Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive41

Active discussions

Thanks to reviewers

I removed the backlog category, since the page is under 40 FACs. Reading FAC today was a pleasure: I found no FACs lacking image reviews, ample input to promote or archive 12 FACs, little work I had to do myself, and substantial reviews on most FACs. A special thanks goes to all of the image reviewers, Awadewit for maintaining the Urgents template (I think it's helping!), Ealdgyth for her constant and painstaking work on reliability of sources, and DaBomb87 for generally keeping an eye on things and following me around and cleaning up ! And to Karanacs, for making my travel break possible and sharing the burden; I'm sure she shares my appreciation for all of the hard work reviewers do to keep this page churning out Wiki's finest work. Thanks to all !

A reminder, though: Ealdgyth checks that sources meet minimum requirements for reliability. She does not check that articles meet WP:V; reviewers still must do that, and comment on sources she leaves unstruck. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:23, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Enjoy it while it lasts all of three days :P (Ok, I'll shut my cynical mouth up and get another review in, I just can't help it.) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 22:31, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
I believe that Ealdgyth checks with the link checker tool, which is not very reliable. Correct me if I am wrong, and that she actually checks the links to see if they give the purported information. Regards, —mattisse (Talk) 23:16, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Matisse, I've explained in the past what it is that I do, but I'll explain again. First, it is more than the link checker tool, which I do indeed check, but I also check the various publishers listed for the sources, make sure that they meet a minimum standard of reliablity (i.e. they aren't geocities sites, that they are reasonably reliable), I double check any that appear to be missing information. I check all the published/printed sources' publishers, make sure that they aren't self-published sources from something like or iUniverse. I make sure that the journals are from reputable publishers. I do not check each and every citation against the information cited to it. I also spot check the formatting of the references making sure they are as consistent as possible. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:52, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for all the hard work you do here, Ealdgyth! We all appreciate it and we don't thank you enough! Awadewit (talk) 02:43, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
I know. (smile) But other that that, as I have gone after Ealdgyth and found links that look good but are actually redirects or in other ways do not lead to the purported information, although the link checker show that they are good. Each link has to be checked individually. Regards, —mattisse (Talk) 12:35, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, in all fairness, Ealdgyth does quite a bit of work aside from simply checking links. She (I think; apologies if wrong) also ensures the sources are formatted properly and that the sources are reliable. It may seem easy, but I've tried it quite a few times: it's actually extremely tedious and, at times, difficult. :) –Juliancolton | Talk 21:28, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I'm female. One of the rare ones on Wikipedia, honestly. Although we do tend to cluster around the review processes, I've noticed. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:15, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I haven't seen Raul close a FAC in months, it seems. You hardworking ladies are keeping the FAC wheels turning :P Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs (talk) 21:25, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

While we're on the subject of thanking people, I always find it curious that nominators almost never thank Gimmetrow (talk · contribs) for the significant work he does at FAC, FAR and other places with GimmeBot. Well, he gets my thanks, because closing FACs and FARs would be quite a chore without him! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:42, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm much abashed! These are just the sort of helpful tasks that go unappreciated - thanks Gimmetrow! Awadewit (talk) 02:43, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Gimmetrow is very much the unsung hero of FAC. Lets be explicit - you rock Gimmetrow! and thank you for all the work... eh, I believe Ealdgyth is regularly thanked, so I spare her the embarrasment. Thanks for all your work, Ealdgyth it is highly valued. Ceoil (talk) 04:26, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
Adding belated thanks. Ealdgyth's work means that content reviewers can just concentrate on the information from the sources without worrying about the other more technical/wiki stuff. A very important job. (And Gimmetrow).Fainites barleyscribs 08:32, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Virginia Tech massacre

Can anyone take a look at the FAR for this article? It's on its way to being delisted, which would be a shame because it doesn't to be far from FA status. Dabomb87 (talk) 15:50, 12 October 2009 (UTC)


Imagine a week in which no FACs were closed due to lack of reviews....Let's make it happen! Awadewit (talk) 17:34, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Default thumbnail image size is now 220px

Today it was changed from 180 to 220px for all images for which a px width is not forced by editors who include an image in the article. This adds 49% to the area of such images. The result is that a little rearrangement may be occasionally necessary. Images will still need to be audited for size where 220px is still too small (or less often, too large). Tony (talk) 16:18, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Are we sure? 'Cause I had mine set at 200px and went to change it in prefs, but only saw the old 180px choice and 250px. David Fuchs (talk) 18:07, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
This is the default size for non-registered users - log out to see it. Could someone who has registered but never set a preference confirm they now get 220? There was a question as to whether they would stay at 180. How registered users who have already set a preference get to a 220 I'm not sure! I expect the 220 option will be added to the preferences selection in due course. Johnbod (talk) 21:02, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I have tried logging out and have not been able to see the change-I still see the 180px width as an anon. Martin Raybourne (talk) 21:55, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Same here, though I expect it can simply be blamed on server lag? –Juliancolton | Talk 22:12, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
This is wierd - now I only get 180 logged out too. Maybe something has turned out to need fixing first. Johnbod (talk) 01:00, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Still 180px on my end as well, logged in or out, and after purging. Hasn't changed yet. --an odd name 16:28, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

How short can a featured article be?

Having reviewed some two dozen FACs in the last two weeks (or three), I have noticed a trend among some submissions of severely skimping on the length and justifying it by citing the FA criteria, which, it is claimed, have all been met. For example, a number of hurricane-related articles, (such as Hurricane Grace (1991), Tropical Storm Christine (1973), that, in my view, belong as sub-articles in a featured list, have been submitted as FACs in their own right.

So, how short can a featured article be? I have many many articles (all reasonably well-written, scrupulously sourced, and comprehensive) that were written to be parts of featured lists. Should I be submitting them individually for FAC review? What if I submit an article that is a few paragraphs long, such as Stanley Henry Prater? You are unlikely to find more information on Prater anywhere else. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:23, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

See Archive 31 here, where attempts to set a minimum length failed. I recently commented at Afd that André de France meets all the FA criteria, though far too short for DYK. Johnbod (talk) 21:29, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
It is true that there has never been any means of establishing agreement on this issue, and not from lack of attempts to do so. Thanks, —mattisse (Talk) 21:51, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I can't believe you're serious Fowler & fowler. Are you trying to set a record for the longest sentence ever to appear in a lead? That's a long way short of FA, and you know it. --Malleus Fatuorum 23:03, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I can fix the sentence if you don't like it, but the article meets all the FA criteria. Notability of subject-matter is not one of them. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:12, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, in that case, I submit that primary authors who submit glorified stubs as FACs are abusing the FAC process and taking advantage of the goodwill of reviewers. Should honest reviewers (who notice, by contrast, the amount of effort that goes into a full-length article such as Marshalsea) then simply ignore the short articles, and let the FAC directors work out the full meaning (or the lack thereof) of the quick-and-easy support votes that these articles garner? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:02, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Reviewers are not required to review anything they don't want to. Personally I usually only review FACs associated with articles that are under 20kb. –Juliancolton | Talk 22:09, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
FA is first and foremost neither a trophy nor a recognition of effort, but a standard to be met, as defined by the FA criteria. If some sub-set of articles meet the FA criteria but are not of comparable standard to the rest of FA, the criteria ought to be re-examined. It seems to me that criteria 1b and 1c are a good start to guarding against inadequately short articles, though the focus on "facts and details" is misguided. The length criterion does not cover the subject at all, oddly, and perhaps ought to be renamed or rewritten.  Skomorokh, barbarian  22:22, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Skomorokh. hamiltonstone (talk) 22:32, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The FAC process has some unstated assumptions. It's all well and good to say, FA is this but not that, but no ones seems to answer my question: how short can an FA be? Can I submit the Prater article and a couple of other short articles for FAC review, and then a few weeks later some more (as some people seem to be doing)? Can others do the same? How long before the FAC review system collapses? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:45, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how short FACs are different than any others. Sure, go ahead and nominate Prater; I'd happily review it as I would a "normal" candidate. As long as you follow the usual FAC etiquette, I don't see why you can't nominate another one a few weeks later. –Juliancolton | Talk 22:51, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

My personal rule is 20KB, as articles below tend not to be comprehensive enough. That doesn't give a free pass to those above: World War II wpuld require something in at least the high-80s, even as a summary article. Sceptre (talk) 22:50, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't see what arbitrary limits like 20kb have to do with "comprehensiveness". --Malleus Fatuorum 22:58, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
The Prater article is comprehensive. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:00, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Feel free to nominate it, then. –Juliancolton | Talk 23:02, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I tend to not nominate below about 1000 words or so. I have one FAC I worked on, Ælfheah of Canterbury, that is a hair shorter than that, but the word counter doesn't count the block quote, so it's close. I have Miss Meyers which is comprehensive, but short, that I've kicked around nominating, but decided to not waste folks time with it, it's GA and that's good enough. Ealdgyth - Talk 23:03, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Indeed. The minimum size for an FA is the size required to comprehensively treat the topic, which varies by topic, so there is no magic number that serves as a threshold; if you think an article is comprehensive, FAC is the appropriate venue; you'll find out soon whether you are correct or whether there needs to be more work done on the article. Titoxd(?!? - cool stuff) 23:04, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed? You are not exactly agreeing with Ealdgyth, whose hesitation about nominating Miss Meyers for FA is an aspect of the unstated assumptions I was talking about. The point is that there are many non-notable topics about which it is possible to be comprehensive in a few short paragraphs. Does one then nominate such articles for FA candidacy? I am suggesting that the unstated assumption that underpins the survival of the FAC review process is that we don't; for, if all of us who have written such short articles began to submit them as FACs, the system would break down. By the same token, people who blithely keep submitting short articles are abusing the system. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:43, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Those of us submitting "short articles" are not abusing the system, we're exposing thoroughly researched articles, that may be on topics with limited reliable source coverage, to thorough review. This is a quality assurance process. And none of them are about "non-notable topics": if they were, they'd be at AfD ;-) hamiltonstone (talk) 00:03, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
You should be a politician, if you aren't already. :) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 00:07, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Tito was responding to Malleus, but his indentation was altered somehow in this revision. –Juliancolton | Talk 23:48, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
That was my handiwork. :) I was trying to be helpful, I thought. What does (ec) mean, btw? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:59, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Edit conflict, it means that I typed my reply and hit "save page" and someone else had changed the text of the page between when I started typing and tried to save. It's a courtesty to point out you had one because your reply might not take notice of the conflicted comment. Ealdgyth - Talk 00:08, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Ealdgyth! And thanks everyone for the responses. Dinner beckons, so, good night! Fowler&fowler«Talk» 00:13, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
(undent) I think Stanley Henry Prater, cited by Fowler&fowler, passes the "survery of the literature" criterion (there's only a little) but fails the "comprehensiveness" criterion - its coverage is much less than would normally expect of an academic or politician, and Prater was both.
However I think it's possible for a short article to pass both of these criteria (and notability, if that's relevant). For example some well-known and widely used principles in paleontology appear to made other authors think, "Why didn't I thought of that?" So the analysis of the principle is short but comprehensive - unless it has a requirement to include all the circumstances of the discovery, analogous to asking what variety of apple landed next to Newton. --Philcha (talk) 07:23, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
That's not what comprehensiveness means (at least in the FA criteria). The criterion simply says: (b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context. No major fact (that is known) has been neglected in the Prater article. But the criterion says nothing about having coverage that is normally expected of X or Y; otherwise, I can unilaterally define a "normal level of coverage" for a hurricane and say that neither Hurricane Grace (1991) nor Tropical Storm Christine (1973) have coverage at the normal level, such as in Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Mitch, Hurricane Jeanne, or Hurricane David.
The Hurricane Grace article I mentioned above is different from the Prater article, in that it really can be expanded. However, the primary authors of these (hurricane) articles are taking the tack of dismissing any suggestion for expansion, even when specific guidelines are offered, by defining the scope of the article to be as narrow as is required to preserve the current text. So, for example, in the FAC review of Hurricane Grace (1991), when I suggested that the author add, "4) a discussion of Bermuda subtropical storms, what are their characteristics and which of these are shared by Hurricane Grace. Here is another paper for that: Guishard, M. P.; Nelson, E. A.; Evans, J. L.; et al. (2007), "Bermuda subtropical storms", Meteoroloy and Atmospheric Physics, 97: 239–253 Explicit use of et al. in: |last3= (help), the response I received from primary author Julian Colton was, " 4) That's irrelevant to this article and seems an attempt to fill it with fluff." I would like to challenge the primary authors to have an independent expert evaluate this response (and I'm happy to provide a list of independent experts). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:00, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
So, if i'm understanding you correctly, F&F, your concern isn't so much that the article doesn't contain all the pertinant information on the particluar storm, but that it lacks context about the generalities of Bermuda storms? If I may generalize from my own experience with historical articles, it would be as if I had nominated Urse d'Abetot much earlier in the article writing process, say in this state or maybe after it's GA status was obtained. Both of those articles are comprehensive, but they contain very little of the surrounding historical context that makes the article easier for a non-specialist to read. That at least, is how I understand F&F's comments ... Ealdgyth - Talk 13:41, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
(To Ealdgyth) That is a good point. The Hurricane Grace article certainly doesn't provide much of the context of the storm, but it doesn't even have comprehensive coverage of the storm itself, unless you define the article to be only about the storm after it became a full-fledged hurricane. Hurricane Grace started out as a Bermuda subtropical storm and the reference I provided has a three page synoptic survey of Hurricane Grace during this stage, which was dismissed by Julian Colton as "fluff." Similarly, as you describe in your own articles, at least two or three reviewers of Hurricane Grace requested that some context should be provided about how it led to the so-called "Perfect Storm." All these too were dismissed by Julian Colton with the remark, "but those are two different storms" (I'm guessing, the expanded Hurricane Grace might detract from the subsequent FA run of the Perfect Storm). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:14, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
With all due respect, it's unfair to blindly request that more information be added to an article without raising any specific objections to the content's comprehensiveness, and it smacks of an attempt to make the article longer. Oftentimes the information that is being requested at FAC is irrelevant to the page in question, and in those cases, I believe reviewers should generally defer to the nominator's judgment, as they will be more familiar with the article's subject matter. Scientific articles should always be concise and more-or-less on-topic, and to that end I try to avoid including needless "background" info. Hurricane Grace was just that: a hurricane. It was marginally related to another more notable storm, but it was its own entity. Therefore I felt it would have been unnecessary to add content related to an entirely different storm system. –Juliancolton | Talk 14:31, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
No one is blindly requested anything. I read the paper I asked you to include. Can you tell me why you consider it to be "fluff?" Why is a description of the storm's subtropical stage not relevant to the article? It is equivalent to writing an article on an author and claiming that the author's childhood and youth are not important since the author started writing at age 45. We can make such arbitrary divisions for any article. We can split the Battle of the Alamo into Battle of the Alamo (day one), Battle of the Alamo (day two0 and so forth, each of which will likely be longer and better sourced that Hurricane Grace; we can then object to requests for expansion with, "but they are different days." Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:58, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Because the paper contained very little useful text related to Hurricane Grace's life as a subtropical cyclone, but rather subtropical cyclones near Bermuda in general. It comes down to editorial judgment to determine when the content is sufficient. –Juliancolton | Talk 18:31, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't see what length has to do with quality (as a synonym for 'featured'). If the subject matter needs only a brief treatment to convey the essentials, then a short article is actually better than a long one. However, that said, one should note that short articles will always give the impression that they are not comprehensive enough and the nominator should be ready to put up a strong defense. For example, Charles J. Knapp is fairly comprehensive but I wouldn't nominate it for an FA because the sources are entirely online and a rigorous library search may (or may not!) produce more detail. On first glance, the Prater article has very limited sourcing, far less than one would expect for the late gentleman, and Fowler will have to demonstrate that the article is comprehensive despite that. --RegentsPark (sticks and stones) 13:26, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

There was a related discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment/Archive 4#assessment of article for which there is only limited information last March, concerning the article Saint Croix Macaw. Physchim62 (talk) 13:35, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
(To RegentsPark) :) This is not really about the poor Prater article; that is just a straw man I set up in a hurry to make a point! (BTW, there is very little secondary literature on Prater; I pretty much scoured everything when I wrote it a few years ago.) The point is that in general usage the term "Feature Article" has a meaning, which refers to an article on a prominent topic. Wikipedia's featured article might or might not have the same meaning, but it certainly is treated that way. It is regarded by its primary authors as a mark of achievement. There is an unstated understanding, I believe, in Wikipedia that articles submitted to FAC review have heft both by way of content and notability. I am suggesting that people who don't respect that understanding are like drivers who wait until the last minute (in a traffic bottleneck) before they merge in; they are taking advantage of the vast majority of drivers who have already merged and who have to wait much longer. In other words, they are abusing the process. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:50, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Oops. I didn't mean to answer the question - should Prater be nominated! (Though I would decline to be a punter if you did nominate it!) My point was that the three(?) sources may be all that is necessary but, in any short article with a small number of sources, the question of comprehensiveness will arise.
(To Physchim62) Exactly. I haven't read the discussion, but there are thousands of phylogeny (or systematics) related articles that are a paragraph or two long and are completely comprehensive. Should all the editors in the Birds, Animals, Vertebrates, Invertebrates ... Wikiprojects, start nominating those articles for FAC review? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:57, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
{Butting in) In my opinion, no. The FAC page specifies: "FAs exemplify Wikipedia's very best work and satisfy the FA criteria." That's two different things. The examples you cite may fulfil the latter requirement, but not the former. Put another way, it might be argued that these examples could fulfil the letter of FA law, but not the spirit. I know that many (probably most) disagree with me over this - it is a recurrent issue. Brianboulton (talk) 23:48, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I think this debate is ultimately rooted in what FA's are considered to be. Some people (F&F, for example) appear to take the view that the FA's should represent only the very best of Wikipedia. That is, they believe we can afford to require that an article be of a certain length or voluminousness to be an FA, regardless of comprehensiveness or completeness. This view seems to be attached to the idea that not every article has the potential to be an FA. The other camp adopts the view that any article that meets the criteria should be an FA, no matter how long, short, wide, or tall it is. Myself, I'm in the middle. On the one hand, articles that meet the criteria meet the criteria, and – in that respect – there is no solid reason codified in the guidelines to deny the FA status. But on the other hand, we have to consider why we have featured articles: is it to present the créme de la créme of Wikipedia's articles, or every article that technically meets a set of criteria? —Anonymous DissidentTalk 01:55, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Well, personally I think it's somewhere in between. Obviously we shouldn't be producing "cookie-cutter" FAs; on the other hand, the "best Wikipedia has to offer" is subjective and varies from person to person. I'm of the opinion that all high-quality articles should be officially recognized and exhibited, but obviously others feel differently. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:24, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Signing FAC declarations

Frequently, FAC reviewers amend declarations of support or oppose by striking out the previous declaration and entering a new one without signing the new declaration (see samples here, here and here). This could result in confusion about why a FAC was archived or promoted. Also, I give less weight to a Support that is entered before other reviewers identify serious deficiencies, and more to one entered after issues are identified and resolved. Please take care to strike the old declaration and enter the new with a sig and timestamp. If other reviewers see this happening, please feel free to amend a note adding a diff to the changed declaration, so we'll all know when it occurred. As a sample, when Awadewit updates her declarations, she strikes, amends, and adds a note with a sig saying she is updating her declaration. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:17, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Talk:Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics

Can someone who knows what has happened update Talk:Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.--TonyTheTiger (t/c/bio/WP:CHICAGO/WP:LOTM) 02:07, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

See WP:FAC/ar; it will be updated when the bot goes through, likely after Tuesday night.[1] Also, please keep in mind that FAC is not Peer Review, and articles should be nominated when they meet WP:WIAFA, not just to "raise the quality of the article".[2] This kind of advice results in a drain on reviewer time. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:35, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Request for a review

