Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive2

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What's with the new section?

When did the new section Wikipedia:Featured article candidates#New nomination, without feedback as yet get added to the types of articles, and what purpose does it serve. Self nominations go to their own section, nonself nominations go in the without objections (yet) section. Am I missing something? Gentgeen 13:19, 8 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'm confused too. Now U.S. Electoral College is under current nominations, but not under a sub-heading, and there's comments against articles in the "without feedback as yet" section. Someone feel like reorganising? And how about a notice to tell people that newer nominations go at the bottom? fabiform | talk 16:57, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Brilliant pictures candidates

  • Ahem... I propose that Wikipedia:Brilliant pictures candidates be merged with this page. It currently has only 7 images on it, two of which have sat ignored for over two months. No one goes there, no one objects or comments, and no one moves them to Brilliant pictures after a suitable time... everyone here is good at all of those things however! Sorry for using this page rather than the talk page, but my proposal went without comment on the village pump. fabiform | talk 16:20, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
    • Agree with the above. It could be a subsection of this page. →Raul654 01:55, Feb 4, 2004 (UTC)
    • Please, not until the Refreshing BP articles with objections are cycled out. This page is hovering at about 35K as it is, no need to make it bigger. After this page clears up a bit, OK. Gentgeen 03:49, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)
      • This is doe to be resolved Jan 20th. Bmills 12:30, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)
        • That's Feb. 20th, right? ;) Jan 20th was when those 31 articles were added here. Gentgeen
          • Sorry, my mistake. Feb 20th it is. Bmills 12:55, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC)
    • Object! This page ia waaay too big already (42k at the moment). Even if there was a clean out it will just grow again later. --Gaz 12:21, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
      • There are currently 45 normal nominations on this page, many of which should be cleaned up and either archived or added to FA. Then there are 28 articles on here that are a one time listing from the results from Refreshing brilliant prose that will be gone in a week. That should bring us back well below te 32k limit. Featured picture candidates gets ignored, so I don't see it as a bad thing. If we gradually creep back up to the 32k size, we can always split it off again. Gentgeen 16:53, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
        • So... its a mess now, but it should hopefully maybe be just OK Real Soon Now (tm). ...and you want to add more content into this mess. I see you have convinced yourself, but sorry, you haven't convinced me. (PS: We should take this debate elsewhere) --Gaz 06:31, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
          • OK, we've got a voice speaking out against the proposed merge. As the page should get cleaned up sometime tomorrow or the next day I'll set up a poll to discuss it then, so we'll all know what a post refreshing FAC page looks like before making a decision. Gentgeen 07:35, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

My objection to the proposal is that it would act to decrease the utility of Featured Pictures. Much better to have the pictures where those few interested can find them easily than to have them lost in amongst the many, many Featured Articles. Tannin 09:58, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)


I don't think we've got any formal policy on how to remove a page from FA, so I don't know how to deal with the current nominations for removal. Any ideas? Gentgeen 03:26, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I would recommend a similar procedure to that used on VfD. Items are listed for 5 days and a decision is made based on concensus. If no consensus is reached (no votes to add, or fairly even votes) then the decision should (in this case) go in favour of not listing (or removing from the list). This way we ensure that featured articles should always represent the view of the community. Thoughts? --HappyDog 09:36, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I agree very much that there must be a concensus to keep the article, and failing that, it should be removed. This is ment to be the best, setting a fine example for other pages to grow from. This cannot become a hall of shame, where contested and imperfect articles (even one I personally feel is irredeemable) are the norm. Contentious articles deserve dispute headers, not "featured article" notices. Lets uphold the standards of Brilliant prose, even if that is no longer the official name (it always will be in my heart...;) Sam Spade 10:27, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yes, I think that's the right way to do it HappyDog. If we cannot come to a clear consesus in favor of an article remaining "featured" (i.e. the vote is split), it should be removed. This will keep it hard to get on the featured articles page, which should only include the best of the best articles. :) fabiform | talk 10:36, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)
There's some logic to the idea of insisting on a consensus so that only the best articles stay on the list; but it makes me feel right at home in a way I don't much like. That is, at home in California: elect a governor, recall him, name a good article, pull it out, nominate it again (easier here than in state politics)... At the moment I feel a bias on my part toward stare decisis: voting for retention of what has already made it through the adoption process, regardless of whather I much care about the particular article, unless I perceive strong reasons (preferably new ones) for zapping it. I'm not saying I'll do that, just considering it. Dandrake 23:06, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)
So long as you mean consensus as "most", rather than consensus as "all", I agree. It's risky to have any objection be grounds for removal. In such a case, a single user with an agenda can get an article removed. If democracy is tyrany of the majority, unanamous consensus is tyrany of the crank! That said, if there's a significant number of people who want something removed, then remove it. ShaneKing 13:16, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)
There is no concensus of most. Thats called a majority, and has nothing to do with concensus. Truth is not based on democracy. Sam Spade 03:07, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I agree - if someone requests an article be taken off the FA and it goes to a vote, then the majority should have to vote in favor of keeping it as a featured article. I think there should be one caveat - to prevent abuse, an article should not be voted on more than once every _(fill in blank)____ days/weeks/months/years. (Someone please suggest a length of time). →Raul654 23:49, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)
That's sensible, I don't know what time-frame to suggest though. We should remember that wikipedia is ever-changing though so the caveat should be more like: an article should not be voted on more than once every _(fill in blank)____ days/weeks/months/years unless it has changed radically (there's a page in the "votes for removal" that has had to be protected because of an edit war for example, eek!). fabiform | talk 09:49, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

