Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Council/Archive 13

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Archive 12 Archive 13 Archive 14

Contents

Bureaucracy

I see in a current MFD that a small number of editors believe that listing a WikiProject at /Proposals before creating it is actually mandatory -- which is obviously wrong, because any couple of editors that want to work together can declare themselves to be a project any day they choose. We're okay with being bold, and editors don't need "official permission" to collaborate.

But I can't decide whether it's worth explicitly mentioning that somewhere. It seems too trivial to include at the top of /Proposals; it seems too late to include it in the setup guide (unless perhaps very early). What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:14, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, I'm not sure it's worth making that point too prominent, since we don't necessarily want to encourage everyone to simply start new projects on a whim (that approach being the cause of our hundreds of dead projects). Perhaps something on the main WP:WikiProject page (e.g. "Editors may start new WikiProjects at any time, but are encouraged to propose them at [link] before doing so")? Kirill [talk] [pf] 15:41, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like good (and wise!) wording. There are many very successful projects that have never gone through this process.
I think it's still a good idea to encourage that they be proposed before doing too much, and listing some good reasons for doing so, but it shouldn't be an absolute and required condition for starting a project. Projects are not like articles, where there are clear policies describing minimum notability requirements for the creation of an article, and where an AfD can occur based on clear policies. Even then, POV is not a legitimate reason to prevent the creation of an article. Unfortunately, the difference between a project and an article has been forgotten, and this Council project proposal process is being misused by certain editors to prevent the creation of a project they don't like. Projects are extremely varied and a group of non-involved outside editors should not be allowed to dictate the deletion of a project which has the support of its members. Only if the project actually and provably begins to violate policies or create disruption should an MfD occur, and even then it would be best to use the project's talk page in attempts to solve the problems. If that doesn't work, THEN an MfD might be justified. Prior censorship based on IDON'TLIKEIT and fears of unrealized dangers is totally unwikipedian. A project amounts to the userpage of a group of likeminded editors, and there is alot of freedom allowed on userpages.
I definitely support the inclusion of Kirill Lokshin's proposed wording. This will save alot of grief in the future. -- Brangifer (talk) 02:43, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I think that MfD for projects should be largely restricted to inactive projects that are not reasonably expected to be revived in the future. A couple of rogue editors can do just as much damage in userspace as they can with an official-looking project page.
WP:WikiProject#Creating_and_maintaining currently says (as one of four points) "Make a WikiProject proposal if you're not sure about creating a new project, or aren't certain if anyone else is interested". Perhaps that could be expanded to name advantages of the proposal process, as well as indicating that it is an optional step. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:32, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Some editors believe it is required, and the very existence of the department may imply it to some. These are very strong reasons for stating prominently that seeking approval is not required. The Transhumanist 19:45, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Quite right. The conditional nature of this sentence makes it clear that it's not an absolute: ""Make a WikiProject proposal if you're not sure about creating a new project, or aren't certain if anyone else is interested." There are two situations there that can be used to make the decision for or against seeking advice at the proposal page. I can understand why some editors might not notice the conditional nature of that sentence. A clear statement needs to be included. Is it time to be bold and include Kirill Lokshin's nice formulation? -- Brangifer (talk) 01:12, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, or something similar; the exact words don't matter to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:45, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I have been bold and made a stab at it. [1] -- Brangifer (talk) 02:44, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Looks fine to me. ("A lot", by the way, is always two words.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:44, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for catching that. I have lived in Scandinavia for too long, and it's screwed up my English! -- Brangifer (talk) 05:44, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Content versus non-content projects

(Following on from 'Bureaucracy' discussion to which this was originally posted): Would it be possible to distinguish between content projects (which rarely do any harm whether they are active or not), and non-content projects involving oversight, bots etc which can have an impact on a large number of pages before anyone notices that they exist? I'm in favour of some kind of control on the latter type (but not the former). --Kleinzach 06:01, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Bots are not WikiProjects, and are controlled by WP:BAG.
Can you name an example of a WikiProject that has "oversight"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:27, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. I thought I was asking a clear enough question. OK, let me try to put it differently. A 'content' project is one that concentrates on creating and developing articles on a given subject. Gastropods for example. These rarely do any harm. For that reason — following on from the discussion ('Bureauracy') above to which my response was originally posted — I suggested that 'content' projects shouldn't have to go to Proposals. Examples of 'non-content' projects are those that edit or 'check' articles under the scope of other projects, rather than creating their own. These obviously have a much wider impact on WP, hence my comments above. So what do people think? --Kleinzach 06:23, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
I understand the way you're dividing the projects; I deny that a "WikiProject Serial Comma" has any more "oversight", authority, or (ultimately) impact than editors that don't form a formal wikiproject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:35, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing: "I deny that . . " Deny? I don't get it. Why the hostile tone? Do you have a particular agenda here or do you imagine that I have one? What's the problem? I'm obviously missing something here. --Kleinzach 00:01, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not hostile, and I don't consider "deny" to be a hostile word. I "declare untrue, or to refuse to accept the existence, truth, or validity of" your implicit assertion that a non-content project like Wikipedia:WikiProject Article rescue, Wikipedia:WikiProject External links, or anything else on the list -- or even this very WikiProject itself -- actually has any authority that is not granted to every single editor. If you and I decided that the serial comma should be implemented in all articles, or that it must be excised from all articles, then the creation of a page titled "WikiProject Serial Comma" would not either permit us to impose our choice on other editors, or increase our editing rate for doing so.
These projects may, in rare instances, be platforms from which challenges to existing standards are launched (e.g., people that dislike WP:AFD congregate at the article rescue squadron), but most of them scrupulously follow the existing standards, and their "oversight" or "authority" is limited to exactly the same thing that any other editor could do.
My only agenda is finding the balance between those rules that are necessary for good management and those rules that promote bureaucracy. I assume that you, too, want to do what is best for Wikipedia, or you wouldn't have bothered leaving a message here at all. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:42, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh, dear. I was hoping you would get off your horse before continuing this conversation. Apparently not. You seem to know the whole gamut of OMGWTFBBQ etc, even if you forgot to indent. The observation that projects making extensive use of automatic processes have greater outreach than projects that work individually on articles apparently annoys you. I have no idea why. Anyway, enough of that. It takes two to have a discussion. I wonder if someone else would like to comment on my suggestion. --Kleinzach 04:17, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
I didn't "forget" to indent; I prefer this style for conversations involving only two editors, since it doesn't waste so much of the screen real estate.
A non-content project is not synonymous with a project that employs automation. Is your actual concern with projects (or editors, even if not formally organized as a wikiproject) that use bots? I suggest taking that issue up with WP:BAG. It might be appropriate for them to stop assuming that "members of a WikiProject support..." is the same as "the community in general support..." WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:03, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

May I borrow your brain?

Here are the goals of the OOK WikiProject:

  1. Increase awareness of readers of the existence of the outlines on Wikipedia
  2. Complete the existing outlines
  3. Create an outline for every subject that is extensive enough to benefit from having an outline (core subjects and major or extensive fields). There are thousands of these.
  4. Recruit as many editors to work on these as possible (we need thousands of editors working on these)
  5. Get a link to the main outline page or links to the major outline subject areas displayed on the Main Page (in addition to the portal links at the top of the page)
  6. Increase the OOK to higher quality than Britannica's Outline of Knowledge (published in its Propaedia volume).

How can we achieve these goals?

Any ideas you might have would be most appreciated.

I look forward to your replies on the OOK WikiProject talk page, especially concerning #4 (recruiting).

The Transhumanist 19:47, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Buckethead task force

WP:BH wants to expand into a real WikiProject and maybe include additional related artists in the future. See WT:BH for discussion. Any input welcomed!


Happy new Headcheese!-hexaChord2 02:22, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposal re:talk page templates

I often tag the talk pages of stubs or other articles needing work with the relevant project templates. The templates don't have well-standardized names; I have to dig through the project pages themselves, which are all arranged in different ways, to find the template I need. It would be nice if all the template names were listed in the charts on the project category pages, as projects should want to encourage even non-members to help them find articles that fall into their scope. I'm bring this up to get consensus before I start adding the templates names to the charts, and to request some help doing so if there is a consensus. — Swpbτ c 18:00, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I think that the name should be up to each project. However, it would be good to create a standardized set of redirects so that they are always easy to find. -Drilnoth (talk) 22:01, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Vital articles project

I didn't see a better place to put this, but is there a project which covers all of the Vital Articles? I didn't see any. Thanks! -Drilnoth (talk) 22:00, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

How to contact other WikiProjects

I've been working on WP:WikiProject Orphanage, and have completed a toolserver report that lists orphaned articles belonging to a specific project. The question is, what mechanism is there for me to make other WikiProjects aware of it? Is there a bot that can place a message on each WikiProject's talk page? Thanks, --JaGa talk 02:37, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject - Article

Company Name: AMAX Information Technologies
Relationship: Staff
Nature of Company: Computer Industry
Draft Article: User: Amaxhelen/AMAX Information Technologies
Comments: Would like someone in the staff/project to review the article and make any suggestions to keep it at neutral point of view and not trying to self-advertise.
Amaxhelen (talk) 21:27, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Ernest Hemingway project?

I am interested in starting am Ernest Hemingway project to improve content related to his life and works. Is there anything like this already going on. Would that be ok to do? kilbad (talk) 21:30, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Disputed projects?

