Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive8

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Subpage edit link for bicycle

Currently one cannot click the edit link for that nomination to vote or comment on it. All other links seem to work except this one. I have never seen this before. Anyone have any ideas? - Taxman 15:00, Feb 19, 2005 (UTC)

Yes, it was some weird formatting in the template itself. It has now been fixed. →Raul654 15:08, Feb 19, 2005 (UTC)

Best FAC week ever

With 17 new featured articles, this past week was the best week in FAC history. Congratulations to all the writers, copyeditors, proofreaders, 'etc who made this possible :) →Raul654 07:58, Mar 6, 2005 (UTC)

Huzzah! Something for the Wikipedia Signpost?? --Plek 10:39, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sure. Someone let Michael Snow know :) →Raul654 17:56, Mar 6, 2005 (UTC)
Done.--Plek 18:31, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

How much time is "enough time"?

From WP:FAC: If enough time passes without objections being resolved, nominations will be removed from the candidates list and archived.

What is the definition of "enough time"? Cheers, Smoddy (tgeck) 17:44, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The wording is vague on purpose ;)
It used to be that I gave noms at least week and sometimes two; however, as the prominence of the featured articles has increased, so has the nomination rate. Now, in practice, I wait 5 days before deciding, although there are exceptions (in the last month, I removed one that had 8 opposes and 0 supports after 4 days, promoted one that had 10 supports and 0 opposes after 4 days, and one was contentious enough that I let it linger here for over three weeks). The vague wording to give this page flexibility (I'll be damned if it becomes another VFD). →Raul654 22:12, Mar 26, 2005 (UTC)
Great, thanks for clarifying. Smoddy (tgeck) 00:15, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)


International writing contest

Please nominate great work you've seen over the course of March for the int'l writing contest. The only requirements: that it is a great piece of work, and had no more than 2000 characters before March 1. Does not have to have met the FA standard; judging will be on the basis of excellence of writing. +sj + 00:14, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Sj, I've seen some great new articles recently, but they all had more than 2000 characters on 1 March. In fact some subjects, such as biographies of reasonably well-known 18th-century and earlier figures, will never be eligible under the 2000 characters rule, however recent the articles are, because the title will always have had a prolix >2000 characters 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica text dump already in place. There are more areas with the same problem, I'm sure, though biography is the one that strikes me right now. So the <2000 characters rule is unfortunately in conflict with the rule that "All themes are allowed. There are no restrictions about the topic of the article." Which rule should have pre-eminence? Bischånen|Tåk 02:11, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Great question. The intended criterion is: no more than 2000 characters of the nominated article, as it stands at the end of the month, should have existed before March 1. If you do a complete rewrite from scratch, the article is probably eligible. If you just move lots of paragraphs and sentences around, rewording everything and updating a few details, a diff may suggest the new article is "completely rewritten", but the article will probably not be eligible. Raw data in templates and tables, and references/see also/external links sections do not count in these 2000 characters. I have updated the rules to reflect this. Cheers! +sj + 00:19, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Discussion of Featured Article Criteria

Those who are interested in the criteria used for accepting and rejecting featured articles should go to this discussion regarding the appropriate size for featured articles. Hydriotaphia 21:36, Mar 31, 2005 (UTC)

References vs. Footnotes

I've seen a trend this week toward demanding footnotes (as described in Wikipedia:Footnote3) as an actionable objection. In looking through the other comments on the FAC page, I see notes from other established editors that the footnote system described is merely a proposal and not a standard for usage in all articles yet. Personally, I'm indifferent to using footnotes vs. a list of references at the end of the article. It doesn't really matter to me which we start using, but let's get a consensus before we start using them as actionable objections. But, if it's taken too far, we could end up with articles that have multiple footnotes after nearly every sentence (which does not promote "brilliant prose").

So, the question is, which method will we use for featured articles moving forward from here? Will we require all featured articles to use footnotes or are the references sections that we've been using sufficient? slambo 14:02, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

