Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive52

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


US National Archives featured article contest

The Charters of Freedom on display at the National Archives' rotunda.

I would like to announce the first featured article contest for the US National Archives WikiProject, as part of the National archives' ongoing collaboration with Wikipedia. The National Archives has graciously provided us with prizes to give out to winners, including National Archives publications, tote bags, and other swag. This first contest is a challenge to get any of the articles on the three documents on display in the National Archives building's rotunda—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—featured (in any language). There is a smaller prize for achieving good article status.

Please read more about how to participate here. Good luck! Dominic·t 21:14, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

They don't think small, do they? Any of those would be an epic project! Why not have a competition for using NARA materials to get any article to Featured? There still will not be many takers.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:32, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
"They" is me, in this case. :-) I'll explain my thinking, though nothing is set in stone yet, anyway. It's certainly a tall order, but there is a good reason for wanting these articles, because they the most high-profile items in the National Archives' collection. Of course, there are numerous other National Archives-related articles that would also we'd also love to get featured, and I'll certainly entertain suggestions for counting them if anyone wants to do that. I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from writing on topics related to the National Archives just because I chose articles that were intimidating or uninteresting for the contest. The idea here, though, was that we have only a limited number of prizes and I wanted to come up with an enticement to get people to go beyond the low-hanging fruit and, as you say, think big. And if you don't manage to get it all the way in the end, but get it to GA, you still win a prize, too. Dominic·t 21:54, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Screw small. What are we accomplishing making 350 out ouf 3,500,000 minor topics featured per year when there are basic articles that LOTS OF READERS GO TO that need big upgrades. I am glad they are doing the prize. I was even thinking of putting some money up as an idea (not that I can compensates for all the work, but people get motivated by contests...regardless.) The Archives is doing it exactly right and I am so glad they structured it like this.TCO (reviews needed) 21:49, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Nice, looking forward to your FAC of the Constitution TCO. Juliancolton (talk) 21:51, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Fair point...dude!  :-) I'm kind of trying to do things in the 500+ hit count arena. Elements, notable species. I haven't grown the balls to take on the Constitution. Love stuff like Fluorine or Manhattan Project though. And when scanning the list after Karen asked for more reviews, did not feel motivated to donate time to articles on subjects I had never heard of (thus likely low hit count). That and all the hippy music FAs.  ;-) TCO (reviews needed) 22:00, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

My thought on this is, you're trying to catch some fish, and you have to start somewhere, and if you set the bar too high, you are likely to be out for a duck. (Take that, Society to Ban Mixed Metaphors)--Wehwalt (talk) 22:15, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

My thought is TTT was right a year or two ago with his analysis of FA trends in coverage. Obviously no one is stopping anyone from working on any topic. But at a global level it makes sense to look at the enterprise and see the output. how many articles come out, what fields are over/under represented and notability. I kind of agree with you that taking off "Law" or the like is a real toughie.
That said, there is a huge middle ground. My thinking is medium tough. I LOVE "turn the periodic table blue"! And higher hit count articles benefit readers more than lower hit count. I mean in the extreme...a zero hit count article is a tree in the forest (mixing calculus and rote sayings).  ;) So incentives like $$, bragging rights, maybe another award, main page time, reviewer attention all make sense for what benefits our readers.TCO (reviews needed) 22:22, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
How much do I get for Nixon?--Wehwalt (talk) 23:31, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Fancier sticker? I'm half joking, but I bet you superstars would turn handsprings to earn them. An argument can already be made that FA is more time spent versus the reward for two GAs. But I bet human nature being what it is, some people would want the top prizes to show they are top dogs. On Nixon, I already told you how I felt about it. Good stuff. I mean your other stuff is good stuff, too Wehwalt. But circulation matters! Just ask Ben Bradley or the Grahams next time you are hobnobbing.  ;) TCO (reviews needed) 23:54, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
It's nothing to do with being "top dog", but surely even a fool can see that to get a topic like the Declaration of Independence to even GA is next to impossible given Wikipedia's open-editing environment. I've baulked at taking Margaret Thatcher any further than GA. Sure, articles can be indefinitely semi-protected, but registering an account is easy. Wikipedia has some problems to solve before articles like those have any chance of being stable. It may be instructive to look through the history of this article. Malleus Fatuorum 01:47, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I was involved with the CC debacle and now the Vincent van Gogh debacle. Read the most recent entries on the talk page and you'll see how things can disintegrate quickly, a single editor can wikilawyer their way through the talkpage and bring progress to a complete stop. The big topics are virtually impossible. I'd love to do the Declaration of Independence, but would prefer something a bit more focused. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 02:01, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm having terrible times keeping John A. Macdonald stable thanks to a new editor who insists on editing very badly. It isn't vandalism, so it is hard to figure out a way to act on it. Consititution? I've got better things to do than edit war with someone who insists on adding that the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are in the Constitution (note to Brits, Canucks, and Anzacs: it's in the Declaration).--Wehwalt (talk) 02:09, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
It is insane not to semiprotect GAs and above. I am a big fan of the site going away from IP editing. We need to get rid of the pinball fascination with encouraging bad edits and reversion of them, rather than actually writing real meaty content. I would like to see verrry liberal protections given out and lots of IP range blocks...until we evolve to non IP editing. Anyone can edit kinda sucks at this stage of development. I'm probably seen as a radical for saying this for people that have been drinkking the Wiki juice for years or got started with the project a while ago, but just don't have work ethic to write real articles. TFAs should be full protected. the benefit of one or two IPs that fixed a typo is not worth it for the several minutes that thousand+ eyeballs hit a viagra ad. TCO (reviews needed) 02:16, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
We can throw our hands up and work only on articles that get low viewing, but then what have we accomplished in terms of supporting our readers and delivering the free encyclopedia? There's no way we can cover anything close to a sizable fraction of the obscure topics. will be over coverage of narrow subfields or just sampling the Mandlebrot. But someone hitting random article or just Googling in ad hoc is not going to get better articles because they are less trafficed (as an average). Plus we still will have people wanting good content at the core topics.TCO (reviews needed) 02:22, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I made a suggestion to Dominic on my talk page, [1] as to something with might motivate people to try to work in this area.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:25, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Hope Dominic keeps it like he has it. I would like to see the challenge rather than more business as usual. Silver dollars and mushrooms and such (quite good, don't get mad...just...not being looked at.)TCO (reviews needed) 02:29, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
The foundation needs to worry more about content provision and the next step in maturation of the project which will require differences from how it grew. What the average person sees who Googles in is the articles. Not the editors and how many there are. And one good editor is probably worth 10 mediocre. And the bad ones are actually negative value. If we keep getting good content we can get more secret Google donations or the like. The high school or college vandal fighters have no money anyway...not like they are funding the drives with cash.  ;-) TCO (reviews needed) 02:29, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
If someone could guarantee I could work only on content, not surface to deal with a single iota of wiki-crap, research the topic to death, write, write and write, I'd be more than happy to tackle something like the Declaration. As it happens I know a lot about it, it's in my area of speciality (which I rarely touch on wikipedia), but given the amount of background noise on this project, it's truly hard, imo. But maybe I'm just cranky and hot tonight. Who knows. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 02:30, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The more you do, the harder it gets. Someone above suggested that it's absurd that GAs and FAs aren't automatically semi-protected, and I can't help but agree. I believe there's a statistic somewhere showing that most computer programmers are effectively non-productive after three years or so, because all they're doing then is fixing bugs. The analogy may not be exact, but it's close enough. The effort to keep articles at GA or FA in the face of constant "improvements" is way too much. Malleus Fatuorum 02:50, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm forced to agree. Frankly, I don't think anyone should be editing a FA until he has 1,000 edits.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:54, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I wish I could sheild you somehow. Would really like to see you go after it. going to go look at the article now. You got me curious.TCO (reviews needed) 02:47, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

More options

In some sense, I am actually kind of happy that people are complaining about the narrow scope of the contest. It must mean there are other National Archives-related articles you all would like to work on outside of these three. Don't let me stop you! :-)

I understand that there are various gripes people have about the FA process (or Wikipedia's standard practices), especially related to the more major articles. It wasn't my intention to cause that debate here. Each and every featured article, whatever the topic, is a tremendous investment of time and energy that editors. It's an incredible act, and one that people are already doing for no personal gain. Now, the National Archives has a special interest in those three documents above for obvious reasons, but it is not the sole focus. We want to content to be improved. The featured article contest was simply intended as a means to that end. The prizes are a way that we can show appreciation for such work.

Do you think the contest could be better? As long as I have at least gotten some people's attention now: the featured article contest is editable! ;-) Or you can even create an alternative one from scratch. There are other, less exclusive lists of important NARA documents (like the 100 milestone documents, for example) we could work off of and there is plenty else beyond that related to the holdings. Write about the Lee Resolution or Eisenhower's farewell address or whatever. Anything that accomplishes the goal of exciting people about improving National Archives-related content, can be an "official" contest. Dominic·t 02:56, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

I do have some hopes when I see things like this, the college ambassador program etc. It's baby steps, but it's movement to more scholarship and less pinball game of vandal reversion and intrigues on conduct.TCO (reviews needed) 03:00, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
What's encouraging is that the US National Archives is engaging with Wikipedia, and I very much hope that you colonists will step up to the plate. If you recall, the British Museum did something very similar last year, which was a great success. Malleus Fatuorum 03:07, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah that was impressive. TK is our hope!  ;) TCO (reviews needed) 03:08, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
You need to put it into perspective. Take a look at Magna Carta for instance, a document at least as important as your Declaration of Independence. Malleus Fatuorum 03:15, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
The declaration was molded on the Plymouth Charter which in turn was based on the Magna Carta. I'd be interested in any one of them, but I think Malleus's analogy about programmers is apt. I started writing Ernest Hemingway (another main page day today!) when I had a couple thousand or so edits and was pleased as punch to be working on it. Strangely no one bothered me, and I methodically worked my way through the page from top to bottom. I had a great PR with Awadewit, a great GA with Maria, and as my first FAC it flew through. For some reason it just seems to be getting harder, but by the time I spend 15 minutes or more each day reformatting ref changes that socks add to "my" pages, and then having to respond to people who chastise me for calling them "my" pages, and then dealing with wiki-lawyers the fun is gone. Am only editing now because it's much too hot to do think, and this is basically mindless. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 03:24, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
What's even more amazing is that the Plymouth Charter really does seem to be a red link. I'd do that before I'd consider the declaration. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 03:28, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Do you mean Mayflower Compact by chance? --♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 03:50, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
That's it. Thanks. But then it became a charter - need to look it up and look at that page. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 03:52, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I think that Wikipedia now needs to grow up, and recognise for instance that reverting unattributed fluff (or even attributed fluff) isn't ownership of the article, it's responsible custodianship of the project. Malleus Fatuorum 03:45, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm used to "take ownership" being positive in the work world.TCO (reviews needed) 04:12, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
As am I, but this is a world run by children. Malleus Fatuorum 04:16, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Need people who can write to choose to write instead of to be admins. If you know any admins who can actually do content work but have gone over to the other wikispaces, get three or four of your friends together (a group is more persuasive) and beg them to renounce their administrative ways. I am not being snarky or facetious to even the tiniest degree. Anyone can admin (but not anyone can become an admin, apparently); but not everyone can do content work.  – Ling.Nut 03:49, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
The project needs a few people who are trusted to do stuff like move over redirects, which I'm quite sure that intelligent persons such as you and I could manage to do without breaking sweat. Unfortunately though the "no big deal" crew has persuaded those who should know better that every "advanced" right should be retained by those who by and and large have no idea how to do anything but whack vandals. Malleus Fatuorum 04:07, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Dominic, one of the things that contributed to the success of the British Museum collaborations was that for Hoxne Hoard there were experts available who could review drafts, respond to questions, and point to sources. I didn't help write that article (I reviewed it at FAC) but I believe it would have been very difficult to make it FA quality without that help. I also gather that a face-to-face session in London with experts helped stimulate the initial interest in the project. (Perhaps someone who was there can give a more accurate picture of the process.) If there are National Archives experts willing to help with questions about sources and to provide feedback it might be easier to attract participants to work on related articles.
With regard to whether articles like United States Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, or United States Bill of Rights could be brought to GA or FA; two are former FAs, and one is a former GA, so they may be closer than one would expect. Even so I agree with the comments above that any of the three is a huge project. I think you should either open it up to other articles, or reduce the goal -- just ask for improvements to those articles. Any improvements to such high-profile articles would be beneficial; plus it's worth remembering that improvements to Wikipedia can be incremental. You don't have to get all the way to FA every time you work on an article. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 04:01, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Think expand the time to 4 months to completed FA makes more sense. think you need prominent articles and a distinct metric. Vague improvement does not help an outside agency get something to put on a website or in reports to bosses or the like. TCO (reviews needed) 04:11, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Articles can be taken to FA very quickly with the right support. One I worked on got from start class to FA in three weeks. Malleus Fatuorum 04:28, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm talking about the 3 articles in question, Malleus. Not some ditty on the inclined plane. Could see the behomoths taking 2 months just in the reviews, given the size of them and the importance that people will put on them and dig into as reviewers.TCO (reviews needed) 05:12, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
You deal with your history and I'll deal with mine. That was a massive collaborative effort that I don't see happening with any of these three suggested articles. Prove me wrong. Malleus Fatuorum 05:18, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
And where did this "ditty on the inclined plane" come from? I'm talking about the Peterloo Massacre, a very significant event in English history. Malleus Fatuorum 05:21, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

What we have is a failure to communicate :-) But being serious, I don't see why those articles are more undoable than the Manhattan Project (perhaps a less momentous event, but a more complex topic to describe). The Declaration is in decent shape. Someone of the right caliber (not me) 2 months of work. Then 2 months at FA. It's a work plan.TCO (reviews needed) 05:35, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

And on the Peterloo...never heard of it.  :) TCO (reviews needed) 05:35, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

It's a least a six month job. I spent nine months on Hemingway and it was a former featured. "Indian Camp", a tiny little thing, was about 18 months, on and off. FAs have to be comprehensive and no way a person who works etc., can identify the sources, read the sources, write, tweak, polish, in less than 6 months. I'm a slow editor though - could be wrong. But two months at FAC is too long; should be brought to FAC close to perfect. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 05:44, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
OK, 6. I think you should plan a couple months at FAC into the Gant chart though. AND bring it in as close to perfect as possible. It won't be a dashing discussion, but getting into the meat of the topic and wrestling with coverage. 2 months is with safety margin. But since it's at the end, don't want to cut it too fine and miss the window either.TCO (reviews needed) 05:49, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Call it 8 or 9 and we can declare a sudden and staggering onset of common sense. I hope it isn't catching.. wait.. I mean...  – Ling.Nut 05:51, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
There's a big difference between those articles and the Manhattan Project. They are much more politically controversial. Hawkeye7 (talk) 06:37, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Also, these articles are much more open ended the Manhattan Project. Yes, indeed, the atomic bomb changed the world, but editors of the MP article can palm most of that analysis off to other articles. The effects of the Declaration, or of the Constitution? Much more to say. By the way, the fact that an article is a former FA does not mean it ever met or came close to today's FA standards, most at their best would not have been promoted to GA due to lack of referencing, among many other things.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:30, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Okay, guys. Before anyone makes another comment about those three articles or more generally about FA, please read my comment at the top of this subsection. Contests have been successful in the past in stimulating featured articles in a particular area. If we can do it for the National Archives in any form, they are willing to contribute some cool prizes and eternal fame on their blog for it. So, let's work on that. The initial contest is not set in stone. But I'd actually like to have a contest at some point, rather than a laundry list of criticisms. Dominic·t 14:44, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't think you should wimp out so fast because the existing star collectors want more of the same. Those three articles are great choices for the USA. Just up the deadline. Writing FAs on stuff people neve read about is tree in a forest music.TCO (reviews needed) 15:03, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not wimping out, especially not for the other languages, but I don't mind trying to get some successes under our belt first before making the big push. Dominic·t 15:16, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

1. Yeah, I get former Featured may not be great (heck Raul runs some bad old TFAs that are current featured). That said, actually looking at Declaration, I don't think it is that far off from a GA. I am tempted to just throw it in the queue. Malleus, I know you are an advocate of high standards for GAs and making them FA-lites. How far away is Declaration from GA?

2. I think Manhattan Project was a trickier story to tell, giving history of science details to a non technical audience, the feedback loops of plants, several parallel efforts, different aspects of the thing (espionage and sites and all). I agree that the Declaration of Independence is more important...but it's not more complicated. And have to get to some of the impact, but you DON'T have to tell the whole story of the USA afterwards.

3. Political instability of the Declaration article...could be. Don't know. You are going to get the tree huggers at Manhattan Project, too. Heck fluorine even draws an occasional anti fluoridation nut. Painted turtle has mostly only had to worry about Brits that want to call turtles terrapins and add extra u's. ;)

TCO (reviews needed) 15:00, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

re fluoridation nuts. It is not impossible to get a controversial article to FA. User:Eubulides did it several times, including Water fluoridation and Autism. Sadly he was one of a kind and is no longer on WP. Colin°Talk 15:58, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I've seen that page a few days ago. Nice medical FA related to an element (it's all connected!) Right now the water-F stuff is pretty quiet for F. Still kind of a buzz kill to worry about it. But not that bad. I was surprised to see what good shape that article is in and how relatively pro F it was (I am too, just surprised we did not have some washed out compromise). How was that guy one of a kind? Just like to hear what made him special to you.TCO (reviews needed) 16:33, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
There are some other medical tie-ins as well. Like I did not even realize that Prozac of "listening to" fame was a fluorinated molecule. And then I have a go do to write to some Harvard doc to get a burn images of HF (have a little real life is a very interesting and characteristic type of burn). Could write a whole wiki article on it...well someone could, not me.TCO (reviews needed) 16:36, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Eww. HF burns. Very nasty. Incoming chemistry uni classes get told all about that, or at least mine did. It was a long time ago now, but I still remember the strict warnings about that chemical, even though all the other warnings have long since faded from memory. The NARA project is interesting. I've had dealings with NARA material in my day job, and it is an amazing resource (though still only one among many amazing resources out there). I tend to agree with what Wehwalt said about archive tours and personal contact and feedback. I also think that for major articles, it is better to have a group of editors collaborating rather than have one editor (however good) go it alone. And by collaborating, I mean proper planning and discussion, not just stuff like "can you copyedit my article, please", or "can you review these images, please", but actually sitting down and looking at the range of sources available, seeing who has access to what, and then settling on a basic article framework and going from there. Carcharoth (talk) 23:39, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Please tell me if/when mention of the Archives competition is appropriate in The Signpost's "Featured content". Tony (talk) 00:14, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Carcharoth proposal, group work on Declaration

Invite anyone interested to join work on the Declaration. Perhaps a start is just to look the article over and make comments in the talk page on your impressions? Here: [2].

I threw it into GA--but I have lots of T-shirts and don't even care about nom credit or the like--just getting it moving. I think we can work on it while it is in queue. FA is what matters and we might end up restructuring or the like!

TK is a heavy hitter and so is Carcharoth. Maybe we could hook in ORlady (she is on my friends list). And anyone else. I am very weak on this sort of topic, but can try to plug in on images or whatever.TCO (reviews needed) 00:51, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

I reached out the Kevin Myers who is the main author of the work and is still active on Wiki. Trying to make this one team, one fight. Not tromping in and messing up something he was already moving to FA.TCO (reviews needed) 01:01, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm flattered, but please don't call me a heavy-hitter. Or if you do, please spell my name right. :-) Anyway, as I said on my talk page, I've retreated from the idea, as I'm not certain on whether this should be an article on the document (and its drafting and later history) or one on this 'phase' of the American Revolution (the amount of background currently provided makes it more about the process than the document) and hence part of a series of articles covering the American Revolution. I'd be happy to comment at a later stage, but getting the current main contributors on board is definitely the right step. The next one is to ascertain who has access to what sources and what additional sources are needed. Try and identify which sources are the most authoritative and reliable, or what 'schools' exist if there are disputes. The key thing is to have some idea of the endpoint you are working towards, and what the scope should be and where to draw the line and push things off to other articles. Incidentally, this is by no means a complex topic. It looks to me that articles like American Revolution and American Civil War and World War I and World War II are much harder to move forwards on. Compared to those, this one should be a doddle if you get the right people motivated to work on it. Carcharoth (talk) 09:16, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Carcharoth re scope, sourcing, being a heavy hitter and getting together a team. I'm completely tied up with a edit war, and a heat wave, and haven't had the time yet to read the page. Thanks though TCO for moving this forward. Movement is always good. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 11:50, 23 July 2011 (UTC)

Coming to this discussion late, and having worked on 3 British Museum FAs, I don't see any one of these as impossible. They are both a) tightly focused, as single documents, and b) with enormously wide implications. Fortunately you will run out of space before you do much more than scratch the surface of b). Expert curatorial guidance as to sources to use, and some reviewing, will help enormously. Best of luck! Johnbod (talk) 00:30, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

citations ideas

1. I think doing list defined refs (show them at the end, just named part in text) makes a lot of sense. I did this in Common box turtle and the edit mode text is way easier to read.

2. I'm starting to think manual formatting might be better. The template callup time lags when doing saves on something like Painted turtle are insane. That and someone new to the page will also have this huge lag. (and this was all tested, templates on/off by Ebullius and shown to be the templates causing the problem). I even wonder once one got used to it, if it would be faster to just run them that way, doing the little 's for italics and bold. Rather than the tiny print and window and strange order of filling out the cite toolbar templates. Also puts one more in touch with the actual text (less of a black box danger of misformatting).

3. (broken record whine, sorry) Still blows me away that we can't have something more functional in terms of inline citations. Every computer now is the equivalent of a super computer. Word had easy functionality all the way back to mid 90s at least. there are Open Office and the like. It's just a mess to have all that markup in edit mode.

TCO (reviews needed) 17:14, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

You can have as much fun as you like with list-defined refs, but I'm not touching any article that uses them. They don't work well with my style of writing/editing. Karanacs (talk) 18:19, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
In my view, many sins can hide behind list-defined refs.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:29, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
It's a mess, but it's not that hard... I learned to use citation templates with minimal knowledge of computers, much less HTML or MediaWiki software, and I've probably typed out something like 5,000 of them. Juliancolton (talk) 18:52, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
There are advantages to the citation templates over hand formatting, namely you can input the information into the template in any order and it will consistently output in the same order. Changing the template code once will reformat every reference using that template in every article (once the job queue runs) to affect a desired change. Oh, and the templates contain COinS metadata that allows browsers or plugins the ability to know who the author or publisher is of a cited source which opens up applications and uses for the data in the articles. That hidden metadata has to be downloaded with the rest of the HMTL code generated by the servers to be displayed by your browser though, which does add to the overhead and loading time though. As for complaints about dealing with the wikicode or template markup, can it. If you don't like the simplified method for marking up the formatting used by wikicode, you'd hate to hand-code raw HTML. If you really hate wikicoding so much, stop editing a wiki. The incessant complaints are very old and should have stopped weeks ago, TCO. Imzadi 1979  20:53, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
  • I have kinda seen list defined refs (if you are talking about what I think you are talking about), but have never used them. Am curious what Wehwalt meant about "many sins", plus can anyone give me a link to documentation and good examples?  – Ling.Nut (talk) 02:29, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
That it can be used to hide sloppy work, though most referencing can do that when people aren't likely to check.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:15, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
  • ...thanks... and waiting for linky?  – Ling.Nut (talk) 01:28, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
God only knows. I have enough of a time keeping what's going on in my articles straight without remembering the characteristics of every article I've read or reviewed. If I had known the rules of evidence were going to be enforced, I would have started the clock on my billing. :)--Wehwalt (talk) 14:16, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Close paraphrasing

This is proving to be subtle at DYK, which is only now coming to grips with reviewing CP and plagiarism. I've never reviewed CP before and am just getting used to the tools. FAC people have much more experience; is there somewhere that provides advice about it, beyond what is at the CP page? Tony (talk) 13:03, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

There was a Signpost article about plagiarism a couple of years ago that might be helpful. I've also written a brief piece about spotchecking which touches on the subject. Nikkimaria (talk) 04:55, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
The only tools I use are my eyes. I think it's fairly easy to read an article, and then pull a few sources and scan them. If I'm not reading the same text I've read in the article, I don't worry about. If I am reading the same text, I look more closely. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 10:59, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Nikkimaria. I'm relying on spot-checks. It's frustrating that only online sources can be checked, realistically. Tony (talk) 13:42, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Well no, if you are inventive, you can use snippet view on google books to great advantage both for sourcing and source checking.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:17, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah, well it would be handy to gain access to google books. I'll check it out. Thx. Tony (talk) 14:57, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
A word of caution. Snippet views, which don't always bring up the relevant snippets of page scans, are more helpful with CopyPaste, as in here. Not so much with CloseParaphrase, as in here, unless you're willing to do more work. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:05, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
It helps to know the subject matter well enough to guess what words are coming after the snippet. This is useful when there are short references to a subject matter on a page. It proved useful at the FAC for Canoe River train crash.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:12, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I've scrubbed a number of pages using offline sources. It's slow, it's a pain, but it's possible, here's one and and another. I finally ordered the books from the library, and had help from another editor. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 16:03, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
  • A lively discussion is occurring at DYK talk on the challenges of auditing for plagiarism and close paraphrasing. This involves all quality assurance processes at WP. Tony (talk) 03:34, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
  • And I've now created a sandbox for working up centralised advice for reviewers of FAC, FLC, GA, DYK, OTD, ITN, and WikiProject assessments on these two problematic areas: Plagiarism and close paraphrasing: tips for reviewers. Your direct editing of that page, or feedback on the talk page, would be welcome. Tony (talk) 06:56, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Coming down the track right at you.