What do we do when editors disagree as to whether an article should fall under a given wikiproject? Blueboar (talk) 16:10, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

There are two ways to interpret your statement. So I'll just say that there are many articles that belong to more than one wikiproject, and I've also seen articles added to wikiprojects for the most trivial of reasons. I'd just go ahead and add the disputed wikiproject. — RJH (talk) 20:10, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Task force creation (merging inactive wikiprojects to their parent wikiproject as task forces).

Was browsing around and I stumbled upon this: [2]. Should I (or anyone else for that matter) bother to get those inactive wikiprojects under their parent project? E.g. merge wikiproject Montreal as a task force to wikiproject Canada? What I am trying to get at is: Should there be an effort to place those wikiprojects that seem to be inactive, place them under a larger viewership so perhaps they become more active and hence develop more productivity? There of course needs to be a consideration of whether this will do any difference (hence why I am posting here to get some feedback on what people generally think). Furthermore what is considered inactive? Just because there is no activity in the projects talk page, does that mean the project itself is inactive? Etc...

Any and all thoughts are welcome.Calaka (talk) 11:42, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

The Video Games Wikiproject has been doing just that for over a year now. WP:VG/IPC have a set method of notifying inactive/low participation projects, pointing out the benefits of becoming a task force under WP:VG and allaying the fears of users who's may feel they are being down-graded. It might be worth contacting them for their observations. - X201 (talk) 09:27, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
That is a very nice setup! Would make more sense to do multiple mergers rather than just one and I am sure there would be many cases of this. I noticed WP:MED has done a similar task force page to cater for all the other projects. Thanks for the link. Calaka (talk) 03:25, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Just saw this [3], although not sure how watched the talk page is over there?Calaka (talk) 11:44, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Should Wikiprojects be able to discuss deletion topics

Should Wikiprojects be able to discuss deletion topics? 18:16, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Should wikiprojects be able to discuss:

  1. Articles for deletion
  2. Templates for deletion
  3. Miscellaneous for deletion and
  4. Wikipedia:Deletion review

Within their topic area? Ikip (talk) 17:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Yes Of course. Why should they not? We're all here as volunteers doing what we can to improve Wikipedia. If being a member of an interest-specific project allows me to be better informed about the project's needs in order to assist in my own contributions, why would I not be able to discuss or input at AfD, TfD, MfD, or DRV when those discussions might have direct relationship to my work? Is it being suggested that one must be forced to quit a project in order to then offer an opinion about a subject to which he/she wishes to contribute?? Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 21:51, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes Projects routinely have lists for such issues in my experience and so this is accepted practise. Deletion discussion often lack editors with good knowledge of the topic and many discussions stall for lack of participation. Publicity in relevant areas is therefore helpful. Colonel Warden (talk) 09:39, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes Absolutely. That is one of the main functions of the Projects.--2008Olympianchitchat 07:10, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment of Maria Rasputin

This is to notify the concerned projects that as part of the GA Sweeps the article, Maria Rasputin has been reassessed and found to need some work to maintain its GA status. The reassessment can be found here. Any questions or concerns can be posted on my talk page. H1nkles (talk) 04:19, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Cannabis

Not sure if this is the best place to mention this or not, but I just wasn't sure about where to place WikiProject Cannabis in the project directory. The topic is a plant, but also covers aspects of science (biology and even chemistry), politics, and sociology. I have not yet added the project to the directory, but feel free to do so if a preferred section can be determined. Thanks! --Another Believer (Talk) 00:39, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Talk Pages by Number of Project Banners

Does such a category or list exist? Could it exist if it does not? I believe that a number of pages are over-bannered and I know that there are pages whose banners need to be put into a shell. On days that real life keeps me occupied I may only fix 10-15 banners (listas parameter) but I will see at least one page on those days where a shell is appropriate.

On days when I get really tired of discerning a valid listas parameter I could drop in on such a category and throw on a shell. WARNING:When a collapsed banner is appropriate I am not going to use {{WPBS}} with the collapsed=yes parameter. {{WPB}} has been re-programmed so that it is nearly equivalent to that and should be valid. It is certainly easier to apply. I will delete all the number parameters for numbers greater than one.)

Sound fair?

JimCubb (talk) 01:00, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Not sure whether this is possible with categories; but here's the top-100 by number of banners, excluding pages with WPB or WPBS. This is extracted from a database dump. (Note: data might be slightly outdated, and there might also be some false positives.)
Hope that helps. --B. Wolterding (talk) 23:15, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! It is almost perfect. A category would have been better but I understand why that could not be so.
In a little over an hour that included breaks, I have put {{WPB}} on every talk page of the articles on the list that has more than 7 banners. Many of the talk pages had no comments. Some of the articles were stubs and a few had notability concerns. I ignored the concerns.
I should be able to take care of the rest by the weekend.
JimCubb (talk) 04:06, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Policies applied to other Projects

Some editors tend to apply policies or guidelines developed in and for one project to other projects or to the subjects of other projects, often with disregard for the difference in topic and organization of the projects and sometimes somewhat forcefully (I'm not speaking of the thoughtful adaptation of one projects guideline to another projects needs). For example, the literal adaptation of WP:FILMPLOT to music topics which would fall under MOS:MUSIC, though they are quite different mediums. This seems highly inappropriate and that there should be a guideline or policy against this. Any help, thoughts, suggestions? Is there a policy or guideline against this some random place I haven't looked? Hyacinth (talk) 22:39, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Are you having an actual dispute over this?
The first issue is that projects don't "own" the style manual, or even any little part of it (although people active in an area are likely to be both familiar with the relevant subguidelines and active in a related WikiProject).
The second is that the various style manual shouldn't directly conflict each other. It should be possible for an article to simultaneously comply with all of them. If you've found an area of direct conflict and you need help resolving it, please consider leaving a note at WP:MOSCO, at WT:MOS, or perhaps here. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:52, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Policies applied to other Projects

Some editors tend to apply policies or guidelines developed in and for one project to other projects or to the subjects of other projects, often with disregard for the difference in topic and organization of the projects and sometimes somewhat forcefully (I'm not speaking of the thoughtful adaptation of one projects guideline to another projects needs). For example, the literal adaptation of WP:FILMPLOT to music topics which would fall under MOS:MUSIC, though they are quite different mediums. This seems highly inappropriate and that there should be a guideline or policy against this. Any help, thoughts, suggestions? Is there a policy or guideline against this some random place I haven't looked? Hyacinth (talk) 22:40, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Revitalizing the WikiProject Council

The WikiProject Council seems to have become rather catatonic over the past months, so I think we need to take a look at how we can revitalize it a bit and turn it into something with a more productive role within the overall WikiProject community.

I've come up with a few ideas that we might consider pursuing, ranging from the fairly trivial to the grandiose and time-consuming; they're listed below, in no particular order:

  1. Remove the membership listings, both from the main page and the separate contacts page. I don't think these have ever really been useful for anything akin to what regular WikiProjects use membership pages for—the Council isn't really a WikiProject, and doesn't normally need to keep track of who's participating—and they seem to be cluttered up with people who are inactive, gone, or no longer interested in the group. If we eventually need to have a listing of contacts for particular types of assistance or something along those lines, we can develop one; but I don't think a general guestbook of everyone who's visited the page and thought it sounded interesting is really useful to anyone.
  2. Change the name to something less formal-body-like ("WikiProjects' Roundtable"?); the original use of "Council" was driven by a somewhat different conception of what this group would become, and isn't really applicable now that this is more a central forum than a fixed body.
  3. Clean up the Guide to WikiProjects. A lot of the text remains unfinished, or is now obsolete. More generally, I'd suggest that we take a look at reducing the length, and turning it into more of a "best practices" document than an exhaustive philosophical examination of everything that a WikiProject might decide to do.
  4. Create a newsletter that would be distributed to individual WikiProjects, and would cover news relevant to WikiProjects, developments and ideas that various projects had come up with, and so forth.
  5. Start hosting roundtable discussions on topics that affect WikiProjects (and particularly WikiProject organization and infrastructure); e.g. "what's the best way to set up an article collaboration?" or "how does a project write a style guide?".

Comments on any of these items would be very appreciated, as would any other ideas for getting more benefit out of this group. Kirill [talk] [pf] 23:19, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

All these sound good. I'd say each active wikiproject be contacted to ask a representative comment on issues generated here as well. This to gether an idea of how many active wikiprojects there are. Casliber (talk · contribs) 04:36, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Gathering some statistics on project activity would definitely be a good thing, but I'm not sure we'll get a useful number just by looking at response rate, since a single editor noticing the request and coming here to comment doesn't really say anything about how active the rest of the project is. It may be better, if we can get some bot assistance, to compile some tables of WikiProjects and various activity measurements (articles being assessed, edits to project pages, etc.) so that we have some data to slice and dice. Kirill [talk] [pf] 08:53, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
  1. I don't care one way or the other.
  2. I wouldn't bother: name changes are confusing; change is bad.
  3. I work on this every now and again, typically trying to add a missing section or address a problem that's been identified elsewhere. I don't consider it to be a very important document (because nobody reads the directions anyway), but I enjoy working on it.
  4. I'm not convinced that there's so much news that we couldn't simply use the Signpost. Spam is not helpful. Most members of most WikiProjects are unlikely to care about the contents of such a newsletter.
  5. I don't think there's much demand for this, and we don't want to encourage people to think that whatever's discussed is appropriate for their project. For example, if we did a "workshop" on style guides, then the number of style guides would increase significantly (bad) and a non-zero number of editors would decide that all good WikiProjects must have their own style guides (very bad), when the opposite is actually true (no project should ever write a style guide unless the general style guides are clearly insufficient and the necessary information cannot be added to the normal style guides). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:43, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
As far as #5 is concerned, I was assuming that core points like that ("no project should...") would be explicitly covered in the discussion; is there some reason why that wouldn't be the case? Generally speaking, I'm interested in encouraging more active sharing of best practices between projects; different projects have come up with different solutions to common problems, and I think it would be useful for everyone involved if people came together and discussed what the various effective approaches to project activity might be. Kirill [talk] [pf] 08:49, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

What can be done immediately is update the guide. Then determine which projects are active, dormant or dead. Then try to get active projects involved in the Council.