If anyone is able to take a look at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Well Dunn/archive1, I would really appreciate it. It has been open for 19 days with nobody supporting or opposing. I would really appreciate some feedback either way. Thanks, GaryColemanFan (talk) 16:04, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, looks like it was archived due to a lack of reviews. Please let me know when you nominate it again and I'll be happy to offer a full review. –Juliancolton | Talk 16:25, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Renominating an archived FAC

Hi all. I've recently been involved with an FAC that was archived without consensus to promote (Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Battle of Villers-Bocage/archive1). This was, I think, largely due to the lack of reviewer follow-up to issues that had been responded to during the candidacy. We believe these issues were addressed, so can we renominate the article or is it possible to unarchive the FAC? EyeSerenetalk 08:16, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Nominators should wait for at least a week before re-nominating. Dabomb87 (talk) 12:59, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I'd wondered if there was a procedural 'bypass', but we can wait :) EyeSerenetalk 14:15, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Image reviews needed please

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Inner German border/archive1 - Note: NW started and stopped due to number of images. Karanacs (talk)

I've started, but I didn't make it all the way through the article yet. I'll try to finish tonight. If someone else wants to continue, start after the section on "Patrol roads". Awadewit (talk) 18:53, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Awadewit!! Karanacs (talk) 19:40, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, thanks-- I know this kind of work is tedious. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:57, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Done. Awadewit (talk) 01:35, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Discussion of MOS complaints

I present this example for discussion. These issues are easily fixed, and the nominator, DaBomb87 and I got to them in less than an hour,[3] but I hope the frequent MoS complaints are not discouraging nominators from picking up these sorts of issues. When I see them early in a FAC, I tend to put them on article talk, rather than clutter the FAC with these minor issues. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:51, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

We also might keep a better eye on WP:MOSDATE#Precise language and WP:DATEOTHER. [4] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:43, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Discussion of 1a, prose

WT:FA?#In the spirit of these things being descriptive.... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:45, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

fourth lev headers

SandyG...I like the fourth level headers we've used on some of the complicated reviews, especially this present one on the Inner German border. It makes navigating the reviews much easier, and responding to comments much more precise. Sometimes once we click on the "edit" button, it's hard to find the proper comment to respond to, in the maze of comments, crossouts, responses, more responses, and such. I realize that there will be pros and cons, but sometimes these reviews are incredibly long and involved. If each "reviewer" had a section, it would make our lives, and the lives of the editors, easier. What are the negatives for this? I'm sure there are some! :) Auntieruth55 (talk) 21:46, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

The WP:FAC instructions say to avoid headers because of some past bad experiences. The first problem, in the past, was that it convoluted the entire FAC page, but this has now been solved with the use of a TOC setting, so that the subdivisions don't show on the FAC page-- only in each review. So this is no longer a problem. The bigger problem-- and one we really need to avoid-- was that, in the past, there were many circumstances of headings being used in ways that would bias the review or turn it into a battleground: breaks strategically located to highlight or ignore certain points; breaks that conveyed one reviewer's bias; breaks that were inflammatory or inaccurate; etc. And the problem there is that, once we start allowing sub-headers everywhere, they take over even the shorter reviews, and before long, we have less experienced reviewers using them inappropriately. So, on long and complex reviews, where headers are used appropriately without bias and without artificial breaks intended to convey a bias, I let them stand, but I'm not in favor of seeing them take over in general. HTH, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:50, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Does anyone wonder, as I do, if there will ever be an academic studying section-header bias in Wikipedia? :) Awadewit (talk) 19:29, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
note:reinserting Awadewit post (not here when Slim posted) that I accidentally removed. My apologies to everyone, espeically Awadewit!!!!! Karanacs (talk) 19:47, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Does anyone wonder, as I do, if there will ever be an academic studying section-header bias in Wikipedia? :) Awadewit (talk) 19:29, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
I like the headers too; I found my last FAC page difficult to handle without them. If we stick to using headers with the names of the reviewers, that should get round the problem of possible bias. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:38, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree they were also helpful on SV's recent FAC, but I hope if they take hold, we don't eventually see them being increasingly used, even in shorter FACs, and then veering into biased headings, the problem we had before. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:47, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
if we stick to using our names, and not our beef, then that should help. And we can police it also, so that if someone abuses it, it will be possible to deal with it. Using sections, though, should not take the place of reading other reviews of the article, which might be a temptation. Auntieruth55 (talk) 23:33, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

← I thought they were called headings? I understand that header is more appropriate for tables, succession boxes etc. Waltham, The Duke of 01:49, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Citation styles

Recently, specific citation style requests are appearing at FAC: neither WP:WIAFA nor WP:CITE require or prescribe a specific citation style, so I hope reviewers and nominators alike will understand 2(c) of WIAFA:

(c) consistent citations: where required by criterion 1c, consistently formatted inline citations using either footnotes ([1]) or Harvard referencing (Smith 2007, p. 1)—see citing sources for suggestions on formatting references; for articles with footnotes, the meta:cite format is recommended.

Citation templates are not required, nor is a specific style of bibliography or separate notes and bibliography section, other than what is stated in the two pages above. Further, CITE is a guideline that states that established citation style should not be changed without consensus. It's not necessary for nominators to jump through hoops to write citations in a style preferred by an individual reviewer: it is necessary for the citation style to be consistent and for all relevant information to be provided. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:56, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

What Sandy says is true. But it sure would help things if Wikipedia could kindly agree on any one style. -SusanLesch (talk) 02:07, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
And since they haven't and probably won't, some of us format citations manually to avoid the problem of the constantly changing citation styles :) Also, noting that Wikipedia:LAYOUT#Standard appendices and footers does not call for a separate Bibliography section, although it is sometimes used. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:12, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
And they still should agree. I have been waiting since I joined this place. Believe it. -SusanLesch (talk) 02:16, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
And the minute they try to dictate one style, I suspect they will lose a ton of good editors who hate that particular style and will just stop editing rather than having to dela with trying to use it. Even the academic world can't agree on single citation style, it varies by topic, mood, whatever. No reason Wikipedia should have one forced citation style either, so long as they are consistent and valid per CITE. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 02:19, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply but it won't do. In a shared environment like this, an agreement makes sense. People do what is right if right is apparent. Assume good faith. -SusanLesch (talk) 02:23, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Right is not apparent, nor does it have anything to do with "what is right". There is no one citation style that is "right". I don't see anything bad faith in my remarks. I'm speaking from actual discussions, knowledge, and my own feelings. I will not work on articles that have an established citation style that is not the one I prefer, and I would walk away if it was ever made that only Harvard, for example, was the "allowed" style. Rather than trying to enforce one valid style over another, I think its better to actually focus on just getting citations period. Lack of them, not lack of a single style format, is a far bigger issue across Wikipedia. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs)
OK, you win. But what did you win? -SusanLesch (talk) 02:42, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
I follow the Ottava style of referencing and citing. I can't handle any other. :) Ottava Rima (talk) 18:34, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Some fields have demanded citation styles for good reasons, for example, History. However, an analysis of the reasons why historians are pedants, reveals that they are desperately interested in date of original publication or creation, and provenance data (producing authority, location, etc.). This could be satisfied in any number of ways, including, in a wiki with such small articles, inline citations with links, eg ([[#Smith2009|Smith 2009]], 44)... Bibliography [full citation of smith with anchor]. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:03, 2 November 2009 (UTC)


I'm working on Abraham Lincoln, and I'm worried about criteria 1c: "it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature on the topic". I'm using lots of books by well respected historians, but I'm also using lots of other books. What kind of leeway do I have? I don't want to get bit at the FAC, and waste a bunch of effort. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 04:36, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

This is a history specific reply, I am trying to work up this article you might like to read, Wikipedia:Reliable source examples#History, or WP:MILMOS#Sources which acts as a B-class review of what minimum acceptable standards are for history articles (through transclusion). However, take what I say with a grain of salt, I am also apparently a controversial editor when it comes to RS demands, see Wikipedia:Featured article review/Hungarian Revolution of 1956/archive1.

The first point to start is by attempting to find what the historiography is, for a recent example of this, check Talk:Soviet historiography#Myths and reality which identified a historian's contributions as irrelevant by search through journal book reviews of his monographs, and located (and tested) an assumption that another historian was an acceptable producer of historiography.
Ideally you are looking for what historians call "A review article". These come out about every 10 years or so on a topic, and cover the historiography of the entire field, making a judgement on what the essential recent literature is and what the major arguments are. These would be "high quality" sources per FA for me.
Lower quality sources would be non-relevant academic writings.
Lower still would be popular writings published as RS per wikipedia's guidelines.
Argumentative use of Primary Sources to prove assertions would rule out an article becoming FA. Use of primary sources to illustrate (as in graphics, diagrams, photos illustrate other articles) would be useful, and looked on favourably.
Use of lots of other books depends on how they're reviewed, if their assertions are fringe, or just factoid, etc. etc. etc. Your narrative and structure in the article ought to be driven by RS historians' consensus discovered through historiography articles. Fifelfoo (talk) 05:22, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Peregrine Fisher, I predict Lincoln will get several archives at FAC, so for clear expectations if it passes the first time up you should be ecstatic. There will just not be enough to make everyone happy. It is unrealistic to use every biography ever written about Lincoln, but you should, I think, be able to speak somewhat intelligently about why you used less of one biography for another. --Moni3 (talk) 12:15, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
I've got an explanation for most books, and people I can ask, but I'd reallly like a place online where I can check how good sources are. It looks like The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature is not searchable by google books (not surprisingly). I don't think any of the libraries within 100 miles are going to be much help, either. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 23:59, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
It seems unreasonable to me to use every available source on Lincoln: this isn't a dissertation, or a book. What seems reasonable is categorizing the types of views on Lincoln, (for example: Lincoln as emancipator, Lincoln as politician, Lincoln as Commander in Chief, etc.), historigraphic views, (such as: Progressive, Marxist, Neo-con, social historian, cultural historian, etc.),and/or audiences (how different groups of people might tend to view Lincoln) and using representative views/works. This leads to a structure that combines narrative (one darn thing after another) and historiography (this is how experts have interpreted one darn thing after another), and assessment (this is how historians have assessed one darn thing after another, and one interpretation after another). I faced a similar problem with Unification of Germany, and this is how I addressed it there. Make sense? Auntieruth55 (talk) 16:32, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
(oh, and yes, I agree with Fifelfoo, controversial editor re reliable sources or not -- and I suspect that you can do a lot of work on this via the state of the historiography summaries that appear in the "good" (i.e., peer reviewed) journals, such as American Historical Review, and the like. I can recommend one already, Scott Sandage's article on the Lincoln Memorial. Easy to find, but I don't remember what journal or book it came out in.) Auntieruth55 (talk) 16:36, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
I researched its origins a while ago when becoming frustrated with the poor quality of sourcing in relation to history articles. Its quite old, and for FA purposes somewhat superceeded as WP:MILMOS#SOURCES is included in the History project via B1 criteria Wikipedia:WikiProject_History/Assessment and has done so since October 2007. Good work Milproject. Fifelfoo (talk) 09:44, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't using academic journals unnecessarily do the reader a disservice under WP:V? Books are widely available; many have free previews online. If the reader is met with a sea of citations to journal articles, unless he is a student with unmetered acces to JSTOR, he's going to be able to verify nothing. Neither will FA reviewers, btw ...--Wehwalt (talk) 10:26, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia talk:Verifiability#Non-free and non-online references and the talk page in general at Verifiability seems to repeatedly go over this issue. If you've got a problem with WP:MILMOS as a long standing consensus take it up there. The WEIGHT lying in magisterial monographs argument is a superior one to this for preferencing survey scholarly monographs over specialist journal articles. And look, the argument is transformed into one of academic survey works versus academic specialist works; and I'm left asking why survey works in Edited Collections or Journal Articles should be avoided if the issue is WEIGHT. Fifelfoo (talk) 12:07, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Yet I gather that you would be quite content if monographs were avoided entirely.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:23, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Be that as it may. Your point of view on 1c does not seem to be widely shared, is certainly not the consensus view, and I would suggest that you exercise caution in advising others, as you did to start this thread, because it does not reflect consensus and should not be stated unconditionally in that manner. At the least say "It is my view that ..." It's a very unfortunate way of putting things, and may discourage people from doing excellent work here. If you want your view to be consensus, then go and build that consensus.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:13, 3 November 2009 (UTC)


I'd also be grateful for clarification on 1c, and Fifelfoo's oppose of Nikita Khrushchev on the principal ground of lack of scholarly articles. It strikes me that authors of biographies and other works (while the bios of Khrushchev are 2003 and 1995, other books on him and his era used are 2009, 2008, 2006) are in a better position than us to judge and incorporate such material. I am also concerned about how much scholarly article material (obviously to avoid treading trodden ground, they go to increasingly fine points) are even relevant in a summary style article. There are obvious concerns where these materials are difficult and expensive for a non-university affiliated person to obtain. I will say that I am troubled that there seems to be a shift in expectations, as represented by Fifelfoo's comments in this and other article reviews I have just been reading and I am uncertain as to what the present practical community standard is in applying 1c.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:37, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree with everything that Wehwalt has said above, and I also think that clarification on these points is absolutely necessary, and not only at some discussion page but in the FA criteria, where everyone can find them: before going to FAC, or even before greatly developping an article. Wikipedia must beware that its guidelines become not ever more absurd and restrictive, else contributors who do all this for nothing will rapidly decrease in number. Only last spring, I experinced that a very respected user (many FAs) was clearly against inclusion of newer (1990s) academic material (books! not even articles) into an older history FA: only the most general biographies/overviews would be suitable for a WP article! So what is WP's policy, please? Buchraeumer (talk) 00:32, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
The "WP policy" isn't relevant here, as it simply asks for reliable sourcing. What's been happening at a few recent FACs is demands for particular sources to be used, which is neither a part of WP policy nor the FA criteria. Objections at FAC ought to be based on the content on the article and its conformance with the FA criteria, not on whether favourite sources are used or not. The criteria ask for reliable sources, not the most reliable sources, even if it were possible to establish which were the most reliable sources. --Malleus Fatuorum 04:41, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, 1c requires "a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature on the topic". I don't think it's usually reasonable to demand that specific sources be used (unless that source is recognized as the authoritative one, or the topic is sufficiently narrow that that source is required to write a broad enough article), and I don't think it makes any sense to look at an article written with high quality book length biographies and make a blanket complaint about the lack of academic papers, but I also think nominators should be prepared to explain why particular sources were not used. It could be that they focus on too specific a subject for a summary style article or that they only duplicate what's in other sources (for the purposes of the article, at least), but I don't think "any old sources that clear WP:RS will do" is compliant with 1c. Steve Smith (talk) 04:46, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
If I may say so, I think that's arse about face. A valid objection, IMO, would be for instance to say that "source X claims Y, but that does not seem to be covered in this article", not that "you haven't used source X". --Malleus Fatuorum 05:04, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
You'll note that "I don't think it's usually reasonable to demand that specific sources be used", so I think we actually agree on that point. But I think part of the issue is that reviewers aren't going to review the content of sources enough to say "source X claims Y", but we can review sources in enough depth to say, for example, "Your most recent reference is from 1978, and here are five major works on the subject published since then. Why have you not used any of them?" Steve Smith (talk) 05:48, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I take your general point, and I agree with it. I guess I have a couple of recent examples of what I regard as unreasonable demands for particular sources to be used in mind. --Malleus Fatuorum 06:19, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, getting down to cases, Khrushchev. The two major English language biographies of him were published in 1996 and 2003, with the 2003 one winning the National Book Award. Not being content with that, I used more recent books, including books about his foreign policy (2006), about the Cold War era in Soviet history (2008) and about his U.S. visit (2009), as well as an older book (1978) to cover bits of his agricultural policy not covered in other sources), his memoirs, and a book written by his son (2001) who is probably the leading expert on Khrushchev but whom I used cautiously for obvious reasons. These authors (I am away and have only the 1996 book with me) presumably used the scholarship in writing their books. There is no showing that recent journal articles would correct any errors in the article, or that there would be some great addition to the article based on one or more journal articles, it's just "you just haven't used them". If the article is comprehensive and accurate, and verifiable to good quality, accurate RS, then gee whiz, what does it matter? This is not a thesis. I should add that the Khrushchev article is so much better sourced than, say Harvey MilkJerry Voorhis (heavily relies on a biographer who was a friend of MilkVoorhis in life) that there's just no comparison. I will say this, that this needs resolution. People need to know what the standards are and be able to act comfortably relying on those standards.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:10, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree. It's no help to your query, but on the general point, do you think it would be unreasonable to demand that both recent bios were used, or just the more recent, or just one of the two? I think that at the least one should be used, in the case of such a recent figure - if it was Julius Caesar neither might be an indispensible source. Johnbod (talk) 12:01, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Really, dude? Harvey Milk? I just saw this. Surely you can see the differences between a scruffy pot-smoking hippie gay guy who spent 11 months as a city councilman turned into a counterculture American icon, and the premier of the Soviet Union who was in charge during the hottest part of the Cold War, banging his shoe at the UN? Nonetheless, I challenge you to find any sources I missed for Milk. What were the neural connections that made it seem like a good idea to try to trash one article while trying to prove a point with another? I've been reading this discussion trying to figure out what the real argument is since it seems to be going in multiple directions, and this comment just thrust it in another. But it does illustrate one facet: each article should be comprehensively researched according to the canon of literature written about the topic. Sometimes I write about events that were shameful and embarrassing, that involve people on the outer fringes of society that no one with any academic self-respect would have studied at the time. I do not think that means they are not worthy of FA status. As for Kruschev, which I have not read either in article or FAC, his would be similar to Lincoln's which I am watching. I would start with books as they tend to be more comprehensive, and I would quickly get a feel for which books are the most reliable and well-written. I would use articles when I lacked understanding about a concept, a book neglected to address something, or it needs specific detail. I would search for reviews of the books to give me a good idea about which of them are the most respected in academia. Regardless, I would be open to improving the article in any way possible. If that meant reading articles, I would do it. If articles would not assist and I can prove that they had been summarized in books that have already been cited, or the ones I use supplanted article comprehensiveness or quality, I would disagree that articles should be used in place of books. --Moni3 (talk) 14:11, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I expressed myself very badly, I meant to illustrate the broad range of what can be used, sourcing-wise, to make a FA. I've redacted (spilled?) Milk and inserted another article where the lead editor did the same thing, although not as well as you. Oh, darn, now someone will email that guy and I'll catch all heck from him. I should add that I read Milk when it was going through the TFA process and it is an excellent article.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:43, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I think at least two should be used. I'm currently juggling five bios in rewriting Neville Chamberlain, since one early bio (Feiling) is deemed seminal and another fairly early one is by far the most detailed, though it only covers him until 1929 (the second volume has never appeared). If you rely on one, you are putting yourself at serious risk of having the author's bias pass unchallenged (and perhaps unnoticed) into WP.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:06, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Though I don't have a great deal of sympathy for Fifelfoo's point about journal articles, as I noted above, his concern about the sources' origin does seem like a reasonable one, if it's based on accurate information. Of the eight books in the references not authored by the subject, four of them are by people with Russian sounding names; were any of those books originally written in Russian? Steve Smith (talk) 14:13, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I see no credit for translators on a quick glance at them.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:33, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Are there no major Russian sources that have been translated to English? I realize that reliable sources on political figures might be rarer in a country to which freedom of speech is a more recent introduction, but it's been nearly twenty years since the Communists fell; surely there have been serious Russian scholars of their history to undertake study of him. If there are, but they're available only in Russian, I guess that raises a question about 1c: do we require a survey of the most significant sources, or only the most significant English language sources? I'm largely neutral on that question, but the answer would affect my view of whether Krushchev clears 1c (and indeed whether a non-Russian-speaking editor even could write such an article). On the remainder of Fifelfoo's concerns, I agree with Ottava below. Steve Smith (talk) 02:49, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
I see no bios of Khrushchev translated from the Russian, from google and amazon searches. Interesting, Taubman's book was translated into Russian and published there, and is cited by the Russian Wikipedia. That article is not well souced, but it doesn't mention any major Russian bios. I'm open to ideas as to how to determine the state of the Russian literature on Khrushchev, if any. I guess that we would have to assume that since the West is where the money is, any major work would show up if it had any chance of commercial success. I could look through biblios in my Khrushchev books, looking for Russian titles with "Khrushchev" in them, but then how do I assess their importance? Since all major books on Khrushchev use Russian sources (both archival and other) I'd also suggest that they would include any important scholarship in their analyses. Don't know how to answer further.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:31, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
  • "I'd also be grateful for clarification on 1c, and Fifelfoo's oppose of Nikita Khrushchev on the principal ground of lack of scholarly articles." - The article has works by Norton, which is a scholarly publisher. The article has multiple works by Penn State, which is a scholarly publisher. The article has a work by St Martin's, which is a scholarly publisher. The article has a work by North Carolina Press, which is a scholarly publisher. I see seven verified scholarly published works. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:24, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with the comments by Wehwalt and Ottava Rima. High quality biographies by respected scholars are the best place to begin an article like this, in my view, because they make it easier to judge the appropriate weight for different material. The articles mentioned in the FAC by Fifelfoo I'm sure are useful sources, but constructing an article from such sources requires a great deal more independent synthesis and determination of weight by our editors (which is bad). Christopher Parham (talk) 12:18, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
    • We need to figure this out. I'm still slowly working on Lincoln, and I've been using the most recent and respected books on the subject as much as possible. This was to avoid opposes based on the source requirements. Now am I hearing that peer reviewed journal articles are the best, and that's what I needed to be using? I did CS in school, so I've never done any sort of American history papers, so it wold be great if the criteria could give better guidance than "use the best sources" without explaining what those are. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:17, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
      • The criteria can't be more specific, because "high-quality sources" means something different for each field. For example, video game articles can't require academic articles, but not all video games have been analyzed in that manner. In the case of Lincoln, I would imagine it is the same as it is for any major historical figure: there are a series of well-respected biographies and a set of crucial journal articles. When it comes to academic research, both books and articles are important. Generally, you will get a sense of what books and articles are important by looking at bibliographies in the relevant books and articles. When a journal article is cited in every respected biography, for example, you know it is important. I would also assume that with a figure such as Lincoln, there has been an assessment of the scholarship - somewhere, someone has written down what the most important works are. For example, I just read a biography of Thomas Jefferson that started by explaining the strengths and weaknesses of all of the major Jefferson biographies. That is the kind of thing that is very helpful to find and is easy to find for major figures such as Lincoln, but much harder to find for obscure personages. Awadewit (talk) 18:25, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
        • Just to add to what Awadewit said, many book-length biographies will have a bibliographic essay at the end assessing the importance and credibility of various sources, so if you can find a recent biography that has such a thing, you're off to a good start. Steve Smith (talk) 19:48, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
          • But even what Awadewit said isn't always enough in, at least, some medical articles. Some authors are highly quoted because they turned out to be wrong; in those cases, editor discussion of subsequent, peer-reviewed sources can be used to eliminate earlier sources, even if they appear oft-cited. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:52, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
            • I know about video game articles, and what's best for them. But, when one is doing a subject on which every type of reliable source is available, there's apparently a hierarchy. We should make a not of that hierarchy. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 20:23, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
              • Yes, but you have to realize that even within fields, that hierarchy is not absolute. I'm afraid that there are no hard-and-fast rules to apply here. You have to learn what are the most reputable sources for each topic you write about - it takes a lot of time and effort and there is no shortcut around it, I'm afraid. For example, I would anticipate it that would take several weeks just to establish what to read about Lincoln, much less read it! Awadewit (talk) 20:35, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
                • Absolutely: another medical example. The New England Journal of Medicine is highly regarded, yet printed blatantly incorrect information in a review of Tourette syndrome. The Tourette Syndrome Association Scientific and Medical Advisory Boards did not take this on, although there were Letters to the Editor rebutting the inaccuracy, because of a previous drama-fest that had played out in the journals. Typically, an NEJM review would be considered a high-quality medical source: not in this case, and I only know that because of years of involvement in the topic. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:43, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Each discipline, or non disciplinary field will have different criteria. 1c includes searching for, and making use of, scholarly journal articles which are relevant. This discussion is mainly focused on History. Unlike Physics, Maths, or Sociology, history works primarily through edited collections and monographs. Primarily. It also works through the publication of scholarly articles. A history topic which has not surveyed scholarly articles in its source use at all indicates that it is not appropriately researched. "Full Text In Books" is just as bad a bias as "Full Text On Net". The requirement is not to use specific journal articles, but to indicate that appropriate journals have been adequately reviewed for the scholarship. If this is onerous, then don't bring articles to FAC, or get 1c changed, to read "...except for history and biography of historically notable individuals." Fifelfoo (talk) 00:32, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
While I appreciate the thoughts, I can find little that suggests that your view of 1c corresponds with the community view, especially that expressed when 1c was amended earlier in the year. Certainly, the views of experienced FA writers and reviewers seem to differ considerably from yours. I'm not saying that what you suggest is not a good idea, I'd have to give a lot of thought to that one, but writers deserve to know the standard by which their work is to be judged, and if your view of 1c is to become the community view, then there would be a tremendous amount of work done so that writers in different disciplines are aware of standards to be applied to their articles, and we would have to set up some sort of process to determine doubtful cases. At the present time though, I think we have to take 1c as it is, not as you would have it.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:28, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I'd actually agree that a search of academic journal articles is probably advisable. But for tertiary survey articles of people who have been the subject of multiple book-length biographies, such articles generally operate on a level too specific to be useful. Certainly, based on the examples Fifelfoo provided, that appears to be the case with Krushchev. Steve Smith (talk) 01:34, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
"a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature on the topic." Historians publish journal articles. Journal articles are relevant literature. A survey of the literature includes determining if journal articles are relevant. I have seen recent FACs where no, or few, relevant journal articles existed. The FAC sponsoring editor was able to rapidly respond on that point because they had conducted a thorough literature search. The Lincoln example above would include, for example, searching to determine if Review articles had been published on the historiography of Lincoln, and then using the relevant articles cited in such a review article. 30 seconds in Scholar with "Allen C. Guelzo The Not-So-Grand Review: Abraham Lincoln in the Journal of American History, Journal of American History, 96 2 2009" with the search string "Lincoln historiography "Review Article"" "Lincoln historiography" produced as its third hit "Douglas L. Wilson Prospects for "Lincoln 2.5", Journal of American History, 96 2 2009" reviewing in turn Matthew Pinsker, "Lincoln Theme 2.0," Journal of American History, 96 (Sept. 2009), 421. In Lincoln studies, at least, 2009 has been an important year for historiographical reviews, which means that WEIGHT is clearly determined by the scholars. Failure to search for these, and make reference to them, in relation to Lincoln, would mean a fail at 1c. In relation to Khruschev, Quenoy ZHURAVLEV Nakachi appear to be relevant content unlikely to be addressed in a monograph, Jones and Benn appear to be relevant relating to establishing appropriate WEIGHT. The simplest way to determine if journal scholarship needs to be included if you have magisterial scholarly monographs, is to check the monographs bibliography to see if specialist studies have been consulted in relation to the monograph. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:43, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I have no desire for unnecessary fights. I would say to you that regardless of the validity of the standards you seek to apply, your objections are stated in ways that do not necessarily convey what you are looking for. Your last response contains a very heavy dose of jargon. If you are saying that if what you are looking for is evidence that scholarly articles were consulted by the authors of the books in question that are cited as sources, well, gee whiz, just say so. I should add that I hardly think that "N. S. Khrushchev and the 1944 Soviet Family Law: Politics, Reproduction, and Language" is worth consulting as well beyond the scope of a summary style article. Come, let us reason together.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:05, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Still waiting.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:52, 2 November 2009 (UTC)