My next nomination at FAC, unless something goes badly wrong at the peer review, will be Richard Nixon, a conomination with User:Happyme22, who due to ongoing real life commitments is unlikely to help much with the FAC. I suspect many will have comments at the FAC. You may wish to save time and review at the peer review stage. I will not be nominating the article until the peer review runs dry. My thanks to the staff of the Nixon Library for humoring me through my visits there.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:01, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

If you don't mind, could you please not nominate at FAC until mid-August, when Sandy and I will both be available? Just in case this needs two of us. Karanacs (talk) 21:11, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
What about August 1? I'd like this to be with me at home and with references handy during the first two weeks. and I'm away for two weeks starting August 16.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:25, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
That would be only 2 weeks at peer review which is a rather short timescale to let comments run dry. If instead you wait until 1 September, there will be plenty of time for peer review comments, and you will be back from your trip... Geometry guy 21:55, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
I would welcome comments to keep going that long.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:02, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm going to have Pat Buchannan or Henry Kissinger do the outside review. Unless you prefer Oliver Stone?TCO (reviews needed) 22:41, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Stone actually had a fairly nuanced portrayal of Nixon ... anyway, the peer review is open, I'm polishing and making minor changes and responding to reviewer suggestions. All welcome.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:51, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
With the peer review running dry (thanks to the many who contributed), I'm planning a nom for 1 August. I would like to be at home during the first part of the FAC and I leave for 1 archive, 1 convention, 1 wedding (not mine), 2 libraries and the site of the Canoe River train crash on August 12.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:21, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Content review: how to check refs for consistency

  • Need to start checking refs for consistency. Even an editor with more than ten FAs can forget to check the refs for consistency.
  • Here's how:
    • First, copy the notes section to text file. Getting the list (including carats but NOT including the number for each note) is a bit tricky. Place the cursor before the first letter of the name on the first ref, but after the carat just before that name. If you get the numbers for each ref, that's a problem because they are extremely tricky to remove using editing tools, since each number is unique.
    • Now CTRL-H "Replace All" to rm the carats ^. CTRL-A, CTRL-X, paste to Word document. Replace semicolons with carriage returns ("paragraph mark" on the relevant dialog box), because some articles have multiple refs per line (Coulson, p.69; Bradbury, p.191.)... CTRL-A, Table--sort--ascending. Eyeball to look for long list of named refs (abcedfghijk, with spaces between each letter). Find the longest-looking bunch of abc's after a named ref, CTRL-F to double-check if it really is the longest. If it is, then use that string as the text in a CTRL-H. Walk down the text, removing the rightmost empty space and alphabetic character one by one (two by two, actually) and CTRL-H'ing the remaining string until you have removed the abcd strings all the way down to "a space b space". Be careful not to remove the beginning of a title such as "A Better Place"; make sure to keep the space after the "b". OK, now CTRL-A and Table--sort--ascending again. You now have a list that has all the notes sorted alphabetically. Ignore the ones that start with quotation marks (at least for now). Eyeball and compare this list to the actual references section. Be sure to compare names AND dates, and watch out for multiple authors and "See also" etc.
    • Be sure to look for References that are not in the Notes and cited sources that are in the Notes but not the References. The latter omission is probably the greater sin (it is unacceptable in every imaginable peer-reviewed journal), but both errors are considered unacceptable by a large number of publications. [The American Sociological Association's Style Guide states, "All references cited in the text must be listed in the reference section, and vice versa.". It's the "vice versa" bit that's relevant here.]
  • Good luck  – Ling.Nut 02:21, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I've not done this for references in articles, but from previous work elsewhere trying to sort and clean and check data, I've had some success using the "text -> columns" function in Excel to separate out material that is uniformly separated from other material by a certain character. Sometimes you can use find-and-replace to replace a group of characters with a single characters, and use that as a delimiter (the technical term for how to separate columns of data in text form). This can help with removing leading and trailing strings around the data you want to check. Might be helpful. Carcharoth (talk) 05:34, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I've absolutely no idea what Ling is talking about. Misdirected effort? Brianboulton (talk) 16:02, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Too complicated, lost my place and skulked back to my place, defeated.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:44, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
My understanding of the above is that Ling is talking about making sure that every references in a form similar to "Author name - Year - page number" has a corresponding entry under that author's name in the list of works cited. And vice-versa (i.e. make sure there aren't works listed that aren't being used in the article's footnotes). What Ling is describing is extracting, tidying, sorting and visually scanning the listed information relating to references, to make sure that everything is as it should be. Though the process above is only really needed for articles with lots of source and hundreds of references. Carcharoth (talk) 02:24, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
  • every article that separates its refs into "refs" and "notes" sections needs this to be done. it is very very very easy to overlook notes and forget to include their sources, even when there are only 20 or so notes!!! Dammit, I just found a boxful of missing refs in an A-class review by hawkeye, and dammit, I just told wehwalt about others on tricky dick. everyone should be doing this. It is required in the manuals of style in every damn journal that [this rant has now been terminated by the politeness police. ling has been quarantined. please do not take flash pictures of the wild ling in captivity, nor feed it anything containing caffeine or sugar. thank you for your support]  – Ling.Nut (talk) 03:21, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

If the article is using {{Sfn}} or other short citations that use links, a script that I wrote (User:Ucucha/HarvErrors) checks for this automatically. Ucucha 10:57, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Excellent work, Ucucha. Consider thyself barn starred.  – Ling.Nut (talk) 14:19, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

"Support" confusion

A few weeks ago I posted on this page my view that FAC supports and opposes should not be qualified by emphatic adjectives, e.g. "strong oppose". etc. On the same kind of theme, I am puzzled to see, on the current FAC page:

  • Support for half of it on prose per standard disclaimer, down to where I stopped...

I don't believe that the delegates can count this as a support. A "support" is a definitive view that an article should be promoted, and has to cover the whole article. If a reviewer hasn't read enough to be able to pronounce its overall quality, then I suggest "Leaning to support" might be an appropriate interim response. Or avoid declaring until the review is complete. Brianboulton (talk) 19:18, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

How would you suggest I delegate work, if I would like to treat nominators fairly and equally, but don't have time to do everything for everyone? There doesn't seem to be a button I can push on this website to assign tasks to other people. I'm not being facetious; I'm always open to brainstorming new approaches to reviewing. What I'm trying to do with my "half vote" ... and sometimes it works ... is to make it more attractive for other prose reviewers to review, both because half the work has been done, and because they can look at my edits (I always provide to a link) to find out what kinds of problems they might want to look for. - Dank (push to talk) 19:56, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
No one can do everything for everyone, and your general reviewing methods are not in question. However, I don't feel able to support an article unless I have have at least read it all and formed a view that the whole article is of featured standard. There will be aspects that I am unable to check personally, but one is entitled to take some things on trust and to rely on other reviewers who may have more specialist knowledge. The bottom line is that you don't register support unless you've reviewed the whole text. Brianboulton (talk) 00:05, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
That's pretty much my position as well. If I haven't at least read the whole article then I'll offer no opinion on it. How could I, if I haven't read it? Malleus Fatuorum 00:17, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
In extreme cases I might oppose on a partial reading, but not support. Johnbod (talk) 00:26, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Okay, what I'm hearing is that I shouldn't call it "support". How about this? "Comment: I've read the first half and made some edits, I have a few questions." - Dank (push to talk) 01:04, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that would be very fair in those circumstances. That is I believe what most reviewers do - or you could say "Leaning to support" if you want to convey your positive feelings about the article. Brianboulton (talk) 10:21, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it's a big deal really, since it's the delegates who have to evaluate the supports at the end of the day, and I think you've been doing this for long enough that Sandy and Karen know you and your methods well enough that they can decide what to do. One support wouldn't normally change the course of an FAC and, FWiW, I always appreciate your comments, whatever verb you preface it with. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 01:32, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Correct :) Every reviewer is different, and I tend to know what regular reviewer's statements mean. In this particular case, I don't view it as a Support per se, rather as a "this nom isn't in danger of being closed". Another similar case is Tony1: since he doesn't review sources, his "Support" can't really be considered a full support-- just an indication that he's looked at prose and MOS. The problem with this kind of "Support" is that new reviewers might be confused, but that is mitigated by the statements from the nominators about exactly what they have reviewed and are supporting. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:04, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks HJ, Sandy, and everyone, I'll use "comment" rather than "support on prose for half" from now on if I'm only covering half. Btw, this is more evidence (as if we needed any) that even the military history project reviewers who are paying close attention to FAC aren't going to keep everyone happy without some feedback. Consider this a general invitation to give us feedback, including and especially on issues that come up at FAC, in our A-class review process, where more of our members will see it; it's possible that will make them bolder about heading to FAC. We make announcements about which articles are headed to FAC and when articles are close to promotion, too. - Dank (push to talk) 16:50, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If Raul and the delegates, as the only people who can promote, are satisfied, then why is there any issue at all? After all, the actual number of supports is only one factor that I understand they consider in a promotion decision.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:56, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I get a lot of requests like this ... possibly because I make an effort to be accommodating. I've only seen two approaches to copyediting that work well: either DGAF, or try to be attentive and encourage feedback of all kinds. The second works for me. - Dank (push to talk) 17:28, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
That so many GAF is a source of unending amazement to me. Thank you for your contributions.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:14, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Maybe some day I'll pay attention to all your FACs, when I'm looking for a full-time job. - Dank (push to talk) 18:32, 2 August 2011 (UTC) I meant it's a full-time job reading them and keeping up with the discussions, not copyediting them :)
Wish it paid better! What is a full time job is doing the image check for the Richard Nixon FAC, as there are 35 images.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:39, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Need some citation experts

This page is my shortcut to editors who know more about the best practice for sourcing than me: Would some of you please take a look at WT:CITE#Interpretation_of_WP:SAYWHEREYOUGOTIT and share your opinions?

The question is whether, if I'm importing public domain or CC-BY-SA text from another website (e.g., Citizendium), I can/should import any citations in that text and present them exactly as if I had read all of (e.g.) Citizendium's citations myself, or if I should cite my source, e.g., "Expert, Alice (2010) Book I've Never Read, p, 85, as cited at Citizendium" (which is what we would do if I took information from somebody's blog and there was a citation in the blog).

Since the discussion is already on two pages, please comment there rather than here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:22, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

My opinion? Don't import the text verbatim, and using another wiki as a source isn't good. Try researching and writing up the stuff yourself. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:40, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
We've imported stuff from other wikis before. I'm thinking of Ottava Rima's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, which he wrote on Simple I think. But you've got to be careful and attribute it properly. Malleus Fatuorum 00:45, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I know it's more trouble, but it would be really helpful if you commented [[at the existing discussion. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:56, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
If you think my observation is helpful then copy it there yourself. I have no wish to make even more contributors unhappy by confronting them with the truth. Malleus Fatuorum 01:08, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


Collaborations have been an aspect of the 'pedia that has fascinated me (as a mode of collaborative editing), and I have been musing on how they might be useful in how wikipedia of 2011 stands in its GA and FA process. We've had a bird collaboration that has been active in spurts since reactivation, and I was impressed that I helped reactivate the USA collaboration as the USA wikiproject reactivated. The history makes interesting reading, and it's great that one article (George Washington) has been (belatedly) regained its GA status. However, activity has been intermittent there as well. I suggested reactivating the China collaboration but I think the article selected (Shanghai) won't get to GA unless I drag it there myself...and I don't know much about Shanghai...I have also discussed with an enthusiastic editor who is dusting off Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism/Collaboration but no-one has commented there apart from him and me trying to give him some advice. What I found at White Stork (a big bird collaboration from several months ago) is that the rigour and thoroughness of the GA and particularly FA process really needs an editor sitting in the cockpit driving the article. Ucucha and Visionholder got started on the slow loris articles via the Wikipedia:WikiProject Mammals/Collaboration|Mammal collaboration]] (though that process has gone quiet in recent months)

It did make me wonder whether we should look into more of an outreach or mixing-type process. So I suggested to Tony about doing Chicago and hopefully it will be selected as the collaboration in September and we can see how this might work. My idea for reactivating collaborations was to see if we can get some of the broader, bigger articles to FA standard with some teamwork, but watching so far has seen good segments of enthusiasm but the missing link is some FA-experienced editors to try and coordinate things. I guess if anyone were interested, they could look into one of the ones I've mentioned, think about an active or even reactivating an inactive one. Anyway, I was just brainstorming here - if even one person is interested, that'd be fascinating to work on, or if the US one gets a GA or FA or two in the next several months. Thoughts? Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:46, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

PS: I did find working on some bigger articles fascinating and quite different to the smaller ones. I recommend it :) Casliber (talk · contribs) 12:47, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like it's worth doing. My one bit of advice is that I wouldn't try to round up a bunch of people to collaborate on an article that gets as many hits as Chicago at FAC; it's likely to wear people out with all the comments it attracts, and some people will take away the wrong message, that big collaborations don't work (they can) and FAC is too much work (only for some articles). - Dank (push to talk) 12:54, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Have you seen the NARA thing? Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, etc.?  – Ling.Nut (talk) 12:59, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah I had seen that. Fingers crossed for it...Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:44, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Speaking of NARA, the United States Declaration of Independence article is at GAN now, but the editor who brought it there suddenly took French leave. I was thinking of taking a crack at it, but if anyone here wants to join in and save it, well, the more the merrier. --Coemgenus (talk) 14:01, 6 August 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, hands full. It seems a worthy, though as I've said very difficult subject to get to FA. Still, 15 years left until the 250th ...--Wehwalt (talk) 11:31, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
Regarding the NARA contest, a better link is Wikipedia:GLAM/NARA/Featured article contest. There is also the discussion further up this page. See also what I said here (plus the reply). If anyone wants to tackle Physical history of the United States Declaration of Independence, that might be easier and it might be something that NARA can help a lot with. Carcharoth (talk) 05:39, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Assemblies of God USA

Hello, I want to nominate Assemblies of God USA for FA. It is currently rated a Good Article. Since this would be my first time nominating, could someone just give it a quick look to see if it even has a chance? Thanks. Ltwin (talk) 01:09, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

I'd be very cautious and take it to a peer review before FAC. Malleus Fatuorum 01:34, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok. Thanks. Ltwin (talk) 01:39, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I'd agree. It's not miles off, but not there yet. Although technically you only need to reference material that may be challenged, the FAC zealots always interpret that as "everything must have a reference", so those sentences at the end of a para will need references. Good luck Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Low notability subjects

I am having a bit of trouble understanding what level of detail is required for low notability subjects. Currently, I have a FAC going on for "Here We Go Again (Ray Charles song)‎". Currently FA has 5 songs that were from the 20 year window (10 years before and 10 years after) for this song. In 4 of the 5 cases, the songs are arguably the single most iconic song for that band or singer: "Hey Jude" - The Beatles, "Like a Rolling Stone" - Bob Dylan, "Layla" - Derek and the Dominos and "What'd I Say" - Ray Charles. The fifth FA is "The Long and Winding Road". My issue is that I am writing about a song that literally was not one of the 20 most iconic songs for the artist during his lifetime. I can say this quite surely because during his biopic Ray (film) and in its 17-song soundtrack Ray (soundtrack), the song was not included. It is not referred to directly in books about Charles that I have seen. Is the reason only the most iconic songs of bands achieve FA because the standards require a level of detail that can only be achieved for the most iconic songs for songs well before the internet era of the late 1990s? Is my FAC suppose to stack up against the most iconic songs?--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 04:28, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

I'd say that a great many songs can be FA worthy - at 57kb this article is on the larger side. I start to get worried if one can't reach 20kb and one has just about exhausted all sources, but really depends on the article. The level of detail with many more esoteric articles means exhausting reliable sources, but if the sources do not exist, then one can't be criticised for not including them. However, other criticisms need addressing. I have not read the article so cannot comment as yet. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:00, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
I also have not read it, but you can't be blamed for nonexistent sources. That being said, a certain level of comprehensiveness is needed in an article and sometimes you can't find enough on a subject for a good run at FA.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:29, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
I still have some WP:NFCC issues to resolve, although I think I have addressed them, no one has come back to comment. However, I think there is concern that although there is nearly 18KB of readable prose most of it is not for the original version of the song.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 13:35, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
Why would that present a problem? If the bulk of the publicity and sources are for a later version, you'll be covering what people are going to want to read about anyway. It is what it is.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:38, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
The 1967 version was the biggest commercial success and the 2004 version was the biggest critical success. It is not clear, which the readers will be looking for. I think two reviewers have alluded to the article not beings so comprehensive. With the current content I think that means the original version.--TonyTheTiger (T/C/BIO/WP:CHICAGO/WP:FOUR) 15:54, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
If a reviewer is opposing on such reasons as because the original version is not of the largest readable prose, then just politely say that you dont find such comments actionable. Our delegates takes into action comments which are not actionable and promote or archive nominations fairly. — Legolas (talk2me) 14:15, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

A question about prose quality

I've looked at a few FA candidates today, and I don't think any of them met the 1a prose requirement. In one case I opposed, in another I opposed provisionally, and in another I just offered a few comments. I have a question and an observation, first the question. How do the delegates deal with comments that aren't dealt with? Are they default opposes?

My observation is that very many editors struggle to reach the level of prose required for an FA, but there's very little help available to them; the work done by the Guild of Copyeditors is patchy at best. I don't know what can be done about that, but the present system of doing nothing isn't working. I know that Wikipedia is inherently anti-elitist (or at least hypocritically claims to be, having created its own elite), but there surely needs to be a recognition that some people can write and that others just ought to watch in awe. Malleus Fatuorum 22:00, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Is it possible to teach others how to write better prose? (That's actually a serious question.) How do you watch in awe in an online environment? (Oh, I see, you were joking.) In case you weren't joking, yes, some people can write, but those that can write tend to have weaknesses in other areas that are best addressed by collaborating with other editors. Which is, surprisingly, what is meant to happen on Wikipedia. Though it doesn't work too well if some writers really start to think that others should do no more than watch in awe. Carcharoth (talk) 23:37, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
If it's not possible then we might as well shut down all the schools in the world. Presumably what you mean to ask though, but didn't have the skill to phrase it correctly was "is it possible to teach others how to write better prose [on Wikipedia]". If you don't know the answer to that question then you ought to be asking yourself some very serious questions. Malleus Fatuorum 00:05, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
It is possible. But it takes a great deal of effort and patience, and that's a lot to ask from a group of volunteers. I think some of Tony's writing exercises are helpful, but don't know how many editors are aware they exist. I think it would be helpful if the GOCE had a different focus. And I think it would be helpful if editors were willing to put in the hard work that good writing requires. Often I see pages brought to FAC directly after passing GA, when, in my view, they still need a lot of elbow grease. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 00:12, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I not infrequently counsel that new GAs should be left to simmer before being taken to FAC. I'm rarely listened to though. Malleus Fatuorum 00:22, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm about to go away for a few days, so I can't start the Village Pump discussion about setting up an editor's hierarchy to control content in the same way that the present administrator's hierarchy controls behaviour, but thoughts would be welcome in the meantime. Malleus Fatuorum 22:15, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

I think you have misplaced your possessive apostrophes there. Ironic, really, given the preceding comment about prose quality. I would suggest "editors' hierarchy" and "administrators' hierarchy", or "editorial hierarchy" and "administrative hierarchy" would improve the prose quality of your proposals. Unless you are talking about a specific editor and a specific administrator? Carcharoth (talk) 23:37, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
What's ironic but not entirely unexpected is that you base your reply on your mistaken idea of the correct use of an apostrophe. Have you anything serious to add, or have you just been sent here to rubbish the idea? Malleus Fatuorum 23:54, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I think you folks are missing the key issue. Most music-related FAC nominations are brought up by teenagers, and younger editors who do not have the quality of writing that may be required for FAC. Others, such as Brian (he's an older Wikipedian), Yourself Malleus (you're almost 30) and many of the usual passes are from editors who are a significant amount older, and have already possibly gone through college. For this reason, we have issues like on the "S&M" article etc. I also think (and have always thought, as I myself have had my fair share of FAC fails in the past) that there isn't, as you said, sufficient help from the GOCE, and even less from other writers who are possibly more advanced when it comes to prose. I really wish there were a way to help those who just can't seem to produce those "FA" standard prose, so that they could actually merit to see one.--CallMeNathanTalk2Me 23:59, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm well over 30, which gives me the advantage of having attended proper schools and universities. Not those imbued with the "nobody must fail" attitude. Malleus Fatuorum 00:15, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, I can't speak for Carcharoth, but it seems like a solution in search of a problem. Prose sucks all over wikipedia. It is up to those who don't care for it to fix it. on candidate FA's that are often quite long, this might be quite a challenge. One that could be undertaken even in baby steps by those who want better prose. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 00:02, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Wikpedia in general is full of crap, I don't think anyone would deny that. I was specifically addressing the problems faced by those bringing articles to FAC, not the 3 million other articles that would probably be better deleted. Malleus Fatuorum 00:30, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you about those two FACs (as can be seen by my comment here, which I think you removed in an edit conflict here. I'm over 30 as well, and also attended 'proper' schools and universities (whatever you mean by that). I think Petergriffin has it exactly right with his comments above. What I don't think is acceptable, though, is trying to set up a super-class of editors merely because some people haven't yet acquired a certain level of writing skill. All that happens when you set people up on a pedestal is that they either get an inflated ego, or they get knocked off the pedestal when they get something wrong and refuse to admit it. Or they burn out when everyone comes to them asking for help. Carcharoth (talk) 00:59, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I certainly didn't remove your comment deliberately, that's something I would never do. But we already have a super-class of editors, they're called administrators. Unfortunately though for a project nominally concerned with writing an encyclopedia it appears that many of them would have problems writing their own names. That's why I proposed the split between those concerned with content and those concerned with behaviour. Malleus Fatuorum 01:30, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Please, Malleus, do not address me with rude or quip remarks, as I do not deserve them. As for Carcharoth, you are right. I was not implying that there be that kind of "service" here, even though I understand if I did come off that way. Its true that no matter who the editor, if they truly desire achieving an FA, there are ways, though possibly slow, of achieving that. And Malleus, again, I was not implying the younger editors didn't receive a proper education, but for God's sake allow them to get one. Don't speak as though you are of a privileged race. Finally, I unfortunately do not find anything coming into fruition from this argument, as the main question that started this really didn't have an answer except "good catch". Anyone have anything else to say?--CallMeNathanTalk2Me 01:08, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I'll address you as I think is appropriate, as I do everyone else here. I see no reason to make an exception in your case. Malleus Fatuorum 01:18, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
You no what, take that rod out of your ass and treat people here with respect. In the meantime, you didn't even grasp the full extent of my opinion. Just because you have your certain viewpoint and ideas, does not mean that you can talk to people like a complete ass. Have some respect, just like I addressed you. In the meantime, you came here and opened a discussion that meant nothing. don't see what you're looking for, maybe a "good job Malleus"! "You had every right to oppose".--CallMeNathanTalk2Me 01:40, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Let's not turn this into an off-topic argument. My general impression is that not everyone can produce an article with prose of the featured level, and that's just how it works. We're not going to lower our standards so that people can amass "trophies"; we want content that is truly excellent. Besides, not every article needs to be of that level. As long as an article is reliable and reasonably well-written, I don't see any need for it to be designated as a certain quality, featured or good. I don't really understand the problem, I guess. ceranthor 01:55, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
In case you didn't realize Ceranthor, I completely agree, and don't understand the problem or discussion either.--CallMeNathanTalk2Me 01:58, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Skimming through this thread, my mind is torn between the ideologies of the wiki and common sense. In theory, FAs, like all well-developed articles, should be the product of a collaboration between multiple editors and we shouldn't have to worry about whether one person's prose abilities are sub-par. And further, I would very much like to be able to say there are always ways to have an article copyedited for grammar and flow, so long as the content is reasonable. In practice, most FAs are written almost entirely by a single editor over the course of a few days or weeks, and either the prose is good or it isn't. I think there comes a point where we have to set aside our concern for offending people and simply point out that not all articles, and not all editors, are cut out for FA. Juliancolton (talk) 02:18, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm doing something very wrong if most FACs are written in days or weeks. It takes months for me to get a page to FAC quality. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 02:23, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps we both are, but writing about hurricanes is just about filling in a boiler plate. Malleus Fatuorum 02:27, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree Julian. I ask you, if an article is "fairly-well written" and an editor needs assistance in making them FA level, what other ways or who do you suggest for this? Being that you seem to have a card up your sleeve. And yes, obviously not every editor is meant to have success at FAC, that much is known.--CallMeNathanTalk2Me 03:00, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
For me, it takes a good deal of focus to really produce my best prose, which is sometimes hard when you're sitting on the internet. Writing the actual content can take anywhere from a few days to months, depending largely on the availability of the sources and my own interest. So again, I think this discussion has veered off-topic. What exactly was the problem again, Malleus? (Not being snarky or anything, I just don't understand). ceranthor 03:23, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that nominators at FAC have nowhere to go when they're told that their prose isn't up to snuff. Malleus Fatuorum 03:34, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
In my case, I am a college student now and went through years of English courses. Yet, no matter what I do for articles I bring to FAC (including my current one) prose is always my problem area. About the collaborative nature, I have to pull teeth just to even have someone look the stuff I write. I pretty much know that if I write about something other than a Lady Gaga song or a hurricane, I get no help. Even when I get the copyedits from the Guild, the opposers still go "They suck, try again." What are we supposed to do? (About the overall comment about FA's being made in days or weeks; it usually takes me about 2 weeks to get an article from GA to FAC. However, I been making FA's for 6 years and I know what is asked of it.) User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 05:02, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
It is difficult when a person who can clearly write well is struggling to improve an article up to FA. A lot of times, the FAC regulars are able to help, but not always. I almost think a project like the FA Team could be successful again. Collaboration, I think, is key. ceranthor 05:13, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh yeah I agree, but when it comes to to it, it never happens. No matter what big projects or protals the articles are "under" the userbase just goes away. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 05:15, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
A lot of it depends on the contributors, yes. But 13 featured articles is no small feat. ceranthor 05:25, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Truthkeeper: it's entirely possible to write a high-quality, substantial article in two or three weekends. Some people have more time to devote to their work than others. Malleus: Forgive me. I take it you'd rather I write about video games and television program episodes. Until you've written an atmospheric sciences article, it's a bit unfair to tell me years of work can be boiled down to filling in a template. Juliancolton (talk) 13:40, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I've been in this boat several times: I try to get PR and CEs on an article before FAC, do my own review and get a couple others to read through, and still get knocked down for poor english at the FAC. But if I've done this, it seems like it is asking for an improvement of the text from 12th grade reading level to college-grade - which is the most difficult aspect of that final push. And it should be realized that it is very difficult to teach users alone from a guide like Tony's or such what to watch for.
I can understand a fast oppose when the writing level is sub-standard and needs a lot of help (every sentence needing a closer look and revision); that's where the PR/CE/peer comments should do before the FAC is even started. But what is frustrating as a nominator is to try to get that done and still have people quick to oppose because they found one awkward phrase in the lead. What would be helpful is for those that know what FAC-quality prose is that if they see isolated problems with prose to point out, possibly correct these, instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I don't want reviewers to waste their time if, say, the bulk of the lead and/or opening section is a problem indicative of the whole article, but it's also not a good use of resources if all that needs fixing is the tuning of a word here or there. But at some point, we need to realize how much of a diminishing return there is to get articles to college-level or better reading verses the number of volunteers and their time and the like to get there from a otherwise completely readable article. --MASEM (t) 05:32, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I nommed Ashford v Thornton for FA 48 hours after I started work on it, and it passed, but it probably wasn't my best idea. Nowadays I try to have three or four articles either in review or just being worked over by me by being read over and over again (sometimes I think many FA candidates have never been read straight through by their nominators). I think the greatest advantage is that I have read an awful lot in my life, both for fun and professionally. If you know what good prose sounds like, you can get by without being able to quote every rule of grammar.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:51, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