  • My own view is that footnotes should be reserved for controversial matter and that the list of refs is sufficient for most purposes. In saying this, I am most concerned that FAs should consist of fluent, readable prose and resemble encyclopaedia articles rather than academic papers in as much as possible. Filiocht | Blarneyman 14:11, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Again why? I agree on the desireability fluent prose, but what possible advantage is there to not ecouraging better research and citations? You keep saying Wikipedia doesn't need it, but Wikipedia doesn't need anything if you're going to look at it like that. It will certainly be better and more reliable if it does have good references and citations. I do however agree that a general references section is important, with citations for contentious points being the most important. The issue is that sometimes what is common knowledge to some or even many is actually wrong, though most people would not know that. So ideally most facts except the blatantly obvious ones would be cited. What is critically needed is a flexible inline citations system where inline citations to works listed in the references section can be used easily, autonumbered, and made invisible to those not wishing to be distracted by them. Unfortunately I don't have the skills to contribute much to that effort. - Taxman 14:31, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm inclined to agree with Slambo - last I checked, the policy on citing sources does not specify a preference for citation style. Objecting to an article that has references but not footnotes does not strike me as valid because an article with references does comply with the standard of the relevant manual of style page. →Raul654 14:14, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
Well I don't think the manual of style is the most important thing to consider here, the FA criteria are. Those have called for inline citations for a long time, and only been recently softened with no consensus on the talk page. - Taxman 14:31, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
Not entirely. The current criteria states "Include references. This must be done by using a ==References== section and enhanced by the appropriate use of inline citations. See Wikipedia:Cite sources." To me this means that the inline references aren't an absolute requirement, but the References section is. Inline references should be included when text is directly quoted or a series of numbers is reproduced, but for the majority of reference material, a citation in the References section is sufficient. The objections that I'm seeing this week on FAC are that all references (or at least the great majority of them) should be noted inline in footnote style. slambo 19:11, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Firstly, a nitpick: let's not muddy the vocabulary here. "Footnote" objections are certainly actionable because something can be done to fix them. However, "actionable" does not necessarily imply "a good reason for objecting". We might, therefore, want to declare Footnote objections to be invalid. Secondly, I don't think citation style matters as long as there is sufficient effort spent on citing sources — objecting just on style isn't really a good reason. Thirdly, I don't think it's a good thing to declare these objections formally "invalid", just have it stated somewhere that the style is not important, so that objectors can be referred to it if needed. — Matt Crypto 14:46, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • In many cases, perhaps most, footnotes are just overkill. For biographies for instance there is usually a consensus set of events that will be mentioned in virtually all sources - footnoting is therefore just a distraction. If a fact is controversial, then perhaps it is appropriate. But this is an encyclopedia, not an academic paper or doctoral thesis, and approaching as if it were would be mistaken... my academic papers frequently have 50-75 references for a 5-10 page article, which is appropriate in that context, but would be a terrible mistake here. Wikipedia is not meant either to be an exhaustive review of the literature, scientific, historic, or otherwise. Moreover, let's face it, very few of the articles are written using primary sources. This is appropriate in many cases, but in my opinion it's not such a great idea to footnote secondary sources. Fawcett5 15:08, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • See my comment above for more, but bascially why would you think that? What benefit is there for Wikipedia in not striving for the greatest level of referencing possible? What terrible mistake would there possibly be? You feel Wikipedia is not meant to be that, but if it is a reference work, collating all important human knowledge, why should it not cite every reliable reference available? - Taxman 15:31, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Uh, no there is no fundamental misunderstanding. The only thing that contains is a link to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, which does note that there is some info that is general knowledge, but has been decided to not be covered in Wikipedia, which is fine with me, I'm not talking about covering everything, I'm talking about covering what we do in the right way. More importantly in those policies is the one that Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. We are much different and more flexible and can do things differently and better. Being limited by what paper encyclopedias do is not valuable. So you have completely sidestepped my questions, which can be summarized with: what value for the project or the project's goals is there in not promoting better referencing? - Taxman 16:21, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • In short, the value of increased readability. --Andrew 16:52, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Given that one of the most common criticismscurrent criteria states "Include references. This must be done by using a ==References== section and enhanced by the appropriate use of inline citations. See Wikipedia:Cite sources." To me this means that the inline references aren't an absolute requirement, but the References section is. Inline references should be included when text is directly quoted or a series of numbers is reproduced, but for the majority of reference material, a citation in the References section is sufficient. The objections that I'm seeing this week on FAC are that all references (or at least the great majority of them) should be noted inline in footnote style. slambo 19:11, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Firstly, a nitpick: let's not muddy the vocabulary here. "Footnote" objections are certainly actionable because something can be done to fix them. However, "actionable" does not necessarily imply "a good reason for objecting". We might, therefore, want to declare Footnote objections to be invalid. Secondly, I don't think citation style matters as long as there is sufficient effort spent on citing sources — objecting just on style isn't really a good reason. Thirdly, I don't think it's a good thing to declare these objections formally "invalid", just have it stated somewhere that the style is not important, so that objectors can be referred to it if needed. — Matt Crypto 14:46, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • In many cases, perhaps most, footnotes are just overkill. For biographies for instance there is usually a consensus set of events that will be mentioned in virtually all sources - footnoting is therefore just a distraction. If a fact is controversial, then perhaps it is appropriate. But this is an encyclopedia, not an academic paper or doctoral thesis, and approaching as if it were