Combining Wehwalt's and Fifelfoo's feedback, it seems to me that the logical conclusion is that History articles need the equivalent of WP:MEDRS, where the sourcing standards for medical articles are explained. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:06, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Explained? For certain, but as it stands right now, there seems to be a very considerable difference of opinion as to what they are!--Wehwalt (talk) 02:17, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Right ... well ... it took us months (if not years) to hammer out MEDRS (ask Colin). And then we sought wide approval and consensus. But today, editors know the expectations, and when an article comes to FAC that doesn't conform, we have a place to point them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:23, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
WP:MILHIST already has had it's style guide incorporated as part of the MOS. Here is our section on sourcing and citations: Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Style guide#Sourcing and citation -MBK004 02:28, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
There's a rambling RS essay going back to 2003 or early regarding historical sourcing. I inquired to see if anyone was interested in developing it a while ago. The silence was deafening. Working up 1c advice which is discipline specific for history and historical biography may be useful. To what extent was MEDRS solving problems at FAC, and what intensity of problem was it solving when the development process began? Fifelfoo (talk) 02:30, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Where to start ? First, it took an enormous effort and commitment (largely from Colin) to get the job done. I do think it was years. The POV-pushers, of course, resisted, because it increased the standards. With MEDRS, we can plainly and easily object to poorly sourced medical articles, and we can point to it in peer review, disputes, etc. It reduces "pop culture" sourcing in medical articles. Before MEDRS, infamously unreliable sources that meet WP:RS were being used in medical articles, even when journal reviews didn't agree. It has made an enormous difference in the quality of medical articles on Wiki, and the ease with which we can now point to sourcing requirements. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:36, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
It's complicated, Sandy. History is not medicine. If we were to have such a process, we would have to be careful that we aren't applying a presumption that a close analogue to MEDRS is to be created. Personally, I think we first need to be sure what the present standards are, and then work from there. To a certain extent, though, I think the community is speaking on what that is, judging by the above thread.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:33, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
You're preaching to the choir :) When that wording was added to 1c, I knew it was going to end up in my lap, in a FAC disupte :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:38, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Poor Colin. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:44, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm still hoping we can defuse this. I believe the community is of the opinion that Khrushchev satisfies 1c, but I'm willing to work with Fifelfoo, if possible.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:57, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
If it's any help to both of you, in terms of defusing tempers or lowering frustration, I did foresee this issue when the wording was added, and this is the first real test. The wording change was the subject of long and intense debates, so try to focus your arguments on what 1c actually says now; it was well and widely discussed. I could see then that it wasn't as cut and dried as, for example, medical articles, because of the years we spent establishing the sourcing requirements. Try not to beat each other up or bang your heads against walls :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:22, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, as somebody who writes mostly about military weapons and technology, I can assure y'all that there often aren't any scholarly journals that are reasonably available because many libraries simply don't collect them. And sometimes there are only brief surveys available until somebody does a monograph on it and then people start giving you grief over single-sourcing. So the sort of standard desired by Fifelfoo may be practical for more ordinary types of history, but it certainly isn't applicable to all historical articles.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 03:24, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
To Sturmvogel 66: lets say, for example, that we're going to deal with an obscure incident in the Korean War, referenced in the Official South Korean history (available, exhaustive, and updated to be less... bad). We search Scholar. We get a Korean Friend to search Korean historical indexes. We get a university friend to search major humanities / military science indexes. We check the indexes of our PRC and DPRK sources... and there are a few obscure references. That would meet MILMOS and FAC because it would be a thorough use of sources on the topic. If there are three articles, and we've cited two, and the other is in Korean and we don't have access to a Korean reading editor, we've thoroughly exhausted the reliable sources. If the depth of scholarship is thin, the requirement is still the same at 1c, but we can cover the requirement much more quickly. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:40, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
But both MilHist and Medicine are head and shoulders ahead of the rest of Wiki for having put in the years of effort to lay out the standards. I think all of us involved in the WP:MEDRS effort tore our hair out at some point, but would all agree that it was well worth the effort considering the upgrade that resulted in the quality of medical articles. We even have our own inline now![unreliable medical source?] This is not an easy problem to solve, but we have two examples before us. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:28, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
And in the meantime? I'm going to bed, Sandy. If you elect a pope, send me a smoke signal. I guess it's back to Wikiproject: Real life girls gone wild.:)--Wehwalt (talk) 03:32, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Consensus rules. Keep arguments focused on what 1c actually says now, and in my case, be glad that History is Karanacs' area of editing :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:35, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
You took Khrushchev through Milhist. I declined it there. Its declineable there under Milhist A criteria. It was not promoted at Milhist. "Closed as not promoted –Abraham, B.S. (talk) 07:53, 29 October 2009 (UTC)" Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/Nikita Khrushchev.04:03, 2 November 2009 (UTC) WP:MILMOS#SOURCES already exists, and is referenced through the History project as an acceptable standard for history for A, and thus as a precursor for FAC. Fifelfoo (talk) 03:36, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Fifelfoo, I should note that the ACR closure was mostly procedural because the FAC was initiated while the ACR was still ongoing and had not been open for 28 days. At MILHIST we discourage editors to put their articles up for multiple review process' at the same time, so when an ACR is opened an ongoing PR is closed, etc. -MBK004 03:48, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, amended the above comment to correctly characterise MILHIST procedures and avoid implying the closure meant anything other than the opening of the FAC. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:03, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Right. As I noted in opening the FAC, my purpose in taking it to Milhist was merely to obtain feedback in light of a tremendous backlog at GAN, and I felt I had gotten all I was going to get. While I would have taken the A class if offered, that wasn't my purpose, as I indicated.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:11, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) In the case that you specified that procedure works, but my point is that it doesn't really apply to a lot of technology or weaponry-type articles. Lemme discuss a concrete example, my Sd.Kfz. 10 article on a German half-track of WWII. Prior to the recent publication of a monograph by Thomas Jentz all that was concretely known about it came from a few paragraphs in a pictorial survey of all German half-tracks by Spielberger and entries in a couple of AFV encyclopedia type books. They sufficed for the basic stats, and maybe production numbers, but that's about it. Even the wartime intelligence reports that are online don't give any more information than the other books, so there's nothing to cite there. And there literally aren't any reliable journals that cover German half-tracks. About the only magazines that mention it at all are modeler-oriented, and I generally don't consider them RS, and they aren't indexed anywhere that I'm aware of. So if I were to submit it for FAR you'd bounce it for lacking any journal citations, which would be a condition that it could never meet since they simply don't exist.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 06:47, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd do you 2c for fn12 having fullcite information instead of fn1 for Jentz and/or the lack of a fullcite for the first use of new sources, or for only doing it for Jentz; Chamberlain and Doyle being out of style for multiple authors (see fn24 for the Last, First; Last2, First2; Lastfinal, Firstfinal you're using). I'd query why there's no Osprey on half-tracks of the third reich worth quoting. My preliminary google scholar turns up nothing worth citing so I wouldn't mention it. I'd also 1c question these three things: what kind of divisions were they used in, operational purpose, post-war uses. You sound like you'd have an adequate response, and I'd convert my decline to support. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:13, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I know that I have more work to do if I ever wanted to kick it up for a FAR, but you're not responding to my basic point. The scholarly apparatus that you're proposing to make a condition simply isn't available for certain types of articles. And even if it was, I think that I'd question the basic reasonableness of requiring such a thing even for more ordinary history articles. Most, but not all, of the journal articles that I've read in JMH, IHR, etc. were pretty specialized and generally covered only one topic. For an article that's supposed to be an indepth survey, I'm not sure it really makes sense to try and incorporate these sorts of things, provided that the primary source books are recent enough to take heed of that scholarship. That author can usually be presumed to have read, or at least be aware, of the recent scholarship and made use of it in his or her book, and so the editor of the article can be assumed to have gotten the journal article's information pre-digested, as it were, through the author of the book. If this becomes a requirement then I predict that the only things that will make it through FAR will be narrowly-focused articles requiring limited research, because the broad spectrum type of articles will so time-consuming to research that only the most dedicated editors were persevere through the process. And I think that we'll be the poorer for it.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 00:26, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
If the literature simply doesn't exist, then of course it isn't required. Your example of the Sd.Kfz. 10 prior to recent scholarship is an excellent example where scholarship is limited and there are no Journal Articles or Chapters in Edited Collections other than those cited. If the literature does exist, then it is required to the extent of relevance. In the Khrushchev case (merely as an example), two of the located articles were Review Articles, ie, entire field surveys. These exist and are not specialised. Journal of American History basically put out an issue of Lincoln review articles in September 2009, and these would represent the best, most recent, survey scholarship in the field. Similarly, failure to search means that the non-specialised, ie, the relevant journal articles won't be located. This is the case in the specifically biographical article indicated. Also worrying is when Chapters in Edited Collections are missing. These are often survey works aimed at a scholarly public on topics not engaged at monograph length. The search is the issue. If items don't exist, their absence is not relevant to if something is FA quality. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:42, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

As Sandy points out, "consensus rules". Right now, the community has expressed a consensus, so far as I can see, as to what 1c means, and it seems (I hope) to be on course to developing a consensus on the merits of the Khrushchev article.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:11, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

You're over-eagerly characterising less than a day's four days discussion, which doesn't extensively discuss existing criteria (existing consensuses) for historical articles as a consensus. Fifelfoo (talk) 13:18, 2 November 2009 (UTC) strikes at 13:28, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Hardly. I see your campaign extends back over a month or more now. I was much struck by this thread concerning you at AN/I. I'm rather taken by this quote by SpikeToronto about you with respect to your views on sources in FA's: "My primary interest in this ANI is your interpretation — as stated in your edit summaries, on your user page, and here in your postings to this thread — regarding what sources are and are not acceptable. It appears to be a restatement, a rewriting, of the Wikipedia rules, guidelines, and customs regarding reliable sources." In that thread, I see a comment by Smallbones, whom I respect from working alonside him/her at TFA/R: "Fidelfoo has a tremendous problem with tendentious editing, trying to dominate the article by coming up with frivolous citation and RS rules." (he misspelled Fifelfoo's name, which both commented on, a bit of a commu-Freudean slip!)--Wehwalt (talk) 13:23, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
While there is no vote of course, I see the following:
Those supporting Fifelfoo's position: Fifelfoo
Those generally expressing the opposite opinion, either that Fifelfoo's interpretation of 1c is incorrect or that Khrushchev meets 1c, expressed in various ways, here or at the review page: Wehwalt, Ottava Rima, Buchraumer, Steve Smith, Malleus Fatuorum, Johnbod, Christopher Parham, Brianboulton.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:35, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Malleus, for example, discusses the demanding of using specific sources in general, and rejects it. This has not been my review opinion on Khrushchev, nor here. My opinion, which I have repeatedly indicated, is that a thorough review includes using all publication forms of scholarly literature if relevant, and not being monograph (ie: single authored book) specific. You are mischaracterising a consensus here; and, you seem to be invested because you're currently sponsoring an article in review. Fifelfoo (talk) 13:52, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
On a well covered subject such at Lincoln or Krushchev I see no problem with using mainly books rather than journal articles. Yes, journal articles should be used, but most recent biographies by historians will do the journal articles for you. We're not supposed to be "cutting edge" of research here, we're an encyclopedia, and incorporating the very newest theories isn't the most important part of our job here. On a History/Biography specific set of source guidelines, I don't think it'd ever happen. MilHist isn't the same as Medieval History isn't the same as Modern American History isn't the same as Biography, and there is no overarching active wikiproject to coordinate things. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:13, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree, though the recentness of both the books and the subject can affect this - elsewhere I contrasted Krushchev with Julius Caesar, about whom I imagine no really staggering new information that would affect an article of FA length has emerged in the last 40 years or more. Then you're down to shifting fashion in general interpretations of the period. For what it's worth, I would have expected assurance that the book on Mandell Creighton's marriage had been properly taken into account, given the lack of other major sources that are at all recent. Whether a publisher would ever be found for a straight full-length biography of such a figure now must be a question. Johnbod (talk) 15:12, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Ealdgyth, too. When you are writing an article on a pretty broad subject, full-length scholarly books are usually fine on their own; the scholars who wrote these books have often already consulted the journal articles and can distill down the most important aspects and give those facts the proper coverage in terms of weight. Also, in many cases the author of the journal article has written or contributed to other full-length books on the topic and it makes sense to consider those larger works rather than the article. It is also often the case that journal articles tend to cover a specific aspect of a broader topic, and they are in many cases overly specific for a summary-style article. In my own writing, I am likely to consult journals when I am writing on smaller events and topics (such as for the historical letter [[To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World) and much less likely to consult them when I am working on very broad topics or larger events (like Battle of the Alamo). Karanacs (talk) 15:48, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
On a broad topic like NK or any President/Prime Minister who lasted more than a few months, there will be so much in the books that separate papers aren't really all that necessary as they are more likely to go into great depth (eg 30 pages) on every rigged election, internal party purge, a single policy and so forth, but it is better if the the book treats the certain facet in a shallow or vacuous kind of way, which can be possible. Also sometimes an entire book chapter is a re-hash of a paper from somewhere, so it isn'e necessarily less detailed unless the paper was on some standalone type of topic which doesn't fit into the author's wider book YellowMonkey (bananabucket) (Invincibles Featured topic drive) 08:15, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I know nothing about the Khruschev disagreeement, but on the general topic I agree with Ealdgyth and with Karanacs. The best sources depends not only on the field (medicine vs. history vs. etc.) but also about the topic within the field. Even in medicine, where journal articles dominate scholarship, there are exceptions: for the Cancer article, for example, medical journals rarely publish reviews of cancer in general, so books are a better bet. As for Julius Caesar: as I understand it we've learnt quite a bit about the topic from archaeological digs in the past 40 years, so I wouldn't advocate heavy dependence on 40-year-old books, but there is definitely no shortage of recent high-quality books on Caesar! Eubulides (talk) 18:30, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Really? They have confirmed Alesia is indeed where everybody always thought it was, & confirmed & fleshed out details of Caesar's own account of the siege & no doubt similar stuff elsewhere, but these are not things that really affect an article of FAC length. Johnbod (talk) 21:00, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Battle of Bosworth Field

