Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Novels/Assessment

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This is talk page associated with the WikiProject assessment department page belonging to Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels. It is used as a base for those trying to assess the quality and importance of existing articles.

Discussion of the Assessment Department page[edit]

Quality scale[edit]

May I suggest that we change the examples given in the Quality Scale to novels? Grey Shadow 11:56, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Can't be done, as this is a Wikipedia wide "Quality Scale" not just a WikiProject Novels scale. I have just transcluded it in here. I see what you are saying, purhaps you could think up a few example and we could put them as a small project specific addendum below the full table. Good idea though. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 12:13, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Having looked at the general descriptions on the quality scale, I think that quite a few novel articles rated as "start" should actually be classified as "b"... if anone wants to talk me out of changing a bunch of them or ask me for further justification of my position, please do. I won't jump headlong into this right away, but possibly soon. Matt Kurz 16:08, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Certainly happy with that, different people have slight different perspectives on this, also the articles are in a constant state of flux and the situations may well have changed. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 10:43, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Importance criteria[edit]

"the probability of the average reader of Wikipedia needing to look up the topic (and thus the immediate need to have a suitably well-written article on it)" does this actually mean need (like for a school report, etc) or does it include what people merely want to look up? for example, i'm willing to bet that rosemary's baby (rated mid), being the basis for a very popular horror movie, would get more hits than lucky jim (rated high). --dan 02:52, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Hear what you are saying, I would say the need and numerous people wanting would both qualify. We will need to adjust the form of waord to suit a recognition of the this. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 05:43, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I have voiced my dissatisfaction with the rating scheme presented here at Talk:Last Seen Wearing ... (Hillary Waugh novel). <KF> 23:43, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I think importance is a terrible idea. (1) It's original research, since the editors are deciding which books are important and which aren't; (2) I don't see what the use to the readers of the encyclopedia is; and (3) the rules are unclear -- there's tons of popular fiction getting rated as "mid" that should, IMHO, be "low", but (a) I'm not particularly interested in debating it book by book and (b) what's the point if we do?

Quality is a meta-rating, which is fine, but importance is another thing altogether. TheronJ 14:20, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Ah, I didn't get that importance was a part of the WP 1.0 project as a way of deciding what gets in the encyclopedia. I'm still not crazy about it, but I guess it makes sense. TheronJ 16:27, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Another way of looking at this is to remember that importance rating stuff goes on the talk page and is not in the article namespace -- it's just for prioritizing project tasks, not to tell "readers" whether an article is "important" or not If they looked it up in the first place, it's likely important to them anyway.Matt Kurz 16:01, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
I think "importance" is a very bad idea, even if it's just a way of deciding inclusions in the encyclopedia. It LOOKS terribly bad when you bump into the entry for a book and see that someone, somewhere, has decided that it is "of low importance". It looks bad because it isn't clear, nay, it is an obscure reference, and it may even smell of cultural discrimination. Leobot 08:09, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
The whole of life envolves discrimination, you have discriminated in the above statement. Bear in mind the response above about it being a talk page, i.e. opinion and editorial aid based namespace matter. All it is an attempt to find some sense of "priority" in workload and scaling of notability. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 12:46, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Objective criteria[edit]

As a new member of the project, I'm sometime finding it difficult to rate the importance, and certainly do not entirely understand the rationale behind the importance of novels as they are now. As such, I feel the need for some (semi-)objective criteria to rate the importance. Here are some thoughts I have (and please consider this a way to start a discussion):

Remember, I only write this to provoke a constructive discussion, and I would appreciate comments on my thoughts. Errabee 16:55, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

BTW, I think it is really important what novels we choose to be Top-important. These will most certainly need to be included in Wikipedia v1.0, and work should focus on those novels. We need not be shy in naming a novel Top-important, otherwise literature would be represented in a lesser degree than other topics. On the other hand, we do need to be cautious to name something Top-important, because the importance scale should resemble something of a pyramid. I'll set up a subpage Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Assessment/Top-important for discussion of the current Top-important novels, and possible candidates. Errabee 11:51, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
What is the view on how many books should go into this category? should it be a list of a few dozen, few hundred, few thousand? I think it would be possible to put thousands of novels into the top category (there must by now be millions of novels in existence). Is this a comprehensive list, or a manageable recommended reading list? The test of whether something has been translated seems a good starting point, but again must inevitably lead to thousands of candidates. If this list does become size limited, then how do we choose between those books which are accepted classics written some time ago, and those which are current best sellers. The current books would almost certainly fill the list on grounds of availablity, but might still be worse choices. Somewhere I read a story about the Harry Potter books, that the first three books had permanently filled the top three slots in the US best sellers list, so the list compilers were forced to create a new list of 'childrens' books, just to get them out of the adult chart.Sandpiper 12:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Some very good questions. I would prefer to limit the list to a maximum of two (in exceptional cases three) novels per author in order to make sure the list is diverse enough. Errabee 13:21, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I would be inclined to agree. An author being rated as significant in themselves, does not necessarily mean every single novel by that author should be rated of top importance. It would be better to pick only the key one or two for which they are the best known or had the most influence. Silverthorn 13:29, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

I have had a look at the importance category descriptions on this page, and they didn't help me much. The wording seemed couched entirely in terms of literary merit. But as examples, it remains to be seen whether 'Harry Potter' will have lasting literary merit. Many critics have slagged it as badly written, but to leave it out of a list of currently important books would be absurd. Or, my other example, Left hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin. I would consider it a highly interesting and influential book, yet one which most people have never heard of unless they read SF. I noticed that an attempt was made to review this book together with a number of other SF classics. The lack of response may only mean that no one (like me) had even heard of this page, but it may also reflect general disinterest in particular genre books amongst those who generally like books? So how do I place a book in the general list, which I would consider an important one in terms of its message for society, and which happens to be written in the field of SF? Sandpiper 12:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Also, there is a grading criteria for articles and an importance criteria for novels. Unfortunately no mention of book quality. An important book might be virtually unreadable, whereas a very good read might be wholly unremarkable in its effects upon society. What about Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, or Das Kapital by Carl Marx. Ok, perhaps not novels, though arguably works of fiction, but how does a criterion for the importance of novels, arguably meaning their influence on society, connect with an assessment of all books? Sandpiper 13:06, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree that we need some clear standards for importance of novels, and the relationship between importance to students of literature and importance to readers of the encyclopedia. Is there a good page someplace where we can work on that? TheronJ 13:36, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree in general with the principles of your criteria Errabee, except I think that the position of works within the canon of an author (according to academia, literary criticism, 'best of' lists, literary awards etc.) should hold more weight than evidence of popular adaptations. In this scheme, Bleak House and David Copperfield would rate higher than Oliver Twist or A Christmas Carol. I also disagree with a limit-per-author system. There are certain prolific and very influential novelists that have more than two or three books that deserve to be rated of top importance--if you have a Dickens or an Austen shouldn't their most important books be given a higher rating than lesser novelists no matter how many there are?