A single style guide with optional items would be a very good idea. A single class-assessment guide with optional items would be a very good idea.

Change is not bad. Change is necessary. There is a medical term for a body that does not change — dead.

JimCubb (talk) 07:02, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
  • But a name change for the sake of a name change is just unnecessary work. In many ways, this page is a central WikiProject noticeboard, so it becomes active when there's a topic of interest. That said, I do think the Guide is trying to accomplish too much, so it would be more efficient if it were split into several documents. For example, it could be split into a) WikiProject startup and setup instructions; b) Best practices manual; c) Meta-WikiProject advice; and d) WikiProject structures. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 10:01, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
    • Having multiple documents is a good idea; that might alleviate some of the lack of focus that parts of the current one have.
    • As far as names and noticeboards are concerned: if, as you say, what we have here is really just a discussion forum, what would be the impact of simply merging this page back into the core WikiProject page and centralizing the discussions at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject? The council/roundtable/etc. would notionally continue to exist as the collection of people discussing things on that page; but, assuming that we don't want or need a formal body at this point, are there any drawbacks to reducing the number of active talk pages? Kirill [talk] [pf] 15:47, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
      • Well, the WikiProject talk page is not very active at all, so people are more used to coming here than going there, I guess. So merging it there doesn't strike me as particularly useful. The most active pages, at least WikiProject-related, are WT:1.0/A, WT:1.0/I and WT:COUNCIL, along with the multiple Village pumps.
      • That said, my understanding of the Council is that it was more of a meeting place than an organizational body... Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 01:24, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
        • Would the (current) inactivity still be an issue if the pages were merged? I assume that if WT:COUNCIL were to redirect to WT:WP, anyone coming to start a discussion on the former would just do so on the latter. In practical terms, I'd like to reduce the number of active WikiProject-related talk pages insofar as is possible; the current setup means that we don't really have a central forum, since a lot of discussions are split among various pages.
        • It may be worth considering whether we can just assume, at this point, that bot-assisted assessment is a routine function of WikiProjects and amalgamate the 1.0 pages dealing with it here as well. Kirill [talk] [pf] 15:15, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Anyone else have comments or suggestions on any of these points? Kirill [talk] [pf] 05:28, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

One possibility, which might be problematic to institute but useful. I agree that the number of talk pages for all the projects could be a problem, but merging the talk page of many of them into a single project talk page might be one way to address that, so, in effect, the WikiProject Crowded House could use the WikiProject Rock music talk page for any relevant comments, etc. Maybe redirecting some of the talk pages, with the consent of the related project, might be a useful idea. Another possible idea would be to try to merge a bit more than Kirill has suggested above the Council and the 1.0 team. That would probably help revitalize general discussion, which I think was part of the Council's purpose, as well as probably make it easier to select and improve 1.0 articles and nominees. Anyway, just an idea. John Carter (talk) 14:03, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Can anyone explain why WikiProject Council (or anything else) needs to be revitalized? I'm beginning to feel like the goal is simply "looking active", the way a shopkeeper wants to look like he has a lot of customers.
When people have relevant questions, they seem to be able to find answers. If you ask a question here (e.g., about a best practice/advice for your group), you get an answer. What's the actual problem that we're trying to solve? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:44, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, you're right in some sense—nothing needs to be revitalized—but I think that there are benefits to be had from pruning off old detritus and producing a group that either (a) does the useful things that it currently does, but with less overhead, or (b) does more useful things than it currently does, or both. I tend to thing that there's significant room for improvement, at this point; this page serves as a halfway-decent (if not very trafficked) place for asking questions, but we're not really doing all that much to actually improve existing WikiProjects, which was one of the major objectives with which this effort was started.
Certainly, the broader ideas for trying to get more accomplished are somewhat vague, and whether they're worth the effort is open to debate; but I can't think of many reasons why we wouldn't want to do some basic things to streamline what we currently have (e.g. getting rid of unused clutter on the pages, cleaning up the documentation, and so forth). Kirill [talk] [pf] 01:25, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

As there haven't been any objections to the first idea, I've gone ahead and trimmed away the membership listings, along with some of the other old material on the page. At some point, we'll probably want to go through and add some of the other links important to WikiProjects (e.g. the various WP1.0 pages, bots, etc.) to the resource section.

How would people feel about adding a copy of the overall 1.0 WikiProject assessment statistics here as well? Kirill [talk] [pf] 03:06, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. Also, if possible, if anyone knows of any sort of bot which could determine the mos frequently hit pages of all our articles, similar to the various "popular pages" a lot of projects have, that might be useful as well. It could certainly, maybe, perhaps get a bit more attention to them and maybe work on them. John Carter (talk) 18:28, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Try WP:POPULAR. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:00, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

WP Mills needs assistance

I recently set up WP:MILLS. Just need a little help with Assessment/tagging. For a start, the non-article/list categories will not display correctly. Old Mill should be a disambig page, but it shows as NA class. The second thing is that many of our C class article need to be assessed against the B class criteria. I'd like the assessment to be done in a similar way to WP:MILHIST does for articles like SS Empire Almond. Is there something I've missed when creating the WP? Mjroots (talk) 12:13, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Check out the documentation for Template:WPBannerMeta. To get the Disambig / Category classes, you'll need to set FULL_QUALITY_SCALE=yes. Also the B-checklist can be easily added. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 12:32, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Cats now working OK. Still can't get the B class thing working, see talk:Alford Windmill. Mjroots (talk) 13:52, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Rallying support on creation

WikiProjects and Task Forces get proposed here without people who'd be interested even noticing, and I'd imagine this has scuppered the success of various projects that could have worked. For this reason, I think two things are necessary:

  1. More notice made of this page and what it contains. Someone recently asked where this page was, which proves that is simply isn't findable enough in WP. We need it to be more discoverable, and easy to access. This probably means better linking from such things as the Community portal (perhaps a smaller text under "WikiProjects and Task Forces" saying "(proposals)"?)
  2. Support of some sort of limited canvassing when proposals are made. I think editors should be encouraged to find interested parties elsewhere in Wikipedia without entering spam territory, but rather in areas where a positive response will be met. For example, the proposer of "WikiProject Kirby" would be encouraged to leave notes of their proposal at WikiProject Video games and the main Kirby article. Perhaps we could even provide editors with templates that they can subst there, so they don't need to go through much extra effort and a professional, recognisable request could be made.

I just feel bad that we're not encouraging more editors to try starting such WikiProjects, and that editors who do try aren't finding the interested parties that probably exist. What do others think of implementing such measures? Greg Tyler (tc) 23:21, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

And also, I think the form on this page should have a "preload" parameter so the page loads with instructions. Because loading a blank page is a bit un-nerving. It's nice to find something already there. The first parameter can be drawn from the title of the page, so user's would just need to add a description and their signature in well marked places. For ease of use. Greg Tyler (tc) 23:31, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree that getting support should be made a lot easier somehow.. it is quite frustrating. ScarTissueBloodBlister (talk) 02:39, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, keep in mind that a great many of the projects proposed here should really be task forces rather than independent projects. There's no need to gather support for task forces, or even list them here; they can generally be created simply by inquiring at the appropriate parent project. I don't think it's really a good idea to just encourage everyone to start new projects, without considering whether the overhead of doing so is really needed in each case. Kirill [talk] [pf] 04:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Actually, thinking about this some more: would it make sense to change the instructions on the proposal page to say that task forces don't need to be formally proposed there, and that editors should bring them up at the parent project's talk page instead? Kirill [talk] [pf] 04:26, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Greg, the point is to have projects that get work done, not projects for the sake of having projects. If all projects disappeared, but the work of the encyclopedia continued, then that would be just fine. A flash-in-the-pan project could just indicate that the project isn't actually necessary for the editors working in that field.
Having said that: I think it's fine to do a limited amount of WP:CANVAS-compliant advertising.
Kirill, I think that's a great idea. Task forces can be "advertised" here, but it's silly to pretend that WP:MILHIST has to get "permission" on the proposals page to start whatever task force they want. AFAIK, we don't actually say that a formal proposal is mandatory, but I'll update /Proposals to be more explicit. (Feel free to improve on my first draft!) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:56, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I would recommend having people take a look at maybe 4 or 5 articles that would be considered top importance in any new project, and notifying any existing projects with banner tags on those articles. That should provide a good sampling of relevant projects to look at. I'd like to see people consider what parent project would any new project fall under and try to use existing structures before add more bureaucratic overhead to article writing.
One caveat I would add for task force proposals is that when a task force might be primarily under one project but share scope with other secondary projects, that they post some courtesy notice on the secondary project's talk. -Optigan13 (talk) 07:20, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Those are good points, although sometimes quite unrelated projects can wind up tagging the same article. ;-)
As far as cross-notifications between parent projects are concerned, that would ideally be handled by the parent project itself—we should probably update the guide to provide more information about how to process task force requests at some point—but I suppose it can't hurt to mention that explicitly. Kirill [talk] [pf] 11:56, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be a mistake to suggest that cross-project notices are out of "courtesy" to the other projects: WP:MILHIST (for example) can start any task force it chooses, whether or not any other project ever learns about it, and even if another project strenuously objects. No editor, or group of editors, has the right to demand that other editors not organize themselves to improve the encyclopedia. We do not want to encourage any sort of "ownership" of a subject area.
The primary point of these announcements is to attract other editors that may be interested in joining the new task force. The secondary point is to alert related editors to an easy way to communicate with another group of people that are interested in related articles. These are both excellent reasons for these notices, but IMO, they are the only (good) reasons for them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:29, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, "courtesy" may not be the primary point of such notices, but I would argue that it's nevertheless an important aspect of their use. Maintaining a good working relationship with "neighboring" WikiProjects is something that every project should strive to do; and letting them know about discussions which may be of interest to them—whether or not those discussions involve creating a new task force—is simply part of how that relationship is maintained. Kirill [talk] [pf] 01:18, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to specify overlapping projects, but within reason. Some of those banners are on for pretty tenuous relationships, I'm sure everyone can think of a couple examples off the top of their head.
With the notice for task forces and new projects I was thinking of ones where templates are categorizing articles into two parent projects categories as well. For example, {{WikiProject University of California}} places pages in both WP:UNI's and WP:CAL's article categories. As somebody from WP:CAL I'm more than happy to let WP:UC do whatever they want, but WP:CAL needs to do assessments on UC pages in order to clear out WP:CAL's unassessed category. If a new project or task force were created in the future with the same kind of categorization issues, a notice to parent projects after the fact when the new project is setup would be polite, but not required. With all other instances where there isn't any explicit overlap between the two, it would only be an issue of recruitment of users and referral of people with issues to the useful related projects and task forces. -Optigan13 (talk) 22:31, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Participants List