OK, how long do we list nominations for removal? I don't like five days, as that's a shorter time than anything esle we do around here. How about if it's still objected to after a week it gets tossed? Gentgeen 13:05, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree with that. How about the following rules (summarised from above, with a few additions of my own. Feel free to tweak it) --HappyDog 16:56, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
  • If less than 5 votes have been made within one week of the suggestion being posted it will not be added to the featured articles page.
  • If 5 or more votes have been made within one week of the suggestion being posted, then the page will be added only if there are more votes for the addition than there are against it. In the event of an equal number of votes on each side the page will not be added.
  • Votes added more than one week after the initial listing of the article do not count towards the decision.
  • A page cannot be relisted for 1 month after the original posting, unless it has undergone substantial rewrites.
  • If less than 5 votes have been made within one week of the suggestion being posted the article will be removed from the featured articles page.
  • If 5 or more votes have been made within one week of the suggestion being posted, then the page will be kept only if there are more votes against the deletion than there are for it. In the event of an equal number of votes on each side the page will be removed.
  • Votes added more than one week after the initial listing of the article do not count towards the decision.
  • A page cannot be relisted for 1 month after the original posting, unless it has undergone substantial rewrites.
  • A page cannot be listed for deletion unlees it has been a featured article for 1 month or more.

This isn't a voting page, it's a concensus page. For something to be placed on Featured articles the community needs to agree that it is one of the best articles on the site. If an article has 3 supports and 2 outstanding objections it should not go on the featured list. If it has 9 supports and 1 objection it might be good enough, but we should work on fixing the objection anyway. Additionally, as far as I'm concerned, a page that failed to make it up could be relisted 1 hour after the discussion was archived if the page had undergone edits to remedy the outstanding objections, however, if a page has not been improved it should not be relisted even after a year has passed.

Now, I'm not sure what procedure to follow about removing articles, but lean in favor of a concensus needed to keep an article on the FA list, so any unaddressed, specific objection should be enough to remove the listing. Gentgeen 17:27, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)

That means that everybody has veto power over the adoption of any page, so long as he can register some kind of objection. And if something I don't like slips on while I'm not looking, I can get it removed though not one other editor agrees with my objection. I think this is too stringent. By a whole lot.(ShaneKing has already said this, but it seems to have been forgotten.) Some modified version of Happy Dog's proposal would be much better. Dandrake 05:06, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Gentgeen just above. An objectionable article should be removed, and consensus should be needed for an article to be kept. It is also fine to re-nominate the article, or to try to convince them to change their mind. If they are a nut, they will prob get banned and go away, and then the article can again be brilliant prose. But I do not want a BS article on this list, even if the majority thinks it's copacetic. An article which offends a single reasonable editor is sure to offend a goodly number of the public, if and when they read it. This is ment to be our best, and nothing less. The last thing I want is a new reader seeing some grotesquery like libertarian socialism on their first (and surely last) visit. Sam Spade 05:17, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