would be mistaken... my academic papers frequently have 50-75 references for a 5-10 page article, which is appropriate in that context, but would be a terrible mistake here. Wikipedia is not meant either to be an exhaustive review of the literature, scientific, historic, or otherwise. Moreover, let's face it, very few of the articles are written using primary sources. This is appropriate in many cases, but in my opinion it's not such a great idea to footnote secondary sources. Fawcett5 15:08, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • See my comment above for more, but bascially why would you think that? What benefit is there for Wikipedia in not striving for the greatest level of referencing possible? What terrible mistake would there possibly be? You feel Wikipedia is not meant to be that, but if it is a reference work, collating all important human knowledge, why should it not cite every reliable reference available? - Taxman 15:31, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Uh, no there is no fundamental misunderstanding. The only thing that contains is a link to Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, which does note that there is some info that is general knowledge, but has been decided to not be covered in Wikipedia, which is fine with me, I'm not talking about covering everything, I'm talking about covering what we do in the right way. More importantly in those policies is the one that Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. We are much different and more flexible and can do things differently and better. Being limited by what paper encyclopedias do is not valuable. So you have completely sidestepped my questions, which can be summarized with: what value for the project or the project's goals is there in not promoting better referencing? - Taxman 16:21, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • In short, the value of increased readability. --Andrew 16:52, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Given that one of the most common criticisms levelled against Wikipedia is unreliability and lack of authority, I think sacrificing reliability for readability is a tremendous mistake. 119 17:00, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • I'll second that. As mentioned above it would be relatively easy to create a system whereby the inline citations are hidden from someone that doesn't want to see them. I personally wouldn't even mind that as the default. But even without that system the long term value of better referencing and research is so much greater than the readability issue. 95% of the latest articles criticizing Wikipdia aren't criticizing its readability, they are criticizing the percieved lack of reliability. That is the bigger problem. - Taxman 17:06, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • I think readability and reliability are both key goals for Wikipedia, and you have to balance the two. For uncontroversial articles, it's often quite enough to have a list of references at the end: if I want to check that Enigma machine correctly lists the inventors of the commercial Enigma machine, I don't need a specific footnote to know I should look in "The Commercial Enigma: Beginnings of Machine Cryptography," listed in the references section. Of course it would be slightly easier to check the facts if a specific link was given from that section, but thoroughly linking every reference would render the article less readable - a forest of footnotes can seriously disrupt the flow of text. Sometimes, of course, it is necessary, especially if readers are almost certain to want to check the text (for example, upon reading that the Mossad director said they didn't kill Mordechai Vanunu because "Jews don't do that to other Jews", lots of people are going to want to check "did he really say that?" so there's an inline citation). Since every statement in a Wikipedia article should be supported by a reference, full, detailed inline citation would involve having references after every statement (perhaps several per sentence). Heavily inline-referenced text is just hard to read, no way around it; sometimes it's worth it and sometimes it's not. I agree that more inline citation would be nice in many articles, but currently it's a pain. --Andrew 16:52, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • I should also say that using (and citing) sources is not a panacea for reliability - Helium was recently rewritten incorporating facts from several sources, but the combination of the different sources (as well as the outdatedness of some of the sources) led to a number of errors (some of which have not yet been resolved). Sometimes we gain more in reliability by having editors read, clarify and rewrite parts of the article than to spend hours indicating where each claim came from. --Andrew 16:52, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Sources can conflict, so its better just to pick one and report that instead of noting a discrepancy? - Taxman 17:06, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Actually, I said nothing of the sort. What I said was that obsessively recording the provenance of every sentence is not sufficient to ensure reliability. If you care to look at Helium and Talk:Helium, you'll see that the problem was not conflicting sources, but too much effort spent copying information and not enough integrating it into the article. I do in fact agree that we need inline references for more things, but you seem to be relying on yet-unwritten software features in your argument. Moreover, you seem to be assuming that Wikipedia can use technical means to be more thorough in its referencing than even reference-heavy academic writing. --Andrew 17:20, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Sorry I didn't mean to skip over the important part of what you wrote. What I said was just a reduction of what I got out of what you were saying. Nothing can ensure reliability. We just move towards it with as many methods as available. Inline citation is one of those. I'm not relying on forthcoming sofware features, just saying that they will solve the one drawback to extensive inline citations, for a relatively low cost. And yes I am arguing (not assuming) exactly that: Wikipedia is an electronic medium, so we certainly can come up with methods to provide a level of thoroughness in citation and referencing that academic writing on paper could not approach. Take1,2,3,4 as an example5,6,7 citing1,3,5 this sentence1,2,4. The superscripts at some level are so tedious as to make the text unreadable. Proper technical means could make that invisible. My biggest point is that even without that feature, the value of the extra citations is much greater than the cost, as long as the citations don't get as out of hand as this example. So if you are already seeing the value of citations I will not create an argument we are not having. - Taxman 18:17, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • I think you value citations more than I do, but that's a matter of taste, I guess. But until better technical solutions appear, I sort of like the solution (er, short-term kludge) adopted on Helium - the inline citations (which are, well, pretty thorough) are in comments (sometimes giving only the URL) and the full citations are at the end. So readers don't see them at all; editors see them. --Andrew 21:23, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
  • Because of questions regarding the sourcing on my featured article Julia Stiles I added a bibliography (it's here) and then placed in parenthesis after the citation what came from each source. I don't care for footnotes here, so perhaps this is a less obtrusive way of showing where facts came from. PedanticallySpeaking 18:36, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