As well, I think we should be careful about rating flash-in-the-pan phenomena as top priority. In my mind, it seems pretty obvious that the great works of literature should have a higher priority in this project than currently "hyper-popular" fiction. This for a few reasons: we only have so many resources available--we should focus on canonical novels that we know will be relevant ten or fifty years from now; the average Wikipedia editor and fans of the novel in question will undoubtedly work on the article without necessary intervention from the project (in other words, a mid or low rating is not equivalent to ignore and don't edit); we don't have enough objectivity to judge the value or importance of such novels--what might seem incredibly important right now might be almost unheard of given the passage of a bit of time.

Oh, and Sandpiper, I agree with you about Left Hand of Darkness. :) Ibis3 22:31, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Assessment process[edit]

Errabee, instead of replying via your talk page and escalating things into even more of a conflict, I think it would be better to try and come to some consensus among all Project members about how to handle assessment, both for new articles or novel project boxes and for novels that have already been assessed by other members.

First, I'd like to say that I've acted in good faith, so please don't get so annoyed. Second, I'd also like to point out that my ratings were on books that had not yet been assessed before and I never arbitrarily changed any of your ratings without discussion. This, I thought followed what it says on the Assessment department page:

Who can assess articles? Any member of the Novels WikiProject is free to add—or change—the rating of an article.

What if I don't agree with a rating?

You can list it in the section for assessment requests below, and someone will take a look at it. Alternately, you can ask any member of the project to rate the article again.

Perhaps we should develop a clearer procedure than this? For example, it could be as follows:

  1. When adding a Project template to an existing article or when creating a new article, it's up to that user to assess the article if they feel confident to do so.
  2. We could then have a report page as a subpage to this one. When you've assessed an article, you post a subheading (i.e. An Instance of the Fingerpost/ I've rated this as Low because xyz). Then people can vote and discuss just as with your current Top Assessment page. If there is no controversy or if there is consensus about an assessment, okay. If there is sufficient consensus to change the assessment then someone can do that. (I gather that this must be similar to what you had in mind when you put up that page)
  3. If there is no consensus, or if a person wants to have an article assessed/re-assessed it could be put at the bottom of the Assessment page as a request.

If there has to be a vote before a novel is given an assessment it will take a very long time (especially since not everyone is familiar with all genres/regions etc.). Also, there hasn't been any discussion of how much time/how many votes to wait for before making or changing an assessment. Or even what criteria are of more weight when changing an assessment. Consider Bleak House. You seem pretty intent on changing it to a High rating from Top (in fact I see that you've gone and done that very thing). Why did you do that? It was your subjective decision that it was less important than Oliver Twist, so should be rated as High. You didn't back up your assessment with any objective evidence. On the other hand, I brought forth the evaluations of respected literary critics Harold Bloom (who says himself "Bleak House, most critics now tend to agree, is his central work" (p. 289, The Western Canon)) and G. K. Chesterton.

Your repeated reversion of my Barometer Rising assessment is also problematic. On the Assessment page it says:

Note that general notability need not be from the perspective of editor demographics; generally notable topics should be rated similarly regardless of the country or region in which they hold said notability. Thus, topics which may seem obscure to a Western audience—but which are of high notability in other places—should still be highly rated.

Now, I interpreted that to mean that a book that is considered (not by me, but by authorities such as The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature) to be a seminal work in a country's literature should be accorded a High rating. If it were given awards or recognition abroad, it would then move into the Top rating. So for example, I'd be inclined to rate Gabrielle Roy's The Tin Flute as Top, The Cashier as High, Children of My Heart as Mid. These evalutations are not arbitrary and I have references to back up my position.--Ibis3 16:05, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Speaking from my own point of view, I am not sure that I think a vote before a novel is assigned a grade is appropriate in all case. I do think it is a good idea for the top assessed novels and have voted accordingly on the Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Assessment/Top-important page. However, whilst we obviously work towards all of our articles being good, how many are truly deserving of being viewed as the very top? I suspect, whatever criteria is used, that the percentage is fairly low and that is how it should be. Anything else devalues grading an article as of top importance.
However, what do we do about the non-top importance novels? I suspect the vast majority of the articles in progress are rated stub or start. Do we need to vote when a stub article gains sufficient information to become a start? That seems a little unnecessary because in most instances I suspect we're all going to agree that there's now enough information present to remove the stub notice.
I notice that Ibis3 has suggested a separate report page for the justifications. I would ask why it can't go on the discussion page for the article itself. Is there a reason why this is not done that I am not aware of? A simple subsection entitled 'assessment' or something similar and allow any discussion to go on there in the place intended for discussion of that article. Obviously the higher up the grading scale you go, the more important it seems to get opinions outside those of the contributors to that particular article, but until we reach mid or even high the need for intense voting before any action is taken seems less urgent somehow. Silverthorn 16:35, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think there's likely to be much dispute over the Quality assessment. The problem is the Importance rating--partly because there are no clear guidelines about what differentiates a High from a Top rating. And because it lends itself to subjective evaluation--after all even those books that are consistently given top honours in lists of "the greatest books" or showered with international awards are thought to be terrible and over hyped by many people. Then there is the problem of relative rating: should a highly regarded novel in the fantasy genre be given a Mid rating because genre fiction is generally considered less important than literary fiction, or should a book that is considered one of the best novels ever written in Dutch be given a Mid rating because no one who doesn't speak Dutch has ever heard of it, or should a book be rated Top because somebody's made a blockbuster movie from it so the title is popularly known?
As for putting assessment discussions on the Talk page of the article--there is a comment section of the Template for just that purpose. However, it seems that there is a certain sensitivity to these ratings that might be better evaluated by Project members as we sort out the evaluation criteria. If we make certain universal decisions here it will keep the assessments more consistent across genres and time periods.--Ibis3 18:12, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

@Ibis3: I don't understand why you assume that replying on my talk page would result in escalating things into even more of a conflict. In fact, I think you accomplished just the opposite by replying here and mentioning individual cases which would have been better suited for an individual discussion between the both of us.