A reasonable editor, eh? And if an objection is raised by an unreasonable editor, we'll just strike it out? The idea that people who hold unreasonable opinions and do not deal reasonably with other Wikipedians will be cease to be a problem because they'll be banned is not only ludicrous but destructive. By the way, you are identifying non-unanimity with majority vote. I assume this is an accident, and you'll amend that rather than be suspected of trying to confuse the issue?
This is really a non-debate at this point: one either thinks that every person here needs to have veto power and unilateral removal power, or not. It sounds like a subject for some kind of poll. Dandrake 05:28, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)

New subtopic: notification. If an article can be kept on FA only by having enough people endorse it when it's listed here, then there really has to be some kind of notification when it's listed for removal. (Of course, if unanimity is required for retention, this doesn't matter; see above.) Right now it's as if we expected that everybody will monitor this list unless there's no article that he thinks is worthy of FA status; this sort of assumption seems too common at Wikipedia and needs to be thought about. Is it assumed that such a notice will be posted? (It didn't happen for the massive review of old aricles on the list; it seems nobody thought of it.)

In fact, even a notice on the page is not necessarily good enough. What if a person admires a page but doesn't happen to look at it for a week? I don't have a good answer to this problem, but might we not think about it before adopting a procedure? Dandrake 05:32, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)

Libertarian Socialism

Toby Bartels appears to be testing the process by arbitrarily restoring this page. If it requires a concensus to remove an article, I think we should get rid of Wikipedia:Featured articles all together, or at least get them off of the main page, because displaying propoganda/junk pages like this one as "our finest" degrades any sensible readers opinion of the wikipedia. Sam Spade 03:12, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Toby Bartels writes: Yes, I guess that I am "testing" things -- although not "arbitrarily", since there was a clear lack of consensus for removal. But read my longer post [written simultaneously with Sam's post -- edit conflict and everything ^_^]:

I just wrote this on the main page, about Libertarian socialism, which Sam removed and I replaced:

What is the procedure on removal anyway? Do we require consensus to remove, or do we only require a lack of consensus to keep? If the latter, then Sam was right to remove it. OTOH, if the latter, then Sam could have removed it before the discussion, which certainly doesn't seem to be the procedure. I will ask for discussion on this talk page. -- Toby Bartels 03:21, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sam apparently decided to remove the page, based on HappyDog's original post under this heading. But of course we don't have consensus for that rule yet (^_^). I'd like to argue that the criteria for keeping, whatever they are, must be weaker than the criteria for listing in the first place; otherwise, the listing could be rather unstable. OTOH, instability is probably not a problem, so long as it doesn't entail edit wars (say if Sam removes it again, and I replace it again ... but I don't do edit wars, so that won't happen in this case). Since this list is meta-data, the actual system doesn't matter much, so long as it's clear (this is a big difference between votes here and votes on VfD). Thus, Gentgeen's idea that "any unaddressed, specific objection" necessitates removal will be a problem; it's not very definite. Again with this example, I find no unaddressed, specific objection to Libertarian socialism -- only a few people who object to the idea covered by the article, without any coherent objection to the article and its coverage. Yet I doubt that Sam agrees with this characterisation! Thus, although I've argued against voting systems on many occasions in the past, a strict voting method (such as HappyDog suggested, or another) would probably be best. Then both Sam and I agree could agree how to interpret the results -- even if one of us found the results terribly wrong! ^_^ -- Toby Bartels 03:21, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

"any unaddressed, specific objection necessitates removal" is something I heartilly agree with. Libertarian Socialism is a propaganda name for communism, which it should link to. It should be a redirect, not a page, and definately not a featured article. I furthermore question the process whereby it was added to the featured articles list Sam Spade 03:27, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yes, you do indeed agree with the suggestion you quoted. It is not policy. If a consensus is required to adopt this policy, then it will never be policy, because quite clearly there is not a consensus for the policy. Clear? What exactly should happen next as to setting a policy? Dandrake 05:37, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)
I hear you to be saying consensus is required to implement a policy? How about a supermajority? ;) Sam Spade 06:36, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I assume you have reviewed this? Talk:Libertarian socialism/Featured article removal Sam Spade 03:30, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Yes, anybody that wants to see a good example of the issue should look at this. The objections to Libertarian socialism have been almost completely groundless, as I'm confident that almost anybody would agree. (If Sam Spade and I disagree completely on the article, but agree that it's a good example -- then it must get to the heart of the issue, no? ^_^) This is as clear an argument as any that featured articles shouldn't be required to constantly maintain unanimous consent.

