Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Opinion desk/Vital articles debate/Archive

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I can't wait to see how this ends

So hey. I'm really glad to see this coming along what with it supposed to be a story about TCO's dumb presentation and say hey TCO is going to write the story about it and also thoughtfully reply to all the criticisms. That exceeds the highest standard of integrity and intellectual honesty.

Wikipedia's all done now. We can go home. Yay. --Moni3 (talk) 22:45, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Since TCO went off and named specific editors based a poor range of data and hasty assumptions; that ye are going to inclide the phrase "Dabblers (low importance, low production)", is just fucking unbelievable. Is there any crediabity here, at all. I know smorch has it all rationalised in his head, that he's just reporting, but mary christ, this is dissapointing and tabloid crap, and way beyond personal attack and civility and into the realms of character assination. Lovely stuff ye are cooking here. TCO, you've lost me now, you and smooch can go fuck yerselves and delight in yer spite. The sheer arrogance, describing fellow volunteers as "low importance"!. What right do ye have to name people (including me) like that and then widely publish it. Pair of pricks. Ceoil (talk) 23:43, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
If you would to climb off your high horses for half a second and appreciate the fact that the section added by TCO is a submission for inclusion, to be reviewed and edited by Signpost staff to make sure it meets standards, that is intended as one half of a debate (assuming a critic of the view propounded will be willing to step up to the task) on the treatment of core topics (not – as I have made blindingly clear on the FAC talkpage – about personalities or contributors). The debate has not been "widely published", it hasn't been published at all, because it isn't even written yet, never mind reviewed and approved. Spare the vitriol for where it's called for and show some self-respect; both of you are better than doling out this toxicity. Skomorokh 00:20, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
More self justification, attack and excuses. The page is visible at the moment no, and what you are basically saying your going to take toxic shit, and soften it enough so that it flys within whats deemed acceptable to the community, but still retains, at an acceptably low enough level, its essential, ill informed stench. Nice one. Go you. My impression, Skomorokh, for whats it worth is a preson rubbing thier hands with glee at 'finding' drama and dirth, not a detached observing 'journalist' attempting to canvass openion so as to provide a balanced view. Eg all your post on the matter have been defensive and accusative towards the other view. That may be unfair, I'm sure you are kind to cats etc. Ceoil (talk) 00:58, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Those sympathetic to the analysis have yet to attack my character for the mere suggestion that a public debate on the actual issues might be a good idea; don't worry, once they do I will defend fiercely that principle too. As for your accusation of my attitude, I have my record of five years as a Wikipedia contributor minimising drama and repairing relations to stand on there, and proudly do I stand on it. If I had wanted to rile up drama I would have stoked the fires at WT:FAC instead of trying to focus people on the issues and not the personalities involved here. I'd like to repeat my invitation to you or any other critic of the analysis to step up and show some fibre in representing the critical view here; the community will benefit from the best arguments on the substance, not the personal politics, of the matter at hand. If you're not so inclined, I don't hope to change your opinion on myself (can't abide cats) but you could at least do me the courtesy of judging the newspaper based on its actual published content rather than drawing rash conclusions from works in progress. In all sincerity, Skomorokh 01:19, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Skomorokh, dont flatter yourself that I knew who the hell you were 5 days ago, I'm only voicing on your behaviour since, and there has been plenty of rebutial in the meantime, I notice few are included in your draft. That lack of balance is for you to worry about not me as I am not the one pretending to have journalistc integrity, and anyway I remember you mentioning all most from the first you were not so much intetested in the substance so much as the reaction, which is just the definition of ill informed (or willingly uninformed) sensationalist fleet street hiding in the bush, bollicks. Ceoil (talk) 01:33, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
[1]. Ceoil (talk) 01:42, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Further, I dont one fuck how long you've been here. A blinkered prick is still a blinkered prick, regardless of tenure. Ceoil (talk) 01:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think I've made myself understood here and I doubt you have the slightest interest in being receptive at this point so I will leave it at this. Skomorokh 01:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Your compleatly and utterly missing the point saying that we should leave it. I'm trying to ask to hold your horses and think and listen. See the difference. Ceoil (talk) 02:47, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
It's rather hard to listen when the other fella is roaring about what an almighty prick with the lowest of intentions you are; tell me this, would you think and listen politely if someone was treating you like that? Skomorokh 02:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Would you prefered if I turned off the all caps or used smaller words. If thats the best argument you have. I obviously have better self awarness and less easily offended internal dialog. Ceoil (talk) 03:18, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not offended in the slightest; I'd quite like to hear i) what about the version overleaf that has turned you from offering TCO thoughtful critique to spitting rage and ii) what you meant about about " I'm trying to ask to hold your horses and think and listen". Seriously, Skomorokh 03:31, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Your out of your dept. Ceoil (talk) 03:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Do you have anything of substance to say about the opinion overleaf? If so, please, let's hear it. If not, please, stop wasting both our time. Skomorokh 03:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually yes, and I'll say it again for the hard or hearing. [2]. Jesus christ man your pretending to be a journalist, this was linked two cmts above. Ceoil (talk) 04:58, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Sk, considering TCO's acknowledgment that he formulated hypotheses without ever reading or understanding the methodology employed in the first cited study (how it accounted for the fact that most articles are typically not assessed at all on Wikipedia), and that lack of rigour typifies the work in his "analysis", I'm afraid it's becoming more and more clear whose time is being wasted here. Is it really fair to ask anyone to take their time to rebut what TCO calls "gotcha bullshit", which is what he did to the Hurricane Project, Ucucha, and Iridescent? There's no foundation here worthy of the time invested in it; we've got more important issues to work on. He who knows why ALoan is no longer around knows what ails the Wikipedia, and that problem can't be solved by FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:59, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Is the whole thrust of the response to the analysis not that people should be free to invest their time in writing on whatever topic they want?
There are always going to be methodological issues with an informal study like this; sample size, poor assessment scheme to work with, and so on. I don't mean to trivialise them. But what's in mind with the debate is not a judgement on the scientific merits of TCO's piece, but addressing the more abstract question of whether article writers have an obligation to the readers to redirect their efforts.
Getting the piece into a readable and well-argued presentation is the first step; kicking the tyres on the supporting citations will only come in once that's achieved and in the meantime I ask no effort of anyone but the author and myself as editor. It remains to be seen whether a viable piece will emerge from the process, but if not, it's only our own time that is being wasted. Skomorokh 04:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Is the whole thrust of the response to the analysis not that people should be free to invest their time in writing on whatever topic they want? Yes, partly (I think there's much more to this whole business than that, including the "gotcha" that led to a faulty analysis, but that's a big piece), but this isn't the way to deliver the message. Unless we're just after drahmaz, which is all this will do. If we want to do down this path, we'd have to take on the question of why there isn't more outreach from FAC, and what role The Signpost played in that. We wrote quality outreach from WP:FCDW-- who killed it? This simplistic analysis (which really was nothing but "gotcha") isn't the way to motivate anyone, or achieve the goals stated by any serious parties who desire the best for Wikipedia and its writers. Those would be the people who behave responsibly, for example, wrt RTV. We can't get there from here-- insulting a whole lot of people who do a whole lot of work to get a point across is not the way to go. The piece as it stands is simply not even close to a good starting piece, and when we put out pieces from the Dispatches, we typically polished them for weeks, and those weren't controversial or loaded topics, started by someone with an axe to grind. We can't get this one right from here. I repeat-- if you want to do this right, I'll be on board, but after the holidays is the way to do it right. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I would be a delighted to aid FAC recruitment with a return of the dispatches in that form, so long as it was managed by responsible FAC regular, and not rushed out under deadline.
You might very well be right about this story, but that remains to be seen, and speaking personally, the process thus far has been sufficiently enlightening to easily compensate for the effort expended. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Skomorokh 04:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Re FCDW, that would be grand-- those who tried to take it over before killing it wanted to put things out in a hurry that were exceedingly poorly written and weren't adequately reviewed.
Re this article, a bit more feedback (just taking on one thing wrong as taking on all of them will simply take too much time !!) It will only get worse if this sloppy piece of work has to be analyzed in public in detail. Since TCO started this out by personalizing and singling out individual editors and articles, how does one defend without discussing the specific problems with his examples? I haven't even started on how wrong TCO's many examples are, but let's look at the Garrondo Parkinson's example. OK, I happen to know that Garrondo himself has acknowledged that English is his second language, his prose is very rough, which is why he needs collaborators and values them, so he won't be insulted by my discussing his prose, but it is utterly totally 100% false for TCO to be putting Garrondo's work forward as the top example of "solo work" (TCO's entire premise is flawed)-- Garrondo himself acknowledges he can't do it himself, which is why that article's edit history shows almost every medical editor on the project in there, and they ALL helped significantly. Must I really go into this level of detail to Tell You That TCO Has Trolled FAC and this discussion can't go anywhere but downhill? Every example TCO gives is wrong on every level-- you can put together numbers to pretend to show anything, which is what he's done, but scientific rigour is lacking. Yes, there is a real article somewhere in this mess, but this isn't it-- unless it's just to build drama for the real Sue Gardner issue, which is bad enough. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:57, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Not good journalism