  • You just seemed very upset & I noticed that you went and set all the ratings according to the votes on the Top Assessment page. I was a little upset too because it felt like you were accusing me of ignoring you when I felt that you had ignored me. I just wanted to take a step back, realising that the problem really lies in the fact that we don't have a process to follow about these things. Which in turn seemed to be relevant to the project as a whole, not just to our individual evaluations of the books in question. That's why I decided to put the discussion here. The individual cases I raised as illustrations of the problems we're encountering--these are the kinds of debates on which we need more input from other Project members (how valuable is Harold Bloom's opinion vs. a dearth of adaptation into film/theatre?; how should nationally important lit be rated?). Though to be fair, it's true, I did allow some of my emotional response to creep in.

I never assumed you didn't act in good faith, and you certainly don't need to remind me of that guideline. But it seems you assume I didn't act in good faith, which is absolutely not true. In fact, I've taken an objective look at the two new top-important novels, and although I'm not convinced, I felt there was enough reason to not reduce their rating to High-importance. However, as I explained before, I felt (and still feel) there is a need to reach consensus about which novels should have which importance rating. If one bypasses the discussion, there really is no need for trying to establish consensus any more, is there? People can then just rate whatever and however they like.

  • I'm totally with you on this one! I agree that we need consensus. But I do think that we can be bold and make new assessments without prior approval. If we then can report them and ask for feedback, I think we'll be okay. If it turns out that there is a dispute, we can always agree to revert back to "unassessed" until it's been sorted out.

About your suggestion for a new procedure. I indeed had something like that in mind, but I can't agree with your third suggestion, that in the case of no consensus it could be put at the bottom of the Assessment page as a request. Who would be available to do that new assessment? Even more so, it would then be a one-man decision and not consensus.

  • Okay. So what do we do if we can't reach a consensus? Maybe there's some other procedure we can devise for that?

You said you had problems with me reverting the rating of Barometer Rising? Well, as you yourself quoted:

Who can assess articles?
Any member of the Novels WikiProject is free to add—or change—the rating of an article.

I interpreted the next section as applicable only to editors who are not members of this project. So I've been bold and changed it. Your revert of my change was done without any explanation and could be seen as problematic in itself. I then changed it back with explanation, so why would that be problematic? I at least tried to start a discussion (again).

Coming to the topic of ratings, I completely agree with you there should not be any cultural bias. And the current cultural bias would be that novels in the English language are given too much weight. These novels and their authors are far more likely to receive major international prizes and international attention than novels originally written in another language. These novels are generally not obscure to a Western audience. Which leads to the conclusion that if an English-writing novelist did not receive any awards outside his own country, his importance is limited. Depending on the awards, his major work (magnum opus) could be given an importance rating of high, whereas other novels, apparently in lesser regard, should then be treated to be of mid-importance. Now, if there is some other reason for the novel to be rated higher, it should be reflected in the article about the novel or about the author. In the case of Barometer Rising, there is no such evidence. The author only received national awards, and it is not his magnum opus. Hence my judgement of no more than mid-importance.

  • There's more to cultural bias than just language. British and American novels recieve far more attention than do novels from Australia, Canada, the Caribbean and anywhere else someone writes a book in English. I think if a book is highly acclaimed, has won national awards, is considered by scholars and critics to be of high importance to a country's literature no matter what the language, it should be rated High. Again, if it has made a splash in the wider stream of literary consciousness then it deserves a Top rating.

As far as Dickens is concerned, something else plays a role. The definition of Top-importance is that a novel should be a "core" topic in the field of literature OR it should be highly notable for students outside the field of literature. Both Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol are highly notable for students outside the field of literature, Bleak House is not. Which leaves the question: is it a "core topic" in the field of literature? As I felt the discussion page was obsolete, I just changed the rating to represent the current number of votes (for all books with more than one vote, or where my vote was not opposed), not knowing about the quote from Bloom, which might have changed my mind, but the text you wrote earlier (one of the most acclaimed of Dickens' novels) didn't make me change my opinion. It indicated to me that there are several other equally important or even more important novels by Dickens.

So if you do decide to question my judgement, please do so referring to the arguments known at the time of this judgement instead of presenting new quotes. These new quotes should only be used as new arguments, which can then lead to a new rating. Currently I'm not in the mood, but you can always do it yourself.

I suggest we stop discussing about individual novels here, and continue with a general discussion. Discussion about the individual novels we disagree upon I would rather do on our individual user talk pages, as they are of no concern to others. Errabee 17:23, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

  • As per your request, I've refrained from discussing disputes about individual novels and have left the discussion here on the level of general assessment principles.--Ibis3 18:12, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Who wrote this?[edit]

"Subject is a "core" topic for literature, or is highly notable to people other than students of literature.

War and Peace The Lord of the Rings Pride and Prejudice

High - Subject is more notable or significant within the field of literature and outside it.

The Name of the Rose Lucky Jim Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Mid - Subject is notable or significant within the field of literature (or to a historian), but not necessarily outside it.

Brighton Rock Rosemary's Baby The Body in the Library"

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, of which I have just been made aware, ranks higher here than one of the core works of one of the more important 20th century novelists, Mr. Greene? I've heard more about Rosemary's Baby than this seagull book, though only through the associated motion picture.

In regards to the The Lord of the Rings and the inevitable Harry Potter question, works which are quite spuriously rated among Tolstoy, is it possible that they should belong to another list or category entirely, one that would focus on volume of pages sold rather than the enjoyment or study of serious literature? As it stands now, this category of "Literature" serves two masters. I'd also like to point out that contrary to what many have written about "students of literature", there does yet exist that mythical beast--the common reader--though perhaps dying out.

-- 16:58, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Bear in mind that this importance (or more helpfully "Priority" is a rating not of the standard of the literature, but an internal assessment of how importance and article is to have included or comprehensive article within such an online encyclopedia. It is a guide to editor on how much effort to put into getting these ready for WP:1.0. Hope that helps. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:10, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Weird top importance novels[edit]

Should any of the following be of top importance?