Comment here, since I'm putting in most of these objections. I will not object to any system which provides correct references according to the best practices listed on Cite your sources; in particular, it is perfectly possible to have what might be called "invisible" footnotes, where you give a reference at the foot of the article and also state the facts taken from it as described in cite your sources. I personally believe that the easiest and best way to achive that is through footnotes, but that is my personal feeling. Non use of footnotes is not a criteria I am using to object to articles. However, providing footnotes or any other form of clear references is a criteria I personally will be using for deciding to support articles. More or less, this is just current policy as described in the various policy pages related to references and sources.

And yes, this means that, if we could just get rid of the numbered external links that are there and once I've read it through carefully, I would support PedanticallySpeaking's page with the current reference system. Even just titled external links in the same location would be enough for me. I just tried using the reference sytem in that article and could pretty quickly search through the text for each referenced fact; whilst it's much more effort than using footnotes, and I feel it will be almost impossible to maintain, it's still good enough for me and better than some of the existing featured articles.Mozzerati 21:30, 2005 Apr 4 (UTC)

I dislike footnotes in articles, because it means the reader has to click on the number in the text, is taken to the bottom of the screen, has to find that number (and the numbers don't always correspond), and if there's another link there, has to click again. It's far easier, for books, to add after the sentence in brackets (Smith, 2005). Then in the References section give the full citation for Smith 2005; and for live links, the link should be added after the sentence it's acting as a reference for. To get involved in footnotes is to pick up an academic system that is used because authors often have hundreds of footnotes and there has to be an efficient way of organizing them. We don't have that problem (quite the reverse), so it's an inappropriate system for us to use. Remember: articles are written solely for the readers' benefit. Anything that makes things more awkward for the reader is by definition a bad thing. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:41, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
I think it's somewhat inappropriate to be objecting to an article because it doesn't fit your personal thoughts on how references/footnotes should be done - it is not an objectionable criteria. My ANPR article has been objected to but has very good referencing when compared to many existing FAs. violet/riga (t) 21:47, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I am not asking for footnotes. Just appropriate and clear references. Please see the above Mozzerati
ANPR has "appropriate and clear references"!! violet/riga (t) 22:49, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
No it doesn't; for example, there's a requirement "be sure to give page numbers or section numbers of a lengthy work if only a small portion is referenced (and it's not immediately obvious where to look). " in Wikipedia:Cite your sources#Amount of citation detail which none of your references passes. Secondly the entire first section of Wikipedia:Cite your sources deals with in text references to citations. It is stated in various places that footnotes are controversial, in particular it says "in-text references can be very useful if there is a long list of references and it is not clear which one the reader should consult for more information on a specific topic" which in your case (and to your credit) applies. It is more than reasonable to ask that a featured article should exemplify Wikipedia's very best work which means that objections on these kind of criteria are reaonable. Mozzerati 06:42, 2005 Apr 5 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining your objection fully. I still disagree with your "requirements" for an FA but will consider giving more specific details of the pages referenced. My opinion is that an objection to such a thing is not really a strong one and thus hope that, with more supports for ANPR (come on folks! please?) it'll pass through regardless. violet/riga (t) 09:31, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The references and external links sections at the bottom of the page should be for the most general and comprehensive sources: books, journal articles, reports in PDF form, etc. In-line references should be for points of contention or to back up quotations, or for facts that are so recent that they are only available in brief news articles, etc. I have seen some objections stating that all the sources used for in-line references need to be collected at the bottom of the page, which I entirely disagree with. IMHO, with the exception of articles for the most recent events, a reference section consisting of short news articles and web pages with undetermined authority is usually a sign of a superficial treatment of the topic. Insisting that an article should have a preferred type of in-line references just seems to be making busy work for editors that could be doing something substantive instead. - BanyanTree 23:22, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • Yes, all inline sources should be collected at the bottom of the page. If you write (Smith, 2005) after a sentence, you have to add the full citation in the References section, otherwise how is anyone to know what you're talking about. Similarly, if you add an inline link to an external website, you have to give a full citation in References so that, if your link is broken, readers can find the article elsewhere. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:45, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)
I do think references to books and such need to be sourced at the bottom. However, I would balk at writing down external in-line links for a number of reasons: (1) the in-line links should be substantial enough (i.e. books, PDF reports, etc) that they would be listed at the bottom of the page. (2) If the only source you can find is so unstable that you have to plan around its possible disappearance, it throws the credibility of the information you are backing up into question. (3) Both the footnote system (link to bottom in order to link out) and write-out-references model (increasing article size and making it more difficult to highlight the most comprehensive sources that should be at the bottom) seem very awkward.
I referenced Lord's Resistance Army in roughly the way described above, with all of the earlier sources referenced at the bottom and the current-events linked by in-line news articles. I thoroughly expect those external in-line links to be removed and replaced with a better, stable source as time passes. I'm perhaps overstating my position a bit as I would not object to either an article with footnotes or collected references (and have not objected to an article specifically because of a lack of in-line references), but I also feel no need to convert LRA to one of those systems. Cheers, BanyanTree 02:23, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I actually ran into an objection for Lord's Resistance Army that the references and external links sections were so extensive that it would take a prohibitive amount of time for a reader to find the source of a particular piece of information. The solution was the creation of in-line references. While I see the logic of this, it does seem to be a Catch-22; if you have a few references, the article is in danger of being too superficial, while if you have many you need to tell the reader which is being used to back up what. Also imo, if an article doesn't need to back up anything, it may not have enough depth to be called "comprehensive". FAs should be more than common knowledge.

So getting back to slambo's original question, I think that the general case should be that some in-line references should be expected for FACs, but that objections to their form are unreasonable as long as key or contended items in the article are clearly sourced. The could obviously vary from a few references to an authoritative source on an uncontroversial topic, to multiple references for the most bitterly divisive points. - BanyanTree 23:22, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It is also the case that this requirement for inline references, and considering a list of references insufficient, is a very new thing in FAC. I think they should certainly be ENCOURAGED, but I'm not sure if it should be ESSENTIAL. It doesn't sound to me as if there's consensus either way. —Morven 23:32, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

Raul's take

I think everyone agrees that articles should have references. In the past, there has been an obvious split between people who thought that a references section at the end was sufficient, and those who felt that inline citation be required along with a reference section. This footnotes controversy reflects a split in the people who wanted inline citation - the people who believe we should have footnotes vs people who want full inline citation. So, obviously, there's now a 3 way split:

  1. People who want (only) a references section
  2. People who want full inline citations (and a references section)
  3. People who want footnotes (and a references section)

Now, my personal opinion puts me in group #2. For research purposes, having only a reference section is totally, 100% useless. On the other hand, footnotes are (a) overkill for 99.9% of things, and (b) not supported at all in wiki-syntax, not to mention ugly and terribly distracting. On the other hand, I recognize that the community is pretty sharply split over this, so I think we should continue to accept all three referencing styles, until at some time in the future people can come to some kind of agreement. →Raul654 02:31, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

People should at least have commented-out inline citations (if they think the full inline citations are distracting). Rad Racer | Talk 04:13, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Good take, Raul, I'll base mine on yours, even though I'll add a group 4, which I'm in, and I believe Slim is too (hello, Slim, I think I remember why you and I hold to the same system, though I'm not sure you do :-)):

4. People who nearly always want inline citations (and a references section), though "short", not "full" citations, of the form "(Winterbottom, p. 163)" (example: John Vanbrugh); yet the same people very occasionally want footnotes (and a references section), in the case of very heavy referencing, where inline citations would weigh down the text to an intolerable degree (example: The Country Wife).

