Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive70

Active discussions

Short descriptions

Hi all, Wikipedia:Short descriptions are to be added to (eventually) all Wikipedia articles as a means of identifying the topic beyond the capcity of the title, for use in search engines and disambiguation etc, and possibly also as annotations in lists such as categories, depending on the overhead. They are a functionally useful addition, and though not currently visible by default, we are starting to populate the articles in anticipation of the software implementation, which is pedicted for about the end of February. Featured articles would be improved by adding a short description, and where this is done they should not be deleted if not perfect, rather improve them so they can work better as the first content many people will see from the articles. At present descriptions are being drawn from Wikidata, with very variable quality. There is a WikiProject for this, and it is a huge task. Particpants welcome! Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:26, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

These short descriptions are a replacement for Wikidata descriptions. There's another RfC on the use of Wikidata currently going on; anyone with an opinion about the use of Wikidata for short descriptions may also want to express their opinion there. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:13, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
The actual link for the relevant recently closed RfC is WP:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 145#RfC: Populating article descriptions magic word. The WMF has been pulling these from Wikidata, and wanted to keep doing that. That was rejected in this RfC, according to the closer, with a similar result in a similar RfC last March. I'm hoping the WMF respects the RfC. - Dank (push to talk) 12:58, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
Would someone please provide a mock-up of how a typical article, e.g. Abraham Lincoln, will look after the "short description" has been added? How will these descriptions impact on the current forms of infobox? Brianboulton (talk) 14:30, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
It won't affect the actual article: what the short description does is provide the summary for searching, so someone typing "Abraham Lincoln" into the search box will be presented with "Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States", "Abraham Lincoln, 1930 film", "Abraham Lincoln, portrait by Healy" etc etc. (Go to Wikidata and type something in the search box to see it in action.) The principle is sound; the issue is that, because it doesn't affect the appearance of the article, vandalism can potentially sit there for years. ‑ Iridescent 15:04, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
Then, could a bot run through all the short descriptions from time to time and copy them to article text, perhaps as for example inside <!--- WIKIDATA SHORT DESCRIPTION: A comment with standardized formatting -->? Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 15:10, 23 February 2018 (UTC)
Not really sure where this meme arose (and I hear it a lot) that "it doesn't affect the appearance of the article". So-called Short Descriptions were (and will probably continue to be, when the dust settles) the very first words that readers of articles on mobile devices see, right below the article title. Most readers pull up Wikipedia on a mobile device at least some of the time. That was one of the main reasons the recent RfC turned out the way it did; we didn't want our lowest-quality, least-checked, least-sourced work to be the first thing that readers saw, and we didn't want to misrepresent non-Wikipedia text as being Wikipedia text. Btw, the RfC at WT:MOS on Wikidata concerns (linked above) just closed; it's worth skimming. - Dank (push to talk) 15:47, 23 February 2018 (UTC)

And now there's another RfC on Wikidata use brewing ... I was just pinged to WT:Wikidata/2018_RfC_draft#Discussion. The RfC text starts out pretending that the other two RfCs linked above didn't happen (maybe it corrects itself later on, but if so, that's too late). - Dank (push to talk) 15:58, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

And while I'm here ... it really doesn't work for the same people to do the commenting over and over, because that gets framed as "not a consensus". Fram and I have just commented below that link that I just gave, pointing out and I pointed out that the two recent RfCs aren't even mentioned. Volunteers would be appreciated; someone should read the RfCs (or at least the closing statements!) and correct the introductory text of the proposed RfC. It might not be a bad idea to include text reflecting what RfC voters have been saying recently. - Dank (push to talk) 16:13, 26 February 2018 (UTC)

Possible to extend time

Flowerpiep and me have been working on Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Sasuke Uchiha/archive1 for over a month taking care of all editor's comments while making sure everything is cleared. However, yesterday we had a big oppose in regards to a section by an editor. We tried rearranging everything to fit the reviewer's opinion, but he/she still hasn't responded to use. Is it possible to extend the time of the review? I'm not too experienced with FAs while Flowerpiep is also not too experienced with the article. Cheers.Tintor2 (talk) 02:04, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

There's no fixed time limit on FACs, and as this one is just over a month old and still active I don't think it's in danger of being archived very soon; let's see how the reviewers respond to your latest round of changes -- it hasn't really been that long since you pinged them. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 02:16, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
I can't speak for Popcornduff, but I plan to return to the review and see if my concerns have been addressed. I don't want to do it too soon, though; one of the problems reviewers run into is a cycle: the reviewer lists issues, and posts an oppose; the nominator fixes the issues and asks for a re-review; the reviewer lists more issues.... I don't mind doing a lot of work at FAC to fix an article, and have done so in the past, but I like to feel that the article is reasonably close before putting in that kind of effort. In this case I'm doubtful about whether the article is close enough. I'd like someone else to take a look; if someone like John or Tony1 supported the article, I would feel I needed to look again. If nobody else chips in, I'll go back in a few days. The delay is deliberate, to avoid the cycle I mentioned above. I'm being open about it here in case anyone feels it's an unfair way to treat a review. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:46, 27 February 2018 (UTC)
This is why I don't review FACs much (and tbh why I probably won't be nominating any more). I'm never sure exactly how to be useful, because although I believe my comments are improving the article (or else I wouldn't be making the comments), eventually you just end up giving instructions and it turns into a weird appeasement game. Popcornduff (talk) 03:39, 27 February 2018 (UTC)

fix link on Borodino-class battlecruiser nom

Wehwalt noticed that the link from the Borodino class battlecruiser article talk page to the current FAC nomination is broken. I know that I had a problem figuring out how to start archive2 from that page and bypassed it somehow. There's also a redirect to Borodino-class battlecruiser (the current title) that maybe messing things up somehow. I'd be grateful if some administrator or delegate could fix this.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 04:31, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

I think this may be fixed now. DrKay (talk) 08:46, 28 February 2018 (UTC)
Many thanks.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 13:53, 28 February 2018 (UTC)

WT:TFA#Last night's TFA edits

Just a pointer. - Dank (push to talk) 15:18, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Top FAC reviewers for February

Here are the lead reviewers for the month of February (by date of archival/promotion of the FAC, not by date of review).