  1. Erast Fandorin
  2. Max Havelaar
  3. My Name is Red
  4. No Great Mischief
  5. Pigeon Post
  6. Swallows and Amazons
  7. The Assault
  8. The Chrysalids
  9. The Fall
  10. Titus Groan

Note the following relatively random sample of works which are not currently ranked at top importance, all of which I would consider of considerably greater importance than any of the above (Most of which I had not even heard of, with the exception of the Camus, Titus Groan, and My Name is Red):

  1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  2. A Tale of Two Cities
  3. Absalom, Absalom!
  4. As I Lay Dying
  5. Barchester Towers (or anything else by Trollope)
  6. Buddenbrooks
  7. Cousin Bette
  8. Emma
  9. Finnegans Wake
  10. Germinal (or anything else by Zola)
  11. Great Expectations
  12. Heart of Darkness
  13. Howard's End
  14. Invisible Man
  15. Ivanhoe
  16. Kim
  17. Lost Illusions
  18. Mansfield Park
  19. Moll Flanders
  20. Native Son
  21. Notes from Underground
  22. Pale Fire
  23. Pamela
  24. Père Goriot
  25. Persuasion
  26. Sense and Sensibility
  27. Silas Marner
  28. Sons and Lovers
  29. Tess of the d'Urbervilles
  30. The Betrothed
  31. The Castle
  32. The Charterhouse of Parma
  33. The Devils
  34. The Great Gatsby
  35. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
  36. The Idiot
  37. The Magic Mountain
  38. The Pickwick Papers
  39. The Red and the Black
  40. The Return of the Native
  41. The Scarlet Letter
  42. The Sound and The Fury
  43. The Sun Also Rises
  44. Things Fall Apart
  45. The Tin Drum
  46. To the Lighthouse
  47. Tristram Shandy
  48. Vanity Fair
  49. Waverley

And that's just a vague assortment off the top of my head. john k 18:16, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

And I've done some shuffling as well today. But to play advocate of the devil: Max Havelaar is iconic in the Netherlands, Belgium and Indonesia, and Erast Fandorin (please do go read the novels, the first 4 have been translated into English) marks the revival of literature in the Post-Soviet era (because Russians were all reading trash novels). Also please note the note in the criteria for the importance scale: Note that general notability need not be from the perspective of editor demographics; generally notable topics should be rated similarly regardless of the country or region in which they hold said notability. Thus, topics which may seem obscure to a Western audience—but which are of high notability in other places—should still be highly rated. And I might add, as a non-native English speaker, I've never even heard of many of the novels you mentioned, not that that should be the standard (but neither should the fact that you haven't heard of those novels). Errabee 23:35, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

BTW, I think I would prefer Death in Venice for Buddenbrooks. Errabee 23:41, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Help with reviewing[edit]

I'd like to start reviewing unassessed articles, but I'm a bit bewildered by the {{NovelsWikiProject}} template. How do you change the bit that says "The article has been rated for quality and/or importance but has no comments yet" to reflect that there are comments? Following the link and creating a new page does not do it. Sorry to be such a dunce! -- Merope Talk 22:24, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

That's a problem/bug with templates; they sometimes get updated only after the page they're on has been edited. Errabee 22:31, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
So what you're saying is I'm not an idiot? ... I just edited the page and the template worked! Thank you! -- Merope Talk 22:36, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Additional thanks from someone who was puzzled but not brave enough to ask! --Sordel 07:08, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

More top class important books[edit]

Buddenbrooks The Secret Agent The Rainbow Women in Love The Glass Bead Game The Radetzky March My Ántonia The Age of Innocence As I Lay Dying Call It Sleep princess de cleves Notes from Underground The Idiot The Devils Death in Venice Buddenbrooks The Castle Moll Flanders Humphry Clinker Rameau's Nephew Manon Lescaut Candide Elective Affinities Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship Wilhelm Meister's Years of Wandering The House by the Medlar Tree Fortunata and Jacinta La Regenta The Maias Adolphe Sentimental Education L'Assommoir The Heart of Midlothian Jane Eyre A Hero of Our Time Billy Budd Little Women The Red Badge of Courage The Confession of Zeno The Immoralist Our Lady of the Flowers Nausea Effi Briest Lazarillo de Tormes Radetzky March Romance of the Three Kingdoms Simplicissimus Water Margin The Home and the World Journey to the West Dream of the Red Chamber Gargantua and Pantagruel Gil Blas Snow Country The moon and the bonfires The Setting Sun The Silent Cry The Makioka Sisters The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Just off my head. Mandel 09:07, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Surely Milton's Paradise Lost should be classed as being of 'Top Importance' given its standing as one of the great poetical works ever written? The skill of Milton as a 17th Century Poet was only ever matched by Shakespeare a few years before him. I would ask that the poem's position of 'High Importance' be re-assessed with the view of it being re-classified as being of 'Top Importance'. Robsonm 14:12, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Maybe - but it is not a Novel or even prose. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:55, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

The Importance of "Importance"[edit]

I didn't find out about this importance rating of novels until today, and partly curious and partly skeptical I read this page and through the lists of novels of varying ranks. After doing so, I have the same question I had when I started: What exactly is the purpose of this rating? I have read several times that it helps in "prioritizing" but I fear that this rating will be seen as more of a end in itself rather than a means to an end (ultimately, improving Wikipedia). That is, I fear that more time will be spent debating an novel's importance than improving the article. Indeed, it seems like the very word "importance" should be replaced with the seemingly more appropriate "popular" (which, according to the first explanatory paragraph, seems to be the primary criterion).

Which leads me to another point: the two paragraphs (as they are now) completely contradict each other. The first paragraph cites popularity as the determining criteria. The second cites importance. These are clearly very different criteria. As someone with an interest in Japanese literature, I can give you a slew of novels that would rate low in popularity from the definition given on the Project page: "the probability of the average reader of Wikipedia needing to look up the topic" but high in importance with respect to their place in the canon of Japanese literature. But if you start including these novels, where does one draw the line? What if I'm an expert in postmodern Danish feminist writing and can argue for the inclusion of 15 novels in this "top" rating? At this point, what real/practical value does this rating have? Could one really argue against a given novel's importance, given this broad definition?

I like the idea of rating articles for quality, as this is something that can be assessed fairly objectively. Why not rate articles just on quality, and let interested editors search out articles they are able to improve? I fear that these ratings will be harmful first because they are ultimately subjective and probably doomed to be biased, in present form poorly defined, and ultimately run the risk of turning from descriptive to prescriptive ratings. It's well and good to rate Novel A as being important and thus in need of attention, but what does it say to someone who comes across Novel B that is rated of little or no importance? What incentive exists to improve this article? I am of the opinion that any novel deemed worthy of a Wikipedia article is of importance of some kind.