I went to council's page today, possibly wanted to join the council. But I found out the participants list was redirected by Kirill Lokshin back to council's main page, which caused the list to disappear. Later Kirill trim away the participants list completely from the council's page. I don't know this is accidental or intended but I restored the list and re-added it to the page. --98.154.26.247 (talk) 06:00, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

This was discussed above. It was decided that a list of participants was not necessary. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 06:55, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
See point 1 of #Revitalizing the WikiProject Council. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 06:58, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. To minimize confusion, I've added a note at the top of the page to the effect that we don't have a membership list, and that people can just join the discussion if they want to participate; please feel free to tweak the wording, as it's a little rough. Kirill [talk] [pf] 11:51, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Barbershop Music WikiProject or Task Force?

I'd like to begin either a task force or sub-project for barbershop music and its societies (Sweet Adelines, Barbershop Harmony Society, Harmony, Inc. and their non-US affiliates), choruses, quartets, and notable persons. There is a fairly active community, even on Wikipedia, but there seems to not be an organized presence.

Does the council recommend task force or sub-project? MyrCyn (talk) 20:03, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Is there an active project in the music realm which can host it as a task force? Musical genres would be a natural fit if it weren't totally inactive. The area seems to be structured somewhat peculiarly, since the core Music WikiProject is basically just an introduction page, and most of the active ones seem to be a level down. We really have far too many inactive projects in that area.
Generally speaking, though, I would suggest avoiding the overhead of running your own independent project if possible. Kirill [talk] [pf] 12:17, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Hide The Categories Generated By Project Banners

All of the project banners generate categories that appear at the bottom of the talk page. Some projects generate more categories than others but none of them are really useful.

Any editor who is working on any of the categories is coming from the category to the article. There is no reason that I can imagine that a person would go from an article to a category that is generated by a project banner. (Categories on the article page are a different matter.)

Could all the categories that are on a talk page be hidden and thereby reduce the clutter at the bottom of most of the talk pages?

JimCubb (talk) 22:18, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, are there any scenarios where someone might want to navigate through the categories starting from an article? For example, one might be working on an article tagged for some issue, and then be interested in finding other articles with the same issue; is something like that realistic, or does this never happen in practice?
As a practical matter, I'm not sure what the best way of actually making a change like this. I've seen people un-hiding some of these categories that were hidden, with the reasoning that they don't need to be. Do we want to just come up with a guideline and let it be implemented by hand, or some sort of more technical means for hiding these en masse? Kirill [talk] [pf] 01:31, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I suppose it could happen and someone would want to navigate the categories starting from an article but as soon as one resolves the issue of the category the category goes away. (When I added a value to |listas= on Talk:Vincent S. Green the page moved from Category:Biography articles without listas parameter to Category:Biography articles with listas parameter and the addition of a value to |living= made the page move from Category:Biography articles without living parameter to Category:Biography articles of living people.

What categories have become un-hidden? Do you remember where the discussion or announcement was made and when?

The change would be made in the project banner. The programming of the banner would have to be changed so make all those clerical categories hidden. Some projects have already hidden their categories.

JimCubb (talk) 06:10, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there's any way to make the category hidden from the template that generates it, is there? I thought that the only way to hide it was to apply the HIDDENCAT tag to the category page itself. Kirill [talk] [pf] 13:10, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this would require adding {{HIDDENCAT}} to all the (13,000) subcategories of Category:Articles by quality. Although a huge number could be done in one go by adding it to {{cat class}}. I'm totally ambivalent on the issue; as the talk pages aren't reader-facing, there is significantly less pressure to hide maintenance categories. What talk page categories are being 'lost' in the clutter from project banners? By this argument, wouldn't all talk page categories be elegible for hiding? Happymelon 14:19, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

It cannot be done at the project banner level? I sit corrected.

I am not certain what you mean by "reader-facing" but the less pressure of which you speak could be because no one who is bothered by all that crud at the bottom of the talk pages knows where to go to get support for hiding the list. (There was no pressure to tamper with {{WPB}} but it was destroyed anyway after months of work was spent to make all the project banners compliant with {{WPBS}}.)

A bot could go through the the (13,000) subcategories of Category:Articles by quality rather quickly. The task could be accomplished even more quickly by adding it to {{cat class}}. The latter may be the best way to take care of the stuff that will be added by the new categories that are being formed almost daily.

Just out of curiosity how are Category:United States military history articles needing attention to referencing and citation and Category:United States military history articles needing attention to coverage and accuracy hidden? There is no {{HIDDENCAT}} on either page. Would the mechanism that was used there be a valid approach? JimCubb (talk) 19:44, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

By "reader-facing" I mean that the categories appear on pages which would not be read by Wikipedia readers, as opposed to its editors. With a few exceptions, we generally consider the Main, File, Category, Help and Portal namespaces to be 'reader-facing', and the others to be 'editor-facing'. On reader-facing pages it is important to hide, as far as is reasonable, the underlying architecture and administration of the site: the HIDDENCAT feature was created to allow us to hide maintenance categories such as Category:Articles needing references from where they previously appeared mingled in with useful navigation categories. On talk pages that is not an issue: all the categories are 'maintenance' or 'tracking' categories; they all have an equal claim to being hidden. IMO, categories should be made hidden only when they would otherwise appear on reader-facing pages.
I don't believe your continuing tirade against the recent update to {{WikiProjectBanners}} is relevant to this discussion.
Adding the switch to {{cat class}} is definitely the more efficient solution, but it will not be comprehensive as not all assessment categories use that template. Perhaps they should all do so?
Those MilHist pages transclude {{WPMILHIST Task force checklist item category}}, which in turn includes the __HIDDENCAT__ behaviour switch. That switch is what triggers the hidden-ness; {{hiddencat}} is just a wrapper to produce a visible explanation that the category is hidden. Happymelon 21:01, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
WP 1.0 bot could probably go through all the categories in a couple of days, since it already does anyways. The question here is whether this is worth doing or not, and I'm not sure about it. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 04:59, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
WPBot doesn't edit the categories, it only reads them (presumably through the API). I agree that 13,000 is not a prohibitively large number for a bot; but it is substantial enough for us to want to have a clear mind as to whether it's a good idea first, as you say. Happymelon 13:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, {{Cat class}} is transcluded on, as best I can determine, 14,434 assessment cats, and the accurate number of total assessment cats is actually a whopping 20,109. So cat class is deployed on about 72% of all assessment cats. Happymelon 14:05, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I've been thinking about Kirill's question about whether anyone -- which I interpret as any reader -- might use these cats. (I use these cats on occasion, but I'm not the target audience, and I don't actually need the links to get to the cats.) It's possible that someone might use these cats to find other top- or high-importance articles. I really can't imagine a non-editor looking for additional Start-class (e.g.) articles. But even if the reader were doing that, the cats at the bottom of the page are redundant in most cases, because nearly all banners link the cat in the banner ("High This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.").
The only possible problem is with articles like Talk:Street medic, which are tagged by a project that doesn't provide a cat link in the banner. Consequently, it might be appropriate to be somewhat judicious with the HIDDENCAT approach, or perhaps to leave explanatory messages on the cats' talk pages so that it can be hand-reverted when appropriate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

It appears that there is some agreement that it is not necessary to show all the banner-generated categories at the bottom of the page. I think they take up too much space, Kirill wonders if any one uses the links and WhatamIdoing notes that they are redundant. It also seems that there is no agreement that the effort that is required to hide the catetgories is justified by the result.

Happy-melon wonders if all the assessment categories should use {{cat class}}. I think they should in the interest of further uniformity along the lines of the changes that were made for the |nested= and |listas= parameters. What does anyone else think?