  • 8 reviews: SchroCat
  • 7 reviews: Aoba47
  • 5 reviews: FrB.TG, Dank, Tintor2, Wehwalt, Ceranthor
  • 4 reviews: Jimfbleak, Deckiller
  • 3 reviews: FunkMonk, Casliber, BabbaQ, Tim riley, Gerda Arendt, Eddie891, Brianboulton, Peacemaker67

69 editors provided a total of 134 reviews.

Image, source, and accessibility reviews

  • 24 reviews: Brianboulton
  • 20 reviews: Nikkimaria
  • 5 reviews: Lingzhi
  • 3 reviews: Jo-Jo Eumerus
  • 2 reviews: Tintor2, Laser brain
  • 1 review: Piotrus, Moisejp, Wehwalt, Ssven2

10 editors provided a total of 60 reviews.

I'll post barnstars on the talk pages of the top three reviewers on each list. Thanks to all. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 20:55, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

section summary is WP:OR?

It's often argued that a WP:LEDE should go very light on cites; these should be in article text. Some hardliners insist on NO cites, though I think that's a bit overdoing it... so for a larger article, could tere be brief level 2 sections that are comprised of a summary, largely uncited, of the level 3 sections which it comprises? or would the fact tat the summary is light on cites be construed as WP:OR? here of course, as always, I am talking about Bengal famine of 1943Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 05:39, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

Since the lead is a summary of the text, in theory there shouldn't need to be any refs in the lead at all. In my bird articles, virtually the only time I now put a ref in the lead is, rarely, for an alternative name that doesn't merit repeating in the body. I don't see the need for sub-summaries. It suggests that some of the material should be hived off to separate articles if a section is really so extensive that it needs summarising in its own right Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:23, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Anything that is below the lede, I would cite, even if it's a summary of what follows. I see the point Lingzhi is making, but people expect it.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:56, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

"Comments" instead of opposes

Has there been a cultural shift in recent years? Are people afraid to oppose? Everything seems to be written as "general comments" instead of "examples of deficiency". Back in 2006-2010, a reviewer who found a handful of issues in the lead and first section would issue a clear oppose. It should be difficult to elevate an article to featured status; you are hurting the encyclopedia if you are too afraid to oppose an FAC. Flabby writing is not subjective; "professional" (per 1a) encyclopedias are succinct and tightly worded. —Deckiller (t-c-l) 15:37, 5 February 2018 (UTC)

We get posts like this from time to time, and I think it would be a good idea to come up with ... not so much a standard reply as a standard approach to the problem. It sounds like same old same old, but in my experience what posters are saying can be a little different every time ... so my vote is that the initial response should be "tell us more". In this case, I know Deckiller used to be very active in reviewing processes, then wasn't, and just recently has started back up again. They (singular they) may want to get back into the swing of things, but may be put off by the differences in the writing and reviewing culture. Every writing culture is different, so of course standards change over time. - Dank (push to talk) 16:24, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
Is the primary purpose of FAC to polish articles that are nearly there until they are good enough or prevent articles that are not good enough from making it? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:50, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
Either, if you ask me. If a nomination is clearly deficient I'll just oppose it and say it's not ready. It should be worked up to standard outside of this process. If it's 90% or more the way there, I'll be more likely to leave comments and help polish it up until it's ready. --Laser brain (talk) 19:15, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
Right. FAC is not (in my opinion) the place for an article to be improved to FA status, unless it's already very close and just needs some fresh eyes. ceranthor 19:20, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
I used to think of it primarily as a prophylactic. Don't assumme I've evolved into a more "progressive" or "ahimsa" stance; rather, I've 98% given up trying. My .02. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 20:49, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
Pretty much the same as Laser brain.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:49, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
That's what I figured - people just grew weary over time. Most nominators feel their article is already featured status, but I think clear and firm opposes will encourage writers to double their efforts. —Deckiller (t-c-l) 23:50, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
All of the FAC articles in which I have had any personal involvement have been improved by the process, whether or not they eventually passed. To me that is more important than whether they pass. That will not happen if I just oppose without useful and actionable feedback. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:12, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

() You seem to be missing the point: Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia; it's the Encyclopedia Game. People can and do take a piss on WP:5P if they have several Supports from FAC regulars. Get over it. Many FAs suck, for various reasons, and that's the way we like it. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 23:55, 5 February 2018 (UTC)