This isn't good journalism. If Signpost is going to be featuring pro/con discussions, Signpost editors should determine the discussion topic and then solicit writers to present opposing opinions independently of each other and at the same time. The formulation of question itself is biased and vague: "Are core articles being neglected at the top?" presupposes 1. there are "core" articles and 2. it is agreed upon what those core articles are. And my reaction to the latter portion is "top of what?" This is like letting one candidate in a (USA) presidential debate pick the questions. Additionally, since TCO has already presented their viewpoint and others have reacted, he can change his rhetoric to better promote his viewpoint.Gerardw (talk) 03:06, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Gerard, well spotted; debates and journalism are two distinct things. Do you think it is unusual for respected publications to run debates on issues of the day involving the participants? Because that would be remarkably at odds with reality. The core articles discussed here are agreed upon, and are individually listed; this is the exact opposite of vague. The quality rating assessment scheme is similarly objectively demarcated, with GA, A and FA at the top.
As to one of the debaters changing their argument in response to criticism, god forbid! This might even improve the quality of the debate, and that surely would be good err journalism. Skomorokh 03:13, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I think it is quite usual; I think it is quite unusual for one of the two parties formulates the question. As far as WP:VITAL --1) if that is to be the topic, the topic should say "vital" or ("so-called vital") , not "core" 2) I've been here awhile and never heard of it -- no link that I can find from Wikipedia:About, so apparently is only "agreed upon" by policy wonks, and 3) if it was actually the consensus of the Wikipedia community that those are vital, why aren't they already dominating the FA/GA best article lists? The empirical evidence strongly suggests the community doesn't particularly care about this obscure list. Gerardw (talk) 12:42, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
We do give bonus points for VA at WP:TFA/R. Doesn't happen too often, I know we had one in October.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Wehwalt, I'll add that in the background. Skomorokh 13:56, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Premise: There exists a community accepted set of vital articles, and they are being neglected.
Rebuttal: If the community considered the articles vital, they wouldn't be neglected. Therefore, if the articles are being neglected, the community doesn't actually consider them vital. Quod erat demonstrandum. While other postulates could be made, by Occam's Razor this is the explanation we should accept.
If Signpost wished to post a NPOV debate, I'd suggest something like: 'Does Wikipedia consider a set of articles vital?' (We could then use TCO's data to illustrate that it doesn't, or the ones on "the list" aren't them). Gerardw (talk) 13:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Are you really contesting the idea that articles like Jesus and China and History of art somehow aren't core topics for an encyclopaedia, that there exists some major disagreement on this point, or that these topics aren't generally the focus of featured article writing? That is not the question; the question is whether this relative lack of focus on core topics suggests there is something seriously wrong with we as a article writing community have gone awry or done our readers a disservice thereby. Skomorokh 13:56, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I think the question (sans agenda) would be "Are Vital articles ignored on Wikipedia": the agenda here results from the desire to scapegoat FAC for All That Ails Wikipedia ... and hurricane plus a few other editors apparently. Hurricane editors aren't going to suddenly start writing The History of the World if they are denied their Featured articles. We see this every few years ... someone gets on a hobby horse because we have a lot of hurricane and ship articles, and pushes through changes at FAC, which paradoxically end up making it harder for everyone else to write FAs, but don't change the hurricanes. Look at the entire debate that led to the changes in early 2009-- fed by hurricane hysteria, just like this. Demoralizing the hurricane folks isn't going to result in Jesus or China being written. Anyway, yes, allowing TCO to set the agenda in this article-- particularly when there are so many so very obvious flaws in his analysis-- isn't the best way to get a reasoned discussion on the matters of significance. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:18, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
That's all well and good, but it isn't the topic we have been discussing in the wake of the analysis' publication. The discussion has very clearly surrounded the quality article production processes (the "top" end of article writing): GA, A-class and FA. We could talk about whether vital articles ignored on Wikipedia at large, but that would be a distinct and likely less interesting question.
As for your arguments regarding hurricanes, I personally agree, but I can acknowledge that my perspective isn't the only one. As for demoralisation, I think you can see from the (still early) development of the piece that that is not the intent here. Skomorokh 14:25, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Sk, you do raise interesting points ... could you clarify what "at the top" means? Gerardw (talk) 22:11, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Broadly, the assessment scale being referred to overleaf; GA-class, A-class and FA-class. Skomorokh 22:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
If this is to proceed as a debate, I'd suggest Are vital articles underrepresented in highly rated articles? then. But Moni3's suggestion below -- cover it as a news article to set context -- is way better. Gerardw (talk) 22:39, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Wait a minute, Skomorokh. The question about Wikipedia, every last member of it, not producing more FA-quality Vital articles is not a "distinct and likely less interesting question"?? It's the only goddamn question!! How is it that FA writers are responsible for writing something in particular? How is it that the rest of Wikipedia is NOT responsible for improving articles of any importance??? --Moni3 (talk) 22:19, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Distinct, meaning not the same. The two questions do not ask the same thing. One asks about the focus of article writing at Wikipedia as a whole, the other about article writing at the higher end of the standards scale. The analysis and the discussion it provoked did not focus on the former question, but on the latter; that is the field of the debate. That you're asking me about who is supposedly responsible for what would seem to show that you don't really grasp what the purpose of this exercise is at all. Skomorokh 22:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Tell me the purpose of this exercise as clearly and concisely as you can. --Moni3 (talk) 22:29, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd also like to know that, and reading this talk page, it might be a good way to reboot communication. Geometry guy 00:19, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Quality vs. most viewed

Top 50 most viewed articles by quality

I must say that I had similar reservations to Gerardw - the concept of Vital Articles is wholly subjective. Yes, they are traditionally encyclopedic articles, but they are not necessarily vital to Wikipedia. If our readers were to decide what is vital, rather than a small group of writers, I think that the picture would be very different. Luckily, because we are a website, I've managed to grab a list of the top 50 most viewed articles. Unsurprisingly, they're not on traditionally encyclopedic topics, including high profile celebrities, television shows and websites. It's what our readership wants to read and should treated as important, perhaps even vital.

What might be surprising is that these articles are being looked after - the Wiki system works, more people who view an article leading to many people improving them and higher quality articles are the result. Looking at the graph, we have 12% Featured articles, 36% Good or above, and a massive 70% B or above. Crucially, there are no stub articles and no start articles. If no one is improving the articles that have been deemed WP:VITAL, then the most important thing to do is to raise the profile of these articles. They are in something of a catch-22 at the moment, they're not good enough to be highlighted to the readership, yet they are not viewed enough to be improved in a collaborative wiki manner. WormTT · (talk) 09:39, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Is a B level article worth spitting at? TCO had suggested in his report that anything under GA is, well, not very good. GA is also the first level of consistent standards being applied.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:41, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
The B level articles I looked in the top 50 (and indeed the C level articles) looked reasonable to me. Four were either good nominees or delisted good articles. Have a look at say, Justin Bieber or Chernobyl disaster to see the level of quality of these B articles. Or even, look at Internet Movie Database or Kate Middleton to see the "quality" of the C-graded articles. Not something to sneer at in my opinion. WormTT · (talk) 11:46, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
The concept of 'vital' is an editorial decision. Any specific 1000 is subjective. Your 1000 will not be my 1000, or the next editor's. But if that list got further scrutiny and debate, much of it would remain as-is, and any moved off the list would sill be near-vital: in the next list; 5000... Vital is not about popular, it's about important — that they are not the most viewed pages is simply telling about the readership. I've no doubt that the popular articles are well edited and that many are reasonably good. Many would not be particularly stable and that will limit their prospects of ever sporting a bit of star-bling.
You are quite right about whatever articles are deemed vital needing their profile raised. That's a case of lack of leadership. No one is operating that spotlight. There's nothing wrong with directing any editor at a vital-yet-poor article. Even readers should not be shielded from viewing them (they might edit them). Of course, they're not going to be main-paged in shabby-shape, but there's a suggest-bot around here somewhere; something like that could offer an article-for-improvement to most anyone, anytime. Just slipping articles into watchlists (uninvited) would do wonders. Every month, grow everyone's watchlist by one percent, drawing from WP:VITAL and possibly a few other pools. The point being, that those pages need more editing by reasonable editors. Daily main-paging a half-dozen links to vital-articles-for-improvement could help, too. Alarbus (talk) 11:55, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I can't speak for anyone else but -- do you think I'm stupid??? I'd spot a rogue entry on my watchlist in a heartbeat. I have an obligation to follow the mores of this community when I participate and in the places I participate; I am under no obligation to edit anywhere I don't want to. Gerardw (talk) 12:15, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. One idea would be to semiprotect all FAs and then take requests for unprotection from responsible editors who are watchlisting them. This would require considerable discussion, obviously, I merely suggest it. Please don't shoot me.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:32, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Why would I think you stupid? I've never talked with you, or even read whatever you wrote above in this thread. I would expect that people would notice items added to their watchlists. I also expect that the core reason many are here is to be helpful — to the projects goals, not just their personal whims. But that's just me. Back to helping navigate the Amazon. Alarbus (talk) 12:30, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
On three trips to Brazil, the closest I got was Recife, alas. Someday I want to see the Amazon.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:36, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Worm, nice work. I think that puts the nix on the idea that FAs and GAs are failing relative to some measure of page views (what I said above, the wrong questions are being asked, and the wrong analyses applied to answering the wrong questions to boot); your numbers show FA doing better on this measure than it does relative to overall articles, shows quality across these articles to be in fairly good shape. (Assuming we care for the argument that page views is a measure of importance, which has yet to be established, or what its relevance is to the "vital" list.) What time period did you use for page views and where does one grab that number? Wehwalt asks about B-level articles: see Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-06-23/Dispatches (for discussion of a change instituted in 2008-- we used to cover such facts in The Signpost). I'm not sure how many WikiProjects keep up with assessments, which are wildly inaccurate, but my wholly unscientific gut instinct (based on my own article reading and editing) suggests to me that many B-level articles are at or near GA (could easily be made GA), while many C-level articles are just a bit more than start, likely to have problems. It would be nice if someone did a real study to figure out if that's right, since we have studies all over the place making claims based on assessment level, which in my experience are wildly off (and that includes some FAs that need to go to FAR). As to where this faulty analysis of the wrong question is going, I see Sk hasn't answered Moni3 yet (below), but he has answered the same question on his talk, so hopefully he'll get over here shortly. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:47, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

I used the average page views per day between August 2010 and August 2011 - available from wikiroll.com. Nabbed it from an old signpost article. WormTT · (talk) 15:03, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Having read Skomorokh's comments on his page carefully, I would also welcome a rebuttal not only stating that TCO is wrong, but showing with at least the same rigor that TCO has used that if proper assumptions and methodology are applied, then his conclusions are significantly wrong. I would find that a fine rebuttal.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:13, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Please check the source before publishing

This paper studying Wikipedia written by Harvard graduate student has this line on page 8: "there are a number of theoretical reasons to believe that there is significant misalignment between what is needed and what is provided." In my view the TCO analysis is flying very close to the source but I don't know copyright law when it comes to rehashing ideas without attribution. Might be worth looking at. I haven't had time to read beyond page 8 of an almost 70 page paper that was published in September. Truthkeeper (talk) 03:21, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

The only paper I've read from Gorbatai was the 2 page Wikisym proceedings which is cited. (And I only saw her work after all my page view charts and such were done...the footnote about finding it late is correct.) I know the bullet you are talking about and will add some single quotes. (I saw those bullets as reporting her views, not my voice, but I know the one you are talking about. I think it might be close to some Wikisym paper wording as well.)TCO (talk) 03:28, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Interesting, but hardly surprising that faulty mehod is founded on plagrism. Ceoil (talk) 03:30, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
There is no plagiarism. This is gotcha bullshit. I haven't even read the paper mentioned. And I have a source and a quoted sentence below. (BTW, I sent her a copy of the slide (but it is my work, citing her)). TCO (talk) 03:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
So, you mean with all the inherent problems with article assessment on Wikipedia (that is, most aren't, because most WikiProjects don't), you passed judgment, drew conclusions, formulated hypotheses without ever even reading the original report and understanding its methodology and weaknesses? Why am I not surprised at this lack of rigour. I can't remember the last time any WikiProject assessed any article I worked on, no one pays attention to article assessment, no one cares, assessment below GA is meaningless. Everyone knows that, but that you would accept one author's premise without looking at her methodology and understanding how she accounted for lack of article assessment as the norm on Wikipedia is not surprising at this juncture. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:49, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I read THE study that I cited. Wikisym proceedings. Duh. The data is from there. Go read it!TCO (talk) 03:52, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Is that the way you usually work? Citing abstracts? Now I'm concerned that someone needs to review your FAs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:01, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
It is a published Proceedings paper, Sandy. Not an abstract. The data and comments come out of there. That paper is sufficient to support tht slide. That is all it is. If you want to have some critisism of my research practices, fine. But it is silly gotcha stuff and I am not dancing to your tune. The work stands.TCO (talk) 04:04, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
You're evading the question: how did she and hence do you account for the fact that most WikiProjects don't even bother to assess their articles, and article assessment on Wikipedia is wildy inaccurate, even at the GA/FA level (in the case of FAs that need to be sent to FAR)? I can't think of any article that I work on below the FA-level that I have ever seen assessed unless I went and asked for it, which I don't do because no one cares, and I believe tht typifies most articles and most Projects. How did she account for that and how do you? When I write an FA, I don't stop at who cited what-- if I haven't seen and understood the methodological limitations in the full study, I make sure I have before I add text to an FA. You want to throw darts at FA writers by name: apply the same rigour to yourself. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:08, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
In terms of method thats only scratching the surface. TCO's presentation is a polemic of the worst kind, and the pity is his thesis is sound. But for whatever reason he choose to (1) Not be bother to tighten the logic (I suppose this is tied to a lazy desire to be attached and credited with claims backed into) (2) Retract defamatory hits fellow editors. Ceoil (talk) 04:19, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I have not "evaded" anything. Where are you seeing that question asked before? (Sandy, that is great. If you want to criticize the methodology behind one particular science report...great...I guess. If you end up finding it bad...all the better. Or maybe, you find it good. As far as "my methods". That one slide is based off of that paper. As is. No further citations. And I am hunky dory with it. And not here for your approval. But, by all means criticie the study if you can do so...thoughfully! BTW, how do you think your concerns changes the answer? Up or down in quality? [And you do realize that the other slides in the deck are all not reliant on it, right?]TCO (talk) 04:16, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads-up Truthkeeper. Skomorokh 03:32, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

