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FAs and Conflicts of Interest

I don't know if any of you are keeping track of the fun and games with regards to Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Terri Schiavo, but I thought we might try to come to some consensus before the article returns for another FA vote. In a nutshell, here is my major issue with the article: One of the people actively involved in the Terri Schiavo case, Gordon Watts (User:GordonWattsDotCom and here's his personal webpage) is actively involved in the creation of the article and even nominated it for FAC last time. I am aware of the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest standards, and that a conflict of interest doesn't necessarily keep someone from contributing to an article. However, I feel uneasy about articles with such blatant conflict of interest becoming a FA, especially when the editor promoting the article for FAC is the one with the conflict. Does anyone else have concerns about this? Could the Wikipedia:What is a featured article be adjusted to reflect this, or is that going too far?--Alabamaboy 02:17, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

As long as the editor is in good faith and the article really is NPOV then I really don't see a problem here, even if there are conflicts of interest Ryan Norton T | @ | C 02:24, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Just for the record I have been following the saga somewhat closely, including the appeal to jimbo on his talk page. Basically I think that as long as it passes the FAC process normally (which it isn't currently, obviously) then there shouldn't be a problem   Ryan Norton T | @ | C 02:26, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
"Does anyone else have concerns about this?" Yes. I do, and for that reason, I declared my potential conflicts of interest. (I nearly saved Terri's life in court, and then edited in the article, based on my "sweat-blood-and-tears bought" expertise.) My involvement is no secret, because I, while I am a dumb country boy, still did not get outdone by anybody on "our side" of the battle. (For example, Jeb Bush lost 7-0 both times, but my defeat was merely by a 4-3 margin.)
Thank you Alabama Boy, for catching that link error. I don't know how it got past me.
Anyhow, the combined efforts of many editors -over a great time - have collectively fixed ALL the problems Mark mentioned and a few he didn't. While I can’t please everybody, Mark made MANY criticisms (and he even helped address them, thank you!), and I feel that he spoke for the more sane objections.
The few references that lead back to me are obligatory: For example, Cheryl Ford and I did news coverage on two trials that (at least in my case) got NO news coverage by any other news source, but were instrumental trials involving Schiavo family members.
I stand by Ryan: He is right. I feel I am acting in good faith, and if I'm not, it's between me and my Creator. Additionally, I think we've stabilized the POV problems and fixed the formatting and accuracy deviations as well.
Time to nominate and pass Terri. She paid the ultimate price, and so did a great deal of unpaid editors around the globe, who have contributed tirelessly with much energy (work over time).
While it's still on our mind, we should pass Terri. It shouldn't be a problem to showcase Wikipedia's work: If you have any lingering doubts, please note that rates a "Terri Schiavo" lookup with Wikipedia in the number three spot, right behind Terri's official site, and that "hot shot" Abstract Appeal lawyer & legal blogger. Vote what is right: Tomorrow is never promised given; today barely is guaranteed.--GordonWattsDotCom 05:17, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I suggest waiting a month or two before renominating. This will give the article time to show everyone that it is stable, which will convince people (like me) who have suspicions about the article. A stable article is the ultimate proof that you and the other editors have achieved what you hoped for. Because of the massive editorial turmoil in the article the last time it was nominated, I would say that was proof that the article was not ready at that time. Also, glad to help with that link catch. Best,--Alabamaboy 12:29, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I'd go with Alabamaboy. Address all outstanding issues and let the article stabalise before renomination with the slate wiped clean. =Nichalp «Talk»= 12:40, September 5, 2005 (UTC)
Well, thank you for your feedback. The article itself finally became fairly stable (few major changes or controversies) -a stability for Schiavo which took a while), but the nomination process was far from stable, I admit. I don't know if that helps in your analysis, but that's the way I see it. Additionally, concerning Nichapl's concerns, many of the problems seems to have been ironed out, and I cannot guarantee the continued stability, and that's one reason why I wanted to move sooner than later -but that's just my take.
PS: I've adopted dark blue text for my posts, following the tradition of the AOL "Schiavo" board -every person has his/her color -for clarity. NCdave used to use red, and occasionally, you see other HTML variants in posts.--GordonWattsDotCom 12:45, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
You needn't have put the full link like that. In the future you can surround the following with [[ ]] eg.: [[Wikipedia:....../archive1]] and you'll have a nice blue link. =Nichalp «Talk»= 13:15, September 5, 2005 (UTC)
Thank you, N. I already knew that, but I wanted the nature of the link to be visible on first inspection -as a courtesy to you all, the readers (figured the extra line of space was worth it) -for a contrasting method, see my talk page, where I took notes on the pictures I took in Clearwater -Ow, that was a long trip! -a few include me in the pic with the grave site -hard to do, when I had no help, but I used the "arm's length" method to take my own pic. Anyhow, here's that link, where I did it more cleanly yesterday.--GordonWattsDotCom 13:24, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Based on the way the nomination went, and the strong and obvious personal POV and involvement of the nominator, I would add my sentiments to the request to wait at least a month before nominating the article again. With that kind of advocacy involved, I have a very hard time believing the article is neutral, though I hope to be surprised. I will read and review it again and leave suggestions on the talk page. I actually suggest listing the article on peer review (yes, again if necessary) to give time to iron out the concerns raised in the latest FAC nomination. - Taxman Talk 14:32, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