Lol maybe I should've just stayed dormant. —Deckiller (t-c-l) 01:53, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
The game can be fun, very much like a difficult crossword puzzle. And the game can have positive benefits for non-participants. I spent a year of my life taking Bengal famine of 1943 from unspeakable horse shit to something that at least is creditable. I hope it will at least to some degree aid the general public's understanding. But never be idealistic, never expect that there is any right or wrong answer other than "what people with social clout want to do and how they want to do it, regardless of WP:5P, other policies, guidelines, or essays. Amen." Nevr fool yourself into thinking that it's anything other than a game. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 02:14, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I thought of another benefit: I really enjoy learning things that are outside my normal sphere of interest: music, artists, military history, cosmology, etc etc etc. You learn while you play. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 02:29, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I think it's a bit misleading to point to the 2006-2010 era as some kind of standard or highpoint in FA history. The thing is, the FA criteria are much stricter today than back then, and at that time, reviews consisted of single paragraphs, with very little actual evaluation. Few of the articles promoted during that span would even pass today. Furthermore, every article got a flurry of short comments, ten drive-by "votes" weren't unheard of, whereas today one is lucky to get four reviews. So there is definitely a lot of different things going on today, but compared to older FACs, it is definitely for the better. FunkMonk (talk) 10:33, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
  • I think you are getting the periods a bit wrong there. From memory, what you describe sounds like about 2006-2007. By around 2008, the current standards were pretty much in place, and lasted at their peak until maybe 2013. Since then, if only because of falling numbers of reviewers, I think FAC has got somehat easier, and less rigorous. So I think there was a "peak", largely co-inciding with User:SandyGeorgia being in charge (not that I blame the fall-off on subsequent coordinators). Johnbod (talk) 11:37, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I was looking at some reviews from 2008, and even they still seemed to just be little more than lists of supports and opposes. But anyhow, the point was that there weren't much to the early reviews, at least until the latter part of the span given in the original comment here (at least well into 2008). And the current standards are certainly way higher than they were pre-2009, judged on the old FACs I've looked at. FunkMonk (talk) 11:50, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Maybe. I notice that all articles currently at WP:FAR passed FAC by 2007, except for one 2008 BLP bio where the issue seems to be lack of updates for more recent years. Aspiring historians of FAC may find the template below a useful source! The 6 FAC attempts in 2006-7 listed at Talk:Ronald_Reagan, inclusing final success, may also be a useful barometer of the developing depth of reviews. Johnbod (talk) 12:06, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
That's part of a conscious decision to review articles from then. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 12:29, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I came in at the end of 2007, and then pretty much took the rest of that year and beginning of the next off to get through a psychopathy-driven arb case. So, my tenure pretty much started with 2008, as Johnbod says. There were no driveway promotions from me as FAC delegate, although I always shared my tenure, and can't speak for every promotion. The current FA quality has to do with FAR (there is none) rather than FAC. If no demotions are happening (they aren't), then most FAs are not FAs at all. Without FAR, FA has no meaning. Speaking of moribund FAR, hey Deckiller, years !!! Hope you are well, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:57, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
DYK has a formalised scale and scheme for comments. Perhaps something of this sort might help in structuring people's observations. Andrew D. (talk) 12:59, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Symbol Code DYK Ready? Description
  {{subst:DYKtick}} Yes No problems, ready for DYK
  {{subst:DYKtickAGF}} Yes Article is ready for DYK, with a foreign-language, offline hook reference, or reference behind a paywall accepted in good faith
  {{subst:DYK?}} Query DYK eligibility requires that an issue be addressed. Notify nominator with {{subst:DYKproblem|Article|header=yes|sig=yes}}
  {{subst:DYK?no}} Maybe DYK eligibility requires additional work. Notify nominator with {{subst:DYKproblem|Article|header=yes|sig=yes}}
  {{subst:DYKno}} No Article is either completely ineligible, or else requires considerable work before becoming eligible. Notify nominator with {{subst:DYKproblem|Article|header=yes|sig=yes}}
  {{subst:DYK?again}} New review Article issues have been resolved and is ready for a new review.

An article cannot be officially promoted until a reviewer has given approval (  or  ) to at least one of the article's hooks.

(late to the party) - @Deckiller: it doesn't matter whether a comment with several outstanding issues is called an oppose or not. Anyone reading it will see it as a barrier to consensus of the article passing. The word itself has a more collaborative connotation, which I think is nicer than being oppositional. There are enough standoffs about the place - any form of language or interaction that downplays confrontation is a Good Thing. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:00, 26 February 2018 (UTC)
That may be so in an ideal world, but we don't live in an ideal world. A straightforward Oppose makes things clearer for everyone, on the understanding that it's open to being struck should certain issues be addressed. Eric Corbett 11:28, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
...and with the further understanding that it's open to be ignored by the FAC coordinators, for whatever reasons they deem... er... reasonable. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 11:38, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, of course. Eric Corbett 11:41, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Question about a potential FAC

I was thinking about nominating Buckton Castle for FAC, but though I should test the waters here as I'm a co-author of one of the principal references used. Would that be a problem for the FAC process? Richard Nevell (talk) 13:17, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with it. I've used my three articles for The Numismatist as sources, though none was a major source at the time the FAC went through (written later).--Wehwalt (talk) 21:58, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Sure, go ahead. We have a lot of reviewers who are knowledgeable about castles, and they can deal with any POV problems. If this will be your first time at FAC, check out our mentoring resources. - Dank (push to talk) 22:00, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
@Wehwalt and Dank: Thank you both, that makes me more comfortable putting the article forward. Richard Nevell (talk) 14:36, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

FAC preload

Can someone take a look at Wikipedia:Featured_article_preload line 5? The first noinclude doesn't look right.


Lionel(talk) 04:10, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Problem Regarding The FAC Process

Hi. I and Tintor2 nominated Sasuke Uchiha to become a FA. Everything had been going really well (for about a month) until a reviewer opposed because of a specific section from the article. The reviewer brought two other reviewers, and the other two had the same response as the first due to that one section. All of them listed comments in regard to how that particular section could be improved. The problem is that we already fixed every single one of the issues they had pointed out and made even further edits in order to organise that section better and to improve the entire article.

Until now, two out of the three reviewers have returned to see the new version of that section (which has been even more improved since then). The first reviewer agreed that the new version was much better and said that they wouldn't intervene if other reviewers supported the article (which happened in our case, since we received 6 "supports" and 2 "passes" from the image and source reviews, so basically 8 "supports" in total). The reviewer had offered us one more piece of advice, which we respected. Despite this, the reviewer still didn't remove their "oppose". Considering that their comments definitely sounded neutral in the end and they offered us no further examples of what should be improved, shouldn't that "oppose" be regarded as "comments"?