How do the delegates deal with comments that aren't dealt with? Are they default opposes? I have not looked at the FACs in question (I'm hoping Karanacs will show up this week, since construction stinks and I'm still up to my eyeballs in boxes). It depends on the comments. If they are significant enough that they should have been an oppose, I just get irked at the commentator for not entering the blooming oppose and leaving the work to me :) (Just kidding. Sort of.) Generally, if someone enters a comment that is unaddressed for weeks, while multiple others enter supports, I'm kinda stuck (meaning, I end up weighing in on the FAC myself and mentioning that issues are still present). On the big picture, prose is very often sub-standard, but if folks aren't reviewing, nominations are getting support, and the prose isn't so bad that it is able to fly under my radar, well, consensus ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:55, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

  • To bring this back to one of Malleus's opening points, there is a problem with finding decent copy-editors. I've always thought that getting all the facts and all the references on the same page is the hardest part. Once you've got that, you can ask others for help in other areas, like prose. But if your article needs much more than a quick once over, you will seriously struggle to find a copy-editor who has the ability and the time (and inclination) to take it on. The GOCE are well meaning, but most of them just don't have the ability or the copy-editing experience to get prose up to 1a standards.

    We could do with something similar to the GOCE, but made up of editors who actually know to turn reasonable prose into something that is "engaging, even brilliant, and of a professional standard" and with that focus, rather than fixing minor errors in poor quality articles. Not everyone can write brilliant prose, but I think the prose quality of new FACs would be greatly improved if there were such a group, on whom nominators could rely to provide reasonably prompt, thorough copy edits or just prose reviews. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 14:56, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

  • The chief problem with the GoCE (IMO, and they do excellent work much of the time) is that there's simply no reward for spending an afternoon of your time pecking away at a single article, with no guarantees your changes have even been beneficial. If I were to go through an historical railroad article, there's a good chance I will have inadvertently changed the meanings of some things, thinking my alterations were simply stylistic. Another issue is that even some of the most brilliant writers on the project are hit-or-miss; sometimes you ace it and write paragraphs of excellence, and other times you're just not with it and end up with something that's professional, no doubt, but not engaging. Juliancolton (talk) 15:28, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
I do not think there is any secret that few of us put reviewing as our favorite activity. It's got to get done. However, I think some people think a copyedit works magic, but there are limits to what one can do. Yes, I can improve a sentence at a time, but I can't or won't rewrite an article for the nominator. The biggest reason is that without the sources, I'm just giving the nominator a better way to say the same thing on a micro scale. I can't do that for the whole article, and shouldn't have to. Real life copyediting isn't done this way as has been pointed out.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:37, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I endorse Malleus's query. I occasionally look at newly-promoted FAs and am often shocked by the poor quality of writing. Of course good clear writing can be learned, but it is hard to see how we can foster this learning if the regard of the FA community for it is seemingly so low. One indicator I noticed a good while ago of lazy, formulaic writing is the misuse and overuse of the word however. There are many others, and seemingly very few of us (relative to the size of the project) who know and care enough to improve things. --John (talk) 20:33, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
    • I think small suggestions such as John's above are very helpful, fwiw. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 13:15, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
      • They are. It probably won't fly, but what about a mandatory PR for articles by editors who have not had an article pass FAC? Perhaps to be kept open two weeks or until they get a positive opinion from someone who has had a FAC pass.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:39, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
        • I think that's a perfectly good idea, Wehwalt, though speaking as "someone who has had a FAC pass", perhaps I'm biased... ;-) Seriously, though, I went after just about every review there was before I submitted my first FAC, including PR, and found it a useful experience. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:54, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I think if we instituted that, we could take out the two week penalty.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:24, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
A thread regarding the Guild of Copy Editors involvement in FACs has been created by HJ Mitchell here. Any feedback is appreciated. The UtahraptorTalk/Contribs 18:38, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

In passing, agree with Wehwalt that reading widely helps immensely with writing. On mandatory peer review (PR) before FAC, if this gets off the ground make sure that those whose last FAC was a long time ago (when standards were lower) also have to do this as well (though to be honest, it would be easier if everyone had to have at least one review before coming to FAC).

One thing I think people sometimes forget about prose quality is that in part (outside of grammar and MoS matters) this is a subjective judgment. People have different writing styles, and trying to fit an individual editor's writing style inside a Wikipedia straitjacket isn't always the best idea. To some extent, all those with ambitions to write on Wikipedia (or at least to pass the review that takes place at FAC) have to adapt their style to follow some of the conventions here. But I find the best and most engaging articles are those that show why rules are made to be broken (the tension is usually between dry, factual encyclopedic writing and a more varied presentation of a topic in a way that is more engaging but might be seen as less encyclopedic).

This leads back to something else I say often, which is that if you give some of the best writers around here the same sources on a topic, and ask them to read the sources and work up an article on that topic, they will come out with articles written in similar but different styles. They may both be engaging and excellent prose, and if they are both true to the sources how does one chose between them? Should it be necessary to chose between them? Carcharoth (talk) 23:08, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Problems with the logs?

The current log, Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Featured log/August 2011, hasn't updated in the last 12 days. Is everything okay? – Quadell (talk) 13:47, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I was wondering the same thing. Two weeks with no promotions and only a few archives seems very unusual for this particular process page. Juliancolton (talk) 14:52, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
The summer tends to be a quiet time for FAC, and besides, the delegates are either busy or missing. Ucucha (talk) 15:20, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
I think Karanacs said she'd be back around the middle of August. From Sandy's comments, I gather that SG is in the middle of a move. I'm considering starting a reward for any information leading to Laser Brain, but the reward poster is a problem, can't find any images in public domain. In other words, don't sweat it. I'm as anxious as the next guy to get articles promoted, but I'm not on 24/7 and I won't ask more of the delegates than I do of myself.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:24, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
What abut the director? Whatever happened to Raul? --♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 21:00, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
He could, but generally only acts if all delegates are recused, on a single FAC.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:57, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

checks with Earwig's tool - disabled

Please disregard my actual comments about checks with Earwig's copyvio tool. Apparently there is a problem with the underlying Yahoo function, which affects Coren's and Earwig's tool aswell. I left a note at the discussion about this point on My apologies for the mixup. GermanJoe (talk) 10:11, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Tool is disabled for the time being - thanks to Earwig for the quick response. GermanJoe (talk) 19:37, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

How long do reviews last?

I've had a nomination review running for a month now. Although it's gone fine (all supports, no opposes, no outstanding issues) I'm wondering a bit how long the review is going to go on for. I have a vacation coming up and wouldn't want to have the review fail because someone raised an issue while I was away. Prioryman (talk) 15:06, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Right now, the responsible delegates are all busy IRL. We are patiently waiting for them to promote and archive. As nothing we do will speed things up, and we respect their real life obligations, more patient waiting seems to be in order.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:14, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
One thing that people can do is follow Sandy's suggestions for having summaries of when articles may be ready for promotions (five supports, no opposes, image check done, etc,)--Wehwalt (talk) 15:58, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Correct: as soon as one of us can we'll go through, but what really helps is if noms have copyvio checks, image checks, etc all taken care of, and no MOS issues. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:22, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Further reading sections

I was discussing something about further reading sections recently, and I was wondering if there is a way to find all featured articles with a 'further reading' section? What I want to find out is whether this section is approached in a consistent manner with regards to what is included here (if such a section exists), and also to find out what percentage of featured articles have such a section, and what type of articles tend to have this section. From WP:SEARCH I thought a category search would work, but sadly that only works if the category is directly included on the page, rather than being a transcluded one (as the featured article hidden category is). Does anyone know of another way to search within a category of articles? Carcharoth (talk) 15:47, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Have you tried a google search, like this? --BelovedFreak 16:17, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
I'd tried a similar search, but that one is much better. Thanks! Carcharoth (talk) 16:44, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Expressing philosophical preferences in a FAC review

In a number of cases I find that the review comments have less to do with satisfying the FA criteria than they do with satisfying some personal philosophy on the part of the reviewer. These type of remarks often create disputes, generate excess work, and can hold up a review, yet they seem beside the point. They probably belong on the article talk page rather than here. I think that the review process could be expedited by presenting information on what not to put in a review. Regards, RJH (talk) 14:53, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

My first reaction was to say that this won't work on Wikipedia, because it's counter to many WPian editing principles. But OTOH ... FAC is, and has to be, largely routinized ... does the article follow policies and guidelines, is the prose clear, etc. As the delegates and others have said many times, FAC doesn't work when it starts to look like peer review. I wonder if you're right? I wonder if we could be more specific about arguments that are not welcome at FAC. Of course ... we can't violate the anyone-can-edit principle, so we'd have to require that FAC articles first show up at another review process (as has been suggested elsewhere), and ask reviewers to make make certain kinds of innovative arguments there, or on policy and guideline talk pages, instead. That is, policy requires that we value all input, but IMO it doesn't require us to be open to every kind of input at every time and every place. - Dank (push to talk) 15:23, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
There is no policy that requires us to value that which is worthless, and precious little guidance on what is worthless and what is not. Malleus Fatuorum 23:24, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
My experience has been that philosophical issues tend to become the most contentious and seem to generate the highest level of back and forth debate. Checks for conformity with the MoS, on the other hand, are often straight forward and readily resolved. Likewise, grammar and writing quality issues don't generally brook a lot of disagreement. Regards, RJH (talk) 20:23, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

New FAC delegate - Ucucha

Per a recommendation from Sandy and Karanacs, I've promoted Ucucha to FAC delegate. He'll be replacing Laserbrain, who has been inactive for many months now. Raul654 (talk) 23:01, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Good choice. Malleus Fatuorum 23:04, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, welcome Ucucha. Jezhotwells (talk) 23:10, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Great decision. Maybe it will help expand the amount of FACs closed/promoted/failed, etc. (Then again I haven't nominated an FAC in 19 months now.)Mitch32(God Bless America, Let Freedom Ring) 23:16, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Thank you all for the trust. I hope I'll be able to some promoting and archiving tonight. Ucucha (talk) 23:19, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Raul, Sandy and Karanacs, many thanks. Ucucha, never hesitate to ask if you want something you're not getting. - Dank (push to talk) 23:46, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Money, power, wealth? Malleus Fatuorum 23:51, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Good choice, and congrats Ucucha. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:36, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

A fine choice. With the greatest respect to Sandy and Karen, we need another active delegate, and hopefully having a third active delegate will help spread the load a bit. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 02:56, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Congrats Ucucha. (Nikki, you're next ma'dear). — Legolas (talk2me) 12:32, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, this is an excellent appointment. Graham Colm (talk)

Very good idea. Good luck Ecucha, you'll do fine! ♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 13:46, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Congrats from me too, cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:52, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, good one Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:09, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
I confess to mild confusion. Are we being asked for our input on the appointment as Raul asked us with LaserBrain? If so, he certainly has my !vote.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:54, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Welcome aboard, Ucucha!!! Karanacs (talk) 01:04, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Stats advice?

Can anyone tell me whether there's an easy way to identify the year in which an FA was promoted (notably absent from the FA box on discussion pages)? And a related request is whether there's a shortcut to plotting the FA successes of a particular user year by year? Thanks. Tony (talk) 11:57, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Click "show" to reveal the "article milestones" and it gives you the exact date of promotion (complete with oldid and link to the FAC). I don't know if there's a list of FAs by year or some way of doing it without visiting each individual article. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:04, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
There is WP:Featured articles promoted in 2011 etcetera. Ucucha (talk) 12:38, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
I vaguely recall that there's a page someplace that ranks nominators by number of FAs, a meaningless stat in my view, but doesn't it allow for diffs?--Wehwalt (talk) 13:39, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, guys. Got it. Tony (talk) 13:45, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Wehwalt: The page is Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by featured article nominations. Reaper Eternal (talk) 19:17, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
I'd use my adminly powers to delete that page if I dared. The day this becomes a competition, the FA process is dead.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:03, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
"Adminly powers" are forever forbidden to me. But there's no competition that I can see on that page and certainly no prizes on offer, just a listing of statistics. The idea, for instance, that anyone would refuse help to, or even obstruct, an FAC from a nominator higher up the table than themselves is just inconceivable to me. Malleus Fatuorum 00:15, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Unhappily, if people acted purely rationally here, ArbCom would be out of business. Hmmmm.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:28, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that very much of what we do here can be considered rational. Is it rational to spend time writing pseudonymously with no reward other than the millstone of another article on your watch list? Is it rational to join the ranks of the widely reviled reviewers? And on the subject of ArbCom I'm dismayed to see that Iridescent has been gone since the leak of their mailing list. Rational? Malleus Fatuorum 01:02, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I guess not, then.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:19, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Great idea, from now on I'll automatically oppose Wehwalt, Casliber Ucucha (oops, bad move now!) etc. (: Jimfbleak - talk to me? 10:27, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Malleus having noted that I'm an admin, I'll simply indef block you with no talk page access and RevDel your opposes and every single one of your contributions? :) --Wehwalt (talk) 12:44, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

I'll tell you what, since I'm an admin too, why don't we just block Malleus? (: Jimfbleak - talk to me? 13:22, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm behind you 100% on that one! And running in the opposite direction!--Wehwalt (talk) 14:11, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Bullies! Malleus Fatuorum 16:04, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Malleus, is it possible something was lost in translation? My joke was that it would be such a disaster, I was running away to be outside the circle of total destruction, not that I supported him, even in jest.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:42, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have added a smiley. :-) Malleus Fatuorum 17:05, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
I apologize. I should have kept my fingers shut.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:13, 24 August 2011 (UTC)


On another subject, we're getting close to 24 hours I think since last night's promotions, and the bot has not come through that I can see to update article history and hand out the FA star. I trust it is operating properly?--Wehwalt (talk) 01:17, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

It's only supposed to run twice a week (on Saturday and Wednesday, I believe). We'll have to wait a bit. Ucucha (talk) 10:00, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Alright, the instructions used to say up to 24 hours, I see they have been changed to several days. Thanks.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:46, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Confused: the instructions have said "several days" since I added that almost three years ago. Anyone who is concerned about having their bronze star can manually add it, by the way. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:15, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Nah, I'll wait for the ceremonial medal pinning. I guess i misremembered it, or was thinking of another instruction.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:44, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Requiring reviews

Seeing that my current FAC is just sitting there without any progress, I thought about a discussion that occurred a few months ago. Why can't there be some system where you have to review a FAC before you put one up? It takes maybe ten minutes to do so, and it helps make sure that FAC's aren't up for a month. Also, I found out on Sandy's talk page that she doesn't promote with less than three supports. When did that rule go into effect? ♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 13:27, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

The three supports guideline has been in effect for a really long time (predates my delegatehood). It's a guideline - articles have been promoted with only 2, and articles have not been promoted with 3 (or 15, in the case of one particular FAC for Catholic Church). I'm leery of any system that requires reviews, simply because I'm afraid the reviews would be crap. Some editors are not good at reviews. Some don't like to do them. Some are really picky about the topics they are interested in and won't review outside of those. A half-hearted "I support this because it's great" from someone who has never reviewed before is probably not going to get a lot of weight from the delegates anyway. Karanacs (talk) 13:34, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Sure, some are bound to be crap, but there's nothing stopping someone from putting a load forth of crap reviews. I would guess they aren't really counted. Surely if someone is putting forth what they believe is the best content on Wikipedia, they should be able to identify another article of the same quality. What's another ten minutes for the work they've put weeks to months in? ♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 13:46, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Quid pro quo reviewing will happen at FAC over my dead body :)  :) A 10-minute FAC review is not desirable, not everyone is a good reviewer, QPQ is loaded with other potential problems, and what Karanacs said. If you want to see just how awful QPQ reviewing can be, take a look at the daily DYK debacles. Three supports is a minimum guideline only-- I rarely promote with less than three, although it has happened in cases of severe backlog, but neither do three supports guarantee promotion. That is a very long established precedent at FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:39, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
It takes me a lot longer than ten blimmin' minutes to do a FA review. A lot longer. No, that amount of time you're now thinking of is not sufficient: I mean even longer than that. When I say longer than ten minutes, I mean by lots. I hope this is clear. Lots! (I should say, I haven't done one in months... it's always on my mind to get back into the habit, so I may help out soon).--bodnotbod (talk) 14:56, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Yea, I'm sorry about this whole discussion. It's much, much longer than 10 minutes. I'm just a little annoyed that my FAC has been sitting around for over a month regardless of what I do. ♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 15:02, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate it's annoying when reviews just sit around, but it's better to get high quality reviews than a load of quick rushed ones. If reviews are getting ignored then all you can really do is bang it up again after a few weeks and try again, and of course remember that it's not really the end of the world if your article is "only" a GA or whatever. It's only wikipedia. cya Coolug (talk) 15:12, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
So, just to confirm, the article you want reviewed is 1991 Atlantic hurricane season, yes? --bodnotbod (talk) 16:36, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
If you wouldn't mind, that would be fantastic. I'm sure everything in the eastern U.S. only wants to focus on the currently threatening hurricane, but that season included two severe storms that affected the northeast US as well! ♫ Hurricanehink (talk) 16:44, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Hey! I wasn't making any promises! I was just checking! The problem is I'm a UK citizen born and bred. We don't really know much about hurricanes here. That said, it's not the lengthiest FAC I've ever seen, so OK. I'm nearly done on Wikipedia for today. I have the article open in a tab, so I will try to remember to do it tomorrow. If another week goes by and you hear nothing from me feel free to give me a push on my talk page. It will just mean I've forgotten to do it. But I've written myself a post-it note so I should be good to go. (Bleh... I guess I'll have to read the Hurricane article too to even begin to know what I'm doing ;O) --bodnotbod (talk) 17:01, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Hello, Mr Hurricane. Just to let you know, I'd forgotten it was a bank holiday weekend here in the UK, so I hope to do the review on Tuesday. --bodnotbod (talk) 19:42, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
OK, my review is now done. --bodnotbod (talk) 08:57, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Source check needed

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/The Texas Chain Saw Massacre/archive6 is on its sixth FAC; would anyone be available to review DCGeist's and Dweller's concern? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:40, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Doing...Nikkimaria (talk) 13:10, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, it's much appreciated.--Tærkast (Discuss) 13:29, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Closing of FAC after 1 day

I recognize that some articles aren't ready for FA level...and I see that one criteria to close a nomination as unsuccessful is "a nomination is unprepared, after at least one reviewer has suggested it be withdrawn". Well okay, thats fine, but from my recollection, a big part of the FAC process was so advice could be solicited as to how to make improvements...this is especially true when Peer Review offered virtually zero help. I'm not new to FAC, but am rusty as to this sordid affair, made all the more unfriendly, especially to a first time nominee of an FAC (as this gentleman), who, far kinder than I could hope to be, has over the past 2 months along with others, made vast improvements in an extremely complex, broad, and difficult subject that has been a high vandalism, high POV pushing and arduous page to maintain...and is one of the most watchlisted and visited pages on this website. One would have hoped for a kindler and gentler FAC process...but one now finds a more hostile and arrogant turdpile than used to exist at FAC. I'm inclined to bring my other FAC effort underway up to the standards I always knew were "acceptable" and forgo wasting my time to bring it here to be "approved" by a bunch of self appointed experts.--MONGO 03:19, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm afraid those days are long gone. Many editors (not all) are unwilling now to correct even minor grammatical errors and typos, preferring to just add to the list of errors. I think it's unfortunate that Tom had such an experience, which is why I tried to put a marginally more positive spin on my 11 September comment, It's an unforgiving world here now, and hard going even for battered old sweats like me. I'd offer to help, but I'm not even American, so no content input. The best I could do is to do a pre-FAC check of things like images, referencing and spotchecks if Tom decides to face the wolves again in the future. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimfbleak (talkcontribs)
There's a simple solution to this particular problem: submit the article to the A-class review of the military history project. Mongo, I'm familiar with some of your work, and I have no doubt that your heart is in the right place; you're a great guy. But consider the possibility that people who have reviewed thousands of articles with generally quite favorable reactions might occasionally know what they're talking about, and that we are actually quite open to helping you and Tom with the article, and your "help" (in this case) might actually deprive him of a rewarding experience. Jim ... "are unwilling now to correct even minor grammatical errors" ... sigh. I've been thinking the last few days that I need to spend more time documenting how professional copyediting works and what I've been doing (which is different in some ways, but I try). I almost always make the changes myself ... for one thing, because it's less likely to generate the kind of reaction Mongo just had. In this particular case, no matter how many times we say "FAC is not peer review", a few people aren't getting it. Opposes tend to come quickly at FAC even for some articles that have only minor problems ... it doesn't mean we dislike the article, it means we're doing what we've been told to do by the FAC delegates. If there are many early supports and opposes followed by a lot of changes, the delegates have no way of knowing if early supports are still valid, and work needs to get done twice. That's why I listed the prose issues in the lead rather than fixing them myself; this article was only going to suck up reviewer time at FAC, time that we don't have to spare on articles that aren't going to make it ... best to note the problems so the article can be archived and move to some more appropriate review process, such as A-class. - Dank (push to talk) 11:09, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Dan. As much as the thought of such pointless bloodshed makes me want to vomit, I would very much like to see the article get its star. It would be a fitting tribute, in this Internet era, to the victims of the attacks (while of course maintaining a neutral point of view). Unfortunately, however, under-prepared articles don't do well at FAC. Reviewers' time is limited, and much in demand with the other 50 nominations, so they'll be understandably reluctant to put effort into fixing things that should have been fixed before FAC. That's not a criticism of the nominator, it's just that we don;t have enough reviewers. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 11:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for making me laugh ... I first thought "pointless bloodshed makes me want to vomit" referred to FAC :) - Dank (push to talk) 12:09, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Well I suppose it could. I've yet to experience that side of FAC first hand, but I think the fear of that side of it has made me very cautious in when I nominate an article. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:25, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks to all who commented. There are some good observeations in the FAC nomination that suggest ways to improve the article, and improving/maintianing the article as a resource in the comming weeks is my primary interest just now. It will be as good as those of us who choose to work on it can make it; I appreciate the reviewers' comments to that end. That the reviewers are busy speaks well of FAC, and people are always justifiably proud of their FA stars.