Footnotes are terribly distracting. Visually, a footnote is smaller than an inline citation, but mentally it's bigger, because it teases my curiosity to click on it—I always do click on it, though I know I'm going to hate myself in a second—to go to the foot of the page to find something uninspirational like "Note 14. Winterbottom, 163", and then have to click again to get back to where I was in the text (that's with the best kind of footnotes; with some other kinds, also in use on Wikipedia, you have to scroll upwards looking for where you were). By contrast, a bracketed (Winterbottom, p. 163) inlined in the text can be taken in and dismissed as "not what I need right now" in literally no time at all, without even impinging on the conscious mind—unless of course it is what I need right now. And inline citations should by no means be longer than that! Don't repeat information, don't use it for decoration or to look learned: there is full information about Winterbottom's book in the references section, conveniently alphabetized. All that's wanted inline is author's last name + page number, unless there are several Winterbottoms, or several works by Winterbottom, in which case some minimalist common-sense information is added ("Reginald Winterbottom, p. 163" or "Winterbottom, English Baroque, 163).

Footnotes are ugly or at least undesirable-looking. They make a text look more academic, which is a Bad Thing. It's unwelcoming to the nonacademic reader, without extending any special courtesy to the academic, who is, or seriously needs to hurry up and become, familiar with many different reference styles, including inline citations. I've only used footnotes once, reluctantly, in The Country Wife, a recent FA. Some paragraphs in that page just had so much POV and so many little-known facts in them, which needed attributing, that my original inlined references made the text unreadable; they passed (IMO) some threshold where the mass of them became intolerable, and totally distracting, or so I thought. Perhaps illogically, I decided it would be easier in such a case for the reader to ignore swarms of footnotes than hordes of inlined names. Rather to my surprise nobody scoffed at the footnotes in the FAC vote, so hopefully they weren't too distracting. But I plan to go on avoiding using footnotes wherever possible. I agree that we should go on accepting both the inline style and the footnote style (with references sections), but I'm against accepting either inline or footnote references meaninglessly cluttered with information that is repeated in the references section--publisher, year, and so on. Do not use redundant information for decoration! An article is not a Christmas tree! --Bishonen|Talk 04:24, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Footnotes, since they are supported by a simple template, are the easiest things to hide. A simple single CSS addition to the standard template will make them invisible; however, I totally support Raul's statement any form of decent references is something I will support. But I want to break down Raul's classification a bit.
  1. People who want (only) a references section
    1. and are willing to state what facts come from each reference in that section
    2. and are not willing to state facts from each reference
Articles which don't provide inline references or something equivalent such as "invisible" references are reasonable to object to. Example of another system which 100% meets all objections to the look of references: put your references inline (using author/title/page format, for example), but comment them out using HTML comments. Those who are really interested or doing research or fact checking can go into edit mode. The rest will never know. Mozzerati 06:42, 2005 Apr 5 (UTC)
Until/if we get a real footnote system in MediaWiki, this is what I'm going to do. Having the HTML comment refs has been very useful in tracking down disputed facts at helium. Before they were commented out they were distracting and the ugly hacks being used with templates did not work. --mav 15:08, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree that it is important to be able to tell which facts come from which reference. Otherwise, you would have to wade through all those references, which for a featured article are often voluminous. In addition, someone else could add a questionable statement to the article that is not backed up by any of the references there, and your laborious search through the references would be in vain. Rad Racer | Talk 12:34, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

What I would like is to the ability to type <note>Book Name, page #</note> and have a numbered footnote created inplace with an automatically-created corresponding footnote in an automatically-created ==Notes== section at the end of the page. Then for JavaScript-enabled browsers, clicking on the inline footnote number will expand that footnote - in place. There is really no need to send the user to the ==Notes== section and, as has already been mentioned, that breaks the flow of reading.

It would also be nice to have alt text display the footnote’s text when a cursor is above the footnote. Non- JavaScript-enabled browsers would need to have the jump links (clicking on the number would bring the user to the ==Notes== section ; not good from a usability perspective, but the best that can be done without JS). Either way jump links from the numbered items in the ==Notes== section to the numbered inline footnotes in the text will be needed.

Until such a feature is created, I will continue to comment-out my inline citations since all the template-based methods to add footnotes are ugly hacks that are difficult to create and hard to maintain. --mav 15:10, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

N.B. There's a new method, which mav said he would try out, which involves using the inote template to make references which are invisible, but which can still be tracked with automatic tools etc. See Template talk:inote for further information. Mozzerati 13:21, 2005 Apr 23 (UTC)
Yep - this what I'm using exclusively now. It will be trivially easy to convert all articles using the inote system once an automatic referencing system like the one I describe above is developed. Much additional cleanup will be needed to convert all the other template-based referencing systems I've seen (for example, the manually-created ==Notes== sections will need to be individually deleted). --mav 21:39, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Minimum number of votes?