The second reviewer who returned mentioned that the prose still had to be improved, but they offered us no examples of wrong structures. They just pointed out that the last sentence from the article was not okay, and I decided to remove it since it was not that important to the character. But, apart from this, no other examples of what should be improved were given, despite the fact that "each objection must provide a specific rationale that can be addressed". Everything that was specifically pointed out by the reviewer was already easily addressed.

The other reviewer that opposed has not returned yet and thus has not seen the new version. I have no idea what to do now since, as stated above, all of their specific comments were addressed, and in our and other reviewers' view, the article is just fine as it is now, including when it comes to the prose. Also, as mentioned above, the nomination already received 8 "supports" (including the two "passes" from the source and image reviews), and two reviewers explicitly disagreed with the reviewers who opposed.

According to Wikipedia:Featured article candidates, "if nothing can be done in principle to address the objection, the coordinators may ignore it", and right now this seems to be the case for each one of the "opposes", since all specific comments coming from all three reviewers were immediately addressed and thus right now there are no further specific issues that can be fixed (and, as written above, the article was further improved beyond those comments). Also, according to the review FAQ: "if you find that an article's prose is not compelling and brilliant, it's not necessary to analyze the entire article, but rather to give enough examples to demonstrate that additional copyedit attention is needed. Any comments that are not actionable will not be considered by the FA director or his delegate(s) when they archive or promote the nominated article." Flowerpiep (talk) 22:20, 5 March 2018 (UTC)Flowerpiep

First ... thanks for talking with us about this problem. I get that the FAC process can seem random and even unfair; that's an unfortunate side effect of having to deal with all the things that Wikipedia throws at us. Looking quickly, my first guess would be that things are working the way they're supposed to work. The FAC coord Sarastro1 said that he thought the prose needed work, and invited people to take a closer look. Mike Christie and User:John looked, and decided to oppose, and haven't struck the opposes. Those are three people who are very knowledgeable about FAC standards. Without even looking at the article, I'm inclined to think that the prose needs work to reach FAC standards. I know that can be confusing and discouraging. It's possible that the WP:GOCE or another reviewer will be able to help you fix whatever the problems are. - Dank (push to talk) 22:32, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
@Dank: Thank you for replying. Still, as said above, shouldn't specific examples be further offered in order to help us understand where the problems are? Also, thank you for the suggestion. Still, the article was already copy edited several times, including by really experienced copy editors. Nevertheless, I will try to make sure that the article is copy edited once more. Flowerpiep (talk) 22:52, 5 March 2018 (UTC)Flowerpiep
If there are prose problems on a larger scale, it may not be possible to say "if you fix these 13 things, I can support." Because the problems may be throughout the article, and the people attempting the fixing are the people who generated the initial prose problems. Often, in such circumstances, it may help to get someone to spend some time with the article, copyediting, but it may not be possible to do the fix during the FAC, and, after all, if the article is largely rewritten during the FAC, then the people who supported early in a way supported a different article. It's a frustrating issue for the nominator, but this is a reviewer-driven process.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:24, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

I agree with Wehwalt. I think more needs to be said here, because Flowerpiep is right that this is a problem, and not a new one. I'm one of the reviewers mentioned above; pinging John and Popcornduff, the other two.

Flowerpiep has summarized the issue well from the nominators' side, and FAC regulars will recognize the situation; it happens often. From the reviewers' side it looks quite different. I saw an article that did not look ready for FAC, and I opposed. I don't usually oppose if I think an article is salvageable with an amount of work that can reasonably be done at FAC. I agree with Flowerpiep that if I, or one of the other two, were to list every single problem with the article, they would probably be able to fix each problem and the result would be a promotable article. I don't want to do this.

This talk page saw a long discussion a year or two ago that involved maunus in which he argued that the goal of a review process was to improve an article, and the idea of judging an article and finding it wanting was unproductive; instead reviewers should engage with the article and improve it. (My apologies to them if I'm misphrasing their position.) I like taking that approach when an article is close to being good enough. I hope Maury Markowitz doesn't mind me using his articles as an example: I've reviewed two or three, and put hours of work in, resulting in many pages of commentary. It's fun to engage with an article that way, and I see a lot of reviewers doing the same. But Maury's articles are well-structured, fundamentally well-written, and a pleasure to read; there may be scores of nits, but there are no deep fault-lines in his articles.

If the article has too many problems, though, it's no longer a polishing exercise, it's just article improvement. The problems I see that most commonly cause this are poor writing, and unclear thinking, usually reflected in problems with the article structure. These are difficult to point out in a concise way; reviewers give examples instead. If a nominator is not as good at prose as the reviewer, or has structured the article poorly and can't see that that's so, all they can do is fix the issues and ask for more examples. This is a lot of work for the reviewer. I suspect many reviewers avoid reviewing articles of this type, to avoid this cycle.

I'm considering adding a note to my opposes in the future, saying "I think this article is too far from FA quality to fix in a reasonable time, hence I do not plan to revisit this oppose without a request from a coordinator". I dislike sounding elitist or unhelpful, but when I see top-quality writers like Popcornduff backing away from FAC reviewing because of this issue I think something has to be done. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:24, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

