha 03:33, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm planning to re-nominate an article :) (talk) 04:17, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

Disagree with complaints on review pages being long

I hear this frustration from Sandy with the review pages being long, but I think that is more a complaint of the tool we are using (single page sans sections) or perhaps of the higher review standards now then what she was used to before or perhaps the way delegates do their work. But the articles themselves are WAY better than they were years ago. I mean sure, I feel the pain of the delegates doing the work, but the real consideration is are we producing good articles or not.

For one, it's completely NORMAL in an academic setting to have pretty long reviews, even multiple ones. MAybe it looks ugly and is hard if reading down a long page, but then let's think about how to change the process to subpages. Or perhaps allocate articles to specific editors (this is completely normal in academia, even if OMFG strange here).

Also, the level of work done here and the level of review intensity has gone up. Do we really want to go back to some old system with a bunch of "votes" on it? To me a substantive review, that the author adresses means a lot more than a vote (even with a quick rationale). I don't really even need to see the vote from the reviewer although it's interesting and a little additive. But the main thing is how relevant was the review crit and was it adressed. Also realize that a lot of what is going on here is wrestling with prose (not substance) and as just takes room. Also, given reviewers often have incorrect opinions on matters of style and are generally not that much better than the writers (not professional copyeditors), not sure that some dismissive fail from a reviewer, that is not substantiated makes sense. Have seen reviewers with opinions try to drive an issue and not even know the MOS policy or AP stylebook or the like. Also, most reviewers have some hesitancy to copyedit the article while reviewing it since they might be wrong, since the author might disagree, since the thing needs someone managing it (the author).

I mean I transfer my comments to talk page immediately, so what's the complaint? Why is that a problem for the delegate? I mean even something like Wehwalt's stuff, I still pick at it and find a bunch of comments. I talked to one of the best turtle researchers in the world to review my FA and she said it takes her about 8 hours to do a review of a science paper. That's just normal...and you can bet she will have a long list of comments. And really her time spent engaging with the content seems the bigger concern, not the time of the editor who sees a long review come in. (Or the author who has to engage with it.)

Maybe think outside the allocate the articles. Or have delegates do quick fails (on their own skim of the article, not a part of the consensus process....can still have consensus later in the process. But if you can spot the ones that have no business at FA, then clear them out immediately and accomplish the objective of having reviewers concentrate on the feasible articles. (This is also very normal in academia, not every paper to Science even goes out for review). Or do pages or sections or "files" of correspondance somehow (not sure exactly, just saying a different process than bolding support or oppose, which is an RFA thing anyway, might make more sense.)

TCO (talk) 02:50, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

All that said, I agree Parkinson and Galapagos were spotty when they came to FA. Maybe we need a two stage process or review peer review or something.TCO (talk) 02:57, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that clearly ill-prepared articles are being carried too long, clogging the page, sapping reviewer time, and FAC is being used as peer review. And why delegates can't "quick fail"-- I'll give you a concrete example-- Parkinson's. Garrondo is an excellent medical editor whose articles are comprehensive and correctly researched and cited and well organized, but he has mentioned his prose issues numerous times in the past and frequently requests and accepts help with prose, acknowledging that is a problem for him. That FAC received a prose endorsement from a respected prose reviewer when it was still in very rough shape, before other editors cleaned it up (it was carried an additional three weeks at FAC after the prose endorsement, during which time the prose issues were cleaned up). How do you expect me to overrule a respected prose reviewer and archive a FAC from an editor who competently researches and comprehensively writes articles, but needs help with prose, when a prose expert endorsed it? FAC decisions are never cut-and-dry; there are many factors to be considered, but line-by-line prose review shouldn't be happening at FAC, and FACs with incorrect citations shouldn't be lingering for seven weeks. I don't care how long any given FAC is-- I can read through those. I do care that the page is backlogged and reviewer time is sapped when ill-prepared FACs are lingering for months. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:55, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I agree, but some editors will fix things very quickly, and some won't. Maybe delegates need to be more brutal with those who have issues & let them sit after being pointed out. Clearly peer review is not working well at present. Maybe there could be a FAC "more work needed" area where those with many issues could be sent to be worked on, off the main list. If they get improved they can be restarted on the main list, if not, not. Johnbod (talk) 15:12, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
As someone involved in submitting about one article to FAC per year, I'm becoming more familiar with the pitfalls in the process. However, as an editor, my writing style can be technical and occasionally hard to understand. I use the GA process to help out with that, and in the case of the Numerical weather prediction article, we did get substantial comments from a couple reviewers before FAC, a de facto peer review. It has been quite difficult in making the article less techinical and more understandable to lay people because of the topic, but we have had a bit of help during FAC...moreso than any of my previous FAC experiences. Plus, there are reasonably good copy editors in wikipedia who just don't care to score "points" by taking articles through GAN and FAC, insisting that the processes are not true peer review and living as wikipedia outlaws (if you will), waiting until AFTER FAC, GAN, and peer review to spout comments like "this article is terrible," or "how is this a good/featured article?" I have gotten the impression over the years that it does not matter much to go through the peer review process, because my previous experience has involved few human comments, and a few from automated bots. Things may have changed in the past year or two though. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:58, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I actually threw Parkinson under the bus just because trusting you, but I beleive you, that it was not ready. I think more leadership, less consensus will work fine. (And sure you will make mistakes, so what. It's a process.) I don't think it would be wise to tell reviewers to stop writing thorough reviews or trying to save pieces. The process is negative enough as it is, and has enough aspects of reviewers objecting without specifics. If reviewers are willing to engage with a flawed piece than so be it. I would probably much rather whip Parkinson into shape that go over some template-driven FA on a 1950s storm that did not hit land, questionaably noteworthy NY synogague, or a bus stop!

I wonder if going to the tit-for-tat review system might drive some more helpful, random reviewing by qualified reviewers. As it is now, I'm basically just going to review stuff where I have gotten reviews from someone or am involved in the topic. And I seek out reviews (we're basically being asked to do's not like you all are producing the reviewers the way an editor at a journal would do it). Sure, I'm going to look for people who can really look at the thing well and find things to fix (but I'm going to blow off people that are negative, IMO, but not constructive, like 56skiddoo fellow). And when someone asks me for a review, I will do my best to give it a thorough crit, just as I would in the work world, regardless of being buds with them. But the system does run a danger of people pulling punches for friends. Maybe if we had random assigned reviews (probably unworkable, but you get the idea). Or even if we had the tit for tat system, I would be a little more likely to review something unusual for me, since at least I'm getting my box cleared. But voluntarily slugging through an article that doesn't interest me, just to make the wiki better? Don't think so. I figure I'm giving enough by putting skull sweat against the unpaid, unattributed articles I write.

TCO (talk) 18:41, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, reviewing things you're not interested in is part of the process. If everyone only reviewed interesting things, there would either be a lot less featured articles because good ones about niche topics would fall through the cracks, or there would be a ton of low quality articles because people are generally more forgiving about mistakes if its a topic they're interested in. For instance, I reviewed an article about a Miley Cyrus tour. I found it excruciatingly boring, not because it was poorly written, but because I personally have absolutely no interest in Hannah Montana. However, because I don't have any interest in the subject, I was probably more likely to point out mistakes than I would have been if it has been an article on something interesting.-RHM22 (talk) 18:53, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Well imo the review process can be too lengthy. It's causing an issue for me currently (see above. Going to PR doesn't help because the articles are of such high calibur no one wants to touch them except for spot copyediting, if that. There are also issues I can only address here with editors because they only matter for the criteria, specifically with justifiying exceptions and the like which can only be done through a formal process currently.Jinnai 18:54, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I AGREE that reviewing things you are not familiar with, even learning to review more, can develop you as a writer and even benefit the project overall, by cross-fertilizing insights. I'm just looking for a way to make that happen more (I don't know the answer, but I suspect tit-for-tat would help). Yeah, you may get a few marginal reviews by someone new to FA, but still...if they are an FA submitter, I trust them to be somewhat helpful, and they will learn, and the delegate can take it into account if it is Wehwalt-Malleus or some newbie. What we don't need more of is the RFA hoi polloi coming in (nothing against them, it just doesn't drive good work product and is too much a distraction to the authors). In academia, you would be requested by an editor and would do it since you want to stay in good with the editor.TCO (talk) 19:28, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm unsympathetic with a complaint from authors that the review notes are too long. It's way more work for a writer to write an article, or even for a reviewer to parse a submitted article and compose the review, than for the author to read a long review. And longish reviews are not uncommon in academia.TCO (talk) 19:28, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm pretty new at FAC, but I don't really see any problem with the current system other than lack of reviews. While a tit-for-tat system might generate some extra reviews, I think it might either discourage submissions or lead to super quick "support" or "oppose" reviews from someone who just wants to get through it as quickly as possible. It's a good system for DYK, because those articles are very easy to review and it's also easy to prove that someone has reviewed it properly. With FACs, that's a lot different. A good FAC review takes at least a half an hour, and that's if it's already well written and you don't need to point out a lot of mistakes. Perhaps a project like the GOCE would be a good idea. There could be some sort of organized group that reviews FACs and awards each other barnstars for work well done. In my opinion, the best way to go about it is to think like a beehive. Certain Wikipedians doing certain things. While I mostly create and improve articles to nominate for FAC, I will review an FAC sometimes to help cut down on the workload But review way more than they submit, and sometimes just review and don't submit at all.-RHM22 (talk) 19:47, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I think the system works pretty well, other than the pain for Sandy. I agree that peer review is broken and that pseudo peer review upgrading within FA is value-added and probably makes sense given how high the bar has gone for content to get "published" as featured.TCO (talk) 20:20, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Personally, I think FA writers are a lot LESS likely to gaff off a review than DYK submitters. They have already proven that they are thoughtful and go in depth by doing an FA versus doing DYK rackemup video game. Also, the DYK process is working fine with tit for tat. Just because "we never did it that way at FA" is not a reason not to look at new ways. I mean we never had FLs on the front page before, we didn't have plus signs on GAs, the list goes on. ;-) And in any case, the delegate can discount non thoughtful reviewers. Or even not give them credit for fulfilling their obligation. Besides that, Sandy likes short reviews!  ;) Plus, I think it would be good for some FA submitters to be pushed a bit and learn to review (by doing it, as we learn most things). And maybe I'm an oddity but I would be more likely to knock some reviews out if it felt like part of my way of being in FA, than when it is just completely optional. And it would not stop me from doing more. Heck, might get me involved more. TCO (talk) 20:20, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I like the DYK tit-for-tat program, I just don't think it would work for FA since there is a lot more involved. Like I said earlier, DYK reviewing is a five minute process, while a quality FAC review takes in excess of thirty minutes for even the highest caliber articles. One thing that could be done is to allow authors to post an extra FAC if they review two others. That way, they can start the first one without doing anything extra, but if they want another they'd have to review two existing nominations.-RHM22 (talk) 20:28, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, we don't do cursory, not only because we are committed to the process, but because we have reputations we want to keep all sparkly. When LaserBrain or Sandy goes through FAC and reads my review, I don't want them to think I mailed it in.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:30, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Bingo :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:16, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm. It would be interesting to go back through our reviews and see how reliable each of us tends to be; how many failed FACs have we supported and how many successful FACs have we opposed. Although I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that SandyG already has a spreadsheet for that. Malleus Fatuorum 22:11, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Did it once, years ago-- now I just keep it in my grey matter (FWIW :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:16, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Both have happened to me. I would worry if it never happened, it would mean I was playing it much too safe.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:38, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Everyone misses occasionally, and sometimes more often-- that is not a problem, we don't want to be so perfectionist that we discourage review or declarations of support or oppose-- back when I did the spreadsheet, I found that some reviewers missed regularly. They've all moved on :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:18, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
I thought I was going to be opposing every single RFA (just with different levels of opposeyness), but just got supports for Fae and Vastolineywhatverhernames.TCO (talk) 01:16, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

As an involved editor (main editor in Parkinson's disease): I would not discuss the controversy over its promotion, I would only ask people to stop using it as an example since as Sandy said it was far from being an easy case: while several experienced editors agreed it was worth being FA another(s) was strongly against it and little by little even that reviewer was finally convinced: consequence of this was a very long review. What I do agree is with editors above saying that steps before FAC are not really that helpful: In the case of Parkinson's disease it received a really long GAN from an expert, I also asked at the medicine and neuroscience projects for help (with not that much response) before FAC and only reason why I did not go for peer review is because in my experience with similar articles (long, important articles) response is really scarce and quite unhelpful. Truth is that at this point excellence can only be reached over a FAC review with both reviewers and main editor cooperating. If either reviewers or editors are not willing to do it then FAC will loose much of its sense: simply to say if an article fullfills FA criteria hardly improves the encyclopedia and we should remember that is why we are here. On the other hand I also agree with those above that said that it is not the same to review (or write) an article on a street that an article with over a 10k visits each day and 10.k peer-reviewed articles on it: it is far easier to do not agree on the weight of a line or a reference, on the depht of language or coverage... FAC for Parkinson's disease or other similar high impact articles is probably not that long when taking that into account. Quite probably it simply requires more effort from every one involved (reviewers and editors) no matter the work that has been put in it before getting here. --Garrondo (talk) 07:54, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

  • I haven't looked at PR in a very long while. I used to think PR did a good job, or at least a notable few of its participants did... Has it gone downhill? But I suppose that's actually irrelevant. The main point is that difficult topics (like Parkinson's and many, many others) somehow need to get many eyes on it before it is ready to get a stamp of approval. And the second point is <begin rant> reviewers are inadvertently letting the nominators down if they do not engage their brains when reading a text, and approach its deeper contents critically. I... gosh, I'm a broken record, but "factoid soup" see (either of my current user pages, argh) is what results from a purely surface check... so we get articles that are correct, but incomprehensible. I am not ragging on all reviewers; many are excellent. But I have seen... cases where no one at all asked the hard question, "Can this be made more comprehensible? Have simple concepts been explained simply, whenever possible?" And so on. I dunno if I have explained myself well at all. I think people think they are reading critically when in fact they are only mole-whacking surface erros errors (which is very important as well, but is not sufficient). </end rant>  – Ling.Nut 08:09, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Commenting here as someone who has been doing reviews recently (after not really doing that many before then). I've been worried that some of my more detailed reviews have veered too much towards peer review-type reviews, and want to unpack here some thoughts on this, which will hopefully end up in my user space at some point as a guide to myself and to those responding to any reviews I do. I'll lay out my basic approach below, which should make clear why I think long reviews are sometimes needed (at whatever level):

  • I'm not comfortable ever supporting an article at a review process unless I have read the entire article closely. Sometimes several times over several days. Because I do multiple close readings (or try to - some of the later readings will be skimming the text, rather than reading it closely, but I always aim do at least one close reading of the text), this means that I often pick up various minor issues along with the major ones that I try and look out for, especially the need to take a step back and consider the overall shape and balance of the article (see what Ling Nut said above).
  • When I spot a fair number of errors at the copyediting level on my first pass, I mention them in the detailed review rather than correct them myself. The reason for this is to flag this up for other reviewers and to make the point to the nominator that whatever copyediting has been done hasn't picked up everything. If I find further things on my later readings, I try and just correct them myself.
  • When looking down the list at FAC, I try and pick out articles in areas that I'm moderately familiar with (mainly science and history topics, but also articles that catch my interest as a reader as well). Whatever the article, I approach it with the "general reader" in mind, looking for overly technical language, or anything that breaks the flow of my reading by requiring me to detour excessively to other articles, or sentence constructions that requires me to re-read the text to ascertain the meaning (Ling Nut also mentions the technical accessibility point above).
  • I do think that those who regularly do reviews should seek feedback from fellow reviewers and those who write articles. It also helps to participate in more than one review process (e.g. FAC, GA, peer review, WikiProject-specific reviews, and also FAR as well, to get a feel for how standards have changed). I haven't yet managed to do more reviews at peer review (though I've done one or two recently), and I've never done a GA review, though I intend to do so soon.
  • Limited comments or spot checks - I sometimes do limited comments if I spot a small area in an article that catches my interest or that I know something about part of an article from my reading elsewhere. For obvious reasons, I don't support or oppose after these sort of comments, but I hope they help. Spot checks is something I'm not sure I'd even be able to do, as I tend to get drawn further and further into an article and end up reviewing and chekcing the whole thing anyway.
  • Specialised reviews (images, external links, sources, etc): these are valuable, and I think anyone intending to do lots of reviewing should become familiar with these and try and help out where possible. It would help to have some way to 'train' in these sort of reviews, as it can be quite intimidating to try and help out and get things wrong, and/or to think help is not needed because others are doing it, when they might actually appreciate some help.
  • Reviewing approach - while the main aim should be to assess in terms of the FA/GA criteria (or whatever criteria are in place), I think it does help if regular and specialised reviewers take the time to write a short summary in their user space about their approach to reviewing and what they look for, and what they expect from nominators and those working on an article (this helps iron out problems with revisiting a review and reasons for opposes/fails for articles not ready for that level of review yet). It also helps to keep a list of reviews somewhere, as if you do lots it can be easy to lose track and forget to go back to one or two of them - I would hope that if I forget to return to a review, that the nominator or a FAC delegate would feel free to leave a reminder on my user talk page (which would be followed by profuse apologies from me). Personally, I also try and follow up on the nominator's talk page or the article talk page if a review is archived, and sometimes also following promotion as well. Looking at the approaches taken by other reviewers also helps as well (especially if they take the time to summarise their approach on a subpage of their userspace).
  • The reviews I have participated in in recent months are: FAC: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Peer review: 1, 2.