Coming up on the 10th anniversary there will be more traffic, newbies to be welcomed, and some agenda-pushers to be shown the door (or window, for repeat offenders), so people can watch-list September 11 attacks, and admins can be alert for subtle vandalism on related pages. If anyone sees a way to improve the article he's welcome to tell me about it, but the direct way would be to edit the page. Tom Harrison Talk 12:30, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Well if you do bring nominate it for Milhist's A-class review, I'd be happy to give it a thorough review to help it on its way to FAC. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 12:37, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

It wasn't the reviewers at the FAC that were was the closer. How about the doomsdayers go to the nominator and suggest they withdraw on they're own before simply shutting it down, slam the door and by action and deed say "bug off"...sorry, when confronted with ill manners I'll give it back in spades, rest assured.MONGO 13:56, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Mongo, reviewers have told you that they thought the article unprepared and unlikely to reach FA status on this nomination. As a delegate, I interpret my job as judging the consensus of the reviewers as to whether the article meets the FA criteria or not. If so, the article is promoted; if not, the article is archived. In this particular situation, what do you think the delegates should have done given the high level of opposition? Karanacs (talk) 14:24, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
link to archived FAC with 4 opposes (one nonactionable), one suggestion to withdraw, and 1 other comment identifying issues. There's also a comment by Mongo saying the changes requested wouldn't be fully implemented for at least a week. Karanacs (talk) 14:30, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Leaving the FAC open for 2 weeks would have hurt no one....if people didn't want to review it, then they could easily avoid it. Who knows...more helpful suggestions may have been offered...instead, the best target page for suggestions is closed. I have seen plenty of FAC's even with opposition remain open...this process is broken and its not just due to backlog or a limited number of reviewers.MONGO 17:57, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

My job is to judge consensus - and there was pretty clear consensus here that the article wasn't ready for FA status at this time. We've made a number of changes to the FAC process in the last 20 months to address concerns, and any proposals will be taken seriously (which doesn't mean they will be accepted by the community).
At the last RFC (January 2010), there was unanimous support for giving delegates "authority to quick-fail articles on first review if they appear to be unprepared". It's possible consensus has changed in that time span.
For clarity, Mongo, can you tell us exactly what change you'd like to see? Are you proposing that all FACs be open for at least two weeks, no matter what? (I promoted 2 yesterday that had significant support after a week.) That FACs that haven't garnered consensus to support be open for 2 weeks no matter the level of opposition?Karanacs (talk) 19:01, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict) My reply isn't nearly as helpful as Karanacs's, but here it is FWIW. If I wander into a restaurant's kitchen where 10 people are slicing and frying things, they'll probably tell me to go have a seat in the dining room. That doesn't make them all evil incarnate; it just means they're busy, and I probably look like someone who's going to get in their way and possibly get myself hurt by one of those knives or frying pans. I realize this analogy represents a minority viewpoint on Wikipedia, but it's a viewpoint that has some resonance among A-class and FAC reviewers, I think. Also, I don't think every article should even come to FAC ... I've worked on articles, such as Robot, that wouldn't be served well at all by trying to force FAC standards on them ... and how well an article fits at FAC is often quite a complicated question. The way we approach reviewing, relying on each other, making tentative calls on a variety of scales, has evolved over time in part to keep us from accidentally forcing things that shouldn't be. - Dank (push to talk) 19:15, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

You're all correct...a lot...too much in fact...has changed at FAC over the years...and not all for the better...once upon a time, such as this 2 week period leading to a fail, FAC was a place where incite and scrutiny was the norm...and the help gained from the comments led to an easy promotion to FA 3 weeks later. Perhaps it is too much to ask that an FAC be left up at least 2 weeks, a week, even 72 hours...I dunno. Though there was not really any opposition here, the FAC was open over a month....course, that was almost 3 years yeah, much has changed...too bad.--MONGO 22:29, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

The first one (5 years old) also had a support on the first day (and the first of the objections was nonactionable). So there wasn't a slew of opposes and the suggestion to withdraw at the beginning. The seocnd had no opposition - there was no consensus that it didn't meet the criteria so there would be no reason to close it.
Do you have a proposal on how to fix the perceived problem? I asked for clarification above. Karanacs (talk) 02:26, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
"Perhaps it is too much to ask that an FAC be left up at least 2 weeks, a week, even 72 hours"? As I mentioned above.--MONGO 22:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Mongo, none of Wikipedia is like it was five years ago or even one year ago; there are not enough reviewers, resources are scarce everywhere, and FAC can ill afford to act as peer review. You, and anyone, are of course free to help resolve the problem of lack of reviewers, but in the meantime, delegates have to respect the consensus and the few very hard working and diligent reviewers that we do have by closing ill-prepared nominations as requested. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:41, 2 September 2011 (UTC)


I know it sounds ridiculous, but can a featured article be brought up at AFD?[3] There is an editor trying to get Ernest Emerson deleted, it was closed at deletion review yesterday as a "Speedy Keep"[4], but he's back again trying it today.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 14:27, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Technically yes, in practice no in my view as I believe that if it gets through FAC, it's notable by implication.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:31, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that an article is notable by implication simply because it makes it through FAC (if I'm understand right that this is what you are saying Wehwalt). Notability is not one of the FA criteria, and I ignore those objections when closing FACs. We have encouraged reviewers to take articles to AfD if they thought the article didn't meet the notability criteria. That said, in today's FAC independent sources are required and it's unlikely an article would make it through if there wasn't good coverage in RS. Past FAs are a different story. Karanacs (talk) 14:34, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I think that I really meant modern FACs, in the latter part of what you say, Karanacs. We all know what junk got through early on.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:35, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Something similar happened with Tropical Storm Erick (2007). YE Pacific Hurricane 14:37, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Karanacs: an FA can be brought to AFD, and if it's deleted, it's no longer an FA. Ucucha (talk) 14:43, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Which doesn't mean an attempt to have an FA deleted is quite likely to be disruptive (I haven't reviewed this particular case). Ucucha (talk) 14:47, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I really think that as a practical matter, if community consensus on criterion 1c says it's promotable, I think it would be difficult to be non-notable. Most notability standards speak to coverage in secondary sources, and if the article properly surveys the relevant literature, I find it hard to find that an article both satisfies 1c and is non-notable.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
There are no notability concerns, its simply a case of WP:idontlikeit, the editor alleges advertising and doesn't understand the sphere of custom knifemaking.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 16:40, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I was talking generally.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:53, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Featured Article Statistics


I did not update WP:FAS until now (Sept. 3) so I am not sure of some of the figures - could someone please check and correct as needed? Thanks, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 16:47, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks to Lampman and DaBomb87 for their help, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 21:03, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Bot tasks relating to FAC

I've recently submitted a few bot requests for approval relating to FAC:

Comments on all BRFAs are welcome. If there are any other FA-related tasks that could be automated, I'd be happy to code a few more bots. One task I'll probably add is creating new subpages of WP:Featured article candidates/Featured log, WP:Featured article candidates/Archived nominations, and WP:Today's featured article. Ucucha (talk) 02:38, 4 September 2011 (UTC)

Back to back nominations

Sorry, I know that this is probably obvious, but...

If a nomination is archived, the nominator(s) should take adequate time to work on resolving issues before re-nominating. None of the nominators may nominate or co-nominate any article for two weeks unless given leave to do so by a delegate; if such an article is nominated without asking for leave, a delegate will decide whether to remove it. Nominators whose nominations are archived with no (or minimal) feedback will be given exemptions.

Am I correct in thinking that this applies only if the nomination failed? So, if Fomitiporia ellipsoidea passes, I can immediately nominate Xeromphalina setulipes? J Milburn (talk) 11:08, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Yes. Ucucha (talk) 11:10, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I was almost sure that was the case, but the wording seemed ambiguous. J Milburn (talk) 12:41, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
J Milburn, your confusion may be because we no longer use the terminology "failed"; "archived" means the nomination did not pass. We use "promote" and "archive" (I believe that is consistent in the FAC instructions, but will doublecheck). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:18, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
I hope this helps; not only had we used the term "archived" before we defined it, we had also mentions delegates before specifying who and what those were. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:22, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

Miscreation of page

Hi, the page Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Charles Cecil/archive1 has been created by 7arazred (talk · contribs) - seemingly out of process because he had attempted to hike the article concerned from Start-class to GA without going through WP:GAN first (see history of Talk:Charles Cecil). What should be done about that FAC page? --Redrose64 (talk) 16:13, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

I've deleted it. Ucucha (talk) 20:17, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


All editors are supposed to be equal on Wikipedia so how come we have a FA "Director"? This is probably a FAQ, so please feel free to respond by pointing me a relevant answer discussion elsewhere; which I've failed to find. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 09:02, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Where does it say all editors are equal, but more to the point "All editors are equal but some are more equal than others." The featured content system (not just FAC) would not work without directors. Woody (talk) 09:52, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
That's not really an answer. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 11:56, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Raul was confirmed by a community vote as Featured Article Director back in 2004. As the processes under his supervision work well, there is no appetite for any change.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:12, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
If all editors are supposed to be equal, how come we have admins, arbs, a founder...etc? The simple answer is because all editors are not equal, at least not in all circumstances. Nikkimaria (talk) 12:22, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:01, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

All editors are equal in terms of editing, but some have additional functions. Since these functions are essential and may not be suitable for release to all editors (eg deleting pages or blocking accounts), there are processes to ensure that people with those rights have the confidence of their peers. If you wish to be an admin or delegate, you can put your name forward at the appropriate forum. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 13:17, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Admin appointments has a forum, yes. The process for appointing FAC delegates is a bit more opaque (there is actually no process, as far as I can see, just Raul, probably with advice from others, picking people as the need arises, and he's done a good job of that so far). It would actually be helpful if a brief history of the FAC and FAR delegates could be knocked up, along with links to the announcements Raul made. Probably all in some archives somewhere. The real meat of the process, though, is in reviewers. FAC and FAR delegates can't get much done if there aren't enough reviewers around, though they do have some handy bots that smooth the processes (such as Gimmebot and the Ucucha family of bots. Carcharoth (talk) 23:54, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be best if Raul writes it. As the process for appointing delegates has varied, it might be best if he explained it.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:06, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Some quick links (can't be bothered to dig for the others right now): Laser brain, Dabomb87, Dana boomer, YellowMonkey/Karanacs, Sandy. Ucucha's appointment is further up on this page; mine is at WT:FAR. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:51, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Carcharoth, is this what you're looking for? Nikkimaria (talk) 01:29, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
All editors are equal, but some are more equal than others. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:11, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
No. There's an element of hierarchy, but the delegates are accountable to Raul, and Raul is accountable to the community, so there is recourse if there was some severe problem. And there have been no quarrels with any of the appointments, so it's leadership people are willing to accept. And the system works. I seem to recall from my student days that when this sort of thing happens, it's good and you avoid tinkering with it unnecessarily.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:31, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Delegates are accountable to the community, too. If there's an uprising from all of you over something I did, I'd step down. Karanacs (talk) 14:49, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
What is important is that there is accountability, rather than the mechanics of it--Wehwalt (talk) 18:58, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
No, that is not important. The only important thing is that the system works. It does, so I for one am perfectly happy with it, and with the work that the delegates do. And the way that the system works is that Raul was appointed FA director for life back in 2004, and ordains such FAC and FAR delegates as he sees fit. They are appointed by Raul and are accountable only to him. Their legitimacy derives solely from the good work they do, as is appropriate in a volunteer project. Hawkeye7 (talk) 00:12, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Early journal content on JSTOR

Not sure if anyone else around here saw the note posted on the wiki-en-l mailing list, but JSTOR announced a few days ago that they are allowing access to early journal content. See Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in World and the FAQ. This is good news for those who don't have JSTOR access, and might impact the 'subscription needed' tags on some references. Please post this news elsewhere if needed. Carcharoth (talk) 11:41, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

"Early" is pre-1923 for US journals, & pre-1870 everywhere else, so for most subjects the material's status as WP:RS must be questionable. Johnbod (talk) 11:46, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I know we are all volunteers and have no official status, but JSTOR access is something in which the Foundation should at least try to go to bat for us.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:15, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
JSTOR and the other academic publishers are the antithesis of what Wikipedia stands for, with academic journals hidden by exorbitantly priced paywalls, since the universities have to subscribe. So they are releasing public domain content, big deal. Jimfbleak - talk to me? 18:52, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Yea. It would be different now if they started to let people download more recent articles, especially from 2000+.Jinnai 18:56, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
There is some useful early material. And there should be some effort to remove the 'subscription needed' tags if pre-1923 and pre-1870 references are being used. Surely someone is capable of generating a list of existing JSTOR references that fit those dates? Carcharoth (talk) 19:36, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
And early material may be especially useful in some situations (e.g., old historical events or landmark court cases) where material contemporary to the event may be precisely what is needed in order to provide a fuller perspective of the event in its historical context. Richwales (talk · contribs) 14:04, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to get editors to look at reviews?

Hi there. This is probably a pretty common query, but my nomination seems to be stalling with 2 supports and that's about it. I've made numerous requests for people to come and have a look on the article talk page (which supposedly has 57 watchers but evidently not many who are all that bothered about the article) and on the Wikiproject Film talk page and yet no-one seems to really care enough to come over and say much. I'm annoyed about this because it seems that an FAC has become the only place where anyone on Wikipedia ever gives any constructive comments on an article. It was Hunter Kahn's amazingly helpful comments at the last FAC that got the article to the standard it is now (and Hunter kindly offered support this time round) and without anyone else getting on board the article is never going to be promoted. Has anyone got any suggestions on positive ways to drum up any interest? Thanks Coolug (talk) 09:39, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Me too. My article (whose candidacy is still open) has received a lot of constructive feedback so far — so much that one of the two editors who originally opposed it has changed to support. The other opposing editor, however, seems to have gone AWOL; her objections may very possibly have been satisfactorily dealt with by now, but there's no way to tell because she hasn't returned to the FAC page to update her original opinion (and, in fact, she hasn't edited anywhere on Wikipedia for the last four days). Richwales (talk · contribs) 14:00, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll review this one within a couple of days. - Dank (push to talk) 14:13, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
It's unfortunate that so many FACs get too little review; I just had to close another FAC that had gotten no supports after several weeks, and a few more are heading in that direction. It's to a large degree a matter of luck and the interests of reviewers which FACs get reviewed, but there are a few things you can do (I'm speaking in general here, not implying that Coolug hasn't been doing these things):
  • Make sure your nomination statement is interesting and tells the reader what the article is about. If it's just "I am nominating this article because it is very good", reviewers won't get excited.
  • Do some FAC reviewing yourself; people will notice that and be more likely to review your articles.
  • Post at relevant places to ask for reviews. That can include WikiProject and article talk pages, this page, and individual reviewers' talk pages. Be careful, of course, to stay within the bounds of WP:CANVASS and good manners.
Ucucha (talk) 14:35, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
If anyone in a history-related wikiproject would like to increase the number of articles their project gets through FAC, there are a lot of specific things you can learn that are very likely to work ... feel free to reply here, or point me to your project's main talk page. I'm construing "history" very broadly ... the request that I'm taking above is for an article about a US Supreme Court case. Everything that's notable becomes history eventually, I suppose. - Dank (push to talk) 15:18, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Uchuca. If you review others' articles, they are more likely to look at yours. Additionally, the nomination statement and its edit summary should be eyecatching. You are selling your article to a somewhat jaded crowd that's seen it all. You've got to make it sound interesting even if it's just another boring whatever (no offense to Wikiproject: Whatever). And yes, go down the list of wikiprojects and consider asking for reviews. More active Wikiprojects are often very aware of their featured/good content and inclined to encourage those who are working on quality articles in their area.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:07, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Hi Coolug, just letting you know I looked over the article and added comments. Thanks, Ruby comment! 19:09, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Purely by coincidence, I copyedited the article tonight. I'll give opinion in due course. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:12, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

If you review others' articles, they are more likely to look at yours. That sounds like the QPQ reviewing SandyGeorgia cautioned against at DYK. Please don't head down that slippery slope; I like FAC, its honest reviewing, and its mission. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

It's not a requirement though; it's just human nature. People are more willing to help out those they see who help others themselves.Jinnai 21:44, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I think we're all cautious to avoid being in a QPQ situation. There are editors whose articles I've reviewed multiple times. I put their articles through the wringer just like anyone else's. And keep in mind that the delegates are aware to this too, and I'm sure they deal with it as appropriate (not having seen it myself).--Wehwalt (talk) 22:23, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I've never seen QPQ reviewing at FAC, and I've never seen any reviewer give another an easy ride just because they were pals; not saying it's never happened, just that I've never seen it. What I've seen far more often is editors declining to comment for fear of being accused of impropriety. I very rarely, if ever, offer an opinion on any of Parrot of Doom's FACs for instance, or Ealdgyth's. But that is of course also because I know next to nothing about medieval bishops. There's perhaps the odd occasion when I'll offer an opinion late in the process just to push a nomination into the scoring zone, but hopefully with full disclosure if I've copyedited it significantly or whatever. Besides, the delegates aren't daft. Malleus Fatuorum 22:37, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
At this point, I think it would be presumptuous for me to review FAC's — this article (United States v. Wong Kim Ark) is my first candidate, and I simply don't have the required experience yet. Some day, though. Richwales (talk · contribs) 01:36, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
QPQ reviewing at FAC will never happen, it's an absurd idea. It's even an absurd idea at DYK. Malleus Fatuorum 01:47, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Agree that frequent reviewers are more apt to get frequent reviews, agree that this is *not* QPQ reviewing (it's not a requirement), and agree that frequent and knowledgeable FAC reviewers are not apt to give anyone a "free ride" or easy time. FAC does not have the QPQ problem that DYK has, and this ain't it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:38, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Richwales, if you are hesitant to begin reviewing at FAC because of your lack of experience, then cut your teeth at WP:Peer review where the process is non-judgemental and a little less fraught than FAC sometimes becomes. Regular work at PR introduces you to wide range of articles and styles, and will give you confidence and authority when dealing with FAC issues. Many editors (including me) always use PR as a stepping-stone to FAC. Brianboulton (talk) 09:02, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. That does sound like a good suggestion, and I'll definitely look into getting my feet wet with peer review in the near future. Richwales (talk · contribs) 15:13, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

A suggestion from Looie496

The main thing that keeps me away from FAC is the lack of structure. I can't even look at what's in queue without loading the whole fucking monster of a page and scrolling way down -- and then when I reach the list, there is no categorization to make it easy to spot things that would interest me. If I do chime in, my comments go into the middle of a massive wall of minimally structured text, so that I have difficulty even finding the responses when I come back. I just don't want to deal with all that baggage. Looie496 (talk) 02:11, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

There ought not to be a "massive wall of unstructured text" in a well-prepared FAC, so that might give you a clue. Too many editors take articles to FAC hoping for some kind of a peer review. Malleus Fatuorum 02:15, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Looie496, would either WP:FACL or WP:NOMV solve the first part of that? Nikkimaria (talk) 02:39, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
There ought not to be a "massive wall of unstructured text" in a well-prepared FAC, so that might give you a clue. Too many editors take articles to FAC hoping for some kind of a peer review. Malleus Fatuorum 02:15, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
I use User:Gary King/nominations viewer.js. It's very easy then just to look at the nomination statements, current status and so on. Malleus Fatuorum 03:18, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Well while there shouldn't be lots of text in a well prepared FAC, there are times that reviewers have disagreements on how to interpret policy and guidelines and get into debates, especially when they try to explain themselves. While such debates shouldn't be done in the FAC, it often is when it does occur.Jinnai 19:09, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Looie496, besides all of the helpful posts and advice preceding mine, if we impose structure, we end up with checklist reviewing, which is more apt to miss things. An out-of-control FAC for an article that is in good shape-- and isn't restarted because the "out of control" part was indecipherable-- is rare. And some folks take the approach that they review what they review without regard to whatever went on before their review (maybe they don't trust other reviews). We can use all help-- where there's a will, there's a way, and there are many FACs sitting there, well, mostly empty. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:42, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, to be honest, I don't read the existing FAC or PR beyond the nomination statement before reviewing because I want to come to any contentious points uninfluenced. Once I've completed the review, I will often look at what others have said.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:23, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Commenting on: "Make sure your nomination statement is interesting and tells the reader what the article is about." I disagree with the excess sometimes done in this direction because that is the job of the article. I don't want to feel (as has happened several times) while reading an article that it wasn't in fact what the nominator promised (i.e. they were over-selling the article in order to tempt reviewers). What would impress me far more, and draw me into reading and reviewing an article, is a nomination statement that showed that the nominator had gone to the effort required to record the editing history and sources background for the reviewers. i.e. "This article is x years old, and I've been working on it for the past y months, deciding to work on it following news coverage from a recent anniversary event. It has had a peer review here, and an A-class review here. The main sources used were A and B, with some material from C. Have been unable to find a really good image, but found this one instead. I have/do not a track record with editing in this topic area, but liaised with the members at various WikiProjects" etc (if too long, this can be put on a subpage or talk page). This is stuff that reviewers can dig around and work out for themselves, but I'm always most impressed when a nominator takes the trouble to give a (brief) potted history of the work they (and others) have done, and how they have approached writing the article. This may be more likely to draw in reviewers than some quirky or overblown "sell" about the article itself. I can tell by reading the article title and lead if I'll be interested in it, I don't need the nominator to 'sell' it to me. On the other hand, if you just want someone to briefly read the article and make passing comments, then 'selling' an article is the right approach. The real quality reviews from people who know about a topic will come regardless of how much the 'sell' makes a particular article stand out from the crowd. Carcharoth (talk) 01:45, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
That's all very well, but about 50% of noms have titles that give no indication of the subject matter beyond it being say a biography of a male from the Anglosphere, or a species of some kind, unless you happen to know. A little more can be guessed from the title of others, but not much. As has been pointed out time & again, many reviewers (including this one) just won't bother to look beyond this, yet many noms continue to say just "...because I believe it meets the criteria" etc. Johnbod (talk) 11:32, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
(replying to Johnbod) I agree that a brief sentence or two making clear what the article is about is fine, but what annoys me is when nominators try and laud the subject of the article or oversell it (sometimes using themselves to sell an article). It should be a succinct, "this is what the article is about, this is a brief outline of the work done on it, please review the article". Looking down the current blurbs in FAC nominations, I see the building of the 'Manchester Ship Canal' being compared to the building of the Panama Canal (I am going to have to look at that, as it sounds fascinating, so in a way, that 'hook' has caught me...). I also see the blurb for '1991 Perfect Storm' has a quote from Junger's The Perfect Storm, which is certainly a novel way to catch the attention of reviewers. The 'Hobey Baker' nomination blurb also caught my attention (in a good way), but the Fairfax Harrison nomination blurb seems to be more about the nominator ("I promised everyone something other than a bishop or a horse" and "See if you can figure out WHY I wrote about him?"). It is that sort of nomination blurb that annoys me, making FAC more about the editors than the articles. The 'Astraeus hygrometricus' nomination blurb has some story about a mushroom-collecting foray by the author, for some reason. Sure, these sort of things make FAC that little bit more varied as a read, but it just feels like a form of distraction and 'chattiness', where people build up a portfolio and a history at FAC that helps establish them, rather than maintaining a semi-professional distance.