Featured lists and articles: both

Raking up an old issue: Can an article be both a Featured list and an article? For example, I've listed High Courts of India as a Featured List Candidate, but I've just obtained some more information which I can add to the page. If can I balance the prose vs list in a 60-40 ratio, will it be acceptable as both a list and article? =Nichalp «Talk»= 08:15, September 4, 2005 (UTC)

  • If it's 4 paragraphs of prose and then 5 pages of list, it's not a featured article. →Raul654 16:53, September 4, 2005 (UTC)
    • No, something of maybe 6 pages of prose and 4 pages of list? ie. 50+% of the article is not a list? The criteria does not mention the % of acceptable list content. =Nichalp «Talk»= 17:40, September 4, 2005 (UTC)

In theory, I don't see why it isn't possible to have a hybrid article that meets both sets of criteria, jguk 17:47, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

In the past, we've pretty consistently held that full sections that are lists pretty much do not meet the well written prose criteria. If you want to make it a featured article, write great prose for every section and have it meet the criteria, but move the lists off to 'List of ...' and link to them either in the see also, or other relevant section. - Taxman Talk 14:39, September 6, 2005 (UTC)

  • Sometimes lists or should I say tables, do enhance the article. For example Tamil language has a list in its midst. In this case, the High Courts in India would be incomplete with mentionion all of them. =Nichalp «Talk»= 06:03, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
    • They enhance the article, but they can do the same if they are moved off to List of High Courts of India, and linked at the top of the section discussing the court locations. Then the article is more readable because it is not broken up by a large list, but the details are still available. The same could be said for that list in the Tamil language article. I think that one made it through FAC because it is the one primary list in the article, and the strength of the rest of the article carried it through. - Taxman Talk 15:19, September 7, 2005 (UTC)
I tend to agree: if High Courts of India has enough prose to be a featured article, then the lists should be moved off to List of High Courts of India and referred to from the article. As another example, I am still not entirely convinced that List of sex positions should be a featured list rather than a featured article (nor that it is really good enough for either at present)... -- ALoan (Talk) 02:45, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Raul says he would consider it an 'article' if the list is not more than 33%. However in my opinion, without mentioning the which all high courts are there in India under the High Courts of India main title would make it incomplete. Rail transport in India has some nice tables, if I put the tables in the bottom, it won't come in way of the prose. =Nichalp «Talk»= 04:21, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Aloan - High courts of India is mostly list - far too much so to be a featured artilce, IMO. →Raul654 04:38, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
Um, that's at this moment. After its through with FLC, I'll expand the prose. =Nichalp «Talk»= 04:41, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
I plan to include the jurisdiction, history, selection of judges, powers et al. =Nichalp «Talk»= 04:43, September 8, 2005 (UTC)
Well, good: ideally High Courts of India would have a full prose explanation of all of those elements. But IMHO, the list would not be essential to that article: compare Presidents of the United States, which is about the office itself, and the list of the Presidents is at List of Presidents of the United States (although I see that it has recently gained a somewhat unnecessary portrait gallery). -- ALoan (Talk) 10:38, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
There is a technical point here: Presidents of the United States redirects to President of the United States. Unlike the above, there is no single high court in India, and a High Court in some countries is the equivalent of the Supreme Court of India, so we can't have a "High Court of India". That plural form: Courts makes all the difference. =Nichalp «Talk»= 10:54, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Re: Schiavo Fac nom.: I told you so