I intend at some point to go through the reviews and identify the things I tend to focus on, and list those, and also list things that I may fail to look for during a review (that is important so that other reviewers can check those things). One thing it is difficult to get a handle on is whether the FAC reviews I've done so far are helpful or not, or rather whether the approach I take could be improved or changed to make things more efficient. The reviews are clearly helpful to some extent, as they invariably resulted in changes being made, but whether they helped overall in terms of assessing a FAC is not clear. I know the time of regular reviewers and article writers is limited, but is there somewhere other than FACs themselves where it is possible to get more measured feedback on reviews themselves? Anything about approaches to FAC in general should go here, anything specific on reviews I've done should go on the talk page of the subpage in my userspace. Carcharoth (talk) 06:23, 23 March 2011 (UTC)


I've just cleaned up a number of FACs to reduce the page load time and improve readability; hopefully reviewers and nominators will follow suit. If a lengthy review is not an Oppose, is fully resolved, and ends in a Support, there's no need for pages and pages of prose nitpicks to be on the FAC page. It discourages subsequent reviewers, adds to the page load time, and makes for volumes of text to be scrolled through by the delegates, only to realize it has all been resolved. I've moved a lot of fully resolved commentary to talk, leaving links-- I suggest it would be easier if such comments were placed on talk to begin with, using a link, unless the reviewer expects to Oppose. But I've suggested that before :) Because she's such a good sport, I'll use Ealdgyth's FAC as an example. If you were a delegate or a subsequent reviewer, would you rather read through this, or this? If reviewers don't oppose, and expect to eventually support, they can start a comment section on talk, and link to it on the main page. If nominators see lengthy commentary by a reviewer that is fully resolved with a support, it can be moved to talk, with a link. Just don't move anything unresolved (as an example, note Nikkimaria's comments on image issues on Ealdgyth's FAC). When I have daily load time issues at FAC because of the length of the overall page, we need help ... it takes me much too long to get through FAC merely because each time I have to reload the page, I have to wait ... and wait ... and wait. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:55, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

One thing I fail to understand is the idea that the entirety of FAC needs to be able to be loaded in one go. For some things, you probably do need to scan through the whole page, but I would have thought that for individual FACs it would be easier to work from a list and load each one individually as needed. If backlogs cause problems, have you ever considered limiting the number of articles to fit the number of reviewers that are active/available? You would then have a waiting list for FACs, and a FAC would progress to the active page as people commit to reviewing the article. On the specific point you raise, I've seen others put long reviews on FAC talk pages, and I'll probably do that with mine in future. That won't be for a few months though, as I want to work on some articles this month, and then I have a scheduled break coming up after that. There is one renominated article that I can do a very quick re-review of, though, so I'll do that and then refocus on editing this month (as opposed to reviewing). I presume that short initial comments are OK on the main FAC page, rather than the talk page, and that moving doesn't have to happen until comments get very long? 08:14, 2 April 2011 (UTC) Update - I got hooked reading an interesting article and reviewed it... Would it be possible to say whether the approach I took here: [6], [7], [8] is the right way to go on this? If so I'll take that approach in future. Carcharoth (talk) 12:05, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
To promote/archive, I have to load the whole page. And I regularly scan the whole page to see what needs immediate action-- that takes forever. Try loading the March featured and archived logs to see if they hang for you? Just setting up the new monthly archives last night (reviewing March archives to see how many promoted and archived) took a lot of wait time. Don't want any sort of waiting list-- that would penalize prepared FACs and experienced writers and favor ill-prepared FACs which clog the page. Generally, for me, it is helpful if all Opposes, or commentary likely to become an Oppose, stays on the main page, but if you are prose reviewing and expect to eventually support, placing that commentary on talk with a link is more helpful, and include a comment that explains where you stand on the main page, so I don't have to read the talk page until the FAC has "matured". Or, if you have very long commentary on the mainpage that all gets to resolved, you move it to talk later. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:14, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
More samples

Reducing the overall size of the FAC page helps me get through FAC; reducing the size of each FAC page may encourage subsequent reviewers to engage. Sourcing and image reviews should always stay on the page; resolved prose commentary might be moved to talk. Hiding resolved commentary in a template does not reduce the page load time. I'm not asking for shorter reviews necessarily (although I still think the Oppose button is underutilized); I'm asking that reviewers remember to take into account the overall page load time (not just each individual FAC). Consider this sample of how much fully resolved commentary I moved to talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:18, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil

Why the FAC nomination of Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil has not been closed so far? The article about Queen Victoria has already been promoted even though it was nominated much later than Maria Amélia's. --Lecen (talk) 13:54, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

I'll have a look. - Dank (push to talk) 14:02, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
It contains unsourced original research in three of its sections. DrKiernan (talk) 21:17, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Also, every article is different. If an article has no outstanding comments or suggestions, and the delegate believes it to be of good quality, it might be promoted faster than a potentially controversial nomination.-RHM22 (talk) 19:52, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Zorglbot, mainpage bolding, busted

Zorglbot, which tags the TFA at WP:FA has been busted since March 18, and it may be time for a new plan. We need either a new bot, or for other editors to make sure the mainpage bolding happens. [9] Any ideas? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:25, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Some nights I am going to be busy or on the road... Ealdgyth - Talk 01:29, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
We really need a new bot :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:35, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I might give it a try; should be fairly simple. Ucucha 01:42, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! If you're able to make it work, would you mind dropping a note to Schutz? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:21, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
WP:Bots/Requests for approval/UcuchaBot. I'll drop Schutz a note. Ucucha 02:51, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Fabulous ! Do we need to enter supportive commentary there? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:20, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
If you want. I think the BRFA should be uncontroversial, since it's a simple task and was already done by a different bot. Ucucha 13:09, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

The bot task has now been approved definitively. Ucucha 22:03, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

My thoughts on the FAC process

I have been contributing to Wikipedia for a few years now and I believe I've done it with competence so far. All articles in which I had the pleasure of working on were elevated to the Featured Article category. However, I did not have the same joy with the last article which I nominated: Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil.

The article itself is about a generaly unknown historical character and its importance is related more to the FAC nomination process.

Almost two months ago I nominated this article and nonetheless the favorable opinions and several supports (and no opposition) the nomination remained open. For what reason, I do not have a clue. Some days ago, however, the editor DrKiernan (talk) by his own free will reviewed the article and proposed several changes. I made them all as he requested as can be seen in the nomination page. The he declared his support. He soon changed his idea when he requested for the reason to why the Portuguese given name "Maria Amélia" was translated to English as "Mary Emily".

I explained that unlike what occurs to most members of the Western civilization royalty, historians prefer to maintain the given names of the Brazilian royals in its original, Portuguese version. Thus, Emperor Pedro II of Brazil is not called "Peter II", not his heir Isabel is known as "Elizabeth" and on and on. However, since this is the English Wikipedia, I decided to make the life of the casual reader easier giving the anglicized version of the names. Thus, I could avoid confusion with King João VI of Portugal who is called here John VI of Portugal, while his mother is named Maria I of Portugal and his sons are Pedro I of Brazil and Miguel I of Portugal (not Mary I, not Peter I, and even less Michael I, respectively). DrKiernan complained that there were no references that used Maria Amélia's name in such way. Then he demanded that I should change the name to "Marie Amelie" and that if I did it, he would support the nomination. On this momento I realized that all of this was not about factual accuracy, but merely personal taste. He liked more "Marie Amelie" then "Mary Emily". For thisreason, quite foolish, BTW, that the article was not promoted. Due to personal taste.

The situation become more complicated when DrKiernan made several changes to the article without even explain with a summary for his reasons nor giving any sources to back them (See: [10], [11] and [12]). Obviously I reverted them. And I would like to point it out that DrKiernan does not have any knowledge of Brazilian history nor does he speaks Portuguese, my native language. Not happy enough, he demanded to have me blocked at all costs and in several different moments (See: [13], [14], [15]). I don't know that everyone elese thinks about this kind of thing, but I regard this kind of behavior as antiethical and petty.

Dank (push to talk) volunteered himself to resolve the problem. I admire his good will and I know he did it on good faith. Unfortunately, however, he caused more harm than good in the end, when he treated both sides equaly. I regard as a mistake to discuss this type of situation with someone who does not known nothing about the subject (of the article) and does not speak Portuguese (I'm talking about DrKiernan). And worse: someone who revealed to have an inappropriate behavior.

I suggested to Dank that a simple footnote could be created in the article (See: [16]), explaining the possible translation of the given name "Maria Amélia" (Maria = Marie, Mary, Maria, etc... Amélia: Emily, Amelia, Emilia, etc...). DrKiernan refused the proposal. Or it would be in his way or the highway. If Dank had intended to find a compromise, he made an error when he tried to find a solution based on satisfying the will of one side. The error is made greater when this side is ignorant on the subject.

What is the reason for DrKiernan's opinion weights more than the other reviewers I do not know. Why he has the power of life and death over an article I do not know. What I do know is that all of this was no more than a frustrating and humiliating experience. In my articles, I based myself in several different and realiable sources. In Pedro II of Brazil, for example, I used 34 different books. In Empire of Brazil, there were 52 books. And when I see an article such as Queen Victoria pass with only four supports I feel humiliated. An article that uses only 10 books as sources, about such an important historical character, whose FAC nomination process was way too fast, reveals that something is very wrong.

I asked for the removal of Maria Amélia's nomination. Not because I intend on monimating it again later. I won't do that and I do not plan to work on Wikipedia anymore. It's not worth it. I asked for the removal as a protest. I'm sick and tired of these sacred cow editors, whose opinions are more important than common sense and knowledge. A bunch of Prima donnas who became way too used to have their will satisfied. If the support of six reviewers is worth less than of a single editor, what is the point of having the FAC nomination process, then? Well, then you should pick those few editors whose opinions are like dogmas and leave the review process to them and only them. But I make a warning: you're heading the wrong way. --Lecen (talk) 16:06, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

This sort of post really doesn't help any. Every article is sui generis, every situation a thing onto itself. And you didn't wait the situation through. I've had articles promoted with an oppose, reviewers are not infallible and sometimes they don't even have the best answer. You should have played it out. You didn't give the delegates a chance. Never mind, you're angry, if you want to do something unforgivable, just go piss on the bust of Jimbo over on that table, whatever. We haven't even gotten the royalties on the statue, as usual the Brazilians counterfeited our merch.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:32, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
I did not write this when I was angry or something like that. I was very calm and considered well what I should say. I waited for over 2 months and nothing happened. I saw a reviewer attempt to have me blocked because he did not like what I did and not a single delegate appeared. And I'm sorry you could not understand well what I tried to mean. And I prefer to ignore the "just go piss on the bust of Jimbo over on that table, whatever. We haven't even gotten the royalties on the statue, as usual the Brazilians counterfeited our merch". I didn't come here looking for a fight, but I'd like to let people know the thoughts of an experienced editor such as I. But it's quite sad to see that there is no maturity or recognition as I can see from your comment. P.S.: And yes, I tried to "play it out". Even after he tried to have me blocked I continued (through Dank) to resolve the issue. --Lecen (talk) 16:49, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I did not make my point clearly, but please consider the possibility that you are not quite understanding mine. My point was that telling us that we are wasting our time here is unlikely to be productive or effective.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:54, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
As this is all being recorded here, I will make a statement in order to clarify two points made by Lecen. Unfortunately, because my Portuguese is extremely basic[17] and Lecen does not speak English as a first language, a misunderstanding has occurred. Specifically, (1) I did not at any point demand that the name be changed to Marie Amelie. I suggested that as an alternative translation, but I specifically stated that I would accept any other translation of her name from a reliable source, or the removal of the translation altogether.[18] (2) I did not at any point request any editor to be blocked. I requested the reversal of his fourth revert and explained the three-revert rule,[19] but no report was made at the edit-warring noticeboard, nor would it have been. DrKiernan (talk) 18:39, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

I haven't read the article or the FAC, or looked at any of the diffs above, but I've reviewed Lecen's work before and liked it, and have supported it for FAC, and I have a lot of respect for DrKiernan's integrity and his ability as a reviewer. I should be sorry to see Lecen leave here -- his work is a real asset and good historical articles on non-English-speaking countries are hard to come by. Is there anything that can be done to help here? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:02, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

I have no opinion here, other than to say that DrKiernan never attempted to have Lecen blocked, at least according to the diffs provided. He simply notified Lecen of the 3RR, and stated that he disagreed with the way Lecen had worded the article. I suspect that Lecen may have misunderstood the intentions of DrKiernan, as English is not his first language.-RHM22 (talk) 19:50, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
User_talk:Dank#Maria Amélia of Brazil may help, and there's also some discussion on Lecen's and DrKiernan's talk pages. - Dank (push to talk) 19:55, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
By the way, I believe that the MOS recommends against pissing on the statue of Jimbo. I'm not positive though. Who can keep track of all those rules anyway?-RHM22 (talk) 20:13, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Because English isn't my mother tongue doesn't mean that I can't understand it or else, how could I be writing featured articles? And I knew perfectly well what was his intention when he told Eisfbnore that I had reverted a fourth time ("If the latter, there are four reverts in the space of an hour and 20 minutes") was nothing more than a subtle request to have me blocked. But as I thought: sacred cow editors have immunities just as the monarchs do. --Lecen (talk) 20:37, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know anything about the naming dispute either, but I did just skim the article. There are other reasons why it shouldn't be promoted just yet. The prose doesn't rise to the level of an FA. Errors of diction, within needlessly ornate sentences, put an unacceptable strain on a reader's comprehension. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:28, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, if it is truly not an issue of language barrier, then I can't help but think you're jumping to conclusions. Why does DrKiernan noting your (real or imagined) breaking of the 3RR mean that he wants you banned? That is, frankly, absurd.-RHM22 (talk) 02:18, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Pissing on the statue of Jimbo is lese majeste, nuff said. As Lecen seemed minded to burn his bridges, I hoped that pointing out to him bluntly what he was doing would deter him from it. Lecen, Dr. Kierman knows exactly how to get a user blocked. He did not choose to go that route, he merely pointed out to you his view that you were breaking the rule. That's considered the better course here. While 3RR is a bright line around here, experienced users, such as yourself, would be unlikely to stay blocked very long, if you promised to obey the rule. So he didn't choose to go down a road which would have raised tensions and accomplished little. Why is it necessary to act as if he had tried to have you blocked? Which would, btw, have been a permissible option, and sometimes you got to fill out those 3RR report forms.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:14, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

I just got a message from Nikkimaria teling me that she had closed Maria Amélia's nomination. She was part of the review process and is not a delegate. I have nothing against her, but this is a clear demonstration of how wrong the entire FAC process it is. Not a single delegate had the trouble of coming speak to me or to the other nominator, Astynax. I nominated Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil on 11 February 2001. More then two months ago. After six supports (or seven if you count the one Dank gave and removed as he was expecting the end of the "conflict") the article was not promoted and the nomination wasn't closed. The article on Queen Victoria (a far, far more complex and important article than Maria Amélia's) was nominated on 21 March 2011 and was promoted on 3 April 2001 after only five supports. It's hilarious: the article nomination lasted for 2 weeks. I'm trying to ignore the point that the article was nominated by DrKiernan. Perhaps he has somekind of free ticket to unhindered success.

This is not the first time I made complains about this. Empire of Brazil, Pedro II of Brazil, Pedro Álvares Cabral (irony, it will be Today's Featured Article on 14 April) and José Paranhos, Viscount of Rio Branco and many others which I nominated lingered for a long time before being promoted. They needed eight, six, nine and seven supports to pass, respectively, and their nomination were kept open for a very long time.