Apologies if some of those whose blurbs I pointed out are reading this and take offense, and I know Wikipedia editors are only volunteers, but I sometimes think the tone of nomination blurbs could be more professional and less chatty. The hook for 'Chester A. Arthur' is "there's more to him than those muttonchops!". Another common phrasing in nomination blurbs is 'I bring/give you [this article]', which is language more normally used to introduce a stage act or a sales patter or something of that nature. The whole tone of the blurbs at FAC sometimes reminds me of a group of traders in a marketplace jostling for space and shouting out the virtues of their wares (articles), in the hope of attracting the attention of passing customers (reviewers). I wouldn't be surprised if this tone actually puts off some people from nominating, though others probably thrive on it. Carcharoth (talk) 20:10, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

I would imagine that if it does turn off other reviewers besides yourself, the problem is self-correcting as people who do lurid blurbs will not receive reviews.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:20, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Possibly, though the matter of 'chatty' blurbs seems more likely to re-attract previous reviewers (who remember the previous articles and reviewed them), rather than attracting fresh reviewers who might pick up on things that reviewers of earlier articles missed. If, on the other hand, nominators are happy to get reviews from people they've worked with before, then chatty blurbs are the way to go. But for more scrutiny and more diverse reviewing, I'd suggest not presenting articles as part of a series or chain, even if they are written as such. I suspect the real point you are making, though, is that I'm probably in a minority in being put off by such blurbs. But do consider the possibility that 'chatty' blurbs will self-select those who like chatty blurbs, and consider whether that is entirely a good thing. Out of interest, is there a FAC listing that omits the blurbs, so I can just select reviews purely on the titles of the articles and nothing else? Oh, I'm being silly, the FAC contents list does that. Carcharoth (talk) 20:53, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
I write my blurbs to reflect myself ... as we are all different. Personally, I don't base whether or not I'll review on the blurb, but the subject matter - if I'm familiar with the subject matter, I'm likely to review, no matter what the blurb is. I'm sorry you found my blurb for Harrison annoying (or whatever you found it) but I'll just point out there is no way I can possibly please everyone, so I long ago decided to just be myself in the blurbs while also pointing out what processes the articles have gone through (you failed to note that beyond the chatty beginning, I did in fact give some of the information you're requesting - that it's been copyedited, etc. As far as a short run down of my research for an article - the FA requirement requires that any FAC be exhaustively researched - so I do not think it's necessary to point out what I've researched. It should be assumed that I have done as complete a research job as possible.) And in some respects, FAC IS about the nominators - if we didn't do the research, the articles wouldn't get written. Again, sorry you're annoyed, but I honestly don't plan to change to please you, because then we'll hear from others that the new style annoys them... there are points in life where you just have to say "can't please everyone all the time" and "it's great that we're all different, otherwise life would be boring". Ealdgyth - Talk 22:49, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Very true. I'm at a point in my my life where I please noone. Just the way it goes I suppose. Malleus Fatuorum 23:07, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank-you both for such graceful replies to my semi-venting on this matter! FWIW, I did read all the way through the Manchester Ship Canal article, but got distracted by the Panama Canal article, so that is a downside I suppose of putting such a tempting contrast in the blurb. All the more reason for me to avoid reading the blurbs until after picking an article to review. (In passing, on the Manchester Ship Canal, the paragraph jumping forward to the property developing history in the 1980s is a bit jarring as the start of the paragraph gives no indication that such a big leap forward in chronology is about to be made). Carcharoth (talk) 23:18, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Although I often find the nom lead useful in writing blurbs at "Featured content" in The Signpost, I usually have to go to the article anyway; I've long felt, and once argued to no avail, that nom leads should contain the very minimum of text, if any at all. The default should be none, in fact. Tony (talk) 11:27, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Why, Tony? Brianboulton (talk) 13:55, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

TFA needs more editor input

Not pleased with the standard of blurbs, and is anyone checking through the articles we expose on the main page???? Those in charge can't be expected to do it all themselves. Tony (talk) 11:25, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Image check, please

Could someone do an image check for Heidi Game? There are only two.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:19, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Done, Ruhrfisch ><>°° 19:41, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:54, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Template preload

Would someone here familiar with template-speak please look at Template:Featured article review/Template:FAR/Wikipedia:Featured article review preload and figure out why the preload doesn't work? I mentioned it at Wikipedia talk:Featured article review#Preload. As far as I can make out, reviews up to February preloaded the article tools and links, and reviews after March did not. DrKiernan (talk) 14:50, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Fixed, I think. Ucucha (talk) 14:56, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure if that edit will fix it, although I haven't thoroughly checked anything. I'm saying this because the template hasn't been edited since April 2010; are you saying March 2010 or March 2011? Gary King (talk · scripts) 19:37, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
2011. It does look better after that edit: if I do a mock FAR, the tools seem to have come back. DrKiernan (talk) 19:56, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
I actually stole the change I made from WP:Featured article preload, used at FAC, which does work. Perhaps MediaWiki 1.17, which was introduced in March, made some changes to the way noinclude is handled in preloads. Ucucha (talk) 20:20, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

FAC: Stephen, King of England

I don't want to be a grouch, but I am a little concerned about the form this FAC has taken. While I have no quarrel at all with the care and attention that reviewers are giving to this article, what is taking place is very clearly a peer review. It has been repeatedly emphasised, by delegates and other reviewers (including me) that FAC is not peer review; that articles requiring such a level of attention are almost certainly not ready for FAC, and should not be nominated. There is a danger that, by letting this case pass without comment, a precedent will be established whereby other articles will be nominated in the expectation that they can be brought up to FAC standard within the process. If there is a reason for treating this article as a special case, can we be told what the argument is? Otherwise, the general case for the rapid closure of underprepared articles—an issue raised earlier on this discussion page—already looks harder to justify. Brianboulton (talk) 19:09, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

I regard what I'm doing as a content review primarily... should I NOT be checking the actual content of the article against the sources? I'm pretty much dammed if I do and dammed if I don't... if I do not check the article for its actual content when we obviously have someone qualified to do so, what happens when someone challenges the factual accuracy of something later? We say peer review isn't required, but then you seem to be requiring peer review. If I didn't think the article was close, I would indeed quick fail the article - I've never been noted for shyness about that. However, I am actually spot checking the sources for plagarism here .. which is bringing up some stuff that needs to be straightened out. Whatever. I can close the whole review out and just not bother content reviewing again at FAC if that's the consensus, but lately, we've had plenty of reviews just as in depth, but nothing has been brought up about them ... sorry if I'm seeming touchy, but I finally get something I can actually spot check and content review and now it's an issue... (sighs). I am seriously beginning to think that Wikipedia is a hobby I've outgrown sometimes... Ealdgyth - Talk 19:20, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't remember ever seeing an article where the reviewers simply posted "supported" and that's it. Since there is a long established tradition that some reviewers believe that an article should be turned into what they prefer, instead of being actually improved, I can't believe that we shall see simpler reviewers in the near future. P.S.: Nowhere I'm talking about Stephen, King of England's article or the editors involved in it. This a comment regarding the FAC in general. --Lecen (talk) 19:32, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
So you're looking for "simpler" reviewers? As the competent ones get chased away you may have your wish in the future. Malleus Fatuorum 19:57, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Brian, I'm not challenging your judgment about general standards, but I think general standards have to step aside here. We happen to have a reviewer who has in-depth knowledge. If she says she wants to keep going, and if the delegates choose to overrule her, then fine; but I don't think it's the place of uninvolved reviewers to overrule her. She's the one with the passion and the knowledge and the desire to make the article the best it can be, in this case, and (just my position) she's welcome to whatever tools she wants to use to make that happen. FWIW, I'm also reviewing. - Dank (push to talk) 19:34, 23 September 2011 (UTC) (P.S. I just realized I'm probably trying to defend my own right to fiddle with articles after they get to FAC as much as Ealdgyth's right, because I'd prefer to have the option, in some cases, of waiting until an article hits FAC before I finish up the copyediting ... that's not ideal, but it's sometimes more convenient than trying to guess when the article is just about to hit FAC, or trying to badger people into following my timetable.) - Dank (push to talk) 19:51, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Hear, hear. I often don't bother to copyedit articles until they hit FAC. After all, who knows if they ever will? Malleus Fatuorum 20:00, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
It seems that articles often attract detailed scrutiny only at FAC. I cannot agree that the article in question was not ready for FAC. At a glance you can see that it looks like a featured article. It is detailed, comprehensive and well-sourced. It has been through GA and A-class reviews. Peer Review is nearly useless, as there are not enough reviewers. Ealdgyth is doing the right thing, and is to be commended. We need more reviewers like that. The article should stay at FAC as long as the reviewers have something to say, and the nominator wants to keep it there. The delegates can manage arbitrarily long FAC queues; the only problem is the onerous restriction of one article per nominator at a time. Hawkeye7 (talk) 20:51, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
Onerous it is, and I wish we could consistently get the page size below or around 30 noms so we could discuss removing that restriction. In the meantime, 1) review more to help reduce the backlog, and 2) if you have a FAC up that is close to maturing with no outstanding issues, then ask one of the delegates for an exception. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:14, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
A question: At first glance it seems that 30 noms is a backlog of 30 days' worth of FACs. But of the 3,382 FAs at last glance, some 1,351 have not appeared on the front page, so you actually have three years' supply of FAs? Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:10, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
I should make it clear that the question I raised is not Ealdgyth's or anybody else's right to review any article, merely whether FAC is the most appropriate forum for this kind of in-depth review. Personally I would have preferred to see this detailed scrutiny take place at peer review, or on the article's talk page. The danger is that editors may misunderstand this precedent and nominate underprepared and unreviewed articles believing that the FAC reviewers will do their work for them. However, if the argument here is that we have a willing expert prepared to comb through an already well-prepared article to make it even better, then I can accept that as a special case, though not as a general precedent.
I must take issue with the remark, above: "Peer Review is nearly useless, as there are not enough reviewers". This is an ignorant view, not to mention disparaging to the work of others. A high proportion – at least half – of the current FACs underwent detailed peer reviews. Take a look. There may not be enough reviewers, but the regulars at PR are dedicated, and spend many thankless hours going through often deeply unpromising material, and almost every article that looks a viable candidate for FA will get a thorough peer review. It's an important part of the review process that should be supported, not dismissed. Brianboulton (talk) 00:03, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed: this was a special case, and the few dedicated peer reviewers are amazing. - Dank (push to talk) 00:47, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Peer review obviously isn't always "nearly useless"; I have an article currently going through FAC that benefited greatly from its peer review. But I've also done several peer reviews where there's been no feedback at all from the nominator, not even a word of thanks for the time it takes to read through the article. FAC, for me, is where it starts to get serious, and I see nothing at all untoward in Ealdgyth getting serious. Malleus Fatuorum 01:19, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
While sometimes peer review can be effective, but in my wikiproject, about 60% of articles that go to peer review (they are not that many) get one or zero reviews. However, I do think it should be required for article to go for GAN first, then FAC. BTW, as of this writing, we have 33 FAC's up at this time, three of which have at least three supports and zero opposes. YE Pacific Hurricane 16:02, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying there are thirty-three hurricanes at FAC?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:19, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
No, I mean total articles not just hurricane ones. Sorry for the confusion. YE Pacific Hurricane 20:52, 24 September 2011 (UTC)
It was not my intention to disparage the work of others, ignorant though I may be, and I apologise for any offence given. I was thinking of this article which was peer reviewed only to be quick-failed at FAC, then peer reviewed again, only to be quick-failed a second time at FAC. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:05, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Battle of Vukovar

A little help ... please see my oppose and let me know if I'm off base. I'm asking here because this one is headed back to FAC soonish. - Dank (push to talk) 20:09, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to give in on this one; it's not urgent. - Dank (push to talk) 21:02, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Image check ...

On Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Fairfax Harrison/archive1 please? Ealdgyth - Talk 13:31, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Doing...Nikkimaria (talk) 14:55, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Could someone please do an image check on [Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Turban Head eagle/archive1 Turban Head eagle] ?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:02, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Doing...Nikkimaria (talk) 16:06, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:07, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Are the images okay with Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Willamette River/archive2? Jsayre64 (talk) 02:44, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Close under one day?

Is it now customary to close nominations in under a day (example? Even before the nom had the chance to reply, or others with interest in the article could have a chance to look at the nom and add their opinions? I think closing the noms so quickly is very unhelpful. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 16:54, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

  • 3 detailed opposes, clearly requiring a lot of work, in less than 5 hours. Yes it is usual. The nominator has plenty to work on now. Johnbod (talk) 17:01, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
    • I replied at the FAC. Not really seeing how the nominator has been abused here. - Dank (push to talk) 17:37, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

"gross overcitation"

While looking at this review, I was struck by several puzzling remarks: "gross overcitation" (Wehwalt), "The citation saturation was an immediate concern" (Graham Colm). Now, I agree with Nikkimaria's "Overabundance of citations in the lead - per WP:LEAD, much of this material should appear and be cited in the article proper". But I'd like to ask of Wehwalt and of Grahalm if this is what they meant, or is it something else? Looking at the body, while I may not favor this particular citation style, I certainly DO NOT see any overabundance of cites, in fact I still see some unreferenced sentences, and given that the article uses over 200 sources, and many paragraphs contain sentences from multiple sources. For example, consider the very first para, with the following structure: Sentence 1 - Reference 8, S2R8, S3R42, S4R8, S5R8a (different page), S6R43, S9R44, S10R45. In this example, one could argue that this para has one ref too many (S3 and S4), but frankly, I think that if it wasn't there one could be cautious of what reference backs it up (just like for all the sentences that do not have a references, I'd wonder if it is the following sentence ref, or was it moved from somewhere else, or inserted unreferenced)? This is in fact the problem with the second para (S1R46, S2R47, S3-unreferenced, S4R48, S5R44). Here there is most certainly not too many references, but a sentence making an important claim goes unreferenced and without checking the source (a book, without a Google Book link, making the verification that much more cumbersome), I, as a reader, cannot trust this sentence - it may be backed by the following R48, but it might also have been moved there from somewhere else, or added plainly unreferenced. Thus while I agree with the reviewers that the lead has overcitation problems, my primary comment would be inadequate citations in the rest of the article. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 16:54, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

I saw strings of six and eight citations following a sentence. That's over the top. We have footnotes for purposes of verification. If you have eight footnotes following a sentence, is that stated to give support to the proposition by showing that eight authors stand behind it? Or that facts in that sentence are drawn from eight different sources? It makes it very difficult for verification to have to deal with a plethora of footnotes. What I would suggest is that you source individual sentences or groups of sentences with no more than three footnotes, and three should be the maximum and rare.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:01, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
And yes, it was especially bad because it was in a lede, which need not be cited so long as the material is reflected in the article body. However, I don't hold the fact that a lede is cited against an article, some people do cite their ledes. I personally don't think it is the best practice, but it's OK in my book--Wehwalt (talk) 17:03, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
WP:CITEBUNDLE recommends bundling citations to prevent them becoming a distraction from the text and interrupting the flow. DrKiernan (talk) 17:07, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
I object to more than 3 references appearing like taxis in a row - it's ugly, and following Johnbod's law actually makes the reader more, not less, suspicious of the statements, as this is normally found only in the worst battleground articles. If you want to cite multiple sources, put them all in the same note. Johnbod (talk) 17:11, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
That clarifies things to me. I can understand the benefits of the bundle, I was afraid some people were annoyed at the fact that too many sentences had cites. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 23:35, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

WP:Featured article candidates/Background of the Spanish Civil War/archive2‎

Hoping some kind person will do some copyediting on this one. It's not bad, and it sailed through the A-class review ... it's just in a dense, historical style that I'm not good with. - Dank (push to talk) 21:30, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Source review needed

Would someone mind doing a source review for Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Shapley–Folkman_lemma/archive1? Nikkimaria (talk) 03:12, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Request for two scripts

Links are a constant problem at FAC. Two tools would save a lot of time:

  • a script that removes (bringing up a "changes" screen, so that the removal happens when you "save") the second and third link to the same term in an article (counting or not counting links in the lead).
  • a script that brings up a "changes" screen that will add links from a user-definable list.

Can I bribe someone (with free copyediting) to work on either or both of these? - Dank (push to talk) 13:31, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

The first one gives me pause. I will sometimes have a second link in the body to the same term if I feel the reader needs reminding, if it was only briefly mentioned earlier and we've had a lot go on since then.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:57, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
Sure, it won't always be correct, but it's useful to be able to identify repeat links easily. I'll see what I can do. Ucucha (talk) 14:22, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I wrote a little piece of JavaScript at User:Ucucha/duplinks.js (documentation at User:Ucucha/duplinks) that hightlights links that occur more than once in an article. It's prone to false positives (legitimate repeat links), though; I'll probably add some code excluding anything in an infobox or navbox. Ucucha (talk) 18:59, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Very nice. Excluding any infoboxes or navboxes would help a lot; I tried it on HMS Eagle (1918), and it's highlighting a lot of links duplicated in the infobox. How hard would it be to make it configurable to ignore the lead section? Many writers link things once in the lead and once below the lead. - Dank (push to talk) 19:22, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Ucucha, this will be useful (especially after you enhance the code as you suggest). Now how about a script that tells me what to write when I'm having trouble creating decent prose? Sasata (talk) 19:29, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I changed the script to exclude any links in infoboxes and navboxes; I'll think about how to separate off the lead. I'll want it to also check the lead separately for duplicate links; Eagle, for example, has aircraft carrier linked twice in the first few sentences.
Sasata, something like:
$( function() { if(article.isBadlyWritten() { alert("Your prose is terrible. Go back to school."); } });
perhaps? Ucucha (talk) 19:34, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
LOL, Ucucha, if you write that tool for Sasata I'm going to need to steal it :) As for the link checker, I've installed it and like it. Agree with the above though that it would be nice if something could be done to separate out the lead, as I often re-link something in the body that was linked previously in the lead (especially if there are six sections and 3,000 words between the two!). Dana boomer (talk) 20:08, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I tend to do the same. I've now rewritten the script to first create a separate container element for the lead, and then search for duplicate links in the lead and the rest of the article separately. Ucucha (talk) 20:56, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Could you (maybe optional) exclude file captions, templates, tables and references (named and unnamed) aswell please? Additional links in those "special areas" seem to be generally accepted. Many thanks for that nice tool. GermanJoe (talk) 12:11, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
Agreed that would help. I'll encourage people to make some judgment calls on when (not) to follow the recommendations of the tool. After we've got some confidence that the tool won't be misused, then it would be really helpful if the tool pulled up an edit-changes screen that would actually remove the extraneous links when you hit Save. - Dank (push to talk) 14:54, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

I am working on a little homemade script for the first function, that analyzes a complete article and creates 3 lists: a list with all found links per section, a list of all duplicate links (including pipes) with total and lead count, and a listing of possibly problematic link situations. There are only 2 slight problems, it's written in Open Object Rexx (a common public license REXX variant) and it is coded as a simple tool without much regard to structure or professional coding guidelines. If any competent programmer wants to check it or expand it for Wiki-usage, i'll be glad to mail it. GermanJoe (talk) 19:06, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Image review needed

Done. One image I suspect you'll have to delete or replace, a few others need mild tweaking. Interesting article.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:18, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks much. - Dank (push to talk) 15:31, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Statistical analysis of how FAC handles articles on important topics

The experience of bringing brain here has revived concerns I have long felt about how FAC works, and finally motivated me to do some statistical analysis. My findings are reported in User:Looie496/Analysis of FAC. I would be interested in comments, and would especially like to know if I have made any incorrect assumptions. Looie496 (talk) 15:16, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Congrats on the article though I don't consider medical articles within my sphere of expertise, and pleased that I managed to sneak on the list by proxy of Mr. Nixon. My personal opinion that any FA from before about 2007 had an excellent chance of being crap and therefore what you are seeing is a rise in FA standards. Possibly the fact that by 2009 almost no important articles were being written from scratch and so a subject had to attract someone's attention both to write it, and to improve it.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:24, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I think that the vastly increasing standards (I have a half-drafted essay here) means what you're seeing is the result of a similar amount of effort throughout this time period. Hastily (by modern standards) promoted articles have continued to improve to merit their FA status; many articles that could have been FA then are GA now. So overall there is no doubt that fewer important topics are making it to FA, but this is not indicative of a fall in general improvement in these areas. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 15:38, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Interesting essay, thanks for pointing me to it. Although I agree with much of what you say, my conclusions are not as sanguine as yours. I see no evidence that the rate of FA promotion of important articles will increase in the future -- my personal experiences tell me it will very likely not happen unless policies are changed. Looie496 (talk) 16:08, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure I see a problem. Of the 3+ million articles on Wikipedia, how many of those would you consider "important"? If we use the core and vital lists as a rough indicator of "importance" then perhaps 3,000 articles? Is the ratio of 3000:3 million much different than the ratio of lesser:important articles being promoted at FAC? In general, "important" articles require a lot more work than those on minor topics, and those who wish to undertake this worthy task should try to make their FAC experience as smooth as possible by soliciting opinions of as many other experienced editors as they can before bringing the article to FAC. A collaborative strategy should be the norm for articles on important/core/vital topics. Sasata (talk) 16:22, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I certainly think there is a problem, of which FA is just a symptom. Typically, certainly in the humanities, the more important the subject, the weaker our article is likely to be (at all levels), and we are just missing any article on many important topical subjects (eg Italian Renaissance sculpture - almost any general sculpture topic). We have done very well for nearly 11 years without any significant concerted editorial focus or direction directing our coverage, but that has now ceased to work. Coverage of narrower topics continues to expand, but few articles on large topical subjects get significantly improved, in my experience. Johnbod (talk) 16:46, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with Johnbod, especially for humanities and social science topics. The higher level articles are terrible such as Language, Ethnicity, Anthropology, Culture, Kinship. etc. I work on some of them but I have dropped the idea of doing FA's long ago - the process is too taxing on one's nerves and selfesteem. It simply isn't fun to write FAs.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 11:58, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
  • I agree with the concern - my own thoughts on it are in the written-up version of my talk to the UK Chapter conference in April. I could quibble with the selection basis of the stats - to my mind the weakness is best expressed as affecting all broad/large topical subjects, especially if abstract, rather than merely "important" ones. I'm happy the Statue of Liberty is "important", but at the end of the day, like the vast majority of FAs, it is a single discrete subject with a fairly limited literature. The bibliography lists 6 works, the earliest from the 1980s, though other sources are also used. Some ones you missed that are certainly broad, and I would say important, are my own Funerary art - for which the total literature is perhaps larger than any other FA except maybe Shakespeare, Mayan stelae, and Ancient Egyptian temple. In Funerary art, whose theoretical scope covered the whole world since the Stone Age, I think reviewers were happy to accept that an FA-size piece could only skim the surface, and had to skip large parts of that surface. Johnbod (talk) 16:31, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Well put. Most of us work alone or in small groups and articles about subjects limited in scope and requiring only consultation of a limited literature are within our abilities. Articles on large amorphous subjects or with large literatures are harder, that is why I am impressed by your efforts on brain (and Johnbod's on the Funerary art article). There's a reason few core topics are FA.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:38, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
There's a limit on how much can be accomplished by focusing on what happens at FAC, because resources will always be limited at FAC. The key is finding a critical mass of interested reviewers at some step before FAC. Milhist started participating in a big way just a few months ago at WP:PRH, which is the regular peer review for history-related articles. I'll try to spend more time on all the PRH reviews, and more time discussing how those articles might fare at FAC. - Dank (push to talk) 20:12, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Oops, workload has gone up, I probably won't have time to cover the peer reviews. I'll put some thought into recruiting. - Dank (push to talk) 12:37, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

I don't see this as an FAC problem, but as an article-writing problem. It's hard to write those big articles. My pet project is the Texas Revolution, which I've approached in a bottom-up manner because there is so much written about it. The main article has improved (with LOTS of room to go), but I've now added two dozen articles that didn't exist before I started reading (not counting the dozens on topics just outside this scope). I've brought a dozen of these subtopics to FA status. Eventually, I will make that main article be up to FA standard, but it will take a while.