HappyDog's voting proposal is a good start, and I'd like to see if people can endorse it or suggest improvements. I would start with adding some notification system, since 5 votes may be required weekly to keep an article; or alternatively (better IMO), switch it to a 5 vote minimum for change either way.

-- Toby Bartels 08:41, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Voting is fun. I don't see the sense in all these numbers of five however, its a pretty arbitrary number, and will be large or small in accordance with the number of people who are interested. I think it should be concensus. If one person reccomends something, (and is seconded at least, I should hope...) that one vote should be enough to have it be considered as brilliant prose. If someone objects, there is no longer concensus. Sam Spade 05:37, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

5 is an arbitrary number, but I do think a minimum number is required. If something is listed and no-one seems interested in whether it stays a featured article or not then it probably isn't good enough to be featured. If something is listed and no-one seems to be responding then the person who listed it can always post a message on this talk page, the article talk page, the village pump or wherever else they feel might create interest. I chose 5 because 3 seemed too low, and I wanted an odd number. Feel free to suggest otherwise. --HappyDog 09:05, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I like eloquences soloution below. Sam Spade 09:35, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Should this page combine with Featured Pictures Candidates? (poll)

It has been proposed that Featured article candidates should be merged with Wikipedia:Featured pictures candidates, as the picture page gets very little attention from the community. As a large, one time listing of articles to this page have been archived, we can now evaluate this idea under "normal operating conditions". Just for information, even after archiving the discussions, the page is 33 kb long.

Lets give this a week, so voting will end at 16:00 (UTC) on March 2, 2004. Voting ends, final tally: 2 in favor, 9 against.

Here is the proposal under discussion:

The nominations from Wikipedia:Featured pictures candidates should be added to Wikipedia:Featured article candidates to generate additional community activity regarding making additions to Wikipedia:Featured pictures. Featured picture candidates will become a redirect to Featured article candidates.
  • Support
    1. →Raul654 17:38, Feb 24, 2004 (UTC)
    2. fabiform | talk 18:28, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC) (featured pictures is ignored)
  • Oppose
    1. Gentgeen (page is already at 33 kb)
    2. Tannin 18:38, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)
    3. Gaz 00:13, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC) (FAC is too large, FPC is NOT ignored)
    4. —Eloquence 00:18, Feb 25, 2004 (UTC) (just increase visibility - add more links to the page)
    5. Bevo 12:38, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC) (changed my mind)
    6. Kingturtle 03:11, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)
    7. Sam Spade 05:26, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC) (I agree w Eloquence, just add more links to it if you want it more popular, this page is already crowded.)
    8. Pollinator 00:10, 27 Feb 2004 (UTC) pages have quite different purposes
    9. Muriel

I forgot to close the poll, but I guess it's fairly obvious, this proposal didn't pass, the pages remain independant. Gentgeen 01:06, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Recently added to Featured articles section

Shouldn't the "Recently added to Featured articles" be placed at the bottom of this page? Afterall, the game is over for those items (and they have the most comment text associated with them making it harder to scroll past them to get to the candidates that are currently under consideration). Bevo 18:13, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree, it makes sense. Gentgeen 20:34, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I moved the sections around. Bevo 22:20, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Proposed changes to this page

I propose several changes to this change:

  • Any suggestion needs to be seconded, self-nominated or not.
  • Self-nominations should be marked as such, but they do not need their own section.
  • Articles can be removed from FA by anyone at any time, but a reason should be given in the "Recently removed" section, where discussion can continue.
  • There should just be four sections on this page: Current nominations, Nominations under discussion, Recently added, Recently removed.

The current structure is messy and hostile to newbies. The intent was obviously to make it easier to find things, but the opposite result has been achieved. I just spent 30 seconds wondering where to add a new nomination. Clearly something needs to be done. If nobody objects to this proposal I will implement it.—Eloquence 06:01, Feb 26, 2004 (UTC)

I like the idea that anything needs to be seconded, and I like the idea of fewer sections. I don't think your names are right, as all nominations are under consideration. Do you have in mind Current uncontested nominations for those without an unresolved objection, and Current contested nominations for those with unresolved objections? Gentgeen 08:07, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)
great suggestions both of you, I second eloquences idea's, with Gentgeen's caveats :) Sam Spade 08:18, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