JimCubb (talk) 22:21, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Ping a Project

The name of the game is increasing WikiProject involvement in developing articles. My plan for a "ping a project" system would allow the "local population" of any given article talk page to tag their discussions in order to attract the attention of the named WikiProjects. A robut would add these talk pages to a list that WikiProject members could watch. This way, WikiProjects can see very quickly which pages under their domain need assistance. —harej (talk) (cool!) 07:36, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

It's not a bad idea, but I would suggest that the bot leave notification messages on the project's main talk page rather than on a separate list. Creating a new subpage would mean losing the existing pool of editors who already have the existing pages watchlisted; the project's talk page, meanwhile, is generally the highest-traffic area in the project, with the broadest range of viewers.
To minimize the spam factor, the bot should probably leave notices once a day, and pool all of the ones for a particular project; for example:
The following articles have been marked as needing attention from members of this project:
The size of the daily list will hopefully remain fairly small; one thing we don't want to do is to produce a seemingly endless list of links, since newer editors in particular tend to avoid those like the plague. Kirill [talk] [pf] 11:36, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Kirill here. If such a function could be integrated into the existing Wikipedia:Article alerts somehow, that might be the easiest way to accomplish the task. John Carter (talk) 15:04, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Can't these editors just go leave a friendly note at the WikiProject's talk page all by themselves? Do we really need bot-assisted message delivery?
Honestly, I think this is less likely to attract the attention of editors than a short, friendly note. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:11, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I have decided to scrap this idea for now. —harej (talk) (cool!) 19:08, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

could I get some advice on starting a task force?

Hi,

I'd like to ask for some guidance in starting a "task force" or two, which would be attached to WP:LAW and/or WP:SCOTUS. One would be called "1L Curriculum" ("1L" being a widely-accepted term for the first year of American law school), and the second would be called "Upperclass J.D. curriculum". (The distinction is necessary because all 1Ls take the same 7 introductory courses, whereas upperclass students can choose from scores of electives.)

To support these task force(s), I plan to recruit people to them by exploiting my leadership role in student government at my school, and by starting a club, "Columbia Law School Wikipedia Editors", and by seeding clubs like this at other law schools. Therefore, I am optimistic that recruitment will be easy.

The semester starts in a month and I'd like to spend that time recruiting people to these projects, so timely guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks, Agradman talk/contribs 19:24, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Have you talked to people at either of these two projects about this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:01, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the first order of business is simply to talk to the presumptive parent project and to get them on board with the idea of hosting the task force. Once that happens, the creation of the task force is something that should be handled by the parent project; I'll be happy to walk people through setting up task force infrastructure if they don't have one in place (as I think may be the case here), but it's not something that can really be set up if the project itself isn't interested.
(Frankly, I'm not sure why SCOTUS isn't a task force of LAW to begin with, but that's just me.) Kirill [talk] [pf] 03:35, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

"Special collections" and the potential usability of being informed of them

Yep, another longwinded subject line. Right now, I am in the process of, basically, copying from a source a list of libraries with special collections of recognized quality for the Christianity WikiProject. This will with luck let people know if there are any particular libraries on something other than just local history in their areas, and, I hope, maybe encourage some individuals who may not be particularly interested in a given topic to maybe do some work on that content, if they have a particularly good library in their area for that subject. They might be persuaded to "trade" working on content on one topic in exchange for someone elsewhere using the special collection they have dealing with another topic. Obviously, I think most people would know that the local government-sponsored library and/or local history society, if there are ones, are good sources for material relevant to those topics, but that isn't always the case for other topics. Would there be any use for maybe making a somewhat broader list of special collections and their locations available for other subjects? I'm not really sure I would be able to do much of it myself, although I do think I could fairly easily generate a broader list of religion libraries, and maybe add some others as I find resources regarding them. John Carter (talk) 15:10, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

That seems like a generally good idea in principle, but the specifics are probably best handled on a project-by-project basis, as I suspect that different approaches might work better in different circumstances.
(MilHist, incidentally, has something in a similar vein at WP:MHL.) Kirill [talk] [pf] 00:29, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
You might share your idea with Wikipedia:WikiProject Resource Exchange and/or Wikipedia:WikiProject Librarians. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:06, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Outreach and recruitment for projects

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for recruiting project members for an existing project (WikiProject California in particular)? I'm thinking of adding several pages to a sandbox page and watching for any related changes (on top of my existing watchlist). Also of maybe requesting a bot similar User:SuggestBot to suggest people to contact based on contributions? I'm trying to get members who already contribute to California related articles. I'm also concerned about the participant list bloat from people who sign up in their first few edits based on regional pride, but only edit Wikipedia for a week or two, and never return after that. Any ideas? -Optigan13 (talk) 05:49, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

You could maybe spam some users in Category:Wikipedians in California. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 16:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
That might be the simplest way to go at it. Although I'm going to take a look at their contribs to see if they're still active and contributing in the general scope and may have a legitimate interest in participating outside of living in the state. -Optigan13 (talk) 07:09, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi, we are having a similar discussion about participant lists at WikiProject Oregon. As far as recruitment, we have a couple tools we use. We are very agressive about tagging Oregon-related articles with our banner, which also contains our Collaboration of the Week, so that is an effective passive recruitment tool. We regularly monitor this bot search (you have one too) for new articles and potential good contributors. We have several different watchlists that allow us to see changes on every page with our project banner. (Check the navbar on our project page for the watchlists. If you'd like to try creating similar for your project, we can help.) There are a handful of us who take notice when someone is making good Oregon-related contributions, and we have an invitation template that encourages people to sign up, and a welcome template for after they sign up. Heck we even have an off-wiki blog. :) I hope that helps!
As far as the maintenance of the participants list, I share the concern about the "drive-by" signer-uppers. We are having a lively discussion about this right now, and I was wondering if anyone here could point me to some WikiProjects that do a particularly good job with list maintenance or that have developed a clear, fair policy for how to deal with list bloat? Is there a kind of "hall of fame" for the most active projects that I could browse through? Katr67 (talk) 21:09, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I think I remember seeing that bot in the past but had forgotten about it. We have the fairly standard welcome, invite, welcome to project templates as well. If we ever get collaboration going I'm not sure how we'd handle it, and are more reactionary with assistance and development at this point. For the list maintenance I just did an across the board move, with everyone being put on the inactive list, and use {{WP California Rollcall}} to notify them to move their name back to the active list. But I was only looking for a basic estimate of whether or not they were involved, not an accurate measure if they are working on an item. I'm guessing a bot request would be useful for checking the number of active users, I'm not sure how User:Rick Bot does it for Wikipedia:List of administrators to get the active number but I'm guessing getting participant categories and being active would work. -Optigan13 (talk) 22:42, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Wikiproject Body Modification

I created a proposal for this wikiproject, a couple people have joined. I would like to create the page for it now but I'm not really sure how, hoping someone can help.. ScarTissueBloodBlister (talk) 23:01, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Tried to start one here.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Body_Modification not sure if I did it correctly.. ScarTissueBloodBlister (talk) 23:10, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's a good start. Now create the talk page for your new Wikiproject so you can leave a welcoming note for everyone. Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide and then Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Guide/WikiProject have more advice on what to do next. Please let us know if you have more questions. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:30, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Not sure where to put the WikiProject in the directory..ScarTissueBloodBlister (talk) 16:09, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I'd probably list it in the same section as WP:FASHION. That seems like a fairly closely related topic. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:14, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Comments pages

Many WikiProjects have a banner that can be added to the talk page of a relevant article, and these banners often have a link to a Comments page (a sub-page of the Talk page) which I believe is for comments related to article assessment. However, a small problem I have noticed is that some editors, mostly inexperineced IP editors and particularly if the project banner is the only thing on the talk page, think the comments page is a place for general comments of the kind usually found on the talk page of article. Unfortunately, the comments page is often hidden behind a [show] link.

Is there a way that such editors can be "discouraged" from leaving comments on the comments page, because I think their comments are sometime valuable but will never get seen where thay have been left. For an example, see Talk:Lucknow Christian College/Comments.

On some occasions, I have moved a useful comment to the regular talk page, but this is a lengthy and fiddly process to do. Is it possible to automate the process somehow? Astronaut (talk) 19:47, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

There's no good way to automate the moves, assuming that some comments are meant to remain on the subpage; a bot wouldn't be able to make that determination. More generally, I think the only clean solution might be to deprecate the comment subpages entirely—I don't think they're really in much use these days—but that would require a broader discussion. Kirill [talk] [pf] 04:10, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
OK thanks. How would I go about initiating such a discussion to depreciate comment sub-pages? And where would be the best place to do this? Astronaut (talk) 08:20, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
This page is as good a place as any, I think, at least for preliminary discussion. I would suggest leaving notes with the 1.0 editorial team, as well as at the usual places (e.g. the Village Pump), and we can move the discussion forward once it has some more participation. Kirill [talk] [pf] 11:58, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Hijacking the stale thread: Those pages were originally designed to be used for inline transclusion of reviewers' comments directly into the assessment tables. However, we ran into some issues with a few pages included blacklisted text, which would kill bot runs. That problem is one of the things we hope to get fixed in wp10g2, which needs more devs tending to it... Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 11:14, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

A (Possibly) Really Rather Thorough List of WikiProjects

Using my newest generation of my WikiProject Scanner, I generated a very thorough list of WikiProjects. If you happened to catch my presentation at the NYC Wiki-Conference, you'll know that I found the following interesting tidbits:

  • I identified a total of 1815 projects and 608 task-forces (one has been added since then: Wikipedia:Wikiproject Thomas Jefferson)
  • Unique users participating in projects: 34,255
  • Average number of listed participants per project: 27
  • Oldest WikiProject: WikiProject Sports (Created September 25, 2001 by User:Manning Bartlett)
  • Of the 1815 projects I identified:
    • 366 (20%) projects manually tagged as "inactive" or "historical"
    • 1068 (58%) average less than one edit per month over last 4 months (the definition of an inactive project).