Is there a minimum number of "Support" votes needed to approve a nomination? Would two "Support" votes count as the necessary "consensus," if they were the only votes? Rad Racer | Talk 12:34, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Raul makes the decision based on consensus voting. To avoid instruction creep there isn't a set number of minimum votes, but based on previous candidates I would say that around 5 supports with no major objections is the usual minimum. violet/riga (t) 12:38, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
That's why there isn't a set period for this page. Some articles take longer to get the necessary number of votes, and get left up here longer. →Raul654 14:09, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)
OK, I found it at Wikipedia:Maintenance#Featured_articles. Rad Racer | Talk 03:53, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
You can disregard the maintence page - it appears that someone just copied the instructions some time ago. Those instructions have since been tweaked -- the rules (as laid on the FAC-instructions page) are the ones we use. →Raul654 03:55, Apr 9, 2005 (UTC)

New→featured record?

From what I've seen Brian0918's excellent Great Lakes Storm of 1913 currently holds the record of new→featured of just 14 days. I think ANPR just took the prize by 11 days, 2 hours and 39 minutes (00:40, 28 Mar 2005 to 03:19, 8 Apr 2005). Great work by Harry491 copyediting the content, a few others fixing the typos and some others giving advice at WP:PR and WP:FAC. violet/riga (t) 11:01, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

/me shrugs - not sure, I've never tracked the age of an article at the time it becomes featured. There are a few articles that have gone from Did-you-know to featured very quickly - japanese toilet, and the railroad guy. →Raul654 11:14, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
Japanese toilet: 10 days, 12 hours and 37 minutes. A great achievement. violet/riga (t) 11:43, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'm guessing that by "the railroad guy" you're referring to the article I wrote and not me. B-) After a little digging around in histories, I found that Franklin B. Gowen was created on March 2, was nominated on March 5, and the {{featured}} template was added to the talk page on March 18 (which is the same day that it's nomination was removed from the FAC page). Pioneer Zephyr was created on February 24, was nominated on February 27, and {{featured}} was added to the talk page on March 2 when it was removed from the FAC page. So at 6 days from creation to featured, I think I've got you beat on this one. slambo 12:57, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
That's a great record - we should have a hall of fame! violet/riga (t) 13:01, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I would be interested in finding out the overall standings. My only objection would be that it might encourage editors to submit more articles before they're really up to the quality that we are trying to achieve. I've been trying for an "as comprehensive and concise as possible"; the balance between the two is a bit subjective and was the subject of another active discussion elsewhere about article size. slambo 13:39, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
That's a good point, though I think it'd not be too much of an issue - we'd just oppose them or redirect them to PR. violet/riga (t) 13:55, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the thought crossed my mind as I typed my comment. I can't create such a page right now, but maybe over the weekend... slambo 14:00, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps a more general Wikipedia:User achievements could be made, though I'm not sure right now what else it could include. violet/riga (t) 14:18, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
What else would we want to list on such a page? Perhaps the highest number of featured articles with which an editor was directly involved (I'm at 3 now with John Bull (locomotive), Pioneer Zephyr and Franklin B. Gowen, but I know there have to be others who are higher than that). slambo 14:51, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
User:Emsworth lists 47. User:Worldtraveller keeps adding a new astronomy one every couple of weeks, now 6. -- ALoan (Talk) 15:02, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think Mav is 2nd with 7 or 8 featured articles. →Raul654 21:31, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
A spot of idle boasting, but I think I have about 5 or 6 to my credit. Hopefully once I've completed Windows 2000 (a monumental task!) I will be at about 7. - Ta bu shi da yu 17:47, 21 May 2005 (UTC)
ahem - just to blow my own trumpet a tiny bit, Kreutz Sungrazers was created at 20:00 on 23 March and featured at 06:02 on 30 March - 6 days, 10 hours, 2 minutes, not bad I reckon! I nominated it about 18 hours after I created it. It was on the FAC page for 5 and a half days, Pioneer Zephyr sped through in just 3 days. And also, from creation to featured was achieved in only 21 edits. Worldtraveller 13:24, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Okay, so I make many more small edits. That's probably how I got up to over 8000 edits from September 2004 to March 2005. I haven't looked at the timestamps to find the hours yet. Anyone want to do the math? slambo 13:28, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
...and just to take this friendly rivalry yet further, I might speculate that the short time on FAC for Pioneer Zephyr was due to a clerical error in forgetting that February is 2 days shorter than a typical month, and that if PZ had been left for the normal 5 days, I'd be the true winner by a day and a half :) Worldtraveller 13:37, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Let us all look scornfully at Raul for not being quick enough, the lazy... ;) violet/riga (t) 13:55, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
B-) Indeed. slambo 14:00, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)


Hall of fame?