You are indeed representing my position well. Here I take the opportunity to link to my proposal for a peer review reform.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 07:22, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
If we're going to discuss reviewing standards at FAC, please let's discuss supports as well as opposes.
The pressure on editors who oppose has become too much. People are expected to keep listing all the article's problems, no matter how time-consuming that is. But often you look at an article, and it's clear that it isn't an FA, and that it needs too much work to be done during FAC.
But there is a relationship between this pressure and editors who support too readily. Mike Christie, I feel that you're inadvertently part of this problem with the barnstars you give out for quantity of reviews, rather than quality. Someone who spends almost no time supporting several will get a barnstar. Someone who spends many days on a thorough review won't. And I'm sorry, but I'm going to name Dank as one of the worst offenders. Dan, you've supported some really poor articles, and I've been considering saying something about it for a while. Every easily offered support makes it harder for those who oppose, because they become the villains of the piece; the ones who arrive to spoil the party. I've wondered whether there's a connection between the bad atmosphere for opposers and the drive to produce more articles for TFA, or whether the supports are just people wanting to be encouraging. But the more easily the supports come, the harder it is for opposers, and without people willing to oppose, quality will drop. SarahSV (talk) 00:57, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
After "support on prose", I always link to a disclaimer that makes it clear that I'm not even covering the most difficult prose points. I'm not sure how I could be clearer. If you want to complain to the FAC coords that something got promoted that shouldn't have been, that would be a beef with them, not with me, unless you can point to some way I'm being dishonest or unhelpful. But while you're bringing it up, maybe this would be a good time to talk about it: does anyone else think my prose reviews are unhelpful? - Dank (push to talk) 01:47, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
The disclaimer, User:Dank/Copyediting, doesn't make clear that you don't look at the sources. Look, I'm sorry to pick on you. You're not the sole problem; I've supported on prose alone myself. I always assumed the coordinators would overlook supports that seem not to be thorough, but I now think that's not the case. I've seen one supporter suggest he would support an article he didn't seem to have read. I've seen people support articles that are so poorly written I haven't been able to understand parts of them, even after they were copy edited.
If we had thorough source reviews, it would matter less, but source reviews often mean checking that a source is the right type or that the citation is written properly, rather looking at the source—understandably because getting hold of sources is time-consuming. In current affairs or pop culture, there might be random checks, because the sources are mostly online, but otherwise reviewers almost never look at sources nowadays. I recall one reviewer not long ago being scolded on this page because he was persistent about a source check. It turned out he was right: at least one of the cited sources did not even exist.
My point is that the FAC process has an uneasy relationship with quality. We want it, but we don't want to work too hard for it, and we don't want to lose quantity. In that atmosphere, it's important not to do anything that discourages editors who are willing to oppose. SarahSV (talk) 03:52, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
What in the world? Is "support on prose" unclear to anyone else? I'm not looking at anything but prose. - Dank (push to talk) 04:07, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Can you copy edit something well without reading the sources? Often the writing isn't clear, and you have to read the source to figure out what's meant. (If you like, I can email you an example where you supported something that I felt was unclear.) We use peer-reviewed sources because we believe the reviewers did more than check the prose, and if we trust high-quality newspapers it's because their editorial staff check more than grammar. But we put articles through a top review process where most reviewers don't check sources and sometimes don't check prose thoroughly either. That's a problem. SarahSV (talk) 04:48, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Is anyone else having a problem with my prose reviews? - Dank (push to talk) 05:23, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
@Dank: I have to apologize to you for raising your name in this context. I should have kept my comment free of names, because this is a generic problem, and as I said, I've done it myself. Sometimes it's all we can do, because we're not experts and we often can't see the sources. I commented here only to emphasize that people willing to oppose should be encouraged and supported, rather than made to feel they have to help fix the article. SarahSV (talk) 06:35, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Dank, I am surprised that you ask the question, because I thought you were aware that I always had problems with your premature Supports, as I did with your prose reviews. Certainly, other FAC delegates knew your supports were often premature, and there were many examples of significant prose issues found after your support.

The problem with FAC reviews now is that they are trying to remediate problems that in the past would need to be solved outside of FAC. Premature supports just keep failing FACs open longer. When, in the past there were FAC awards, they were not about how many reviews were done, rather how many reviews were correctly done and were a determining factor in FAC outcome—that is a solid review that saw a FAC archived and left the nominee a very good idea of what they needed to fix before they returned to FAC was valued much higher than a driveby support from a wiki colleague. That is, friends supporting friends did not get awarded. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:25, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

As a lurker, I feel obliged to point out that the problem for me was not the opposition or the fact that the article was going to fail. The problem was that there is no support for improvement after the fact. Looking at Mike's user talk, specifically the section titled Sasuke Uchiha, Mike makes it very clear that he will not take on the project, leaving it in the very "capable" hands of us originals. This is unacceptable, as it creates a situation where we cannot improve what we cannot see, thus not only is Sasuke going to fail this nom, but every single subsequent nom without support from people whose prose is second to none, which clearly is not us. If there is support for improvement outside the FAC process, then I would feel comfortable asking the nominators to withdraw the nomination, but as it stands there is no such support. Sasuke9031 (talk) 03:02, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

As another lurker, and one who has been through FAC once with an article that didn't make the grade due to prose issues, I think this whole thread comes down to a basic tenet in the FA criteria for any article aiming to be an FA: its prose is engaging and of a professional standard. This is hard. It's very hard. I'm a pretty good writer, and can handle the "clear and concise" prose criterion for Good Articles with aplomb, but "engaging" is very tough, and "professional standard" is also very tough, each in their own way. I'm not sure what the reviewers here at FAC are expected to do when they see an article that—through and through—is clear but not engaging, or concise but not up to professional standards. This isn't a case where a few sentences have grammatical errors or otherwise go off the rails, it's a situation where the editors who worked on the article simply don't write professional-level prose, so most of the sentences are workmanlike but not gleaming. It may be disappointing, but FA-level articles will inevitably be beyond the skill level of some editors. I'm not sure what kind of improvement support Sasuke9031 is looking for. Should Wikipedia be holding writing classes for editors to improve their prose to GA or FA levels? There is the Guild of Copy Editors, where people can bring their articles for a copyedit—some of the requests that come in are for articles that are intended to be FACs in the future (or are already at FAC and running into difficulties)—but I don't know how successful these copyedits are for potential Featured Articles, and I don't know how deeply into the sources individual GOCE copyeditors will go. BlueMoonset (talk) 05:37, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