I anticipated some concern about refactoring

Note: I refactored and placed this at the top, not to "toot my own horn," but, instead, because that is how they do it on the Featured Article candidates "nominations" page -there, they place recent items at the top --plus, since this item is not irrelevant and something indicatory that the editors' hard work should be ignored and de-valued, it is not unmeritous of your review.--GordonWattsDotCom 22:09, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Although I did not see Taxman's edit comments here, I anticipated them, but I am posting to acknowledge him and let him know I read them, and my response above to the "anticipated" concerns is applicable, but I don't mind posting at the bottom, if "that's how they do it."--GordonWattsDotCom 22:13, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

The original post sans comments:

Mark, (and I shall cross-post it to Violet Riga’s page -and the Schiavo talk and nomination pages)

As the Terri Schiavo nomination was being considered, I hinted (and may have outright said??) that its nomination would actually increase stability (even though you thought that the article was indeed moderately stable at some point).

However, the lack of nomination has de-stabilized it. All out edit warring and a PAGE LOCK has now occurred. ~~ I told you that the article should have been nominated -and accepted -I told you so. (No offense meant.)

Here, to prove my allegations that the "Front Page" status would stabilize it are these diffs:

In these diffs, the creation of a new template to handle this problem has been suggested and -even after much exposure -not opposed -and why should they be? Since it is fair to "lock" images on the front page, why not articles as well -to avoid, for example, pornographic or foul language vandalism.

Anyhow, I wanted to give the article time to be reviewed, but now I regret my decision to wait: It was ready for Fac status, but now it is sliding in the opposite direction -and the edit warring was due in large part to FuelWagon, who has, in the past, opposed clear concensus -and, yes, I provide the diffs to verify my allegations.

The page is locked, and (other than one over-worked admin who has a second job AND college classes), NO HELP IS IN SIGHT.

I made blood sacrifices (literally, due to the energy/stress expended) to obtain a relevant "references" section and non-Fair-Use images and clean up the article.

This problem happened on your watch: Help.--GordonWattsDotCom 22:02, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

My proposed solution:

  • My proposed solution would be to do this, and in this order:
1: Re-Nominate Terri Schiavo, a sentiment shared by many.
2: Feature it as a Featured Article.
3: Lock the images with the existing tools.
4: Lock the article with "Gordon's Tool," the newly created template, shown at the diffs above.
5: Grab a cold one, most preferably non-alcoholic, and relax for a well-earned rest.
--GordonWattsDotCom 23:11, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

How about no on #1, since there are a lot of people on this very page that agreed it needs a wait, and that is the standard (to wait a month minimum) anyway. #2 has to be decided on by the FAC process and not just because you or someone else wants it. #3 articles don't stay locked, it is considered a bad thing, and done only long enough to settle disputes. So my advice, is take that cold one and rest now, step away from the article, and let it settle down. Stop reverting, and discuss things amicably on the talk page. The polemics above this subsection make it clear where at least half the problem comes from. - Taxman Talk 23:39, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