And for doing my job for me, you mean. Diligence often. Ceoil (talk) 03:38, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I suggest this story be pulled. I've read one of her papers and from what I can tell her work is being misrepresented. I'd like to look at the rest of her work before commenting further but would hate to have this hit the press. Unfortunately am very tied up at work next week but will do what I can during the nights. Truthkeeper (talk) 04:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Appreciate the comment; could you specify which paper, if you have the time? There is no rush, and nothing will be published without independent review and source-checking. Skomorokh 04:12, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
And considering the amount of basic factual inaccuracy remaining on the page even after Sk cleaned it up substantially, I can't see any reason for me to take time on this during the holiday season when I've got a vacation planned also. There's just no beef in this mess of opinion-- it was just someone playing pseudoscientific "gotcha" with the hurricane folks, Ucucha, and Iridescent, and no one is buying it throughout the Wiki as far as I can see. Yes, Sk, there are many and legitimate questions to be asked, plenty of criticism of FA that could be leveled (most of which TCO misses because he's got an agenda and isn't that involved), but this isn't the way to advance better writing on core topics-- if you want to do it the right way, with serious writers, respected participants, starting with the right questions, I'll be on board. I've also seen the paper TK mentions, and article assessment on Wikipedia is meaningless-- whether and how that affects the conclusions will take more time to analyze. We all know that most of Wikipedia is crap-- we don't need a study to tell us that-- the question of the role of FA/GA is not that simply understood, and insulting so many fine writers is not the way to advance mutual goals. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:17, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Paper linked at the top of the thread. But that's only one of 3 or 4 she's had published and she's working on her dissertation. Her work needs to be checked first in my view. Furthermore she also uses "types" but she only categorizes into "novice" and "expert"; she consistently strips user names from survey statements and examples. Truthkeeper (talk) 04:18, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
There is only that slide (and the later one with an analysis) that pertain to her. And the acknowlegements say that all other work and opinions are mine. I am not "representing her work". I have a cited slide (and the one later analysis). And she has seen it and had no issues. I stand 100% behind it. I DID NOT do a lit review of all her work. But I am also NOT reporting all her work either. (If someone else wants to do that, fine.) I report what is in one slide (and 98% of the deck is all from me clicking stats.grok.se.)TCO (talk) 04:23, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I stand behind the presentation. It is good work. Ethical work. If someone wants to criticize the study that is great too. But it is very solid analysis. (Gorbatai was even impressed by the primary research.) Publish and let's have the debate. Nighttime in Virginia.TCO (talk) 04:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I just sent Andreea an email asking if she has any concerns about the two slides that I made that pertain to her. (I really doubt it.) TCO (talk) 04:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
TCO to be honest the issue is more complex than that. We're publishing something that may be someone else's idea. I don't know intellectual property law, but I'm assuming Moonriddengirl does. I think we need to be careful here. Furthermore there's a difference between Gorbotai's abstract and what her paper actually says. From reading the abstract I see a correlation between your work and hers; but the paper seems to reach a different conclusion. I need to read it again and want to read the others as well. Although the paper does begin with the idea that the product (page views) isn't being satisfied by the producers (editors) that's not really the conclusion I get after reading it. Also I'd like to look at the slide you used and compare it to her work. There's no reason not to shelf this until we know that there's no crossover. I have a very early morning, so this is it from me tonight. Truthkeeper (talk) 05:13, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I did not go off of an "abstract". I went off of a 2 page Proceedings. HERE: http://www.wikisym.org/ws2011/_media/proceedings:p205-gorbatai.pdf (the abstract is the first section. Keep reading. There are more sections! The rest of it is a conference proccedings paper. It is the same thing that was in a SignPost research report a few weeks ago.) That paper supports that slide. The numbers come out of the tables, transformed into bars. And the comments come out of that PAPER. The slide has a footnote about independent work. Me clicking stats.grok.se is independent work, TK. I am not required to do some lit survey. I am not doing a Ph.D. or an FA. That is a strategy deck. And the other 98 slides are primary research. And that single slide fairly represents the cited source. And if we have a similar slant...it is because we are right about Wiki.TCO (talk) 05:41, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Feedback from Buburuza

I am writing this in response to TCO's request (noted by him, above). I am the graduate student / author in question. In my academic work I study various aspects of collective production - and I have used Wikipedia as a research setting- e.g., for the paper that Truthkeeper refers to. That paper has not been published. It is currently under review in a sociology journal and it has been presented numerous times in front of academic audiences with that purpose in mind (part of the reason why, as noted, it is a 70-page paper). That paper is NOT what TCO cites in first slide where he mentions my name - he cites a shorter paper that was peer-reviewed and published as part of the 2011 WikiSym conference proceedings. TCO emailed me after finding that paper and shared his slides with me. I did not fact-checked any of his work - I browsed the presentation and had a brief email exchange with him. He seems to have put a lot of thought and effort in the presentation, and I commended these efforts. As (a small) part of my research I had merged page view data and article quality data from early 2009, so when TCO he emailed asking if I knew where Wikipedia readers' "eyeballs" go - so it was simple for me to take the article quality and views data and compute the answer. I asked him to note that I have used 2009 data, and a 1% random sample of articles for this analysis. This analysis was made by me in response to TCO's question - it has not been published or peer-reviewed. You may take it or leave it. We all know Wikipedia is very complex and that there may be many ways to look at the metrics that TCO has estimated in his work. Some may disagree with the premise of his work, with the labels he used for different categories and/or with the users/articles that he singled out, and/ or with his data and analyses. I don't know exactly what are the level(s) of this disagreement, I must confess I have not carefully read the whole discussion thread. But it seems that understanding where the main disagreement is may be a good way to deal with this issue. For my part I can tell you that TCO referenced my work correctly in his slides, twice - once, citing a paper published in peer-reviewed and published conference proceedings; the second time, citing email correspondence with me (not published, not peer-reviewed, just my answer trying to be helpful and address his question). Cheers, Buburuza (talk) 08:12, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Those aren't the questions being asked: the question is (and with a 1% sample size), how did you account for the fact that most WikiProjects don't assess their articles regularly or even semi-regularly, editors working on them shouldn't assess them, and that article asessment on Wikipedia is wildly inaccurate? I don't know how or if the answer to that will affect TCO's work, but it's apparent that at least he didn't factor the problem of varying or absent article assessment into his work at all (comparing WikiProject Hurricane or MilHist-- who do more assessments-- for example to others, is apples and oranges ... but we've seen many unnecessary changes foisted upon FAC simply because a few editors get upset that some editors choose to work on hurricanes or ships-- this "analysis" is no different). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:20, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Moving to discussion of methodology of individual analyses. I think asking questions or debating methodology is great. But not the right thing for this forum, which is about publishing the newspaper, not debating the op-ed piece ahead of time. Should be done after the news report. The work is serious enough so that it deserves a forum, Sandy. Do not try to control debates by preventing expression of a viewpoint. I disagree with where Kudpung is heading on RFA reform, but I welcome him having his chance to express them.
Most of your methodology questions are answered on the slide that is in the "Pulling it all together" section. It is good, additive analysis. The methodology and limits of it are spelled out so it is pretty easy to weigh the level of learning. That said...it's real progress. Don't be a perfect is the enemy of better exponent. We are learning things...TCO (talk) 14:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I will be offline for next several hours. Andreea will not be checking the thread for weeks, so will not be able to respond to your questions. I will do my best to do so, when I get back. And in the sense of equals having a dialog, Sandy. Not of you grading my work. ; TCO (talk) 14:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
What is it that entitles you to unilaterally grade the work of others (incorrectly, with the aim of insulting them with labels to make a point), but others can't analyze your work? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:12, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Irony in double standard

"Publish and let's have the debate." Is this statement seriously from the same editor who says that FAC needs to operate more like a peer review for a journal? Do they (peer reviewed journals) publish inaccurate data first, and then debate it later?