I guess what I am proposing is a new, elite subset of the guild be created consisting of the most professional, engaging prose writers whose purpose is to copy edit specifically failed FACs. Think of it like APO only for the Guild of Copy Editors. Sasuke9031 (talk) 06:18, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Maybe something like ORCP? I have some articles I would like to send to FAC, but I think they would probably be rejected for one reason or another. Could be a good way for people to get a feel for how close something is to FA, which is difficult to judge when you have not done it yet, as well as get some generic feedback on how it could be FA (longer, better prose, more reliable sources, etc). Kees08 (Talk) 06:45, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

WP:Peer review? Galobtter (pingó mió) 06:47, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Taking a bit of a guess here, but I think that may be a bit of the blind leading the blind (assuming most the peer reviewers are not regular FAC reviewers). A way to get more FAC reviewers is to get more people involved in the process, so a sort of pre-review may help solve that. Kees08 (Talk) 07:01, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Kees08, you may have just created the ideal solution. A trial run page would be great. I think that would be much better than a simple peer review, which if I'm not too much mistaken, Sasuke has already undergone. If he hadn't been the crux of this issue, I could easily see Sasuke as the perfect pilot article for the new process. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed and I can't think of another article I frequent that's even this close. Fortunately, though, I am only one man, and I'm sure someone out there as a good launch article in mind. Sasuke9031 (talk) 06:56, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Addendum: This would also help new nominators gain the experience that has been proven by User:Mike Christie to be vital to success. Sasuke9031 (talk) 06:58, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I think the post here hit the nail on the head with pointing out the problem which is that FA reviewers do not feel bound to offer any support for improving the article - not even phrasing their opposition in terms that are actionable. The proposed solution of a "trial run" is a non-solution, since it in fact only doubles the problem, and doubles the amount of time it takes to get an article to FA (if there is even any reviewer support for the trial). Given the lack of reviewers and editors, the solution is not to add new processes, but to strip away unnecessary elements of the process that leads to FAs, streamlining the peer review process to focus on quality improvement rather than on bar-setting. Here is my proposal for how to do this Peer review reform.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 07:29, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • the problem [...] is that FA reviewers do not feel bound to offer any support for improving the article - not even phrasing their opposition in terms that are actionable
Actually, based on my experience reviewing the article in question, I suspect that suggesting actionable improvements is sometimes a mistake. It's fine when there are clear, concrete things to fix, but the problem with this article is abstract and complex. I listed numerous examples of the bad writing, but they were just that: examples. Unfortunately, I created the impression that, if the nominator were just to fix problems A, B and C, the article would be flawless. It's not that simple. I also have the niggling feeling that the nominators were trying to address my problems without really understanding them - they were just jumping through hoops, trying to make me happy. Sometimes their "improvements" missed the point entirely.
As I said to Mike recently, if I continue to review FACs and find the prose lacking, unless the prose has only small problems that can be patched up without major intervention, I'm just gonna oppose and walk away. Listing examples extensively only creates that "checklist" impression, and starts a tedious tennis match of suggestion and correction that is potentially neverending. It seems to me that having articles undergo extensive editing by several editors to drag it over the finish line isn't what the process is for. Popcornduff (talk) 09:01, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I think that approach is actively damaging the generation of quality content, and that as the process currently works, it is better not to participate in the review than to give an unactionable oppose vote. Because yes, the proces is in fact for generating high quality content for the encyclopedia, not for handing out stars. The solution to a nominator not understanding your concerns is of course for you to carry out the improvements yourself. My proposal includes the final decision being taken by a community !vote - in such a process an unactionable oppose can be warranted, but not in the review process as it currently exists.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:19, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
The solution to a nominator not understanding your concerns is of course for you to carry out the improvements yourself: this would be fine if reviewers had inexhaustible energy and infinite time, but they don't. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:24, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Which is also addressed in my proposal - if you dont have energy to actually help improve the article, then you only praticipate in the vote. The existing process muddles the improvement and the decision phase, and puts all of the responsibility on the individual nominator, this is a process that actively hampers the generation of excellent content for wikipedia instead of supporting it. We are creating a bottle neck for improvement that does not need to be there.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:27, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
What you're suggesting is also a common scenario here at FAC, though it's less obvious what's going on; reviewers sometimes don't review articles that need a good deal of work because they know they'll get involved in the back-and-forth described above. These nominations languish and die for lack of reviews, and the nominator is no wiser at the end of the process. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:34, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Which is also a consequence of the current review form and is solved by my proposal where the review does not begin untill a team (composed of a nominator and two reviewers) is formed.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:36, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
The solution to a nominator not understanding your concerns is of course for you to carry out the improvements yourself: This is what I did before gave FAC reviewing a try, and likely what I'll go back to doing instead. Popcornduff (talk) 09:42, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
To me this is what wikipedia is all about. The idea that reviewers shouldn't participate in the improvement is a deviation from the fundamental idea of the collaborative encyclopedia.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:45, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Seems to me like the question might be a bit philosophically about the purpose of the FAC process (as hinted at in Maunus's "handing out stars" vs. "quality content for the encyclopedia") since in the former case a plain "yes, this article is ready"/"no, the prose has widespread problems" review is sufficient whereas in the latter case it would be inadequate. There is also practical concerns as elucidated by Mike Christie; for an image reviewer like I am it's not a big issue but prose reviews take more effort to formulate and action. Re "support on prose" to me that says clearly that someone is viewing the prose as adequate, without commenting on any other aspects; I do something similar when I review images (I don't generally explicitly support or oppose so that might ameliorate the issue mentioned by SlimVirgin). Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:43, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I am certainly against nominators demanding examples of general problems, whether prose or, say, linking, then fixing those and claiming the problem is solved. The responsibility for actual work on improvement lies with the nominator. Johnbod (talk) 12:03, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
    • I think it's good practice for reviewers to help with stuff that can be fixed on the spot & without huge trouble -- maybe some hyphens in page range, some sorting of references, that sort of thing-- but anything that requires research or heavy lifting is the nominator's responsibility. If the reviewer is kind enough to do it, then the nominator is in the reviewer's debt. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 13:15, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
        • I usually do fix small issues - especially when doing so is quicker than adding them to a review - but I really resent the "sofixit" attitude some nominators take, who will only fix specific things that are pointed out to them, and refuse to do work on general issues. Johnbod (talk) 14:26, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
      • Agree with Linghzi; might go a tad further—if it actually requires any "research or heavy lifting", is it even ready for nomination...? ...SerialNumber54129...speculates 13:36, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
If the article is already FA quality then what is the point of nominating it for a review?·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:37, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
To find out if it is FA quality; if it requires "heavy lifting" then it probably is not... —SerialNumber54129...speculates 14:49, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
"the nominator is in the reviewer's debt", wtf?! I thought this was a collaborative encyclopedia where we all shared the interest of improving our content to the highest possible standard. I would certainly never nominate anything for anything if I thought it might potentially entail incurring debts to anyone who fixes a comma or an n-dash in the process. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:15, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • It's a courtesy debt, not a slavery debt. If yo get the newspapers off my porch while I'm out of town for a week, then I do the same for you. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 14:25, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
A review is not a favor to the nominator, it is a favor to wikipedia. Getting the article the gold star is not a favor to the nominator but to the encyclopedia. Opposing without helping the nominator get the article to the best possible quality does not hurt the nominator, it hurts the encyclopedia.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 14:36, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't consider myself an expert in prose but the nominator has fixed every single issue every commenter and opposer mentioned. Instead, there have been no response from other users who talked about the prose. There were some parts of the article that had to be rewritten to fix some issues but the opposers did not give the nominator a possibility to give a support despite all the edits. This is all I could think.Tintor2 (talk) 15:26, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