In reply: #1: There are those who want to see it renominate, myself, Boris Blue, and RN (Ryan Norton), as well as probably Ann Heneghan and Patsw (Pat Sweeny) -to name a few, but many, as eloquently represented by Alabama Boy, for example, want to wait. There are varying degrees of uncertainty, so even if the article is ready now, it might be good to wait -simply to avoid upsetting others -at the clear sacrifice of the article.
#2: "#2 has to be decided on by the FAC process..." Yes, you are correct: It is the same point, namely that Wiki is collectively decided as #1, I imagine: It's a "collective wiki" process.
#3: I was not referring to a permanent lock: Read the templates page: It is Wikipedia Policy to lock images that go on the front page, and therefore, it makes good sense to lock the articles that go on front page status --temporarily, just like the images are locked. PS: I read your edit summary comment about waiting, and hope I answered that point above.
#4: "Stop reverting, and discuss things amicably on the talk page." Apparently you have not looked at either the front or talk pages. I reverted only twice, not four times as was initially thought, and I have tried very hard to accommodate the requests of one (and only one) insistent editor, about including comments from only the main players, --have you even read the talk page? If you have not, then do not bring this point up at all: The talk page (currently) is not that long, so I ask that you read it first, and then and only then we can be able to talk on that subject. Fair enough? I've done my part, and all I ask is you and others do theirs. I try to be fair, and hope you don't judge the matter without exploring the actual facts.--GordonWattsDotCom 00:01, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Only the image and the blurb appearing on the main page are protected when an article is on the main page. Noone is going to agree to protection of this or any article or the images within it if it does make it through FAC and on to the main page.--nixie 00:23, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Thx 4 your opinion, Peta. I am not "glued to" the concept of protecting it, but #1: An edit war has destabilized a perfectly good article, and #2, images are protected. If the Fac decision-maker(s) want to showcase the hard work of many editors without page protection, that is fine with me, but, since this is a Wiki, it is, by its very inherent nature, subject to unpredictable acts. ~~ That gives Wikipedia the "appearance" of unreliability, when comparing it with, say, the New York Times, as a reliable and stable source of information. If others don't want to protect it, they may --and proceed at their own risk. "Noone is going to agree to protection of this or any article or the images within it if it does make it through FAC and on to the main page" I would: Indeed: The New York Times protects their pages, and we can't be outdone by the old-timers, now can we?--GordonWattsDotCom 01:41, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Images that appear on the main page are only protected so that they cannot be replaced with porn as has happened many times before the main page templates and image files were protected. That courtesy is not extended beyond the main page.--nixie 03:29, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
This is a courtesy that I think should be extended to article linked on the main page, and this set up a spirited debate saved in this perma-link-diff on the Templates for Deletion page: I don't think this policy makes Wikipedia stable --and apparently many others agree with me, as Mark, the Fac editor admitted that this issue has "been suggested quite often," eh?! --GordonWattsDotCom 03:53, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
The purpose of FAC is NOT to increase stability. And frankly, I see no reason why it would. Schiavo is still a good article, FA-worthy but for the stability issues. If you can get it through 2 weeks without an edit war, it stands a good chance of passing. But I strongly oppose passing an unstable article in the hope that it will stabilize after becoming an FA. Borisblue 04:41, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that it is FA-worthy, but let me add that the recent "emotional concerns" do not matter for FA-worthiness, because its fitness as a candidate is a state function, that is, the fitness to be a featured article is a property of the Schiavo article that depends only on the current state of the system, not on the way in which the system got to that state. My fellow scientists will understand this logic is more logical than the emotional concerns to wait: We editors (including Mark himself) have fixed ALL the problems that Mark, the Fac editor, brought, and most of the problems that other editors mentioned; Only a few concerns remain, such as the length, but George W. Bush is about as long, and Terri Schiavo was even more well-known than Bush -she was international (touching the Vatican), so article length shouldn't be a problem.
The article is locked now -but of good quality, and even if the objective is not to improve the article by featuring it, it probably will improve it, and certainly won't hurt it, nor will the article hurt Wikipedia, since most editors agree that the major problems have been fixed.
Since the major problems have been ironed out, it is only logical to renominate, and I regret having waited: My inaction does nothing to honor the collective work of all the editors who have worked on this -and it does not honor the casual reader who wants to see a top-notch article.--GordonWattsDotCom 05:00, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't believe for a moment that Schiavo is more famous than Bush. And I'm quite positive the Vatican is aware of Bush. Of course, the degree of famousness should not impact the articles' respective lengths -- every article should explain, as tersely and succinctly as possible, everything that needs to be explained about the subject. And I also don't think a protected article can become featured, because that implies there remains a dispute, and if there's a dispute, then there is apparently no consensus that the current version is the best. If there's no dispute, it shouldn't be protected. And Mark's opinions on the article are no more relevant than anyone else's. Tuf-Kat 05:11, September 9, 2005 (UTC)