And please, do not come to me saying that I was the one who requested the nomination's withdrawn. Someone had to close it, since no delegate did that or seemed to move on that direction. Sending someone who is not even a delegate to close the nomination was wrong. No delegate came talk to me or to Astynax nor bothered to resolve the dispute in the nomination. This lack of respect and consideration towards myself and my fellow partner is outstanding. But you should know that you revealed the same behavior towards all reviewers who supported the article's nomination and took their time to make sure that Wikipedia could have another excelent piece of text available. The delegates might believe that I "seems minded to jump off a cliff without bothering to check cross-traffic below" but I'm talking about something serious and none of you seem to have noticed that. --Lecen (talk) 12:49, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

This kind of post is not helpful; Nikkimaria states that she closed it per your withdrawal request, it can be reinstated if you change your mind, and I have no problem with her action.[20] I think you may find reviewers more willing to engage your nominations if you stop tossing accusations about. The delegates are sometimes busy IRL, and Nikkimaria has never shown inappropriate judgment. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:54, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
As I said before I have nothing against her and nowhere I wrote telling that my articles lacked reviewers. The issues raised by me are being solemn ignored which is something truly unfortunate. Since there is no willing to discuss the matter now I'm pretty sure that I'm losing time here writing articles in Wikipedia. --Lecen (talk) 13:39, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I wasn't clear. Your FACs do lack reviewers and frequently turn difficult. DrKiernan's FACs do not lack reviewers and rarely turn difficult: promotion within six days is not unusual at FAC. Nikkimaria has the trust of the delegates, archiving a FAC upon nominator request for withdrawal is not problematic and need not result in accusations towards her or the overall process, she left you a polite explanation, and if you don't want the FAC withdrawn or have changed your mind, you only needed to say that to her as she offered to revert. Perhaps this will help you understand why your FACs tend to drag on ? Now, I don't have time to follow up on this, I am recused from your FACs, and if you want the FAC reinstated, please sort that with Nikkimaria. Thanks, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:52, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
How many times do I have to say that Nikkimaria isn't the problem? What I complained was that no delegate came to us to discuss the matter and ultimately they send someone who isn't a delegate. I have nothing against her and she was never a problem. It's the lack of consideration and the existence of sacred cow editors that I was arguing about. If my articles lack reviewers why they had 6,7,8 and 9 in different articles people supporting them? But I got your message. "Do the job, don't complain. You don't like it? Then leave.". I won't bother any of you anymore. --Lecen (talk) 14:02, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Nobody "sen[t] someone" to do anything; Nikkimaria saw a routine task to be done and (kindly, I might add) did it. And no delegate needs to "come to [you] to discuss the matter"-- particularly when they are busy and aren't even online. You requested that the nomination be withdrawn; Nikkimaria kindly completed the job. The behavioral issue here is not FAC, the delegates, or Nikkimaria, who are all only trying to "do their job". If you don't want the FAC withdrawn, please remove your request and reinstate it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:56, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I would like to request you to reinstate the nomination, please. --Lecen (talk) 18:30, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Done, please be sure to strike your request to withdraw from wherever it was made (I haven't kept up with that), so that another helpful FAC regular won't withdraw it again, and in the future, the <very busy> delegates would be most appreciative if you would resolve such matters directly with the involved parties-- in this case, Nikkimaria. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:38, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Adding a general note for other readers, should a similar situation occur in the future: if Gimmebot had already been through, I would not have reinstated, as undoing the botification involves a boatload of work. Had that been the case, I would have asked that Lecen go ahead and start a new nom, without waiting the usual two weeks. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:45, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Featured article noticeboard

Moved from WT:FA.

The FAC process has gotten more rigorous over the years and, as a result, the articles that emerge from it with the little bronze star are really quite good. The problem I've noticed comes afterward. Once they leave FAC, no one (save the original nominators, if they are still active) necessarily keeps track of them. I've gotten two articles about fairly boring U.S. political figures featured in the past few years (Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison). Lately, instead of researching and re-writing the next FA nominee, I've been defending these two from the addition of content that, if left in, would cause the articles to fall below FA standards. I don't mind that, and I'm not suggesting that we lock up every FA and never disturb it again. Sometimes new content is a good thing, and FAs aren't perfect, especially the old ones.

What I do propose is a featured articles noticeboard. What I envisage is one page where editors in disputes over edits to an FA can leave word that they'd like third opinions from other editors familiar with the FAC process. This is not meant as a solution for vandalism (for which there are already solutions) but for good-faith additions to articles of content that doesn't meet the FA criteria. When I argue on my own for continued adherence to the criteria on an article I've largely written, it feels like I'm approaching ownership issues, but when I invite other editors who have written and reviewed FAs, it feels like canvassing. Requests for comment also seem to fall on deaf ears. An FA noticeboard would be an easy way to let other FA-writing and -reviewing editors know that there is a content dispute that could use the attention of someone familiar with the criteria.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to propose this, but it seemed like a good place to start. --Coemgenus 15:19, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

I think your proposal has some merit, though I wonder whether the noticeboard would be much used in practice. I have similar problems trying to protect FAs that I have carefully shepherded from well-meaning but nevertheless inappropriate add-ons. I often get accused of "ownership" , but I invoke WP:OWN#Ownership and stewardship, which provides a good basis for resisting detrimental editing. I would be happy, if called upon, to help resolve such situations, and certainly wouldn't consider it canvassing if I was approached. Brianboulton (talk) 13:34, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I think it could work, but would need to be an offshoot of this page, with all new entries advertised here, and at relevant projects. Johnbod (talk) 15:22, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I like this idea! As many probably already know, I work mostly on coin articles, so there isn't exactly a flurry of activity on those articles. Still, I sometimes have to remove things added by well meaning editors. Most of the time it's pretty simple to remove, but if it's trickier, I could easily see how I could be accused of ownership.-RHM22 (talk) 19:13, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
Every body who follows an article has had that problem, but I doubt another noticeboard will help at all... You can post a similar comment here and there will probabaly be more people watching it. A critical mass of editors is a necessity for a such a proposal to work, and usually to divide editors between multiple pages gets exactly the opposite to what is intended.--Garrondo (talk) 19:43, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

We already have WP:Content noticeboard. Currently it's not being used much, but occasionally someone comes with a question and typically gets a good answer. It's not precisely what you propose, but I think it's close enough to be a good substitute. Hans Adler 20:32, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Garrondo: I see your point, but I wonder if having a dedicated page for that issue might be simpler. Editors who watch this page see all kinds of changes and might miss a notice of a content dispute amid the clutter. As to the content noticeboard, Hans, that may be a solution. I don't want to create a new page if an old one can do the job. What do the rest of you think? --Coemgenus 11:12, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Garrondo; I'd suggest posting here. This page already has exactly the right people watching it. If such posts became frequent, we might suggest moving them to the WP:Content noticeboard or creating a new noticeboard but given that this is the right audience and the volume of posts is likely to be low, I think FAC is good enough for now. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:18, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Is "This page already has exactly the right people watching it" meant to be taken literally? That implies a state in which no one else need bother. Or perhaps you mean "exactly the right sort of people"? Brianboulton (talk) 16:52, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I think we can safely assume the latter meaning was intended. I suggest that we just use the present talk page for this purpose until someone protests or people feel a bit overwhelmed, and then move to WP:Content noticeboard. That way the regulars of this page can decide to watchlist the other page (if they haven't done it yet) based on their experience with such requests. Hans Adler 17:03, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant -- I hadn't realized the other interpretation was possible, or I'd have phrased it more carefully. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:54, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I must say I am wary of having more and more places to watch or check, and that this concern of page-view/check fatigue outweighs the benefits of what is otherwise a sound proposal. I see one of the best features of a FA is the fact that it acts like a 'stable version' which can be referred to down the track as an article 'erodes'. Realistically, we have another venue, Wikipedia:Featured article review the first segment of which could be emphasised as more preliminary and hopefully not always result in progression to FARC. Casliber (talk · contribs) 18:13, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
After reading all the arguments, I have to change my opinion on this. It does seem to be true that I could post any problems that I have with well meaning editors on FAs right here.-RHM22 (talk) 19:39, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
After seeing all the responses this proposal has gotten, I'm beginning to think this talk page might be a good enough place to get this kind of feedback on featured articles. Maybe let's put this proposal on the back burner and see what happens. --Coemgenus 18:01, 30 March 2011 (UTC)


An example of where a noticeboard might help bring more eyes to a discussion, more editors knowledeable on different topics (eg sound files), and the time editors who write FAs must spend maintaining articles to standard and defending themselves against claims of ownership, even though Wikipedia:OWN#Featured articles specifically addresses FAs and "ownership":

This particular discussion has descended to personal attacks that may warrant admin attention. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:19, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Promotion backlog

I've quickly scanned the page and see many FACs maturing towards promotion. I'm swamped IRL, and in a "perfect storm", so are Karanacs and Laser brain. This is only temporary-- I'll be settled within a week, but I don't have the long stretch of time today that it takes to get through the increasingly lengthy FAC pages.

If anyone is waiting for promotion, to put up another FAC, please ping my talk, be sure to include a link to your current FAC, and I can let you know if you can go ahead and put up another.

Reviewing FAC for promotions is a lengthy process these days, as reviews have grown so long, so as soon as I can sit down to promote, it may be piecemeal ... so please, no orange bars if I don't make it to something on the first pass :)

If anyone has time to review the page to look for missing or unclear items (are sources cleared, are images cleared, is everything resolved, does someone need to be pinged, does a FAC need to be added to urgents, etc), please have at it!

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:45, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Note to everyone: FAC for Dragon Quest needs a source review; FAC for Jennifer Connelly is not urgent, but could use another set of eyes or two, and likely an image review; FAC for Charles Holden and FAC for The Autobiography of Malcolm X were closed partly due to lack of review/backlog last time, it'd be nice if that didn't happen again; FAC for South Park (season 1) isn't urgent, but could use more eyes. Added a couple to Urgents, which of course need reviews too. Nikkimaria (talk) 13:47, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Thank you so so so much, Nikkimaria ... I am hoping to get through my list of 35 bazillion things that I must do IRL by early afternoon, so I can get through FAC tonight. I'm hoping even more that Karanacs or Laser will show up before then :) :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:50, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
PS, I have not had a moment to check the article or talk page on Malcolm X, but this came across my yahoo screen, and I'm hoping someone has time to make sure it has been accounted for if warranted-- I'm saying that without having taken a single peep at the whole issue. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:53, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Advice for newbie reviewers?

I'd like to put something in our project's newsletter about reviewing for FAC. Other than the usual advice, what are some relatively simple things that new reviewers could check for? - Dank (push to talk) 00:38, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

There are loads of simple things, like checking whether all of the cited sources either do or don't have a location specified, but by far the most useful thing any reviewer can do is to read the article – all of it – and try to understand it. I not infrequently oppose articles because of their prose, but only when in my opinion it compromises the reader's experience. Malleus Fatuorum 01:25, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
  1. If you don't feel up to the task of reviewing an entire article, you can just review sections/content you want.
  2. Don't be afraid to point out something you feel is a problem; just be ready to defend your perspective just like the nominator has to (or you can explain your reason upfront if you feel it will be contentious). Usually pointing something out isn't an issue, but sometimes it can be.
  3. If you don't know about the subject, try reading all/most of the article first.Jinnai 01:33, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Copyright violations. You should definitely check for copyright violations. I'm sure Malleus will back me up here. (talk) 03:01, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Don't be too worried about (or intimidated by) all the talk about the MOS. Those (few) parts of the MOS which are genuinely important, someone else will be looking out for. Read the article top-to-bottom; if there's anything that doesn't make sense to you, anything that seems to be missing, or anything that seems inappropriate, point it out. Nominators are (obviously) familiar with the topic, and often omit important but basic information which is so obvious to people working in the field that it's never mentioned in textbooks, but which casual readers won't know. (The people who write articles on animals are no doubt sick to death of me asking "What do they eat?" at FAC.) If you're going to oppose on stylistic issues (dashes, images, formatting, infoboxes, reference style…), make sure you're familiar with the relevant policies—and it never hurts to double check, since style guidelines change quite often—since there's a reasonable chance the article is intentionally formatted in that way for good reason and opposition will just annoy people—but if you're confident that the article is misformatted, don't be afraid to point that out. – iridescent 14:09, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
  • WP:COPYVIO because it's illegal; prose (as per Malleus) because we owe it to the readers. • Ling.Nut (talk) 14:41, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Anyone who gets good at spotting (and maybe fixing) even one of the items on the WP:Checklist will be helping out the copy editors a lot. - Dank (push to talk) 15:21, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
As above, I tend to review articles that interest me, so mainly but not exclusively animals and plants. An engaging nomination hook always help, ...because it's passed GA and meets all the criteria doesn't. FWIW "What do they eat?" is easy. "What eats them?" is the tricky one. It may be obvious that sparrows are eaten by sparrowhawks, getting an RS is another matter. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:43, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Does any UK resident want a free 1 year subscription to the London Review of Books?

If so, let me know here. You'll have to e-mail me your name & address, but otherwise no strings. Johnbod (talk) 20:17, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Now taken. Johnbod (talk) 13:16, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

The experience of reviewing

The ability to attract reviewers seems to be the currently fashionable topic around here, and when I made a comment on his talk page about how much I dislike reviewing, User:Carcharoth suggested that I should say something here.

A while back I read this interview with User:Ruhrfisch, where he said that editors expecting reviews (PR or FAC) of their articles should review other articles in return. So when I took "Egyptian temple" to peer review, I reviewed an article, and when I took it to FAC, I went to review candidates. According to Ruhrfisch I should have reviewed seven candidates (because seven people reviewed my article), but I burned out after three. Nor did I feel up to doing more after my FAC was over. This is partly my personal makeup: I do not like making subjective criticism because of its uncertainty, as opposed to copyediting where, if anybody argues, I can get out a style manual and declare "This is wrong and here is why." I also dislike the pressure to declare Support or Oppose, and worse yet, do it quickly. The next time I bring something here, I will review some, but unless I'm having a seriously unnatural bout of cheerfulness and energy, I won't do as many reviews as I get.

Do these factors affect the reluctance to review on other people's part? A. Parrot (talk) 02:56, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

I review only when something comes past that I feel qualified to look at (for me, that's astronomy/geology/Pacific-related), modulo my available time. And those articles aren't very abundant, so my reviews are few in number. I don't find having to give a quick declaration an issue: most of the articles I'll consider reviewing are on the positive side of that balance. Iridia (talk) 03:13, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I only do lengthy reviews on articles with subjects I am familiar with or accustom to as well. I do much better with those. Other than that, I stick to images, links, etc. I am not an English major and find it hard to pick out some of the mistakes that other more experienced editors find. I think being a good, lengthy reviewer here requires great English skills, time, a lot of experience at reviewing and knowledge of the MOS. That takes time and dedication.--NortyNort (Holla) 08:06, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I review when I feel I have the spare time to do so, or when the articles I'm working on seem temporarily uninteresting. I tend to pick something from the older nominations and I start on the ones that have zero supports, then work on the ones that have one support, and so on. Doing it that way helps motivate me; I can imagine what I'd feel like if my article got to the bottom of the list with no reviews; plus the delegates really do need these articles reviewed. I ignore the pressure to vote support or oppose quickly (sorry, Sandy!); I'll do it if I think it's warranted but generally I'll simply set out a list of issues I see. I try not to think of it as expertise -- as Malleus said somewhere, the best way to review is just to read the article and see what you notice. If anything strikes you as less than ideal, comment on it, making sure you can articulate the reason. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:26, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Recruiting reviewers for FAC

I gather there is a bit of a shortage of reviewers here. If so, has anyone considered inviting Autopatrollers (previously known as Autoreviewers) to get involved? We've had a couple of big recruitment drives over the last year and there are now over 2,300 editors with that flag, not all are obvious candidates for FAC reviewers but some certainly would be.