Recently, it was announced in the news about a new location for this mediaeval battle in England. The findings were derived from field surveys conducted by a respectable historical society; however, they have not released a report, and no independent scholars/historians have vetted it yet. There is a drive to include the discovery in the FA article, Battle of Bosworth Field. While I support the mention of the discovery, I am concerned at the manner in which it is presented in (violations of several FA criterion). As I was heavily involved in pushing this article for FA, my judgement could be impaired in certain areas here. I appreciate it if FA reviewers would review the changes, with regards to the information presented at Talk:Battle of Bosworth Field#Site moves again (my "beef" is with this insert), and weigh in accordingly. Comments and suggestions on how to integrate facts of the announcement in an FA manner are more than welcomed at this stage. Jappalang (talk) 21:45, 2 November 2009 (UTC)


Can we temporarily delink [Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Ode on a Grecian Urn/archive1] for a day or two as I work on some things? I originally meant to have it all fixed up on Sunday but on Wiki distractions are making it impossible for me to put together the formatting changes and post up a few paragraphs that are needed as fixes of two problems. I don't mean to close the FAC, but it would be nice to catch up first before it receives more responses. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:32, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that's a good idea. You are welcome to withdraw the FAC and bring it back when you are ready, or the comments can pile up until you can work on them. Karanacs (talk) 21:34, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
It would only take 12 hours, but if you want to go through having all of the archive stuff around it then, well, I guess that is fine. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:42, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Or you could just leave a note at the bottom of the FAC saying that you'll be working heavily on the article for a couple of days, and asking reviewers to save their time by waiting until then? BencherliteTalk 21:45, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I left a note at the top. I should probably expand on it. It wont take much, I just need some time to be able to devote to it. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:51, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

User:AndyZ/peerreviewer script needs adoption

This script often used in GA/FA reviews needs adoption by an active user or a WikiProject. Please see my comments here for a centralized discussion. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:44, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Reviewers wanted... application! No forms in triplicate! No background check! Wonderful job with rewards beyond imagination! Help enlighten the entire world! :) Awadewit (talk) 05:01, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

which topic area and what criteria...? :) Fifelfoo (talk) 05:14, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
See the FAC urgents list for articles requiring reviews of all kinds. Thanks! Awadewit (talk) 07:36, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Brunel is intimidatingly History of Science for me. I got severely bitten on H56. And I've already said my bit on Kennan :) Fifelfoo (talk) 07:50, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Well a few more have turned up to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Pretty obvious, except for the numbers.... YellowMonkey (bananabucket) 02:22, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
I'll try to get to reviewing at least one or two to offset my new nom... unfortunately the cops cut my house's cable (don't ask) and so I've got spotty access right now. Reviews are coming, I swear! Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 15:45, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Fifelfoo, it's not necessary to do a comprehensive review of a FAC (unless you plan to Support); any feedback is helpful, so that we're not archiving FACs with no feedback. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:47, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I have personally been grateful for (most ;-) reviews given to the FA candidates I have been involved with, and have appreciated the time, energy and knowledge people put into them. But I have rarely done any reviews myself; this is in part, because I feel a bit intimidated by the scope of the task, the time it would take, and the responsibility it entails, both to the project and to the editor(s) involved. Sandy's comment above reminds me of a suggestion I have been meaning to make for a while, which I think might help me, (and other editors?) contribute to this process. Would it be possible make a list of some of the specific aspects that need to be checked for each article? Manageable chunks which somebody could do? The list might include: images, alttext, citations, external links, prose, etc etc. Perhaps a sub-page could be made with specific guidelines for each check/evaluation and how it can be done, maybe linked from each FAC? FAC an important but somewhat delicate area, and I feel that it behooves the project to think about ways to build up the skills and confidence of editors to contribute. Perhaps others have different suggestions? --Slp1 (talk) 16:25, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Does Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-07/Dispatches cover what you have in mind? Should we do an updated Dispatch? Should we link it to the instructions? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:29, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
See also this podcast on FAC reviewing for ideas. Awadewit (talk) 17:13, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
What, no transcript? :-P Waltham, The Duke of 02:14, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Personally I think too high a proportion of reviews just look at articles from one angle (not to criticize the very necessary work of "specialized" reviewers, but the lack of others), & what is often lacking is probing of the overall article, and of the content. Of course the second of these tends to need knowledge of the subject area, but the first does not. This seems to be getting worse, or am I just indulging in Wiki-nostalgia? Johnbod (talk) 16:37, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we can afford to complain about any reviews we are getting at this point, especially since we are closing noms every week without enough reviews to make a decision about promotion. Awadewit (talk) 17:13, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) yes, Sandy, I think it's a start, and yes, it could be usefully linked from the page, and I think it is already. But I am thinking of something a bit more detailed, with specifics of what needs to be done and how to do them. And yes, I can also see Johnbod's point, too, though the point of my suggestion is to try to give people a chance to get their feet wait in an easy, manageable way, before they launch into other aspects. Another suggestion that I have wondered about is whether making some sort of "form" based on the FA criteria, might help people structure more general comments and thoughts, and used if editors wish. Something like, "Is it comprehensive?" "Is it well-written?". That doesn't necessarily deal with the problem of people with content knowledge being involved. Maybe part of submitting an article to FAC should involve posting a notice at the relevant wikiprojects to recruit this kind of input? These are just ideas, but I am conscious of the lack of reviewers, and the need to help people join in and feel useful. --Slp1 (talk) 17:48, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
It would be helpful if someone could take on a new Dispatch, linking to the old one and the Podcast. Getting Tony1 involved is key :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:28, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
It's difficult to balance writing time with reviewing time, across FAC/FAR/GAN/GAR/PR, and some reviewers have the admin sloughs of despond to deal with as well. I don't have a solution, just wondering if we're expecting too much. --Malleus Fatuorum 02:42, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do. Casliber (talk · contribs) 22:57, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

FAC backlog and declaration disclosures

We might examine whether WikiCup is contributing to unprepared noms at FAC; I'm not saying it is, I haven't had time to check, but it could be a factor. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:40, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

That's a very wise comment, SandyGeorgia. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:48, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
It suddenly occurred to me that there may be a reason for the backlog and overload at FAC :) Perhaps someone else will delve into this issue. Somewhere in the FAC archives, I thought we had a long discussion about the need to disclose contest entries: I don't believe that's happening. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:55, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
What was the reasoning behind that? Geraldk (talk) 16:03, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
The reasoning behind what? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:05, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Requiring disclosure of contest entries? Geraldk (talk) 16:10, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it is an issue for very recent entries. The contest closes on October 31st & there are only 4 people left in now. Wikipedia:WikiCup - Durova, Ottava Rima, Sasata & The Leftorium. They have so far counted 12 FAs between them - 7 from OR. The gamesplay this year has been mostly GA, DYK & Durova's Featured Pictures. She currently leads with no FA points at all. Johnbod (talk) 16:19, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
And yet, I have declared myself the true winner. Go me. --Moni3 (talk) 16:28, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Moni, you always win, don't you? :p I don't think it's a contributing factor, there haven't been more driveby noms than usual this year. ceranthor 23:07, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
@Sandy, I believe that WikiCup entries were generally declared early on; most of the result is that as mentioned above only a few are still in the running, and they are basically featured content regulars anyhow. Let's not blame the contest; it's lazy and/or overworked people like us to blame. :) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 00:44, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I believe its reasonable to blame some contributors who've brought works severely below expectations in one or more criteria; who haven't sought peak pre-FA review (either something like Military History's A class, or GA + peering) or where projects lack internal review facilities. On the other hand, working an article that is in most respects of FA quality, but needs community support to get it there is very rewarding, but also very exhausting. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:48, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if the current system of not promoting FACs that don't get enough reviews and not permitting their nominators to immediately resubmit might not actually be the best system. In other words, I am wondering if that system might not be better than requesting reviewers to go the extra mile to help out. The lack of reviews is a reflection of the lack of interest among reviewers. The reasons for the latter can be many, but if, in part, they indicate the lack of quality in the article, then the system is working. Similarly, if the lack of reviews indicates nominator fatigue, then too the system is working. The instances to watch out for would be quality FACs on topics that are not of interest to the reviewers. These are the only ones that might require nudging from FAC directors. I trust, though, that the reviewing system is mature enough that such articles don't fall through the cracks. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:59, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
How about requiring a review before each nomination to keep things more even. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 15:07, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I remember suggesting that once. The quite reasonable reply I got was that it's not so much the quantity of reviews but the quality that matters. Writing and reviewing are different enough that not everyone who can bring an article to FAC would make a good reviewer (just the same as how not every good reviewer would make a good article-writer). There's a lot of overlap, for sure, but having it as a requirement could still lead to substandard reviews clogging up FAC pages, making the delegates' job that little bit harder. Steve T • C 15:26, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Fowler&fowler's "The instances to watch out for would be quality FACs on topics that are not of interest to the reviewers" reminds me of occasional discussions at WT:GAN, where some subjects have longer lacklogs than other. I suggest that the solution at both GAN and FAC is that editors interest in these subjects need to do more work on reviewing. There would still be backlogs in subjects where there actually few editors, which would leave FAC a shortage of subject expertise in these areas. But at least FA that would reduce the number of backlogged topics in which the FA director and delegates would need to look for help. --Philcha (talk) 15:15, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Replies to PF and Philcha, The ultimate laissez faire solution would support neither approach. (Not saying if I like the free market here, but I am wondering about it.) Asking the reviewers to submit one review before submitting will still not ensure that the reviews are evenly distributed among the FACs. Similarly, to Philcha's suggestion, one might say that in a voluntary enterprise one doesn't need expert reviewers. If an article is too specialized for reviewers, then the nominators have not done a good job of making it accessible, and it most certainly will be too specialized for Wikipedia's target audience (assuming that the reviewers are a fair sample of it). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:32, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm unsure if that would solve the problem-- just a matter of the numbers. While I haven't done an in-depth analysis, my hunch is that it takes at least twelve reviews to get an article promoted, so asking each nominator to do one review might not be enough to address the problem. I will say that I'm concerned about repeat nominators who almost never review, and encourage others reviewers to lean on those people to pitch in, to the extent that they focus on editors with good reviewing skills :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:43, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps we can have a nominations-reviews index, NRI, for each nominator (like the body-mass index, BMI), and if, mathematically speaking,  , then NO DICE. (Mine, btw, for 2009, is 1/29.) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:57, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
There was actually a proposal at wikicup to offer points for reviews, but it was rejected out of concern that it would lead to drive-by reviews rather than the in-depth work that's needed. But at the very least, I think FAC regulars should feel free to regularly drop a note on the wikicup talk page during next year's competition reminding participants that all wikicup participants are better served if they offer quality reviews to each others' articles. The same applies to the other processes as well. Geraldk (talk) 15:40, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I do agree that in many cases a lack of reviews may mean a lack of quality; this can be especially true if there are comments but no declarations. Sometimes, it may mean that there are too many articles on a particular topic nominated in a short time frame and reviewer attention span has wandered. Sometimes it implies nominator fatigue (I'm tickled that my terminology has been picked up ;)), and sometimes I suspect reviewers had no idea what the article was about from the title and nomination blurb and so didn't take a closer look.

I think nominators can also be reminded that it is okay to try to find reviewers. As long as the nominator adheres to certain criteria (neutral messages to neutral parties), then this is often a good way to get more eyes on an article. Beyond posting at wikiprojects (which doesn't always help), I've occasionally approached some FAC reviewers who have experience in whatever general topic I am presenting and politely requested that they look at the article. I've also left notes on my own talk page that I have an article at FAC and I would appreciate any feedback. It is also okay to infrequently post here to attract more eyes to the article (best if the article is on a second nomination or later and still not getting feedback). I've noticed several reviewers here who graciously answer these requests. Karanacs (talk) 16:06, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

I think Fowler&fowler's "If an article is too specialized for reviewers, then the nominators have not done a good job of making it accessible" is difficult in a few subjects - mathematics and much of physics would baffle me, and I suspect chemistry would too; and perhaps advanced topics in music. And I'd be scared to review a medical article without a relevant expert on hand - an apparently innocent copyedit might lead to a lawsuit. --Philcha (talk) 17:22, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

(Replies to Karanacs and Philcha) I agree with pretty much everything Karanacs has said. And I agree with Philcha's last comment as well; I was going to add a PS to my post with a caveat for the hard sciences, but got called away. And, yes, music, medicine, linguistics, ... would belong as well. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:18, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Just a note: in those cases, and where all else is going well in the FAC, I follow the example set by Marskell at FAR, and go out and ping content experts who have proven effective at FAC and ask them to weigh in. I try not to close otherwise worthy FACs just because content experts haven't weighed in, and to avoid promoting them until they have. Also, because I edit medical articles, and was a math undergrad who switched from physics, those articles don't intimidate me, and if I find them inaccessible, it raises my eyebrows :) Fortunately, Karanacs' content area is different than mine, Tony1's background is in music, etc.-- so hopefully we have these bases pretty well covered, but if reviewers see issues, I hope they'll raise them here on talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:51, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
as a former grant and proposal editor (academic side), explanations that are not intelligible to the smart undergraduate major caused me to raise my eyebrows. If a prof told me his or her project was too complex for me to understand, I would tell him to go away and come back when he has figured out how to explain it. My penny's worth on expert-written articles. ;) For accessibility, ency. articles should be the access point, not the turning away point. Consequently, I'm always looking for a section on context or background, to place a piece of literature, music, art, movie, whatever, into some sense of time and place. When I decide if I will review an article, I look for ones that I'm interested in (topic wise) or by people with whom I have a history, even if I'm not interested in the topic. If someone with whom I have a bad experience is nominating, then I still don't review, even if I'm interested. It's too much hassle. As for the rest of this conversation, it has been very interesting, but I'm still not sure what we mean by "declaration disclosures"...Auntieruth55 (talk) 18:31, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I need to get back to the declaration disclosures post, but would like to see more community feedback first. On your accessibility thoughts, I agree (and will hold my comments on some of the older math/physics FAs that appeared at FAR :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:36, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
and a declaration disclosure is....? Auntieruth55 (talk) 18:52, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
"I'm nominating as a part of a contest. The passing of this nomination will get me points in that contest. Others in the contest may support or oppose based on my place in the contest as opposed to the quality of the article." --Moni3 (talk) 18:54, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Disclosing any sort of prior involvement in the article or contributing factors. For example, when WP:FAT was active, those FACs garnered a very high number of Supports, but many of the editors supporting had some level of involvement, so I generally made sure that there was substantial, independent review from non-FAT members before promoting. FAT was easy to keep up with because it involved many experienced FA writers; these other contests are more difficult to follow. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:57, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
It's also appropriate to mention when a reviewer has participated in a previous review process for that article - GA, PR, A-class reviewer. Some nominators specifically point this out, most reviewers tend to disclose that level of involvement. Karanacs (talk) 19:03, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Or for example, "I did some copyediting on this article when it was at peer review" or "I'm a member of the Hurricane Project". Any information that helps us assure independent review. As a more general response, both Karanacs and I work hard to know what's up in the community and assure independent feedback on FACs. That means knowing who is in what WikiProject, who's feuding with whom, who's friendly with whom, who is a content expert in a given area, and all sorts of other things-- not all pleasant :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:13, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
got it now. Thanks! Auntieruth55 (talk) 19:36, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I guess my only question is what purpose such a disclaimer would serve? With a reviewer who may have a coi, a disclaimer makes sense, but my concern (and, full disclosure, I'm a potential participant in next year's cup) is that it might dissuade reviewers from taking a look at the nom. That is, if the assumption is that wikicup-related noms are more likely to be inferior work. Which, btw, I don't think is a given - Ottava Rima's last few have been pretty impressive. Geraldk (talk) 00:16, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
The aim is to assure articles receive independent, unbiased review, unfettered by external issues, such as mentioned above in the examples. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:24, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
In the past, article assessment, such as GA, where oversight has been significantly less, witnessed several contest participants passing GAs for points where the articles were clearly not of GA quality. It was not the WikiCup and the number of GAs reviewed/passed were the factor that increased points for participants. While the mechanisms of FA make that a bit more difficult, a statement of disclosure nonetheless alerts Karanacs and SandyGeorgia to the idea that other issues may come into play. Any FAC may be politically gamed because a reviewer dislikes a nominator or dislikes someone who opposes/supports, but contests put time pressures and other stresses on an FAC. I see no problem in disclosing that the nominator is participating in a contest where the outcome of the FAC will influence his/her standing. When the Wikicup was established, I personally tried to persuade the participants to make sure their articles were more than ready for the FAC process instead of nominating an article prematurely to get feedback and comments to know what to focus on to attain a promotion. For some reason, points compromise editors' judgment about quality. --Moni3 (talk) 00:25, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
OK, those explanations make sense. I'm all for it then, may recommend it over at FLC too if you all approve it here. Geraldk (talk) 00:27, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) (Reply to Moni3) The mad rush at GAN, in these closing days of Wiki Cup, can certainly impact FAC submissions. Not right now, but down the road. I see cookie-cutter articles written in uncertain syntax and lacking overall coherence being submitted frenetically. The chances are good that these same articles, with minimal refurbishing, will appear here soon. So, a declaration that the article's GA version was submitted for Wikicup (and when), would be good. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:22, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