But the best irony of all is that, while on the one hand taking issue with the most supported (and some high membership) WikiProjects that produce lots of FAs, TCO simultaneously calls for elections of FAC delegates. Gee, considering the number of members of the WikiProjects that produce the most FAs (like MilHist), who do you think would prevail if FAC stopped operating as "FAC is not a vote" and was run by election? You're shooting your stated goals in the foot there: you seem to want more vital FAs, and object to hurricane, battle, and ship FAs, but those are most likely exactly the folks who would be named in an election. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:59, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure I've gotten your point. Are you saying that we should elect delegates based on the number and variety of FA's they've written? If so, that seems rather like Benjamin Franklin's proposal to have the lawyers elect judges; they would inevitably vote in their most successful competitors! Who, of course, would decline election.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:10, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Who is your query addressed to, because you lost me there. I can't see either TCO or me suggesting that we should elect delegates based on the FAs they've written, but if we go to elections by numbers, the WikiProjects with most members (which not coincidentally include the very WikiProjects TCO seems to take issue with in terms of FA production) will be the most likely to put forward the candidates elected. "FAC is not a vote", out the door; high number of premature supports, in. I can see it now: SandyGeorgia, Karanacs and Ucucha won't promote my ship article until it gets independent review-- out with them, in with ship FAC delegate. TCO shoots his stated aim in the foot. This kind of failure to think it through is evident throughout his "analysis", which is why it reads like a "Manic Manifesto" of personalized bullet points thrown out for drama. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:23, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
To you, I think, and you have answered it. Thank you Sandy, that is a good point and one I will give some thought to. I was minded to support elections, if only to give Raul a fresh mandate, but I had not considered it from that angle.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:23, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Some of us do spend a great deal of time thinking these things through, and some of us even have backgrounds in strategic planning and statistical analysis, and some of us even ran record-breaking statistical programs (published) in our planning days. FAC works better than the rest of Wikipedia precisely because Raul had the foresight and wisdom to set it up as "not a vote", where supermajorities couldn't affect FA production. As soon as that goes, FAs go the way of the rest of the Wikipedia. Of course, considering what TCO has done here, I will initiate an RFC on FAC leadership (including myself) once this kerfuffle is settled, and after the holidays-- dealing with a pseudoanalysis and all its ramifications during the busy holiday season isn't optimal, so I think we should visit this in the New Year, when folks have more time to devote to it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:34, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I would not want you to think, Sandy, that the great amount of work that you do goes unappreciated, and I think this is a good time to stress that. I would be saddened if you thought it was.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:38, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that at all, Wehwalt; one of the most rewarding things about working at FAC is that I know I'm appreciated and supported, and I also know that whether I'm a reviewer or a delegate, I can still do the same good work on great articles with a great bunch of editors. But anyone can reach a point where they can see that detractors-- because of personal differences looking to scapegoat-- have caused harm to FAC and FA writers. As long as I'm here, I'm not going to stand by and let individual editors and WikiProjects be unfairly singled out based on faulty data driven from a personalized agenda-- I'm the one who reads the FACs, I'm the one who knows how many ways TCO is wrong, I'm one who can speak up on some of this (eg, the faulty analyses of Tourette syndrome page views, Parkinson's disease "solo work", issues on hurricanes and ships, etc)-- and if me speaking out to defend the folks means I step down, so what? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I think it would take considerably more than TCO to silence you, Sandy! But speaking of which, I think your rebuttal of TCO is much more detailed than Dank's, though Dank, as you point out, is effective in his brevity. Why not ask to substitute your analysis for his?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:51, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Re: first point, You mean, like, Sue Gardner <right? right?> Re, second point, my rebuttal is for Sk's benefit-- I don't think TCO is listening, and I do think Dank's response is pure genius and proportionate to what the issue deserves. You let the person who did a faulty analysis drive the agenda in The Signpost, you shouldn't expect a serious response lengthy rebuttal. Bad science plus bad journalism doesn't deserve the time we've spent on it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
oh my, I just reread my response above, struck and corrected, with the obvious and most sincere apologies to Dank-- I did not intend to imply that response wasn't serious-- it's genius. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:15, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I really don't know much about Sue Gardner and have not watched the video. We do agree that WMF is doing nothing to foster quality articles beyond gathering them in, and I have left a link on Jimbo's page to that discussion. I hope it gets some action, all this is public enough that people are going to wonder where the Foundation's head is if they don't give us a hand. But then, that hasn't stopped them in the past. What I am asking for would not cost them an arm and a leg, just a fingernail clipping. Sigh.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:01, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

You are so very right on that. I'm at odds with WMF in three ways right now (the "gender gap", recruitment of students to offset damage from the whack-a-mole crowd chasing off good editors, and this "quality" issue), and it fersure isn't going to be TCO's pseudoanalysis that makes me finally give up. You've asked for help getting JSTOR access-- I don't have free access to medical journals or to a good library now that I've moved, and I could do so much more if I did (although many folks offer to send me articles, I don't like to abuse). To address poor editing on one of the student-edited articles inspired by the ill-conceived and premature WP:USEP, I spent $34 to get an article last month (primary study, wholly unimportant and not worth reading, but had to get it to fix the article)-- wouldn't it be nice if we were given a hand in accessing research? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:09, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I just bought and uploaded two images from the 1896 campaign from the McKinley library. I paid $90. That is not tax deductible. I know your feeling. I think that the RFC will be a lot smoother and beneficial if we can persuade the Foundation to throw a little fertilizer (lol) on us and watch us grow. They will get better quality articles.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:25, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Wehwalt, for shame-- you're supposed to be using hurricane analogies here, not agriculture! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:30, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Too much reading the Cross of Gold speech, I fear. That's third on the McKinley project list, once I finish Hobart. And if you will forgive me, I need to finish writing out the Hobart references in Leech's bio of McKinley. --Wehwalt (talk) 17:32, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Some points need to be clarified

  • The dates for Gorbatai's data should be specified: the importance ratings data is for all articles that existed in May 2010; the page view statistics cover November 1, 2008 to February 28, 2009. The Signpost article suggests the data is recent - "This month, Harvard researcher, Andreea Gorbatai, has combined quality and page view statistics from two databases to calculate what percent of eyeballs are hitting the respective categories of article ranked by quality on the assessment scale." This is incorrect. It didn't occur this month and needs to be presented with greater precision.
  • Gorbatai's conclusion is that "preliminary findings intimate" a lack of coverage in the "most read or most important articles". I have a question about this sentence: "Essentially, what the average reader sees when he hits Wikipedia is…low quality." Is this meant to be in Gorbatai's voice or TCO's? If Gorbatai's, it would be better to heavily qualify as she has in her work. Still reading; will be adding more.... Truthkeeper (talk) 22:07, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
  • The Wikisym article, I believe, is a distillation of Gorbatai's lengthier research. Apparently her aim is find a mechanism to quantify collective labor in social (non-paying) situations. Her hypothesis is that a person will "produce", for self-satisfaction, that which pleases them. For example a person might decide individually or collectively to spruce up a neighborhood park. Furthermore she hypothesizes that there is a disconnect between demand (no need to clean the park) and the volunteer effort. She turned to Wikipedia as her evidence. On Wikipedia she found that producers/editors gravitate toward low-demand areas (like the neighborhood park, my words) rather than than areas in high demand (pages with high page views).[1] In my view TCO is misrepresenting the study because in his "analysis" he chastises producers/labor for not working on high page views which is akin to demanding that everyone give up the neighborhood park in favor of cleaning Central Park - for free. Truthkeeper (talk) 00:38, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
So she's figuring out in 2011 what Eric Raymond knew in 1999? Gerardw (talk) 01:06, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Yep, that seems to be the case. Using Wikipedia data from three years ago. Truthkeeper (talk) 01:11, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Post-cleanup, still factually inaccurate, dubious, unfounded, incomplete, biased, redundant, or needing clarification

  1. Question: are vital articles being neglected at the top? (Biased premise, see discussion above)
  2. "I have wondered for years about this question." Who cares? Article already too long.
  3. "Recently, Looie496 conducted an analysis of how many important FAs are made each year." Wrong. Looie496 completely randomly selected his own idea of what are important FAs-- no relation to anything established anywhere on Wikipedia (for example, he considered Tourette syndrome important-- it's not). Since that analysis has even more problems than this one, why is it even mentioned? Article is already too long, we don't need more inaccurate background.
  4. "He concluded that we have produced very few since 2008". Anyone miss something very important there? Hint: [3] [4] Awadewit championed a change in WP:WIAFA, and most of that fell out of the desire to curb ... hurricane FACs. We see that often, and the change was put through even though I didn't support it and said repeatedly it would not affect anything about how FACs are opposed or supported. The question now is, has it nonetheless affected which articles are brought to FAC, because editors may fear the bar is too high? I doubt it, but the wrong questions are being asked by TCO, who hasn't done his homework.
  5. Please fix the prose, for gosh sakes: "but readers do not look at articles equally often."
  6. "Answering Wehwalt’s question is not an easy task that one can accomplish by manual methods." Neither can you answer it by incorrectly assuming that the nominator of the FAC (listed at WP:WBFAN), or editcountitis, indicates anything about who actually brought the article to FA standard (see aforementioned gross error in the assumptions about Parkinson's disease-- this problem pervades TCO's "analysis"). But that's what TCO did. (While you're there, you might fix the curly quote on Wehwalt.)
  7. "... are hitting the respective categories of article ranked by quality on the assessment scale." See discussion above, we know that TCO didn't account for varying assessment by WikiProject, and we don't know what Buburuza did, but anything that relies on article assessment across WikiProjects is going to have big problems, including apples and oranges. The only articles whose listed assessments are known to be accurate are FAs, since a bot checks them, and that's only quality, not importance, and even the quality assessment may not be accurate if a FAR is needed. Yet TCO draws conclusions about hurricane FAs, without examining their assessment practices relative to other WikiProjects.
  8. "She found that only 3% of views are on “high quality” ... " Please clean up curly quotes-- we don't use them on Wikipedia, but they are a great way to detect cut-and-paste editing. Yes, we all know that 98% of Wikipedia is crap-- what else is new, and why is TCO laying the blame for that at the feet of a select sample of FA writers (scapegoating), when the problem is much bigger and beyond FAC?
  9. "Manual examination of 10 unassessed articles showed they were of Starts or Stub quality, ... " Oh, my. I think I've already explained the problem here. Most of the articles I've worked on below the FA level have never been assessed. Most Projects don't assess unless you go ask them to. And assessments shouldn't vary by WikiProject, but they do.
  10. "Gorbatai had drawn attention to major concerns with Wikipedia’s ability to produce high quality important articles." That's fair and accurate, but TCO then extended a pseudoanalysis of that to scapegoat editors who work on topics that interest them. He started with a premise and concocted numbers that support his premise.
  11. " ... and there were 10-50 times as many low quality articles as high quality articles." May be true, may not, because of faulty assumptions about assessment level and varying assessment levels by different WikiProjects, but in my experience, many articles are never assessed. While you're here, please fix the endash (Signpost articles should reflect Wiki writing standards).
  12. "Even worse, the number of VAs of GA standard or above is slowly dropping over the last 4 years." Gah, POV writing (even worse?). Anyway, the number of *everything* on Wikipedia has dropped over the last four years: again, are the right questions being asked? (Please fix the four while you're here: The Signpost should reflect Wikipedia writing standards.)
  13. "Ten years into the otherwise successful[citation needed] Wiki enterprise, we still have not produced high quality articles on our most important topics." POV. While it is true that we have not produced a lot of "vital" FAs, the statement that the rest of Wikipedia (in relation) is "otherwise successful" is utter POV nonsense. It's not. How about a complementary analysis of the various tags (eg POV, OR, etc) on all articles by assessment? It is fine if The Signpost wants to run editorials, but for gosh sakes, at least take out the POV-- that's supposed to be a pillar of the Project. Most Wiki articles below the GA level are crap: what is this "successful" business?
  14. "Moving to objective page view analysis, ... " The problems with this page-view analysis have been well outlined all over the Wikipedia, no need to repeat them here, but interestingly, TCO hasn't taken on board the constructive feedback or adjusted his stance accordingly. He did put up a "defensive" "defense" of his work. See scientific method. Iterate.
  15. "FAs and GAs are becoming more obscure lately." TCO, I sure hope you don't write articles like this. What is "lately"? What is your definition of "obscure"? And {{cn}} by the way.
  16. "Could these topics be pushed because they are easier to mechanically write award winners on?" Oh, my-- agenda much? Have you ever seen how hard it is for the road folks to get a FAC through?
  17. "Hurricanes in particular show a strange pattern ... " Agenda, subject to faulty assessment analysis discussed above.
  18. "WikiProject Hurricane appears to be a factory for making GA plus signs, not a project to serve encyclopedic readers." Here we see the damage in TCO's personalization of this analysis. Frequently, we see editors upset that some hurricane editors choose to work on hurricanes, but TCO singles out hurricanes and doesn't perform (as far as we can tell) a comparable analysis on other WikiProjects. Glad those folks may now be shamed into writing the big ones, but that wasn't the best way to get that to happen, and that still won't get History of the World written, and it ignores the broader issues.
  19. "There are only 6 automobile FAs, 4 fashion FAs, and 6 aircraft FAs (2 added recently). Consider at the same time that there are 67 FAs on battleships." Agenda again-- why did TCO happen to focus on these particular groups? Nothing scientific here-- just going after the fact that some editors like to write about ships, and those editors aren't going to suddenly stop writing about ships and start writing The History of the World. Also a complete miss on the superiority of the MilHist Project, their history, their organization, their assessment methods, how and why their work is so highly represented at FA. Another big problem in TCO's analysis is the lack of accounting for WP:FFAs and what goes on in Projects that let their FAs deteriorate or acrimony among Project members that prohibits the kind of collaboration seen in the Medicine Project (eg Parkinsons')-- yes, I'm thinking of the Aircraft problem. TCO seems to assume all assessments and all WikiProjects operate alike: apples and oranges is a big problem here. There are any number of good reasons why we see many ship FAs and few aircraft FAs-- this superficial analysis doesn't begin to look at those issues that affect Wikipedia articles across the board, not only "at the top".
  20. "Why have we piled up so many obscure FAs and still not achieved the goal that ALoan ... " Why is ALoan no longer around? Maybe you (you, TCO) are focusing on the wrong problems on Wikipedia, if not adding to them. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Scapegoating groups of editors to promote an anti-FAC agenda isn't the way to get vital FAs written.