In my opinion larger articles truly need a collaboration. Truthkeeper and I tried fixing up Catholic Church and it was just too much for the two of us. If we can get enough people interested in a big topic, then hopefully it will be ready for FAC. But I do not think that watering down FAC standards is the answer. I also question the methodology of how articles were chosen as important. Karanacs (talk) 21:23, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

I think that's exactly right. I was surprised to see at least a couple of articles I've worked on in Looie's list, but not surprised to see none that I'd worked on pretty much alone. To take one example, just look at the number of supporting articles around Gunpowder Plot for instance. I'd also question this idea of "importance". One article not on Looie's list that I certainly consider to be important is Peterloo Massacre, a great example of a bunch of like-minded editors coming together and making it work. The key to "big" topics is effective collaboration, nothing to do with the FA criteria. Malleus Fatuorum 21:33, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm reminded of the Donner Party as well, another article I'd consider to be important by any objective criteria and another good example of effective collaboration. Malleus Fatuorum 21:35, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
[edit conflict] My experience has been similar to Karanacs's. I once wished to bring every U.S. President's article to FA standards. Lately, I've begun to doubt it's possible. Look at this list. The most obscure articles have the best ratings. It's not because I'm a big Chester Arthur fan (I'm not, he was a terrible President). The reason should surprize no one here: big articles atrract more good editors, but they also attract hacks, noobs, gadflies, trouble-makers, vandals, and POV-pushers. It's not a problem with FAC, it's just a by-product of our open editing process (and the profusion of sources for popular topics, some of which contradict each other). --Coemgenus (talk) 21:37, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Ten out of forty-three is not that bad, really. I'm planning to do some work on Teddy Roosevelt, expect it at FAC sometime in late 2013 (I am perfectly serious).--Wehwalt (talk) 14:36, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely spot on: "The key to "big" topics is effective collaboration, nothing to do with the FA criteria." Graham Colm (talk)
Catholic Church is a good example of the problem I see, Gunpowder Plot and Peterloo Massacre not so much. The main problem arises where a lot of the information comes from textbooks. In an article like Brain, over half of the content is stuff that everybody who teaches an Intro Neuroscience class knows, and referencing it is a matter of paging through textbooks looking for something that comes close enough to be used as a source. That's excruciatingly boring and really a complete waste of time. The result is that writing an article like this for Wikipedia is about ten times as much work as writing the article for a real encyclopedia would be. That's not the only problem, but it's the killer in my opinion. Looie496 (talk) 22:44, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
If you were collaborating with someone else who had access to suitable textbooks, and who didn't find that kind of work excruciatingly boring, then there wouldn't really be a problem, as you'd be combining your strengths to make a better article :) Sasata (talk) 23:02, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Added to which, as Karanacs says, when the supporting articles are in place the lead article becomes somewhat easier to write.
In German there is a saying: Wenn das Wörtchen "wenn" nicht wär, wär mein Vater Millionär. Which means: If it weren't for the word "if", my father would be a millionaire. Looie496 (talk) 23:17, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
We have a similar saying in English, but was your father aware of the need to recruit collaborators if you want to progress any article you might consider important to FA status? It's a Wikipedia problem, not an FAC problem. Finding productive collaborators is difficult; finding brainless trolls is all too easy. Malleus Fatuorum 23:25, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
@Looie496: you make a good point about the need to trawl textbooks for facts that seem elementary to a subject matter expert. Perhaps one way to think about this sort of referencing is that it helps future editors defend the article against decay. I don't know if this is ever likely to happen to "brain", but I've seen plenty of cases where passing editors want to add their opinions to FAs without sourcing, and the ability to revert unsourced material simply because it is unsourced (or poorly sourced) is a big timesaver. (I rarely see this approach used when the added material is possibly useful -- most watchers of FAs seem very fair minded to me.) So the two things go together: the open nature of the wiki requires that expertise, when injected, should be identifiably expertise and not opinionation. References are about the only way to achieve that. Having said that, I agree with others above that a collaboration can take much of the sting out of this sort of work -- I haven't collaborated on many articles myself but I have watched the process, and tedious work shared among five or six is much pleasanter. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:54, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree. I wound up having to do much of the later work on Nixon on my own, though Happyme22's did a huge amount of work earlier on and the article could not have made it without him. A companion later on would have made life easier. As for maintaining FAs, I maintain those I contributed to politely but firmly. If not, well, what you did to improve it will slowly be blurred away. As it is, I wonder if I am not shouting at the tide to turn back and not destroy my little sand castles.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:11, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Here's what I think is one of the most important ideas in 20th-century linguistics: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. But it's basically no more than a start. Why don't some of these "important article" warriors help out? No article is more important than any other. Malleus Fatuorum 01:20, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree, any definition of "importantance" is extremely subjective. Jezhotwells (talk) 01:24, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps Looie could have worked from the existing article importance structure. While it is also subjective, and in my view very flawed, it has the advantage of community acceptance. (I am being somewhat tongue in cheek here)--Wehwalt (talk) 01:26, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Reponding to Malleus; most recently I've been creating humanities stubs. Perhaps the most important ones were Australian settlement and settler society, both theoretical concepts in history. The latter very important to the history of Imperialism, US, Canadian, NZ, Australian, South African (and by exception and extension) Caribbean, Liberian, South American societies. The former of vital importance to the debate on Fordism. I think that our problem with the humanities articles (apart from the general problem of cranks, collaboration, and source requirements) is that the humanities' discursive model of evidence and theory generation is in conflict with the positivist mission of the encyclopaedist. The fact that I did a double take when there was no Australian settlement when I tried to refer to it off hand when talking about racism in Fordism indicates that humanities people don't realise the depths of theoretical construct they use. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:35, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
    • You're responding to me in what way? I have no interest in Loooie's idea of important topics. Malleus Fatuorum 01:46, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

Two comments: As you disclaim yourself, "important" is a very POV concept. As a Canadian, people like Terry Fox, Wayne Gretzky and John A. Macdonald are infinitely more important to me than Gerald Ford, as one example. So while your list might be complete from an American perspective, the numbers would change depending on the nationality of the individual. IIRC, there are several English Kings that are FAs that would be considered of greater importance in Great Britain than any US President. Second, I think there is a danger in using the gold star as a validation of a topic's completeness. It is a convenient benchmark, and certainly shows that such articles have received many reviews. But, an article such as Potato is very well done, and aside from a couple citation needed tags, looks to be a pretty good article. Not perfect, but for a project that itself is not perfect, remains a solid example of the community. That is just a general rambling though, and I am doubtful that it actually challenges most of your argument. I think your point about the 2009 change is valid. Bluntly, my first FAs, from 2007 and 2008, were pretty mediocre. I think the emphasis on form and the "nitpicking" was actually a general benefit to the project, as for myself at least, it has vastly improved my writing. I am not certain though that the broader number of sources is a real issue for generic topics, however. When push comes to shove, 100 books on cats will ultimately say the same things. I would be willing to bet that on such topics, you could write a FA quality article with just a couple books - so long as their scope is broad enough to match that of our article. Resolute 03:52, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
If an article is derived entirely from a couple of books, it is basically a disguised (usually not very well disguised) form of plagiarism. Looie496 (talk) 15:39, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
What definition of "plagiarism" are you using that leads you to that absurd conclusion? Malleus Fatuorum 01:12, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Plagiarism is not the right term, but there can be a problem if a Wikipedia article, rather than summarising a source, acts like a vampire bat and sucks all the information out of a source, leaving the reader no reason to consult the source (which is by this point a dessicated husk, tossed to one side by the Wikipedia editor). That is using the work of others to drive traffic to us rather than them. This might not, however, be what Looie meant. There is also the concept of 'reverse engineering' a Wikipedia article by consulting the original sources used by a later source. It comes down to whether Wikipedia articles should be comprehensive, leaving readers no reason to engage in further reading of the sources used, or whether Wikipedia articles should summarise sources and be willing to stop short of excessive detail and say "for more, see this source". Striking that balance is not always easy. For broad topics, this is never a problem, though. It is usually only a problem for narrow topics, where less sources exist. Carcharoth (talk) 02:10, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
I think they had some pithy term over at y'all's forum (Wiki Review) calling it "masticating sources and spitting out FAs". I think live in a yes/no Aristotlean logic world. So I think it is too simple to say that FAs have zero value. Some of them certainly have very additive value. That said...there is a grain of truth in this churning/transformation criticism. At least for some articles. At least something to consider as a concept. (talk) 23:34, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
"Importance" is not entirely subjective. Whatever their perspective, few would argue that, say, John F. Kennedy or Mao Zedong are historically more important than Tom Driberg or Richard Cordray, or that The Marriage of Figaro is a more important opera than, say, L'ange de Nisida or Trial by Jury. But to me, that illustrates one of the main functions of Wikipedia's featured articles: to provide well-researched and comprehensive articles on less exalted topics which don't get this level of attention in conventional reference books. I could give lots of examples, but the one that comes first to mind is Ealdgyth's delvings into the lives of obscure English medieval bishops—what a resource that will prove to be one day, and where else in one place is such information to be found, readily available? Even those occasionally tiresome articles on ephemeral pop songs/singers and nondescript lengths of road might in time be a goldmine for social researchers. So we should not worry too much if there is an apparent emphasis at FA on less important subjects. In a sense, that reflects Wikipedia performing its unique function. Brianboulton (talk) 11:45, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
What really matters from a practical point of view is the size of the relevant literature. Lots of Wikipedia's current FAs involve a literature of well under 100 publications. For topics like electron or brain, the number of relevant publications is literally in the millions. Looie496 (talk) 15:39, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but good editors, as you are to get brain as far as it has gotten, know how to pick and choose from that buffet.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:43, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
To make sure my basic point comes through, let me give three examples: (1) Venus is the second planet from the Sun; (2) The electron has a negative charge; (3) Richard Nixon's vice president was Spiro Agnew, until he resigned and was replaced by Gerald Ford. Finding sources for facts like that is a lot of work -- you might not realize how much if you haven't had to do it -- and it is a complete waste of time. Looie496 (talk) 16:20, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Those things you mentioned probably could get by without citations, as they are well known, or unlikely to be challenged. Something like "He postulated that nerves activate muscles mechanically by carrying a mysterious substance he called pneumata psychikon, usually translated as "animal spirits"" is not. Sasata (talk) 17:23, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
That's what the policy says, in practice it's always interpreted at FAC as "reference everything, no matter how obvious or trivial". Jimfbleak - talk to me? 18:40, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Jimbleak is correct, in my view. And so is Looie. It is why I keep a small stock of reference books on various subjects.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:51, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't get how Yellowstone and Yosemite NPs are on the list but Everglades NP is not. No great mountains in it? Must be. Damn the Everglades for not having mountains. --Moni3 (talk) 20:58, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, it used to, but darn that global warming!--Wehwalt (talk) 20:59, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
O_o That's a whole lot of warming. --Moni3 (talk) 21:00, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Too lazy to check if you just added it but ENP is in the VA level 4 ("expanded", "10000 thing") list. I actually think it would be better to list the Everglades under geographic features and delete it as a park. I think the park aspect is less notable than the swamp (or slow moving river or whatever the fuck the proper term is) itself. that whole thing is very ungainly though. Should be a pivot table in Excel. Very laborious too look for duplicates or for entries that cover a concept (e.g. probably adequate to have a VA for History of the Pelleponesian War and skip having one on Thucydedes as a person.)

An absolutely fascinating thread. Not that it hasn't been discussed before, but this thread is one of the clearest articulations of this issue that I've seen, and the 3 or 4 userspace essays linked at various points are well worth reading. It is blindingly obvious, of course, that the breadth of a broad topic is what can make it difficult to write about, but broad topics are traditionally what general encyclopedias deal with, and specialised encyclopedias with more specific topics. Wikipedia is a mix of the two (and everything else as well). One of Wikipedia's strengths, though, is that the broad and narrow topics are all lumped together and it is easy to click around until you find the level of detail you want. The question tends to be whether the bottom up approach or top down approach to editing works best for a particular topic. The general answer seems to be to contribute and write at the level at which you are comfortable, and according to the range of source you have access to (or may need to have access to). I tend to agree that focusing on challenging articles (while not taking on a challenge that defeats you as an editor) is the way to go. Learn the ropes in an area you know well, and then try and contribute in other areas as well - even if not to the same degree, it will still help improve things. I guess what I'm saying is that if specialists gradually become generalists, that will help. Carcharoth (talk) 22:59, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree in principle but in practice I doubt that this happens. My own FA work is in highly specialized areas; in theory I could eventually progress to the summary articles but I don't have the breadth of learning in Anglo-Saxon topics to do that without a more knowledgeable collaborator, and there's just too much to do in the science fiction project for me to have a hope of getting to the top of that pyramid. I mentioned above that I believe the answer to Looie496's concern is collaboration; I think targeted collaboration is a possible way to go. The FA team, for example, had some successes, and I think a group of editors like that, if motivated by a significant article, could help push an "important" article to a higher standard without requiring a subject matter expert to put in the mind-numbing labour Looie496 describes. Not every topic is suitable for a given editor to help with, but good copyeditors and well-educated lay readers are useful for almost every article; and even I could go and find reliable sources for the kind of well-known facts that Looie496 gives as examples. The FA team ceased to cohere for a couple of different reasons, one of which was, I think, that there was no good way of picking the right articles for it to help with. However, if it's true some form of structured collaboration is necessary to get the more important articles to FA standard, then some venue for forming those collaborations would be helpful. I don't believe Wikiprojects can be the answer in most cases because so few of them have sufficiently many editors to provide enough active collaborators. How about a new version of the FA team focused strictly on the core topics? Or even just on the elite nine? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:29, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
That's maybe not such a bad idea; an article like science ought not to be too tough a nut to crack. I do question the importance of some of these so-called important articles though. Who on Earth is going to come to Wikipedia to look up house, or toy, as opposed to opening a dictionary? Malleus Fatuorum 01:09, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
If anybody wants to organize a group to work on science or mathematics, count me in. Looie496 (talk) 18:20, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, house gets over a million page views a year. (Toy only a couple of hundred thousand.) Looie496 (talk) 01:38, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Probably people looking for House (TV series). Carcharoth (talk) 02:00, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Which is an FA that gets about 6 million views per year - more per day than most FAs per decade. I'm also happy with popularity as one measure of "importance". Johnbod (talk) 18:07, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Is it possible to calculate what percentage (zero point something) of clicks to articles are to featured content? In a way, that is what I am getting that a number of editors are saying is the stat that they say we need to improve.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:29, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

FA could do more to be relevant

1. If one argues that DYK should be deprecated "because we need to concentrate on quality, rather than quantity", then the vast amount of work on low view, low importance FAs, kind of says FA is really not the solution either. (And the "four award" is the enemy, not the ally, of driving what our readers (our READERZ!!!) need.

2. Today, we have an FA running on an African game park that gets 30 views per day. At least, it is a decent article and covers its subject. A few days ago, we had an FA on an obscure, demolished rural train station. That article, should arguably NOT even be an article. Certainly, the writing does not mostly cover the topic of the train station, but instead is padded out about the obscure, expired railroad. And no one noticed this during the review! And this is an article from 2009. And that ran on TFA in 2011.

3. If we really care about our readers, we would CARE about how poorly we are covering topics that are either high view or high importance (almost all "vital articles" are also high view. If you don't believe me, wander over there and click on 5 at random.

4. The very highest level articles are somewhat difficult as they are really categories or entire subjects of human knowledge (e.g. history). However, obviously it is possible for someone to summarize a field, people do it all the time in the real world. And for that matter, the vast majority of "level 3" or "level 4" vital articles are on discrete subjects (a person, a species, an element). So, you don't feel up to an FA on religion, fine. That is no excuse, not to go after Erasmus, or Calvin, or St. Paul.

5. FAC has the stench of death and decline. I read a remark a while ago from someone saying she wanted the page to be "down" to 30 articles only. (And at that point, she would have multiple articles from specific people). Huh!? Why not want to grow? Imagine this thing 5 times the size. Then you could start to drive real improvement of the product for the reader. And the place is already dangerously in-bred (Sasata, Ucachaca, and Visionholder are some of our best, no doubt, but they are doing a huge amount of reviewing each others articles). Why not want to grow? In size, diversity, and RELEVANCE! Imagine if this were a project in the business world (or even an ambitious nonprofit). Where is the plan, the effort, the HEART to get better?

6. I can random brainstorm several ideas for overcoming the problem of low production of important content:

A. Fund some studies and bots (the vital article project is not really maintainable as is, we need an Excel pivot table, and automatic updating).

B. Shinier or new or different attagurl symbol for getting a more important topic to FA (or GA). You can say, no one responds to that, but I bet a lot of people do "care" about the stickers they get now (it drives work). And if we hear a lot of screams from the mushroom/coin/synagogue/busstop/hurrican writers, then maybe we know it does have an impact and they just want to keep getting rewards for irrelevant work.

C. A "ladder board" that accomplishes the same as alternate symbols. A simple thing would be to factor by pageviews. So Wehwalt, you probably need 50 towelhead coins to equal one tricky dick. Or use the vital article list (1 point for off the list, 5 points for level 4, 10 points for level 3, 20 points for level 2, 50 points for level 1).

D. Prioritized attention of reviewers and directors on the more important articles. Put them at the top, hector for reviews for them (I'm still remembering the request that I review a battleship article that the directoress said was dishwater dull (why not use psychic capital to drive the more important articles?))

E. Come up with a better method of doing reviews (the all on one page serves neither the writer nor the reviewers). It's not how reviews are done in the real world, not how done at open review journals, not how GA does it, etc. It is a way pain in the ass to go after any in depth topic, without the ability to do section breaks and the like. To really grapple with difficult and important topics (not check ref formatting on a sock drawer article), we need more space than the RFA-like process of these "old style" FAs.

F. For that matter, I really don't think directors should be "scanning down the page" and doing promote/archive. I have caught some where it was pretty obvious Karanac was not really engaging with the article and reading it well, but just doing sort of a clerical "wiki admin" close type process. Instead, divide up the articles by "editor". this means the specific director can immediately decide if an article should be cut without review and to watch the process and see if the thing is meeting needs or not. (The efficiency gain allows deeper engagement, than if it is just ad hoc "do you have time this weekend, to swing through").

G. Allocate TFA space prioritized by importance of the topic (page views or spot on vital list or what have you). But the train station? That thing is a sin. Just think what a normal "non wiki" person thinks when that is what you highlight? That is what you drive and reward? That is what you want? Jimbo's little kid in Africa needs more of that?

H. I wonder if GA is a part of the solution. I still see a lot of great important topics going through GA, but very few in FA. For that matter, while FAers say "we're not just a nitpick review", I can find several articles (like that damned train station) where it looks like no one really questioned the content, just went after sentence level prose issues and ref formatting.

I. A project to drive outreach to retired faculty.

J. More Jimmy Butler shit.

L. Prizes similar to the Declaration of Independence thing, that reward important articles. (And don't underestimate the nature of notoriety here. I can drive more competition in a salesforce by having a watch or a Harley (that is visible, that they show off) than just a cash reward.)

M. Some Jimbo/Sue editorials or the like.

N. Throw it out to the public (give talks on the PROBLEM) and see if it gets people to come. And not talks to UK wikimedia, but talks at nonwiki places.

O. A contest (project versus project) on how many Level 4 VAs, they can get to FA (or GA) in a specific time.

P. Require reviewing for FA submitters (I think it would actually drive LESS tit for tat reviewing, drive more diversity). Anyone capable of doing an FA is capable of doing a review. And

Q. Fill in more ideas...brainstorm, brainstorm.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

You're not signed in. I THINK I know who this is. Couldn't stay away?  :)--Wehwalt (talk) 20:33, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
You think you know who this is? The edit summary names someone, so no need to guess. FWIW, I agree with much of what the IP posted above, but trying to change too much at once is a recipe for failure. Which of the proposed changes, if any, should be prioritised for further discussion and rapid implementation if everyone agrees on them? The reference to coins and Nixon was very funny. but I didn't get the Jimmy Butler bit. Carcharoth (talk) 01:58, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Carcharoth, TCO added his comments day before yesterday, Karanacs and I commented then. He then deleted them. A few minutes ago, he restored them with the edit summary you mention. When he first put it up, he didn't say who he was.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:02, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
D'oh! I completely failed to see the date history there. Sorry about that. Carcharoth (talk) 02:12, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Np.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:14, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Vanished users don't get to come back to their same haunts. If you want to reengage, let's go through proper channels to get your history restored. Karanacs (talk) 21:31, 12 October 2011 (UTC)


For Carchy:

(1) Why not tell me what YOU would prioritize? It's not even just about getting the right answer, but about forcing yourself to think.

(2) My quick priorities:

A. A set of four thermomometers (for VA levels 1, 2, 3, 4) that show quality composition. Displayed prominently at Sue Gardner's blog (like at the top). I think just putting it front and center will drive work by the community, and even people off line. I think that will work better than trying to "convince people" (especially holdouts or people with a big investment in the old priorities).
B. Some self-made, without authorization or discussion, system of new stars or a laddar board for people that get VAs to GA/FA. I think FA writers like to have more stars because it makes their dicks look longer. Just set up some new game for them to play and some of them will follow (and the ones who rebel against it, so what...but if they whine hard it is likely cause they hate the new priorities that diminish their old advantage from killing boars in the forest like Cartman.) Something like what Tony does with 4 award, but the inverse. And that old Tony discussion pretty much showed all these issues. And Sasata even admitted he could be incented with stickers.
C. Some money for someone to overhaul tracking and display of VAs. Really just a grant for one person could drive the stuff. And a re-energized program like this would give the gnomey assessors like Suncreator something to do that he enjoys and that is more a benefit than making Blofield stubs from translation. Even much bigger benefit than ranking turlte articles (a project that died). [I am trying to think of ways to work together...not just have everyone magically become a TCO/Carch.) (talk) 02:27, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, as I said, I'm perfectly happy to acknowledge that you have some good ideas here, but it's difficult to engage with them at the moment. And please don't call me Carchy. It's the only time I've ever been called that and I hope it doesn't catch on. And I should ignore the "not just have everyone magically become a TCO/Carch" comment, but I'll just say that I agree that everyone being like me would be horrendous. Everyone being like you/TCO, I really don't want to comment on (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). And for someone who says that people should engage with the comments, not the name, you have a knack for naming people in what you say. Most people realise the need to strike a balance - you can't avoiding name-checking people at times, but some restraint and generalisation is also good. Carcharoth (talk) 04:38, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

I'll try to remember what to call you. Is it just the Carchy that bugs you or the truncation to Carch? I don't know about toning down the names/examples. I think it gives a little flavor. Besides, if you accept that the ball is what matters not the man, than it's irrelevent how much crap I mix in. It might be AN ISSUE OF ITS OWN, but it doesn't change basic points. Just like if I'm "abusing RTV", it doesn't change relevance of a point I made (could still be crap or good).

ISAYAGAIN give me YOUR three priorities. Just pick three. Force yourself to try. Then we can discuss. (talk) 05:34, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Carch is fine. But adding -y is in some cultures a diminuation, in others a sign of (over)-familiarity. Anyway, three priorities? Increase collaboration on topics that are under-represented; focus on broader topics rather than niche topics but still encourage wide diversity; make sure sources and content get discussed rather than just style. If I'm allowed a bonus, pick one of those lists and with a team systematically get everything up to B-class or less (this is less to do with FAC, obviously). It will take time and hard work, but it can be done. Oh, and set a limit on associated discussion on what to do, as otherwise people spend a year discussing things and then drift away after doing very little (i.e. set deadlines to start the work, but let the amount of work guide the finishing point). Oh, and be flexible - postpone things if people are away, make it fun rather than like work, and let people play to their strengths. Carcharoth (talk) 18:05, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

quality of average pageview, first thoughts

Of course, there's probably a way to answer Wehwalt's question about the average pageview quality experience either by surveying or by sampling.

1. Random article viewing I tried hitting random article at first and copying down both quality and pageview. I got through 33 of them, but it was pretty laborious with all the stubs. Would need to do a huge amount of those to get a reasonable sampling of the higher pageview articles and the higher quality ones (it is such a tailed distribution).

That said, even plowing through 33 articles, you start to see patterns. Within that group there were 23 stubs, 6 starts, 2 C, 0 B, 1 GA, 0 A, 0 FA. (Interestingly, no lists.) Of course, with more sampling, you would start to see FAs in the right proportions and the like. But still...can see that on a per article basis, most are stubs. Also, stubs had very low individual views (avg 300 views in 30 days). But the starts averaged 2000 views, while the Cs averaged 1633 and the one GA was 1261. Seems like the real differentiation in viewing is stub versus non-stub. Looking at totals (average article times number in category), starts had the most views (12,000), but stubs were close at 8,000. I think the average page view "experience" is probably on the stub side of start, but closer to start than stub.