Let's call it something like "Gordon's 12th Law" -- "A dispute indicates that there is, statistically, a higher probability that the article is of "low-grade" fitness; nonetheless, the quality of an article is not dependant on any dispute about it" That handle it?
As far as Bush, that's merely a rough comparison: An article should be as long as needed to get all relevant points, but no more.--GordonWattsDotCom 05:17, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
The Bush comparison is irrelevant anyway since it isn't (and probably will never be) a Featured article. Stability is an important Featured article criteria, and that is the one that Schiavo does not meet, and that is why it will fail if nominated now. We do not pass FAs that have recent edit wars. Borisblue 12:55, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I sympathize with you, Boris B., but since your Mark's booting of the article, I offered a brand new good rebuttal regarding the past fitness and the fact that Terri Schiavo was mentioned as a Featured Article in the past two peer reviews. Any critic should at least read the whole page (it's not that long) --and then if there's a bad vote, I will not feel disrespected. (PS: To all my scientist hommies out there: A big "shout out": I've included the "state function" argument just for you --see, e.g., the FA-nomination page for Theresa Schiavo.)--GordonWattsDotCom 20:23, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
To be honest, I still wouldn't support it. I find the article far too long, and it needs to be split more into sub articles, with only a brief summary on the main article. I don't think you can convince me that the article, at its current length, is FA quality. All the information should be there, but only if I want that level of detail, meaning, only if I click the link to see the full report. Fieari 00:45, September 11, 2005 (UTC)
Hmm... Many FA-reviewers complained about length, but many Schiavo editors think the length is OK. (If the regular editors thoght it was too long, it would be shorter, would it not.) So, whose side is right, eh?--GordonWattsDotCom 01:14, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Gordon, I think you are missing a major part of the FAC process. As it says on the FAC page, "Consensus must be reached in order to be promoted to featured article status." According to Wikipedia:Consensus, "In day-to-day Wikipedia practice, consensus is interpreted as something closer to supermajority, as unanimity is extrememly difficult to achieve." In general practice, for an FAC to be promoted to FA status, you need at least 70-80% support among voters. If there are people who significantly object to the article, you might even need more support. This means that while most of the article editors may agree on the current length or edits or what not, this is irrelevant with regards to whether or not the article becomes an FA. You need the support of the editors who regularly work on the FAC page. As such, I strongly suggest taking a total break from renominating the article or posting about its FAC for at least two months. Your continual pushing of the article is probably hardening the resistance to the article's FAC. When you need a supermajority of votes to gain FA status, hardening the resistance will not help you gain the needed votes. --Alabamaboy 02:00, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
    • Well, you have a point, Alabama Boy; The problems are not that large, but many of the editors voting on it seem to be looking for perfection in the Schiavo article, and that won't happen; Yes, I agree that the Schiavo article needs improvement, and while it would be good for me to be quiet and wait now, THAT ALONE will not help the various problems, such as the edit war raging on the talk page -over one SMALL PARAGRAPH, lol. Therefore, if your words are serious (and I think you are), I would ask you to stop by the Talk:Terri_Schiavo page and help us iron out the few remaining issues; I've done far-and-above; It is someone elses' turn to pick up their share of the load. Thx, Alabama Boy, and other colleagues, in advance for whatever you can do to help.--GordonWattsDotCom 02:09, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
    • FAC's stricter than a simple 80% supermajority. The standard used for promotion is that there are no actionable, major objections outstanding. --Carnildo 03:34, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
    • Some dumb questions, but I don't know: First, what's an "actionable" objection? (In plain English; I'm feeling like Forest Gump.) #2: On my "User" page and at this exact perma-link diff in history, I have some photos; Two are "Fair Use" -One is created from two other photos and GNU (I think) -but the "contrasted one, I don't know. You are the resident photo expert; Could you tell me about my two "creation" photos, please; Also, #3: As I've said before, I've done my part to help the Schiavo article, and now I need help in the Schiavo Talk page, to help resolve conflict and get the page freeze lifted. That's three things, but the FIRST TWO are simple questions; can you help me on my wish list, oh, Genie of three wishes? Thx.--GordonWattsDotCom 04:24, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
      • An "actionable" objection is one that describes a problem that can be fixed, and does so in sufficient detail for it to be fixed. For example, "this article is POV" is inactionable, where as "this article has the following POV problems" is actionable. "This article sucks" is inactionable, while "this article has horrible grammar and spelling" is actionable. --Carnildo 05:24, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
      • Oh, that's right. Something on which action to repair & fix can be done! Thank you, Carnildo. OK, 1 down, 2 to go: The 3rd query first: I want some action if-when folks get a chance --and about my photos: The image pages have a good explanation of things. I eagerly await feedback on my remaining matters above. Thx.--GordonWattsDotCom 05:39, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
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