If anybody can remove any listing, then this means that every entry requires unanimous consent. It's ironic that Eloquence is supporting consensus while I support voting (the opposite of usual), but perhaps both of us justify this because FA is less important metacontent. ^_^ Anyway, unanimity does not seem necessary to me, so I still believe that a vote with quorum be required for change in either direction; but I'm not wedded to 50%+ for vote success, nor to 5+ for the quorum. -- Toby Bartels 19:27, 26 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The consensus should be near unanimous. If a single person removes an article but it turns out everyone else disagrees with their rationale then we can re-add it. But I think for FA in particular we should try to please (almost) everyone. If it turns out that some people object just in order to win certain concessions then we can talk again about changing the procedure, but right now it seems to work fairly well.—Eloquence 03:31, Feb 27, 2004 (UTC)

You say "it seems to work fairly well", but what is "it"? AFAICT, we have never had a rule that consensus should be "near unanimous" (which from your paragraph appears to mean "with at most one exception"). That's one reason that you want to change the page, after all. I asked before what the rule was, and there was no answer telling me (many answers as to what it should be, but that's another matter). If, OTOH, we have been using the near-unanimity rule in the past (not just now), then just let me know and I'll be happy.
There is a more theoretical point here, although it touches less directly on how this particular page should work. In other places, you've argued that Wikipedia should make important decisions -- like basic policy and inclusion -- by voting, despite the objection from old-fashioned Wikipedians that these decisions require consensus. But for FA -- which is not very important at all -- you say that we need to make everybody happy. I must insist that this is entirely backwards! If people are unhappy with FA, then it's not a big deal; if people are unhappy with the contents of the encyclopaedia itself, then we have a problem.
-- Toby Bartels 21:38, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Agree with Eloquence. Muriel 07:40, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'd like there to be a decision one way or the other, as there appear to be a small number of rather dubious featured articles, and a particularly slow and uncertain process to remove them. Sam Spade 08:33, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sub-section headings for each nomination?

There is so many nominations that I have trouble finding the text for a particular nomination when trying to edit. If each nomination had a unique subheading, then with section-edit preference turned on, it would be so much easier to edit a nomination. - Bevo 19:06, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think this is a very good idea, lets make it like the new VfD. Sam Spade 21:04, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

On consensus for additions and removal

I read Toby's comment here after I changed the page, so please let me explain a bit why I think there needs to be consensus for an article to be featured.

Consensus-seeking is the general decision making process for Wikipedia. I initially reacted to this with skepticism, but I have seen it work now in many cases where I did not think it possible. It depends a lot on the ability and desire for civil discussion, which is often amiss. However, consensus is not always possible, and I believe we should in all cases have the option to use voting as a last resort. I believe we should eventually formalize this as a decision making process, with defined periods of consensus-seeking time and different rules for decisions of different gravity.

I believe the rules for voting on minor decisions should be more relaxed than those for major ones, but in all cases consensus should be sought first if it seems at all likely that it can be reached (in a case like the logo contest with hundreds of submissions, that was clearly futile from the start). Is featuring an article a minor or a major decision? I'd say it's a major one. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and as such, we want our articles to undergo quality control. FA is currently the only approval mechanism we have. It's not a very sophisticated one, but with the new rule of two readers having to approve the article and having to actually read it, it is a quality control mechanism. We will further formalize this mechanism to build areas within Wikipedia which the reader can trust to a higher degree (for example, by flagging a particular revision of the article as the one which has undergone this process).

I think consensus is important here because a lack of it shows that some issues have not been resolved yet. In some cases these may be social issues - a user may be objecting because he was involved in a dispute and still hold a grudge, etc. But this is a good reason not to add the article -- refining the social context is almost as important as refining the article itself. If a user objects for fallacious reasons, it is likely that a nearly unanimous consensus will evolve anyway.

As for the question whether we use the "nearly unanimous" principle elsewhere -- Wikipedia:Deletion policy uses the phrase "rough consensus", I think a similar phrase has also been applied to Wikipedia:Requests for adminship. Generally consensus on Wikipedia needs not be absolute, but it should be 90% or higher. (The fact that this is not precisely defined is one of the things I want to change as part of a formalized decision making process. Some people have gone so far to interpret it as "2/3", which I think is ridiculous.) —Eloquence 01:43, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)