Stopping there for now, since I know the problematic writing and faulty assumptions get much worse from this point on. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm going fact-hunting to correct the numbers for WPTC. HurricaneFan25 15:27, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I've asked someone to verify one of the claims here. HurricaneFan25 15:37, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Some of the coverage of hurricane FAs are, IMO, the most comprehensive compilation ever for some specific storms, like the 1910 Cuba hurricane and Hurricane Gert in 1993. HurricaneFan25 15:37, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I would cautiously agree with Sandy's point that assessment is a lagging indicator of quality until you hit GA or A. But if we're all agreed that most articles below GA (except where improvement is afoot) are crap anyway, what difference does it make? Crap is crap.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
The difference is that TCO is singling out FA for not producing that which the entire Project doesn't produce-- his analysis is faulty because he started with a biased premise and never examined his hypotheses rigorously. Does FAC do any better or worse than the Project overall? TCO hasn't addressed that question, because he's not even asking the right questions, he makes faulty assumptions about who wrote what article, about varying assessment levels, about page views, and about any number of matters. We have an opinion piece, with no scientific rigor, being promoted in another opinion piece where the original opinion is setting the agenda. Bad science and bad journalism combined. But the sadness is that the real questions aren't being examined. Does Wikipedia work on any level, how does FAC compare, and does the WMF help or hinder "quality"? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

This should not be published on Signpost

As many have pointed out, the analysis is flawed and the premises are faulty. But most importantly, it is generally insensitive and specifically insulting. We should not publish, on Wikipedia's newspaper, a document (and summary thereof) that singles out some of our valued editors and wikiprojects and says their work is not only worthless but actually harmful. As the primary author of a fairly obscure FA (but one I regard as "vital" according to my personal goals for this encyclopaedia) I'm offended too. If someone from the WMF had published this we'd have mass resignations. We haven't been trolled but the effect has been the same and so should our response. Colin°Talk 20:29, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm in full agreement that publishing this whatever-you-want-to-call-it in the Signpost is a bad idea. At the very least, it shows lack of credibility and professionalism. At the most, I'm not certain that trolling isn't behind the whole thing (or has at least played a large part). TCO's history of mercurial behavior (beginning with being banned multiple times for childish incivility -- repeatedly calling editors who disagreed with him "turds", I remember -- until being unblocked a year ago) puts his analysis in a far-too negative light. I see that the childish name-calling has continued, only it's "star collectors" and "dabblers" instead of "turds". Although these names have been removed from the proposed Signpost article, the intended belittling sentiment is still there. Sure, FAC/GAC may not be perfect, but using a flawed .pdf from a once indeffed/RTF abusing/immature user as proof shows bad judgement. Let's not give authority to someone who might simply amount to nothing but a troll. María (yllosubmarine) 20:50, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm a big fan of free speech, but IMO, this story hasn't matured yet. - Dank (push to talk) 21:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate all your comments, but they do betray a limited understanding of the approval process for opinion pieces; as Dank rightly points out, this is far from maturity where we would be able to judge the worth of publishing it. Of all the submissions (commissioned and unsolicited) the Signpost gets, fewer than a quarter are deemed fit for publication standards, and those only after rigorous editing. Skomorokh 21:28, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Skomorokh, that's a "with all due respect" sort of condescending dismissal we could do without. I assume by "approval process" you are referring to the notes at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Opinion desk. It states "any submission should still be fact-based and well-researched and not unnecessarily inflammatory in tone". Since this submission begins by linking to (and indeed cannot help but mention) the original essay by TCO which is neither fact-based, well-researched nor unnecessarily inflammatory in tone, I fail to see how it can be salvaged. The author has irredeemably poisoned the present discussion. The notes go on to request editors to "comment on the opinion submissions" and "and indicate which may be ready for publication". This is not suitable for publication. TCO has had enough oxygen for his views when he first published the Powerpoint and there's no community feeling, none whatsoever, that he should be given an even taller platform from which to crap on us. Colin°Talk 22:41, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not a dismissal Colin, it's a straightforward assertion that no-one who has jumped in of their own accord here seems to understand how opinion submissions are treated. And that's fine, no-one expects you to, because it's not well-documented, because curating opinion pieces for the Signpost is not a community process. It's the task of the managing editors. I appreciate that you don't feel any piece should be run. But it's not your call. It's mine. And I will only be in a position to make it once the piece is shored up into a tightly argued and well-supported debate – which is a process that is being hampered rather than helped by the majority of the contributions to this talkpage thus far. Skomorokh 22:52, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Not only are my article submissions to WP worthless (possibly harmful), but it turns out my talk page submissions are worthless (apparently harmful). I feel just great. Colin°Talk 23:17, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Does that mean I don't need to continue pointing out the problems, until this "maturity" is decided-- because I've only just begun, and can better spend my time. I'm glad to hear you're pushing for rigorous editing, Sk, because I gave up on The Signpost when that had ceased being the case, and pushing to meet deadlines became the norm instead. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:34, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
This week's issue was due to be published five minutes ago. It wasn't ready, and will be held back until it is. For a weekly publication, quality is by far the more important consideration than punctuality. We aren't the Nine O'Clock News. Skomorokh 22:06, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Free speech great. Publish it somewhere else. Unless the Signpost wants to become Wikipedia's gossip rag. And I think we're still getting trolled.
At the very least, if this is going in the Signpost, it needs to be scrapped as it is and someone needs to address this as an event. If TCO insists on making this an op ed ("I have always wondered why some users need to use more than one username...") Skomorr....spelling...is going to allow that kind of format, I'm considering an RfC to gain consensus on how much this format sucks and how much it does not belong like this in the Signpost.
This is the way it should be treated, if it's addressed at all:

On date TCO (talk · contribs)[2] posted a 95-slide PowerPoint presentation titled "Improving Wikipedia’s important articles: A strategic opportunity for the En-Wikipedia community, Featured Article regulars, and WMF sponsors" at this forum on Wikipedia (link). The purpose of the presentation was purpose (did it accompany a workshop? was it presented in person? that's important to state, was it requested or commissioned by someone? I don't actually know these answers and they should be answered in the Signpost) The presentation sought to answer why Featured Article (FA) writers do not write Vital Articles (VAs).

TCO's methodology was X, Y, and Z. His data was culled from aa, bb, and cc. TCO connects the functioning of FAC as a reason why...actually, I don't know what TCO's points are because they're so muddy. I think writing the Signpost article this way will actually bring to light how poorly this presentation is written, but the gist of this part is that he categorizes FA editors in the past year into four groups that somehow don't write VAs. How he makes these leaps and bounds I don't know and I can't even try to summarize this stuff here so someone who hasn't been in on these discussions can make sense of it.

TCO posted the presentation at WT:FAC (and the other forums he posted it at) on date, sparking an extended discussion about the accuracy of the presentation, how FAC functions, and TCO's motivations. Summaries of what FA editors and non-FA editors consider, linking to diffs and using usernames. Include the argument at Talk:Ernest Hemingway where a user attempted to employ the study to discredit the FA contributor (and TCO's subsequent response to that).

More discussion about the fallout from this to be determined on this page.

  1. ^ Gorbatai, Andreea. "Aligning Collective Production with Demand: Evidence from Wikipedia". September 12, 2011. Unpublished. Abstract here with option to download the paper. pp. 4-9
  2. ^ TCO was using the following usernames while these discussions were ongoing: Username1, Anon IP 2.
It should not seek to answer any question at all. "Are vital articles being neglected at the top?" already spins the information before readers have a chance to see that holy christ look at that awful PowerPoint what was he thinking? This isn't a local news station begging for ratings: should senior citizens be locked up to keep the rest of us from contemplating death? The answer at 11! That is not a good way to start an article on a site ostensibly dedicated to neutrality. --Moni3 (talk) 22:09, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Yep, that's exactly how it should be covered. Thanks, Moni for your clear-headedness. I'd like to see the Signpost investigate the questions about when the analysis was presented, to whom, and why. And what methodology was used? Truthkeeper (talk) 22:21, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

These comments are passing the point of self-parody. I'm going to spell out in really easy to understand terms just how this works:

The Signpost covers news of interest to the English Wikipedia community in a series of weekly topical reports. These form the bulk of the publication, which you can read here.
The Signpost also runs opinion pieces expressing only the views of their authors on relevant topics of the day (not to be confused with editorials, which carry the support of the publication's editors). Hitherto these have been by single authors, and you can read the archive here.
If you had bothered to pay attention or even to consider the possibility, the approach in the quote box above is precisely the one I have repeatedly said will form the Signpost's coverage of TCO's analysis. What appears overleaf, as I have re-iterated again and again, falls into the latter category.