I posted the entire list as a table at User:ClockworkSoul/List of WikiProjects (data generated on July 27th). I literally just copied and pasted the table from an Excel-generated HTML document, so it's not sortable or anything fancy. In the next few days, I'll be posting all of this data (and more) on the new Igor site: http://www.wiki-igor.net (still under development). Hope you find it useful! – ClockworkSoul 05:55, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

A few questions,
  • What determines whether the Is_Taskforce flag is set? Several of the California task forces don't appear to be flagged correctly and I was wondering if I need to make any tweaks to the banner or a category.
  • Member count is based on count of # marks right?
  • What determines the activity rating value?
Thanks for the info and for Igor and your project page design. -Optigan13 (talk) 08:06, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Hi, Optigan13.
  • The Is_Taskforce should be 1 if the row is a task force, but I'm trying to make the scanner as smart as possible: you shouldn't have to change anything. I'll go over the logic and see where the problem is.
  • Member count is based on the number of participants listed on the main page, or on any project subpage that ends in the word "members" or "participants". It recognizes both the standard [[User:]] syntax, and all ~20 variations of the {{User}} tag.
  • The activity rating value is the average number of edits per month over the prior four complete months (in this case, March through June) to the projects main and talk pages (combined). Bot edits, naturally, are ignored. Wikiprojects being, first and foremost, a vehicle of collaboration, I think that this is a reasonable determination of project activity. After all, if a project has ten other active members who don't communicate with one another, what role is the project playing?
You're welcome, and you're welcome. Igor will be coming to life soon. I'll admit I've been slacking off a little as I recover from a small degree of burnout that I've accumulated over the past couple of months. Cheers! – ClockworkSoul 12:55, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, when you get the chance can you take a look at Wikipedia:WikiProject California/Southern California task force or any of the other California task forces. When I used modified the design from WP:WikiProject Viruses I left in the Igor directives but had no clue what they affected. I also didn't modify several of the categories on the project->tf move, so I'm feeling like something I did or didn't do is the culprit as opposed to Igor's logic.
Can you add {{pjpt}} to the list of user templates it reads. I created it (with the help of others) to try to separate formatting out from the entries. Although at this time I'm not sure if I should abandon it in favor of a simpler # ~~~~ style entry. -Optigan13 (talk) 06:44, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi ClockworkSoul et al - interesting that I get credit for creating the first Wikiproject. I'm a little shaky on whether I fully deserve that title. So for the sake of history here's how it all actually transpired. In September 2001 I wrote the original Wikiproject concept proposal - Wikipedia:WikiProject_proposal. Then in a side discussion User:SJK (then known as Simon J Kissane) suggested we use Sports as a starting point, so I went and set up the project page on his behalf. Hence User SJK also deserves his share of the credit for the first Wikiproject. Cheers Manning (talk) 02:50, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Adding project link to wikipedia templates

I've been asked if it might be possible to add a link to a WikiProject, specifically WIkipedia:WikiProject Intertranswiki, to the various forms of Template:Expand language. Would anyone see any problems with doing so? John Carter (talk) 18:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

It is important that e.g Template:Expand German has a link to the coordination at Wikipedia:WikiProject Intertranswiki/German. Given that the translation is being monitored and overlooked by the project a small link to the project for coordination should not be a problem.18:44, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Just how many of these templates are there? I'd don't see any sort of key anywhere as to what the so-called langcodes are. John Carter (talk) 18:50, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
There are 89 Category:Expand by language Wikipedia templates includgn 2 meta templates, but the change would only be to 1 or 2 meta templates. My concern would be to keep the boxes as small as they are now, which is big enough already. Rich Farmbrough, 20:26, 5 August 2009 (UTC).
The link could perhaps be added on the bottom line, next to the "Translation instructions" and "Translate via Google" links? That wouldn't increase the size of the box at all. Kirill [talk] [pf] 22:47, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
On a very tangential note, I think you guys should absorb the remnants of the old WikiProject Transwiki; it's not really active, and there's no benefit to having two projects with confusingly similar names. Kirill [talk] [pf] 22:47, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
A sandbox would be nice, so we know what we're dealing with... Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 11:09, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

There is a large gap on most of the templates. It should definately be added otherwise there is no way for translators to even know about the project. Dr. Blofeld White cat 17:11, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Template:WPCouncilRec

I've been looking at {{WPCouncilRec}}, which appears at the bottom of some WikiProject pages, and I'm not sure that the template is needed, or that its current content makes sense in any case.

  • The recommendations don't really seem useful for a template placed on an actual WikiProject; obviously, anyone visiting that page will already be aware of the existence of WikiProjects and the possibility of joining them. The second point, about overloading oneself with memberships, is probably a valid one, but likely better made on the WP:PROJ page rather than on individual projects.
  • Beyond that, do we need another link to these pages at the bottom of every project page? Most projects already have those links when they use {{project}}. It may be useful to create a smaller, icon-like template for projects that don't use the full {{project}}—for example, a small-size WPC icon with something like "Affiliated with the WikiProject Council"—but a full secondary banner seems excessive.

Do people want to retain the template, and, if so, are there any thoughts on more appropriate content for it? Kirill [talk] [pf] 16:31, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I tend to agree that it isn't really well suited to the bottom of a project page, as it kind of comes across as almost equivalent to a cigarette warning label to me. Of course, I'm stretched thinner than superstring with all my memberships, so my objectivity is really open to question. A different banner or icon, maybe something to the effect of the one proposed above, and/or maybe mentioning obvious "parent" projects, might be more useful. I guess the template is not itself counterproductive, so there may not be cause to get rid of it, but something like the proposed icon would work. John Carter (talk) 18:44, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I'd seen that before too, and I tend to agree that it doesn't seem all that appropriate. Personally, I don't we think we need a template at the bottom of all projects at this time. Perhaps we should simply retire it? – ClockworkSoul 20:26, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I could live with its removal. John Carter (talk) 20:34, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Removal of that one is fine, even with significant rewording I'm not sure what needs to placed on a project footer. Their could be a footer for projects created through the proposals page in the same way that WP:Articles for creation tracks theirs, and we would get the backlinks for the advertising of the council. That would also require a bit more formal structure for the proposal page though. Otherwise I'm not sure how to put a council banner on projects that wouldn't end up being some form of ownership. -Optigan13 (talk) 21:51, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
WikiProject Council.svg
Affiliated with the
WikiProject Council

← I was thinking something along the lines of the box at right. It's sized similarly to a shortcut box, so it should be reasonably easy to align with one of those already on the page; and it provides a backlink to the WPC page without needing either the links in {{project}} or a separate full-size banner. I'm not sure how useful it would be, though, and whether we want to start using the particular terminology in the example. Kirill [talk] [pf] 22:52, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't like the 'affiliated with' language: does that mean that projects not displaying this are unaffiliated? Are they rogue projects?
I'm also not convinced that we really need any of these. Perhaps a TfD would be in order. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:37, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Maybe changing it to "see also: WP:COUNCIL" would be preferable? Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 11:06, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the benefit of having the template would be in that case; I don't think there's much point to asking project to add a simple see-also link to these pages. Perhaps just sending the existing banner to TFD, as WhatamIdoing suggests, would be the best option here. Kirill [talk] [pf] 14:09, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. It's pretty, but doesn't really perform any function. Support sending to tfd. – ClockworkSoul 01:34, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
That's true. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 11:08, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:WPCouncilRec

Template:WPCouncilRec has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Optigan13 (talk) 19:12, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Some random Wikiproject statistics

For whatever they is worth, here are some crude manual statistics that I justgathered about Wikipedia:WikiProject Microbiology. (The choice was completely random, and nothing is implied about how that project compares to other projects, on any aspect.)
The project was created in Dec/2006, so it is 2.5 years old. The project's page lists 643 articles, including 8 Featured, 9 Good, 63 B-level, 8 C-level, and 45 unassessed. The remaining 510 articles (~80%) are mainly classed as stub or start level.
The project's roster lists ~70 editors, most of them with declared expertise in the field. However, the effective membership seems to be much smaller. Looking at the edit histories of 20 randomly selected members, it seems that

  • 10 (50%) members have been inactive for a year or more;
  • 6 (30%) are active, but not on any of the project articles;
  • 3 (15%) made only modest occasional edits to project articles;
  • 1 (5%) is actively working on project articles.