New article → featured article speed records
Article Created {{fac}} {{featured}} Time elapsed
Pioneer Zephyr 15:45, 24 Feb 2005 17:22, 27 Feb 2005 15:58, 2 Mar 2005 6 days, 0 hours, 13 minutes
Kreutz Sungrazers 19:00, 23 Mar 2005 12:18, 24 Mar 2005 05:16, 30 Mar 2005 6 days, 10 hours, 16 minutes (21 edits)
Japanese toilet 09:45, 8 Oct 2004 02:36, 12 Oct 2004 22:22, 18 Oct 2004 10 days, 12 hours and 37 minutes
ANPR 00:40, 28 Mar 2005 18:24, 3 Apr 2005 03:19, 8 Apr 2005 11 days, 2 hours and 39 minutes
Great Lakes Storm of 1913 03:31, 3 Feb 2005 22:56, 11 Feb 2005 18:47, 17 Feb 2005 14 days, 15 hours, 16 minutes
Franklin B. Gowen 18:14, 2 Mar 2005 22:56, 5 Mar 2005 00:04, 19 Mar 2005 16 days, 5 hours, 50 minutes

(I hope I remembered all the BST → UTC conversions...) -- ALoan (Talk) 14:20, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Great work there! violet/riga (t) 14:33, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Agreed, thanks for summarizing the standings noted so far. There have got to be others that went through in two weeks or less, but I haven't been watching that closely. slambo 14:51, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

All very good - but what's the opposite record. Longest from article creation to featured status? Or the article with featured status that has been through the most FACs? Maybe we should have a Wikipedia:Featured articles/Facts and figures page:) jguk 17:44, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Stick in the mud position: This little game of finding the "fastest" FA, while entertaining, is misguided. Many of us are able to write FA-quality articles on our own. To challenge a record such as this, all that would be required is to "hide" a developing article by writing it entirely offline, and then contributing it as a completed article once it is finished and nominating it on FAC straight away. While contributions such as those certainly add good material to Wikipedia, they also serve to destroy the best aspects of Wikipedia. Such a program of article development creates a strong, perhaps overwhelming, sense of ownership both on the part of the author and in the perception of the community at large. It also makes collaboration on the initial article impossible, and strongly discourages future collaboration and editing in general. Wikipedia is special because we can all edit each other's work; this "contest" serves to defeat that feature. Instead it transforms WP, and especially the list of FAs, into more of a classical publication in the vein of magazines, where fine but essentially unchangeable articles are presented for the readers' enjoyment -- but not their contributions. I think that feting an achievement (and thereby encouraging challengers to it) that does not serve the best interest of Wikipedia and what it stands for, is a mistake. - Bantman 17:54, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

I think that owning an article can actually be a positive thing, as long as that person is open to comment and input. Any extreme acts of ownage (LOL?) are fixed through the proper channels.
I thought about the "holding an article back and then releasing a near-completed version" argument, and it's very valid as far as this "competition" goes. I think, however, that if it is good enough to get through FAC, then the project will ultimately benefit. Anyone that cheats to get the best time is just cheating themselves, really. violet/riga (t) 18:12, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I don't see this as much of a problem for WP. If someone writes a superb article (or even just a very good article) offline and then posts the whole thing all at once, what have we really lost? By posting it, the original author is releasing the text in a manner that implicitly allows other editors to update it as needed. Like it says at the bottom of the edit page, "If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, do not submit it." Every article is available for editing by any user, and processes are already in place to address problems if users attempt to take too much ownership of any article (like the votes for deletion page, three revert rule, consensus building, even going as far as arbitration). If someone expects that kind of ownership, then that person needs an education on the purpose of WP. As to noting the speed that articles have reached featured status, I see it as a friendly diversion from the act of writing/updating articles. If someone wants to try putting up an article that doesn't meet featured status, the article can exist, but it won't be featured until it gains enough Support votes on the FAC page. There are enough of us who care about accuracy and well-written articles that poor candidates will be brought up to snuff. As a side benefit, we all get to read about a subject that we might not have researched on our own. In my view, this is a positive thing. slambo 19:34, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
As a further comment, compare the initial versions of Kreutz Sungrazers and Pioneer Zephyr. Is one better than the other? Is WP better or worse off because I did all my editing online while Worldtraveller submitted an essentially completed article? There is value to both methods of editing. slambo 19:42, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)
Certainly agree that however we've approached our editing, the end result is that there are two more featured articles, and that's got to be a good thing. I didn't at all set out with the intention of getting the Kreutz comets featured as quickly as possible - I'd been meaning to write the article for ages as I found the subject very interesting, so I'd thought quite a bit about it already. Finally one slow afternoon at work I got around to starting it (my thanks to the British taxpayers, without whom none of this would have been possible :)), and after about three or four hours, I had what I thought was a nice little article. I was about to suggest it for DYK, but then looked at it and thought, no, dammit, this is already pretty near complete. So I did a bit more work and then stuck it on FAC. I doubt I will be so hasty in future, but it was fun to think I held some kind of record (was quite sure I must have it, until I found out about Pioneer Zephyr!).Worldtraveller 22:16, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
If every registered Wikipedian wrote a featured-quality article off-line and then posted it, we'd be in great shape. If a little bit of friendly competition stimulates people, I say that's a good thing.Kevin M Marshall 19:51, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
All right, I yield. I just wanted to raise the point that we need to think about people's reactions when we decide to laud a certain type of achievement, so that we avoid unintended consequences (a more obvious example of what I'm worried about is a record of "longest featured article" -- not neccessarily something we want people to strive for!). I am still not convinced that rapid ascension from new article to FA is "A Good Thing", but I don't feel strongly enough about it to fight it out. Now, how about we rank the FAs in order of preference? :) - Bantman 21:17, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

Just to weigh in here: if we are going to have some kind of scoreboard, I really don't like the idea of doing it based on the amount of time from creation to featuring - it only encourages people to try to make lots of noms, to hold their stuff offline until it's ready to be posted, and to pester me to promote them quickly (which goes against the idea of a vetted community opinion). I would encourage you guys instead to think about doing it by featured article count - e.g., the number of articles have you gotten up to FA standard. →Raul654 22:20, Apr 8, 2005 (UTC)

Very good points, though I can also think of negative ones about having an FA count. While I understand your concern of a user holding back an article I think that if it is good enough to pass through our FAC process then the project benefits as a whole. I can definately see people pestering you to speed through a nomination, and we would want to avoid that, but I think the people that do this would be few and far between - less than those that moan about a failed nomination. violet/riga (t) 22:41, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Oy! New→featured record?