Also if there is a guide to FAC reviewing, it might be worth talking to the Wikipedia:Contribution Team. I suspect some of the newbies they are trying to cultivate would be useful at FAC, not perhaps for MOS compliance and very inhouse things, but some of the people we are recruiting through things like Wikipedia:CONTRIB/Imperial2 need something a lot more stretching than article linking and typo fixing. ϢereSpielChequers 21:13, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure if having an autopatroller flag implies the necessary knowledge to review FACs ... unsure. Here's the guide: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches. Thanks for the interest and ideas! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:25, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Well I wouldn't suggest it to 90% of Autopatrollers, writing lots of stubs is not necessarily a qualification for FAC reviewing. But every now and then when I'm checking out potential Autopatrollers I come across someone who has been quietly writing articles that I really enjoy reading. For example Little Langdale or Castalian Springs Mound Site, I think it would be nice to get the authors of such articles involved in the featured process, and reviewing other people's articles is probably a gentler introduction than submitting their own. ϢereSpielChequers 22:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
It could work-- how about approaching the best ones individually as you encounter them? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:04, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
I think encouraging people who have written an FA to review. And discouraging (or NOT encouraging) those who have not written one, will serve the readers best (in terms of better reviews and a better ongoing process).TCO (talk) 02:18, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
In my opinion, Wiki needs to court skilled reviewers more than editors. Just as we have people that strictly patrol for vandalism, work on graphics, etc., it would be nice to have experienced reviewers who do nothing but. As long as the FAC (and GAN) requirements are spelled out clearly, one would not need much experience in Wiki editing except to leave comments. Surely there are 25 to 50 people in the entire English-speaking world who would enjoy devoting their time to copyediting and reviewing in the same way that some people devote 40+ hours per week of their free time to writing. Of course there's nothing wrong with asking writers to review, and it is certainly an educational experience. But at least for me, it significantly slows down my content creation. If I've got a big project on my plate, but I first come home and visit the 5 open FAC/GAN reviews first, it might be a couple of hours before I can get around to my stuff, and then I no longer have the 6+ hours I needed that night to do the in-depth researching/writing I had planned. My point is that asking writers to review is certainly beneficial, but I think expecting writers to be the only reviewers is a little short-sighted. – VisionHolder « talk » 03:35, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Here, here! I think we can't get enough of them because their work is underappreciated, and they are rarely thanked. Too many nominators just expect reviews, and don't realize how much reviewers are doing for "their" articles! IMO, if we can find a way to show more appreciation and acknowledgement towards reviewers, we may encourage more of them. Heck, back when I was reviewing, I wasn't also trying to write featured content, and I spent a lot of time on it. But I also got lots of chocolates, and a page full of barnstars, and the chance to work on some excellent articles with fine editors. And these days, we have far fewer editor resources, with all content review processes suffering: I don't know how Ruhrfisch and Co continue to hold down the fort at PR, review at FAC, and still produce content, but we do need to acknowledge the importance of reviewers! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:55, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) I don't have a problem with that form of specialization, but think if someone is going to do so, they should have done at least one article, to learn it from the inside. Having done one, gives me added insight in doing a review (not that I could contribute nothing before, but better). I remember asking Malleus if I should review article before having done one, and he said no. fellow. Advertising for people that have never done and FA to review them is not driving us in the right direction. Sure if you have that 40 hour a week person and he's good and you can keep that going, and he has done one at least, fine. And then if you're not getting that, then quid pro quo is easy. Done all the time in science. Yeah, I'd reather have the super reviewer checking me out. but if it's a choice between a passed FA contributor doing his first review on me, or some autopatroller, who's never done one, I'd put my money on the FA contributor to do a better review.TCO (talk) 04:03, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth: I am one of those who divides wiki time between writing and reviewing. I would not be able to review effectively if I did not have experience over the past several years of writing articles and of having them rigorously reviewed by experienced reviewers in the PR and FAC processes. Any attempt to recruit inexperienced reviewers for FAC and GA would be likely in my view to result in poorer reviews and much acrimony. May I make an alternative suggestion? Experienced content writers should be prepared to take sabbaticals from article creation, say one month in six, during which they give all or virtually their wiki time to reviewing. If enough were prepared to do this, there would always be a nucleus of editors (though constantly changing) able to provide an experienced eye on reviews. It would slow up their content provision a little, but would have a beneficial effect on new articles, through raising the quality of reviews. Any volunteers? Count me in (though I can't do it all alone). Brianboulton (talk) 00:24, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
To answer Sandy's question, yes absolutely. This is only something I would suggest to the small minority of Autopatrollers whose writing I really appreciate. As for TCO's points, this isn't a choice between reviews by FA writers and other editors, this is about getting extra reviews. I'm sure if Sandy et al don't find the reviews useful they will weight them appropriately... As for the suggestion that those of us who have not written an FA should be discouraged from reviewing here, what is the current balance between FA writers and others at FAC and do others share TCO's view about the value of reviews by people such as myself? ϢereSpielChequers 00:55, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I share Brian's concern about inexperienced reviewers, and think his idea could be very effective. But I should clarify that my concern about inexperienced reviewers is not for any potential problems in their reviews; delegates most certainly can weigh a review and account for those that are learning, and let a FAC ride longer if more review is needed. I think the concern is that uninformed commentary can be very off-putting to new nominators, even though the delegates can read around it and weigh it. What is helpful is if other reviewers watch out for new reviewer gaffes, and help guide them along, so nominators aren't put off. I don't think you must have an FA to be a valuable reviewer, but many of our most effective reviewers have run the gauntlet themselves. I participated heavily in FAC before I finally wrote an FA, but I think/hope I became a different reviewer after I went through the process and understood that it can be nerve-wracking to address questions from people who may be clueless about your content area. But it's also true that some of our FA writers aren't necessarily good reviewrs. I think, with declining editorship impacting content review processes across the board, we have to take whatever we can get and be happy for it! On you specifically, I can't recall ever seeing any problems in your reviews. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:05, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I think Brian's suggestion to take time away from content writing & devote entirely to reviewing is helpful. I tend to get very focused when I'm building content and feel guilty about not reviewing. I watchlist articles I'd like to review, but rarely get to them. I don't necessarily think FAC reviewers have to be FAC writers; I reviewed before bringing an article to FAC - it gave me a good sense of what to expect - and I continue to review though I don't have my own work reviewed anymore. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 01:35, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I didn't mean to suggest that only FA-writers can or should review FAC articles. Some of our most trenchant FA reviewers (Tony1, Nikkimaria etc) are not producers of featured articles. I do feel, however, that the corps of reviewers needs to be underpinned by an experienced group of content editors, particularly if new editors are going to be encouraged to a greater level of participation. Brianboulton (talk) 10:06, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I think we're essentially in agreement. I was trying to say exactly what you did - but you were more articulate. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 15:21, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Rewarding reviewers

I'm wondering if anyone thinks that what we did briefly for a few months in 2008 was helpful. Is rewarding reviewers for good reviews an incentive? Can we or should we come up with anything similar? Will it make a difference? It was a monumental amount of work, but maybe worth it; our best reviewers should be recognized and held in high esteem for their selfless work.

I did it for two months, and it took me three solid days per month, while Maralia took over one month. I read through the entire FAC archive for the month, promotions and archives, and assigned positive and negative points for the most helpful reviews and negative points for unhelpful reviews. (More points for a review that was instrumental in seeing the article promoted or archived, some points for a good review but not a crucial one, negative points for unactionable opposes or unhelpful reviews, and more negative points for those reviewers who consistenly swam against the tide, for example, with premature supports on FACs that were eventually archived with significant concerns.) I put that all into a spreadsheet, and awarded barnstars to our monthly top reviewers. Typically, our best quality reviewers were also our best quantity reviewers. I also knew who got the booby prizes for the most unhelpful reviews, but obviously never published that info :) The one month that Maralia did it, her spreadsheet showed similar; without even having seen her spreadsheet, I knew she was right based on having read all those reviews. Ling.Nut designed a special barnstar that we rewarded the ten top reviewers.

I don't know that I could find the time to do this work, but if anyone thinks it would help, maybe someone would take it on? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:23, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I think this would work. From both the discussions I've been involved in on Strategy wiki and the research I've seen on the motivation of wikipedians, people like to be appreciated. But one small point about "supports on FACs that were eventually archived with significant concerns." Some reviewers are specialists, if someone is checking MOS compliance, quality of writing or deadlinks and dablinks they may not notice that an article doesn't cover important aspects of the subject, or is based on superseded scholarship. ϢereSpielChequers 07:01, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yep, under my rating scheme, those folks got positive points. The negative points were for the drive-bys with no commentary-- those that amounted to ILIKEIT and nothing more; it's surprising how many of those we used to have, since we rarely see them now, so the old point scheme wouldn't make much sense to editors working in the newer FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:27, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
I liked this idea when it was being done, but it was way too much work, I think. I would hate to take any of the current regulars' time away from writing and reviewing to do this. We need fresh blood! --Andy Walsh (talk) 07:11, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Small point: not all supports without FAC commentary are drive-bys. Sometimes the reviewer has spent a lot of time with the article at peer review and concerns have been addressed there; I think PR attention should be taken into account when assessing the merit/depth of n FAC review. Brianboulton (talk) 08:52, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's true, too. Clearly, the nature of FAC reviews has changed a lot in three years. We knew who the drivebys were (like, five supports in 10 minutes) and they sure didn't look like a Brianboulton or Ruhrfisch Support, where they had already done the article elsewhere. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:14, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
In this case it only ran for three months, the first being February with just 29 days, so the total number of reviews - >500, 765, 800 could be part of some seasonal variance. But a 50% increase between February and March is pretty impressive, especially as the analysis of February didn't take place until the 7th March so presumably won't have affected FAC for the first week of March. The first reviews I did were later that year, so I'm not familiar with that era at FAC, but does anyone remember if there was anything else going on in Feb 2008 that could account for the month on month disparity? ϢereSpielChequers 09:24, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
No. In February, I only counted actual declarations (Support or Oppose-- we didn't have so many specialist reviewers back then-- everyone checked everything and declared one way or another). As noted in the archives, I later changed to account for all statements, not only Support or Oppose declarations-- for example, Ealdgyth doesn't Support or Oppose, but like Brian, works her tail off. I've seen cases where Comments were the determining factor in the outcome of a FAC. In Feb 2008, I was still a brand new delegate, and that hadn't dawned on me yet, nor did we have specialist image checks. Also, no on the month-- FAC archives are stricly by the month, Stats didn't include til March 7-- that was how long it took me to do the work! Just found my two spreadsheets, but I don't have May, which Maralia did. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:30, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Y'all might enjoy this statement from April:

Three of the top 15 quantity reviewers (having 10 or more reviews) had a net negative on this measure of quality of reviews.

We don't see much of that anymore. Going back to the proposal above, about recruiting new reviewers, we used to have a lot of marginal reviews (usually non-actionable Opposes, outright disruption, or pure driveby Support, and they were prolific). We dealt with it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:42, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
It would be nice if we had a desirable award for reviewers... a sort of triple crown for doing a decent number of reviews at GAN, PR, and FAC. But then that comes back to Sandy's point about needing to assess the quality of the reviews so that it's not just a matter of quantity without quality. But that takes even more time away from our editors since we'd be assessing assessments. But then again, you usually have to give a little to gain a lot more. Maybe if we put a little effort into designing an award that people would truly love to sport on their user page and put some effort into advertising it, then maybe that would get some results. It's just an idea. But as it stands now, I think most people learn about awards by seeing them on other people's user pages. Whatever is offered needs to be highly visible. – VisionHolder « talk » 14:29, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
We do have an award: it was designed by Ling.nut. Here's a sample: SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:06, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
CRM.png The Content Review Medal of Merit  
To Karanacs,
For your exceptional reviews of at least 27 Featured article candidates during the month of April, the FAC community and I thank you for being one of the top reviewers this month (as usual) and for your careful and thorough reviews that help assure that only Wiki's finest work is recognized on the Main Page.[21]
SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:40, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

I thought I remembered that Gary King's nominations viewer was built partly as a response to a discussion about automating a count of reviewer comments, though looking back through the archives I can't find any evidence that that's right. Anyway, the viewer is clearly doing a lot of work that would need to be done by someone who wanted to assemble a reviewer kudos list, and I suspect similar code could automate even more of it. Wouldn't it be useful, for example, to have a list of everyone who posted to the FACs closed in January, along with a list of the FACs they posted to and the number of bytes they contributed? That would be a good start for someone who wanted to do the analysis -- it's certainly true that you couldn't take that raw list and publish it as an indication of the best reviewers, but it might take a lot of drudgery out of the task. Mike Christie (talklibrary) 15:01, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
That's what my spreadsheet did, and anything to reduce the sheer volume of work needed to compile it would help. Thinking about it, FAC reviews have grown soooo much longer since 2008 that reading through the archives could take me a week :) One way to shorten the amount of work would be knowing who the top 20 quantity reviewers were, so I only had to tally quality for them, and not every commentary. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:10, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Reviewer Summary already does this. It shows you how many bytes were contributed by each reviewer. Gary King (talk · scripts) 23:21, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I just ran it, and it looks helpful, but isn't it including the nominator? For example, I see Acdixon's name there in the February featured log for one article; I am pretty sure that would have been his Kentucky governor nomination. If that's right, could the nominator's contributions be excluded? Mike Christie (talklibrary) 12:20, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, good point. I'll try to exclude edits made to a nomination when they are made by the nomination's nominator. Gary King (talk · scripts) 17:10, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Okay done, the script will not include the edits of a nomination's nominator. Gary King (talk · scripts) 05:25, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

As long as it is just a matter of gewgaws to decorate one's userpage, I have no objection. The instant you start tying this in to, say the ability of a reviewer to nominate articles himself, I'm totally unenthusiastic.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:09, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Have to agree. Gewgaws are nice and people should be rewarded for reviewing, but it's also important to avoid the perception of an 'in crowd' of reviewers & contributors, so to speak. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 15:25, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Support—I think this is a very good idea as long as drama can be avoided. It is certainly worth trying out for a few months to see if reviews increase. Grondemar 20:00, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

I haven't really looked at FAC in the past eight months or so, but it seems like the proposal to "reward" reviewers has consistently popped up, to little avail. Honestly, I believe the nature of WP is such that "rewarding" an individual as an incentive to contribute isn't a practical option. It's very unlikely we'll be able to offer anything of significance (eg. money), and while a barnstar will put a smile on nearly anybody's face, it's not really enough to keep most people actively involved for any substantial period of time. The best thing we can on our small proverbial budget is to simply spread the word to apparently competent content editors who are unfamiliar with the FA process. I find some of the most helpful suggestions come from outsides as opposed to the more seasoned reviewers (whose comments are also of high importance). Even I'm guilty of getting caught up on things like minor MOS violations I've had drilled into my head and not being able to look at the value of the content itself. Juliancolton (talk) 20:33, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Barnstars are nice but I am not sure there is a solid incentive for all with reviewing FACs. I think a big incentive would be having your own FACs reviewed quid pro quo (at least in part to the rest of the review process) and ultimately helping out with what is one of Wikipedia's most valuable projects. I am relatively new to the FAC process and helped review a few in January along with a few GAs as well. I think my reviewing time is best spent at FAC. My comments aren't as substantial as other reviewers but I will get there. Another thought I had in general was to have a bot-updated chart indicating what areas of an article had been reviewed, somewhat similar to the one at DYK. If let's say a reviewer has an expertise in images they can look at the chart and see if the images for a FAC were checked. Simple icons could trigger the bot to update the chart. Supports and opposes could help indicate whether a FAC needs more attention from a delegate or reviewer for promotion or archival. The detailed prose and MOS reviews would obviously be harder to track and gauge. Just my thoughts...--NortyNort (Holla) 03:51, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
Please, please, no, no, to any bot evaluation of where consensus stands on FACs, including numbers of supports and opposes (which deter reviewers and would only worsen the problem IMO). The only way to know if all has been reviewed and consensus has been reached is to read the entire page. Who would be claiming something is done? The reviewer who did it? That would possibly prevent other reviewers from looking at the same. There are almost no items that can be automated (things like checking dead links, dabs, redirects); the rest involved discretion. I've seen highly respected prose reviewers clear prose on articles that were later rewritten to clear up serious prose deficiencies, and quality of image reviews is variable, and some editors support even with outstanding reliable sources-- just to mention a few issues with any attempt at automation. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:29, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Mentoring reviewers

  • I see above where a few people have hesitations about inviting new reviewers in. Julian then has corresponding hesitations about the long-term efficacy of using barnstars. If both approaches seem unworkable, then I simply think there is only one answer: mentoring reviewers. Now, the Wikipedia way would be to make an announcement, then let anyone who wants to sign up do so. This is (caution:elitist alert) a bad idea. The proper way is for people to individually take it upon themselves (bottom-up instead of top-down, & without fanfare) to scrounge through all PR and GA reviewers, researching carefully who seems to be doing a good job, then drop one or at most two of those individuals an email and invite them to work with you in a mentoring relationship. I suspect they will respond positively. If two veteran FA reviewers mentor one person each and two more mentor two each, then (wait, counting on fingers...) there would be six new reviewers.– Peacock.Lane 06:13, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
    • Reviewers should be able to self-educate as well. I've been intending to do more reviews this year, and unlike the last time I made that commitment, I've actually managed to do a bit more reviewing. This whole thread, though, has got me thinking. One of the things that I found most difficult to get a handle on was whether or not my reviews were helpful. Very often reviewers get no feedback, and it can be disconcerting to get feedback only of the sort where the nominator makes a few changes and disagrees with most of what the reviewer said. Over time, I've learnt that this is often because the nominator is right (or that the reviewer is nit-picking too much), but I'm sure that sort of experience has discouraged a few new reviewers. Getting the balance right between "why did you ignore that perfectly valid point I made" and "actually, they have a point and it's not worth stressing over", is difficult. It all comes down to realising what is really important, and also what is actionable and what is seeking unattainable perfection. This thread also prompted me to look at some of my early reviews and I cringed (an example is what I said here over four years ago). The other point is that the style of some reviewers (and I mean style, not ability to review) are better off working at levels other than WP:FAC (peer review being a good example), but it is difficult to encourage people in other directions if they've set their heart on doing FAC reviews. One of the things I've been meaning to do is assemble a list of all the reviews I've ever done, and asking someone if they have time to review them and make suggestions on how I could improve the reviews I do (but some of the earlier reviews are MIA - I'll start a new thread on that). I also find it helps to have a little checklist of things you check for, rather than diving straight in. Carcharoth (talk) 23:00, 21 February 2011 (UTC)


2 things imo are really needed here. The first is probably a statement to be bold and if you feel something needs work or is excellent comment with a reason as to why. The second, however is some guidance on how to do a review. From WP:Good article criteria there is an readily acessibly link to WP:Reviewing good articles; however, neither this mainpage nor WP:Feature article criteria have a similar one. This imo is a huge barrier. If you are wary about doing a GAN review, their is a readily available guideline out there you can check for some guidance (either with or without being pointed). Here, there is none save pointing out the criteria and other policies guidelines. Given that, in addition, feature content is suppose to be the creme de la creme of Wikipedia, the lack of such easily accessable guidance is what only helps frighten people off; they have no idea how to proceed or how to interpret the criteria. They do not want to feel like their remarks will be ridiculed as too lenient (or sometimes too harsh) by other longstanding reviewers, or that since you don't know the sources are scared off because they think they have to review everything like you do in a GAN (unlike GAN you're not the only reviewer). That's why I think a guideline would be the best idea. It gives something everyone can point to and is and helps give a helping hand to give confidence that said potential reviewer is will be doing things right.Jinnai 20:07, 14 March 2011 (UTC)

Not under the same name, no. However, if you look at the first paragraph of the FAC page: "All editors are welcome to review nominations; please see the review FAQ." "Review FAQ" links to Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches, which gives some good tips for reviewing articles. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:07, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
I think something with more in-depth coverage is what is warranted. It may be a bit WP:CREEPy, but I think we need to hold people's hands here for many people's first FAC/FAR where they are in the reviewer seat (and even some others). The lack of such info makes frightens off people because they feel their abiltieis to review won't be up to FA level before they even start, even for people who've gone through the FAC/FAR process itself. If they have a set of guidelines to follow, ie check for a, b, and c, even if a, b and c are worded vaguely, but given depth people feel more confident in their abilities because they have an idea of how to apply the FA criteria to an article.Jinnai 04:39, 15 March 2011 (UTC)