I'm sympathetic to the original editor's comments as I'm not a great editor of my own prose, so what may be obvious and systemic to others is often invisible to me. So I really hate comments that give a few examples and say and fix all the others like those. That said, I've learned to ask for help, usually before I send an article to FAC, as I did with my current Borodino-class battlecruiser nom (review early and often!). That can be asking a lot from a copyeditor, though, and sometimes they've been too busy to assist, so I tend to put those articles on the back burner until I can get some help.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:03, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

  • I'm sympathetic too... at my first FAC nomination I had comments that the prose wasn't up to par and I was lost as to how to address the concerns. However, we just don't have the resources or authority to place any system of demands on reviewers. It's a good will system and a reviewer-driven process. There are three broad types of nominations: 1) Ones that are "there" or "almost there" needing minimal fit-and-finish. These are usually ones that have had numerous eyes on them or trusted allies providing edits and feedback before nomination. Promotion rate is high. 2) Ones that need light-to-moderate work before being FA quality. These have usually been written in a vacuum by skilled authors. You'll see longer bullet lists of feedback and help, and they get promoted more often than not, after a good deal of reviewer time spent. To me, these are the ones worth our help and collaboration to push through, similar to what Maunus has suggested. 3) The ones that are clearly deficient, and should not be using this process to pull them up to standard. We aren't doing anyone any favors by spending hours enumerating problems. We should oppose them early and often, so they are archived and brought back when ready. --Laser brain (talk) 17:26, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

I don't have time right now to reply to every point here, just a few general observations from a co-ordinator's viewpoint.

  • First, there is no obligation for anyone to do anything at FAC, or anywhere else for that matter. I think going down this route is unhelpful at best; everyone, nominators and reviewers, are dependent on everyone else's goodwill.
  • Second, if a reviewer is opposing a FAC and they do no wish to provide a shopping list of items to improve, giving a few representative examples has always been standard. Sometimes, nothing will change a reviewer's opinion within the duration of a FAC. There should not be pressure on those who oppose to change their mind, and I would personally view this rather dimly. If a reviewer does not return but the consensus of others is that their concerns were addressed or invalid, the coordinators take that into account.
  • Third, some nominators (particularly newer nominators) seem to be under the impression that either their article MUST pass (as in, it is an entitlement) or that if the FAC is archived, it cannot be renominated. It can. There is no rush. To maintain the value and respect of the FA star, we should only pass articles that meet the standard, even if it takes two, three or even more attempts at FAC.
  • Fourth, unthinking supports are far more damaging to FAC than reasoned opposes. The latter lead to article improvement, the former does not and devalues FA. There have been several occasions where FACs have gathered plenty of support that lacks commentary; I always try to attract more commentary that addresses the FA criteria rather than just give these a quick pass.
  • Finally, there are currently 53 FACs in the list (though some may be ready to be promoted or archived). It would be fantastic if everyone contributing here could take a look at one or two of them.