BTW, even just looking at 33 articles gives an interesting look at the 'pedia. Saw a couple Indian village stubs. Lot of BLPs. Bands and songs. Molecules. Stuff tagged for years as lacking refs. I saved notes into Excel, but kind of aborted the random article approach for now.

Here is the data dump (using bullets to get around the tabs, is there a way to just cut and paste into a wikitable)? I sorted by high quality to low, and within categories by hitcount.

random articles

name last 30 days grade comments

  • The Problem Solvers 1261 GA individual episode of a TV show
  • Battle of Smolensk (1943) 2003 C several projects have it as a C. Milhist has it at start. This is a former FA.
  • Undiscovered (Brooke Hogan album) 1263 C Was unranked, but I gave a C as similar to other album C's. Probably a *bit less external reffed prose than a normal C article, but for an album having a nice table of the songs is most important.
  • Saab 9000 6545 start sketchy sourcing, tagged since 2008
  • Almaty International Airport 2327 start main airport of Kazakstan
  • Nag (missile) 2250 start no comments
  • Kyle Craig 753 start Fictional character of a popular thriller writer. Unranked and judgment call on the quality. Is unreffed, but has several paras of writing. (could be a stub, not a C)
  • Joe Paopao 439 start unreffed BLP, CFL football coach (would pass an AFD, not like Pamela Sneed)
  • North Carolina Highway 181 170 start WasA C, but I lowered it. Lot of writing, but refs were very sketchy (google maps and the like) and only 5 and not inline. Looks like a lot of OR description of the road.
  • Molar conductivity 2311 stub no comments
  • Succinic anhydride 1825 stub a molecule
  • García Álvarez de Toledo, 1st Duke of Alba 1124 stub previous months more like 300 (this one had one big spike, not sure why, not conntect to content) Almost a start article in that there are some sections and writing. But all the content is just geneology and not specific to the person (a 1400s nobleman). Nothing on his life.
  • Luny Tunes production discography 426 stub Unreffed (marked since 2008). Looks like a non notable band.
  • Zhaotong 323 stub unreffed
  • Alexis LeVan 289 stub beauty pageant contestant (no hot photo either). Unreffed, but has an EL to her website.
  • Steven Oliver (footballer) 283 stub BLP football player, reffed.
  • Static discipline 236 stub unreffed single sentence (was ranked start, but I demoted)
  • Larri Passos 234 stub tennis coach BLP. tagged for 2 years for notability and refs. Unranked, so I ranked. Had one (wrong) ref, that I cut. Now unreffed.
  • Equalizer (k-os song) 168 stub unreffed single sentence. Tagged for lack of notability since 2010. Was start, but I lowered.
  • Jean-Louis de Cordemoy 154 stub orphaned since 2008
  • Xinhua District, Tainan 140 stub no comments
  • Water polo at the 1965 Summer Universiade 134 stub Unreffed, was unranked (I ranked it). Almost no content and ought to be merged into the 1965 Universiade article (which needs building up).
  • AppleWorks User Group 130 stub Unreffed, has EL to website for the group. Not sure why need an article (google would take them to that website. we add nothing).
  • Grasplatz 129 stub A small defunct rail station on a defunct rail line. Malice-idescent should take this to FA!
  • NRSN2 127 stub Orphaned since 2009. Two sentences. Is a human protein (function not described). Was start, but I lowered it. Possibly promoting some individual scientists paper, but I could not tell
  • Tawapuku River 96 stub 2 sentences. Only ref is a "place names database"
  • Ted Ranken 86 stub 1908 Olympian, unreffed DLP, non notable person
  • Chelamala, Malappuram 78 stub unranked, but I call it stub. Village in India, couple sentence article
  • Archibald George Campbell 75 stub I tagged it as an orphan
  • Mykhailo Tyshko 65 stub another 1908 Olympian
  • Pamela Sneed 62 stub unranked, but I rated as a stub. Is a promotional BLP for a normal person (should not be an article)
  • Motakondur 25 stub village in India. Unreffed. Has been previously deleted. Orphaned.

2. Looking at the FA categories. Should be possible to either survey or sample FAs (and GAs) and see what sort of pageviews they have. Then if we know the total site pageviews, you could at least see what the fraction of user experience is in GA or higher (ignore A for convenience). GA has a random article tool. (misbehaving now.) FA does not. Still, for either, could just do something arbitrary, like pick a few manually from the lists. Or look at most recent promotions (or for FA, most recent TFAs).

FA does have a random tool, it's here. Malleus Fatuorum 20:39, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

2.1 FAC queue: went through the 15OCT11 FAC queue and just looked at each article's "last 30 days" pageview count. The highest was "Brain" at over 100,000. The lowest was that Somerset Cricket club at 93. More than 55% of the articles had less than 3000 views in 30 days (i.e. less than 100 looks per day). the median number was 2,192. The average was 11,435. Will try cutting and pasting my spreadsheet data (tabs did not hold, so I used bullets:

FAC queue

name pageviews, last 30 days comments

  • Brain 112,825
  • Fluorine 63,234
  • Australian Cattle Dog 50,521
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982 film) 32,532
  • Middlesex (novel) 16,480 region is 20,00 views
  • Stephen, King of England 14,301
  • McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II 14196
  • King Charles Spaniel 10,689
  • Battle of Vukovar 7,910
  • Roger Hornsby 6,758
  • Willamette River 6,593
  • Tintin in the Land of the Soviets 5,265
  • Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes 3,682 has an 800 "spike"
  • HMS Eagle (1918) 3,068 has a 400 spike
  • Standing Liberty quarter 3,003
  • Faryl Smith 2,723
  • Turning Point (2008) 1,661
  • Mothers of the Disappeared 1,474
  • Ernie Fletcher 1,296
  • Jovan Vladimir 1,269
  • 1689 Boston revolt 1,030
  • Exchequer of Pleas 878
  • Background of the Spanish Civil War 791
  • Russian battleship Sevastopol (1895) 723 has a 100 spike
  • Arado E.381 589 3 days recent spike to 100
  • 1860 Atlantic hurricane season 516 almost half is from last 3 days spike
  • Knowle West, Bristol 506
  • Chaplain-Medic massacre 489 name changed recently, so I used the dashed version from month before
  • Hudson Valley Rail Trail 365
  • Battle of Kaiapit 247 was a 24,000 spike from On this day, so used previous month
  • Peter Jeffrey (RAAF officer) 223 50 spike
  • Somerset County Cricket Club in 2009 93

Some other comments. obviously FACs are not the same as FAs. Would be interesting to know if high hit count articles fail FA more (could examine last 30 non promotes). Or just look directly at the FA list itself. Also, even if more important articles have the same chance of making it through, they may need more time in queue, so that could skew the numbers.

If anything, the "low count" articles get a little bit overcounted since there are some strange spikes at times that help them and I left in for all but one which was on the main page. (I think when new content is added to articles, the robots come and look at the article more...and for low count articles this is significant. I have seen this with my own editing. And articles going up for FA, tend to have a lot of recent bursts of activity.) (talk) 08:08, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

2.2 OCT TFAs: Not trying to make any point on main page usage, but just wanted a way to select some passed FAs randomly. Grabbed the 01-16OC TFAs and looked at their page views. Granted, this is probably a little skewed to recent passes. I did look at June hit count to get 30 days and avoid issues with the spike given when they ron on MP.

Similar story as with the FACs. Top was "Film noir" at over 100,000. Bottom was that train station I hate at 291. Median FA was 2,305 views in a month. Average was verage FA was 9,664. More than 56% were under 3000 hits per month. Raw data:


Name JUN pv

  • film noir 107,163
  • Triton (moon) 12,640
  • Just Like Heaven (song) 8,224
  • Fridtjof Nansen 6,065
  • Indian Camp 5989
  • Mother and Child Reunion (Degrassi: The Next Generation) 3,179
  • Hermann Detzner 3012
  • Free State of Galveston 2,356
  • Battle of Valcour Island 2,254
  • Telopea speciosissima 860
  • 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final 762
  • Marojejy National Park 659
  • 1964 Brinks Hotel bombing 529
  • 1941 Florida hurricane 345
  • The Author's Farce 303
  • Waddesdon Road railway station 291

2.3 Random FAs: Used Malleus's random FA tool and selected 30 FAs and looked at their hits for June. The highest was Peru at over 150,000. The lowest was an individual hurricane at 413. The median was 3,372. 43% were less than 3000 hits per month. The average was 18,986. Intestingly, all the numbers seemed a bit higher than the TFA or recent queue sampling. Probably need more numbers to be sure, but it does seem to indicate that more recent FAs are more obcure than older ones. Even of the whole set though, probably more than half are "never heard of it"s. Raw data, below:

random FAs

name JUN hits comments

  • Peru 156,578 Article seems short given the topic.
  • Alzheimer's disease 138,992 Great topic to cover. Good article. Like the pics a little bigger/better, but still quite good.
  • The Mummy (1999 film) 76,767 couple strange spikes (also in other months)
  • Ico 30,529 video game
  • Columbia River 28,368 Pretty good FA
  • Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago) 24,652 One of the tallest buildings in the world. Still, Sears Tower and Empire State Building, both more tip of the tongue are B class.)
  • Death Valley National Park 15,397 Good topic for an FA. Death Valley itself (as opposed to the park) is only a C.
  • Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp 15,355 (no comments)
  • John Knox 11,575 notable Protestant
  • Mana (series) 11,411 A video game
  • Javan Rhinoceros 10,642 (no comments)
  • Geography of Ireland 7,230 Ireland is GA. Wonder if an article like this would get more traction if titled X's geography, vice "Geography of X"
  • Introduction to general relativity 6,745 Interesting approach to covering hard topic
  • Construction of the World Trade Center 4,020 WTC is GA
  • July 2009 Ürümqi riots 3,398 (no comments)
  • Amchitka 3,345 An island in Alaska
  • Quatermass and the Pit 3,345 1950s BBC TV show. Poorly illustrated (Wiki has a hard time well illustrating topics where it is hard to get free photos).
  • Gyromitra esculenta 2,994 A mushroom article that has some interest (edible species, that is poisonous when raw)
  • Aylesbury duck 2,785 A domesticated duck of the 1800s, not commercially significant now. Article lacks a graphic showing the decline in numbers
  • Hasekura Tsunenaga 2,772 1600s Japanese ambassador. Kind of a cool topic. Matthew Perry is only a B, but has 15,000 views per month
  • Felice Beato 2,739 A photographer. Used July numbers as June had a huge one day spike.
  • Melodifestivalen 2,108 Swedish music competition
  • No Depression (album) 1,383 pretty low hit counts for a pop music article. I listen to 90s indy music, but had not heard the one clip included in article. Album was not a commercial success.
  • Bruce Castle 1,305 (no comments)
  • Western Chalukya Empire 1,280 An Indian kingdom of the Middle Ages
  • Brockway Mountain Drive 1,114 9 mile road. Short article
  • SMS Bayern (1915) 994 I used July as there was a huge one day spike in June
  • Geology of the Bryce Canyon area 838 Bryce Canyon National Park also FA, but this is not an FT. (decent article)
  • Honório Carneiro Leão, Marquis of Paraná 491 1800s Brazillian. "Empire of Brazil" is already an FA also. Brazil itself (probably of most interst) is only B, though.
  • Hurricane Guillermo (1997) 413 Is anyone surprised by how little this article is ever looked at?

3. GAs: GAs are similar to FAs in many being ignored by readers, but even worse so. My initial hypotheses was that GA would have more proportion of important topics as people wanted to master the content for key topics but not deal with the time-sink of ref formatting or the like. However, this does not seem to be the case.

I suspect many of the low view GAs are produced by writers who are "churning", not concerned about reader impact, but looking for the most "bang for the buck" in terms of status per hour spent. (Either for Wikicup for for User Wall decoration.) It may simply be a tradeoff of "able to get more articles done in GA, vice extra value of an FA, but other aspects could be that reviewers ignore crufty GAs, or that FA directors require some "non project" view of churn topics. In contrast at GA, getting reviews from the project or exchanged reviews is more feasible/common/accepted. (This is not to say that reviews are not exchanged at FA [it happens, you could get some cat from Crooked Timber blog to run some social network theory on it, there ARE "clusters"] or that all articles get adequate vetting by nonspecialists (ahem cough Rhodocene), but FA is just...better...along the spectrum.)

That said, both GA and FA have some similar issues, just I was surprised to see GA worse. And GA since bigger is still getting a fair amount of relevant articles to some "good" level. (And a "good" article is still quite nice for a reader compared to the average amalgam of ad hoc creation in a stub-B Wiki creation. It's integrated at that stage and looks like recognizable work product.)

3.1 Recent GAs: Looked at the 15 GAs listed as recent promotes as of 15OCT11. Way more freaking depressing than I hoped (hoping to see important topics hit, without the footnote fetish of FA). But top 3 articles were recent events (a 2011 movie, a 2011 TV episode, and a 2011 news event). After that a lot of very low notability items (did not recognize them). Probably out of the whole set of 16, the only one I cared about was a bird species article with moderate (just over 3000) hit count. Many of the GAs were new articles (created after JUN11). Two-thirds (67%) of the GAs had less than 3000 hits per month. The median article had only 647 views/month! The average though was 29,000 (bouyed by the very high hits of the 3 recent event articles). Raw data below, again bulleted, as this buggered user interface...sigh.

Recent GAs

Name JUN11 hits Comments

  • Fast Five 252,604 A 2011 movie
  • Death of Osama bin Laden 142,362 Some big spikes, but still a multipe thousands per day topic in recent months. Recent news event. 200+ references. Guess the SEALS did something right for once.
  • I Am Unicorn 43,249 A TV series episode aired on 27SEP11. No article before SEP. I used the OCT views. Really strange pattern of spikes and the like. Think it will be popular, but smaller a year from now. Not sure how to handle. Wonder if GA's should be covering such recent events. Even info on critical reception and commercial results would seem to be limited less than a month after the show played.
  • American White Ibis 3,476 A decent animal article
  • Reportedly haunted locations in Washington, D.C. 3,000 Pretty synth-y, OR-y article but lots of sources and content and decently done.
  • Architecture of the Song Dynasty 1,297 Little bit OR-ey. Could justify that, but just wish better pulled off.
  • Love Is Blindness 671 A pop song
  • Canberra Roller Derby League 647 Would be zero if I used June numbers as a recent article creation.
  • Litorrio class battleship 461 (no comments)
  • 1975 Pacific hurricane season 312 A very "listy" article
  • Battle of Machias (1777) 304 An obscure battle (landing at a town). 7 references. Very short article.
  • St Nicholas, Blakeney 300 A pretty obscure church. Not Notre Dame. Did not exist as an article until mid sep. Almost all the recent traffic seems like new content crawling. If using last 30 days instead of June, would get 962 views, but low days are single digits, so I suspect long term views will be under 300/month
  • Hurricane Norbert (1984) 300 Another God-dee-ed hurricane article. Article was created in August. Some recent spikes, probably related to content addition. Seems like long term viewage will be single digits/day (less than 300/month).
  • Vitold Belevitch 191 Used July as June had a big spike. Pretty short article.
  • Exit (song) 91 A U2 song that never tracked top 40.

3.2 Random GAs: Lacking a working random GA tool, I did manual random selection. What I did was go to the page that has the whole list and just toggle down a screen at a time on the monitor, picking the article at the center of my screen. Probably slightly overcounts articles with long names (maybe more crufty). Probably slightly overcountes articles in categories with low coverage as there is white space between categories (maybe less crufty).

Didn't really look at the articles much other than pageviews. Even with the scrolling method that undercounts popular categories, there still seemed like a way inordinate amount of articles on television, sports, roads, and hurricanes. Several screens for each. Very low coverage of physics, chemistry, philosophy.

Pretty depressing pageview results. Worse than the FAs. I had 85 articles. The highest was "New Zealand" at over 300,000. The lowest was Tropical Storm Wukong (2006) at 59. 71% of the articles had less than 3000 views per month. The median was 906. The average was 12877. I was amazed that about 20% of the articles had less than 300 views per month. for reference the average stub (and we have a lot of awful one liner place name stubs) is 300 views per month. IOW, a sizeable fraction of GAs are irrelevant to the readers. Raw data below:

Random GAs

name Jun hits comments

  • New Zealand 336,745
  • Bill Clinton 235,974
  • Muhammad 182,493
  • Ashley Massaro 37,714
  • Mario Balotelli 34,597
  • Croatia national football team 31,274
  • Cadmium 25,638
  • Parks and Recreation (season 3) 23,619
  • The Living Daylights 23,108
  • Covenant (Halo) 18,198
  • Battle of Chosin Reservoir 12,426
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces 11,178
  • Video Phone (song) 9,540
  • The Gathering Storm (novel) 8,565
  • Dornier Do 17 7,207
  • Return of Saturn 6,651
  • Mount Adams (Washington) 6,353
  • Climate of North Carolina 4,850
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest 4,742
  • Dr. Octagonecologyst 4,695
  • Elite Ice Hockey League 4,657 used July (JUN had spike)
  • Robert Benchley 3,834
  • Minehead 3,601
  • Tom's Rhinoplasty 3,570
  • Italian battleship Roma (1940) 3,158
  • Eliminative materialism 2,968
  • Avery–MacLeod–McCarty experiment 2,876
  • Dartmouth Medical School 2,610
  • Abergil crime family 2,589
  • Flag of Kosovo 2,430
  • English Water Spaniel 2,405
  • Battle of Oriskany 2,350
  • Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems 2,231
  • Dangerously in Love 2 2,027
  • Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy 1,965
  • Bart the Lover 1,864
  • 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers season 1,745
  • Drug Testing (The Office) 1,512
  • Sunny Lee 1,341
  • Janet Jackson as gay icon 1,318
  • Lujan-Fryns syndrome 1,314
  • William Robinson (gardener) 1,070
  • Stellar rotation 906
  • McLaren M2B 849
  • 2008 Chinese Grand Prix 829
  • Flight deck cruiser 787
  • 2010–11 Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team 596
  • Portland City Hall (Oregon) 564
  • Charles R. Forbes 557
  • Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl 552
  • February 2009 tornado outbreak 550
  • William Claiborne 499
  • Madhouse on Castle Street 488
  • Cambridge Water Co Ltd v Eastern Counties Leather plc 487
  • 89th Military Police Brigade (United States) 465
  • Sir John Fowler, 1st Baronet 462
  • Maman a tort 459
  • Hugo Danner 450
  • Donegal fiddle tradition 435
  • Alyssa Healy 392
  • Braathens SAFE Flight 139 384
  • Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective 381
  • History of the Oslo Tramway and Metro 334
  • Guardians of the Free Republics 323
  • Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park 311
  • Ontario Highway 35 307
  • Brian Moore presidential campaign, 2008 292
  • Maiden Castle, Cheshire 272
  • Marasmius rotula 250
  • Chittenango ovate amber snail 242
  • Lake Burton, Antarctica 242
  • Cornwallis in Ireland 230
  • German submarine U-40 (1938) 190
  • Harold L. George 182
  • Jacob Svetoslav 171
  • Council of Keewatan 169
  • Church of St John the Baptist, Asenovgrad 156
  • Guto Puw 156
  • Maryland Route 12 128
  • M-107 (Michigan highway) 119
  • Effects of Hurricane Charley in South Carolina 101
  • Hurricane Madeline (1976) 97
  • New York State Route 31E 62
  • Hurricane Roslyn (1986) 61
  • Tropical Storm Wukong (2006) 59

4. Vital articles: Having looked at GA/FAs and seen what sort of page views they get, the oppositite question becomes what sort of pageviews do "important" articles get.

The wp:vital articles wikiproject is an effort to list the important articles. Of course this is subjective, but it seems to have fairly reasonable consensus (at least not much edit warring), An individual might differ on select articles at the margins, but an educated person is likely to agree with the overall list. I doubt one would get something radically different if surveying scholars or FAC writers or the like. Vital Articles is divided into 4 levels of importance: level 1 are the "top ten articles", level 2 are "top 100", level 3 top 1000, and level 4 are the top 10,000.

Within the top 1000 (level 3), about 15% of the articles are GA/A/FA. 50% are B class. 25% are C. 10% are start or stub. The other levels of heirarchy are broadly similar in quality story. Interestingly, there are a bit more FA VAs than GA VAs, despite GA overall being about 4 times the size of FA as a Wiki category. This seems to fit with the observations above in terms of GA being a bit more crufty. Depressingly, FA percentage of VAs has slowly declined over the years (iow declined as a fixed number!) Seems to indicate that either raised standards or perhaps degredation from the Wiki anyone can edit are causing FARs. And that there are likely few new important FAs being written (not enough to counter attrition). This would seem to indicate Wiki has given up on biulding the most important content for readers and is in a period of decline, both in overall activity and in "decadance" (in terms of being distracted to small things vice important big things).

The selection of articles is broadly "decent", so I think it is a very promising approach. The biggest problem is how manual it is and how lacking in WikiProject maintenance tools, like well run categories, assessment markers or the like. The average snail or popstar Wikiproject tracks its articles much better. Nor is the display of the VA lists user friendly (non sortable lists). Nor is there any activity and coordination (not even a signup list for participants to indicate interest).

The basic answer as shown below is that articles that "seem important" are also articles with high page view. Even at the broadest "top 10,000" level, we find that VAs have higher page views than FA/GAs. Or more pointedly...that FA/GAs cover relatively unimportant topics! Interestingly, in the "2.1 FAC queue" examination, the top two articles in page views were also the only 2 of 30 articles that were also VAs ("Brain" and "Fluorine").

4.1 VA top 10: I looked at the JUNE pageviews of every one of the top ten VAs. The highest was "Philosophy" at over 550,000. The lowest was History of the World at almost 40,000. Nine of the ten topics were in the "6 figures" of monthly page views. The median level was 224,000. The average was 275,000. Obviously 0% of the level 1 articles had less than 3000 views per month (100 per day). Raw data below:

VA top 10

name quality hits comments

  • Philosophy C 556,975
  • Science B 499,927
  • Mathematics B 427,097 Former GA
  • Earth FA 330,884
  • Language B 234,004
  • Technology B 214,480
  • Art B 201,106
  • Culture C 139,999
  • Life B 114,302
  • History of the world B 38,617

One minor editorial note: I think "Religion" belongs in that group. Even for nonbelievers, they must recognize the significance of that topic to modern and ancient man.

4.2 VA top 100: I randomly sampled the list of 100 articles by selecting 20 articles, just going in order down the list (number 1, 6, 11, 16, etc.) From that grouping, the highest pageviews was "Biology" at 408,000. The lowest was "Performing Arts" at 19,000. The median article was 94,000 (iow about half of the group had "six figures" pageviews). The average article was 140,000. Obviously 0% of them had less than 3000 hits (100 per day).

Interestingly, even though level 2 has 100 articles, pageviews are only about half of the "top 10". IOW, the top 100 have about half the viewership, rather than one tenth the viewership wrt level 1. So, if you think "market back", getting a random top 10 to FA is about double the bang for the buck.

VA top 100

name qlty Jun hits comments

  • Biology GA 408,810
  • Human B 371,868 former GA
  • Psychology B 311836
  • Knowledge C 244,632
  • Language B 234,004
  • Community GA 156027
  • Religion C 137,790
  • Human sexuality start 120,734
  • Death C 113485
  • Family C 96355
  • Architecture C 93,267
  • Ethnic group start 77,424 former FA
  • Fire B 74630
  • City B 73,780
  • Civilization B 67,964
  • Telecommunication GA 67,316
  • History of mathematics B 55,643
  • Mountain C 49,971
  • Social science C 24961
  • Performing arts start 19,561 couple spikes

4.3 top 1000: The top 1000 is traditionally what people refer to as the Vital Articles (top 10 and top 100 are subselections, top 10,000 is an expansion). At the 1000 item limit, there is still significant tension about what to include/exclude. Only the most important countries get a spot. If you want Egypt, you have to argue why New Zealand should get chopped. (I sorta want both...but there is not space!) There are only 10 of the chemical elements included. Etc. The expansion to level 4 was a reaction to that tension. The tension does mean though that the list is reasonably "vetted" and controlled (additions require discussion and nomination of what gets cut). Every article in the top 1000 list is easily recognizable as a topic and even resonates as "core". In contrast, I, educated although not Erasmus, struggle to recognize the majority of the FAC/GAC topics even just as titles.