Required reviews

Why don't we just require that all FAC nominators must leave feedback of some kind at another FAC? This practice seems to be working at T:TDYK. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cryptic C62 (talkcontribs)

I was thinking the same thing. Whenever I nom an FAC, I always review someone else's. --♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 02:02, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Honestly I don't mind it here in FAC, albeit you probably won't be seeing another nomination from me until later in 2011, maybe 2012. I only don't like to review other articles because I usually end up picking out each and every problem, using citation related, and its a bit mind draining. Also Cryptic, it may be working but I'm trying to avoid DYK with that in effect. What if someone doesn't? Does it mean we have to shun a possible FA candidate just because the nominator didn't do something? I mean, we're talking 1984-esque requirements that don't need establishment.Mitch32(20 Years of Life: Wikipedia 5:33) 02:16, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Frankly, if you gave a review that picked out each and every problem, that'd be great for Wikipedia. ;) --♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 02:19, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
No because then I look like an ass, something I don't want to be. And to expand on my original point, this is Wikipedia, you can't just force people to do stuff they don't want to do. (See me and WP:GANs new automated crap.) It actually goes against the point of the site. Yes do we lack reviewers? Yes, but that's happening on just about everything Wiki-related in some form. Also, I've only done one GAN Review since July 2009 and I can't recall when in 2010 I did my last review of an FAC. I haven't been to FAC with an article since Tropical Storm Marco (1990) in January/February 2010 and the article I want to put up isn't near ready. I just don't want to have to be forced to review at the costs of people berating others and losing out on a well-written featured candidate, just because the nominator didn't do something.Mitch32(20 Years of Life: Wikipedia 5:33) 02:24, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand this notion that Wikipedia would be "missing out" on potential featured articles. In the eyes of the reader (who is generally unaware of what goes on back here), articles exist and some are awesome. Adding a wee little star in the upper right corner doesn't somehow magically make an article better for the reader. If an author has poured work into a particular article but doesn't feel like nominating it for FAC (or, in this case, offering feedback on an existing FAC), then wikipedia gets another awesome article but the author doesn't get their precious star. Is this such a bad thing? --Cryptic C62 · Talk 02:37, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
(ec)At the same time, how can you expect people to review your article if you can't give them the same opportunity? There's nothing un-wiki about having to do something. If you wanna be an admin, you have to answer questions. If one doesn't want to review another article, then they wouldn't have to nominate their article. For all of the work that goes into making a featured article candidate, simply reviewing someone else's is the easiest part. --♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 02:42, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

I still think this is the way to ensure articles will get reviewed. --♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 19:51, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Losing reviewers

If you want to encourage reviews then berating reviewers, accusing them of ignorance or pedantry, and saying they are driving away article writers is not the way to go about it.

People are reluctant to oppose at the best of times, but even more so when the result of doing so is recrimination and accusation. DrKiernan (talk) 09:06, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree (and have long agreed) that this is the bigger problem. Reviewers get nothing out of the selfless work they do, are often berated, are rarely thanked, without them we don't have FAs, and some nominators don't acknowledge that the surest way to guarantee that their FACs will sit unreviewed for months is by berating reviewers. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:51, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Common threads of discussion on this and other FA related talk pages are the persistent shortage of reviewers, how to efficiently deal with the volume of submissions, and the poor treatment that nominators receive from FA regulars. I have always been amused that the links between these themes has never explored. When FA regulars, in an effort to deal with the number of incoming submissions, treat article nominators (i.e. potential new reviewers) in a less than civil manner then it is highly unlikely the nominators will become a regular reviewer. After all, why should someone who's efforts are clearly unappreciated by FA regulars wish to expend large amounts of effort to maintain the FA process. Without a viable supply of new reviewers and normal attrition of the regulars there is bound to be a long term shortage. --Allen3 talk 13:14, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

I think that in part goes back to the first main point of rewarding users, specifically first or second time users and make them feel appreciated, even if their review is less-than stellar since everyone makes mistakes, especially newcomers.Jinnai 14:58, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
The matter of whether reviews (good or bad or something in-between) are appreciated or responded to appropriately is an interesting one. I did a spate of reviewing last month (more than I'm likely to do again, at least for a while), and the response from different nominators was interesting. Some were happy to engage and respond constructively. Others appeared slightly defensive. Others were more argumentative than some. Some would make changes at the drop of a hat. Some were very polite and made sure to thank every reviewer. Others (due to individual circumstances) allowed their frustrations to show. And so on. What struck me was that while some reviewers adopted the same approach over many different FACs, the responses they got from nominators would vary more than I would have expected. One of the things I look for when doing a review is the response of the nominator, especially if there are some responses there already. If a nominator appears to engage in an unproductive way with previous reviewers, it is less likely that others will take the time to review the article. Is there someone in the FAC instructions reminding nominators about things like this? Carcharoth (talk) 23:08, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I understand your concern, but if there is a geniuine disagreement with the reviewer, how can that be handled in a way that doesn't involve, at least to some extent, a civil argument. (I use the term here to represent a fundimental disagreement that can get wordy). We shouldn't ask the nominator to prostrate themselves and always acceed to any lengthy disagreement of the reviewer if what they believe is the best course of action that is backed up by policy/guidelines, even if the other side has a good one (i emphasize the nom here since the reviewer can just not give ground and likely see the nom fail). We currently have no way of dealing with this other than to just ignore it and close the discussion leaving the nominator frustrated and feeling the review process is against them and the reviewer feeling his time was ill-spent and possibly souring them on reviewing other articles.Jinnai 23:16, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Nobody expects the nominator to "prostrate themselves and always acceed to any lengthy disagreement of the reviewer", and there may well be other reviewers who disagree with the first. That's where the delegates come in. The kind of situation you portray is far more likely to occur at GAN than FAC. Malleus Fatuorum 23:25, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I was exagerating a bit perhaps, but at times I've seen discussions get closed simply because someone disagreed with the changed because their view clashed. Usually things can be resolved, but there are some cases of fundamental disagreements, with both sides being able to back up their rationale, and that lengthy debate can offput reviewers. Their's little a nominator can do other than come here and ask for help if he thinks that the reviewer is being unfair or if his article got so few reviews because of that and nor should this page become the defacto complaint department.
Those long, drawn out debates between a nom and usually one reviewer can sink an otherwise decent review because of the appearance that the article isn't up-to-stuff. Reviewers will see walls of text and will think "This review probably isn't that good if there's that much discussion". In that way an article lost a reviewer before the reviewer even had a chance to check the article out.Jinnai 23:37, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
That hasn't been my experience. I look at each article for myself, and I'd encourage others to do the same. Occasionally I oppose articles that are promoted and support articles that are archived. I don't consider that I was "wrong" in doing so, just that not everyone agreed with my opinion. Malleus Fatuorum 00:16, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
It's not about that, its about the walls of text that can occur sometimes when a reviewer and nominator have a fundimental disagreement.Jinnai 23:31, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Airbus A330 FAC not progressing

My current Featured Article nomination, the article Airbus A330, is not progressing well. Since I'm participating in WP:CUP, can someone please spare some time and see if it's FA worthy or not (the deadline is 28 April. I also don't have a lot of patience with articles that I think are FA potential, and I'm excited about Airbus A330's prospects. Thanks Sp33dyphil ReadytoRumble 10:06, April 2011 (UTC)

Sorry? "I also don't have a lot of patience with articles that I think are FA potential" – is that what you meant to say? Brianboulton (talk) 00:16, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
No no, what I'm really trying to say is that I'm participating in the WikiCup, and the round ends on Friday the 28th. It's been more than on week since someone last voiced their opinion. The sentence that I wrote at the end was an afterthought. Anyway, do you have the time to read through, again? Sp33dyphil ReadytoRumble 02:25, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

Shortage of reviewers

There's been a lot of discussion about shortage of reviewers. If FAC was a product at a company (WP), you'd have to improve the product by cutting costs and / or improving quality and / or make the product easier to use. Some suggestions:

  • Cut WP:DASH. The time learning, checking and compliance with WP:DASH can be used in many more productive ways, including writing and reviewing for FA. --Philcha (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Check the use of sources more thoroughly. I've reviewed enough at WP:GAN to seem that sources are misapplied or even don't support claims at all. After advice from other WP:GAN reviewers, if I find many in the first few paragraphs, I give the nominator(s)ed a week to resolve all inadequately support claims in all of the article and, if there are more than a couple of inadequately support claims in the 2nd pass, I fail the article. After all, the nominator(s) should have checked all this before nominating. --Philcha (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Look for other ways to cut costs - especially little empires. --Philcha (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Accept that in the short term the number of nominators will probably increase before the number the of reviewers. --Philcha (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Look for incentives for reviewers, especially in the time-consuming checking of sources. Barnstars may help. And how about moving up the queue nominators who've done good work at FAC. --Philcha (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Maintain a panel of reviewers who are able and willing to review unpopular or difficult or specialised topics. --Philcha (talk) 11:59, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
A few responses: what do you mean by "little empires"? "Moving up the queue" can't (officially) happen because there is no "queue" - reviewers aren't assigned to reviews, and there's no requirement that articles be reviewed in a certain order. Unofficially, frequent FAC reviewers do to some extent get their articles reviewed faster, but that's only by reviewer goodwill, it's not mandated. My main response to your suggestions, though, is: How? How do we "maintain a panel of reviewers" for unpopular or difficult topics (and how would we even determine what those topics are, except on a case-by-case basis)? How do we check sources more thoroughly? We already do source reviews, but as you point out those are time-consuming, and for some topics sources can't be spotchecked due to lack of availability or language issues. How do we get enough good reviewers to do a really thorough check on each article in a reasonable amount of time, when we sometimes have trouble getting each article reviewed period? Nikkimaria (talk) 02:25, 24 April 2011 UTC)
At least some GA reviewers check that sources say what the articles say, at least when accessible - I do. I've seen misuse of sources at GAN and, if FAC doesn't check at least as thoroughly, FA is not WP's finest. Re language issues, does FAC check foreign language content quoted or paraphrased in articles? If so, FAC should also check the appropriate parts of foreign language sources. I know that checking sources is time-consuming, but see my suggestions about cutting costs. --Philcha (talk) 17:38, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
Re a panel of reviewers" for unpopular or difficult topics:
  • For a panel for unpopular or difficult topics:
  • A unpopular or difficult topic is identified by gaps in review comments. Unpopular topics may not get comments, and FAC will need some salesmanship and negotiation. For difficult topics, the present reviewers must state their limitations honestly. What are Wikiprojects for? If a Wikiproject does't help, try the next Wikiproject up the hierarchy. And try lateral thinking, for example if an article about horses (just as an example, I know some very good editors on equine topics) includes the evolution of the animals, try to get help from people with reasonable knowledge who between them can cover paleontology and phylogeny, or is the problem is the anatomy and physiology try a veterinarian and / or someone who knows other non-ruminant ungulates. --Philcha (talk) 17:38, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

The proposal, while well-motivated, requires resources we have not got, powers over reviewers we have not got, and reviewers we have not got.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:27, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

To me, "requires resources we have not got" suggests FAC cutting unproductive costs. I've suggested ways to get more reviewers, with some lateral thinking. I don't claim that my suggestions are the only or even the best solutions, but I hope others will start thinking rather than doing nothing. --Philcha (talk) 22:45, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
To me, your proposals are self-contradictory and unrealistic. Sorry. Malleus Fatuorum 22:54, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
The specific proposals do not seem workable, indeed, but this is a good conversation on an ongoing problem and I'd like to see it continue.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:44, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Why don't you do what DYK does and require each nominator to review an article? Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:13, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

For one thing, there are fears that nominators will just offer a rubber stamp support to whatever article they decide to review, just to say they did a review. Anyone know how often this happens at DYK? Giants2008 (27 and counting) 01:34, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
They have an advantage in that there are only five things that need to be checked, so it does not take too long to do it. If you scan down the list of noms, you will see a surprisingly large number do get queried. Hawkeye7 (talk) 02:00, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
And you'll see an embarrassingly large number of embarrassing DYKs. Malleus Fatuorum 02:23, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I am really confused about the "little empires" part. I can't figure out what the could mean at all.-RHM22 (talk) 02:56, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
  • How about a checklist or other ways of breaking down the review into chunks so that someone can come and do a little piece? That'd also make it easier for someone to pick up a specialty, like reviewing dash usage or copyrights.   Will Beback  talk  03:02, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Err, have you actually ever read the FA criteria? They're actually broken down into little pieces. And I confess I had to laugh when you suggested dash usage as a speciality. Malleus Fatuorum 03:08, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
      • Do you mean WP:FACR? I was thinking of something with smaller steps that could be posted at the top of each FAC. That'd make it easier for someone to drop in and find a discrete job which could be done in a reasonable amount of time. Just a suggestion.   Will Beback  talk  04:08, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
        • Do you mean something like "check that every sentence ends with a full stop"? Or "check that every sentence begins with a capital letter"? Malleus Fatuorum 04:31, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
          • Perhaps not that finely detailed, but that's the general idea.   Will Beback  talk  04:41, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
            • Except that's not quite how it works. FACs are a discussion centered around a single question: "Does this article meet the criteria?" Reviewers support or oppose, and others just comment to offer a specialized perspective, but it's still a discussion, not a checklist or a vote. Imzadi 1979  04:47, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
                • It makes sense to have that discussion once the objective criteria, like proper citation usage, have been met. But the routine issues of checking copyrights and dashes don't necessarily require much discussion. So maybe split the review into two, or perhaps three steps: checking that it meets certain objective criteria, discussing the subjective issues like copyediting and verifying sources, and then a final "shall we promote" it discussion. I'm just saying that it's hard for an editor to get involved casually and giving them small, easily accomplished tasks could encourage participation. anyway, it's just a suggestion.   Will Beback  talk  06:13, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, right now we have small, easily accomplished image checks, and I do not see the mass of reviewers running to do those ...--Wehwalt (talk) 06:51, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I would have to second Will's perspective on this. Part of the reason I don't get involved in FAR's is because I don't have a clear idea of where I would be useful, esp. one another set of reviewers has raised questions already. If there were specific items that are uncontroversal in one section to be checked off, another section for more content based queries, and then a polling section, it would be much easier for someone to come in part way through the process and understand the structure and information in the review, without having to read the whole set of inquiries beforehand. Right now, the process, though effective, is just too intimidating for those of us who don't regularly take part, Sadads (talk) 06:54, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I see that this is being done informally. See WP:FAC/Ernst Lindemann for example, which has subheads for "Source review" and "Image review". I've seen "Deadlinks review" elsewhere. All it would take is to create a standard template which has those and a few more (citation templates, grammar, punctuation and dates, etc) followed by a "General discussion" section at the end. Each of the reviews could be marked as "done" when they've been completed, and the discussions of those specific issues would be kept together. It'd be clear at a glance what work still needed to be done. Comments about the overall article and the final acceptance discussion would be segregated from the nuts-and-bolts issues. That'd improve the work flow, make the discussions more productive, and make it easier for less-involved editors to drop in and help.   Will Beback  talk  11:22, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Requiring each nominator to review one article won't work because, as someone wrote above, some will just support or oppose without real feedback in order to meet the requirement. Still, I think the nominate-one-review-two principle should be promoted as an ethical matter. Not a requirement, but just good manners. That little nudge might increase numbers a bit. --Coemgenus 10:38, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
I think that is what we try to encourage. I generally do two reviews per nomination I make, at least this is my goal. However, a thorough review is an awful lot of work, and I've had recent experience with people doing awfully bad reviews.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:43, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
  • My point of view, one issue is just the topics that are up at FAC, if they dont spark my interest I'm not going to review them. If one that does has already been reviewed I dont have anything to futher contribute then I will probably not comment either especially if its not readily apparent that the reviewed criticisms have been responded to. IMHO there's nothing worse than a pile on review, but that doesnt mean I havent reviewed the article. Maybe the FAC page could have a section where one can say I reviewed the article and besides concerns raised I have no issues. Dont discount that some reviewers find nothing to review or nothing to contribute to the discussion. Gnangarra 11:21, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Summarizing unsynthesized sources

I am reviewing Lara Croft (the FAC is here), and came across an issue I don't think I've run into before in quite this way. There is an extended "Cultural impact" section, and it's evident that the editor who put it together did a lot of research to find all the sources that cover this topic. It looks to me as if there is no source that summarizes (or even a significant fraction) of the reception material -- no surprise, considering the topic is a video game; there aren't many historical overviews of reception out there, I would think. Hence when all the material is assembled into a single section it's not easy to find a way to structure it without original synthesis, and the result is long sequences of comments which are directly attributed to their authors, and which generally seem relevant, but which feel disconnected and listy.