I make this comments in good faith ... but that old phrase about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions keeps ringing in my ears. I applaud the aim, but wonder if a different method could not be used. CES 00:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

It is a controversial part of the assessment system, however it exists beyond "Novels" and across the WP:1.0 and WP:0.5 assessments world. The other thing is that although our description of the idea may be suspect and help would be welcome to improve it, however the idea of varying levels of importance is intrinsic to wikipedia. Notice the "notability" criteria issues, which you yourself allude to in the phrase "any novel deemed worthy of a Wikipedia article". In other words there are articles worthy of inclusion and some not; this is just a slight extension of that idea and between articles. The motivational issues are real and we need to struggle our way through those. Can I suggest you have a look at the pages related to WP:1.0 and WP:0.5 and their project aims the assessment, and particularly the importance / priority side is largely to assist those projects. If you have more questions or suggestions please do include them. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:44, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
While I understand that WP0.5 and 1.0 must select a limited number of articles in a limited amount of time, general Wikipedia does not have these specific needs. Thus I am still a little unsure of what purpose this system serves, outside of that narrow purpose. I still don't like this system, but if it is to be in place, please consider the following suggestions:
  • Decide between "popularity" and "importance". To me it seems a no-brainer--importance should be the way to go. An extreme example, but if one had to choose between the inclusion of say, Harry Potter or A Tale of Two Cities, in Wikipedia it seems like Dickens should win even though Harry is probably much more popular by just about any measure. But either way, it's apples and oranges. No, it's worse than that--at least those are both types of fruit. Instead it's more like comparing vegetables and desserts. Indeed, judging the importance of novels is about as risky as trying to judge the importance of food. Without further sub-specification (I'll get to that in a minute) this scale is next to meaningless.
  • Specific criteria for judging "importance" are needed. The criteria for the Quality scale, while far from perfect, is lightyears ahead of the Importance scale, which is not much better than "Important" / "Kind of Important" / "Not too important" / "A little bit important". Editors need to be able to use more than personal opinion to judge both which novels do belong in a category, but perhaps more importantly, which do not belong.
  • Further subcategorization is needed ... Harry Potter, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Wizard of Oz, and The Lord of the Rings are lumped together with Anna Karenina, Don Quixote, and Ulysses in the "top importance" list. Maybe I am the only one who considers this eclectic collection rather bizarre, or (hopefully) others see the folly of trying to "rank" works in such a diverse field. A step in the right direction might be to subcategorize: have lists of "top" Science Fiction novels, "top" Russian literature, "top" 19th century British literature. This might also help to reduce the western (heck, I can further confine that to read "Anglo-American") bias currently in this list. If the decision is to go with popularity as the criterion, then this bias is a necessary discriminator. If importance is the criterion, however, then this type of effort would be indispensible because the lists as they are now, when judged from the viewpoint of importance are just plain silly, especially beyond the "top importance" category. The God Emperor of Dune is of high importance while Kokoro is of mid-importance along with Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator Part 1? Maybe the God Emperor of Dune is a keystone piece in the SF literature (tongue in cheek), but I can tell you that Kokoro is in the Top 5 or at least Top 10 in any discussion of important Japanese literature. At the very least, it ranks a few spots ahead of Boogiepop Returns.
If these are inappripriately rated and you have more knowledge than us about them (which by your statements suggest), please rerate the importance on them. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:18, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Within these subcategories, perhaps percentage quotas for the various ranks could be established. If 70% of the novels in Children's Fiction are graded "top importance", the ranking ceases to have meaning. With quotas as well, one would have to argue not only why a novel deserves to be included in a category, but also why it deserves to bump out another less-deserving novel.
I could probably think of more, but I'll stop for now ... I think this is an idea with merit on a conceptual level, but the execution should've been given more thought before it was implemented. I hope my comments help. CES 01:39, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I totally agree with CES on this, and further I believe that such a rating shouldn't even be attempted amidst the well known biases present in Wikipedia. Judging whether a book is notable, and/or very notable is easy enough. Generally sales are a good judge of popularity for modern writings, and there are surely many notable sources online and offline giving lists of "must-read selections" in every language that there exists a significant body of well-written literature. Any further attempt at ordering novels/books according to "popularity" or "notability" must be based purely on original research and is thus fundamentally un-Wikipedian, and the fact that this information will not be presented in article space does not change anything: the effects of such a ranking would be reflected in article quality, quantity of articles, etc.
This simply isn't needed, and there's no reason that anyone should follow the example of Wikipedia 1.0/0.5 when common sense dictates that it isn't a good idea in the first place.
Honestly, if Wikipedian topics were limited to the UK and the US, it might be possible. It might be possible to gather enough sources to compile a somewhat balanced picture of the history of English literature. I'm sure many Wikipedian editors still haven't realized how much of a bias actually exists, as they are so busy trying to smoothe out topics on US and UK issues. In that sense I can understand why some people might think this is a good idea, and I commend the members of WikiProject Novels for their efforts at improving the content and reception of such a fundamental and necessary subject area. Representing the other Wikipedia editors who aren't focusing on English issues, though, I ask you to reconsider your methods.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  03:40, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I just noticed that A Tale of Cities actually rates beneath Harry Potter, and on the same level as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. What is going on here?!? The more I look through the books categorized by importance, the stronger I feel that this system needs to stop; either permanently, or at least temporarily until these major flaws can be fixed. That is, if anyone is actually reading this page ... CES 23:39, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Kevinalewis answered your questions. I'm sorry that you didn't like them, but this attitude of yours (anybody home?) is not helping. Errabee 08:53, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
If attempting to have a logical debate on the purpose and operationalization of this importance scale is considered having an attitude, then I sure do have an attitude. I thank Kevinalewis for his response, but it did not address any of my points. It does no good to simply change the ratings of a few novels when the entire rating system has some major flaws (which I attempted to first identify, second give examples, and third suggest improvements). Simply recategorizing a few novels would be like putting a bandaid over a gunshot wound and then debating the size and color of the bandaid while the patient bled out. Reading the comments both before and after mine on this talk page, I see that a good number of people have similar concerns to mine. I took Kevinalewis' invitation for suggestions at face value, and I hoped that my comments and suggestions might be a foundation for improvement (and I still do). As a member of other WikiProjects, I know there is the knee-jerk reaction to build walls against outsiders to your Project, but the decisions a few dozen people make here affect millions of users, especially given that Novel articles likely get significant user traffic. While I appeciate the zeal that members of this Project seem to have to hit the ground running and start rating novels, I hope that you can accept constructive criticism with open ears and discuss this rating system and how it can be improved. CES 15:04, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Make no mistake, I am quite unhappy with the rating system as it is. But as Kevinalewis already pointed out, this rating system is used throughout Wikipedia, and the correct procedure to try and change it is to try to change the Wikipedia 0.5 and Wikipedia 1.0 rating systems. Also, I find edit summaries like Anybody home? and statements like That is, if anyone is actually reading this page ... offensive and denigrating, and would appreciate it if you would show some more courtesy. To summarize, I totally agree with some of the changes you propose, but I am very unhappy with the way in which you present them. Errabee 18:01, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Am personally quite happy to take improvements to the way "WPNovels" implements the rating system (however see Silverthorn's comments below about the principle and wikipedia issues) and if a more objective scheme for their application (to novels) can be "simply" described - I think we should look at it. As a quick personal summary, I don't think this should be about the "quality" of the novel, it should be about notability (as defined elsewhere), some aspects of popularity (geographically neutral), with consideration of media transfers (e.g. to film) and awards and nominations. The article itself should be the "prime" source for this notability information and this information should be encourage from article editors. How does all that sound as a starting place? :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 17:45, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe this is a case of anyone putting up walls against outsiders. If you read Kevinalewis's remarks again, you will see that the importance policy is a Wikipedia one, not a novels project one specifically. Yes, it has its flaws, and it is ones that those discussing the assessment of top-importance novels keep running into. Nonetheless, if you have concerns about the assigning of importance values generally then it sounds like an issue that needs to be taken up further up the ladder as the changes would need to be implemented across Wikipedia as a whole. Whatever we institute has to fit in with Wikipedia policy. We can't just make things up for this project and expect everyone else to fall into line. If you have concerns that are project-specific, then this is obviously the place to address them. However, at this point I would ask for ideas of what you would like to see changed, and not simply complaints about the current system. If you don't like the current system, what would you like to see instead? Silverthorn 16:46, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