  • None of the articles I have nominated for FAC during the WikiCup were new articles nor where they anything beyond what was created with multiple people and then sat for a while "fermenting" in the Wikiverse until they were decided as suitable and then prepped. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:30, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Ah, so Fowler is proposing that Wikicup declarations should be in place even after WikiCup closes? (Ottava, no one is pointing any particular fingers as far as I can tell :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:35, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, I just wanted to point out my theory about nomination and the rest. I like to let articles sit and experience random cleanings (all of those AWB wanderers with their notable mistake checkers and random IPs who, on the rare moment, actually fix things). Right now, I have about 300 articles I've worked on. 30 of them could be put through GAN that aren't listed and about 10 could be put through FAC. Of course, a little work and clean up first to do final tweaking, but I always tend to keep a large reserve of such articles and put forth things depending on my mood and feeling. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:43, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
(Reply to SG)"Ah, so Fowler is proposing that Wikicup declarations should be in place even after WikiCup closes?" Yes. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:48, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, would that be necessary out of season? Anything nominated outside of the Cup doesn't count towards it anyway. The FAC i nominated was nominated three or so days ago, and I was eliminated on September 30, I don't think its completely necessary out of season.Mitch32(The Password is... See here!) 04:00, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand this either. Declarations should be made for any article in which the nominator is participating in a process that may attract editors interested in the outcome of the process, not the FA promotion. If there is no process, no contest, then what would they be declaring? The only instance that I can think of is that I declared during the nomination for Museum of Bad Art that it was for the main page on April 1. While I would not and did not benefit from that, I felt it pertinent to say as announcing an anniversary or a proposed date for an FA is premature and rushes reviews. --Moni3 (talk) 13:25, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
(Sorry, didn't see this.) If an article was submitted for Wikicup in May, then I would treat it much like other article; however, if it was submitted in October (especially the last week), then I would consider it to be hurriedly created. If it was moreover not reworked much after the Wikicup submission, chances are good that I will encounter more than the usual challenges of reviewing. A declaration will give me a heads up. If the FAC page wants more conscientious reviewers, then it is its duty to facilitate their work. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:37, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
PS Besides, the requirement of a declaration might dissuade editors from turning in articles here prematurely. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:41, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I think it also might turn away nominations as well. I could understand from January to October, but I would oppose implementing it from October 30 - December 31, as the Cup is not active and its back to normal nominating.Mitch32(A fortune in fabulous articles can be yours!) 14:39, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

New dashes tool

I've created a new tool for fixing common hyphens/dashes/minus signs mistakes. It does a better job than the other tools I'm aware of, rarely missing needed changes or making incorrect changes (though its changes should still be reviewed). —GregU (talk) 07:19, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Looks pretty good, (although I have yet to test it). Does it account for the need to put spaces around the dashes in full dates (and will the user of the chance to do it manually if the script doesn't?)? Dabomb87 (talk) 13:44, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes it will fix most spacing problems with date ranges. It will leave you showing its changes, and you can accept them, reject, undo some, make more changes, etc. You can report suggestions on its talk page. One thing it doesn't do (yet) is fix spaced em dashes, for the reason given on its talk page. They are rarer and not hard to manually search for. —GregU (talk) 14:51, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
could you write some instructions on how to use it (not just on how to clear the cache). ??? Auntieruth55 (talk) 15:29, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I started some documentation on the talk page. There is just one control which you hit and then review. —GregU (talk) 16:04, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Where should this control be appearing after importing the script? I can't see it—yes, I have cleared my cache. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:14, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Strike that, I've just found it. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:16, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Wanna tell everyone else? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:19, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to work in Beta, though--at least, I couldn't find it. With Beta disabled, it did work (and it caught some mistakes at Lundomys--thanks!). Ucucha 16:20, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
the control is in the drop down list. AND it works in beta. You have to add it to the vector.js scripts. Auntieruth55 (talk) 16:47, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Works fine for me, and I'm using the beta version of vector. Handy tool Greg. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:48, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Auntieruth55: Stupid me, should have thought of that. Ucucha 17:10, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
hee heee (chuckling) and I'm such a newbie, too. But I had to get Greg to tell me exactly what to do. I've loaded some other tool, not sure what it is or when to use it, but it was clear in those instructions that vector (for Beta) and monobook were not the same, so I learned then. Where do I find other tools like this? Auntieruth55 (talk) 17:25, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
There's a whole bunch more at WP:JS. Ucucha 17:29, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
oh, there you are. I knew I'd seen your name recently! Auntieruth55 (talk) 23:14, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) Great little program. thank you. hamiltonstone (talk) 23:34, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Image reviews needed

Thanks for your help! Awadewit (talk) 02:24, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Would the reviewer doing Khrushchev please read GrahamColm's and my comments about whether certain images taken in Russia can be inserted into the article (they are not there at present) at the FAC? Just look for the image, it is in among the text.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:46, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Wehwalt, I haven't yet caught up on that, but Elcobbola (talk · contribs) is very good with Russian images. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:47, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Link from main FAC page to individual FAC

(This seems like the kind of thing that's obvious enough to have been brought up if it has, feel free to just direct me to the prior discussion.)

Would it be desirable to modify Wikipedia:Featured article preload so that when a new FAC is started it <includeonly>s a link to itself, to make it easier to go from the main FAC page to the individual article's entry. This would be similar to what is done at AfD, with a "(View AfD)" link below each subheader. Currently, as far as I can tell, WP:FAC has no direct links to the individual pages. I think it could be accomplished rather easily with something along the lines of

<includeonly>[[Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/{{subst:BASEPAGENAME}}/{{subst:SUBPAGENAME}}|View FAC]]</includeonly>

I understand this would increase the number of links on WP:FAC and maybe increase load times (although I don't know if that increase would be large or negligible), but I think it would be useful. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 18:21, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

The technical question you raise is beyond me, but I sure wouldn't want to see load time on the page slow down. When we get a Catholic Church FAC going, it's already bad enough! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:31, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't know much about how the load times work, either; I'll ask around and see if any tech-y people know more about how big an effect this would have. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 18:45, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I think this is a no-brainer proposal. Currently if I have to go from WP:FAC to a particular article's FAC page, the route I have to take is WT:FAC -> Article page -> Article talk page -> Article FAC page, which is pretty silly (is there a obvious shorter route ?). The addition should add only 100-200 bytes to each FAC, which is negligible additional load, comparable to adding one additional user-signature per FAC! Abecedare (talk) 20:15, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
The "shorter route" is the edit link on WP:FAC. After that hit "project page" if you really want the article FAC page only. Gimmetrow 20:24, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I actually do that sometime; didn't list it above because I thought my description was getting convoluted anyways. :-) Abecedare (talk) 20:48, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I use the edit link, too...but that's still one extra click that I don't see any reason to require.
FWIW, I've only gotten a couple responses at WP:VP/T#How much do links affect load times?, but they seem to think the effect on load time will probably be negligible. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 20:55, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
WP:FAC routinely runs into include size limits, and I think that's the concern here. The text you want isn't much, but given that the edit link is right there, is it necessary to add another one? Would you prefer to have an alternate page that just <include>d the "intro" part of the FAC subpage, with a link to the subpage? Gimmetrow 21:20, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I suppose it's not really going to be the end of Wikipedia if we don't have those links; everyone gets by without them, it's just sometimes a minor annoyance (and I do mean minor). Mainly I was just thinking, if the load time effects really will be negligible or totally non-noticeable, there should be no harm in adding it. We can always remove it if, after a week or two, people think the page has gotten noticeably slower. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:39, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

FAC deliberations

Since this article was promoted long ago in a subsequent FAC (hence it's now OK to discuss it), and because I've been pondering lately issues surrounding some arb statements in several ArbCom cases, I raise this old example for discussion here. Reference my closing rationale for this FAC: on rare occasions, when consensus isn't clear or the FAC is combative, I include a closing rationale on talk. As FAC delegate, it is frustrating to see invalid opposes lodged, particularly when many of those opposers overlooked more substantial issues in the article at the time, lodging instead a quick "1e, unstable" oppose. But if the delegates intervene in the FAC, by mentioning that the opposes aren't based on WP:WIAFA, to what extent would that have prejudiced the FAC outcome? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:00, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

when someone who does a lot of reviews and whose opinions people respect say "support" or "oppose" do they influence the support or opposition of others? I'd say that is more likely that if you intervene and say, support or opposition based is not based on wiafa is simply keeping us on task. Reminding us not to get wrapped up in something that not related to the criteria. Auntieruth55 (talk) 23:12, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
In that case, I think the opposers (of which I was one), had a different definition of "unstable" than the supporters. I see this as an example of an FAC which helped to define what "stable" means. What you are suggesting is that the delegates should have intervened and defined "stable" - shouldn't that have been left up to the FAC community? Awadewit (talk) 03:03, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
1e was discussed here at WT:FAC but not on the individual FAC page, so some reviewers might not have seen it. The question relates more to whether intervening directly in a FAC would prejudice the outcome or derail the FAC (I'm raising this because of some recent arb comments that appeared prematurely prejudicial). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:31, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you could link us to the arb comments, so we all understand the context for you asking the question? Awadewit (talk) 03:33, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any benefit in going down that path; I think the context for my question is clear enough. How much should delegates intervene in a FAC, and to what extent might that prejudice or derail the FAC, when we see invalid opposes? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:35, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
If you don't think the context is important, I'm confused as to why you mentioned it in the first place - clearly you did think it was important. I dislike this attitude on Wikipedia of only people "in the know" who read AN/I and RFAR every day really understanding what conversations are about. Awadewit (talk) 03:41, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
But sometimes, here as elsewhere, that is pretty much the case. Personally I think about the current level to slightly more intervention is about right. But remember to keep your mystique, Sandy & Karanacs :) Johnbod (talk) 03:46, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I was under the impression that you had my talk page watchlisted, Awadewit; there are no secrets, but we don't need to crosspollinate discussions with unrelated matters. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:51, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
(OT: Shockingly, I don't read it every day! More like once every few weeks. I know, I know. Heresy.) Awadewit (talk) 03:56, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Well :) The only intent here was to get feedback on how delegates might do our "job" better, avoiding some pitfalls I've recently observed on arb cases. I didn't intend to delve into unrelated issues at ArbCom. Carry on :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:32, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
As an occasional reviewer who has the impertinence to review others FA work without having created any myself; I would hope that if the FAC delegates found some of my whitterings unhelpful they would Email me or put an appropriate note on my talkpage. If that didn't work then wjem consensus might not be obvious to some participants, a closing rationale that mentioned the sort of arguments that were ignored would in my view be in order. ϢereSpielChequers 13:16, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
So, based on feedback from Antieruth55, Johnbod and WSC, it seems that it's OK for us to cautiously weigh in a bit more often on FACs ?? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:01, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I favor that. In helping all participants--reviewers, nominators, other contributors--focus on relevant and substantial, rather than irrelevant or relatively inconsequential, concerns, that would benefit the process. DocKino (talk) 21:11, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I would think so. Let's say in a hypothetical FAC, there is a dispute about whether an oppose is actionable. After the discussion, the FAC delegate might want to weigh in, simply to prevent everyone from wasting their time in waiting for promotion or not. It seems worthwhile. Seems worthwhile.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:10, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, if we're getting distracted by an unactionable oppose or support, then definitely weigh in, by reminding us to stick to the point (or however you want to phrase are very tactful). In a recent review (a project review), we got side tracked on the number of footnotes, where they were placed, and what they looked like. In that particular review process, neither citation style nor the number of citations is an actionable oppose, so we all had to be reminded of this. Fortunately, a couple of other reviewers pointed it out, and a big wig was not required to step into the fray. :) Auntieruth55 (talk) 21:23, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
When possible, it's always preferable for other reviewers to point things out, so Karanacs and I can stay out :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:32, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
And the good thing about their being two of us is that if we do cross the line into being too involved, the other can handle the close. We may need other reviewers to help us realize if we get to that line, so it can be so hard to see (especially with Sandy and I both having atrocious eyesight). Karanacs (talk) 20:52, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Trivial request

My eyesight stinks. It's hard for me to sort indenting and so on, or to find where one reviewer's comments start and stop, when I have to go in to a FAC to sort something. If FAC regulars could have mercy on me, :) it would help if you would leave a space before starting new comments from a subsequent reviewer, and keep numerical formatting in order. Thanks for the patience :) [5] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:28, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

  1. OK :-) Graham Colm Talk 21:03, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Pretty please, with sugar on top?

Review an article? Awadewit (talk) 01:47, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Any in particular you had in mind? I tend to do best when people ask because then they can't blame me if I say something they don't want to hear. ;/ Ottava Rima (talk) 04:12, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
See the list of FAC urgents above. Thanks! Awadewit (talk) 04:16, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I see them quite frequently. :) I try to stay out of them until I can see a slowness or a dispute is over. Also, pile ons are never that fun. I was just thinking you may have had something that was hiding among the list. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:20, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Ralph is Bak-shi for its ninth run at FA, if you want to take a look at that. DocKino asked me to weigh in after I registered several concerns at no. 8, but I won't get around to it this week, and ISTR you had some useful comments last time. Steve T • C 08:45, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
I received the same note and I cringed. Those FACs always tend to be a little intense. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:01, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Civility Guidance

I have a concern. Let me first say that while I'm not a frequent reviewer or nominator at FAC, I have a lot of respect for the process and the high level of rigor involved in it. And I also have no illusions that any articles brought here are perfect - smart editors work hard to bring articles up to speed before bringing them here but then fully expect them to be deeply scrutinized and criticized in a constructive way, and to sometimes fail. But I don't think anyone brings articles to FAC expecting to have themselves or their work just plain insulted or attacked by a reviewer. On both my own nomination this morning, and other recent nominations, I've noticed User:Fifelfoo being what I can only describe as hostile towards nominators and their work. While some of his comments are helpful, the overall tenor of them is often degrading to the people who have brought articles here, as when he wrote in response to a question about a source, "Please ping me when you've written the article to FAC standard?" or on another recent nomination said, "There is a level of insult in proposing an article in this state" (which he then deleted from the discussion entirely) or in use of terms like 'naive', or in another recent FAC when he said, "As you appear to have literacy problems, and are not familiar with the disciplinary practice of history..." - which is just about as clear a violation of Wikipedia:No personal attacks as I've seen on Wikipedia. FAC should be rigorous, but it should not be hostile. So my question is this - is there a civility guideline for reviewers anywhere? Geraldk (talk) 19:57, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

"I rely on Finkelman largely because his presentation is compact, but could add additional in-line citations to other sources I've used which make the same points if you prefer." Geraldk at diff. I feel my request to review the article once you believe it is well researched is a reasonable one, as you have not sourced material to where you found it. In relation to the other instances, the first I recinded, which is why it was deleted. Fifelfoo (talk) 22:52, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Fifelfoo, if you have a concern about sourcing issues, you should politely explain it and, if you don't intend to watchlist the FAC, request that you be pinged when your concern is resolved. You should not decline to explain your concern (conveying by your refusal an apparent belief that anybody who doesn't immediately understand what it is must be rather dense) and then ask the nominator to ping you when it meets FAC sourcing standards (conveying the notion that you don't see how they could possibly be so dim as to believe that it already does). I know your intention was not to be uncivil, but to ensure that Wikipedia's featured articles (especially history articles) meet the highest standards of sourcing, but surely you realize that you did not go about it ideally in this case? Steve Smith (talk) 03:38, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
The other article reviews referred to are my deleted comments in relation to Ode to a Grecian Urn, which turned up with viral linkspam links until it was taken on by another nominator; and Nikita Khrushchev where the nominator and I had an extensive heated discussion, a continuation of prior non FA review forms, and the failure in comprehension given the density of attempts at expression became in my opinion either tendentiousness or a failure in literary comprehension. The nominator of Maryland Toleration Act hasn't been bitten here. If the nominator at Maryland Toleration Act would like to solve deep sourcing issues which go to their writing process and failure to attribute, then yes, I would be happy to look again. While I'm happy to workshop minor citation issues, I am incapable of travelling in time, space and identity to become a nominator when they were researching in order to write an article, and am simply unable to solve sourcing issues where adequate attribution has not occurred in the article itself. Your assumption of sardonic irony on my part is an extremely unusual assumption. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:27, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
WP:AGF precluded any assumption of sardonic irony; I explained what impression you conveyed (to me and, I infer, to Geraldk). Steve Smith (talk) 04:39, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm quite sorry about the impression made, and I'm personally working on improving my civility for excellence reasons. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:59, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Dan Povenmire

Just noticed, the FAC for this article was archived and is now not included in the page anymore. What does this mean — did it pass, fail, or something else? The Flash {talk} 19:17, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

It was failed, since it is on a subpage of Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Archived nominations. It looks like nobody noted any real problems--the reason it was not promoted was that there weren't enough users who spoke out in support of its promotion, so that there was no consensus that it met the criteria. You should probably try again in a few weeks and hope for more support. Ucucha 19:48, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Alright, thanks. That's surprising, though, since there was two supports and no opposes, but it makes sense nonetheless. The Flash {talk} 20:35, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I only see one Support; can you point out the second, please? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:37, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I also counted only one, but I now see that in addition to the support (ceranthor), there was also a supporrt (Pedro). Ucucha 20:56, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. Because the bot hasn't gone through yet, I have reinstated the FAC. It would help if 1) reviewers and participants would follow FAC instructions, and 2) nominators would police their own FACs to make sure instructions are followed.[6] Had the bot gone through already, I would not have reinstated this nom, as there are outstanding concerns about the article sourcing. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:06, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Sandy, for doing that. :) The Flash {talk} 21:41, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
Clarification on alt-text/image issues.
could someone please clarify what's with the alt text, because Amanda and I are giving Flash different objections on this. I'm saying that it is not clear what is going on in the pictures, that they are not descriptive enough, and she is saying they need alt text that says who the people are, and the kind of portrait it is. So we need an image maven to add his or her two cents worth on this. Thanks! 17:34, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
I followed up there. Eubulides (talk) 08:09, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Attachment theory

I seem to have done something odd with the nomination regarding archives. I was trying to put a link in the text to the previous nom. Sorry Fainites barleyscribs 09:42, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Fair use/copyright

Hello strangers - not posted here for a long time.

I've been working on Bayern Munich v Norwich City with a view to maybe bringing it up to FA status. I have a few questions on image rights that I'd like to get right now before falling foul at FAC or worse if/when the article should ever make it to Main Page.

Would the use of these images fall below appropriate standards?

Q1 - A scan of the the cover of the matchday programme. There is only one official programme for any match. Many football followers regard them as notable and historic in their own right. Some can fetch quite high prices! However, while this could be referred to in the text, it's unlikely to be key to understanding the article.
Q2 - A photo found on the internet or scanned from a book of a key moment from the match, such as the astonishing goal scored by Jeremy Goss? I strongly emphasise I'm not talking about generic portraits etc. Would low res or some declaration or indeed anything help at all? This would definitely help understanding of the article - Goss' volley is hard to describe, but made astonishing photos. (Here is a sample image from a RS - I might be able to find a better one)
Q3 - A scan of a newspaper headline about the match - if referred to in the text and important in the understanding of the article.

