Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Wikipedia 0.7

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Some articles (like A-1 Skyraider or A-20 Havoc) have been tagged and included as B-class, although they practically fail the references criterion (and will have to be de-listed). This means that for the purposes of our review, they are to be considered as Start-class. However, there is little reason to doubt the information in such "technical" articles. Are we to include these, or remove them like the other Start-class articles? If it is a matter of personal judgement, I would be incline to include them. Any comments? Constantine 18:41, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, they're pretty borderline though I agree with your solution and would include them. Thanks for taking the plunge, by the way :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:46, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
OK then. Thanks, and glad to be of help :) Constantine 19:02, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I have marked the articles I've passed despite a lack of citations (mostly airplanes etc, per above), as borderline OK, just in case it is decided to drop them from the release after all. Cheers, Constantine 00:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks :) We will probably have to be careful about how much we drop as we will need to find close replacements. For instance, I had a poke about when I was doing the worklists and I noticed that Castle, while well illustrated and authoritative looking, is very short of refs. Now, an encyclopedia on CD/DVD needs to have a certain amount of core material simply to be comprehensive so we may have to keep some sub-standard articles in simply because people will expect to find them. --ROGER DAVIES talk 07:18, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Let me raise the question one more time. I have just looked at two articles, Three Kingdoms and Tokugawa shogunate, which strike me as of about equal quality. Both are good and well written, but they are short on citations. The Tokugawa article has a few footnotes, but not nearly enough to meet present-day B standards; nevertheless, it is rated B-class. The Three Kingdoms article has no footnotes at all, and therefore is properly rated Start-class. If I had to make the decision, I would include both. If I were to accept the one and reject the other, it would seem to be a rather arbitrary decision based upon criteria that have little to do with the quality of the articles, depending instead on a rating applied by some past reviewer whom I disagree with. Advice will be appreciated. PKKloeppel (talk) 03:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I would include both. They are, as you say, of very similar quality, with a very similar (and inadequate) level of citation. The difference in article classes can be easily resolved be demoting the Tokugawa shogunate, which I have just done. I have also left a brief note on the talk pages of both article asking editors to add references. Perhaps the most useful comment on the table would be "Improve (refs)" so they can be re-visited at the next stage of this review. Thanks for an interesting question and greater thanks for participating :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 14:10, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to but in here and point out that while mil hist project has a right to set its own standards, what you are doing here is applying those higher standards to an article review process requested by the editorial team which sets its own standard. You are arguing about deleting articles which they have requested on some grounds to do with popularity and importance and which may well meet their criteria, just not yours? Does that really help wikipedia? Sandpiper (talk) 21:01, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

My methodology: For all articles that fail the template test, I have indicated so in the comments column and left the Link column blank. For all articles that pass the template test, I have entered the "best" version I could find in the Link column and listed any deficiencies (citations needed, etc) in the Comments column along with my recommendation. If the powers that be want to accept the "best" version, warts and all, so be it. If not, follow my recommendation. - Canglesea (talk) 04:27, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Very clear indeed. Thanks, --ROGER DAVIES talk 14:14, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
On checking how other users have assessed their lists, and on reading the last few topics in this page, I'm going to have to ask again: since the articles I mentioned above are, essentially, Start-class, do we include them or remove them? I have been too lenient on the matter in comparison with the rest: I have tagged as "borderline OK" articles that are Start-class, but well-written, thorough and not subject to edit wars, even if they don't have quite the required number of citations. If it's necessary, I'll re-check them. Cheers, Constantine 12:17, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
What you've already done is fine. Thanks :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 14:14, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Number in the comment column question[edit]

Just a quick question, but in the worklist I picked and some of the others I've seen there is a number infront of the class of the article. For example Empire of Japan (talk) 6 (start). What does the 6 mean, or 1, 2, 3, 4? I'm kind of thrown off by them. El Greco(talk) 23:59, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I think the number simply refers to the article's class, with FA being 1, A-class 2, etc. Cheers, Constantine 00:39, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Constantine is right (and I should have explained it). It's simply a device to enable hierarchical sorting. --ROGER DAVIES talk 07:19, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Got it. El Greco(talk) 15:26, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Enigma machine[edit]