That comment about walls was directed more towards the "it's been answered, deal with it" remark above ... I appreciated Kevinalewis' (and your) response and receptiveness to discuss novel assessment. I am not terribly familiar with this system, and I hope we can all learn from each other here. CES 22:50, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Comments (due to time constraints I have to be fairly brief but I will try to check back soon)
  • Perhaps I am missing something (very possible, as I am relatively new to this Importance scale), but even though Importance is a Wikipedia-wide term, isn't its application to novels this project's responsibility? I understand that notability is Wikipedia policy, but isn't this "importance scale" just a guideline to help decide which articles should receive priority for improvement/inclusion in something like WP1.0? If it is a policy, then where can I find the specific wording that defines importance? If such a definition does not exist, why can't WikiProject Novels create one that is specific to novels?
  • Why can't this very wide category (Novels) be split into smaller groups? As it is now, comparisons between apples and oranges are being made, and the result is a mess. But if this project could create a set number of subcategories and rate novels accordingly, the ratings might become more consistant across genres.
  • I have not heard where the paragraphs with different guidelines come from (i.e. the "popularity one":the probability of the average reader of Wikipedia needing to look up the topic vs. the "importance one":topics which may seem obscure to a Western audience—but which are of high notability in other places—should still be highly rated). If these are Wikipedia "policies", where is the original source?
  • Kevinalewis (may I just call you Kevin?) is on the right track when he seeks objective criteria ... to me this is like using Google searches when trying to determine notability or common usage. While it's not perfect, at least it's an objective, comparable criteria. Kevin is asking the basic question that is at the heart of this problem: what makes a novel important? And he's certainly hit on some potential criteria. Let's develop these and some more. In general, this scale is doomed to be at least somewhat subjective (as all notability issues are) but at the very least it would be nice to make it a little less arbitrary and a lot more consistant. CES 18:52, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Importance, notability, and assessment[edit]

After the last discussion on all of this (Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Novels/Assessment/Top-important), I retreated because it seemed as though we were getting nowhere. Why? Because people are going at this from different directions. The way I see it, we have to start with the rationale for having an assessment process. The rationale is not to debate the merits of particular novels, nor to create a hierarchy of literature, nor to establish some kind of Wikipedia canon of world literature. We have an assessment to determine which articles need to be included and made complete and thorough. So, all the articles that are deemed necessary must be given Top importance, all those deemed highly desirable should be given High importance, etc. There are various criteria for deeming a book to be necessary (related to why users might search for an article) - familiarity, inclusion in a canon, recognition by literary awards, inclusion in school cirricula, adaptation into other media, influence on society, politics, culture, influence on later literary works. Any novel can deserve Top importance by having a large degree of notability in any of these areas or by having a smaller degree of notability in more than one. If we assess each novel against these criteria (preferably using external sources to evaluate, not subjective opinion), it doesn't matter what other books are rated as, it doesn't matter if the majority of editors haven't heard of a book (e.g. when evaluating national or generic novels). Again and again, people want to compare books rather than evaluate or assess them on an absolute scale. It's just as important for Wikipedia to have an article about Harry Potter as about Great Expectations, though there can be no dispute that the latter is canonical and the former not so much. I don't think sorting the novels into groups is necessary--we just need to spell out some guidelines for what makes an article for a novel necessary. So maybe we could use those criteria I mentioned above and give some details about what the difference might be between, for example, Top literary award recognition (e.g. IMPAC Dublin, Nobel, Booker) and High (e.g. Pulitzer, Giller, Newbery) [after debate, we might decide that any major award winner deserves Top]. As I've said elsewhere, I think that if a novel has achieved notability outside of its sphere (international recognition for a non-American/non-British book, familiarity beyond its genre) it should be elevated from High to Top.

Then comes the question of what to do about the assessed articles. If an article is rated Top it should get some priority in monthly collaborations, it should be featured in the newsletter, etc. I notice that though there are a slew of currently Top-rated articles that have been neglected, there are low or mid rated articles asking for editors in the newsletter.--Ibis3 20:12, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