I appreciate your help, thanks. --Dweller (talk) 12:50, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

These answers, as with most regarding the WP:NFCC, are subjective. Q1: will the program convey any information that could not be conveyed using text alone? If so, will this be on a subject that's an important part of the article? Q2: That sounds fine, if it really was a key moment and is described as such in the article. Q3: Unlikely, unless there's something about the picture of the headline that couldn't be conveyed by providing its text. Steve Smith (talk) 17:40, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
I would say that a headline, under copyright, is only going to be usable when it has become iconic, as in "DEWEY BEATS TRUMAN" or "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD".--Wehwalt (talk) 16:33, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
They were/are iconic? Never heard of them...Casliber (talk · contribs) 19:59, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Ah, like Swedes 2 Turnips 1. Or the infamous alleged consumption of a rodent by a second rate British comedian, lol. Thanks, helpful. While I think "Jerry sinks the Gerrys" is a nicely typical tabloid front page, I don't think it's iconic enough for more than a textual reference. But I will find a decent photo of his volley and include that with a fair use ratioale. As for the programme - would it help if I could get approval from the owners of the copyright for it to be used, ie Norwich City FC's programme editor? --Dweller (talk) 21:12, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Image reminder

On the image description page, all images must include (in English): a short description of the image, a clear and precise indication of the source for the image (which includes enough information that someone else could use it to verify the image and license), the publication date of the image, the author of the image (often with his or her death date), and a license. Even if you are unsure about the correct licensing for an image, you can at least check to see if this information is on the image description page prior to FAC! Thank you! Awadewit (talk) 16:26, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

I feel that's a lot to ask of people, Awadewit. The author and date of death often aren't known, and aren't necessary if the image is PD for reasons not related to date of death. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:29, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree. If the image was published in the Chicago Yellow Journalism in 1910 or if the guy was the White House photographer under Clinton (or one of them), taking pictures of Bill greeting his Oval Office visitors (ahem), there is no need for the date of death that I can see. Can be a real pain to find out.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:37, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Agreed! I see, and get asked about, a lot of images from illuminated MS, where none of this actually has any bearing on the copyright status, once identification is certain, and all images, wherever obtained, must normally derive from the owning institution. Johnbod (talk) 16:39, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Please read what I wrote - I said often to cover the situation mentioned. This is a basic reminder for how to begin to fulfil criterion 3. It doesn't address every situation in detail. I'm at my wits' end with these image reviews and here is a good example of why - I can't even remind people to do basic work without receiving snippy answers. You can find someone else to do this work. I quit. Awadewit (talk) 16:42, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
It is easy to put "unknown" for author & death date, which "often" covered; but the source is also irrelevant one the identity of the item is clear. Johnbod (talk) 16:47, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Awadewit, please assume our good faith in asking these questions. Your work is valued.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:49, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Where were the snippy answers? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:35, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Does WP have any good documentation on what is required to be included on image documentation so that copyright status can be verified? I haven't really found anything. I wonder if it would be feasible to create documentation that would cover enough scenarios so that we can point nominators, etc. to one page to say "this is what you must have. you don't have it. let me know when you do." Would that help solve some of the tension at FAC over images? Karanacs (talk) 16:59, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

I raised on your talk page the question of Bundesarchiv images, where we rely on the German Government for the free status of the images. I commonly use them in my 20th century articles. The description pages are in German.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:02, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
WP:IUP. Awadewit (talk) 17:06, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we should be asking more of FACs than the image policies require, because the policies already ask for a lot. We can't expect people to go beyond them. This gets back to the perennial problem of instruction creep for FACs. We should be cutting back, in my view, but at the very least, not increasing. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:35, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
We don't ask for more than the policies. We don't, for example, demand high-quality images, like we do for prose and sources. Articles can include the worst quality images, as long as the copyright on them is adequate.Awadewit (talk) 17:41, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
True, but I also think we can't ask people to provide more information that the policies require. It can take hours to find an author's name and details—or to find they're probably not available—and it really isn't needed if the image already satisfies the PD requirements. I'm against anything that adds to the FA burden, because the whole research and writing effort often falls on one person's shoulders. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:52, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I have begun a proposal to remove one requirement - the "date" of PD art images - here. Johnbod (talk) 18:11, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

(ec) (unindent) I didn't realize that Awadewit does the thankless job of checking the image information. I do think that images in an FAC should as far as possible be "beyond reproach." They will likely be gazed at by more folk than more obscure images.

I just looked at the first FAC in the list (Neville Chamberlain). There is frankly no reason for the kind of exquisite shabbiness found in the accompanying image information there. Consider, for example, File:Chamberlaincroptime.jpg, File:Joseph Chamberlain in colour.jpg, and File:Austen Chamberlain.jpg. The first one especially has dubious rationale. The uploader apparently checked the US Copyright Renewal Tomes at Project Gutenberg and didn't find Time Magazine's name there. So, s/he concluded that the copyright was not renewed. Whether or not that is adequate for Wikipedia is not the issue here, but a reviewer shouldn't have to track down the image information in faraway pages. Is it really that much work to have the information in the version that is added to the FAC. For example, consider File:British Indian Empire 1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India.jpg, an image I uploaded two or three years ago. There already has more information, up front, than the three images above. However, if I were using it in an FAC, I would likely add the name of the author: J.G. Bartholomew and Sons, Edinburgh, and change the license to PD-US-1923-abroad. Or, consider something I added a few days ago: File:OxfordDonCreighton1870.jpg (where the author is unknown) or File:IndianRailways1871b.jpg, which is from a personal copy. A reviewer knows immediately what they are looking at.

I'm sorry if the one of the discussants here is the author of the FAC (I should have checked!), I have nothing personal against them, and, in any case, they didn't upload the images, but they can certainly move the relevant image information to the top layer (FAC article version), rather than having a reader or reviewer click on link after link. As far as I know, there is nothing in the Commons' rules that disallows that. I can see why such work will give Awadewit a big headache. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:24, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

  1. Information about reviewing images is at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-09-22/Dispatches and Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-08-11/Dispatches.
  2. Image reviewer harassment and burnout is an old story at FAC: just ask Elcobbola :) If they all give up, FAC closings will be delayed. Please be kind to reviewers. (And does anyone ever thank Gimmebot? broken record alert)
  3. As a testament to the work done here by selfless reviewers like Awadewit, I can't remember the last time we had a big scandal along the lines of how dare you run this piece of garbage on the main page? It would behoove nominators and others to remember that, without reviewers, we don't have FAs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:39, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Weighing in as the author of Neville Chamberlain, I always look at the images. I am not an expert on images or their rationales, and lean heavily on the reviewers to tell me where I've gone wrong. The three images in question, (correct, I did not upload them, though I did modify one of them) looked OK, so far as from where I could see. No one twigged to them in GA or PR. So I used them. I did take out one that had a PD tag that I was very suspicious of. Again, I'm not an images guy. If you want a certain standard to be met, it might not be a bad idea to look at the articles in peer review that the nominators say are headed to FAC. I do not blindly accept what image tags say, but perhaps you are expecting too much from writers without some intervention earlier in the process. Yes, I know, you don't have the time, I understand that and respect that. I'm somewhat at a loss to know what to suggest.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:52, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Very good point, which applies more generally to other aspects of the article that are assessed in the making of an FA. The image review needs to be more rigorous at the peer-review stage (just as the prose review does). Some people, in any case, don't get peer reviews, they're in too much of a hurry ... Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:59, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
PS. I'm assuming you do understand that although I picked your FAC as an example, I'm not blaming you. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 11:59, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Of course. And I also suspect that writers don't see images as a "big deal" and are content to let reviewers be the backstop, it is easier to fix/replace than to learn the intricacies of image copyright.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:37, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I've decided that I'm going to tell authors to get an account on commons if there are critical issues with images and actually mark them for deletion. It's easy to simply remove them from articles here, but by leaving bad images around you're letting other people make the same mistakes. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 18:01, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
And because authors have an imperfect understanding of image policy, they'll probably survive deletion reviews. Nor will authors be strong advocates. I see the point though, it was a relatively simple process for me to clean up the images in the Neville Chamberlain article once the issues were pointed out. Raising that price is one way to go. Is it the best way? I wonder.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:56, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Who, what?

Given the present shortage of reviewers, and abundance of nominations, those who can't be bothered to explain what or who their article is about, if it is not obvious like 7th Infantry Division (United States), should not complain if they get few reviews. The following are 3 consecutive noms in their entirety:

Nicholas Mayall, "I am nominating this for featured article because it is in great shape, stable and complete"
School Rumble, "I am nominating this for featured article because I believe it meets the criteria. The article has undergone several external assessments and a major copyedit."
Carabane, "I am nominating this for featured article because all the suggestions made in the peer review have been implemented. I believe the article now meets all the FA criteria."

I have no idea what any of these are about, & personally I'm not going to leave the page to find out. Johnbod (talk) 17:23, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Adding a note that the US holidays have traditionally been a time of FAC backlog.[7] SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:27, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Additional note: while the page is so backlogged, I'm moving big chunks of resolved commentary to article FAC talk pages. I hope this will encourage other reviews; even on a good connection, I'm having a hard time with the load time of the page, and finding few reviews that can be closed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:05, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the "I am nominating this for featured article because" text in the template for FAC noms is not very helpful; almost every cause that could be given boils down to "I'm nominating it because I think it meets the criteria", which is somewhat tautological. Perhaps we should change the text in Wikipedia:Featured article preload to "This article is about..." and add a note on what is expected from FA nominations (prior history of the article, brief introduction to subject?). Ucucha 17:37, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I try and add a sort of DYK-like hook to my articles when possible, give reviewers an incentive to actually read it ("Hey, there's something interesting here!") I feel it's a good idea to explain how you feel it meets criteria in some cases, and explain the article history to get people up to speed; for example, I try and preempt source concerns where possible. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 18:00, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
So do I. That's why there's the comment about the umbrella and the piece of paper in the Neville article. It is hard to get reviewers. The idea is to make people want to read the article, and the nom is a chance to get people interested, especially where the subject of the article is now well known.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:01, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
"Now well known"??.....aaaha - not well known. Yeah, snappy hooks are good...I try to - if'n I don't it's because I am fatigued...Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Easier said than done with tropical cyclone articles: "Uh, yeah, this fact is somewhat, kinda interesting... I think!" –Juliancolton | Talk 04:02, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't necessarily asking for striking hooks, though they can help, but at a minimum a very brief explanation of what the subject is, and why it might be of significance or interest -the latter also difficult for cyclones perhaps, but there we go. At least their subject is usually clear from the title. Johnbod (talk) 04:07, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

2c during the deluge

This is a general warning to the closers and other reviewers. The 2c quality of a number of recent submissions has been very poor, with Templates being used poorly, and major bibliographic concepts apparently not being understood. In part this is due to the reliance on templates replacing an understanding of manuals of style or bibliographical principles (Yes, its the "calculator" problem equivalent for the humanities). In particular people should watch out for confusion amongst |chapter= |title= and |series=. Similarly |issue= |edition= |volume=. Some bodies of editors have difficulty with the concept of how to deal with one work contained within another, where there are |authors= and |editors=, where there are |chapter= and |title=. Also, some editors feel that a |chapter= should be cited where there are no contained works authored by different individuals (ie: |author=Bloggs |chapter=Chapter 1, my boots |title=All things I put on my feet). Given that I have limited time to help workshop articles, and that time tends to go to articles with excellent 2c except for just these few problems..., I may be Declining articles on a 2c basis and not be able to assist nominators or involved editors in workshoping the quality of their citations. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:32, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Fifelfoo - maybe you could write a potted version of how to do these things. I can't think of a better person to do it. I found it very difficult to work out how to cite those edited books with each chapter being a review by a different author. I guessed encyclopaedia. (It didn't work until I realised about the extra a in BE). It's unlikely that most editors will be familiar with the finer points of bibliographic concepts.Fainites barleyscribs 21:02, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
seconded - buffing up refs is a big plus. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:59, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Peer review vs. FAC Signpost Dispatch needed

See Wikipedia talk:Featured content dispatch workshop#Peer review vs. FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:14, 27 November 2009 (UTC)


Template:Editnotices/Page/Wikipedia:Featured article candidates: discuss. –Juliancolton | Talk 00:37, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd suggest adding a warning or stop icon to the left (or one to each side), and maybe make the "Wait!" a notch bigger. Otherwise, I approve. --an odd name (help honey) 00:43, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Done then. –Juliancolton | Talk 00:47, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Nevermind, I just noticed the prior icon edit Skomorokh made there. You can revert if you wish. --an odd name (help honey) 00:49, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
I removed the warning icon as these aren't vandals we are trying to dissuade.  Skomorokh, barbarian  00:52, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Any way for non-admins to edit? Anyway, why is "Holiday Season" in capitals? Dabomb87 (talk) 01:01, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Also, a link to User:Deckiller/FAC urgents would not go amiss. Dabomb87 (talk) 01:02, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Done. –Juliancolton | Talk 01:23, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I think we can still improve the wording and throw in a few links. How about "Before nominating an article, please consider reviewing existing candidates, especially those listed on this template." Dabomb87 (talk) 01:32, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
That works. –Juliancolton | Talk 01:53, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Sheesh. FAC delegate can't even edit the protected page.

Before nominating an article, please consider reviewing existing candidates, especially those listed on this template. Participation generally decreases during the holiday season, leading to an extensive backlog.

I suggest removing the last line (about the holiday) because the FAC backlog is semi-permanent now that peer review items are taking over FAC, while substantial reviews lag. We might as well make this editnotice more enduring.

I also suggest adding the following:

Also, please assure that you have consulted significant contributors to the article prior to nomination.

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:00, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Done. :) Cirt (talk) 15:46, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Cirt. This edit notice barely shows up; might something be done to add a colored background? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
What color? :P Cirt (talk) 15:52, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
I dunno; it just need something to make it pop at the top of the page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:54, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
How about this [8] ? Cirt (talk) 15:56, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Any color works, but could you also add spaces before and after the text to make it stand out more from the rest of the page? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:58, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Added some spaces. :) Cirt (talk) 16:00, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Cirt; it's "popping" better now at the top of the page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:06, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
You are welcome. :) Cirt (talk) 22:07, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

A couple of things. First, should the wording in {{Editnotices/Page/Wikipedia:Featured article candidates}} be the same as (or a subset of) what is in {{Featured article candidates/editintro}}? (The latter appears when you click on "initiate the nomination" when following the usual recipe via {{FAC}}.) Second, should either editnotice (or both) contain a copy of the toolbox and suggest to editors that they check the article with the tools first, before nominating? The latter might help forestall some of the tedious discussions about alt text, external links, and disambig links. Eubulides (talk) 03:34, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

I see this problem; this needs to be sorted (I can't do it, since the pages are protected, but we have info in two places). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:38, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Image review needed

  • That already has an image review. Awadewit (talk) 19:52, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

FAC review notes

  1. Most of the MilHist articles (and there are quite a few) are only getting review from MilHist members; they need indepdendent review.
  2. Involved reviewers have been failing to indicate their involvement (for example, the editor who passes a GA and then supports the article should indicate so in their support declaration, and Project members should indicate so as well, example, MilHist).
  3. Denton, Texas is up for the second time, with no review. I'm not going to archive a FAC for the second time with no feedback for the editor. It would be helpful if some reviewers would look at the article :)

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:05, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Have you informed WT:MILHIST of this, as you've singled them out? I'm sure the Project Coordinator want to hear about this. Skinny87 (talk) 15:15, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
On the first point, I don't see it as a problem for MILHIST, but one for the rest of us; there's nothing wrong with MILHIST editors providing reviews to MILHIST articles (indeed, they're more likely to be knowledgeable about the subject matter) but I think Sandy wants reviews from non-project members as well. Steve T • C 15:29, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Correct. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:33, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I will take a look at Denton soon. Casliber (talk · contribs) 02:55, 1 December 2009 (UTC)


Both Karanacs and SandyGeorgia are now treating "comments" as determining that there is no consensus for support. As such, I do not feel comfortable making any "comments" on any articles. I feel that such a system in which people can "comment" and a FAC closed before having a chance to respond or discuss with the person is inappropriate.

If any one wants help on their FAC or an honest review, I will provide it to them. However, I will provide it only through email or off sight in order to ensure that it is not held against their FAC. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:26, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

OR, do you have a diff for this?--Wehwalt (talk) 16:29, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Ottava is referring to this discussion on my talk page, which involves this FAC that I closed yesterday. Karanacs (talk) 16:33, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Wehwalt - 14:57, 17 November 2009 Tony1 comment, 15:39, 17 November 2009 SlimVirgin comment, 20:50, 17 November 2009 Karanacs archiving. 6 hours and 3 minutes and 5 hours and 11 minutes to respond to see if the comments were serious or if they have been addressed. Neither user was around following the comments. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:42, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
(ec) This is not a new decision. All comments are taken into consideration in determining consensus, whether or not a declaration is attached. "Support" declarations are necessary, however, for an FAC to be promoted. I strongly discourage any back-channel reviewing methods. If you would prefer not to participate at FAC, then peer review may be the most appropriate arena for you. Article reviews are wiki matters, and should stay on-wiki in some format. Karanacs (talk) 16:30, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Most people do not change the "comment" when things have been addressed. That has been well-known. You can discourage any back-channel reviewing methods, but when you are going to hold things like the above against people, then this is the only possible way for people to get fair and honest reviews. You closed a FAC with comments that were made just a few hours before. There was -no- possibility for the comments to be addressed or to see if the people felt that it was a concern great enough to keep it from being promoted. There were two and a half supports on the page and no legitimate oppose. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:35, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
You are, as always, welcome to bring the article back to FAC in a few weeks when the concerns have been addressed. Karanacs (talk) 16:43, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I have already stated my intentions here. If you are going to close pages that have two and a half supports and no legitimate opposes, then you are not abiding by the FAC standards. Raul let FACs go for far more than a month to allow for people to deal with comments when it was clear that there was no legitimate way to say that the FAC would fail. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:45, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Frankly, as soon as you posted this I thought that the outcome was inevitable. --Malleus Fatuorum 16:47, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I've already had multiple Arbitrators ask me to put forth evidence and make a proposal about Fowler so they could effectively topic ban him from FAC. I declined per statements from Sandy and Raul suggesting that they knew his actions were done purely to harass. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:50, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I haven't reviewed this particular article and I frankly think Ottava is overreacting not a little here, but it does seem odd that we don't allow for a little more time when comments come in late--wouldn't it have made more sense to wait a few days to see if the prose concerns would be addressed? Ucucha 17:01, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
This wasn't the first time one of my FACs was closed without any actual opposes simply because reviewers didn't post early. It has been a strange trend over the past few months with multiple people affected. But now it is clear that they have been closed because comments are now being counted as opposes. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:07, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
The comments that set this off on the wrong foot occurred a week ago, and there were several others making similar comments about the prose quality during the intervening period. I think that Karanacs' close was perfectly proper and hardly unexpected given the initial negative reaction. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:12, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Fowler's comments have nothing to do with Tony1's or anyone else's. They were also put up in order for him to make claims at ArbCom against me, which shows an inappropriate use of FAC. Malleus, if you want to support Fowler, fine, go ahead. However, many people, including myself, Juliancolton, Iridescent, YellowMonkey, etc, have been harassed by his inappropriate actions and pursuit. Having him post an oppose which shows a lack of understanding of basic grammar on his part and then using it to claim at ArbCom that I don't know how to write within the English language is highly inappropriate in any regard. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:16, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
If I'm defending anyone here it's Karanacs, not Fowler & fowler. I've had a grilling from F&f at FAC as well, and although I didn't agree with all the points he made, I think that addressing them did lead to a better article. As it would have done in this case as well. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:21, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Now that I've had a closer look at the FAC, my earlier comment doesn't seem an accurate representation of the FAC. There were several concerns that kept coming in, and several commenters did imply fairly clearly that they didn't think the article was ready for FA, so I agree with Malleus. Ucucha 17:23, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Except that many of his "fixes" would have added in problems with clauses, caused errors, and even his claim that things were "wrong" were actually his own typoes. Having him go around stating that he says all of my works have problems and I can't write before he even reviews, and then using his reviews at ArbCom to "verify" the above undermines any claim that his comments are appropriate. Even my co-nominator had a major problem with his actions on the FAC which he expressed at ArbCom. And Malleus, those "concerns" were not opposes and only three people responded, with one being most addressed and two just coming in hours before closing. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:25, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
The comments did not only come from F&F. There were apparently concerns about the article still coming in after a few weeks at FAC, indicating that consensus that it meets the FA criteria had not yet been achieved. Ucucha 17:28, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Not all of F&F's points had merit, I agree, but enough of them did to make their consideration worthwhile. --Malleus Fatuorum 17:34, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I've had reviews from F&F and they have been annoyingly on target, and his or her comments and guidance significantly improved the prose. If we really want to improve articles we've edited, then why wouldn't we take advice from someone who can help us make prose better? I'm a good writer, but I know I can be a better writer and both Ucucha and F&F have offered me advice and comments on how to improve my recent articles on Cologne War and Hermann Detzner. Yes, it is frustrating when an article I've worked on for several months finally makes to FAC and someone posts a list of 15 issues, but it isn't personal, it's just review comments. A lot of articles come up for FA that are not ready and won't be ready if the editor isn't willing to accept an outside opinion. Dan Povenmire is a good example. It had prose issues, and editor was willing to work on them, and it is significantly better (I think it was passed yesterday, am I right?) Auntieruth55 (talk) 17:35, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • "There were apparently concerns about the article still coming in after a few weeks at FAC, indicating that consensus that it meets the FA criteria had not yet been achieved." The article was at FAC without any reviews for an extended period of time. 07:08, 3 November 2009 (UTC) was a support. The next comment was not until 22:44, 11 November 2009 (UTC). There were no outstanding comments before Fowler's. Slim Virgin comments on 06:46, 14 November 2009 (UTC) but it was addressed 07:59, 14 November 2009 (UTC). Johnbod says at 23:45, 15 November 2009 (UTC) "Nearly there, and covers the ground, but needs a good prose edit, and more linking". Work was done towards this. This was not an oppose. Tony1'st statement came 6 hours before the FAC was closed without any ability to discuss if any his concerns have been met. Furthermore, Tony1 is quite capable of making blatant opposes and he did not in this case. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:39, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • ... but neither did he support. You can't really complain about this closure in all honesty Ottava. There was a clear consensus that the article needed some work on the prose. So do the work and renominate in a couple of weeks, when it ought to sail through. Nobody died, it's just not anything to get steamed up about. --Malleus Fatuorum 18:17, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • ...if editors of FA nominations spent as much time dealing with reviewer comments as they did complaining about reviewer comments, they could write more, and worry less. Auntieruth55 (talk) 18:19, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I can't complain about being given only a few hours to respond to someone? Where did you get that from? And what work? Tony1's statement mostly boiled down to him feeling there was too many uses of "the play" that may or may not exist anymore. If comments are going to be treated as opposed I want to see consensus on the matter. If, for any purpose, to determine what -my- "comments" have been considered, because I do -not- want them treated as opposes or any excuse to close a FAC. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:36, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Why can't FACs be restarted if the comments left are neither supports or oppose? It's just silly to close an FAC as "failed" when the article is FA quality, and there's just not enough people saying so. I've noticed this is done at FLC, so why not here? Majorly talk 19:39, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