I know this is a FA article, but is seriously lacking references all over the place except in like one or two sections, plus has not major template except the one in the fiction section about too much trivia. Oh...........and it was promoted in 2004 when I presume FA standards were soft because the promoted version is worse than the current version. I'm leaning towards replace in the comments column, but really don't know anything else to do. Any advice on how I should mark this? El Greco(talk) 00:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it certainly isn't up to current FA standards, or even B-class standards, for that matter. Definitively replace. Someone ought to bring it up for WP:FAR. Cheers, Constantine 00:47, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, a FAR is overdue. However, the problem here is that "FA", "A-Class" and "GA" are all community standards which have set procedures for review and until the article is reviewed it retains its class status. As you rightly point out, we can't overturn these ourselves. My view is that for the higher classes of articles we should accept the rating (and therefore the decision to include) as is and only recommend exclusion if they fail the "template" test.
Incidentally, my interpretation of the W0.7 set up is that we can only recommend deletions or replacements: the main criteria for selecting articles has been high hit counts/links, which suggests that comprehensiveness is a major concern for the W07 editorial team. Realistically, the best we can do in most cases is to find the best version for release. --ROGER DAVIES talk 07:38, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
We can nominate this article for improvement after next Sunday and iron out some errors at least. Hopefully, we don't have too much material that doesn't even meet B-class criteria. Wandalstouring (talk) 09:04, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I've listed it as replace? (needs references) in the comments column. El Greco(talk) 16:06, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Why do you not consider it is not up to B standard? Frankly, it is famous. You do a grave disservice to wikipedia if the result of the reviews is a set of articles which are perfect yet which interest no one. I would again point out that this does meet the editorial team referencing requirements for a B class article, see their example posted on their main grading page. I can't judge overall how well it stands up on other points, but a scraped pass on one criteria is more than enough if there is a presentable performance on others. Strictly, as any student will tell you, a pass is a pass is a pass, however fine the margin on any criterion. Sandpiper (talk) 21:16, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
First of all, we don't have the final say on any of these. That's up to the editorial team, from what I understand we're just making recommendations. Second, aren't we doing readers a disservice if we give them a CD which is full of errors? Isn't it better not to have the information, than to think that you have correct information and have it turn out to be wrong? Joe (Talk) 21:43, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for responding. One of my big bugbears is that articles which may have no errors at all are being marked down because they have few or no references. This is probably not the place for a long argument why referencing gives a superficial appearance of truth without really guaranteeing very much. If the objection to these articles is that they are demonstrably full of mistakes, then I agree they are not a good public face for wiki. But this does not seem to be the issue here. I think the best course (not merely on wiki) is to present the known facts (ie the article as it stands) together with a clear rating which allows a reader to see how good we think an article is, preferably in some detail (ie referencing/accuracy/structure/completeness/etc). My opinion is that the assessment system is still only a flaky beta. My further opinion is that wiki is not a published encyclopedia and users need to learn how to use it. It needs to be able to present unfinished work to people as the state of knowledge so far. wiki has enormous potential: I am sceptical it will ever be 'finished'. On balance I think even poor information is better than none, but the editorial team has defined a standard they consider acceptable. It is people here who are exceeding that standard. Sandpiper (talk) 22:40, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, I can't just demote the article from an FA to B-class and then pass it and OK it for this assessment drive. That's overriding multiple levels of Wiki control. From what I understand from this assessment, we tag them as is, and FA, A, and GA are kind of set in stone unless they go through a reevaluation process and that takes time. El Greco(talk) 22:54, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The reason that we have referencing is to comply with Verifiability Guidelines. Without referncing, no matter how true information may be, there is no way of verifying that truthfullness. Wikipedia is an (often rightly) untrusted source, and while I waste entire class periods arguing with my teachers about using Wikipedia as a source, I refuse to use an article or piece of information if it is not well cited. Since this is, as far as I understand, a collection of articles that can be used as reliable references on popular subjects, those articles must be verifiable. The vast majority of major nonfiction books use footnotes for their sources, and some publishers do not publish works that do not include sufficient footnotes. For this release, we must make these articles of as high quality as possible, and making them verifiable is one of the best ways we can do that. Joe (Talk) 23:24, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Despite much fiddling, the verifiability guidelines only ask for contentious material to be referenced. As a standard for facts included without specific reference (which is typiclly multiple points per sentence), they merely state that if someone has inserted a fact, that fact could be referenced if another person insists. There is no requirement to actually reference it, and indeed going around demanding that facts be referenced (or actually deleting them) when you do not consider them contentious is bad faith editing. Logically it is absurd to reference every fact individually, irrespective of how trivial it is, which is why the standard is to only reference controversial material. (and yes, I did read the verifiability guideline again, and it does still say this) Sandpiper (talk) 07:21, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
This is a drive of the military history project and we have our own guidelines. This answers any questions about the minimum an article needs to pass. Wandalstouring (talk) 15:39, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
well exactly. But is that appropriate when you are doing this specifically for the editorial team who use different criteria? Sandpiper (talk) 17:53, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, our drive, our selection, our standards. Wandalstouring (talk) 19:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