From these percentages, I would guess that at most 4 of the 70 listed members are really active.
A quick analysys of the edit history of the 8 Featured and 9 Good articles seems to confirm this impression. Of those, 7 articles (41%) were awarded before the Wikiproject was created. In another 7 articles (41%), the most prominent editor was a project member; and in the remaining 3 articles (18%) the main editor was not a member.
Moreover, in those 17 articles, two members (User:TimVickers and User:GrahamColm) stood out, sometimes with 500 or more edits to a single article. Another 4 members (User:MarcoTolo, User:Scharks, User:Pixie, and User:Serephine) made significant contributions, but each about 1/10 of as much as each of those two. Finally, each article has also been edited by dozens of non-member editors, who generally made less than 30 edits to it.
Number of edits was the metric used for these estimates, but I trust that other metrics would give similar result.
The edit analsis also suggests that, to achieve Featured status, an article must have about 500 edits by a single editor (or, rarely, two editors), 10 times more than any other editor.
I will refrain from drawing conclusions for now, but I think that we ought to carry out a more extensive and careful study of how Wikiprojects are faring and what is their effect on the editors' work. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 21:39, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

IMO, picking (randomly) a project that is semi-active at best is not going to get useful information. What I conclude from the above information is:
  • WP:MICRO doesn't purge inactive editors from its membership lists. Many active projects do.
  • WP:MICRO doesn't tag articles. It's just a guess, but if they've got only ~600 articles tagged, then it's a reasonable guess. Category:Microbiology contains 673 articles and 71 subcats, and presumably all of that is within the project's scope. Many projects actually believe us when we say that tagging talk pages isn't a project's most important activity.
WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:46, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

The Guide mentions the banner shells in the section about Article Tagging. Would it be appropriate for me to add the current and, so far as I can tall, historical consensus regarding the use of the shells?

Basically it boils down to "If there are more than two banners, use {{WikiProjectBannerShell}}, also known as {{WPBS}}. If there are more than five banners, use {{WikiProjectBanners}}, also known as {{WPB}}."

JimCubb (talk) 23:18, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
That seems reasonable enough, although it'd probably be more useful in whatever general guidelines address talk pages than in something oriented primarily towards WikiProject operations. Kirill [talk] [pf] 03:58, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that's a reasonable enough approach, but I'm not sure that the consensus is really that firm. Some people use WPBS for more than five banners, or WPB for fewer than five. It seems to depend on personal preference and on how cluttered the top of the talk page is. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:30, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

It is already on |the Talk Page Layout project page, here under number 6 and it is on the template pages and talk pages for each of the shells.

I think that there are many editors who do not know that either shell exists. Similarly, until November of last year, I think users of {{WPBS}} did not know that {{WPB}} existed. (I believe that is why the C. S. Lewis talk page had 13 banners on it in just {{WPBS}} when I collapsed them.) The pages with two or three banners enclosed in {{WPB}} could have been done by editors who did not know about {{WPBS}} or by me when {{WPBS}} in an intermediate stage of its redevelopment and flat refused to work.

The reason I want the information on when to use which shell is because the shells are for WikiProject Banners and this is the WikiProject Council.

JimCubb (talk) 20:30, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that providing links to the shells is a great idea; I just don't think that we should tell people that they "must" or "should" use this or that shell in this or that way. A gentle nudge in the right direction ("Most editors prefer...") is acceptable to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:53, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Activity

How is activity measured? Talk page edit frequency? Last updated date?   M   00:17, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Igor online

It's ALIVE!

The first aspect of the new online version of Igor is now online: http://wiki-igor.net. The complete wikiproject list is available, along with ratings of their activity and various other useful and/or interesting data. More will be coming shortly. Please check it out, and please let me know what you think. – ClockworkSoul 23:55, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Nice. There appears to be some issues with the participant lists. It's counting ArticleAlertBot as a participant on California but that could be an issue with the pages and templates on that one. It also is having an issue at Canadian Music showing "{{user" in the name field. Otherwise I was able to log in, use the project list and wikipedia links without issue. Do you see this as replacing, or just expanding on your original Java tool? -Optigan13 (talk) 07:06, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yes. Fixed and fixed: the changes will go up shortly. The web application design allows me to provide quite a bit more functionality without the incredibly tedious GUI coding, so I'm thinking that the the web Igor will entirely replace the Java-based Igor (which I haven't even supported in over a year now, unfortunately). – ClockworkSoul 02:27, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
A couple of things that I noticed:
Overall, though, this looks very nice indeed. Kirill [talk] [pf] 22:38, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, MILHIST is quite a complicated thing, but I have a way of dealing with that that doesn't require me to add custom code (which I will never do: it's terrible design). I'm working on code to allow projects to customize the way that Igor reads in the data so that projects can specify things like where to find a participants list or what its task forces are. I hope to have that done in the next day or so. To ask your last question: Igor doesn't just look for the words "task force" (many task forces don't use those words in their name). Instead, it finds task forces by examining the project's banner code and/or from the WP Council directory. This, of course, assumes that those sources are correct and well-maintained, but for smaller and less complex projects is generally the case. Of course, the way I see it, if I can get it to work for MILHIST, I can get it to work for pretty much anything! – ClockworkSoul 02:27, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Just noticed that activity on Wikipedia:WikiProject Football didn't appear to register. Not sure if this affecting other projects. -Optigan13 (talk) 09:13, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

AZ (ANO)

AZ mean Abdulaziz in Arabic "عبدالعزيز" . —Preceding unsigned comment added by Abdulaziz N O (talkcontribs) 08:36, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposal to build WikiProject tools into MediaWiki

Please help me flesh out a proposal to add WikiProject tools into the MediaWiki software. Thanks. Kaldari (talk) 21:20, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Largest wikiproject?

Importance guidelines for a State

Does anyone have a good set of importance guidelines for a state or similar locality based project. The ones we have at WP:CAL are a bit lacking. Especially with respect to biographies and other cultural material, we have a problem with a lot of California based entertainers getting a bit higher ranking than would seem appropriate. -Optigan13 (talk) 06:24, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

The information at Wikipedia:WikiProject Germany/Assessment#Importance scale and elsewhere on similar pages is probably the best guideline I can think of. The one point which I think reasonable that it and a few others include in their importance rating is to perhaps try to come to some conclusion regarding a more or less set limit to the number of Top importance articles, 100 is a figure I've heard in a few cases, and make some sort of rough limitation on the number of people in any particularly field for each of the higher importance rankings. Another possibility is to create some navigation templates for each of the Top importance articles, with the objective of having only those articles which would be of "top" importance to that topic if it were a stand-alone project included in the template. So, in effect, Template:Los Angeles would include only the Top importance topics to Los Angeles, which would probably be, unless included in the Top importance ranking separately, High importance to California. Other templates containing the most important articles to the topics in that template could then be created, and those articles might receive Mid importance rating to the California project. This might include articles in the Template:LosAngelesMayor, for instance. Something like that might be at least a reasonable starting point. John Carter (talk) 14:02, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I was hoping to get someone with pre-done material without having to sort through templates and outlines. I'm not sure if crossing over from foreign national level is any easier from scratch. Is there any particular number of articles or a percentage breakdown of the categories that you're using? I think I'll try cross pinging a few other places and check around. -Optigan13 (talk) 05:46, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Wasn't California a separate nation at some point? But, if I were you, I might try to implement discussion on the project's talk page about which articles should be rated at Top-importance, with the objective of limiting that number to no more than perhaps 100 articles, just to maybe get a bit more focus on those articles. I know Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels has a separate page specifically devoted to determining the importance classification of articles, and maybe implementing something like that would be the best way to go for your project. John Carter (talk) 15:08, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
We were a separate nation for about a month, in between Mexican rule and US rule (California Republic). I started a general discussion on updating all the importance criteria, starting with the top importance articles. It ended up pretty big, and I didn't think that many people had the Assessment subpage watchlisted so I split it off onto its own page similar to GA's and Peer Reviews (Wikipedia talk:WikiProject California/Assessment/Archive 2) to transclude onto the main project talk. I kept it to 64 pages because even 100 seems too big to me, and the computer nerd in me likes variations of 2n. -Optigan13 (talk) 09:12, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposal creation link misfiring

Is there a way to adjust the "Add [[/ProjectName|ProjectName]] here link to be on the current month as opposed to the Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals#Proposing a WikiProject section. The last few proposals have been malformed and in the wrong section. -Optigan13 (talk) 15:57, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Nevermind, think I fixed it. -Optigan13 (talk) 16:56, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Are wikiprojects worth their cost?

Here is another question: has there been any hard assessment of how much the Wikiprojects mechanism contributes to Wikipedia?
It is easy to come up with potential benefits, e.g. coordination, standardization, marshalling, etc. However, I wonder whether these benefits are real, and how they compare with the costs. namely:

  1. To what extent are those potential benefits realized? (E.g., is coordination effective? Does the creation of a Wikiproject actually improve the quality of the pages under its scope?)
  2. Are those benefits a zero-sum game? (E.g., does a Wikiproject attract *new* editors to WP, or does it merely redistribute the work of current editors?)
  3. Are they really benefits? (E.g., are WikiProject-specific standards good or bad for WP as a whole?)
  4. How large are the visible costs? (E.g., what fraction of Wikipedians' work is going into creating and managing Wikiprojects -- discussing policies and standards, tagging and patrolling pages, etc. -- as opposed to editing article contents?)
  5. What may be the invisible costs? (E.g., how many potential editors are being turned away because of hassles created by WikiProjects?)

Consider this claim:

Wikipedia would become instantly and significanlty better, for readers and for editors, if the entire WikiProjects structure and all its administrative tools (tag templates, navboxes, project discussion pages, etc.), were deleted overnight.