Responding to overwrought, uninformed and uninterested comments is frankly trying my patience at this point. Skomorokh 22:38, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Skomorokh, you've started by being condescending, now you're just throwing insults. Time to log off before you do something you regret. Colin°Talk 22:49, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
To you and the rest of the interlocutors who have arrived here to the Signpost's workshops on your own steam; you can either help or obstruct. Right now I should be writing this week's reports, but I am being detained in having to reply to inane commentary which is serving no cause that I can discern. Please, if you must comment, be constructive about it. Skomorokh 22:58, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm confused about what you mean by who have arrived here to the Signpost's workshops on your own steam; you invited them???? [5] As far as I can tell, you are only getting the kind of feedback you asked for ???? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:12, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
As the linked comment says, I've invited editors to contribute to the rebuttal to the "Yes" argument overleaf; thus far, only Dank has stepped forward to do so. Skomorokh 23:18, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Your first statement on the topic here [[6]] made no mention of the accompanying story. It's not reasonable to assume an editor following a link in from elsewhere on Wikipedia would have seen your statements that this is a planned supplement to a news story -- honestly I haven't found them in ten minutes of reviewing your contributions, so it's not obvious to me where they are.Gerardw (talk) 22:55, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

I think we're absolutely not communicating here.
Now, did you state at WT:FAC or my talk page exactly how you're going to cover the presentation? Or did you provide vagaries and decline to follow up where it would be made clear? Should you be blaming me for not reading your mind? I expressed an early interest in making sure this is covered adequately and you apparently thought my candor and vigor in seeing it through was over the line so I know you know the way to my talk page. Provide a diff, please, where I can see where you have spelled out how this is going to be covered.
As for overwrought and uninformed...you do know that we're using similar terms to describe this overwrought and uninformed presentation, do you not? This is at least my point. The presentation itself is overwrought and uninformed. Don't draw more attention to it before you misinform readers and cause some untold damage. As for uninterested...is that describing you? Or did you mean uninteresting? Because this is another factor here. I'm quite fascinated with several aspects of this but in the same way I might be unable to turn away from a train wreck. If you're not interested that's your fault and you should probably not be covering something in the Signpost you think is uninteresting. Overwrought and uninformed as well.
Where we may be able to connect here is that the Signpost, just like FAC, is staffed by volunteers. We're trying your patience, fine, but I don't think you are appreciating the points of the editors who are expressing their issues about this presentation. There are obviously grave concerns from editors who have a stake in seeing Wikipedia succeed. You seem to be ignoring each of them and being TCO's apologist. At least that's what I'm seeing. Because I want to? Well, let's entertain that for a minute. Prove me wrong. Tell me how this is going to be covered. I don't see neutrality here. I don't see responsibility or accountability for TCO or from the Signpost. Show me where it is so I can go away and not be sober anymore. I'm much more happier doing that. --Moni3 (talk) 23:01, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I appreciate that attitude. The thing is, I didn't need to explain or justify this idea or seek the approval of anyone for running with it. Like FAC, the Signpost is staffed by volunteers; unlike FAC, we are only subject to community approval in so far as our articles are hosted here because it's convenient for their development – we are an independent publication and don't ask or require the support of the FAC community for what we publish. The vast majority of initial critical comments on this page failed to understand this point and what the debate piece in mature, publishable form might look like (if such a form is possible, which remains to be seen). It is my impression that the attitude in these comments indicates a lack of interest in understanding this, and so they have been for the most part unhelpful to us in our task of developing content for readers. The Signpost's editors are fully aware of, and have discussed at length the perceived and actual failings of TCO's analysis. That writing is irresponsible or unworthy of attention is absolutely grounds for us not to publish it. That it might hurt someone's feelings is not, provided it does not do so gratuitously and is of sufficient public interest. These assessments have not yet been made, because again, this piece is far too early in the development process to make such judgements. This talkpage has not advanced that process any way in proportion to its length, which I'd ask you to bear in mind in any future comments. Skomorokh 23:16, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
So in other words you're kicking people off a Wikipedia talk page. Great. Just great. Time to disappear again. I think you should take us all to AN/I for being disruptive and interrupting your work. Nevermind that lots of people have had their work interrupted. Truthkeeper (talk) 23:19, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Did I say that I was kicking people off a Wikipedia talk page? No I did not, and I am exasperated by this repeated interpretation of what I say in the most uncharitable and suspicious light. Your contributions to this page have been very helpful Truthkeeper, I thank you for them, and I will be following any further analysis with interest. Skomorokh 23:25, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I think I said a very very long time ago that when you start off with a highly and unnecessarily personalized hypothesis, it's unlikely we can get there from here, and I'm not even sure I understand where "there" is now. I don't know about others, but I'm completely unclear on how you (Sk) propose to develop this oped from here, but we seem to be at a juncture where The Signpost is becoming more of a story than the original non-story. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:30, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

() Sk, you're not being calm and you're not being clear, which lends itself to misinterpretation. If you don't want to waste time responding here, don't waste time responding here. Gerardw (talk) 23:34, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Wait one more clarification: do you intend this piece to run as it is then? Without input from the editors it seeks to vilify? So TCO puts it at FAC, not to start a dialogue but apparently to get a whole lot of reactions, and then you're handing him this Wikipedia-wide forum to further that goal and you do not intend to entertain the very serious concerns of FA writers? Just to be clear here this is what you're doing? --Moni3 (talk) 23:37, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec)What I'm suggesting is take a break, work on your other stuff or real life, and then come back to the page when you're less stressed. Read the comments, ignore what you want to ignore and respond to what you what to respond to. Gerardw (talk) 23:38, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Not you, Gerard. Too much going on here. Sorry. The questions are for Sk. --Moni3 (talk) 23:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Gerard, I appreciate the consideration, but I'm quite calm; it's just rather frustrating not being understood. Case in point, Moni's latest question, which is only comprehensible to me if what I'm typing is actually appearing to everyone else in Martian, backwards, and upside down. I honestly can't fathom how you could possibly imagine I intend to run this piece as it stands. Skomorokh 23:47, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, me neither. I can't tell what you're doing. I can't tell what you intend for this piece to be. I can't tell what you're trying to accomplish. Instead of clarifying that for me and perhaps allowing us to be constructive--and calming down this discussion, you're telling us we're trying your patience and that you can do whatever you damn well please with the Signpost. What does that help? Here's a suggestion. Either postpone this piece for a week so we can be constructive *and* get our concerns heard here or don't run it at all. --Moni3 (talk) 23:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Postpone it a week from what? When is this supposedly running, please tell me, because I seem to have been kept out of the loop of this nefarious scheme? Skomorokh 00:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
A week...from...now??? What the hell is going on? I am completely out to sea here. --Moni3 (talk) 00:14, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Possible restart? Geometry guy 01:22, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm good with a restart. I am still very confused about what is actually going on and I would appreciate Sk clarifying what he intends for this piece.

  • Earlier on this page he's commenting that he is under time constraints and the Signpost should have been ready hours ago. Now he says he does not intend for it to run at all? I do not understand if or when this is running.
  • Sk asked for input at WT:FAC, perhaps not as enthusiastically as what we have provided, but it's clear editors here are very concerned about this with good cause. I also get the impression that Sk could run the piece in any format he wishes and is not asking for input at all. I don't understand what level of input he really wants and of what nature.
  • I think it's integral for Sk to clarify how this presentation is going to be addressed in the Signpost. I had no idea it might be an objective story *and* an op ed by TCO in which FA writers can respond at the bottom. I still don't know if this is the case. It really needs to be made clear here in what way and for what purpose the Signpost is going to cover this. --Moni3 (talk) 02:06, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary new section

@Skomorokh: I read the original PDF, and have read the revised version of TCO's piece overleaf, and have skimmed this (rapidly expanding) talk page. If this ends up being run, I'd be interested in putting a short paragraph of response together, but having looked at the talk page I am not clear exactly what I'd be responding to -- you say you don't plan to run the piece as it stands, so I think I'd rather wait to respond till there's a final version. I'm also not sure where to post a draft response -- directly on that page, below Dank's and Gerardw's responses?

For what it's worth, here are my two cents on the debate about what is and isn't worth publishing here. Clearly the question of whether Wikipedia should, or even can, try to produce more articles of one kind or another is a good topic for the Signpost; and a discussion about the areas of focus of existing FA writers is somewhat relevant to that. If you're going to publish an opinion piece in this (or, I suppose, any area) then exhortation is acceptable rhetoric. But take "The Monster Under the Rug", or "There is a Deadline" -- these essays make statements about the way they think Wikipedia should be, but they don't do so with any implication of blame for why Wikipedia is not already the way they would like it to be. "The Monster Under the Rug", for example, says "I believe it comes down to our culture. Working in backlogs certainly isn't glamorous, but more importantly, I don't perceive it as being looked upon by the community as being especially commendable or even as being especially valuable." Would you have run that piece if it had included negative comments about a named editor, such as Ucucha, doing tasks that are far less important than backlogs? The article did not need to use any specific editor as an example of what it claimed is wrong with Wikipedia; it focused on what should be done.

I'd summarize TCO's piece as follows: TCO takes Gorbatai's analysis, adds a breakdown of FAs by page view count, and a breakdown of FA contributors by page view count, asks why FAs are often on obscure topics, and then adds a call for us to focus on quality, but without saying how this can be done. I would suggest that you should cut the analysis of FA contributors for two reasons: it doesn't add anything to the argument about what should be done, and it is seen as insulting by some of those contributors. (Disclosure: I'm a "low importance, high production" editor myself; I wasn't insulted, but I wasn't impressed either.) What's left is, I think, still subject to real criticism, but is no longer likely to be as offensive.

The real problem with publishing what would be left at that point is that it wouldn't be very good. At least some of the criticism made above about inaccurate work seem fair to me. The breakdown of FAs by page view count is mildly interesting though it seems to me an internal confusion to equate importance with page views; in any case the fact that FA writers mostly focus on narrow topics is scarcely something that needs extensive argument to establish -- any regular at FAC would agree with it immediately, though without a judgmental tone. The final exhortation seems empty without a plan of action -- the pdf contains a page on social rewards, which I think was rather flawed; perhaps those ideas were removed from this version to avoid some of the criticisms that were made on WT:FAC?

You might consider scrapping this and commissioning, or simply requesting the submission of, an opinion piece that argues for more attention to be given to vital articles. See Johnbod's essay, for example; there are plenty of people who have thought about this issue. I think there's not enough in TCO's essay to salvage, once you edit out the insults, and discount the section on Gorbatai as not original. The topic -- why we don't easily generate FAs on "important" articles, along with a discussion of what "important" means -- is worth covering. This essay doesn't do the topic justice.

-- Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:21, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

What he said. - Dank (push to talk) 02:28, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Mike, that's a succinct description of most of my thoughts on the current state of play. Whether the necessary defanging of TCOs analysis leaves it in an irrecoverable state isn't certain, and to be honest I still think it has a better chance of coming up with something more provocative (in the healthy, rather than needlessly insulting, sense) than any of the milquetoast essays lurking around userspace. As for structure, we had initially intended this to take a head-to-head format of equal length pieces, but no-one has yet been willing to engage in long-form consideration of the other side of the question overleaf. Thank you for this concise summation of where we are at. Skomorokh 03:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I generally find nuances meaningless on the Internet, which sometimes translates into my appearing to be a tremendous dolt, requiring people to spell out what it is they're trying to say, and if they don't know what they're trying to say, you know, say that. Other times, people actually have no idea how opaque they're being and how confusing their communication is. While I take responsibility for my bluster and wild hand gestures on this discussion page, a significant part of the conflict here is the lack of clarity about how this is going to be treated in the Signpost. Editors here have valid concerns. It would help tremendously if some of this confusion can be clarified.
  • If you, Skomorokh, agree with what Mike Christie posted, and he suggested scrapping and starting over, does that mean that's what you're going to do?
  • I mean, do you control that? Are you wholly responsible for this piece or is someone else? On SandyGeorgia's talk page, SvenManguard makes it seem as if there's a committee who insists on running something, in whatever format it appears, despite arguments not to do it.
  • Are you able to tell us how this may appear? Why might someone, for instance, spend time rebutting TCO's presentation so it can be placed here for TCO to prepare another rebuttal? Is the Signpost going to cover the presentation in a much more objective story and then have another page for TCO's editorial? Is this draft TCO's editorial?
  • Do you object to informing the participating editors here how this is going to appear? Are there some considerations about informing us that I don't know? Can you at least say that you're not going to tell us if that's going to be your approach, and if so, can you explain so I can understand your reasoning instead of leaving it open to speculation?
I appreciate what you can answer. --Moni3 (talk) 22:21, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
No response yet from Sk, but I see he did respond to similar from TCO on Sk's talk page (it seems that neither of them are following this page regularly if at all). From what I can tell, Sk plans to expand on his hypothesis: I suspect Wikipedians generally don't have high social status IRL), I will want to defend that status against external criticism. "I am a valued and important person in a valuable and important group." [7] Dagnabit, and just when I had to cancel my ski trip due to lack of snow in the Sierra Nevada, just so I could hang around a dysfunctional internet group, where I get all of my social validation. Bait and switch; original argument was faulty, now we're going to write about lack of social skills on Wikipedia instead. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:56, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Did you enjoy inventing yet another threat from the shadows? I do hope this dreaming up enemies lark is providing some entertainment for your foregone holidays. I am following this page, despite 90% of it being utterly unhelpful to the development of the content here. To respond to this latest ridiculous accusation, no, I have no intention of commissioning or otherwise running an analysis of Wikipedian's onsite and offsite social status. The focus of the debate overleaf, should it ever mature to seeing the light of day, remains at the intersection of high-end article production and topical importance (however conceived). Skomorokh 15:17, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Your words, your diff. As we say in theatre, "If it can't be good, it better be funny", and this is turning out pretty funny. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:31, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Mike's analysis is spot on. Put more bluntly: this is a turd and the only shiny bits were the flies on it. Thinking that it could be polished into something publishable shows an error of judgement. We all make them. This debacle has stirred debate and I'm sure you'll get some sturdy opinion pieces from our thoughtful and considerate editors. Scrap and recommision. Colin°Talk 08:57, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I might gladly do so Colin if I shared your optimism. Thus far, we have had zero submissions of substantial opinion pieces on the topic other than from TCO; could you tell me who you have in mind? Skomorokh 15:17, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I think the only remaining questions are 1) will Sk flush his turd and re-launch it correctly, or 2) will ResMar or TCO end up as the shiniest flies. Emphasis intended-- as pointed out by Colin, Sk, we all make judgment errors, that's not a reflection of our value as human beings, but the way you made this into a story was your judgment error, fitting of the worst kind of sensationalist journalism. You launched this incorrectly, then asked for feedback specifically from the targets of a hit piece, then decried the feedback you got, then decided the reaction was because we're all seeking validation on the internet for lacking social status in real life. Great strategic approach. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:23, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
(ec with Skomorokh's post below) Skomorokh, I think your comment above is the first one by you (that I've seen) that makes it clear that you would consider substituting a piece on this topic by another editor if a better piece were submitted. I encourage anyone reading this to offer an alternative essay for you to consider. I thought about trying to write one for you myself, but I think anything I wrote would be bland, and you've indicated that you're not keen on "milquetoast" essays for the Opinion slot. By the way, would you respond to Moni's post above? The questions are of interest to more than just her; in particular it would be helpful in these discussions if people understood how editorial control is exercised in the Signpost. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:43, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I would certainly expect any such substitution to be at least as rigorous as TCO's. I wouldn't think Skom's editorial decision is going to be affected by anything less.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:54, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Since Mike is typically dispassionate, diplomatic, and thorough, it's unfortunate if his writing doesn't rise to the standards of sensationalist journalism. Moni3 offered initially, but it appears to me she's been alienated (can't speak for her, but Sk's treatment of this issue would alienate most). Perhaps Geometry guy would write it? Or, if we prefer something akin to the way the Germans handled Sue's talk, Yomangani's the man (if it cant' be good, it better be funny). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:09, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Your chronology leaves rather a lot to be desired – the suggestion about addressing editor psychology in a separate submission you have seized on in paranoia was made on November 24, the discussion on this page began on November 27 – I'd love to hear you hypothesise as to how the former is a response to the latter. There are two submissions under development, yes; several commenters here have suggested more might be forthcoming if I were to abandon this one that has tweaked so many noses. That remains to be seen; we openly welcome submissions for potential opinion pieces, which aren't chosen by editorial stance (I disagree with much in ResMar's essay for instance). Topic of your choice, two to three thousand words, I'm all ears. Skomorokh 15:34, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Sk, I'm fully aware that you have been subjected to some invective on this very page (discussed on that editor's talk), but you are The Signpost editor here, and lowering yourself to charges of "paranoia" is not becoming or helpful. We have diffs on Wikipedia: you decided to run this "interesting" story before you made the comments about lacking social status. As you know, the two pieces are related-- they are both opinions related to the "quality" issue and how that affects editor retention, with criticism directed at "the top". It has been pointed out to you many times that the only reason that TCO got any traction at all is 1) because you gave it to him, and 2) because the timing coincided with Sue's remarks. You're the editor, you can take an editorial stance, but take responsibility for your position and what you're doing, even as your opinion desk co-editor strongly disagrees with what you've done. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:58, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)In that spirit, I'd appreciate if you would drop the wild speculations as to my nefarious motivations. The POV of opinion pieces is not something we select for in deciding to publish opinion pieces; relevance and compelling argument are the chief requirements in what makes it into print. I'm open to any submissions, whatever their slant, so long as they are topical and well-argued – but these do not seem likely from those editors who have assembled here. The notion that I am responsible for the attention given to TCO's piece is again, just the kind of baseless, personalised accusations critics have castigated TCO for and which we could all do without: the reactions at FAC/GA/VA were already voluminous and heated long before I happened upon them. So please, if you want us to cease lowering ourselves, how about assuming a little more good faith and focusing on constructive solutions? Skomorokh 16:07, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Re somebody writing a rebuttal, the problems are these as I see them:
  • TCO's 104 page analysis landed in wiki land on the eve of a major American holiday. Many of us were busy. (Myself, I cooked a full meal for more than 10 - saying that I had no time for this is an understatement).
  • TCO's analysis requires analysis - which takes time. I hadn't read the full 104 pages until Saturday night but by that time it was clear feedback was wasted. Hadn't finished with the Gorbatai information until Monday night - and understanding her studies and their relationship with TCO's material absolutely integral to this story in my opinion
  • At this point most the people in a position to make a rebuttal have been alienated and are not interested.
  • Lots of editors have jobs, a life, etc., and it's hard to drop everything to deal with this.
I suggest doing the following: write a news report such as the one Moni3 posted above; answer Moni3's questions so we know what's going on; and consider asking Yomangani or Geometry Guy (or someone such as that), maybe Johnbod, to write a rebuttal if that's what you require. A final thing before I go back to work - we can't know what you need until it's clearly spelled out. Truthkeeper (talk) 16:22, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Truthkeeper, I appreciate these suggestions. Time is not a luxury here, format of submissions is flexible; if someone was willing to write an equal length rebuttal to TCO's hypothesis overleaf, that was the original idea. However, that hypothesis needs work. Submissions developmentally unrelated to the one overleaf are also welcome (although if focusing on this issue, a partisan piece would likely be unhelpful – the debate format overleaf was intended to mitigate partisanship with balance). You can see past published single-authors Op-essays at the foot of the opinion desk. Skomorokh 16:29, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry to point out the obvious, but how can you possibly claim that "compelling argument" that is "well-argued" is the basis for your decision, considering the evidence to the contrary in the two opinion drafts we're looking at here? Again, many of us want to understand your standards and selection process, and that is becoming less and less clear the more this discussion progresses. And please stick to the truth-- I have to call utter bullshit on your statement that the "reactions ... were already voluminous and heated long before I happened upon them". Again, we have diffs, and the only reason this heated up is because of how you handled it. Had you not fed this, ala journalistic sensationalism, it would be done and gone by now, and we'd have focused as we should have on on Sue's comments instead. TCO only got any traction because of the coincidental timing of Sue's comments. Please do re-read the FAC talk page and other places, and keep the chronology straight. You created this and you fed it (or perhaps you and HaeB), over the reasoned objections of your opinion desk co-editor. Now, please fix your error and stop shooting the messengers (you asked them to come here, well before the piece was in any kind of shape remotely related to "well argued"-- we all make judgment errors, it's not a reflection of our value, but one thing that is a reflection of our value is being able to back off of a bad call. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:22, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Again, you are selectively quoting and misrepresenting what I have written. What I wrote was, with emphasis "The POV of opinion pieces is not something we select for in deciding to publish opinion pieces; relevance and compelling argument are the chief requirements in what makes it into print." The drafts are drafts, and it is my position that although topical, neither are sufficiently well-argued to be ready for publication (not that strength of argument is the sole area for improvement either). As regards the attention TCO's piece stimulated before he began work on his side of the debate here, the FAC talkpage speaks for itself. Skomorokh 16:22, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Sk, a word to the wise: this is the internet, things happen at the speed of light. Perhaps that explains the difference between what you (apparently) see at WT:FAC and what I see. You jumped too fast to a story that was poorly formulated and not yet flushed out. The tragedy is that no one cares anymore, and the Sue thing won't get the attention it deserves. Timing is everything: TCO got lucky and you gave him his 15 minutes of fame, but in the future, please consider that one day of discussion at WT:FAC is a drop in the bucket, and keep perspective on how fast discussions arise and subside on the internet (unless they are fed by The Signpost). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:32, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I take a longer view. The issue of the encyclopaedia's coverage of core topics is a perennial one, and continued examination of it is valuable even if it exhausts the attention span of some. I acknowledge that I could have handled this situation better, but as this is our first crack at commissioning a debate, any mistakes are bumps along the road to better practices. That said, if you are unwilling to own up to misrepresenting my words above, I'd appreciate your removing your misrepresentation of a quotation I referred to as an opinion of my own on your userpage – that is engaging in exactly the sort of bad faith personalised drama we could very well do without. Skomorokh 16:41, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Ummm ... I will remove it simply out of respect that you asked (as I would for anyone), and not because I agree with your characterization of the matter. I'll simultaneously point out to you that a full diff is given so that readers can form their own opinion, I made no characterization whatsover (only linked the diff), which is a courtesy that TCO extended to no one. To the matters of substance, yes, we need more attention to core topics, but shooting the FA writers in a highly and unnecessarily personalized pseudoanalysis with suspect motivations was never the way to make that happen, and by further fueling the flames, you may have not only succeeded in not helping advance core articles, but also squashing future FAs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:56, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