First Crusade[edit]

As above, it is a fairly well written article, but with a shocking lack of refs for an FA, it was promoted on 2004 so I guess standards weren't so high then, but should I recommend replace, or is it regarded as an essential article to include? Harland1 (t/c) 10:56, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Include it but put an "add refs" comment in the "Comments" column. This one is quite simple to fix, I think. --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:04, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I've left a message on the Crusades TF page, asking for someone to ref it up a bit. --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:12, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I will ask a medievalist to help. Wandalstouring (talk) 11:25, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Thanks, also do a few (4-5) 'citation needed' templates in a B class mean I should recommend removal or is that fine? It's OK otherwise. Harland1 (t/c) 11:27, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
A workaround is to list a version without {{cn}} tags, if one exists. --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:29, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
'fraid I can't find one one. There aren't that many and the article has many cites, so I think it might be best to pass it. Harland1 (t/c) 11:34, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
That means if there is a version that doesn't need such templates, not just removing them or finding the version prior to them being put. Wandalstouring (talk) 11:36, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Harland. It has nearly a hundred refs. --ROGER DAVIES talk 11:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Replacement articles[edit]

I, for one, have come across quite a few sub-par articles thus far in this assessment, and have requested several to be replaced. Wandalstouring has asked me to suggest replacements for the articles, and, although I personally do not believe I am the best person to suggest the articles, I do have a few suggestions and will list them. My query is; would it be preferable for us to create a new subsection in each of the work lists titled "Suggested replacements", and list articles we editors think would be suitable to substitute those we have requested to be replaced, and then leaving it up to you coordinators for the final say? Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 12:03, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

OK. Wandalstouring (talk) 13:04, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
So, what criteria should we use in trying to find a replacement? And, if a suitable replacement cannot be found, do we change the comment from Replace to Remove? Ejosse1 (talk) 17:08, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Easiest is to see if a closely-related article is mentioned in the article. For example, battle are often part of a campaign and the campaign article may be better. If you cannot find a suitable replacement, and it's a core topic, flag it "Improve". Then we can refer it to the relevant task force. There is, of course, a limit to what we can do in so little time. --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:27, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I have a peculiar problem with one article and know of no other place to discuss it, so I will put it here. The article is "Triumph of the Will," rated FA, but now different from the promoted version. The present version contains (correctly) an "Unreferenced paragraph" tag or two, so I put in the link to the promoted version, as per instructions. Just for the heck of it, however, I decided to look at what I was suggesting. To my surprise, the promoted version is a disaster. It contains several dead links to figures. A little probing revealed that the photographs in the promoted version were not in the public domain, and have been deleted. I see no alternative to removing the link; I do not then know what to do with the original article. (For reader convenience, here is the link to the promoted version: [1]) PKKloeppel (talk) 15:28, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