We don't close anything as "failed" and that terminology has been passe at FAC for a very long time. We "archive" FACs for which there is no consensus to promote; they can always come back once previous concerns are addressed. Ottava, you are conflating two issues here: Fowler's FAC reviewing and Karanacs' FAC closing. Two different issues. In this case, some of Fowler's concerns were validated by other reviewers. Restarting isn't used when there are issues that can be resolved before initiating a new FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:45, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
(ec with Sandy) We generally restart FACs when they have received so many comments we can't tell what was going on, or the article has changed so much in the midst of the nomination that there is ambiguity on whether the previous statements still apply. Usually, there's a reason that a nomination hasn't garnered sufficient support in 3-4 weeks, and the article benefits from the nominator making further improvements after the process closes. If we were to hold all of the nominations open until they gained sufficient support, the list would be overhwelmingly long (I've seen it reach 100 articles); at that point, reviewer morale breaks down and it gets even harder to close the nominations. If an article hasn't garnered sufficient support, and either has opposes or comments requesting improvement or has no comments at all, that is usually read as no consensus to promote (not "failed" just "not promoted"). Karanacs (talk) 19:47, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
It's all the same really. If it doesn't pass, it fails - it is the same text used for FACs that do fail. There's no in-between. If there are no concerns, or all the concerns brought up are fixed during the nomination, please explain what purpose closing and coming back in a few weeks is? Majorly talk 19:50, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Speaking solely as a reviewer, there are times I leave comments but no declarations because I can't quite put my finger on what I think is wrong with the article. Usually (for me) this is due to prose that doesn't quite flow. Sometimes I start reading an article but the prose is not that interesting so I don't finish and don't leave any comments at the FAC. My recommendation to any nominator who has had a nomination archived with few or no comments is to open a peer review and invite as many people as you can (including anyone who wrote anything at the FAC) to critique the article. Then get an independent copyedit and bring the article back to FAC. This usually results in some improvement, and is often enough to get reviewers interested enough to further engage. Occasionally, there are so many nominations, or so many nominations of a certain type (an example might be 3 hurricane articles nominated concurrently, or 5 South Park nominations in the span of a few weeks) that reviewers are actively avoiding a nomination. In that case, when the article is renominated in a few weeks, reviewers are often over their boredom/frustration with that type of article and are ready to engage with it (or you may get lucky and have a few reviewers who were on wikibreak during the first nomination arrive back at FAC and notice this for the first time). Karanacs (talk) 20:02, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
The article clearly isn't at FAC quality. A cursory glance at the first few sections shows lots of stuff that needs fixing. Here's one very obvious and completely unequivocal example: "The 18 March 1730 Daily Post and in the 21 March 1730 Weekly Medley and Literary Journal ran advertisements stating that the play was in rehearsal." This article needs to be tidied up away from the FAC spotlight. --Malleus Fatuorum 19:49, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not talking about this article. Majorly talk 19:50, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Then what article are you talking about? If you don't want to say publicly, you're welcome to e-mail me for clarification. Karanacs has already answered for the case of Ottava's FAC: reviewer fatigue sets in, and the page runs to 100s of noms, if FACs that haven't garnered support are allowed to fester. A recently contested FAC archival was Overman Committee: consider Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Overman Committee/archive1 vs. Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Overman Committee/archive2, where it was successful after an archive. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:02, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
How about we make a rule that people can't review FACs just posted when there have only been three reviews of a FAC that has been up for a month? Or how about we make a rule that means that when people just comment that the FAC isn't closed after a few hours so it can be seen if those people who -finally commented- after a period of waiting 15 days have had their concerns addressed? Is that too hard to ask for? Ottava Rima (talk) 21:23, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Malleus, that was not how it was in the FAC version. [9] "In the 18 March 1730 Daily Post and in the 21 March 1730 Weekly Medley and Literary Journal". I am tired of people altering pages to improper grammar and other people coming by and complaining that the grammar is not correct. It -was- correct. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:22, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I note that "land-lady" was also in that version. Surely you're not going to claim that as correct? --Malleus Fatuorum 22:38, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Putting a hyphen between "land" and "lady" has been done in many works before. It is an English variant, just as "land_lady" and "landlady". Furthermore, are you going to say that is "oppose" worthy? Ottava Rima (talk) 23:08, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
That may well be true, but in the very same section it was also spelt "landlady". Consistency isn't too much to ask for. Is that "oppose worthy"? No, of course it isn't; it's something I'd expect a reviewer to quietly fix, without making a fuss. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:00, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
"to quietly fix, without making a fuss" - agreed. I don't mind if people change things. I try to keep up and check everything. I mind when other people complain about the changes though (which is annoying). But it doesn't matter anymore. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:42, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
  • "In this case, some of Fowler's concerns were validated by other reviewers" - I would like to see a diff in which anyone has stated a specific concern by Fowler and stated it is correct. His list of concerns contained not only "fixes" that were direct grammatical violations but contained things that were blatantly made up and not existing in the original page. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:22, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
 :) Hmm. A lot can happen between lunch and dinner. (I haven't read the post upstairs, so please forgive any repetition.) Let me say that I'm well aware that my reviewing anything nominated by Ottava Rima is fraught with perils known and unknown. I did four reviews last week in response to Karanacs plea for help with the FAC urgents, and I picked the bottom four. Of these I supported two and opposed two. The comments I made at "The Author's Farce" were no different in tenor than those I made at "The Qiyan(?) Earthquake."
Don't know how others feel, but I long for the days when Wikipedia was an avocation, when you could read a beautifully crafted article unencumbered by references and marvel at the anonymous writer's skill. Turning it into a vocation (by students perhaps who think it will win them brownie points in real life?) has not been all for the good. Anyway, this is all I have to say about this. Dinner awaits. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:49, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
F&F, I'm a student, but in my wildest dreams I can't imagine getting brownie points for writing anything on Wikipedia. My doctormom is far more interested on getting my diss done than in learning what else I've been doing with my time. :) I just enjoy doing it, and I also enjoy reading the material (most of it) that I review. There does seem to be a lot of drama, though. As annoying as some comments are, if I am open-minded, most of them do improve the prose, fix the citations, etc. It's sometimes a matter of opinion whether or not something works, but listening (reading) other opinions and suggestions about what might work better doesn't hurt me, and has in many cases improved the article considerably.
OR, as for making rules about when a reviewer can review an article (with other articles in waiting), I'd be opposed to that, simply because there are some articles I won't review because of the limited wikipedia time I allow myself. If articles seem to come on and go off the list quickly, I suspect it's because there is (1) less to do to make them ready, (2) the editors hustle to do the suggestions without kicking up dust about their perfect prose, their sources, or their images etc (I'm not referring to any article or editor specifically, just generally), or (3) there is so much to do, an article get a speedy oppose. If we don't like it, we don't have to submit our material to FA at all. I'm always grateful to get reviews, given the demands on time. Auntieruth55 (talk) 00:53, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, Auntieruth, I didn't see this. My apologies. I shouldn't have dissed students. We were all once them. I was tired last night and for some reason in a nostalgic mood. Have struck the ungenerous aside. Obviously I am very aware that many students write very well, you and Awadewit, to mention two. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:38, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the process needs to be amended, though I don't intend to get into a dispute over particular reviewers. Honestly, I am honored when anyone takes the time to review an article I nominate for FAC, but the process does seem a bit broken. Comments are mostly constructive, even when they come from editors like Fowler, whose attention to detail is as powerful as my ADHD. While these types of editors do make great suggestions that do inevitably make articles better, they are not always correct on every single issue, and many times these comments contain one or many suggestions that are simply incorrect. When an article has gained support from several editors and has "comments" from others which are addressed but not striked or amended by the reviewing party, the process becomes tiring for the nominators. Late comments need more time to be addressed, and the whole idea of a "comment" should be reviewed. Many times when I label a remark as a "comment" on a page, I don't check back on them because I don't feel that I am necessarily affecting consensus. I don't see a need to have a "support" and "oppose" description of the process on WP:FAC if "comments" are going to be treated as opposes if unaddressed. Mrathel (talk) 16:49, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Specifics of each point are weighed - whether they be listed under Oppose, Comment, or Support (if someone posts "Support, but I think reference 21 is an unreliable source, so fix it", that latter comment is a big red flag). Any appropriate rebuttal (arguing unnecessary) are weighed against those points. It's not a checklist to ensure that every comment is stricken. Karanacs (talk) 18:45, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Mrathel, re: I don't see a need to have a "support" and "oppose" description of the process on WP:FAC if "comments" are going to be treated as opposes if unaddressed, I'm unsure where you've gotten the opinion the comments are universally treated as opposes. In this case, comments reinforced another editor's oppose. Very little on Wiki is a "vote", and in particular, FAC is not a "vote"; everything written is weighed, whether entered as an Oppose, Support or Comment. I've even read declarations of Support that actually reinforce valid Opposes! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:28, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
As for the Farce nom, I must admit that I know nothing and have been talking in a more general sense about improving the communication between those who comment and those who work to take the suggestions into account. If, as Karanacs states, supports are needed to pass, then I would like to see the commenter encouraged to return and make a final decision, even if it is neutral or still oppose. It is probably a misreading of the "Supporting and opposing" section on FAC mixed with the statement made by Karanacs above has me confused on the issue, but I just feel there could be a clearer indications of why the "comments" are not "opposes". If the comments are the only issues the editor finds, then there should be no reason not to support the article if adequate changes are made. If there are more problems than he or she can put into the comments, then perhaps an initial vote of "Oppose" would be proper. Its probably just an insecurity on my part, but I like to know one way or the other how the commenter views my response to his suggestions, not because I want a vote but rather as a way to make sure that I am using that information as best I can to get the article where it needs to be at closing time. I am considering asking a mentor work with me to clarify my understanding of these types of issues more thoroughly, but I do thank you for your patience. Mrathel (talk) 15:03, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I can clear it up for you. Reviewers should not enter a Support unless they are confident that an article meets all of WP:WIAFA; many reviewers comment on only one or two aspects, as they may not have the time or knowledge of the subject matter to enter a Support. And, some comment on an Oppose merely to reinforce that they see the same issues as the Opposer. And some Comment on only one aspect: all of these are useful and weighed. If a commenter reinforces an Oppose, that Oppose should be taken even more seriously. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:09, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
That really does help. Thanks. Mrathel (talk) 15:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
(ec) I wonder if that is placing the bar a bit high, though. I frequently "support" but say something like "I don't know enough to determine if this article is comprehensive, but it was a good introduction to an uneducated reader like myself". I don't think most reviewers know enough about every topic and the material published on every topic to actually know if an article meets all of the FA criteria. If you truly want "support" votes that reflect a "confidence" that the article meets all of the FA criteria, I'm afraid I won't be able to vote "support" on most FAs in the future, nor will most reviewers. (Also, considering almost no one looks at the images....) Awadewit (talk) 15:18, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Awadewit, we do take that into account as well. There are a lot of reviewers who support based on only a few criteria - like prose, images, or sourcing. Most of our reviewers are very good at letting us know what criteria they have and have not examined. Karanacs (talk) 15:24, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Karanacs, and I may have oversimplified. We try to make sure everything is reviewed, one way or another, even if it's piecemeal. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:33, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I do understand that. But it is nerve-racking for the nominator to live in fear of whether or not a comment will be weighed positively or negatively in terms of consensus. In certain cases where a dispute arises over a "comment" and its merit, it seems that the nominator is then forced to discern how consensus will be viewed by the closing party. I am often wrong, as are most editors, and I take comfort in the fact that others are there to catch my mistakes, but allowing comments that are not stricken or switched to an oppose to negatively affect consensus adds a level of subjectivity to the process that would otherwise not exist. I have no real solution for the problem, but I still contend that there is one. Mrathel (talk) 19:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure why anything at FAC would be "nerve-wracking" or induce the feeling of "living in fear". Nothing here is important enough to warrant that. :) Awadewit (talk) 19:19, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
My rhetoric may have gotten away from me. I promise you that I have never lost a minute's sleep over anything on WP, I am far too happy a person. :) Mrathel (talk) 19:23, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I do agree that this process is subjective to a certain extent. Editors can and do disagree on all sorts of things. That is why Consensus is not defined as a vote, but a weighing of arguments. Because consensus is not supposed to be a vote, many processes have individuals appointed to judge the consensus - bureaucrats judge consensus at WP:RfA, admins judge consensus at WP:AFD, and Raul654, Sandy, and I judge consensus at FAC. Karanacs (talk) 19:28, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
And you two do a good job as far as I have experienced. I guess this is just something that spills over from the fact that on WP we still label our comments with "support" and "oppose" without actually voting. Perhaps we could encourage commenters to state whether or not they feel their issues have been properly addressed, thus removing a degree of uncertainty. I will back out of this conversation now, as I fear I might have overstayed my usefulness, but thank you for responding none-the-less. Mrathel (talk) 19:49, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Consensus and (archived) FACs

I have been involved in many discussions at Talk:Catholic Church. Catholic Church has been nominated at FAC 4 times (with two restarts). The article has not passed FAC yet. The nominator has continually stated on the article talk page that because reviewers at FAC have not mentioned problems with a particular sentence, paragraph, or source, then there is consensus that the sentence, paragraph, or source should remain in the article. As a reviewer, I do not believe this is true; when I oppose an article I do not necessarily make an exhaustive list of all potential problems, and when I support I am not necessarily signing off on any particular phrasing or sourcing. I would like to hear from other reviewers (whether you've reviewed this article or not) - what types of consensus do you think should be gained from comments at an FAC? Karanacs (talk) 20:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Because an editor has raised an issue regarding the propriety of Karanacs, who is a FAC assistant, posing this question here, I would like to endorse the posing of the question. I have expressed the same opinion at Talk:Catholic Church and would have raised the question here myself but hadn't gotten around to figuring out where to ask it. --Richard S (talk) 21:44, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Those kinds of arguments should stop: Karanacs is recused from the Catholic Church FACs, and can ask questions like any other editor. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:55, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I think you're right; I don't believe it's true either. Consensus is built during each individual FAC by reviewers looking at the whole article as it currently stands. Previous comments may not be exhaustive and may no longer apply in the same way to the revised article. PL290 (talk) 20:26, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
As a parallel, consider Augustus, an article of comparable length. Its FAC concentrated on the lead and a few other sections; those were improved - often by being rewritten by the reviewers; and it was promoted. Even so, there are still problems in English and fact in other portions of the article, which no reviewer examined; if we were operating as we now do, I think it might have been sent back for a another cycle before promotion. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:37, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

This seems like a misrepresentation of what she was saying. She was saying that the section had been addressed numorous times and that it had already been trimmed. She was simply asking why it didn't come up in either the peer reviews or the FAC's, she wasn't claiming that the reviewers had "signed off" on the particular wording. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 21:35, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The sentiment has been expressed many, many times. The current content dispute was the catalyst for me to ask for additional opinions but is by no means the only example. Discussion about the current content dispute should be at Talk:Catholic Church. Karanacs (talk) 21:39, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to disagree with Kraftlos but the editor in question has used "consensus of FAC reviewers" on a number of occasions to defend specific wording and to decline proposed changes to the wording on the basis of this purported consensus formed during the FAC process. She has maintained this position despite arguments that FAC reviewers do not necessarily pass judgment on every word of every sentence in the article and that no such "blessing by consensus" exists even for FA-level articles, let alone articles which have failed the FAC process. These interactions are indications of the nominator of the article as a FAC assuming ownership of the article to the point of arguing that the wording was either positively blessed or blessed by lack of comment during the FAC process. This is the reason this issue is being raised here. It is impossible to get the article to stability because editors wish to improve the article but are stymied by the assertion of a consensus based on the absence of comment on the text in question during the FAC process. --Richard S (talk) 21:52, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

At any rate, consensus can change and the place for dealing with disputed text should be the article talk page - FAC shouldn't be a second venue for arguments over neutrality. FAC does well getting eyes on an article briefly to clean it up for final presentation, but is not good at attracting long-term editors who can negotiate a compromise text on disputed topics. Christopher Parham (talk) 21:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Not only is the notion that text in an archived FAC has passed FAC a faulty notion, but more importantly, even text in a promoted FAC can't necessarily be considered set in stone. Consensus changes, and not everything gets reviewed at FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

The argument that "because reviewers at FAC have not mentioned problems with a particular sentence, paragraph, or source, then there is consensus that the sentence, paragraph, or source should remain in the article" is absurd. It assumes that FAC reviewers are infallible and that they will comment on each and every mistake. Since we have an entire process dedicated to delisting FAs, I think we can safely say this is not the case. :) Awadewit (talk) 22:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Agree with above comments by SandyGeorgia (talk · contribs) and Awadewit (talk · contribs), not much left to say after those words. ;) Cirt (talk) 22:53, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Not to mention that reviewers with more topic knowledge may turn up, or other people may read more books, or even that scholars may publish new material in the meantime YellowMonkey (bananabucket) (Invincibles Featured topic drive:one left) 23:15, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