I've heard 80% kicked around before, and I like it a lot. 90% is really high; 80% is more managable. →Raul654 01:46, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
It's not really supposed to be manageable ;-). The point is that you try to convince the 20% who disagree rather than just say, "OK, we have nearly unaninmous consensus". That's voting, and Wikipedia does not operate on the basis of voting by default. There should always be the option of resorting to voting if consensus has failed, though. This is what the two-stage system I proposed at Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy is about. Currently there's a slim majority in favor of using it. It's funny that the people who oppose the second stage come both from the anti-voting department ("voting should not be used at all!") and from the pro-voting department ("this threshold is much too high!"). This tells me that I'm on the right track in finding a compromise between the two, as a true compromise always leaves all sides somewhat unhappy ;-).
The current decision making process is broken exactly because people have very very different ideas about what it is. So some people delete pages at 2/3, others delete them at 80%, and yet others refuse to delete a page if it has a single objection out of 10. Some want consensus to be voting, others want no voting at all. We should always start with consensus-seeking, but always keep open the option of using voting to reach a decision. And for minor issues, we should be able to enter the voting phase fairly quickly (say, 3 days) rather than discuss them to deah.—Eloquence 01:58, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
The process, as I understand it, is that an article graduates to Feature Articles if there are no objections. If objections occur, the article is edited to address said objections. Once the objections are appropriately dealt with, then the article graduates to Feature Articles. The process here does not involve voting. This is a system of true concensus and communication. Kingturtle 01:54, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Actually, under the just installed guideline, any article needs to be seconded by at least two individuals who have read it in full.—Eloquence 01:58, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
What, You mean I will have to start reading these articles before I second them! I'm going back to the VFD page. ;)
Yes, but my point is that the system works with concensus. Objections are made; problems are worked out. The process involves much more than voting. It involves working together. Kingturtle 23:45, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Eloquence, thanks for your thoughtful comments. You've convinced me (at least as far as this page is concerned; and I'm going to take a close look at your broader proposals too.) -- Toby Bartels 00:25, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I agree strongly with everything Eloquence has said above, with the caveat stated by kingturtle (which I would assume eloquence agree's to anyways?) which is that voting should not be occuring in any normal situation on the FA page, and a single objection should be enough to remove and repair an article. As for the general policy stuff, I am begining to think Eloquence should be officially be named Steward to Jimbo's God-King status ;). Seriously tho, I do feel a power vacuum on the wiki, and I'd like to see people of exceptional talents (such as Eloquence obviously) promoted to exceptional positions. I am deeply annoyed w admins in general based on their naughtiness, and equally pleased w the arbitrators for their striking integrity and wisdom. I guess what I'm saying is I want certain obviously qualified people (like Eloquence) to be encouraged to write policy and make big decisions (particularly in regards to article dispute) in advance of concensus, and only to be over-ruled by clear majority. Sam Spade 00:57, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Bullets versus indentation

Fabiform has changed the format of the discussion threads to bullets again. This is the old format using indentation as it is used on talk pages. I would like to do a quick poll as to which version is preferred so I don't have to do the work of converting this again a week later. If it turns out that I'm the only one who prefers indentation then I'll happily accept that.

My argument in favor of indentation is that indentation makes it much easier to have meaningful discussions rather than just one-line comments, because you can actually easily format multiple paragraphs, have whitespace between separate long comments etc. -- the exact same reasons we use indentation, and not bullets, on talk pages. It also looks more friendly both in the wiki source and on the rendered page, and less like some geeky pseudo-discussion page.

I can't speak for Fabiform, but I suspect that he prefers bullets because he thinks the whitespace is "wasteful" and the bullets make threads easier to recognize. I personally think whitespace is a useful layout element -- it is not obnoxious but serves the purpose of separation well.