Can anyone disprove this claim? 8-)
All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 05:43, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Well, as you haven't actually defined "better" in your claim, it's a bit difficult to evaluate, let alone disprove. ;-)
Nevertheless, it's clear that getting rid of WikiProjects would impose a number of very significant and immediate costs on Wikipedia:
  1. The entire article assessment scheme, and all the associated statistics, would cease to function.
  2. Most article review processes, which tend to be run or heavily assisted by particular WikiProjects and the associated infrastructure, would cease to function.
  3. Years of accumulated guidelines, recommendations, and best practices would be taken out of editors' reach.
  4. Almost all collaboration efforts, writing contests, and similar activities would cease to function.
  5. A significant portion of the third opinion process—which is heavily driven by the availability of WikiProject pages as a forum for seeking wider input—would cease to function.
And so forth. Broadly speaking, WikiProjects are responsible, in one way or another, for keeping a very large portion of the internal collaborative framework of Wikipedia running; removing them would take us back to the era where the only forum for collaboration of any sort was article talk pages, and many ways of getting wider editor input on issues simply wouldn't exist.
Against that, I've not seen any evidence presented that getting rid of WikiProjects (or at least the active ones) would actually have any benefits at all. Since volunteer efforts are not a zero-sum game, there would not be a sudden influx of editors freed freed from WikiProject tasks—editors who prefer project work to writing would likely rather leave than do something they don't enjoy; and, beyond the effort consumed, there is little significant cost associated with WikiProjects operating.
Beyond that, there is certainly anecdotal evidence that the presence of a well-developed and effective WikiProject correlates to substantial increases in the production of high-quality articles; see, for example, WP:TROP, WP:MILHIST, and so forth. There's nothing which definitively proves that these articles wouldn't have been improved without the WikiProject, of course—it may be that the topic area was predisposed to having a large number of improving articles for some other reason, and the role of the WikiProject is coincidental—but the correlation is there. Kirill [talk] [pf] 13:46, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, let me try again. I believe that Wikiprojects have the following, largely hidden, costs:
  1. They distract editors away from editing articles. Even if an editor ultimately chooses to (and is able to) ignore the Wikiprojects, he will have to spend some time learning what they are, reading some project talk pages, etc. If he opens a talk page, he will be faced with one or more project boilerplates which he cannot avoid reading. Indeed, any editor-facing page (EFP) in WP has this "distraction cost". Now multiply that by the number of editors...
  2. They increase the complexity of Wikipedia as seen by editors. I believe that there are many WP readers who would be willing to become editors, but get discouraged because WP looks so complicated. There are so many rules, policies, manuals of styles, templates, categories, refs and footnotes, disambs and redirects, etc. etc. ... More timid would-be editors will probably start reading the "help" (ha!) pages, get lost after a few dozen links, and give up. Inasmuch as they add to WP's complexity, Wikiprojects contribute to this loss.
    Some complexity is unavoidable in a project of this size, but much of it is the result of what computeroids call "creeping featuritis". Unfortunately, in software as in Wikipedia, it is much easier to add a new feature than to kill an old one, no matter how useless or broken. If Wikiprojects had never been invented, no one would really miss them; but now that they are there, getting rid of them is psychologically impossible. Sigh.
  3. They encourage tribalism and territoriality. Humans have the innate tendency to join "tribes" and stake out "teritories". While the WP philosophy states that no person or group may claim ownership of any article, the Wikiproject framework implicitly encourages and facilitates said thing. As you mentioned, Wikiprojects have years of accumulated guidelines, recommendations, and best practices. As long as those guidelines are attached to projects, they act like a "tribal culture" that sets each project apart from other projects. Even if the project members are not aware of it, when they insert the project boilerplate into an article talkpage, they are not just performing an administrative task: they are yielding to their primeval instinct to stake out the tribe's territory. (Indeed, that is my favorite explanation for why those boilerplates are so big and flashy...)
    Now, tribalism has a number of negative aspects, and later I will give concrete examples of the worst ones. But let me mention a lesser one for now: wikiproject tribalism, too, drives editors away. Consider a budding editor who feels like editing an article, but notices that a project boilerplate has been slapped onto it. The plate implicitly tells our editor that the article is the territory of a tribe, who presumably have their plans for that article, styles and guidelines to be followed, etc. Our editor will instinctively feel that editing the article would be like trespassing into the tribe's territory and messing around with their property. That would be very rude of him, to say the least. So he has three options: try to contact he tribe and ask for their approval (which is a lot more work than editing an article); or go ahead, and risk having his edits reverted by an angry tribe; or he may just give up. How many editors will choose the third path?
Well, enough for now. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 05:35, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Your first point is valid, but not really indicative of anything in and of itself, in my opinion. There are many things going on in Wikipedia that will be novel to a new editor, and whose purpose they will need to discover; but that doesn't mean that those things are necessarily a negative. As you point out, a certain complexity is unavoidable.
As far as increasing complexity is concerned, I think you're looking at it slightly backwards. The presence of WikiProjects as a system adds complexity when you're examining it from a bird's-eye view, to be sure; but each individual WikiProject serves to reduce complexity for the areas it covers. Working within a smaller, more focused community is inherently less complex than working within a larger, unfocused one. An editor who works within a particular topic area—and most editors do focus on a subset of Wikipedia—will find that getting assistance, or having their article reviewed, or finding resources or guidelines is much easier within the WikiProject corresponding to that area—the group is, after all, set up for the very purpose of helping them—then they would if they were forced to turn to a generalized, Wikipedia-wide infrastructure that had no interest in whatever they were working on. Compare the complexity of things like the various general administrative processes to the ones run by individual WikiProjects; the latter are less complex, when seen from within the particular area they cover, simply because their scope is smaller and the degree of common interest of participants greater.
I disagree that "if Wikiprojects had never been invented, no one would really miss them", for this very reason; subdivision along topical lines is a natural and obvious way of approaching a project of this sort (cf. Citizendium, Wikia, etc.), so unless one believes that individual talk pages would have sufficed indefinitely—and I think that's an unreasonable hope—it is clear that something fundamentally in the vein of the WikiProject system must eventually arise to allow for broader collaboration among editors working in a topic area.
The question of "tribalism" is, I think, a more complex one. There are negative aspects, certainly, to such clustering, and these manifest strongly in the more rampant forms of territorialism; but, at the same time, one should not ignore or underestimate the positive aspects of an esprit de corps fostered by more reasonable levels of shared project culture and identity. Camaraderie among project members is a major driving force, in my experience, in getting the less glamorous tasks necessary for developing and maintaining articles—particularly large numbers of articles—accomplished; sorting through categories or reviewing articles may not be particularly "fun", but editors will do so much more readily when they feel that they're helping out their colleagues by doing so. While there are doubtless cases of excessive zeal in this area on the part of individual projects, I have seen no evidence that the negatives here outweigh the positives.
More broadly, I think that your arguments are predicated on the twin assumptions that (a) a significant number of new and casual editors know about and are negatively affected by the existence of WikiProjects, and (b) that making Wikipedia easier for those editors is fundamentally more important than providing better tools for experienced, long-term editors. I don't think the first assumption is really correct; most truly casual editors will never visit even talk pages, much less anything in project space, and will instead simply make whatever edits they choose to as the mood strikes them. Sure, some new editors who decide to learn more about how Wikipedia works will be put off by the complexity they discover; but WikiProjects are not the major factors in this (things like the policy/guideline system and the various administrative aspects of the project as a whole being considerably more complex than your average WikiProject). The second assumption is essentially the "casual addition of content" versus "dedicated maintenance of content" argument framed in slightly different terms; suffice it to say that my view is that making things considerably easier and more productive for long-term editors is of greater overall benefit to Wikipedia than slightly reducing the complexity of the project as perceived by drive-by editors. Kirill [talk] [pf] 12:42, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I think that most of these assertions are flawed (e.g., I don't think I've ever seen an editor go to a WikiProject to ask permission to edit a page, which makes me sincerely doubt that many people even see the project banners before they start editing), but speaking only from my own experience, I very strongly doubt that I would be an editor now if WP:MED didn't exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:49, 11 August 2009 (UTC)


I am a relatively new contributor and I did not discover the relevant project page for a long time. It seems to be abandoned - so, it cost me some confusion and an expectation that someone was tending the garden, but, that turned out not to be the case. Projects should probably die as soon as there is nobody managing them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Water_sports Bodysurfinyon (talk) 17:33, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Is there a project/taskforce related to WP:ENGVAR issues?

Yesterday I had a mini-edit war at Trojan War over the replacement of "now" with "presently". The latter is a word which has different meanings in American and standard English usage and unambiguous terms ("now", "shortly") should be preferred. Indeed, often the word could simply be removed. I note that there are nearly 15K instances of the word.

"Pavement" has over 4K usages and some (references to things being set into the pavement) would certainly confuse or mislead some readers. I'm sure that there are similar problems wiht other terms.

So is there a group known to be working on this issue or an appropriate project to encourage to do so?--Peter cohen (talk) 11:57, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Your best bet would be something like Wikipedia:WikiProject Languages. Nothing that I can see that is specific is active. We have Wikipedia:WikiProject Regional English dialects and Wikipedia:WikiProject English, but neither appears to be active. Wikipedia:WikiProject Constructed languages is also inactive. It might be useful to merge those inactive projects into a task force if Languages project people are interested. -Optigan13 (talk) 21:30, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Moving Wikipedia:WikiProject recruitment for WikiProjects to subpage of the council

I've proposed moving Wikipedia:WikiProject recruitment for WikiProjects to a working group subpage of the council. Please leave any comments at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject recruitment for WikiProjects#Moving to subpage of WikiProject Council-Optigan13 (talk) 01:41, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I've redirected the main page to the council page. But I've left the talk page alone with a historical tag. Feel free to change it to a redirect/archive/whatever if anyone sees fit. -Optigan13 (talk) 03:33, 5 September 2009 (UTC)