That silence is tantamount to consensus is patently absurd and specious reasoning. Even aspects believed to have been addressed can, and often do, have issues that were overlooked. New information, ideas and suggestions regarding any aspect (phrasing, weight, sources, etc.) should be given due consideration. Эlcobbola talk 23:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I think the question is a Straw Man, since the point Nancy was making was that if passage X has been through 3 lengthy FACs without being challanged, it can't be that contentious. Since people occasionally land on the article talk page and say "Passage X is an appalling piece of POV propaganda that must be radically changed at once.." etc, this argument is quite relevant in such circumstances. As far as "blocking change" is charged, yes editors will block changes that are not agreed to be based on sound and balanced scholarship. That's why we have a discussion page. Unfortunately some editors occasionally decide to make radical and poorly sourced changes without reaching agreement, and then complain when this is challenged. Xandar 00:37, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
No, it is not a straw man; that argument is invalid under any circumstances, whether an article passes FAC or not. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly disagree with the sentiment that "if passage X has been through 3 lengthy FACs without being challanged, it can't be that contentious". As others have said above, reviewers aren't infallible, nor do we/they provide a completely comprehensive list of issues. Karanacs (talk) 01:33, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Xandar's comment is especially invalid in this case, because the paragraphs were challenged at FAC. If you read the discussion backwards, it's hilarious:
Start at the present discussion:
Karanacs says that the paragraph is problematic.
Nancy responds that the paragraph is fine because it has already been through several FACs;
Now go back and look at the FACs:
Various reviewers say the paragraph is problematic.
Nancy responds that the paragraph is fine because it is the result of long discussion.
Now go back further and look at the long discussion....
So it goes. Thus "I have managed to deflect objections up until now" itself becomes a way of deflecting objections.
Hesperian 01:45, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, this is the point - Nancy's initial premise does not hold up - I wouldn't read through all previous RCC/CC FACs if you held a gun to my head, so missing the comments is understandable. If it had been correct, her appeal to negative auctoritee would have some weight imo, given the exceptionally large number of past FAC comments on this article, but only a few FAC reviewers are infallible, and it is hardly a conclusive argument. Johnbod (talk) 02:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Folks, let's not rehash the Catholic Church FACs on this page; the notion that any text is set in stone because it may or may not have been reviewed at FAC is incorrect, both for FACs that pass and even more so for those that are archived, so let's leave it there-- discussion of the issues at Catholic Church belong at Talk:Catholic Church. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:58, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Off-topic discussion; let's get back to reviewing FACs folks.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
I think Karanacs has misrepresented my comments in order to finagle something here. I raise the issue of past FAC and peer reviews to let editors know that article text has been reviewed by many other editors and discussed before arriving at present text. I never said it was "set in stone", I never said we could not reword. If 50 editors have discussed a paragraph at length for months and arrived at a certain wording, it helps the newcomer to the page to know that before randomly making undiscussed changes with no new or better sources. Are people on this page suggesting I should never tell other editors about our lengthy discussions or point them back to review them? Where is that in Wikipedia policy? NancyHeise talk 04:03, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Depending on how politely (or harshly) you phrase it? WP:OWN and WP:BITE. Cirt (talk) 04:04, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
None of my edits violate WP:BITE or WP:OWN when I point people to previous discussions. I also do not think that this conversation was helped by being posted by Karanacs, the FAC assistant, on the FAC talk page where editors are actively trying to get their FAC's passed. I think this was an abuse of her position to get her own way. NancyHeise talk 04:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
This is not the page for personal attacks, assumptions of bad faith or accusations about other editors; Karanacs is recused from the Catholic Church FACs and can pose a question here like any other editor, and the question has been answered almost unanimously. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I did not know that Karanacs was recused from the Catholic Church FAC. I am happy to have her input on the Catholic Church page but was uncomfortable with it as FAC assistant until you told me this just now. I feel her efforts on that page have a particular pov bent that is often unreasonable and difficult for us to accomodate without violating WP:NPOV. This information should have been offered to us before. I do not feel it was appropriate for her to bring this issue up on this page or to refer to the Catholic Church article in particular. Neither was the question framed appropriately or fairly. NancyHeise talk 04:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
A statement about Karanacs' recusal was posted publicly, and was plainly at the top of this section before you posted your reply here. Once again, please keep accusations off of this page, which is for discussing FAC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:37, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I never saw or received a public notice of Karanacs recusal. The posting at the top of this page is dated the same day as my post. Where might I have looked to find this public notice of recusal? If this page is for discussing FAC then why was this question posted here? The article is not a FAC and the question pertains to whether or not we can point to past discussions or silence in a review process to determine consensus. The issue at hand has nothing to do with current FAC articles. Sandy, I appreciate that you have a special work relationship with Karanacs but I don't appreciate this conversation being posted here and defended by you, it is an abuse of her position. NancyHeise talk 04:44, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
The question was about FAC consensus and was entirely appropriate here. I believe I've asked about four times now that the personal attacks and accusations of bad faith stop, so I guess I'll bow out now and let someone else try. Please do not again accuse Karanacs of abusing her position when she is plainly recused,[10] and if you weren't aware before, you certainly are now and should have been from the time you read this thread and made the first accusation. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:53, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I also am tired of hearing these baseless accusations - the question, which was posed without personal details I might add, was entirely appropriate, as we discuss the role of FAs on Wikipedia at this page. Awadewit (talk) 04:56, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
"I never saw or received a public notice of Karanacs recusal." How about this then?[11]. Timestamp is more than six hours before Nancy brought this here. Could it be any clearer? Hesperian 04:59, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I hope I've made myself clear that this page is the most appropriate place to raise questions about FAC consensus, and that my statement about Karanacs' recusal was also posted three hours before Nancy's posts here. Since I don't want to be involved in this dispute, if this persists, perhaps an uninvolved admin will explain WP:NPA policy on Nancy's talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:08, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


awb is currently changing (for example) the first of these to the second:

  • <ref> {{harvnb|Playfair|1954|p=283}}</ref>
  • <ref name="Playfair, p. 283"/>.

Are we having any opinions on this matter? • Ling.Nut 08:29, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure I'm seeing the problem; I assume it's only doing that where it finds a duplicate cite, and is adding the refname accordingly? Steve T • C 08:39, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
No diffs because I nixed the edit. Uncertain if it was a duplicate cite. This came from one of the two "Battle of" facs; I believe it was Battle of Bardia... but if it is finding repeated cites, that would be both helpful and white-knuckle creating. Not sure how much I trust the regular expression wizards to get it right... • Ling.Nut 08:45, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
To confirm, the Bardia article does contain "{{harvnb|Playfair|1954|p=283}}" twice, so it looks as if it was doing its job OK. No harm in trying it; it can always be rolled back if if cocks things up. Steve T • C 08:50, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

FACs that need image reviews

The following have been at FAC for over 10 days and not received an image review. If you would like to learn how to review images, please read this dispatch on reviewing non-free images and this dispatch on reviewing free images.

Thanks for helping out! Awadewit (talk) 16:27, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

More image reviews needed

Thanks to those of you who are helping out with the image reviews! Here are some more FACs that need image reviews:

Thanks all! Awadewit (talk) 06:16, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

MilHist FACs

There are at least six MilHist FACs up that aren't getting independent review; the MilHist reviewers and peer review do a good job, but they should have a lookover by non-MilHist folk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:13, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I've already hit up Battle of Villers-Bocage and will try to get to some of the others if I have time early next week (finals!) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 00:12, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm looking at Morotai Brianboulton (talk) 15:59, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I owe time to "Urn", but will go to MILHIST things next. • Ling.Nut 00:24, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

ArbCom election reminder

Dear colleagues

This is a reminder that voting is open until 23:59 UTC next Monday to elect new members of the Arbitration Committee. It is an opportunity for all editors with at least 150 mainspace edits on or before 1 November 2009 to shape the composition of the peak judicial body on the English Wikipedia.

On behalf of the election coordinators. Tony (talk) 08:58, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Wanting to follow the unwritten rules

Is it too soon to renominate an article when the last nomination was closed on November 15? It's undergone a fair amount of revision since then (that is to say, I now understand fully well why it failed). Nosleep (Talk · Contribs) 04:52, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Trying going to peer review for polishing, then go to FAC again. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 05:29, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I tried peer review last time. One highly superficial review after 15 days. Color me jaded. Nosleep (Talk · Contribs) 06:34, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Standard practice is to make sure you've tackled any outstanding concerns from the last FAC, and to wait a few weeks between nominations. As you reckon you've complied with both of these "unwritten rules", I don't see any reason it shouldn't be renominated. Good luck, Steve T • C 08:18, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
The article is presumably 2009 Giro d'Italia and this is the peer review it received. The review is not in-depth, but I would not describe it as "highly superficial", and your comments at the end, on the efforts of an editor who took time to help you, are somewhat disagreeable. PR suffers from an acute shortage of reviewers and often has a lengthy backlog of articles awaiting review, with only a proportion getting the kind of detailed treatment that, ideally, all should have. You could help the system by doing some reviewing yourself. With regard to this article's FAC, if you are convinced it is ready then by all means renominate it. Brianboulton (talk) 11:36, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, you're right, that was an undiplomatic choice of words. It was not a particularly helpful review (it...wasn't. No disrespect intended to the person who left the review, I just didn't find it helped much. This is why, when waiting for my review, I only reviewed articles on which I thought I could leave constructive comments. You don't see me reviewing articles on mathematics or military history or musical theater or whatever - what I know is sports), and I was eager, yes, too eager, to go to FAC with the article. I thought upon starting the peer review that I'd within a few days be bombarded with comments that would help with the FAC. Didn't happen that way. I stand by my comments afterward; the article had a good 70 citations on it at the time of the review, so I have no problem saying "Please read WP:CITE" comes off condescending. Nosleep (Talk · Contribs) 13:17, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
If this is a "highly superficial" peer review then colour me gobsmacked. Like Brian, I find that characterisation disgreeable and not a little churlishly ungrateful. --Malleus Fatuorum 15:39, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Hi Nosleep. I dunno, are you kinda new to the PR and FAC processes? I may be wrong about that, 'cause I don't follow these forums closely any more. Anyhow, I understand your position. A person comes in, excited about the prospects of getting an FA star, and having high expectations regarding the PR and FAC processes etc. It's only natural. But then you find the reality is that both PR and FAC are processes, and getting an FA is a process that often requires a number of iterations (look at poor Nancy Heise and the RCC article). And it's easy to come in and start complaining about everything. The problem is, the folks who are manning the lines at those processes (sorry to sound like a broken record) are underpaid (!!) and overworked, and have little patience for complaints they see as being unfounded. Even more importantly, they are far better acquainted with the processes (not italics this time) and have a far more realistic view of the same, and so are better equipped to understand which complaints are truly well-founded in a knowledgeable assessment of the process, and which are less so. So it can be difficult for folks to see the viewpoint of the newcomer. Please do take my word for this: The PR reviews add value to your article and are aids in the process of getting the FA star. The FAC process may be a bit like sausage sometimes, but everyone is doing the best they can, and everyone's contribs (to repeat myself) are extremely helpful to you in your quest. So. All I'm saying is, settle down in your seat and buckle your seatbelt. Choose your favorite metaphor about life being a journey instead of a destination, or whatever. And work with the crew, not against them. Hope this helps. • Ling.Nut 23:42, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, well put. I do have a tendency to lose my head sometimes...and we'll just leave that at that. Nosleep (Talk · Contribs) 13:17, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I would really like to know how the FAC process is like sausage. Sasata (talk) 23:50, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
It is put before eager editors hungry to fulfill their desire for recognition. Ucucha 23:53, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah ok, I'm weak on metaphors (no poetry FACs from me...). Sasata (talk) 01:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I think Ling.Nut may have been referring to the way that sausages are made, but I'm no poetic genius either. --Malleus Fatuorum 01:40, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Malleus is correct. I was always told that the accompanying quote was from Lyndon Johnson, but the attribution may be apocryphal. • Ling.Nut 02:02, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm dumber then Malleus, and I still don't know what you mean by the analogy. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:03, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Wait, Wikipedia informs us that the quote is originally from Otto von Bismarck: "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." The version I always heard was "Politics is like sausage: to appreciate them, it's better not to know how they're made." • Ling.Nut 02:08, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
"[Wikipedia is] like a sausage: you might like the taste of it, but you don't necessarily want to see how it's made." Nosleep (Talk · Contribs) 13:17, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is like a sausage, you buy it by the kilo and get sick of eating it after a week? Fifelfoo (talk) 23:21, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Well put. The attribution to Bismarck is doubtful, see here. Your fault, Fifelfoo, you made me go back to this book in cleaning up the Chamberlain citations.--Wehwalt (talk) 04:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Citation templates

This is an old bugbear of mine, but I'm wondering if the time has come to try to do something about it. I just went to Canada to try to help out with the FARC, and I find I can't copy edit it for flow because the text has been packed with citation templates. This seems to make the page very slow to load, which is one issue. It also makes it impossible to edit unless you constantly come out of the text and preview to see where sentences start and end (and with the slow load time, that's even more annoying than usual). This is an example of the Canada text in edit mode, and it's by no means the worst example I've seen of this:

From the early 17th century onwards, that part of [[New France]] that lay along the [[Saint Lawrence River]] and the northern shores of the [[Great Lakes]] was named ''Canada'', an area that was later split into two British colonies, [[Upper Canada]] and [[Lower Canada]], until their re-unification as the [[Province of Canada]] in 1841.<ref name=Rayburn>Rayburn, Alan (2001) (p.1-22).</ref> Upon [[Canadian Confederation|Confederation]] in 1867, the name ''Canada'' was adopted as the legal name for the new country,<ref name="Martin">{{cite journal| last=Martin| first=Robert| title=1993 Eugene Forsey Memorial Lecture: A Lament for British North America| journal=The Machray Review| publisher=Prayer Book Society of Canada| year=1993| url=| accessdate=2008-11-05| quote=Strictly speaking, the official name of the new country was, simply, "Canada," but usage sanctioned "Dominion of Canada".}}</ref> and ''[[Dominion]]'' (a term from Psalm 72:8)<ref>{{cite book| last=Clarke| first=Michael| title=Canada: Portraits of the Faith| year=1998| page=60}}</ref> was conferred as the country's title;<ref>{{cite book| first=J. E.| last=Hodgetts| coauthors=Gerald Hallowell| year=2004| chapter=Dominion| title=Oxford Companion to Canadian History| location=Toronto| publisher=Oxford University Press| isbn=0195415590| quote=The title conferred on Canada by the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867, whereby the provinces declare 'their desire to be federally united into one Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom.'| page=183}}</ref> combined, the term ''Dominion of Canada'' was in common usage until the 1950s. Thereafter, as Canada asserted its political autonomy from the [[United Kingdom]], the federal government increasingly used simply ''Canada'' on state documents and treaties, a change that was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from [[Dominion Day]] to [[Canada Day]] in 1982.<ref>{{cite web| title=Government of Canada Events 2009 Canada Site| publisher=Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada|work=Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada|date= 2009-10-19| accessdate=2009-10-19| url=| quote=Canada Day was established in 1879 under the name "Dominion Day" and became known by its current name in 1982.}}</ref>

I feel the template thing has become almost an access issue, because people who can't see around them, as it were, are effectively prevented from editing articles that are full of them. Is there any support for adding to the FA criteria that citation templates should not be used in the body of the text? SlimVirgin 06:56, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I doubt you will find support for that, as accessibility for editors is not part of the featured article criteria – and I would argue that articles of near-FA quality are the last ones we should be concerned about making accessible – but are you familiar with the list-defined references system? It cuts inline citations down to just <ref name=name of citation/>, with all the clutter safely contained in the ==References== section. See them for use in the Hawksian woman article.  Skomorokh  07:02, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd oppose that; citation templates are an easy way for those of us who can't get through the first sentence of a debate on citation styles without falling asleep to achieve style consistency. Besides that, I don't see how untemplated citations are appreciably easier to see around - <ref>O'Donnell, Sarah (2006-12-03). "[ Profile: 'Steady Eddie' takes power on his terms]". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-21</ref> seems not a lot better than <ref>{{cite news |title=Profile: 'Steady Eddie' takes power on his terms |url= |work=Edmonton Journal |date=2006-12-03 |accessdate=2008-06-21 |first=Sarah |last=O'Donnell}}</ref>. If anything, I find that the template syntax makes it easier to tell at a glance that you're looking at a reference rather than text body. I appreciate that reading and editing around templates can be a pain; I deal with it by keeping the article open in one tab and the edit window in the other. I make decisions looking at the article itself, where the citation is an unobtrusive little superscript number, and then implement them in the edit window. I'm not sure about the load time issue; that could be a concern. Steve Smith (talk) 07:07, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Hi Skoemorokh, yes, I've seen that, thanks. A simple short ref does too, or even a regular one. Steve, it's the extra template clutter, the unnecessary words, that cause the problems if there are lots of templates. I'm going to ask somewhere about the load time, maybe on the village pump. SlimVirgin 10:31, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Gimmetrow has already looked at that; I believe he determined that the cite templates didn't affect load time, but he is the one to ask. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:55, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Slim Virgin: a way to keep pages with citation templates readable is installing wikEd, which makes the references stand out in a different color. That does not solve the general accessibility problem for editors who don't have wikEd though, which I agree exists. Ucucha 14:05, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

This is a legitimate problem, but to ban cite templates in the article body would be as unfair as to mandate them, which several editors have suggested in the past. Dabomb87 (talk) 17:16, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I have a lot of sympathy with any proposal to reduce edit-mode clutter. It's to do with accessibility not only in the usual sense, but accessibility by visiting editors, who are easily put off by unnecessary template sprawl. It's the encyclopedia that anyone can edit?
My personal issue with citation templates is that it is easier to write out (and keep control of) the references manually than to bang them into these long strings. You just follow one of several standard models. Easy, and you see instantly what you're getting.
I wouldn't support a ban, but a healthy discouraging of such clutter. Tony (talk) 08:46, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I've been wanting to try manual references at a couple of articles, but as they feature 100+ cites, swapping would take an age, so isn't really feasible just to satisfy my curiosity. With that in mind, does anyone know of a good script that'll do the job? Steve T • C 09:06, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps use subst: a couple of times? I do agree that just typing out the references is preferable over using the {{cite}} templates. It actually reduces and simplifies the wikitext of the article and you don't have to remember the names and functions of all templates and parameters. Ucucha 12:45, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
As I recall, you can't subst the templates without creating an ugly mess (since the cite templates call other templates, et al.) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 13:01, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
And if you subst: those? It may still create a formatting mess, though. Ucucha 13:02, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
Indeed it does; I tried subst: a while back with ... interesting results. Ah well, not to worry. Maybe I'll give it a shot at the next new or undeveloped article I work on instead. Steve T • C 13:43, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I tried it at User:Ucucha/sandbox and eventually succeeded (though I had to use regex find-replace in wikEd to get all the #ifs), but it still doesn't look pretty and takes a fairly long time. It's instructive when you want to see hundreds of lines of {{cite}} code, but otherwise not quite useful.
The easiest way to do it is probably too copy the result of the template into a wikEd editing screen and hit "convert pasted content to wikicode". Ucucha 15:59, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Making article text easier to edit

One way to make articles easier to read is to use the new |refs= parameter of {{reflist}}. That way, all you need in the article text is something like "<ref name=Hodgetts/>", and the References section can contain the detailed gorp, something like this:

<ref name=Hodgetts>{{cite book| first=J. E.| last=Hodgetts| coauthors=Gerald Hallowell| year=2004| chapter=Dominion| title=Oxford Companion to Canadian History| location=Toronto| publisher=Oxford University Press| isbn=0195415590| quote=The title conferred on Canada by the preamble to the Constitution Act, 1867, whereby the provinces declare 'their desire to be federally united into one Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom.'| page=183}}</ref>

I've been meaning to switch some of the articles I edit to this style, as I find it makes the text easier to edit. A downside is that it's harder to keep track of citations that are no longer needed (they aren't displayed, but they make editing a bit harder). Eubulides (talk) 21:37, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I actually find that this method makes articles much harder to edit. I almost never edit entire articles, but only edit by sections. Splitting the references from the supported statements makes editing much more difficult. It is also usually faster to load a section for editing than an entire page. Even if I were editing an entire article, the scrolling up and down between early sections and the reference section several pages down is certainly not easier than the inline method. I find the concept of WP:LDR to be a detrement to editing. Requiring full page loads for each edit is certainly not more efficient. Jim Miller See me | Touch me 23:01, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the use of list-defined references ("reflist|refs=...") makes pages much slower to load. Here is a pair of test cases: User:Miym/Ref1, User:Miym/Ref2. Click "edit" + "preview" in both of them. Identical content, the only difference is that the first one uses list-defined references. — Miym (talk) 00:24, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Making pages faster to load

SlimVirgin points out that citations make pages too long to load. I've noticed this problem as well. It's pretty bad: it's about a 30-second delay after I hit "Save page" or "Show preview" on Autism. Now, Autism is a large page, but 30 seconds is toooo looongg (and sometimes it takes much longer, when the servers are busy). I've developed an experimental version of the {{cite journal}} etc. templates that reduce this time to about 8 seconds in my measurements, and once this is ready for prime-time I hope to encourage the use of the ideas of these new templates. They're mostly compatible with {{cite journal}} but do not implement some of the more-expensive features such as |last8= and |ref=harv. A few more details are in Wikipedia talk:Citing sources #Making pages faster to load. Eubulides (talk) 21:37, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I hope people know that they can simply copy and paste the formatting the template reveals and do it manually to save up loading time. Its how I do it. ;/ Ottava Rima (talk) 22:48, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
  • ^ Smith 2007, p. 1.
  • Return to the project page "Featured article candidates/archive41".