Well, Eloquence just posted to my talk page:
The next time you make a major format change like on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates, please discuss it first. It took me quite a while to change it to the ":" format, and you haven't given a single reason why you think the "*" format is "superior". The indentation format is used on every discussion page and it looks much more legible to me than having lots of bullet points for every thread.
So I will explain why I reverted back to using bullet points for the discussions rather than indenting every comment with a : and leaving a blank line between every comment. I cannot see any reference in Eloquence's earlier proposals to getting rid of the bullet points and inserting blank lines, so to be fair, I believe we both made changes without consulting the community.
I find it much easier to scan this page with bullet points, each discussion is in one block but still remains clearly indented and atributed to the correct person. My resolution is 600x800, and with bullet points (as there is no need for blank lines between comments) I still have a chance of being able to fit the discussion of one page onto my screen without having to scroll.
Also, I don't see any reason why FAC should follow the example of talk page discussions or the village pump, or whatever other pages Eloquence was referring to. This page is for voting on articles, and some discussion of a page's merits. The individual article talk pages are where long and free-flowing discussions belong.
So, if it turns out that the majority/consensus of opinion is in favor of : indentions rather than bullet points, I will of course revert the page myself. fabiform | talk 21:53, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Actually, this page is not for voting. It is for consensus seeking, and some of the threads will get quite long. See the one about Jürgen Habermas, for example, which in my opinion well illustrates the problems with a bullet point layout (note the length of the paragraphs).—Eloquence 21:58, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
"The purpose of this page is to determine which pages can be listed on Wikipedia:Featured articles." Talk pages are for long discussions on the merits or weaknesses of an individual article. Notice I said "This page is for voting on articles, and some discussion of a page's merits." The way we measure/test consensus is by voting (seconding or objecting) in this instance. fabiform | talk 22:05, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
In my opinion, that would be a bad way to deal with objections. That's exactly what consensus-seeking is not -- to just try to set a threshold and say "Hey, we've got the required number of votes, you're overruled." Instead we should make an active effort to resolve all objections. This can only happen through discussion, and for discussion I believe the bullet point format to be counter productive.—Eloquence 22:13, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
"If there are objections, they have to be worked out, until a nearly unanimous consensus is reached." On this page, objections have the power. My partial revertion of your major reformatting in no way affects this rule. If an article gets even one objection, this isn't swept under the carpet and overruled, as you seem to be implying. And objections aren't worked out by discussion, they are worked out by people considering the objections and improving the article in question. fabiform | talk 22:27, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Not necessarily -- sometimes people disagree strongly what needs to be done. And of course I agree with you that very long discussions should not take place here, but they inevitably will start here, and for the reasons I detail below, I think it's a good idea to use format that makes it easy to transport them elsewhere.—Eloquence 22:37, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
I wrote the above before Eloquence organised the poll, when I submitted, I had an edit conflict. I do not believe that long discussions belong on FAC. This page was already about 54k long when I just edited it. If bullet points discourage the discussion of any one article from taking over this page then that's another reason to use them in my opinion. fabiform | talk 22:00, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I disagree. In fact, it makes it harder to avoid this, because it becomes more difficult to move a discussion to the article's talk page. With the indentation format you can just cut and paste any long thread and it's like any other thread on the talk page. With the bullet point thread you have to continue in bullet point style or convert the format first.—Eloquence 22:11, Mar 8, 2004 (UTC)
I find people mix bullets and indented paragraphs on talk pages. I don't believe that copying and pasting a bullet-pointed discussion on to a talk page is problematic. fabiform | talk 22:27, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

So, on to the poll.

  • (Actually, poll is below; let's not separate the discussion.) -- Toby Bartels

I like bullets for pages like this and VfD that talk about a whole lot of things at once. The main reason is to make things easier to scan -- whitespace doesn't enter into it. This reason also justifies subheaders for each article. (Each of these aids to scanning makes the other less important -- but I like them both.)

However, Eloquence makes a very good point that long discussions should be encouraged, and long discussion (with comments spanning several paragraphs) are easier with indentation. I agree, but this page is not the place for long discussion. It wont' fit! Rather, when a discussion gets long, move it to the talk page of the article in question (which is also done in VfD). That keeps this page manageable.

And if we do this, then this page is also better (IMO) with bullet points. (That said, I personally see no reason to spend my time changing everything over; I'd happily live with a mix if that's what people happened to write.)

-- Toby Bartels 23:09, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Take a look at this diff. Please don't tell me I have to keep writing paragraphs like this. It hurts me, it really does. Keep in mind that I can't easily move this discussion, exactly because of the nonstandard format. If it was indented I could quickly cut and paste it over and leave a note here. But in this format I have to convert it, or switch format in the middle of the discussion, or keep using the ugly format. ARGH! —Eloquence

Eloquence, be succinct! :p fabiform | talk 00:22, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I see your point. That's not so much commentary that one should move the discussion yet. Of course, it wouldn't take very much work to convert just that subheading before writing your response, if #3 in the poll wins, would it? I ask because I do think that bullets work better sometimes, even though you've convinced me that indentation also works better sometimes (even for items that ought to remain on this page). -- Toby Bartels 00:25, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)

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