As a reader of an encyclopedia, I don't particularly want to read more than a line or two of "Joan Smith said Lara Croft was X. John Doe said Croft was Y and also Z. Similarly, XYZ Video Magazine commented that Croft's fan thought A, B and C about her." To avoid this, a writer not constrained by WP:SYNTH could make statements of a more general form that avoided large numbers of direct quotes, but used those sources to support the synthesized view. Given WP:SYNTH, what's the right choice here? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:29, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

The whole point of WP:SYNTH (which also leads into WP:OR) is to prevent editors from making conclusions other than those already made by others. You can rewrite it to remove most or all of the "John Doe or X Magazine called it this" statements, and turn them into something like "Lara Croft has been described as X, Y, and Z" and placing the refs at the end of the appropriate sentences. You can even pair opposite comments (she has been described as X, but also as Opposite of X). ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WikiProject Japan! 18:10, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I think the problem here is trying to list all the research findings. If I write about a taxonomic issue, like whether the eastern form of Water Rail is a species or subspecies, I'd normally just give examples of authorities who have swung each way, not list the lot. If someone says you need more for comprehensiveness, which I doubt, they can be added. If the opinions are all kept, I agree that the flow can be helped by adopting Nihonjoe's strategy Jimfbleak - talk to me? 05:46, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Discussion about changing citation methods may be of interest

Duplicate references in articles are routinely merged by automated and semi-automated procedures (such as AWB). As an editor focused primarily on in-depth articles, i feel that i have on occasion been adversely impacted, when the citation method has been changed before an article reaches some stage of completion.

I have started a sub-discussion about the practice of routinely merging duplicate references here (Village Pump Proposals).

This is a part of a larger discussion on the same page, about a bot proposal, which is here (Village Pump Proposals).

There is also a side discussion, here (Bot Owners' Noticeboard). But i invite discussion at the Village Pump article, if so inclined. Richard Myers (talk) 20:37, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Ref-tag wrapping problem

At MoS (footnotes), someone has started a discussion about the fact that ref tags wrap onto the next line—at least on some browsers, and perhaps on all. Try it on your browser by moving the window wider and narrower in an article on display mode. I've commented on this at FAC a few times over the years, to no avail.

Sandy has previously expressed strong approval for the liberal use of non-breaking spaces to prevent wrapping in a number of instances (a move that is made difficult by the continuing inability of the project to come up with a convenient way of inserting non-breaking spaces). But this issue with ref tags, to me, is a much more noticeable problem, especially in FACs, which tend to be better cited than most articles.

One proposal at the thread is to change the rules to add a non-breaking space between the preceding punctuation mark and the tag. Currently, ref tags appear directly after punctuation without a space, by consensus. This is appears to be swapping one problem for another, and my advice has been to seek advice from the WMF developers, either by emailing one or by filing at Bugzilla. I'd be interested to know what other editors here think: is this a problem on all browsers, and is it worth fixing technically? Perhaps join the thread at MoS (footnotes) if you have a view (or technical insights), where User:Gadget has kindly offer to do some fixing; I don't yet completely understand the ramifications of what Gadget is proposing, but anything is better than inserting a non-breaking space between the adjacent punctuation and the start of the ref tag, which was one proposal. Tony (talk) 05:01, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

while less desirable than a server based resolution what about zerowidth non breaking spaces? Fifelfoo_m (talk) 00:49, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Request for an image reviewer opinion

Would someone with an image reviewer background mind looking in at the Science Fantasy FAC? J Milburn posed a question there; I've replied and notified him/her but have been waiting a while for a response and would be interested in another opinion in any case. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 08:51, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Dragon Quest

This article was closed with 1 addressed comment, 1 support and 1 oppose before I could get a chance to comment (less than 24hrs after the oppose). I believe that 90% of the editor said was without basis and because of their oppose, which seems mostly to be points they didn't go and read about (like checking wikilinks or sources). The extremely quick closure I will be unable to get this up for the TFL for the 25th anniversary because of 1 reviewer who did a last-minute (seemingly) snipe oppose. I left commentary on their talk page since it closed before I could respond.

Futhermore, other than the comment near the beginning of the 2+week nom that was the only commentary. From what I could tell there were no outstanding issues until just this weekend when I was out visiting my relatives and couldn't access the net. There was no indication this would fail because I really hadn't had any serious commentary at all. The one comment was basically withdrawn and that was only on organization, a minor issue.Jinnai 23:33, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

The article had been at FAC for almost a month without gaining any real momentum. It had the one support (from an editor who offered no real commentary) and an oppose from an FAC regular who asked for a copy-edit. Regardless of the anniversary deadline and unfortunate timing, I believe Sandy made the right decision. My advice is to get the article copy-edited, as Graham recommended. This will make it that much stronger for the next time, and more likely to pass. Giants2008 (27 and counting) 01:56, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry to butt in, but could user Giants2008 or anyone comment on the section just above? Sp33dyphil ReadytoRumble 06:00, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with that regular strongly. FE, their example article is not very well done. They claim the prose in Halo 3 is engaging and yet don't give me any idea of what the hell I'm suppose to tell any copy editor.That's in addition to them making claims that are easily refuted if I could have had a chance. Regular or not, when you sight an article like Halo 3 (even though its a FA, it has serious issues, not the least of which is its prose) as an good example of prose, I have to seriously question the assessment. Furthermore, it was a snipe oppose. I was not given a attempt to respond to this before closure. It was closes >24 hours later. Just because someone is a regular does not mean they somehow know more on this. Maybe they might carry a bit more weight, but at the same time this request did not recieve any commentary until that snipe oppose.
Finally, "make it engaging" to them doesn't help. I can't go to some copyeditor and tell them "make it engaging to GrahamColm" because what's engaging to one person isn't nessasarily the same to others. Nor can I use those examples given because they were appropriate ones. Stuff like not knowing what "localization" is, well there was a wikilink; that what wikilinks are suppose to be used for, explaining terms that might be confusing to the reader. Changing that to "translation" isn't appropriate because its more than just translating. It cannot be, not is it really part of the DQ article's scope, to explain localization. However, the term is wikilinked and appropriate.
Those kind of examples are why I am pissed right now. It was closed without giving me a chance to refute the assertions and if it was closed because it had been there a while, well it hadn't gotten any notice. Why should I have to wait 2 weeks for something that got so little commentary, especially from the only only oppose being flawed?Jinnai 14:52, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
There is litterly nothing I can do except ask for a copyedit and pray they know what their sense "engaging" means.Jinnai 14:54, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Airbus A330

Hi, the second nomination for the article Airbus A330 was not promoted. This is because there wasn't many people participating, and was one of the reason for the article not able to get the coveted star, yet. Another minor problem was copy-editing; the article was first copy-edited during the first nomination, but during the second FAC, a number of reviewers mainly asked for it to be re-copyedited. That has been taken care of, and so, I thinking if I can re-nom in a week or so. I just want to get this over and done with, so I can move on to other pages. Any takers? Sp33dyphil ReadytoRumble 10:42, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

If it's been copy-edited, why not ask one of the FAC delegates if they would be willing to waive the normally mandated two-week period between nominations? It's their job to make such decisions, after all. Giants2008 (27 and counting) 23:45, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Opting to renominate it early without permission, on the other hand, is not the way to go. Just sayin'. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:20, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
"... later studies indicated that more thrust was needed to increase the original power requirement for 267 to 289 kilonewtons". Perhaps you ought to consider sacking your copyeditor. Malleus Fatuorum 05:00, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Discussion pointer

There is a discussion here which may interest regulars of this page. A user has proposed that a "post-FA" stage be added to WP:Article development. Nikkimaria (talk) 16:08, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Abraham Lincoln

There's a discussion over images in the Abraham Lincoln article that would benefit from some input from editors familiar with the FA process. The article recently failed an FAR FAC here and we'd like to get the image issues (among others) squared away before re-nominating. --Coemgenus 13:09, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

It was a FAC that didn't work a couple of weeks ago, WP:FAR is the process to demote. Looking forward to seeing it again, it's a great article. - Dank (push to talk) 13:19, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Whoops, fixed. --Coemgenus 13:43, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
This debate is still ongoing and holding up the next FA nomination for the article. Any input from the editors who frequent this page would be helpful and much appreciated. --Coemgenus 12:50, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I should warn you that the article has little chance here so long as the nasty little civil war among editors on the talk page (and not just about the stamp!) is going on. A house divided against itself cannot stand, as someone or other once said. (ummm, Frank Lloyd Wright?)--Wehwalt (talk) 15:11, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree, which is why I posted this here in hopes of resolving the image/legacy problems. It's a shame. Most of the article was in pretty good shape after recent rewrites and was almost ready to go until this disruption cropped up. --Coemgenus 16:23, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
These things happen. Work to resolve them calmly. If everyone avoids name calling and characterizations, I'm sure it will work out fine.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:25, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Opacity of FAC

Related to the above post, but a more fundamental question: the FAC process strikes me as something untypically (for WP) opaque: usually, no reason for promoting/not promoting an article is given. I acknowledge this can be because of time reasons etc. on the delegate's part. This brings me to the question: why do we actually need/have specific FAC delegates? There seem to be a few FAC regulars around that know the criteria and the process well enough to judge the nominations. Why can't a larger group (suggestion: anyone who has successfully nominated at least one FA) decide whether a nomination is successful or not? Of course, in any given case the one deciding about success of the nominations should be uninvolved, e.g. should not have contributed to the article itself and adjacent topics. In case of dissensus or for hot topics etc., we can still resort to the more privileged "delegate model" that we have now. Jakob.scholbach (talk) 15:46, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Eeek, no! There are enough arguments with the Living Goddess model. Johnbod (talk) 15:52, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me on the contrary that FAC is an entirely typical WP process; editors offer opinions and points of view and someone uninvolved comes along and judges consensus. All that's different about FAC is that those making the judgement call aren't necessarily administrators, but are instead chosen by Raul64. Malleus Fatuorum 15:53, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

[ec.] I can imagine a work-flow as follows: one an article is nominated, any uninvolved (to the article and the topic, broadly construed) editor with enough experience (at least one successful FA nomination) who is willing notes at the FAC nomination page that he/she is "monitoring" this particular nomination. On a regular basis, he/she tidys the FAC nomination (moving resolved comments to the talk pages, summing up the status of the nomination maybe in a table like this:

Reviewer vote notes
blabla oppose MOS concerns
picture guy support picture review
... ... ...
Monitor's recommendation: on hold/promote/don't promote

Moreover, if necessary, the monitor would request updates from absent opposing reviewers once their concerns are dealt with. Depending on what we feel like here, either the monitor him/herself is entitled to close the nomination or the delegates do that, based on the monitor's recommendation. Jakob.scholbach (talk) 15:57, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand, John, what you mean by living goddess. And yes, Malleus, all editors review the articles, but the final decision is (to me) somewhat opaque. Jakob.scholbach (talk) 15:59, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
@Malleus: A comparable process is the nomination of admins. There, too, ultimately someone has to judge, but because of the much more numerical nature of these polls, anyone can understand what's going on. Here, though, it is much less clear. For example, do the delegates judge a nomination solely based on the reviews, or do they base their decision on a review of the article themselves? For an FA nomination the decision will sometimes be more subtle than just counting opposes/supports, so anything making the decision-making more "objective" and (this was the original problem) taking some burden off the delegates' shoulders should be worth a thought, right? Jakob.scholbach (talk) 16:08, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I would oppose this proposal as strongly as possible. FAC may not be perfect, but it's certainly less problematic than it could be; the last thing Wikipedia needs is to import the back-scratching, inconsistency, gaming and backchannelling that blights GAN into one of the few aspects of Wikipedia process that isn't seriously dysfunctional. If you don't like the current delegates, suggest someone you think would do a better job and see if you can muster support for a fresh round of elections, but certainly don't make it a free-for-all; the "anyone who has successfully nominated at least one FA" group includes some of Wikipedia's most notorious POV-pushers, sockmasters, cranks and general drama queens. – iridescent 16:11, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
For the most part, I agree with Iridescent. However, I see no harm in a checklist, if the delegates think it would speed up their work. I don't see any need for fundamental changes to FAC, but I think that if anything can help the work of Raul, the delegates, reviewers, or nominators, it is worth discussing. I don't like the idea of recommended outcomes, I see a lot of trouble down those roads. I definitely oppose anyone but Raul or a delegate closing a nomination.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:18, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Iridescent, too. The process is opaque, but it's a benign opacity. From what I've observed, the articles that get promoted are the ones that deserve to be promoted. --Coemgenus 16:28, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
FAC works for what it is IMO. I can see that some are dissatisfied with FAC, but that doesn't seem to me to be a big problem, since there are so many review processes to choose from. - Dank (push to talk) 16:45, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't dislike the current delegates. On the contrary I respect their work for FAC and sympathize that there are reasons that they cannot always do that work. (@iridescent: I don't know what you consider "seriously dysfunctional", but not having nominations for weeks and the possibility of this situation going is a problem.) All I'm suggesting is a way to help the delegates. If nobody agrees with the idea that anyone on that list of "cranks" etc. should promote an article, I'm happy to drop that part of the idea. Same for the "monitor's suggestion". Jakob.scholbach (talk) 16:40, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I mostly agree with Iridescent, although I do somewhat resent being called a "notorious POV-pusher, sockmaster, crank and general drama queen".</joke> My point of departure is that I believe that GAN works tolerably well, and has done a great deal to improve the quality of articles. Is it perfect? No, of course it isn't, but it's scalable, which is what it has to be be. Malleus Fatuorum 16:47, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Most of the time, GAN works fine, but because it vests so much responsibility in whoever happens to put themselves forward, it's open to gaming, dispute and disruption in a way that FAC isn't; one can't imagine something like this happening at FAC. FAC has its share of people making weird calls, but the process is explicitly designed to allow those with dissenting views to have their say without derailing the process. With the perceived stakes higher at FAC (the yellow star is seen as a bigger reward than the green blob), it would rapidly degenerate into a chaos of appeal and counter-appeal similar to AFD/DRV if we allowed whoever happened to turn up to close FAC nominations as they saw fit. – iridescent 17:04, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree. I'm very much against any move to make FAC more like GAN, just as I'm equally opposed to any move to make GAN more like FAC. Malleus Fatuorum 17:11, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I don't find the FAC process opaque. The delegates promote based on whether the reviewers have addressed the Featured Article Criteria. If they oppose while pointing out specific problems that are part of the criteria then that oppose is generally considered. If someone opposes without giving any specifics, or with specifics that are not part of the criteria, that oppose generally isn't considered. Just having a certain number of supports isn't enough to get an article promoted, like opposes, the supports must address the criteria - if the support says "Support, it's a great article" from someone who never has edited at FAC before, that's generally not going to count much. Sometimes it can get contentious, but generally, the delegates err on the side of caution. And a delegate, if they review the article, will recuse themselves from promoting that article. Yes, it's not as simple as GAN, but unlike GAN, if something goes wrong in the process, things generally get nastier. There is more at stake if an article is promoted with problems. Ealdgyth - Talk 17:03, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

I think that FAC suffers from instruction creep — the whole over-referencing, nbsp;, ndash; stuff, but it's much more rigorous than GAN, and I've no complaints about the delegates at all (COI — especially when I have a current nom!) Jimfbleak - talk to me? 19:01, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I've spent a lot of time at GAN, and I really don't see the value of these comparisons. The aims of the two processes are quite different, and both in their own way work. GAN is just as rigorous as FAC, but it uses different criteria; it's not "better" or "worse", it's just different. Malleus Fatuorum 19:28, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I do understand your "instruction creep" observation though, and I'm reminded of the alt-text debacle of a year ago. Malleus Fatuorum 19:31, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
It seems to have receded a fair bit though. Ceoil 21:56, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

All interesting .. Jakob, how many FACs have you reviewed? There is no long-standing problem with the number of people to promote or archive (the current situation is very temporary), but there is a serious long-term problem with lack of reviewers, and we frequently find nominators who don't understand that, or who fail to understand why their FAC hasn't been promoted, are the ones who start these kinds of threads, which amount to adding to the FAC workload, and take a lot of discussion time from those very people who could be reviewing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:26, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

It is beyond me how perceiving the FA process as opaque is related to someone's commitment to FA, but anyway I have reviewed 13 FA's and nominated 2. Of course this is a little nothing in this illustrious circle?! Don't worry, I won't bother you guys with another nomination anytime soon.
I don't submit more to FA cause it is mostly a uninviting, partly boring process, especially since the scientific topics just collect loads of nitpicking formatting requests, but little substantive review of the actual content.
I don't review more because a good deal of the topics nominated for FA, such as album 123 of band XYZ or the like strike me as uninteresting or trivial. Jakob.scholbach (talk) 09:46, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
Both of those points are of course entirely true, and not just of science topics, but it seemed to me that logarithm was for once getting serious attention to the content, or at least the expression of the concepts. Johnbod (talk) 10:56, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
Let's not have ill feelings here. Even after three years of intensive work here, I still feel sometimes like I don't understand FAC. And when I began I had heard stuff about the FAC and the process which was not fully borne out by my experiences. However, it took time. From the outside, I suspect, we can look like a bunch of self-perpetuating, self-important content freaks obsessed with the minutiae of the Manual of Style. Jakob, please continue to contribute both as a reviewer and as a nominator, you are very welcome. Reviews are hard, for me they are much harder than writing, because I understand the way I write, but getting into someone else's writing and analyzing it and finding prose and continuity flaws is not easy for me. I think I review well, but it is a lot of work.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:30, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

I'd like to echo what Wehwalt said above. I was impressed to see that Jakob has reviewed 13 FAs and nominated 2. The problem seems to also be one of encouraging people who start reviewing to continue reviewing. As Wehwalt said, reviews are much harder than they seem, and it is often not clear to a reviewer if their review is helping or not. My advice would be to persevere anyway, and you will eventually get the hang of it, hopefully with minimal discouragement. Hanging out on this page helps as well. Best of all would be get more reviewers who review the actual sources and content of articles, rather than the minutiae (no offense to those who do that vital task). One thing I would like to say, while we are on the topic, is that there is one thing I find rather off-putting about FAC, and that is the exchanges that sometimes takes place between some of the regulars where stuff is said during a FAC about future plans for articles to work on (or together) - that sort of stuff would be better said on user talk pages, IMO. When asides like that are made during a FAC, it can come across as a mite unprofessional and gives the impression of an inner group of people working together on a series of related articles with little time for others (what I'd be really impressed with is if people sometimes worked with editors other than those they normally work with, might be difficult but could be very rewarding). Oh, while I'm at it (hopefully no-one will be too offended by some of this!), some of the introductions to FACs are a bit, well, overblown, making it sound like they are competing with other FACs to attract reviewers (well, they are, but that isn't very healthy really). Oh, and the nicest FACs are the ones where nominators remember to thank those who do a review. :-) Carcharoth (talk) 02:20, 26 May 2011 (UTC) Should we have 'feedback' threads like this more often?