It now seems likely that "unreferenced" templates (but probably not "pov" ones) are going to be stripped out of the release version by the editorial team bot. Your instinct, to go with the best version, is right rather than going with a flawed promoted one. --ROGER DAVIES talk 04:33, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Well done. I contacted the nominator of this article. Hopefully, he will be able to improve it within time, so keep an eye on it whether there are changes within the next days. Wandalstouring (talk) 15:33, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Important articles[edit]

Do Field Marshal, Fighter aircraft, Firearm, First French Empire, First Indochina War and First Sino-Japanese War count as important enough to be included even though they're start class articles? Harland1 (t/c) 14:25, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Firearm First Indochina War and First Sino-Japanese War are the only one that are anywhere near being includeable, but they seriously lack citations. Can you handle that or can you outsource it to someone who can do that until 20 October 2008, then we can include them. Wandalstouring (talk) 16:09, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I'll try and find time to do that, though term has started and I'm a little busy right now, If I can't I'll try to give it to someone else. Harland1 (t/c) 17:10, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Entirely understood and not really your field anyway :) --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I'll leave a message on the National militaries task force page asking them to try to improve Field marshal (and a closely-related horror which is also on the list General officer). I'll also contact the TFs for the others. --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes, General officer is also on my list, how should I list it?, I don't want to put in the permanent URL for the current revision, so do I wait and see if it's improved? Harland1 (t/c) 18:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Yep. Thats the best bet. --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:50, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I would like to recommend inclusion of Henry Clinton (1730–1795) as he was the CinC of British Forces during the American Revolution. Geoff Plourde (talk) 15:40, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Good article. Will be included. Wandalstouring (talk) 17:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Incorrect class[edit]

In my list, Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, is listed as start, but on the talk page it says that it is a Good Article. Should I change this on the worklist? Joe (Talk) 17:57, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes please. --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

How did this happen?[edit]

I'm about 1/3rd of the way through my first worklist, and I've already established several B-Class articles that are in need of a demoting. I'm curious as to how these articles slipped through the cracks of the previous two drives (BCAD being the more intensive one...which is leaving me scratching my head as to how this happened). Regards, Cam (Chat) 05:47, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm in the same boat as you, Cam. Most of the B-class articles I have come across I have had to demote, and it makes me wounder how in the world someone could have assessed it as a rating it was definitely not entitled! Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 06:30, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The Tag and Asses drives are open to anyone who wishes to participate. Some are more strict then others. I know I received some pointed comments as to why I promoted/demoted articles from some users. I'm probably more strict in my assessments then some people, but since these drives are a community effort, we can't really expect everyone to be as strict as ourselves. I can't speak for everyone, but I know if you disagree with an assessment I performed, I would like to know why you disagree so I could improve my abilities. --dashiellx (talk) 11:02, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
And, again, sometimes the article is repromoted a week or so by a non-drive editor. Funnily, I didn't really encounter this when I was preparing these lists. Instead I found half-a-dozen or so start class that really ought to have been B-Class. --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:54, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

For info, I've just tightened up the wording about citation in the B-class FAQ (and the A-class wording just to underline the difference between the two). --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:54, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I encountered the same with my B-class articles. Downgrade them to start and suggest a replacement. I have already voiced my concern on the coordinators talk page, hopefully they will come up with useful ideas how to establish and maintain B-class criteria. Wandalstouring (talk) 19:33, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I guess I should demote those B-Class articles I've found too, that should be start class. I've just tagged them as Remove/Replace? (Needs references). El Greco(talk) 21:09, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

What next?[edit]

Now that the target date for completion is here, and most of the lists are done, what is the next phase? Do we try to improve the article failed at this assessment? Harland1 (t/c) 14:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

The number of articles failed is much higher than anticipated, which means the plan will probably need to be modified. There's an embryonic discussion here about it. In the meantime, any input on failed articles, especially those needing only minor fixes will be a great help! --ROGER DAVIES talk 15:11, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Try to improve what is possible starting with the ones needing little work. We will probably lower the criteria for this release. Wandalstouring (talk) 17:10, 28 September 2008 (UTC)