User talk:Proteins/Core Contest archive

Active discussions

Your appeal for help with The Core ContestEdit

Hi, Proteins, I saw your post at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Biography#The Core Contest and a few other WikiProjects regarding the Core Contest from last year and its failure to award its promised prizes. Before you post to further Projects, you may want to know that I've asked for clarification at the Bio WP and I see that several others have asked similar questions at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics; perhaps you should revisit these pages first so as to better explain your intentions, as some may not be sure what it is you're proposing. I for one would be glad to see this botched initiative finish, and everyone receive their deserved congrats, even if it is a year late. :) María (habla conmigo) 19:30, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi Maria, thank you very much for writing and for allowing me the opportunity to clarify what I meant. I did so at WP:BIO, but I've begun clarifying the other announcements by changing "I'd like to amend this and reward the students the prizes, as they were promised." to the briefer and better "I'd like to amend this and reward the prizes, as they were promised." If you have other suggestions to clarify the announcement, please let me know ASAP, because I don't want to have to go back and change them afterwards. Proteins (talk) 19:55, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
That was the main part that I found confusing, but perhaps in future posts you can explicitly state what you're "interested in recruiting professors" and others for. Evaluating the entries? Monetary donations? What is needed? Just a suggestion, though, as I think it's fairly clear at the moment. María (habla conmigo) 20:06, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

improvement of the Core contestEdit

We "met" at the Military History Project. I liked the idea to reward the Core contest, but the Core needs to be structured better. People do have certain fields of interest and there is a set of articles falling into that field, but are they finding them? An organized overview would help people with the orientation. WP 1.0 uses a hierarchical approach. That's a simple solution, but may not help everybody because certain types of interests are not included into the hierarchy. That's why I would suggest a keyword indexing using the scopes of select wikiprojects(the big ones at least). In this system you should be able to search within a visible pool of keywords and get a list of articles as a result. If a list is likely too long to be searched manually it can have a sub-keyword index that allows sorting out a smaller list with a visible selection of keywords. This system allows to integrate one article into multiple hierarchies and thus provides more comfort to someone searching for his field of interest. You can set this up within wikipedia using categories, but another solution is likely to be more elegant.

The other problem is the defintion of Core. I would appreciate if it was clearly defined and this definition visible for everybody. I suggest to orient the definition along longterm interest into a topic that can be retrieved with this tool(it only needs some calculations cutting of daily hit values highly above the monthly norm). Of course, an approach that includes certain articles because of their perceived importance despite their low yields of hits can be intermixed with the above. Greetings Wandalstouring (talk) 08:21, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi Wandalstouring,
I agree that future Core Contests should be defined more precisely and organized better. For now, I'm focused on concluding this CC to everyone's satisfaction before moving on to the next. We should also canvas more people, especially established editors and WikiProjects, for their suggestions. I think the next Core Contest would run about a year from now at the earliest, say, Fall Semester 2009.
As I wrote over there, we might consider organizing analogous contests within the Wikiprojects. On the one hand, you wouldn't want to sow the seeds of dissension within people who work together. But it's much easier to judge apples with apples, and less occasion for people to feel they were judged unfairly; I don't envy the judges their task of comparing Emily Dickinson with World War II! If the judges were recognized academics from within the same WikiProject, that would help keep such contests happy and healthy.
Your other suggestions for extended search/assessment tools are interesting, and I'll look into making them. Thanks for making them! I'm aware that there are several such tools out there, but I don't think we have exactly the ones you describe. Proteins (talk) 12:39, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Very long post about how to run a contestEdit