Oy! That's what you call record time from new to Featured? When I saw the heading, I naturally assumed excellence was imputed to the longest time from new to Featured, and I'll just modestly point out that the articles I work with (like Colley Cibber, The Country Wife) were usually created in 1911— beat that, losers!—and moved to Wikipedia by, mostly, Deb, sometime in 2003. Nya na na na na. Bishonen|Talk 19:36, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Lets get Cuneiform script featured – technically it contains writing from the 4th millennium BC! ;) violet/riga (t) 19:59, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Just pick an article, take your time and make it better. That way the project gains without any of the irritants Raul so rightly highlights above. Filiocht | King of Regulars 07:41, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
as a little game among editors, there's nothing wrong with such a "Hall of Speed". Just as long as it is clearly marked as such, and cannot be mistaken for an officially "WP endorsed" competition. As Bish rightly points out, many of our best articles were started back in 1911. By the way, the "article counting" game, while quite official, suffers from similar problems and leads to stub-spam among the smaller projects. dab () 08:10, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
If people want to write lots and lots of featured article-quality articles to 'artificially' inflate their FA count, I for one would welcome it :) →Raul654 09:47, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
That's what I'm doing. :) 14 FAs so far where I'm the primary author, and 2 assists. --mav 17:21, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
A pitiful 6 for me. Don't think anyone stands much of a chance of beating Emsworth though, particularly when his track record is so good that there are now voters saying support and simulataneously admitting they didn't read his whole nominated article (see the current nomination for Canadian House of Commons!) Pcb21| Pete 17:45, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
6 is nowhere near pitiful. 0 would be pitiful, which is what the great, great majority of Wikipedians have. While beating Emsworth may not be currently possible, what is reachable is second place. Would be interesting to know who has that already so we can go after that person. :) --mav 21:36, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Pre-qualification?

It seems to me that a lot of articles are being added to FAC while failing one or more of the basic FA requirements (most usually, no references). Would there be any advantage to some sort of pre-qualification system, where at least one person other than the would-be nominator confirms that the article meets at very least the barest interpretation of the requirements, before it can be added to FAC? Or, could we have a "speedy-delete" analog where obviously deficient articles are summarily removed to WP:PR? I'm not suggesting that the person who qualifies it should be stingy with listing aticles -- they could even list articles they end up voting against; I'm more interested in a "you must be this tall to ride this ride" kind of check before an article gets listed on FAC. This would reduce clutter, and save time for all of us by eliminating a long read of an article that, alas, has no references section at the end. Thoughts? - Bantman 19:08, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)

Didn't there used to be a "Move to Peer Review" option for voters? I only see Support or Object in the how to vote section (it doesn't list Comment or Neutral even though many of us have been using these tags in our vote comments). If we do implement a gatekeeper (Carlton the Doorman) or somesuch for validating minimum requirements on new nominations, I would be willing to help out there. slambo 19:41, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
As a further comment, this could work much like the DYK nomination process where users nominate items on the talk page and then an admin comes along to update the template as appropriate. slambo 19:44, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
Batnam - I'd prefer to keep the instructions as simple as possible. If a nomination is made that doesn't meet the qualifications, then people oppose it and it doesn't get promoted. But I don't like the idea of tacking on extra requirements for making the nomination. →Raul654 19:47, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
Agreed - articles that are lacking are quickly dismissed and removed. violet/riga (t) 19:49, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
No, many without references sit for a long time and waste a lot of peoples time arguing about them. I do reallize the need for simpler intructions of course, but I think we need to get rid of those that clearly do not meet one or more of the criteria more quickly in order to focus more of the effort on those articles that more or less do meet the criteria.
The purpose of this page is not just to identify featured articles, but to encourage improvement of articles that are almost at featured article quality (but perhaps missing one criteria, such as references). That's why you're supposed to give an actionable objections - so that the nominator can act on your objection. Putting up artificial obstacles to making a nomination runs counter to this goal. →Raul654 20:13, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
Hear hear. Articles that are not tall enough to go on the ride are not necessarily any worse off than articles that are: look at the history for Helium, which was extensively referenced (and in fact already an FA) but needed massive overhauling before it was at its current, good, quality. (On the other hand, cursory searching does not reveal a page that was nominated while failing some criterion but made it anyway; I haven't been watching FAC that closely, so someone may remember one). --Andrew 20:59, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
Raul, I agree that one of the page's functions is to help improve "almost there" articles. I disagree with you in that I believe that articles missing one or more basic criteria are not "almost there"; they are significantly lacking and therefore better suited to be listed on PR. I don't like the idea of instruction creep or extra steps either; I floated the idea to see if anyone had a good implementation strategy, not to suggest I had one. :) I'm glad Slambo men