Yes, we should. I had no idea that the personal exchanges on FAC pages put people off. And yes, I certainly do write the intro blurb to my FACs (and the edit summaries as well) in the hopes of attracting reviewers. I don't think it's over the top, really. It beats the hell out of canvassing.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:26, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree more meta-discussion helps bring out points like this, but don't generalise from what I've said. It might only be me that notices that sort of thing, or is sensitive to it. It is probably more anything off-topic during a FAC discussion that I notice. It is particularly noticeable when there are only a few comments on a FAC and half those are chit-chat about other articles, though I see I did that myself recently so it must be catching. Carcharoth (talk) 22:01, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm cutting out the chit-chat, but frankly a good number of people are trying to be interesting in their FAC openers and are trying to attract reviewers, so I think it is fair enough that everyone do it if they so desire.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:55, 28 May 2011 (UTC)


I am wondering why some FAC noms are not located at /archive#. I.E., about 1/3rd of the FAs that I have been involved in are located at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Saxbe fix instead of Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Saxbe fix/archive4. The rest are as follows: Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Tyrone Wheatley, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/South Side (Chicago), Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Prairie Avenue, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Chicago Board of Trade Building, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Campbell's Soup Cans, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Richard Cordray.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 14:41, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Older FACs did not use the pre-set archive numbering system-- we switched to that system a few years ago, can't recall exactly when, because it makes the bot task easier. It's not necessary to change the older ones. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:54, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
I think it was changed in March 2009. Ucucha 14:05, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Ucucha. This is where I would (again) mention the extreme amount of work done by Gimmetrow, back in I think 2007 or 2008, to get what we now have as clean article history. Gimmetrow, Maralia and I spent MONTHS sorting every single FAC, FAR and archived FAC to clean up article histories to what editors now take for granted, including Gimmebot's work (and that effort mostly accounts for my high edit count :). And I again note that Gimmetrow is rarely thanked for his extreme efforts :) While I'm on the topic, he is also never thanked for weekly archiving at WP:GO-- and I am tired of being the only one to add the new dates to the archive table there, which needs to be done again soon. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:18, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Tool to check for multiple links?

One of the most tedious things to find and fix in an article is repeated linking, or links that are not at the first occurrence of a term. Is this something that could usefully be checked by an automated tool, or are there too many nuances (e.g. links in infoboxes, links in the lead as well as the body, repeated links in long articles)? If people think this could be helpful, I'll post a note at WP:BOTREQ, but I'd need to specify how we'd deal with those nuances. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:58, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

I think there is one, because I seem to recall seeing one go through articles-- I could be wrong. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:59, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
When I asked about this some time ago, I was told AWB can check for multiple links, but I don't have that tool. Ucucha 14:01, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) WP:AWB will do this for you already, but there are too many exceptions for it to be useful. As well as the "links in infoboxes/templates and also in text" and "link the first occurrence in the lead and in the body" examples you give, there are quite often cases where one wants to include a link even when it's been given before—something that's discussed in a minor context and linked early in the article and then discussed in detail later in the article, something that occurs in both a list and the text, etc etc etc. – iridescent 14:05, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Mike, here's how I used to do it when I was reviewing. Edit copy the refs from the printable version, put them in Excel, remove the a b c d etc before the links, sort the excel column, look for repeats. It took a long time, but that's what I did on articles that seemed to miss a lot of named refs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:11, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I could really use this. - Dank (push to talk) 14:16, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

WikiCup: that time of year again

My proposal at Wikipedia talk:WikiCup#Ahem. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:13, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Images in FAs and Files for Deletion

Posting this here so that you fine, fine people can be aware that even after articles pass FA, images will still be tagged for deletion based on whoever is doing the tagging.

In two FAs (Harvey Milk and Stonewall riots) and a GA (Emmett Till), an image in each article has been tagged to be deleted in a massive effort to remove non-free images. The issue is under discussion at AN now [22] and I've stayed away for a couple days because things like this get me so fucking angry I could strangle kittens. No wait. Other Wikipedians. I like kittens.

And for reference, the FfD discussions, which are going as one would expect: [23], [24], [25]. --Moni3 (talk) 17:34, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Just like everywhere else, consensus can change, and an image once seen as appropriate non-free use may be later considered unnecessary. That said, if the image was in the FA and reviewed rigorously there, then an appropriate argument for keeping said image is to point to the FA discussion where this was discussed. --MASEM (t) 18:06, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. I always understood that it was a legal rather than consensus driven agenda. Thats the impression given, that there is no room for argument. But its about consideration now? Are editors allowed to consider, or just the random deletioning people. Ceoil 18:48, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
The legal line is US fair use law. WP's non-free content policy is purposely more restrictive than fair use to direct the project towards free, redistributable content. As such, non-free content should (and is) scrutinized at FAC and elsewhere to make sure we're include non-free images only when they significantly serve the purpose of building an encyclopedia. There are some objective measures (specifically, the idea of free replacement, which we can always do with living persons), but most are subjective measures and the subjective line does change over time. But its all beyond the minimum, weaker requirements we would simply need to meet US fair use law. --MASEM (t) 19:33, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Eug. Beyond the law, to direct. It's no wonder Moni is strangling kittens. Ceoil 19:36, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
NFC handling is likely one of the most contentious areas on WP. Unfortunately, it's also one set in place, to a certain point, by the Foundation, and thus its not just consensus at play in these. --MASEM (t) 19:43, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Esh, I forgot. One of the images up for deletion was the subject of how to write a fair use rationale in a featured content dispatch, written by Elcobbola. Yay. --Moni3 (talk) 21:49, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Oh for gosh sakes, that's just sick. Well, at least any FAC that got an Elcobbola review should be in good stead-- sure do miss him, and this shows why I insisted so long on qualified image reviewers, who seem to be in short supply lately. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:50, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I can't locate the example you reference-- linky please? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:52, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
What link are you looking for, the discussion at the dispatch? All the way at the bottom. The FfD? I linked in my original post there. --Moni3 (talk) 21:54, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I think I see what you're referencing now-- the Stonewall image? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:03, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
That's one of them. --Moni3 (talk) 22:08, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Granted, there has been a recently larger issue of the use of historical photos in articles, when the photos themselves aren't specifically addressed by commentary (as the stonewall riot photo is) and right now I think the consensus is split on that. So it may be that Damien is taken too much liberty with the nominations with these types of photos that have passed (recently) through FAC. --MASEM (t) 22:56, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I recommend that particularly on this historical images that FAC seems to approach that you add your opinion to this RFC on whether they are acceptable by NFC standards, which is tied to the issues with FFD noms above. --MASEM (t) 23:33, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Masem, please rephrase your comment. I don't understand "that particularly on this historical images that FAC seems to approach" and I would like to get what you're trying to say. Good to know that this is under discussion because folks are voting on these FfDs as if it's already policy. --Moni3 (talk) 01:32, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Moni, I agree about wanting to strangle someone. I recently set up an RfC asking that we be allowed to remove that non-free historical or iconic images must be the "subject of commentary" before we can use them. The "subject of commentary" phrase is being interpreted to mean that both the article and the sources must have discussed the image itself, rather than the event the image depicts. People have tried in the past to remove Holocaust images because we were discussing what happened, not discussing the image. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 02:14, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
SV's got the point, but the RFC I point to should explain more. --MASEM (t) 03:50, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

FAC down?

I'm concerned about the recent delays in promoting articles to FAC. If I remember correctly, this is at least the 2nd week without any promotions. I know the FAC director and FAC delegates also have a life beyond WP, but I'd like to encourage a discussion how a more stable workflow might be set up. I think of FA's as WP's flagship and would like to see it (staffwise) well-endowed. (I should point out that this post is partly COI, I have nominated Logarithm more than two months ago, with practically no feedback from reviewers nor FAC officials for quite some time now. But this individual nomination is not the point here). Jakob.scholbach (talk) 08:10, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

  • More reviewers always helps! Fifelfoo (talk) 09:13, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
True, but without someone to promote ... the delegates are entitled to real lives. Is there any way that editors can do some of their work for them so that "running through FAC" is not an hours-long process for them?--Wehwalt (talk) 11:19, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Some of the standard answers I've seen (and I don't mean to imply any of these apply to Logarithm) include:
  • Articles come to FAC unprepared and a lot of work has to be done on them. This answer has some standard additional comments, including the suggestion that we should require PR, or GA, or something else, before allowing a FAC nomination.
  • If reviewers were more willing to oppose early, weaker articles would be archived earlier leaving fewer articles for the reviewers to focus on, which would speed things up
  • Reviewers are in increasingly short supply for some reason and we must do something (nobody quite knows what) to encourage more of them
The problem is that FAC is resource-greedy, and adding more reviewers will just increase the number of nominations. Part of the reason for strictly limiting nominators to only one solo nomination at a time was to reduce volume. My own feeling is that FAC can run in one of two ways: slowly (sometimes painfully slowly), without much in the way of a volume limitation; or quickly and efficiently at a scale that the existing reviewer volume can handle, but with a queue or input filter or volume limitation of some kind. We are currently at the slow/no limits end of that spectrum. I'd be OK with moving us along the line to some limitations, but nobody has yet proposed a method of limiting FAC volume that doesn't raise other objections. There are some archived discussions along these lines that I will try to find and link to tonight if nobody does it before I get home from work. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:13, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
This is of course all very relevant, but what I think the OP's main point is that -- due to delegate inactivity -- there have been no promotions for the past few weeks. Even with an overabundance of unprepared noms, there should at least be one or two promotions a week. I see several articles at the moment that have received obvious consensus to promote (one of them being my own nom, with four supports and no outstanding issues) -- they're just waiting for their star. Yes, reviewers are always in demand, etc., but that doesn't seem to be the problem when articles have obviously reached consensus to promote. Do we need another delegate? A sturdy whip? María (habla conmigo) 12:29, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I think Jakob's question is more specific than general. I am guessing that it is a confluence of everyone being pretty busy for the past few days. We can help by reviewing some of the 2 or 3 supported ones I guess....Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:33, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
PS: Where was the link to the tool to quick-count supports/opposes...? Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:34, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Logarithm is a different issue; there are FACs that are ready to promote but haven't been promoted because I'm the only delegate working, and I announced a month ago I'd be busy through mid-June. In a perfect storm, all three of us have real life events impinging upon our time-- I will be able to promote regularly again within a few weeks, and I can get through this weekend, but until/unless Karanacs and Laser brain show up again, I've asked Raul to help. The last time I looked, Logarithm still had issues (reference the Rhodocene flap). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:45, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Why don't we wait it out until mid-June? If the problems continue, or if Sandy winds up as, effectively, the only delegate, then we ask Raul for another (the problem with that is that it likely means losing a reviewer). And even if Sandy continues busy through the weekend, perhaps she can promote the consensus articles she mentions to let some of the pressure out of the vessel (full disclosure: one of the articles she mentions is probably my work).--Wehwalt (talk) 13:48, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I think having an additional delegate, or maybe just some kind of clerk is necessary. I don't know how the decision of 3 delegates was reached, but if two are offline, at least one person in addition seems to be quite reasonable. (I should also say: all of this is not to blame Sandy, Karanacs and Laser brain. Since we are all unpaid, no-one can be required to be available at any given time.) Not only would this speed up promoting unanimous nominations (as the ones linked above?), but would also help keeping nominators on track where no/slow progress is made. (For my nomination, logarithm, I do wonder, what "issues" remain: opposing reviewers don't show up anymore, leaving a kind of ragged battlefield.) Jakob.scholbach (talk) 15:46, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

The decision to have three delegates was ... when the workload grew, Karanacs was added to help me. When both Karanacs and I had limited time online due to RL issues, Laser was added. Unfortunately, all three of us are temporarily busy at the same time. My situation will settle down soon (by about third week of June, and I will be able to get online to promote this weekend, and Raul is available to help). If we add another delegate just to cover a temporary situation, we lose a reviewer (anyone who might make a good delegate would mean losing a good reviewer), and we are seriously short of reviewers. What a "clerk" could do is no different than what reviewers, which we are lacking in, could do, or what several others already do (withdraws, etc). Anything that can be done routinely by others is being done now, or is being ignored because of lack of reviewers. And the problem of increasingly lengthy reviews with few reviewers willing to oppose continues to be an issue.

If anyone wants to help speed things up for me when I can get online this Fri or Sat to review, they can run through FAC and look for the things I look for. A few people know what that is but most of them are busy reviewing.

I don't care if we have another delegate, but we should all care if that means we lose a reviewer, which we can ill afford.

The last time I looked at logarithm (which was not recently), there were still concerns about accessibility, and I don't think we want a repeat of the Rhodocene problem. The situation with logarithm is unrelated to the issue of other promotions and delegate availability-- each time I have looked, it hasn't been ready for promotion-- two different issues, unrelated. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:18, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

One possible solution would be to appoint a small number of experienced FAC hands as "reserve" delegates, who could operate with full authority in circumstances such as the present when all the regular delegates are preoccupied. The reserve delegates could work out a roster so that their workload was shared, and none of them need be taken out of the review process for any length of time. That way, it should be possible to maintain regular promotion/archiving on the FAC page and avoid the present congestion. Brianboulton (talk) 10:32, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
Now that is a good idea, at least as seen from the deck. Johnbod (talk) 10:47, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree. That way there is no permanent loss of a reviewer and Raul can take performance into account if there is a need in future to appoint another delegate.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:25, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, it's pretty clear there needs to be more delegates. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 14:26, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

I've landed, have to catch up around the house, and will get through FAC by tomorrow night. If any kind folks want to run through before that to make sure all is in order, it will make it faster/easier for me to get through and see what is promotable. More on the big picture once I've been able to see the status of the FACs on the page-- I've found in the past that few were promotable because of lack of review, but don't know the current situation. I do hope reviewers and nominators alike will understand that reading through 50 increasingly long FACs, and finding none promotable, is tedious and discouraging from this chair, and hope that is not the situation again, as that situation may have been off-putting for other delegates as well. In the past, the problem was not lack of delegates; it was lack of reviews, so it's not entirely surprising to me that two of our delegates are MIA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:53, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
OK, but the situation is that one of the delegates has not been active on the FAC page for more than six months and another for more than two. Such absences and not just blips, and leave an unreasonable burden on the one active delegates which cannot, I believe, be resolved by a few willing reviewers helping to keep the FAC page tidy. Delegates have private lives and other concerns, and should not be at our beck and call. At the same time, nominators and reviewers are entitled to expect a smooth-running process capable of absorbing these glitches in delegate availability, hence my suggestion above. Why would that not work? Brianboulton (talk) 09:09, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree. Surely there are two or three experienced reviewers that Raul can trust to act. Raul could train them in what is required, then activate as needed, so full control remains in his hands (and can remove or replace as he sees fit) No one wishes to displace any of the delegates. But I fear we can not indefinitely ask Sandy to carry all the water, it is not fair to her, especially at this time of strain IRL.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:27, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I've never complained about the time it takes delegates to do their work as I'm plain grateful we have a FAC system at all, but I think "reserve delegates" is a great idea. They could effectively hold a "dormant commission" that is only activated when one of the permanent delegates is indisposed, minimising the time they're out of the reviewing pool. Then again, do they need to be taken out of the entire reviewing pool, or simply those in which they have a vested project interest? You might already see where I'm going with this... It seems to me that project coordinators (naturally I think of MilHist, where I'm a member) who already have responsibility for promoting or failing A-Class review candidates, would made ideal reserve FAC delegates. If that were put in place, and their dormant commission activated for a given time, does that mean they'd need to be refrain from reviewing any FAC during that period? Or could they keep reviewing FACs and just not be eligible to promote MilHist ones, and/or those outside MilHist that they've reviewed? Anyway, I don't want to get bogged down with detail, those are things we can work out -- for now, if we agree this idea has merit, you could do worse than canvass teams like the MilHist coordinators for people willing to serve on a temporary, ad hoc basis. A few people are already having a discussion there about how we can do a bit more for the FAC system... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:40, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe we need more delegates, reserve or otherwise. Sandy's going to be tied up for another couple of weeks, and even while she's tied up, she can keep up as long as reviewers step up and do more reviewing ... which is what we've done, which is why she recently promoted 12 articles. - Dank (push to talk) 00:30, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anyone disagrees we always need more reviewers, the question is why should Sandy have to keep going it alone -- the additional permanent delegates were brought in for a reason, and if they're out of action for extended periods you have no backup if Sandy's away. No reason we shouldn't have a bit more resilience built into the system -- if it's not needed then well and good, it's just insurance. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 00:39, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree, I think temporary delegates are an excellent idea. As they gain experience, they could also be a valued resource for both nominators and delegates to consult with about difficult issues.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:49, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I have a couple of questions, mostly for the MilHist folks, mostly to satisfy my own curiosity. For context, Gimmetrow has long asked that we not pr/ar daily and he prefers to fire up the bot roughly twice a week. Exactly what would these "reserve" delegates close that I haven't already closed, or won't close when I next go through on the weekend, which is tomorrow or Sunday? And since MilHist (with the exception of Dank) is rather notorious for not reviewing FACs-- and particularly not reviewing other FACs in proportion to the number of nominations they bring, which contributues to the backlog, and delegates have long begged for more reviews-- why would we have them close FACs, considering their inexperience in reviewing a broad range of topics? And how will having more delegates help when the problem is that there is often little that can be closed because comprehensive complete reviews are lacking? I've gotten to the point of joking that the FAC delegates should go on strike until frequent nominators understand that we need them to also review-- so the delegates have one or two rough weeks IRL, I'm wondering why that means we suddenly need more delegates to review more FACs that aren't ready to close because they're lacking reviews? Perhaps someone can enlighten me :) :) Methinks if these MilHist folks have time to spare, they might consider reviewing some FACs, particularly before thinking themselves qualified to close FACs. There are *boatloads* of selfless FAC reviewers who work their arses off reviewing a broad range of articles-- where are the MilHist folks when it comes to reviewing anything but MilHist articles? What I've seem from MilHist is a heavy number of nominations, little review, Dank excepted, generally to Support, sometimes when deficiencies are present, so I fail to understand why that makes them a group qualified to close FACs. Perhaps the proposal is that the MilHist coordinators will close their own FACs, which kinda defeats the purpose of getting independent review at FAC, no?