It's quite hard not to think about how to organize things if you've been a coordinator for over a year. The bounty board is a really small affair compared to the whole reward board. That makes me doubt whether we can count on money the motivating factor for article improvements and makes me emphasize non-monetary rewards. The problem of these boards is that they aim at recruiting single editors who should bring articles to high levels within limited time and offer no guiding reviews for directing improvements.
1. Recruitment should be aimed at teams. It shouldn't exclude single editors, but the approach should emphasize the recruitment of groups. One way is to encourage wikiprojects to send out their teams and another to provide an infrastructure for people to form teams. I suggest a kind of announcement board for that purpose. The teams help reduce the individual workload and foster a sense of comradship that makes the whole affair more enjoyable. Teamwork also helps to cover the shortcomings of individuals.
2. A time limit is a good idea because it keeps people in anxiety and thus raises the adrenalin level. However, it should be manageable to make significant improvements within that time and get reviews(issue 3). In my opinion two weeks are too short, I would opt for three to four.
3. The boards have no reviews or any form of encouragement on the way to article improvement that's tailored to a competition. Your idea about guidance made me figure out a system that not only rewards editors, but also helps them along the way to the reward. Despite it's lack of professors, the Military History Project plays a leading role in bringing articles to FA. (321 FA out of 73,345 articles compared to 2,298 FA out of 2,620,411 pages(that are mostly articles) for wikipedia as a whole). That's why I suggest to partially copy their review processes. Part of this would require to set up a project that can assess articles according to its own guidelines (for B- and A- class, I don't think C-class is necessary). There's a need for academics as counselors who offer guidance in a peer review and it would be good if these weren't part of the jury. Another group are volunteers(anyone can join, violation of guidelines leads to exclusion, a handbook will be written for them) who help running things smoothly, let's call them coordinators(it's defined as a maintenance job in wikipedia).
3.1 First step would be a B-class review by a single wikipedian without any necessary qualification with a B-class checklist. Several, but not all projects have adopted this grading scheme. This makes it also a political issue whether this checklist should be employed. I'm open for alternatives, but would suggest to remain firm in respect to inline citations because without them a work is worthless. You can't verify anything nor use it for further reading on certain topics within a topic. There should be a notice board where editors can call for a B-class review.
3.2 After an article passed B-class review it can be nominated for A-class. There's another A-class checklist by the Military History Project which helps to maintain consistency and a minimum coverage of important aspects. The review is done by three wikipedians without necessary qualifications and closed by one of the coordinators who hasn't been involved in the article nor the review. As usual, I'm open for alternatives.
3.3 An article that passed its B-class review can be submitted to a peer review. This can be done after or parallel to the A-class review. The peer review is informal, however, at least one of the recruited academic counselors comments on the article and suggests improvements or signals satisfaction. Other wikipedians are cordially invited to participate. To aid the distinction of academic counselors, they should be listed as part of the peer review system.
All in all, these steps help to keep people busy over the duration of the competition and offer the competitors guidance in bringing their works to top level. The necessary tools for this system are successfully running in the Military History Project, thus with little work such a contest can be set up within wikipedia. Using the keyword index suggested above, you can not only run the reviews centrally, but also allow projects to keep an eye on the reviews within their part of the scope. That would help late recruitment of further editors interested in the topic and encourage more participation of simple wikipedians in the reviews. Well, that should do it and I wish you good luck with your contests. I'm going to contact you via email and ask for information on how to send you money to support the payment for the last one. Wandalstouring (talk) 13:33, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Dear Wandalstouring,
Thank you for your thoughtful ideas for the review system and future contests. I agree with you that money seems not to be the prime motivator; my admittedly limited experience suggests rather the sense of improving one's knowledge and writing skills, of contributing to general knowledge about a field, and the pleasure of working together with smart, articulate fellow editors. I strongly support your idea of academics fostering the development of good articles and, more generally, helping students to master their field and the skills they need to thrive in it. The checklist idea I need to consider more thoroughly, because I'm sensitive to the idiosyncracies of well-written, well-organized articles. Like a difficult engineering problem, articles often involve trade-offs and I worry that checklists might not be always appropriate for optimizing articles. On the other hand, certain features such as thorough referencing are a sine qua non; I would also like to add accessibility, since that's something I care about personally.
I think your idea of encouraging people to form teams, thereby fostering collaboration and comradeship, is brilliant. It helps with one of my chief fears, that of contests sowing dissension in WikiProjects rather than comradery. I see a possible connection with the idea of having a global Core Contest but similar contests within each Wikiproject. Perhaps the submissions to the global contest could come from the WikiProjects, and the rewards returned not only to the authors but also in part to their sponsoring WikiProject. I don't mean to say that WikiProjects could submit only one entry for the contest, rather only that they've vetted the entry as something they as a community are proud of. I'm not sure what form Wikiproject rewards would take, but I see a lot of potential for WikiProjects as a locus for expertise and to foster the development of articles within their field. There might be ways of honoring active, well-organized WikiProjects and giving them more tools to be more effective.
Thank you very, very much for your contribution to the Core Contest prizes. It means a lot, and you can be proud of yourself. Sincerely, your fellow academic Proteins (talk) 15:38, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Core contestEdit

