Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history/Coordinators/March 2009

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C-class[edit]

I'd just like to point out to everyone that if C-class is introduced the way I hope it would, there would be no reassessment of any articles. How?

Well, we all know that an article is currently rated and categorized as 'start' even if something like this happens:
|class=B
|B1=n
|B2=y
|B3=y
|B4=y
|b5=n

So, I think that Template:WPMILHIST could be coded so that (for example) the above article would automatically be changed to C-class, with no manual edits involved. I'm hoping that it will be something like if one or two B-class criterion are failed, then the article is a C; three+ failed is a start. I also hope that it is possible to code in that any article failing B2 (comprehensiveness) is automatically start or below. —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 08:49, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

It's basically trivial to implement as an automatic function. WP:SHIPS has, I believe, an entirely template-driven C-class. — Roger Davies talk 08:58, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, I may support C-class, but I'm not trying to push an agenda here or anything - I have just seen a lot of "it's too much work"-type comments on the election page. :) —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 09:06, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
@Roger: Yes, WP:SHIPS' implementation is template-driven. — Bellhalla (talk) 02:43, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Thank goodness for a sensible look at C-Class. You're correct that the template could be altered in just a few minutes for C-Class and those in Start class with filled out checklists would adjust accordingly all on their own. No pain; much to gain. It's true that Ships uses a checklist based C-class, (3-5 required for C) however at the time we implemented it we had just begun to use a B checklist for our own articles. That left many articles to be assessed but we decided just to reassess them as we felt like it rather than launch a campaign. Last I looked Ships had about 950 C articles out of 22,000 total articles. --Brad (talk) 08:01, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
There is a lot to be said for automatic implementation. For my part, the one requirement essential to mark out an article above start level (which must anyway presume there is more than a one-line stub) is a reasonable degree of content. Unfortunately from my point of view, ships grade as c if it passes on points 3,4,5 but fails on content. I am not convinced it is worth marking up an article simply because it has a well laid out structure without content. In an ideal world I would have a C-class checklist, but there seems a lot of opposition to people manually doing assessments. I have said elsewhere that this could be overcome if the B checklist was replaced with scores, 0-5, whatever. In the long run I think this would be more useful, as the system could obviously be set out on a scale helpful for assessing higher grades in a semi-automatic way also. If anyone cares, i find the current situation where three projects may claim an article, each with its own B checklst separately filled in by hand, coming to three different grading conclusions, is getting ridiculous. Sandpiper (talk) 17:06, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
What I put above: "I also hope that it is possible to code in that any article failing B2 (comprehensiveness) is automatically start or below." I.e. needs 3/5 including B2 for C-class; if it doesn't pass B2, it's a start or stub. —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 19:47, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
One of my greatest worries in seeing the C-Class implemented is that it will not be good enough for some people. This could cause the formation of a D-Class and more problems can or will arise. Lord R. T. Oliver The Olive Branch 17:57, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Qualifications[edit]

Must the coordinators (not lead) know much about military history? Basketball110 My story/Tell me yours 20:44, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The honest answer is that it depends. The only area where not knowing much about military history would be a potential problem would be when disputes arise on articles concerning specific events, or when source verification is requested. TomStar81 (Talk) 23:17, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Not really: the job is mostly administrative. A good knowledge of military history is certainly a big advantage though. Nick-D (talk) 07:20, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Additional questions[edit]

I think that it would be helpful if the editors who ask nominees additional questions sign their posts. It's a bit difficult determining who's saying what. Nick-D (talk) 06:57, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it would be nice to know on whom to "blame" the bad grammar: "This will not effect my vote… ". Sigh. — Bellhalla (talk) 11:04, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Heh, that made me twitch a little too :D EyeSerenetalk 16:01, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
/me looks at Tom... ;) —Ed 17 (Talk / Contribs) 16:06, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
...and now you why I did not sign my post :) TomStar81 (Talk) 23:01, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Electorate[edit]

I raised this issue during a previous election, but too late in the process for it to be addressed. Hopefully I am raising it early enough this time.

Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Coordinators/March 2009#Election process says:

  • ... Any member of the project may support as many of the candidates as they wish. ...
  • Both project members and interested outside parties are encouraged to ask questions of the nominees or make general comments.

Question1: Does this mean that ONLY "member[s] of the project" may vote?
Question2: What is the definition of a "member of the project"?

Pdfpdf (talk) 14:13, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

In response to Q1: yes only project members have a vote, but in response to Q2: the definition of a "member" is just being listed here (one could sign up during voting and then cast votes). -MBK004 16:08, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
My take is that we don't have a formal definition of member. Established editors who regularly contribute to Milhist discussions but who not have signed up on the members page are very welcome to vote (and nobody has batted an eyelid when they have done so in the past). On the other hand, as MBK points out, it is very easy to join. — Roger Davies talk 16:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Can't quite decide whether that means I should take a day membership or not. Sandpiper (talk) 16:46, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I thought you were a member; I remember you being quite active on the talkpage a few months back. Skinny87 (talk) 17:13, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
To join something is to put your name to its actions. Do I approve? Does it make any difference to my editing if I join 'officially'? I think you may have changed the system because I can't find it now, but I was quite amused to see myself doing well in a table of major contributors to mil hist.Sandpiper (talk) 21:11, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm confused; do you have some kind of grudge against the project, Sandpiper? My impressions so far seem to point that way. Skinny87 (talk) 21:35, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't bear grudges, but the project does appear to be attempting to turn wikipedia into a traditional information source run by professionals, which it is not and never should be. Wiki's strength is amateur contributions from people who know the odd fact. I see it as wiki's task to adapt the audience to wiki rather than for wiki to give up its founding principles. Not really the place to go into this in depth. Sandpiper (talk) 07:57, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
The traditional answer is probably that we'd like for people to sign up, but unless something outlandish like external campaigning takes place, nobody will care if the occasional "unofficial" member votes. Kirill [pf] 07:18, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Mhm. As the example used last year, nobody'd object of SandyGeorgia showed up to vote in our elections. So I have to agree with Kirill on this one. It'd be nice if those who voted were project members and those who wanted to signed up, but we're not going to be Gestapos about it. Cam (Chat) 21:02, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Away[edit]

Really sorry everyone, but I'll be away and unavailable until Monday, and thus unable to answer any comments until then. Skinny87 (talk) 08:27, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

C-class referendum[edit]

Vote on this

I've added a third section, as some reactions to the motion may be more complex that simply support/oppose. EyeSerenetalk 12:05, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

I have added some more arguments about c-class. As a supporter of C-class, but also as a democrat (UK style), I think it questionable to have a vote based upon a half-hearted and inadequate statement of the arguments involved. Sandpiper (talk) 09:36, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
No offence Sandpiper, but the arguments you added are extremely bias and are not giving an equal representation of the reasons to oppose C-Class. You have previously expressed your opinions on the matter, as have I and many other editors, but this is a general vote on whether the project should adopt the classification or not, not another discussion like the one that was on the main talk page for some time. Points, if you have any, should be discussed in this section on this talk page rather than pushing some points on the actual voting page. Personally, I think most of the points you added should be removed from the page and placed here for further discussion, if there is any, but I'll see what others think. Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 10:05, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I've just removed the additional material added by User:Sandpiper. This has been discussed in great depth previously, and we're now voting on it. Nick-D (talk) 10:38, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
If you consider the material added biased, then I would suggest creating a more impartial preamble to the vote which accurately summarises arguments for and against. The introduction as originally posted clearly fails to state a decent case for having the class, indeed reads like a summary written by someone who does not think it is worth having. Either there should be no comment whatsoever, or a proper presentation of arguments for and against, but certainly not a half-hearted attempt. Alternatively, someone might have added a link to where this has been debated at length. Obviously, anyone who has already taken part in such a debate will have had a chance to read and post their own comments wherever that took place. But placing the vote here clearly invites passers by who might be wholly unaware of that debate (possibly including me, since I know this has been repeatedly discussed in different places but not precisely which you mean) to state a view. The initial preamble was derisory as a summary of the debate. No result in such a situation could be regarded as binding since no statement of the case has been made.
Returning to the issue of bias, I would observe that approximately half the information I added was purely factual and informative as to the nature of a proposed c-class and what it would encompass. How is this in any way biased? I certainly think it might help editors make an informed decision, but that does not seem to be the purpose here. The nature of a number of the 'no' votes also seems to indicate a lack of knowledge by those voting, since they seem to be opposibg it on the grounds it would make additional work for the project. Consensus in debate seems to be that if adopted at all, it would be by automatic assessment from the existing B criteria and involve no additional work for editors. This seems to suggest the assumption above, that this has all been debated at length and everyone concerned is thoroughly informed, to be untrue. Sandpiper (talk) 22:27, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I would suggest immediately restoring my comments, together with any others anyone feeling mine are biased wishes to add, possibly contacting those who have already voted about the amendments, or cancelling the whole vote and restarting later. Sandpiper (talk) 22:27, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Sandpiper, the brief argument for C-class given before the vote was no more 'derisory' that the statement against, so I can't see that one was starting with a disadvantage there. Also, insisting on stacking the argument in favour of C-class on that page tends to make a mockery of any professed democratic ideals - aside from the fact that this has been debated at length, there was a link to the discussion page to go into more depth, which should have been where you put your further arguments. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:44, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I just had a look at what I posted to see which parts might be regarded as purely factual and which might be regarded as POV. After careful thought I concluded hardly any of it was POV. The post was:

I would be grateful if the editors concerned could explain which parts they regard as extremely biased, and why. If this is not possible, then I will feel justified in restoring the comments to the preamble. Sandpiper (talk) 22:49, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

You are, of course, perfectly entitled to hold whatever views you like on C-class. This is, though, far from the first time you've argued your position at length in Milhist; some people might see this relentless pushing of your opinion as a bad case of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. — Roger Davies talk 08:04, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
This is the second wiki policy someone has pointed out to me in the course of this current debate. I would suggest all concerned find the policy regarding wikilawywering and have a read. Can't say as I am personally sufficiently familiar with wiki policies to be able to pop them up at ease. I would also say what I almost invariably say to anyone quoting a guide on wiki. READ IT CAREFULLY BEFORE QUOTING! As far as I can see it enjoins editors not to continue pressing a point after a matter has been decided. I presume the reason people have chosen to have a vote is that the matter is not decided. If it was, then why vote? There is presumably somewhere a wiki guide explaining that wiki frowns upon votes to solve disagreements, preferring debate. I suspect there may be a consensus amongst those who have organised this debate not to adopt C-class. Fine, but obviously those people do not feel that it is appropriate to impose that view on the project without asking the wider membership. Yet this means getting new people involved in the debate. You and I may be familiar with the issues involved, but they will not be. Yet you neither include a summary of the issues on either side, nor even a link to somewhere this has been debated at length. In any situation on wiki where new people are invited to get involved to make a decision it is normal to explain the issues involved properly. Failing to do so makes the entire process of a vote pointless and essentially invalid as the vote is not an informed choice.Sandpiper (talk) 08:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
You don't see anything POV in "it has become necessary to introduce C class"? Maralia (talk) 23:01, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
C-class has been introduced by the wiki assessment project, and even the mil hist assessment guide acknowledges that it exists. Other projects have implemented it. Maybe they did so for a lark, but I presume they felt it was a necessary step. Mil hist, I saw somewhere, is the one noteable abstainer (though I havn't checked that personally). Do you accept the earlier part of that paragraph is not partial (The A.b...has been eroded)? or would you prefer simply 'altered' instead of 'eroded'. The standard was intended as a definition of the lowest level of article to be considered for publication, but since it has been made more difficult to achieve, a new grade has become necessary to maintain the original grading definition. So yes, I do see the potential for POV in my statement, but I also see it as an honest statement of the status quo. I stated above that 50% was purely factual, considering when I wrote that the remainder might be arguable. Where do you disagree? Sandpiper (talk) 23:51, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
The passive voice is certainly not a very neutral way of wording it, since it rather begs the question being posed. Something like "Other projects have found it necessary..." would be better, although it's arguable whether our changes to B-Class—which were adopted by WP1.0 before C-Class was introduced—had anything to do with the latter.
It was not my intention to mislead people into thinking C-class had already been adopted by mil hist. It would not occur to me that people might think that, since it is a vote on just that issue. I don't understand your argument that B class changes could not have led to C class changes. Surely if one thing happens before another, then that is the normal order in which the former might have causally influenced the latter? Sandpiper (talk) 08:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
In any case, there are several other problems with the text:
  • "Grading is not merely an editors tool: it is a benefit to readers for useful articles to be clearly identified." - this is actually a matter of wide disagreement among 1.0 participants. Traffic statistics show that only a minuscule portion of readers visit talk pages, and it's reasonable to suggest that, in many cases, the complexity of banners and banner-hiding templates will prevent casual visitors from seeing the assessments or understanding what they mean even if they do visit the talk page. It's very unclear, therefore, whether any aspect of the assessment scheme other than the FA's bronze stars is actually visible or useful to readers on any substantial scale.