A helpful contribution and one I find broad agreement with. If you could think about knocking the bones of this into a draft proposal on criteria for this (article importance / priority), I would strongly support this. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 08:37, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks. I'm happy that I've found some support for this approach. It seems most in line with Wikipedia principles. I'll look into doing a draft proposal with criteria and examples. It might take a week or so.--Ibis3 23:09, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Good points above, but a couple of questions.
(1) How to define "major" literary awards? Would, for instance, the Miles Franklin Award qualify, or any of the other nationality-based awards? I might agree to this, for the purposes of breadth, provided that these award winners showed some good sales or critical praise outside of their home country.
(2) Would the Hugo Award, or the Edgar Award, or any of the other top genre awards qualify? Personally, I would wonder about the top genre awards being qualifiers, because of the small scope of the genres in both breadth and time.
(3) Unfortunately, the biggest one. Depending on how wide we spread the net here, we could have somewhere in the vicinity of 1000 novels at "Top" importance. Would this really do any good, or would the sheer number of "Top" novels contribute to possibly argumentative nominations for collaboration? Would there be heated discussion about choosing a collaboration between as disparate a range of books as, for instance, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Shane, A Princess of Mars, Dracula, and The Scarlet Letter, where the fans of each genre advocate their own genre's nominee to the detriment of the non-genre title, which may well be of more universal impact? Here I honestly don't know the answer, but think that the possibility of it happening is unfortunately a fairly good one. Badbilltucker 23:49, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
  • As I've said, my idea is that national and genre-based award winners should rate as of High importance. If there is evidence that such winners have also made an impression beyond national borders or genre limits (e.g. by being short-listed for an international award, by recognition outside the genre etc. it should be elevated to Top importance--thus children's books that are part of mainstream adult culture would qualify for example). If it turns out that 1000 novels of all the novels that have ever been written qualify for Top status, that doesn't seem excessive. It's much better that than have so many novels of canonical status or high popularity be relegated to mid or low that there is no distinction between them and a pulp romance, run of the mill series novels (think Star Trek, Buffy, Sweet Valley High), or fly by night thriller. We really have to think more along the lines of "Are there going to be people looking up the Pulitzer winner? Yes. Well then there ought to be an article for it." If we're worried about heated debate for collaborations, why not just choose a Top rated article at random each month? Those editors that can contribute will. If they can't, they'll just choose to contribute to other (hopefully Top or High ranked) articles. The same could happen for newsletter featured books (Improve, Create etc.). --Ibis3 23:07, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
I completely agree.
Criterion which seem to me to be accessible, and most meaningful, are realted to "popularity".
When voting, I went thgrough the results of "Moje kniha" (="My book") poll [1] (conducted about two years ago in Czech republic) and tried to search the assessed books there, and vote in favour of that present. The poll was inspired by similar done in other countries, so, probably, some list of such lists could be compiled and some measure of world popularity set up by counting of occurence of books in such lists.
Another availiable number (or et least I hope so) are sales statistics.
And - another intersting number may be article views statistics - to take as the most importat for readers simply what they read most often.
What's probably harder are some criteria on "importance". Personaly I find the above mentioned importance arguments quite suspect - statements comparing "The Lord of the Rings" (presumably low literary value?) with "Ulysses" (presumably high literary value?) sound more like a premise than result of some evaluation. --Wikimol 22:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  • We aren't evaluating literary value, but article necessity. Ulysses and The Lord of the Rings require thorough Wikipedia articles.--Ibis3 23:07, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Momo (novel)[edit]

Could someone please review the assessment of this article. It's rated as stub-class but the article is very substantial, nothing like a stub at all. Also, though this is more subjective, it's rated low-importance which doesn't seem so nice. The novel was quite popular in Germany, was translated into many languages and made into a film, the author was one of Germany's best-known childrens' writers, and the book itself has apparently been influential. 22:06, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

resassesed on request- although this could have gone on the main page. Ressigned Start as it is more than the most basic of articles, also it has been adapted a few times which suggests more natability. However do note that this aspect should be based on the notability of the article's subject and there is little in the article on this subject. "==Literary significance & criticism==" section should be provided to give more credance to the article and it's accurate rating. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 12:10, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Dream of the Red Chamber[edit]

It is assessed as the greatest novel of China all the time by most Chinese scholars. Why it only rated as Mid-importance here? Yao Ziyuan 10:34, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Raised to High and comments on rationale left with the novel. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 11:29, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I suggest this as top importance, you can do some Google research, this is widely considered as Chinese novel number one. Yao Ziyuan 11:38, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't necessarily disagree with the assignment - however you miss the point. The article does not demonstrate the notability or importance of the novel it only states it. I have added a few "cite needed" tags where I think some extra referencing is needed. I nearly added a WP:OR notice as it has all those hallmarks. Agreed there is a set of references. The problem is that there is no clear linkage between the references and what is stated in the article. If this is as inmportant a novel as you claim (and I don't doubt it) then it deserves a detailed, comprehensive, well researched and documented article. It's is close but just needs a little bit more work. Thanks :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 13:22, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I see. The article is still poor developed. Those I have claimed were from others' reviews. Unfortunately, I've never actually read it, so I might not help too much on this novel. Yao Ziyuan 14:34, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I've changed some assessment for Chinese novels[edit]

I changed the assessment to my understanding of Chinese literature and Wikipedia:WikiProject_Novels/Assessment#Importance_scale. I know many average westerners might be know little about Chinese literature as well as Chinese novels, so you might never heard of some very famous novels. That doesn't matter. It is due to the gap between western and eastern cultures. Comments are always welcome. Yao Ziyuan 12:08, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

It would be good if you could use the Wikipedia:WikiProject_Novels/Assessment/Top-important page to discuss the assignment to Top importance. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 13:16, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


The criteria used for rating article importance are not meant to be an absolute or canonical view of how significant the topic is. Rather, they attempt to gauge the probability of the average reader of Wikipedia needing to look up the topic (and thus the immediate need to have a suitably well-written article on it). Thus, subjects with greater popular notability may be rated higher than topics which are arguably more "important" but which are of interest primarily to students of literature.

they attempt to gauge the probability of the average reader of Wikipedia needing to look up the topic (and thus the immediate need to have a suitably well-written article on it).

Why is this criteria set? How do you "gauge the probability of the average reader of Wikipedia needing to look up the topic"? Note this is the 'Importance scale', not the "bestseller scale". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The word "importance" slightly unfortunate (some project use "priority") the intention is to assess the relative importance of having an article in wikipedia, so yes bestseller, awards, etc and all other aspects of notability defined more comprehensively elsewhere are a factor. Determining what these are based on verifiable information available may be another issue. But that is the aim. Not "purely" literary merit. Which is in itself to some extent subjective. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 07:49, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Encyclopedic content[edit]

Hi all. I was wondering if people consider encyclopedic content when rating the quality of articles on books. Many books have overly detailed plot summaries, which is not within the scope of Wikipedia articles. Some articles are little more than plot summaries. I didn't see a mention of this anywhere, and I was just hoping that encyclopedic content would be factored in to the quality assessment. Thanks. ~MDD4696 14:24, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

The Plague[edit]

Camus' novel The Plague has been selected for this month's Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/Collaboration. Since it is rated Top-importance by Project Novels, I hope you'll be able to help! --EncycloPetey 19:37, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Copyright warning[edit]

In the last week, I have found major sections in the articles on Midnight's Children and Adam Bede to be direct and literal copies from Gradesaver and similar sources, available online, & actually cited and linked on the face of the article. (identified material has been removed, and the person inserting it warned.) There is a characteristic writing style in study guides such as these, presumably designed to impress teachers when submitted as essays. Only the most careless of teachers would be deceived when the material is used without modification--and it looks like WP is about as careless as any. These were the first two articles I checked, and a number of people have edited the article over many months without noticing. I urge editors in this project to check the articles they are working on. I intend to continue looking from time to time but do not want to take this burden for the entire content of this project. DGG (talk) 03:52, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Need help moving or archiving...I think...[edit]

You know that point where you just start clicking on any link shown and have no idea what's happening and start to panic? That's what I get for trying to read the instructions to do it myself. I'm trying to request another peer review for To Kill a Mockingbird. I've never archived and moved stuff, so I don't know what I've done. This makes me feel like my dad, shouting instructions at the monitor...I'm so much more hip than this, really!! Help! --Moni3 13:46, 11 September 2007 (UTC) Moni3