Hi. Yes I agree. I saw a massive improvement in articles. I spent a lot of time creating and developing Deforestation in Brazil and was quite annoyed when the promised awards were not given by Danny. If this sort of thing was done more regularly it could potentially make a massive difference to wikipedia. Count Blofeld 14:52, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Dear Dr. Blofeld,
Thank you very much for your supportive comments. I agree with you that such contests could be very helpful, if they were organized thoughtfully and a few pitfalls avoided. BTW, I'm glad that you came here, since I've noticed and admired your work as part of my students' studies of Wikipedia. But since you were a participant in the Core Contest, I should resist the temptation to ask you to contribute to the awards. ;) I've been in contact with the judges, and everything seems on track for announcing the winners on the 25th. I don't know who the winners will be, but I wish good luck to you and your fellow article writers! Proteins (talk) 15:09, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Core ContestEdit

Dr. Wedemeyer, I read your post at the Doctors mess and had some thoughts on your endeavor. I do not walk in your discipline but have discovered in my own quest for core material regarding cardiac mechanics that this type of intellectual property is still jealously protected, even if over 100 years old. An encyclopedic compilation like yours is noble but fraught with hazard. Wiki seems to allow a rare opportunity for unbridled transparency in encyclopedic elaboration of published science.--lbeben 00:33, 18 November 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lbeben (talkcontribs)

Thank you for your kind words, Lbeben. It's a funny coincidence that you mention cardiac physiology, since my mom is a pediatric cardiologist, and I was just thinking today of asking her to contribute. As an undergraduate, I studied a little cardiac physiology, modeling the flow of blood through vessels and at branch points, but I'm still a rank amateur. You can assume, though, that I and others will turn our attention to the physiology and medical articles at Wikipedia, which are sorely in need of all our help. Proteins (talk) 03:27, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Stop spamming Wikipedia about The Core Contest! It was a Veropedia stunt.Edit

I object to you spamming Wikipedia on such a controversial issue. Haven't you read the Core Contest talk page? People object to a number of aspects of the competition, and it is my opinion that the prize was never awarded because of the can of worms it would open. Keep cash out of the project - it simply corrupts. If you really are a professor (and so what if you are?), you should put your mind to that old chestnut.