() (ec)May I suggest the questions of motivations of all the parties appear to just be making folks angrier. I recommend AGFDATETTCBIJEITLR? (Assert Good Faith Despite All The Evidence To The Contrary Because It's Just Easier In The Long Run). The evidence here indicates that there are no vandals here -- each passionate editor is working towards a better Wikipedia. I think the interesting questions are:

  • Where are we today?
  • Where do we go from here? Gerardw (talk) 16:27, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Well hopefully we're at the toilet flushing stage. Skomorokh hasn't made it easy for himeself by making statements like "I've never been pressured into not running a story before now and I don't intend to start with this" because they just make it harder to change your mind without losing face. And dismissing people's concerns as "drama from the popcorn gallery" is unlikely to win many friends either. TCO's original Powerpoint failed to meet the editorial guidelines that the submission should be "be fact-based and well-researched and not unnecessarily inflammatory in tone". It fails on all three points. Attempts to polish this turd overstep the role of editor into one of authorship and this was becoming the Skomorokh/TCO opinion piece. For example, in this edit Skomorokh suppressed criticism of the FAC leadership, an issue TCO's text said was "most concerning". In this edit Skomorokh removed TCO's named categorisation of editors (dabblers, star collectors, champions and battleships). But the "star collector" epithet is key to TCO's argument about the systems of rewards. In this edit Skomorokh summary said "rework to focus on the work rather than the personalities; in two minds about dropping username references altogether". The problem is that TCO focused on the personalities and what drove them. It wasn't a dispassionate analysis of FA articles but of the editors writing those FAs and questioned their motives. This wasn't editorial teaking but changing the argument and suppressing opinions that the editor felt shouldn't be raised. Flush flush. Colin°Talk 17:55, 30 November 2011 (UTC)


Comments by Elcobbola: Whatever direction is taken forward, I think it would be helpful, at a minimum, to divorce the notions of “quality” and “assessed level”. I understand quality, for example, to be associated with an article’s thoroughness, accuracy, presentation and usefulness; these aspects are entirely independent of an arbitrary ranking (assessed level) by a wikiproject, passing editor, or review process. Sholes and Glidden typewriter, for example, experienced only minor prose and markup tweaks between FA and GA status (i.e., assessed level increased, whilst quality essentially remained constant). Catholic Church (as of ca. 2008), despite issues of neutrality, among others, was nevertheless a relatively high quality article, as defined above. Its failure to obtain FA status and delisting as a GA were, to my recollection, more related to “editorial” aspects (NPOV, stability, etc.) than its value to readers as an encyclopedia article (quality). Generally, then, an article may be of high quality regardless of whether citations are consistently formatted (necessary for FA status) or whether a primary author chooses to present it for review at all (indeed, certain editors, for various reasons, dislike the review processes here – thus generally relegating certain articles to B-class status, one that does not reflect objective quality).

More generally, many genuinely interesting and important issues underlie this discussion: why articles (rightly or wrongly) considered “vital” are not more commonly brought before review processes; what factors influence topic choice and the creation of quality content; whether the assessment levels are accurate or fulfilling a purpose; what article trends (creation of GA/FA vs. new/stubs) suggest about the Wikipedia model; and others. It is a shame, then, that this article takes as a basis an analysis fundamentally and irreparably flawed in its approach, particularly by conflating assessment level with quality and by misunderstanding the nature of the FA process (which merely reviews articles brought to it, with no input or concern related to the topic), and which thus fails to address meaningfully any of aforementioned issues. The inappropriateness of what is mere mathematical exercise married to commentary on and attribution of motives to individual editors has already been discussed at length. Эlcobbola talk 19:39, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Appropriateness and motivation discussion is long past the Basashi point. Gerardw (talk) 19:56, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Amplifying/overlapping elcobbola:

  • Featured articles: leading by example or elistist clique?
  • Should featured articles not be anyone can edit?
  • WMF & Wikipedia webserver purpose: an encyclopedia for readers, or a platform for folks who want to write one?
  • Dotting the i's: is top shelf writing necessary for top quality articles? Gerardw (talk) 20:31, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
I would add to that:
  • What, if anything, should WMF be doing to encourage the growth of quality article?--Wehwalt (talk) 20:43, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Entities, biological and artificial, have different needs and objectives at different stages of growth. One would not manage a toddler in the same manner as a teenager; similarly, organizations have different objectives as they move from start-up to mature phases. I’ve long held that a fundamental problem with the Foundation is a failure to recognize that a phase swift has occurred, and to adjust its objectives, values and practices accordingly. The “free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” has been a brilliant philosophy in Wikipedia’s nascent stages, when growth was needed (both in terms of topic coverage and user participation). With more than 3.8 million articles, however, the topic coverage has been well (even over) established. “Anyone can edit” has now begun to be a harmful mantra. Creation of an encyclopedia is ultimately a scholarly pursuit; accordingly, if a quality encyclopedia is the true goal, a shift away from “anyone” needs to occur (and semi-protecting certain articles is a step in that direction). Opponents will certainly cry “elitism”, but there’s a reason societies generally don’t ask any passer-by to perform surgery or lecture at a university. Certain endeavors require specialized skills and knowledge not possessed by “the masses”, taken as whole. And lest we take Wikipedia too seriously, people willing to put forth genuine effort related to content creation suffice as "scholars" for our purposes. If, alternatively, the true goal of the foundation is merely a sandbox in the form of an encyclopedia, I would expect continued regression, or stagnation. Although this has now become a tangential discussion, it does seem to illustrate some of issues that ought to have instead been analyzed. Эlcobbola talk 21:25, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Why are we asking these questions here as if they're going to be answered or something? What's the purpose of this turn of the discussion?
I'm under the impression this talk page is here so we can discuss TCO's draft article/editorial. I'm reiterating how frustrating it is to get no clarity. I've asked twice now--and Mike Christie reminded Skomorokh--for specific answers and have received none. It's very disappointing. Skomorokh wants something and I don't know what it is. I don't know how more simply I can say that I don't understand what he wants for this piece and what he wants from FA writers. I can't tell if he's blaming the participants here for the less fun turn this has taken or what but I cannot account for why such simple questions have gone unanswered. Either you know or you don't. Either you can tell us or you can't. But again, the more ignorant we remain, the more likely we are not to appear to be easy to work with: if we knew what Skomorokh wanted and how our efforts might be presented in the Signpost, the tone of this discussion would turn constructive.
We cannot read minds. The Internet makes communication more difficult, particularly for issues on Wikipedia that span across dozens of talk pages. I suppose the next step is for me to ping Skomorokh's talk page so I know he's actually read all three of these comments. I don't know what else to do.  ??? Anyone??? --Moni3 (talk) 22:21, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
See what you can do with this. I reiterated your question earlier today up the page somewhere. Truthkeeper (talk) 22:25, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Ok...
  • How long is TCO's "hypothesis overleaf"? Does that mean the stuff in the sandbox space now? What length? What time frame? Would someone(s) be able to submit this through email? Is TCO's presentation going to be covered objectively on another part of the Signpost? Because obvious question is that if TCO posted it in several venues, and it gets covered objectively in the Signpost, and then he is given space to write an editorial, that alone is weighted in his favor and I'm not wrong in saying his primary concern is not improving FAC or Wikipedia. If he gets all that plus the opportunity to see the rebuttal that may be run in the Signpost so he can tailor his response to refuting all its points specifically, then that would be a fool's errand for anyone who participates in it. Clarity really, really would help here. --Moni3 (talk) 22:37, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
The purpose of this turn in the discussion to provide suggestions for moving forward from the bad to the good.
'Either you know or you don't know' is a false dichotomy. Maybe you just have a vague idea and don't know precisely. Maybe you know but aren't sure how to put it in words. Maybe you think you've already answered this question and the people asking just aren't getting the answer.
I know exactly what you should do next. Do nothing. Wait. Give Skomorokh time and space to process what is being said here. Gerardw (talk) 22:53, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
The link Truthkeeper88 provided is to a comment where Skomorokh states time is not a luxury. Is he pressed for time to get this piece out or not? Gerard, until we know what the Signpost needs, what use is it to discuss these issues that have been rehashed dozens of times at WT:FAC? These are old arguments to me, and probably to other FA writers as well. The only way to be constructive here is to know what the standards for submission are, then to submit or decline to participate. Either you know or you don't know is pretty much the only point where folks have asked you to state what it is you want and have received no clear response. Your comment has too many maybes in it. And it's coming from you, not Skomorokh. Are you somehow involved with the Signpost? Do you have any authority to suggest what should be written for this page? I'm not asking to be an asshole. I'm really just asking as simply as I can. I just don't understand. Someone please tell me that I'm not insane here. I mean--other people are confused as well, are they not? --Moni3 (talk) 23:06, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
Ideally we'd know how many words the op-ed will have and have many words for to the overleaf. And the deadline. I don't think we have that level of clarity yet. Truthkeeper (talk) 23:09, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
First things first: I am an absolute nobody, a low-edit count, sporadic Wikipedia contributor with no extra "bits" 'cept what you get for 10 edits or whatever and the pending changes thing that tanked. Accordingly, I have absolutely no authority over anyone or anywhere. I was merely answering your questions -- if they were rhetorical I didn't get that and apologize. If the reasoning behind my answers make sense to you than logically you would follow them. If it doesn't you'd probably ignore them. And if you found them intrusive or welcome, something along the lines of butt out would be respected. I arrived here from a long trail of breadcrumbs from my usual hole at WP:WQA. You're not insane but your postings here -- again, only my opinion -- have not been well thought out, as have many others, as have Sk's replies. Many contain both an informational component and connotative emotional overtone, intentional or not, and I see folks responding more to the emotional component. Haste makes waste. Frequently, usually often slowing things down can help with that a lot. Gerardw (talk) 23:26, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

In other news

Watchers of this page may be interested in the Signpost's recent research report in this week's issue; among other topics, the production of low-importance FAs is discussed. Skomorokh 06:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps you could update less generally?--Wehwalt (talk) 13:30, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Ack. The only thing I could glean from that page, before I gave up, is that Tony1 didn't copyedit it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:08, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

The story within the story

Separating this from the discussion two sections above, because it really is the real story within the story, of how his story was fed. The evidence does not support Sk's assertion that a heated discussion was already underway when he accepted the story.

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:42, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Again, you're confusing two stories – a proposed news story (the second diff leads to the comment section for developing the "News and notes" column) and a proposed debate (representing only the views of its authors). I don't see how any of this is helpful in developing content. Skomorokh 16:49, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
No confusion here, the evidence of who fed this story is clear. And most telling is TCO's typical "I had first shot" at the end of that discussion. WP:BATTLEGROUND, a story generated and fed by The Signpost editorial desk. Live and learn-- it's not a judgment of your value, until and unless it becomes a pattern. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:11, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

References