Presumably someone thinks there is a benefit to readers from seeing the FA grade star on a page. This is exactly the same principle as grading all articles correctly and displaying the results. I think it would be much better to put all grading results on the front page. One objection to doing so is that people are refusing to accept the universal grading system, so the publicly displayed results would be rather chaotic. Which is why I am here asking for the agreed system to be implemeted. Sandpiper (talk) 08:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
  • "The A,B etc system was originally introduced to identify articles for publication." - this doesn't match my recollection of either (a) how the system was developed by the chemistry projects or (b) why it was adopted by other WikiProjects; but perhaps you remember things differently.
The system was introduced by the team assessing articles for publication for their own purposes and they asked others to help. I don't know why chemistry decided to get involved, perhaps you can explain their reasoning some more? My own experience in the only place I noticed was that some helpfull project member who was interested copied the grading system exactly as they asked for it to be applied and set it going. Why be helpfull and at the same time do something other than what was requested?
The system was actually introduced by one of the chemistry WikiProjects, for its own internal use in constructing a project worklist. When the chemistry editors subsequently formed WP1.0, the idea of these grading classes came with them, but when WP1.0 first asked other WikiProjects to participate, they continued to suggest creating internal worklists for the projects' own use.
The current, bot- and tag-driven assessment system was developed, in large part, to cope with increased scale on the part of those worklists. The key purpose of the system, in other words—as far as the participating WikiProjects were concerned, in any case—was to allow the projects to manage their internal workflow better; the fact that WP1.0 could piggyback on the statistics generated from this to select release candidate articles was icing on the cake. Kirill [pf] 13:14, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
So, if we trim all of that and do a bit of copy-editing, we'd be left with something like this:

There are currently ~1,000 articles graded as FA, A and GA; ~3,500 as B; ~43,000 as Start; and ~40,000 as Stub. If C-Class was based upon those articles failing B-Class only on referencing and passing on all other points, it would contain ~10,000 articles. Most project articles that 'reasonably cover the topic, and does not contain obvious omissions or inaccuracies' are currently assessed as Start. The original definition of B-Class has been changed, so other projects have found it necessary to introduce C-Class to identify articles which have reasonable coverage, but are now being missed.

which is neutral enough in tone, but doesn't say all that much either for or against the proposal. Kirill [pf] 02:54, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think that that wouldn't be worth adding, and also don't think that the background text should be changed now that voting has commenced. The background text was available for comments and changes for several days before voting started and only a single editor wants it changed. Nick-D (talk) 07:38, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
If you feel the background text would make no difference to the outcome, then I do not see why it should not be added. If you feel it might influence the outcome, then it absolutely should be added. The vote has already been amended by the addition of a whole new alternative reply during its active period. I agree though, that a proper preamble is likely to influence the result, and since some people have already voted, either the whole vote should be scrapped, or it should be re-started with a proper preamble and all parties notified. That is the only way to obtain a meaningfull result. Sandpiper (talk) 08:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
There are a number of smaller projects that haven't implemented C-class, but the two biggie holdouts ore milhist and WP:FILM, neither of which currently uses C-class. TomStar81 (Talk) 01:43, 18 March 2009 (UTC)


I was walking up a star lit country lane last night amusing myself with my own thoughts. These included the observation of what an incredible waste of time this debate has been. The system could simply have been implemented as requested by the assessment team with far less effort than has been wasted by everyone debating this. I just do not see any objections to implementing the grade which would have any negative impact on the mil hist project. So why on earth persist in refusing to go along with the majority of wikipedians elsewhere?