Hi, you will need to look at the Novels Peer Review page for instructions. Have a look and then ask again if things are unclear. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:04, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yes, I did that. It's been reviewed at least twice before, so I think I have a double redirect to the archive page. I had to give up and ask you fine folks because I don't get what I'm doing, and too much reading of Wikipedia instructions and bits of my brain fly out of my ears and hit the wall next to where I sit. --Moni3 14:10, 11 September 2007 (UTC)Moni3

Critical reception[edit]

Does this term mean review-critics or scholarly-critics or both? I've been adding lists of scholarly studies to author and book pages (especially those needing evidence of notability), but I'm not sure how I should label the section: Scholarly articles? Critical studies? Aristophanes68 (talk) 14:22, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't see that the "critical" is further qualified so all types would be included. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:50, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


Assessment is waste of time that would be better spent improving articles. EdQuine (talk) 14:22, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Assessment plays an important part in project maintenance, not only for the WikiProject but for the entire encyclopedia. You're more than welcome to improve articles and not assess them; just don't be surprised if someone steps in and does it for you. :) María (habla conmigo) 14:51, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


I noticed The Slap was rated as low importance and given it just won the Commonwealth Writers Prize I felt it deserved at least mid so increase it. I then checked last years The Book of Negroes (novel) which to my surprise was also low as was Mister Pip although the The Secret River is mid. I know we aren't talking about the Man Booker Prize but do others agree that any book having won the Commonwealth Writers Prize is likely automatically entitled to a minimum of mid or am I completely off base here and do others feel it isn't sufficient in itself (I don't do assessments and am not really a participant in any wikiproject)? Nil Einne (talk) 16:20, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I would encourage you to get as involved as you are able. We need those who can spot things like this. I would agree and will change those you mentioned. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 14:10, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Browsing through this discussion page I see a farrago of disagreements based on subjective judgements. The very idea of rating novels according to the undefined (and undefinable) term "Importance" is not helpful in any way to users of an encyclopedia, and is in conflict with Wikipedia's NPOV policy. It should be discontinued. Ericlord (talk) 11:15, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Given that importance ratings go on the talk page, and not the article page, their purpose is not to be helpful to users, but to be helpful to editors, and particularly, to be useful to editors of this project in terms of prioritizing work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. john k (talk) 17:24, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Couldn't have said it better John! :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 11:03, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

First assessment question[edit]

I just tried my first assessment (The Faerie Wars Chronicles) and changing the class on the talk was fine, but it didn't change on the main page (the tag that says "a -class article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Did I do something wrong? Oh, and feel free to change the assessment if you think it's wrong! PrincessofLlyr (talk) 18:44, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

It sometimes happens. You didn't do anything wrong. Its just that Wikipedia's server have not recognised the change yet. You can force it to change by purging the page (IE: hold down the Ctrl key and click the Refresh or Reload button. Firefox: Ctrl-Shift-R. Konqueror and Safari: Just click the Reload button. Extremepro (talk) 21:33, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Monthly Changes[edit]

The Monthly changes section is missing C-scale articles. Can this be added in? Derild4921 00:39, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Uh, probably, but that table hasn't been updated since 2007, so is it really worth it? PrincessofLlyr royal court 01:47, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh, that probably won't matter then! Derild4921 01:55, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Hey, I updated it in Feb '09, give me some credit! ;) —Ed (talkmajestic titan) 02:51, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Little Problem[edit]

I have been waiting about two days to get a rating for an article I submitted. No one is repling. Can someone do that please? I would be very grateful. Cheers! UserDarkJak495 talk orange 22:19, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately, we are a little light on the manpower right now, and Wiki discussion speed can be atrociously slow because many of us are busy in our real lives as well. Sorry about that, Sadads (talk) 23:22, 1 February 2011 (UTC)


Can someone rank my article? I would really appreciate it. Cheers!UserDarkJak495 talk orange 12:55, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Hey, relax. Updating the assessment of an article really isn't that big of a deal. Also, there's not a lot that has significantly changed since the last assessment, meaning that the class hasn't really changed. Keep working, but you probably don't have to worry about requesting the assessment here - several people are watching the article and probably would be willing to update the assessment when appropriate. PrincessofLlyr royal court 13:52, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Can you tell me what sections need to be worked on and expanded? And can you help with the article please? Thanks!UserDarkJak495 talk orange 20:12, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Importance question[edit]

In high importance we have 8 articles, including a Hardy Boys. In core we have only 3. I think that Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage is of greater literary importance than the Hardy Boys; the same with Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. I think we should re-think these designations. Thoughts? Truthkeeper88 (talk) 18:38, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what categories to which you are referring: Category:High-importance novel articles seems to have 962 articles. By 'core', are you referring to Category:Top-importance novel articles (which has 125 articles)? maclean (talk) 20:03, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
That wasn't very clear. I was referring to the FA class articles linked on the table here. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 20:17, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
My thoughts on the 'importance' designations is that they are inherently subjective. I am not aware of any criteria that makes one Top and the other High. I guess if there was a real criteria, the 'importance' would be a mainspace category, not a Wikiproject category. It is my understanding that the 'importance' designations were originally conceived as a priorty setting mechanism for WikiProjects to follow (work on the High importance articles first, then the Medium important ones). My preference is to remove the 'importance' designations categories altogether. As I find the WikiProject Importance categories irrelevant to the WikiProject and otherwise trivial, I, for one, have no objection to moving the proposed articles to the proposed importance categories. -maclean (talk) 20:58, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
That makes a lot of sense. I never understood how they were designated, but if based on work-to-be-done, then yes, makes a lot of sense. In that case, since the two I've noted are finished, they should be demoted in importance rather than promoted. Truthkeeper88 (talk) 21:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

{Novels} banner and basic assessment[edit]

Should editors who do not belong to this WikiProject or one of its task forces sometimes edit a Talk page to allocate an article about a book? Or always place the {Books} project banner where there is none —the most general if i understand correctly?

Should we sometimes edit a Talk page to revise quality assessment? For example, revise class=Stub to class=Start or even to class=C? If not that, what about revise class=Stub to class= [unassessed]?

I do edit Article categories and stub tags, of course. And I do edit the Talk page project banners on technical points such as needs-infobox and needs-infobox-cover. --P64 (talk) 19:21, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I see that Wikipedia:WikiProject Children's literature#Assessing articles clearly welcomes everyone to place the banner and to assess: "Any user can add ... Any user can assess ...". --P64 (talk) 19:34, 25 October 2011 (UTC)