I also notice that no one has inquired when Karanacs might plan to return ... hmmm. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:24, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Sandy, to restate what I said earlier, this isn't negating the fact that we need more reviewers, nor is it saying that you necessarily need assistance from temporary delegates right now. The point of insurance is to put it in place before you need it. ;-) As to why some MilHist members don't review in proportion to their FAC noms, or outside Milhist, speaking for myself I'm with you and I try to review at least three FACs for every one I nominate (SS Edmund Fitzgerald, not part under Milhist, was a recent one). As to the crack about MilHist coordinators closing their own FACs, I'll take it in the spirit in which I assume it was intended, although a smiley face or wink wouldn't go astray...! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:48, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
The smiley was implied in the "no?" ending-- I should have made it more clear. I agree that we should have reserves in advance of when they're needed-- which is why I've noted that no one in this entire conversation-- initiated by the nominator of a difficult FAC, whose difficulties have nothing to do with the other issues raised-- has bothered to inquire about Karanacs' status. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:58, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I'm bothering: what is Karan's status? Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 02:04, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for asking :) I'm not speaking publicly for Karanacs-- rather noting that no one had asked in the entire discussion. Additional context: the situation at FAC is not unique-- participation is down across Wiki, and lack of reviews is a problem everywhere. On my last run through FAC, there were over 50 FACs to read, I promoted 12, am recused from one, there is one difficult FAC that might benefit from more time if not a restart, I had to close three after more than a month with no review, archived seven others, and I found seven that had support in spite of incomplete reviews or deficiences. The problem at FAC, and the thing backlogging the page is in the seven that are sitting there with support in spite of deficiencies, and the three that received nada. Would these "reserve" delegates promote those seven, or archive those three sooner, or let them run longer? The problem remains lack of review, and I'm not about promoting deficient FACs because of lack of review. If my standards are too high, then we're having the wrong discussion, and we should be talking about replacing me rather than getting help for me, because the help I need to do the job the way I think it should be done is more review, and more complete review on all criteria. I'm not interested in promoting plagiarism, copyvios, close paraphrasing, image violations, etc-- perhaps "reserve" delegates would like to do that. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:26, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Sandy, forgive the non-sparkling prose, but how would we know that you knew Karanacs' status, and if we thought you did, I still might not ask, because it would be prying?--Wehwalt (talk) 02:23, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Wehwalt, pls check your rollback button-- it's gone wonky again-- restored post by Ian Rose. Answered above; generally, if I had reason to believe I needed help via another delegate, don't you suppose I would have asked Raul to appoint one, as I did in the past? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:31, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Sorry about that. Actually, I don't see it answered above, what I see is that you said "until/unless" she returns, which I took to mean you did not know. Personally, I consider it her business so would not likely ask, and Raul has kept her on as a delegate whereas he relieved YellowMonkey at FAR, which I took to mean Raul expected her back. If my train of logic is faulty, sorry about that, it does not seem to be my day.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:31, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
No problem about the rollback-- it used to happen to me all the time, until Ucucha told me how to fix it. See User_talk:SandyGeorgia/arch78#revert. Your train of logic is sound: Karanacs is still a delegate, and if I had reason to think I need another, I would most certainly ask Raul for help. Until/unless that changes, you've got the right picture :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Also I'd be afraid you'd take such an inquiry the wrong way, that it might be misinterpreted. Just sayin'.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:34, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

You don't think I'm that delicate, do you ?  :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
... well, let's just say I am trying to be more diplomatic to everyone the last couple of weeks and not risk arguments ... not just you.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:41, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
That's always a good thing :) Here are some ideas:

On Karanacs' talk page: I've noted that Sandy is all alone at FAC lately. We miss you and the good work you did at FAC; are things OK? Hope to see you back soon.

On my talk page: I've noticed that you're holding down the fort all alone at FAC lately and that you've mentioned being very busy right now IRL-- is that working, are you OK, do you know anything about the status of the other delegates, is there anything others can do to help?

YMMV :) And a note of appreciation to everyone who dug in to help out !!! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:46, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

You mean like the thank yous I routinely give reviewers, that kind of thing? Even when they oppose? And like the thank yous I often leave you after a promotion, though I am uncertain if that is the proper etiquette? I will drop Karanacs a line in my own words in the next couple of days. I copied the code into mybook, btw and cleared the cache but it is still showing rollback, so I will play with it tomorrow, it's getting late.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:50, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you do always thank me (but you don't have to -- it's "my job" :) :) FAC could benefit from more thanks to reviewers from nominators, though. I 'spose I got a bit touchy about the suggestion that MilHist was the solution to what ails FAC, when we have so many selfless reviewers who are working so hard, trying to keep up here with reviews, in spite of declining participation on Wikipedia, and they aren't necessarily all MilHist folk. Also, I don't think we should have to lower our standards at FAC just because participation is declining throughout Wikipedia; FAC needs more review, not more delegates reviewing the lacking reviews. Now, if we want FAC to become a vote count, then I'm the wrong person for this job. If others have ideas of how to generate more interest in FAC, that would be a more helpful discussion. Regards, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:02, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Fine. I'm going back to Google books and look for more free images of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, though I expect to be slain by both the baseball and legal folk for my temerity. The lack of reviewers is a source of frustration to me as well. And I agree, it is not a vote count.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:07, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Well yes, Sandy, with respect you did seem a bit touchy about MilHist being brought up -- perhaps with good reason but no need to misreperesent what I said, which was never that MilHist was the solution to FAC's problems, rather that people like its coordinators (not just its coordinators) would be good candidates for the reserve delegate concept that had been raised earlier (much earlier, it feels now for some reason) -- anyway, lest we keep going round in circles, I'm going to take a break and give my labrador some exercise.. ;-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:24, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
My sincere apologies for that, Ian Rose-- and you have good taste in dogs :) [26] [27] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:27, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
"Ian" is fine (or "Rosie", if you want to become an honorary Aussie for a minute!)... Most kind -- on all counts. :-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 04:31, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I find Australia a study in contradictions. Everyone seems to have a nickname, but it is in many ways a much more formal place than any other place I've been to in the English speaking world. (going again in September again, it looks like, though I have to confirm the schedule and so forth. Sigh. Eighteen hours in a crowded aluminum shell).--Wehwalt (talk) 10:20, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
More contradictory than the States?! Well, if you're stopping in Sydney I guess we'll just have to discuss that over a nice cold beer... ;-) Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Be glad to. I think we are in Sydney for a few days, around 25 September.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:54, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Cool -- drop me a msg as the time approaches. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:22, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
We can make it a party - me and Tony1 are in Sydney too (this could be quite funny) Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:56, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Sure. I do not have the full schedule yet, I think we leave for Melbourne sometime around the 28th. It is early days yet.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:32, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Drop me a message too. We can probably make Sydney or Melbourne. Hawkeye7 (talk) 00:29, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

WP:V and close paraphrasing

Back on the MilHist topic, please note. Does MilHist A-class check for close paraphrasing? This nom has support from multiple MilHist reviewers; close paraphrasing and text unsupported by citations was only detected after I asked for review of same. [28] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:46, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Hmmmm, now I see that article didn't go through MilHist A-class review ... I still wonder if they check sourcing, though. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:10, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
I want to add here that we've had a struggle at WP:V trying to make clear that close paraphrasing needs in-text attribution. After the last major paraphrasing/plagiarism issue, Ocassi and I added something about close paraphrasing, which ended up as: "Be mindful of copyright; do not paraphrase a source too closely without in-text attribution." [29]
This was removed in March by Philip Baird Shearer, [30] who didn't like it because it affected his public-domain work. He was supported by others who oppose instruction creep. After interminable discussion, the text was moved out of the main section about when sources are needed, and was left as: "when quoting or closely paraphrasing a source use an inline citation, and in-text attribution where appropriate," [31] which gives the impression that it's sometimes okay to paraphrase closely so long as you give a citation.
I tried to change it today to clarify that in-text attribution is needed in addition to an inline citation, but was again reverted. [32] So it seems there's confusion on this point. When I've pointed out that there have been problems with close paraphrasing at FAC because of the lack of clarity, I've been told the policy wasn't written for FAC. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 22:47, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Regarding SandyGeorgia, I will be now, and will be looking to see where MILHIST procedure requires modification. (I hate close paraphrase / supported statement checks :( ) Fifelfoo (talk) 23:04, 29 May 2011 (UTC) stupid fingers Fifelfoo_m (talk) 00:17, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
What is "e now"? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:29, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
There's no confusion SV, just an unwillingness amongst those editors who habitually plagiarise to accept that what they're doing is morally indefensible. Malleus Fatuorum 23:09, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
This was the discussion if you want to see how silly it got. Philip was arguing that we couldn't say: "use in-text attribution when quoting and closely paraphrasing," because it would mean, among other things, that we couldn't paraphrase material from other Wikipedia articles. He was not alone in arguing this, so the watered-down version of the sentence was the only thing they'd agree to. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 23:26, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
Grrrrr, well, as long as I'm around, they aren't getting by me if I can help it, regardless what PBS and others say. It's exhausting; if I ever give up, it will be over plagiarism. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:31, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
To be honest, I had a light bulb moment during the discussion I linked to—in which I couldn't even understand what was being said a lot of the time—where I just thought: "why am I doing this?", and I'm not referring only to that discussion. When you get to the stage of having to argue such basic points, it starts to feel as though this is a project it's best to avoid, because every tiny, obvious thing is such a huge time sink. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 23:59, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Aeons ago, I could just scan noms for military topics, and as soon as I saw one, I knew there was a very, very high chance I'd find copyvio. I know, everyone thinks I'm an a**hole because I ranted too much. Well, copyvio is illegal, folks. But MILHIST is almost certainly the best and most active wikiproject around, and they didn't used to do diddly to check for copyvio. I dunno if they do now.... If I come back to Wikipedia several months from now, I'm gonna improve MILHIST articles and nom them for FA, and skip reviewing altogether. I don't need the grief of being a reviewer and being insulted etc. for trying to uphold standards (though it wasn't MILHIST folks who insulted me, to avoid confusing two separate issues). I try to have thick skin, but some torpedoes hit home. That's all.  – Ling.Nut 00:07, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    • The general issue here is plagiarism rather than copyright violations Ling.Nut. Everyone agrees that violating copyright is wrong, but many seem to think it's perfectly OK to copy whole tranches of text from public domain sources without attribution. Malleus Fatuorum 00:15, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
    • edit conflict - Agree with you Ling - plagiarism and copyvio are illegal and some torpedoes do hit home. To answer SlimVirgin, I prefer the language you reinstated. There's no guarantee that people will follow the instructions but it's important to have it in policy. Also, it's not only a FAC issue - it's a project-wide issue. Obviously it's extremely important here, because these are the article that are showcased on the mainpage. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 00:20, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
      • No, plagiarism isn't illegal, just immoral. Malleus Fatuorum 00:24, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
      • Truthkeeper, yes exactly. If it's clear in the sourcing policy, and placed in the section that discusses when we need to add a source, there's at least something to point to. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 03:36, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm good with manually spotting plagiarism by language change; what tools are available to assist in tool assisted detection? Fifelfoo (talk) 01:22, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Many thanks Nikkimaria. My primary work at the moment is downstream of FAC in MILHIST Peer Review and A Class Review. Hopefully I can help only cream, rather than scum, rise. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:17, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Agree. If people are going to copy stuff directly from another source, they must at least attribute it in-text, as well as inline, to make the source clear. I don't see any good reason to water this down. Jayjg (talk) 00:57, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Copying directly though is a quote rather than close paraphrasing.
I don't quite see why close paraphrasing would need an intext attribution per se. It certainly needs an inline citation, but whether an intext attribution is needed depends or not imho depends on the context. In particular you want an intext attribution, if you want to point out that you are literally quoting a person or that you describing a particular person's statement/opinion on something. However if you're closely paraphrasing somebody not to describe his personal opinion/assessment bur rather some general fact or truth, then I see no reason for an intext attribution. Because in this context the primary interest is only that the fact is supported by reliable source and not so much who the author of that reliable source is.
To give an example if I (closely) paraphrase some mathematicians statement of the Pythagorean theorem, then I usually just state the Pythagorean theorem with an inline citation at best, but normally I would not use an intext attribution ("According to Prof. X the Pythagorean theorem states ....").
As far as a copyvio is concerned, it doesn't make a difference whether you use an intext attribution or not. Meaning if you copy a longer text or paraphrase it too closely that is a copyvio, adding an intext attribution will not remove the copyvio. To remove the copyvio you need to rewrite the copied text in your own words and/or shrink the literally copied parts to a size acceptable for quotes.--Kmhkmh (talk) 01:29, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that you're perhaps misunderstanding the distinction between plagiarising a public domain source and a copyright violation. If, for instance, I were to copy word for word an entire paragraph from the 1911 Britannica and simply cite it at the end of that paragraph then it looks like the words were mine rather than those of the author of the Britannica article. I would have violated no copyrights, but I would have misled the reader; the issue is proper attribution. Malleus Fatuorum 01:39, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Malleus Fatuorum is perfectly correct, there are sources which we are legally allowed to plagiarise; but, which according to the encyclopaedic project and the pillars (as well as standard practice) it is morally abhorrent and encyclopaedically misleading to merely plagiarise and cite the source. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:25, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
It has been changed again in the policy, [33] and replaced with the diluted version implying that intext attribution is optional when quoting or closely paraphrasing. There's a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#FAC opinions are not our problem if anyone is interested. SlimVirgin TALK|CONTRIBS 02:42, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
The problems I was talking about in my post were outright copyvio, not plagiarism. As for plagiarism, I know many people will groan from the depths of their.. soul... souls?... when I post this, but: My solution would be adding text WP:WIAFA to the extent that an article must add value to the store of knowledge freely available to the lay public, by presenting a discussion of verifiable sources in a new format which clarifies the topic and summarizes and arranges its aspects in a coherent manner... mmm... I dunno, I'd have to work on the language. But I know this suggestion is going nowhere, so I present it as a novelty for frivolous amusement.  – Ling.Nut 02:44, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that might have legs if you could get the language right. My aim has always been to try and produce the best online account of whatever it is I'm writing about, with pointers to high-quality reliable sources that may require a visit to a library if you want to know more. Malleus Fatuorum 02:52, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
We tried once: Wikipedia talk:Featured article criteria/Archive 10#Proposal for original content. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:59, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I've a great deal of sympathy for Ling.Nut2's motivation, but the language is starting to sound suspiciously like the international definition of research as an "original contribution to scholarly knowledge" for me :). We'd want to avoid edging too close to that definition. (And I remember the context of the 1f: originality proposal sadly). Fifelfoo (talk) 03:04, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, if anyone wants to cut at the heart of this problem with new text in WIAFA, you have my moral support. I agree with malleus that FAs should strive to be the best available online (though a clause that restrictive would be impossible to put into actionable language... define "best"). At least something or other that means "We have arranged and presented this is a new and comprehensible way, and thus added to the store of knowledge presented to the lay public (not to the store of knowledge available to the relevant field)". But I won't do it. No time. No motivation. No energy. No desire to disagree even about a thing as small as a comma or a coordinating conjunction (a jot or a tittle).  – Ling.Nut 03:14, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Concur, like your newer wording, I'm exhausted too. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:21, 31 May 2011 (UTC)