  • The argument against implementation, that it would waste effort, is ridiculous, and no one has explained how it is justified.
  • The objection that C class will inevitably lead to D and E and F, is also silly. If it was true then we would not now be debating this, because already having FA A GA and B, then we would already have C, D and all the rest, spawned automatically by those ones breeding. Clearly the adoption of a new class is far from automatic. Though, quite honestly, if someone could think of a definition for such classes, what would be wrong with having them? Waste of paper? How would they inconvenience anyone here? This is not instruction creep. Instruction creep is extra rules about doing something. An automated grading system is in fact extracting extra data from the work already done. No extra instructions at all, but some additional output from that work.
  • There is an objection that the purpose of the assesment scale is to help in creating FA articles. No, this is wrong, the assessment scale has many purposes. Nothing wrong with someone using it for that purpose, but other purposes exist also. The argument seems to suggest that the scale may not be used for other purposes, and that the C grade might somehow corrupt this particular use of the scale? All it would do is subdivide the big mass of undifferentiated articles, which might even help identify those for improvement in a modest way.
  • That editors would strive for a C-grade because it would allow them to write POV articles? I doubt anyone seeking to write POV would care even remotely how an article was graded. As I attempted to point out with article statistics, most worthwhile articles on wiki are currently graded start. I would think anyone who was scared of high grad articles would avoid the ones which suddenly became C's. This argument seems to be a 'head in the sand', if we don't look at them, we can pretend wiki is made up of FA (an unfortunate acronym). The reality is that most of wiki is start or stub and this is where most work is needed. Sandpiper (talk) 08:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Keep in mind the internal workflow/1.0 release distinction that's discussed above. The automated selection of articles which fail B-Class on, say, the referencing criterion can be done for workflow purposes without actually introducing a new assessment level; we'd simply put them in something like Category:Military history articles needing attention only to referencing and citation (cf. Category:Military history articles needing attention to technical criteria for another compound selection category driven by the B-Class criteria). The question, properly speaking, is not "Should we generate a list of articles having these conditions?", but rather "Having generated such a list, should we associate a new milestone with entry to it?". This is fundamentally a 1.0 release matter, not a workflow one; WP1.0 may expect a list of articles labeled "C-Class", but nothing internal to the project requires that we use that particular label, and the arguments being made are more about the usefulness of a new label than about the list itself. Kirill [pf] 13:36, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
On that note, I've gone ahead and set up the template to fill Category:Military history articles needing attention only to referencing and citation—mostly because I'm curious as to how close to the mark your figure of 10,000 such articles is; we'll see how useful such a selection might actually be in a few days, once the change propagates. Kirill [pf] 01:56, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
For what it's worth, we have ~1400 articles collected at this point, which means that the 10,000 figure is off by almost an order of magnitude. Unless there's a lot of articles that haven't been picked up by the refresh cycle yet—and I suspect that's not the case—using this formula for C-Class would actually produce a set smaller than the current B-Class. Kirill [pf] 01:31, 21 March 2009 (UTC)
5560 now, though I still don't think this supports the creation of a new class to put them in ;) EyeSerenetalk 08:31, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Cooption referendum[edit]

Vote on this

Candidate Voting[edit]

Sorry if there's a consensus about this from the past, but if there isn't one can the candidates make an agreement about voting? Something along the lines of none of us vote for ourselves, but we are free to chose who to vote for from other people? Don't want to seem pedantic, but it'd be pretty cheap if someone won because they voted for themselves and was one vote ahead of someone who didn't vote for themselves. – Joe N 22:57, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

We are allowed to vote for anyone other than ourselves. AFAIK, its always been that way. TomStar81 (Talk) 22:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, all right, thanks. I didn't know that. – Joe N 23:20, 13 March 2009 (UTC)