Veropedia had no business taking control of Wikipedia's Watchlist like it did, as it is a separate concern that is run by advertising. When people's potential earners are on the line (like Danny's) everything gets to rest on these things. If he really can't aford the prize money, he got his poetic reward. --Matt Lewis (talk) 19:37, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry that you object, and I'm willing to stop. I'm just trying to help some editors, many of them students I believe, who were misled into working very hard. Since their hard work seems to have made significant improvements in core articles on Wikipedia, I imagine that others besides myself will want to recognize their work. Professors can be remarkably devoted to helping students, and many people will feel a natural impulse to right a wrong. I'm sorry to be asking at many WikiProjects with articles entered in the contest, but I don't have any other way of finding like-minded people. FWIW, I'm not interested in helping Veropedia, although I also don't share your relish for poetic justice. Proteins (talk) 19:55, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Your canvassing is helping Veropedia whether you like it or not, unfortunately. I'm strongly recommend you removing the effective spam - you'd be surprised where this could go. I spend a fair amount of my time removing adverts from Wikipedia (some spend most of time doing it) - this gives entirely the wrong impression, and the whole issue will certainly end up in arbcom if it carries on.
As for the exemplary students - if you want to reward them, why not award them a barnstar? "Core contest, excellent contributor", or something, and we can wrap this up without any more advertising ot money changing hands. You are entitled to judge as anyone else. Veropedia actually enforcing ownership (all the judges are currently Veropedia people) would really put the cat amongst the pigeons! Ironically, I'm not even a great one for barnstars (they get abused themselves) - but I'm not that much of a killjoy, and I'm happy to help find closure. If you want a professional designer, I will offer my services (and for free). The entries could even be put up to a public vote on the Core contest main page - ~I'll help with that too. Fancy barnstars (or similar graphic userpage award) are reward enough.
After a year has passed I think this particular Core contest page should be fully archived, and we should all forget about it unless we need it as an example in the future. Danny etc can then put it behind them.
What do you say? (the guy you emailed was part of Veropedia, by the way - perhaps you need impartial advice).--Matt Lewis (talk) 11:18, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Matt, for your gracious and thought-provoking letter. I think there's a way here for well-meaning people to find common ground and a solution that satisfies everyone. For one thing, I think we all agree that the winners should be announced, and everyone recognized for their hard work. If I understand your message correctly, the pivotal issue seems to be the cash prizes. I see and respect your opinion about the involvement of money, which does indeed open a large can of worms, one that might not be easily closed again.
I see two sides to the issue. On the one hand, it's good to be able to reward students for their hard work. In my department, we give out scholarships and prizes to students who do excellent research. For example, my first undergraduate student won the Biochemistry Student of the Year award and numerous other prizes, which I believe helped her to get into one of the world's best graduate schools for her discipline. Her stellar grades, track record in research and recommendation letters probably contributed most to her acceptance, but still recognition by awards is significant. I also find it wrong to promise something and not deliver. Given that the contest is mentioned prominently in a recent popular book about Wikipedia (where I read about it), it seems sensible to find some closure for the contest and for the contestants.
On the other hand, it is troubling to have an outside commercial entity involved, even tangentially. It doesn't concern me for this contest, for several mitigating reasons, but I can imagine analogous situations in which it would. I sympathize with your perspective, and I thank you for helping me to understand it better. For me, it's also slightly troubling to be financially rewarding a particular set of editors who participated in a particular contest, when we're surrounded every day by a sea of editors, all contributing freely.
Clearly, I still need time to think it through. For example, I haven't decided whether awards/grants are sensible to help jump-start initiatives on Wikipedia, although I sense that a satisfactory solution is possible. For now, I'll agree to remove my appeals, if you will generously go to work designing two awards for the Core Contest: one for the winning entries and one as a "Special Honorable Mention". Barnstars seem a little commonplace, as you say; perhaps you might make them a special one-off? I have to leave for a meeting in a few minutes and my whole afternoon is booked, but if you'll agree to do that, then I'll remove my appeals tonight when I return home. Let's stay in touch, and thank you for being patient, Proteins (talk) 18:04, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
That sounds like a good deal to me. There are examples that are not shaped like barnstars - I'll make the two awards you suggest stand out. I'm not against rewarding people - my gripe with barnstars started when I noticed someone receive one for standing his ground in a very dubious argument - from someone who shared his unhelpful view. I've noticed they have not been so popular over the past year (it seems to me, though it may be just where I edit) - possibly as a consequence of being over-used.
I have to say I am doing this without knowing who will be judging them. Do you favour placing them open to vote? I don't mind academics judging this one I suppose, but I'd rather if it wasn't just Veropedia - obviously. If it's done right it could be a Wikipedia-based blueprint for the future. At the moment the idea (core competitions have happened in the past) has been effectively broken by abuse.
Apologies if I initially appeared rude btw, my cynical side has been to the fore with this since it started. Veropedia hid their involvement, and I originally thought it was Wikipedia corrupting itself.--Matt Lewis (talk) 19:25, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
No worries at all! For myself, I'm embarrassed that I threw myself so quixotically into trying to fix it; but all's well that ends well. If we end up friends, I'll count it a fortunate mistake. :) I went ahead and deleted my appeals, except for the four that evoked a discussion: Military History, Mathematics, Biography, and of course, England. It wouldn't be proper to delete other people's messages, and they would seem strange hanging there by themselves, don't you think? But for the last one, I'll delete my comments if you delete yours; we'll make a clean slate together.