To sample this group, I scrolled down the page manually, a screen at a time. I clicked on whatever article was at the center of the screen. There are two columns, so I picked both sides. This gave 52 articles.

Analysis of the sample subset showed the top article as France at 470,000. The lowest was Cyrillic at 5,000. The median pageviews was 66,000. The average pageviews was 94,000. (A third of the top 1000 had "over 6 figures" pageviews. Still very high traffic even with the expansion in numbers from top 100.) Obviously 0% had less than 3000/month (100/day) views. Raw data below the fold.

VA top 1000

name JUN hits comments

  • France 470,123
  • Benjamin Franklin 288,491
  • Alexander the Great 254,319
  • Parkinson's disease 209,461
  • Nazi Germany 206,399
  • Benjamin Franklin 192,358
  • Sociology 188,103
  • Antarctica 167,677
  • Jupiter 159,543
  • Berlin 158,752
  • Liver 153,093
  • Michelangelo 151,101
  • Abortion 127,895
  • Ancient Egypt 124,417
  • Petroleum 118,415
  • Species 105,490
  • Nitrogen 102,681
  • Fruit 97,974
  • René Descartes 97,434
  • Game theory 91,755
  • Postmodernism 87,570
  • Terrorism 84,635
  • Sound 83,994
  • Force 79,867
  • Biochemistry 70,521
  • Mythology 69,974
  • Ferdinand Magellan 62,948
  • Mass media 59,729
  • Happiness 58,176
  • Bone fracture 58,008
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 57,534
  • Bridge 56,810
  • Musical instrument 53,527
  • Sculpture 51,618
  • Climate 49,982
  • Camera 49,909
  • Andes 45,912
  • Musical theater 42,475
  • Indian Ocean 42,436
  • Calander 39,354
  • Gottfried Leibniz 38,098
  • History of Science 37,497
  • Board game 33,373
  • State (polity) 27,337
  • Explosive material 25,308
  • Upanishads 22,102
  • Animal husbandry 21,139 Used JUL as JUN had spikes
  • Existence 15,134
  • History of agriculture 13,259
  • Spaceflight 10,860
  • Numerical digits 9,226
  • Cyrillic 5,235

4.4 VA top 10,000: The level 4 of VA emerged in 2007 as a response to the tension in topics that "felt important" (say the country of Egypt) but could not fit into 1000. Initially, there was a desire to just double to 2000, but this was not sufficient flexibility. The talk pages give some good examples (if you can only describe 3 parts of the body in level 3, doubling that to 6 still leaves a lot of important organs uncovered...going up an order of magnituted solves that).

Initially there was some concern that even 10,000 would feel too chafing. However, this has not been the case. The project is still under 9,000 at this time. The expansion allowed going from only ten chemical elements to all elements. It not only allowed covering Egypt, but all countries, even lesser known sub-Saharan African ones. Allowance of new additionas has been liberal, with the intent to populate the list and then purge when full (which they still have not reached).

I skimmed the list, but it is very hard to get a feel for it, one has to look at individual areas. In general, it "looks good" in terms of most topics "feeling important". That said, there become a few that I did not recognize (even in traditional fields). And there may be a few places (Bollywood actors) where topics are not really relevant to our readership, but have been pushed in. There are also some things like individual days of the week, individual quarks, individual operations of addition (i.e. subtraction) where we may have driven too far down. Some of these are probably not even well served at an article level at all, as opposed to in the context of their brother quarks, etc. All that said, it is a pretty good list, much more than 50% of which "feels" like we should have GA+ content. Looking at page views also, showed (mostly) that the articles are in high demand by readers.

To sample this list, I manually skimmed down the page, 10 screens at a time, selecting the article in the center of my screen. (It is a very long list, even the table of contents is 10 screens long.) The polling gave 41 articles. The highest was "Rafael Nadal", a tennis player at almost 1 million hits per month. (He has some interesting spikes in viewership, I guess driven by major tournaments?) The lowest was "Banc d'Arguin National Park" at under 700 views per month. (I guess that is some park in Africa or something.) The median article was 19,000 views.

Almost 20% of the articles were "six figures", but 20% were also "less than 3000 (less than 100/day). Within that group of less than 3000 were the only article titles I did not recognize or though poorly suited (e.g. "Bottom quark") for expansion to an article. The only one in that group I cared about was "Java Sea" (but I guess readers don't, that much). There is a Phillip of Macedon on the group, but not Alexander's father...just some other Macedonian king with similar name.

Raw data below the fold:

VA top 10,000

name JUN hits comments

  • Rafael Nadal 972,473 had a very large spike, so did other months, I guess his article is viewed very heavily on major tournament days, but this recurrs
  • Bipolar disorder 350,263
  • Ireland 266,567
  • Charlie Chaplin 199,479
  • Benito Mussolini 141,787
  • Toyota 119,386
  • Blue whale 116,730 use JUL, JUN had spike
  • Dragonfly 88,654
  • Altruism 59,548
  • Teacher 59,304
  • Brothers Grimm 58,741
  • chemical compound 41,453
  • Gunpowder 41,014
  • Mogadishu 38,070
  • Amanita muscaria 35,041
  • ITV 25,370
  • Modern history 25,250
  • Northern Cyprus 23,561
  • Coimbatore 22,996
  • United States customary units 22,117
  • Piedmont 18,978
  • Cirrus cloud 14,624
  • Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 13,745
  • Playwright 13,251
  • calculus of variations 10,890
  • Kushan Empire 10,389
  • Chimaera 9,588
  • Globular cluster 8,857
  • Vascular tissue 8,516
  • Winston Smith 7,637
  • Selim I 7,043
  • Joseph Cornell 7,032
  • Native American mythology 5,235
  • Mohammad-Reza Shajarian 2,711
  • Philip V of Macedon 2,424
  • Bottom quark 2,242
  • Jerome Kagan 2,000
  • Java Sea 1,840
  • Gerd Binnig 1,788
  • Gentianales 881
  • Banc d'Arguin National Park 693

Discussion of pageview observations

(added a break to ease edit view for others)

Vanished User 01123581321 (five brownie points, anyone?)(I'm having a little fun with you, TCO), can you hide the lists? I think the flaw in your methodology is that you are clicking randomly. My question is what percentage of clicks are to featured content. The world does not click randomly.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:58, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

(1) Collapsed lists. (2) Wehwalt, if you know the average views of an FA and the number of FAs, you know the total viewing of FAs. If you go find out the total pageviews for the site, you can just divide the numbers to get your fraction. They must have that total somewhere? If not, we could try to estimate it by sampling the population (I worry a little about sampling a tailed distribution, though, need to check requirements on that). (3) I would really not rule out GAs. From a user experience, GAs are pretty darned good and it seems like more high view articles go through there (at least in total). (talk) 20:10, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
TCO, this is all very interesting but thought you might want to know that the page view tool isn't working. So before you continue your analysis you have to realize that you're using faulty data. We don't really know what the Oct page view statistics are - I'd be interested to see your list of TFAs with the actual views, but we can't. Truthkeeper (talk) 11:25, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
It's never worked perfectly, missing odd days, but does seem more erratic than usual at the moment. I think myself the time has come to professionalize it. Would it raise howls of protest to require FACs to give indicative viewing figures in the nom? It is a criterion I sometimes use in deciding what to review, though not of course how to review it. Its not a figure that features much in FAC thought, & just increasing awareness might affect the issue we are discussing beneficially. Johnbod (talk) 12:12, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
I do agree that it needs to professionalized because a lot of people rely on it to some extent - particularly at DYK. I'm becoming conflicted about page view statistics for FACs. In general I like to work on pages I think we should showcase but realize that with Ernest Hemingway (about 10k daily) I was lucky - a new editor who jumped in and somehow managed to bring a big biography through FAC. Since that time, I've either failed or given up on other "big" biographies. I do think Murasaki Shikibu is important, but she only gets about 200 hits a day. At the moment I'm interested in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, which in my view is "important", but the page views hover around 200. So I'm no longer convinced it's a good indicator - or at least leaning in that direction. Truthkeeper (talk) 12:41, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
200 per day is about as good as it gets for an individual medieval work of art - it's still 50K pa. The article is tiny and long-term views would increase a bit, probably not massively, if it were better. The Turin-Milan Hours, possibly even more important to specialists but much less well-known (partly because most of it got burnt before colour photography), averages about 14 a day, for what is by a long way the fullest online description. That something gets low views doesn't mean its unimportant, but things that get very high views over a long period are clearly important to our readers. Johnbod (talk) 15:20, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
There is an advantage to being a rookie FA nominator who has bitten more a bit more than he can chew, people admire that a bit and will help if they can. I would suggest adding page views to the toolbox that is automatically added to the individual article FAC pages. If you require people to state the number of views, you will get angry contention here. Simply adding it to the toobox is better.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:42, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
This has been bothering me. Please correct me if I'm wrong but the implications seems to be that a "rookie" who has "bitten off more than they can chew" might get an easier time - a pass that maybe shouldn't have been a pass, that isn't sitting well with me. On the flip-side, why don't we treat everyone equally? Rookie or not, biting off more than is possible, should garner equal admiration. I don't think it does. I think we become jaded and that turns off editors when the rookie status is over. Anyway, not sure I've articulated this well - but the paradigm seems off somehow. Rookie + big page = admiration & pass. Experienced editor + big page = scrutiny, more scrutiny, unrealistic expectations and failure. Truthkeeper (talk) 04:34, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I've sensed this as well. Might not be what happens, as I think even rookies get proper scrutiny, but I do sense that experienced editors are expected to at least maintain standards if not always increase them. My other bugbear is specialists branching out and (possibly) given a free ride on this other topic because they have done well previously on another topic they are more familiar with. Which is slightly hypocritical, as I think generalist editing is good, but reviewers should be aware (and told) when someone is branching out into a new topic area. Possibly the two effects combine in some cases. Carcharoth (talk) 18:11, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
I think adding it to the tool box is an excellent idea. This is a long needed discussion. Ceoil (talk) 17:47, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
That's settled then excellent. Johnbod (talk) 23:18, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Truthkeeper: (1) What is the nature of the tool flaw? Where written up? Is it biased overall low or high? Or against low view or high view articles? The numbers I get back seem to make sense in terms of observed patterns (articles you expect high are high and even day of the week effects and summer lull hold well). (2)Ideally, I would like to download yearly pageview data as some topics (e.g. "Silent Night") have seasonality. I do see spikes (which affect low view topics much more) from DYKs, OTDs, TFA etc. If I could just get data dumped, I would probably eliminate the 4 highest and 4 lowest days from each article. That eliminates most of the problem. There is still some higher traffic when new content is added into low view articles (I think it is the content extraction robots, I wonder how they know to come?), which benefits low view articles, but I wouldn't begrudge them that and it doesn't make that much difference over a year.. (talk) 20:10, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
It's broken. The numbers are wrong. It's been broken for a week or more. It's been discussed on the toolowner's page (he's traveling at the time), it's been reported at Village Pump technical and I think maybe a Bugzilla report has been generated but can't remember. Truthkeeper (talk) 21:07, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks TK. It seems like the major issue is that it has not given views for the last week. For my analysis of the OCT TFAs, this would have no impact as I looked at JUN stats anyway. For the other two, I assume it would affect all the articles so that they are about 80% of what they should be in views. (On a proportional basis, equal impact. But on a relative basis, it just understates the advantage that the high view articles have.) I'm not going to bother re-running those, cause it only makes my case stronger. Will try running future stuff using June. (has 30 days)
Doesn't this sort of change the October TFA data though. Has 31 days. Truthkeeper (talk) 22:17, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Babe, I explained that. I used JUNE for the OCT TFAs. I wanted to keep out the "push" from main page viewing. And I wanted 30 days. For the others, like for example the current FACs, it only makes my case stronger. I mean "Brain" goes from 100,000 to 120,000 and "Somerset Cricket" goes from 100 to 120. so that means the differenc in the two would go from 99,900 to 118,180! I already have stuck a Dick Francis bolt gun to the horse's head, do I need to play Tarantino games with the carcass? (Are u mathy?) (talk) 22:28, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
No I'm not at all mathy. And to be honest long posts make my eyes spin if you know what I mean, so I've reading bits and pieces. I get what you mean now - clever of you to look at June (with 30 days) for the stats. Truthkeeper (talk) 22:45, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
I am surprised too. I use that tool regularly, when I see an unexplained spike, it's a big clue that something has happened and the article may need updating. I have noticed nothing unusual. Murray Chotiner chugs along in the low double digits as expected.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:51, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
It often catches itself up later, but compare the edit history with the page views for my new Royal manuscripts, British Library - still zero page views for sept 29 - oct 6, when it was being intensively edited. This tool used to give long-term edits, but is now "being upgraded" & not working. Johnbod (talk) 23:18, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Random sampling tool

The random GA sampling tool is not working. I put in a request to the toolbuilder to fix it and to also build one for random FA sampling. Should be fixed rapidly. I'm assuming this place is like an American company where you show up the first day and your business cards are printed and on your desk and IT has already configured your laptop and you are crunching content in the afternoon. Not a European one where you spend 3 weeks in the hall waiting for an office and then the phone is still not switched on.  ;) (btw, could someone make the smiley code work?) (talk) 22:13, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

See #Random articles. It's like a European company that just gets stuff fixed. Still haven't gotten my business cards though. --Erwin (talk) 10:47, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary and capricious break

What relevance does the number of page views have to whether an article meets the GA criteria? Jezhotwells (talk) 20:54, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Or the FA criteria, and I've wondering that as well. So far as FAs are concerned I find myself at both ends of the spectrum: William Cragh apparently got only 388 views in September, although I suspect that would increase significantly if the TV progamme about him was repeated; similarly with Moors murders, which gets a little more than an average of 1000 views a day, but when Brady dies that will inevitably rocket. Which brings me to my point. Many articles, like the the example of House mentioned earlier, are only of transient importance if judged by article traffic alone. Malleus Fatuorum 21:03, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks TK, will check it out. Importance and "meeting the criteria" are two different aspects, peeps. Like fucking duh. Like 3rd semester calculus when the z's and w's come floating in. There is more than just y as a function of x. Pageviews is not a perfect metric for "importance". But it's a lot better than nothing. current FACs, "Brain" and "Fluorine" come out on top. "Somerfuckingset Cricket Club in 2009" came out on bottom. Aristotle would be happy!  :) You can use the VA list. It really doesn't matter that much. Yeah...I see that list and doubt we need good articles on each individual day of the week. And maybe Mallman has heard of some great books I haven't or visa versa. But that's a detail that does not change the gestalt. For that matter, Mallman has advocated having paid editing to write out the core articles (so which are they...they sure as Hell aren't that train station TFA). Getting too arsed around kvetching about these sorts of things is just missing the forest for the trees. (talk) 21:34, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

TCO, your shifting IPs are going to confuse students who study the early days of The Database. Can you please unretire?--Wehwalt (talk) 21:36, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
I second that. You bring up stuff I've wrestled with. I seem to be drifting toward less important, low page view pages because to be honest the noise is low, the stress is low, it's less of a hassle, blah blah, but your points are important. So log in please. Truthkeeper (talk) 21:43, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
If by "Mallman" you mean me than I don't doubt that I've heard of some great books you haven't and vice versa, but I still fail to see what any of that has to do with importance as judged by page views. Malleus Fatuorum 22:14, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, we would come out with very similar lists of Great Books. We could probably even mathematically characterize it (t-test or something). I bet the number is fricking astronimical in terms of showing that views are actually very similar. As for the latter, my point (and I think John backed it above) is that getting distracted over Great Books VERSUS page views is silly. Even if you are an advocate of some Stanfordian list or the STILL do better over the damned train stations/mushrooms, if you just ACCEPT Star Wars and the rock albums and go off of page views. I mean "John Steinbeck" will hold "Somerset Cricket Club of 2009" down on the playground and just rub its face into the rocky pavement. (talk) 22:21, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
TCO, at some point after I've probably long spaced out this conversation, please stop by my page and remind me. I wouldn't mind working on Steinbeck - and would be very interested in East of Eden. But I'm seriously busy with work at the moment so those are projects that need more off time than I've got. Truthkeeper (talk) 01:17, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
It's a date, wild woman. Expect me when you don't expect me.  ;-) (talk) 01:29, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
TCO likes Steinbeck, as I learned on Pipe Dream (musical).--Wehwalt (talk) 13:04, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't know why you keep coming back to Somerset Cricket Club and trains stations, as I have zero interest in either. Malleus Fatuorum 22:33, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Neither do I dude. I'm interested in the Wiki articles, the FA articles, etc. I'm discussing examples from the set. (talk) 22:39, 15 October 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I would argue that page views is a dramatically awful way to measure importance, and as such is actually worse than nothing. Consider the top five most viewed articles tagged under the Canada Wikiproject for September: Justin Bieber, Drake (entertainer), Canada, Take Care and Avril Lavigne. Only one of those articles is remotely "important" (and fortunately that one is an FA). Pop culture and current news tends to dominate such lists in my experience, and consistently so. That your look at FAC at a single moment in time yielded results you like only reveals a lacking sample size. Resolute 06:06, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
If we think our readers are important, then what our readers read is important. In fact pop culture is one area, perhaps the only one, where the most popular pages are usually pretty good, or at any rate likely to provide what readers want. The massive hits there also keep (one imagines) the whole site high on google, benefiting all articles. But pop culture readers are liable to disappointed when they move off to many more serious subject areas, where main article standards are much lower. Johnbod (talk) 12:12, 17 October 2011 (UTC)


  • (1) If you think a resample would give a different result, run the experiment with a bigger sample. You could even just run it at the same size. If sample size is giving a bad answer, you would expect to see something different just by a rerun. I've played with sampling a few different ways now. So there is an imperfect repetition even in that.
  • (2) Since there are a few articles with large views, they CAN have a dramatic effect on the AVERAGE. But if you want to look at median views or percent above/below a threshold, the nunbers won't vary appreciably.
  • (3) If you don't like pageviews for importance, than use VAs. I mentioned above that of the current crop of FACs, there is only one within the VA top 1000 and one in the VA top 10,000. The other 28 are on more obscure topics. BTW, almost all VAs have high views compared to the train stations and hurricanes and the like. For instance the two VA articles ("Brain" and "Fluorine") were also the highest page views! So page view importance and VAs should really be allies of convenience at least. Emphasizing the difference is not as important as the bigger issue, which is sheer triviality and churn. (I'm still sort of recovering from all the hurricane GAs I saw when sampling that population and their incredibly low readership. Read above under "2.5 Random GAs".) (talk) 07:19, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

While I agree that some measure of page views could be used to guide work flows, I want to take issue with this comment (from way above): "IOW, a sizeable fraction of GAs are irrelevant to the readers". This misses the point that most of Wikipedia is irrelevant to its readers. Readers only read a small fraction of Wikipedia. Indeed, Wikipedia is so large that no single person can read the entire thing, and even if they did, it would have changed before they finished. So you need to combine different metrics and not use any single metric too much. I would go with some standard encyclopedia publication for basic standards here - indeed, I think this is how the initial core and VA lists were generated. Carcharoth (talk) 08:00, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

The thing is, TCO, if we abolished all the hurricane articles, or if they never were, if at some point early in Wiki, there was consensus say, storms that didn't kill large numbers of people weren't notable, that does not mean people who would have written our storm articles would have happily chugged along improving our coverage of the Italian Renaissance.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:43, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
(1) I'm not advocating banning certain types of articles. I'm just trying to highlight what we are lacking (many important articles either by pageview or VA, doesn't matter) are not high quality. And then large amounts of work is going on that is producing highly refined work on subjects of triviality. This is not about any one person, but about stepping back and looking at the overall program. (2) GA is actually worse off than FA. Looking at the last few articles in that sample of 85. Ai-yi-yi! (3) You made me smile with the comment abour redirecting the crufters to Guiotto. (Reminds me of my farmer grandfather saying, I'll show you how to plow with the goat.) I do think you could motivate some changes in behavior though (and it is not about specific individuals, but about populations). I wonder how many of those 'cane and street articles are Cup creations (I understand now why Sandy makes the Cup people brand themselves). I bet if you changed the rules of the Cup (like made points directly relative to page views) you would drive big changes in behavior that could have very NOTICEABLE and FAVORABLE impacts on the quality of this entire enterprise. (talk) 09:44, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I wondered how long it would be until it was the Cup's fault. Still looking for a scapegoat? We have introduced rules like that; any article which was covered on 20 or more Wikipedias at the start of the year, or any vital article (level 3) scores double points. And yes, we have seen a slight increase in the number of articles of this sort being worked on. While I recognise the importance of what you are saying, it is not my job to force people to work on articles that they do not want to. J Milburn (talk) 09:48, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Now be fair J, it is very clearly the Cup's fault that HurricaneHink and HurricaneFan25 are focusing on hurricane articles. I mean, there really is no other viable explanation for the number of such GAs/FAs, right? Thank god we have TCO to highlight these issues for us! Perhaps the solution is to force these users to change their names to HistoryHink and PoetryFan25? Resolute 17:23, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
But there is a point to be made here about specialists and generalists. Carcharoth (talk) 18:00, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Certainly there is. But complaining about the existence of specialists is an irrelevancy that only distracts the argument. Take away those two hurricane editors, or take me way, and the only change is that Wikipedia loses coverage on a couple of specialized areas. It does not gain anything in the generalist areas. And if one "stepps back and looks at the overall program", that would be rather evident. Resolute 18:13, 16 October 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps one idea, for purposes of TFA/R, is to give bonus points based on page views. If a page averages 5,000 views in the past month (to avoid birthday spikes I would say not counting the two highest and two lowest days), it gets two bonus points. That allows the reader, so to speak, to vote with his clickpad, though unaware of it. I can see ways to game the system, they are easily circumvented (for example, by excluding any period of unusual activity).--Wehwalt (talk) 13:02, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Non-arbitrary and deliberate break

First, I'm unclear why anyone is carrying on a dialogue here with a user who exercised WP:RTV-- the conditions there are clear. If TCO is not going to reclaim his account, we should close this off, since RTV is being abused and a lot of this belongs elsewhere. Second, FAC has the stench of death and decline ... ummmm, Wikipedia has the stench of death and decline-- FAC continues to maintain standards, and we aren't going to do something to artificially up the volume in spite of Wikipedia's overall decline just so we can claim higher numbers-- standards here will remain (unlike some other processes that emphasize volume). If someone disagrees with what constitutes important or vital articles, that's not really a matter for FAC. If TCO continues to fill up this page with chat without reclaiming his account, I suggest admins might start cleaning up here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:11, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

I've temporarily blocked the IP address and requested TCO to make a formal request to "unvanish". I suggest FAC people do their archiving here where appropriate. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:07, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with the archiving, which as I recall does require consensus. TCO has said some things I wish he had not, and with which I do not agree, especially as regards individual delegates, but there is much of value in his words. FAC needs improving, though I have not seen a means to an end so far, even in what TCO has said, but if we don't talk about it, we won't find it. He should unvanish though but that is not the point of this talk page.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:43, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I did say archive "where appropriate". The Rambling Man (talk) 11:52, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Just making sure no one does it without discussing it.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:05, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
If he said anything worth reading, perhaps someone can start a new section with a non-TLDR summary of anything worth discussing. I don't see the point in a TLDR discussion with a vanished user, and the one highlighted thing I did read was ... off. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:36, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I for one had no idea he exercised the right to vanish and have never had a discussion with a "vanished" user, so I'm guilty but don't know how all editors are to know when another decides to disappear. I think his points are worthy, although I agree with Wehwalt that he went over to top in some cases. That said, the issue of bringing difficult articles to FAC, and experienced editors giving up with big topics is a discussion that should be had somewhere. I don't know where, but somewhere. Just want to mention too, that because of all the TL;DR mess above, a group of editors are working on Science, so if something good comes out of it I don't think it's all bad. Some of it is bad - but not all bad. Truthkeeper (talk) 16:47, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Karanacs has used her bits to restore his history, which I had asked him to do but he did not acknowledge my request in his reply, so I suppose he is no longer considered "vanished".--Wehwalt (talk) 16:59, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
That only restores the talk and user pages (and I primarily did that to keep the documentation of the socking and the previous behavioral issues TCO had). His contribution history is still gone - I do not know the process to have his contributions moved back to his username. Karanacs (talk) 17:24, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I imagine that course of action to be pretty pointless. He was renamed so his contributions are attributed to another user account, something like "RetiredUser..."; he won't be able to log in as TCO unless he re-creates the account (which anyone else can do). If he does recreate User:TCO, it will have no contributions. In any case, he does he seem to want to log back in and contribute via an account. The Rambling Man (talk) 06:38, 18 October 2011 (UTC)