Regarding the judging. I've been corresponding with the original judges, and I believe that they've agreed on a set of winners. I understand that you might be skeptical, with them being Veropedia people and possibly poor judges. But I think that we can trust their judgments here. I've seen the individual article reviews and I think they were scrupulous and fair. I've been conversing with Prof. Walker at length on scientific matters, and I've formed a good impression of his knowledge and judgment. You might also remember his involvement in WP:WP 1.0, which suggests to me that he has the best interests of Wikipedia at heart.
After the initial winners are announced, of course Wikipedians can bestow your awards however they'd like. It seems the very model of the wiki-way, and there are many more deserving articles than we can fit into five slots. For the purposes of closure, I'd like to stick with the original model of five places; after seeing the judges' reviews, it also seems as though there's a good "break point" there. Although there were many impressive contributions, the winners seem to be in a league of their own; I don't think that anyone will begrudge them their recognition. Proteins (talk) 00:30, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
As one of the judges described above as "currently Veropedia people," I'd just like to clarify that I have no connection with Veropedia, now or in the past. I was asked by Danny to help judge this contest only because of my involvement with the Wikipedia 1.0 project. I believe the editors did splendid work on some of Wikipedia's most important articles. Walkerma (talk) 02:05, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
It looks like I jumped to a conclusion on that one. Most of, if not all of, those promoting the contest on its talk page, I had back traced to the Veropedia website - it looks like Danny brought you in from outside, and you didn't yourself contribute to the talk until people were questioning the passing months. Seeing as this is the case, I am certainly more happy in accepting your part-judgement on the entries. In future though, I think polling on entries could work - maybe in stages to whittle it down. I think Veropedia highlights the difficulties with bringing people in from the outside. Certainly the judging procedure should simply be more open, however it is done - I am asuming at there is likely to be another CC at some time in the future. --Matt Lewis (talk) 10:19, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay on the graphics - I'm planning to get them done today. The will be core contest specific (ie incorporated into the detail), but when uploaded they can be freely adapted by others to anything of course. This is the WP:AWARDS page.--Matt Lewis (talk) 18:08, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to hijack the discussion, but as one of the potential donors I'd like to voice my concerns. Is it that bad that veropedia started the contest? OK, likely they hoped for a massive amount of well-written and well-cited works, but isn't that also the scope of wikipedia? We do take care of citations starting with B-class assessment and we do run a contest in the military history project. Does this make us quislings because in effect we support veropedia with good material? I suggest to judge the acts of people on their own and not based on their other affiliations. Does the core contest help wikipedia, yes or no? I think the well-written articles are enough reply, although a GA among the first five isn't very good. As such, the contest is a good idea to supplement the existing bounty board and would fully support it again if run by reliable people. Wandalstouring (talk) 08:29, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes - what Veropedia did was totally against the philosophy of Wikipedia. Any "reliable people" must be found through Wikipedia, and money kept out of it.
RE Danny announcing the winners? My idea was for prestigious-looking awards to be the prizes (along with the kudos that comes with winning) - so it isn't Kash. Nobody should ever need to award money for something like this. What is the score on that, and when is he announcing them? I didn't realise Danny himeslf was going to do it - I thought people were taking it over to some degree - I haven't asked enough questions, clearly. I'm simply not associating my graphics and a promotion of Veropedia. If it's non-cash you can have them now (or later today - parts of them are incomplete) - if it is, I'll bring them in later, with a promotion for a future 'core competition' that is uncorrupted and democratic too (as much as it can be). I'll also be opening a discussion on not allowing the watchlist to be used this way again - there was discussion and backing for doing this around the time. I don't want Veropedia to slowly burn it's logo into the contest - I can see the 'sister-site' process, and I don't like it at all. --Matt Lewis (talk) 10:58, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I've sent e-mails to you both, which I hope will address all of your questions and concerns. Thank you, Proteins (talk) 13:19, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
A word to the participants
I believe many of the participants were profoundly disappointed, even angry, at the way the contest was handled, at the way that promises were not kept. You are totally in the right to be angry at being misled. But please allow yourself to be reconciled by a sincere, good-faith effort. You're right – the article itself is a reward; over the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have read and appreciated your work. The judges have also admired your writing, your elegant organizations, and your addition of so much referenced content to core articles that desperately needed it. I think it would be good for everyone involved, and for Wikipedia itself, to make peace. The participants should congratulate each other on jobs well-done, and then we should all move on. Proteins (talk) 00:58, 21 November 2008 (UTC)


Hey, sorry about that; was a bit confused, couldn't tell what you wanted from me -- if you give me your eMail address though, I'll eMail you. Sherurcij (speaker for the dead) 20:01, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi Sherurcij, thanks very much for writing! You can write to me by clicking on the "E-mail this user" button in the toolbox in the left-hand column. I'll watch my e-mail and write back right away. Proteins (talk) 20:30, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi. I think you and Wandal now have my email address. I was also meaning to talk to you about something feature article related. It involves [this Count Blofeld 20:39, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

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