There is probably more to say, but that is all I can manage for the moment. Sarastro (talk) 14:44, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Sarastro's fourth point is worth emphasizing! Speaking as a previous coordinator, I'd say that drive-by and low-effort supports are the most damaging thing happening at FAC. Declarations of support where there is little evident effort to examine the article against WIAFA are useless to the coordinators and damaging to the nominator, who is getting the false impression that their nomination should pass. --Laser brain (talk) 17:43, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Jumping in here and adding my own bullet list.
  • First I agree completely with Sarastro1's remarks above.
  • Second, I agree completely with Sarah's remarks. To add to them, yes, I think Dank's "support on prose" can be misleading, especially to editors unfamiliar with FAC. In my view Mike's reviewing barnstars tend to reinforce quantity over quality of reviewing.
  • Third, as it happens I agree with Maunus and Johnbod equally, but there's a middle ground we've never seemed to reached. Some nominators don't want the reviewer to collaborate by editing the article; some reviewers would prefer not to take the time.
  • Fourth, as someone who's done it more than once, opposing is very difficult. In fact, I've decided to stop reviewing because of reactions to opposes I've lodged.
  • Fifth, as a case study Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Sasuke Uchiha/archive1 has been open a long time. The coords have a duty to elicit comments from reviewers who aren't familiar with the topic, which is what appears to have brought Mike in. So that's part of the process and absolutely the way to go. In my view, when an oppose is lodged it's best to ask to have the nomination archived, work on it outside of the glare of FAC, and bring it back - basically emphasizing what Sarastro says. I took a quick look, edited the lead, and came away thinking the prose needs tightening (which is a skill that takes time to develop). I wondered about the phrase "becomes more empathetic toward his teammates" because we haven't yet been told about a team or team mates. If these sorts of issues extend throughout, (I've not looked beyond the lead), it's really difficult for a reviewer to list each single issue and for a nominator to succeed.
  • Sixth, for whatever it's worth, I tend to think in terms of rubrics, which essentially what WP:FACR is. I add it all up in my head and if it passes throughout, I'll support. I've opposed for sourcing reasons (1.c), structural issues (2.b), and various other factors. I'm not sure whether everyone looks at the FA criteria and I wonder whether it's something we should be highlighting more?
Echoing Sarastro again - that's all I can manage for now. Victoriaearle (tk) 17:46, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Sarastro has captured most of what I could say, I'll just add a few points:
  • I'll reiterate what I've always said, echoing Sarastro and Andy above, that drive-by supports (or opposes) carry very little weight.
  • Everyone's perception is a little different but I've always found Dan's "support on prose" clear and helpful. It doesn't mean that an article won't benefit from further copyediting but it lets me know -- either as coord or reviewer -- that someone experienced has cast an eye over the writing and there shouldn't be too many clangers remaining.
  • I understand where Sarah and Victoria are coming from with their concern that Mike's reviewing tallies and awards encourage quantity rather than quality but I've had no objection to the practice because I've seen it used at MilHist -- where I'm also a coord and frequent editor/reviewer -- and I think it's been a net benefit there in its encouragement and recognition of people's efforts.
  • Re. Sarah's point about source checking, I agree there are times when you need to know what the source says to copyedit effectively but a lot of copyediting is simply about grammar and avoiding cliché and repetition, and I don't think one needs source checking for that. We do still insist on spotchecks of sources for FAC newcomers, and experienced editors who haven't had such a check for a while. I'd have no objection in principle to us spotchecking every article but I don't think we ever had consensus to do so and it would certainly slow things up further. Spotchecking -- as opposed to checking every single citation -- is by its nature a risk assessment, and I think we've decided that if a newbie gets through a spotcheck reasonably cleanly then the risk of issues in the future is lessened. I'm happy to revisit this though.
Again echoing those above, that's all I have for now. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 00:20, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
This might be a little offtopic Ian Rose but is there a way where a user can coonimate an article with an expert copyeditor? I mean, asking for the guild doesn't confirm the article will pass a nomination. I say this because while the article will fail its review I noticed I can't help Flowerpiep with anything else with Sasuke Uchiha due to my prose being poor. As a result, I wonder where somebody experienced like Mike can help me (since Mike once worked alongside User:1989 to make a similar article become FA. Thanks for the comments.Tintor2 (talk) 00:34, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
He means Naruto Uzumaki, not Naruto. Sasuke9031 (talk) 02:00, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Check this. I only wanted to work on a FA character article because they are smaller than series articles. 1989 already made Naruto Uzumaki FA but I don't remember if he had help.Tintor2 (talk) 02:10, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
My apologies for stepping on your toes, User:Tintor2. Now you know why I mostly lurk. I'm usually the first in the discussion to put his foot in his mouth. Sasuke9031 (talk) 02:25, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Adding my voice to Sarastro’s post, particularly point 4.

@Ealdgyth, I believe opposing is easier than supporting. To support an article, a reviewer should be fairly confident that EVERYTHING is in order ... that takes considerable effort. To oppose, you only need point to examples sufficient to show that the article could be better improved off-FAC... that only becomes tedious if there are not enough opposes so the coordinators can archive before the dreaded “fix a few, ask for more” cycle sets in. Not enough opposes is often the culprit in page backlog. The faster a deficient FAC can be archived, the soomer it can be brought back for a better chance.

@MikeChristie, I can see where awarding for number of reviews is problematic. When Maralia, Karanacs, Others and I did awards, we had a scoring system to preference helpful reviews rather than number of reviews. For example, if a FAC had accumulated a number of driveby wikiassociate supports, and then got a solid accurate helpful oppose that led to archiving, the drivebys supports got negative points while the oppose got extra points because it was determinative in outcome. So, for example, Dank’s “support on prose” would get negative points if the FAC was archived. I could dig up our old rubric if that would help. (Apologies for iPad typos.) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:42, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Wrong Victoria, Sandy. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:47, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
ah, ha ... I see! I was surprised you said that. Too hard from iPad to go back and strike ... I authorize anyone with a big-girl real computer to strike and correct my error above :). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:14, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Reviewing barnstars

A couple of people have suggested that the reviewing barnstars I award each month are encouraging quantity over quality in reviews. I'm probably the only person other than the two cooordinators who has looked at every single support and oppose for the last two years, and my own impression is that there's been no increase or decrease in poor-quality, drive-by reviews. (The coords might not agree, of course.) We do still get uncritical supports, but I think we always did.

Should I stop awarding them? Do they do any good? Do they do more harm than good? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:11, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

  • IMO, reviewing barnstars are at worst harmless and at best helpful. I have to confess, a barnstar for reviewing doesn't mean a huge amount to me (sorry!!) because I think, "I was just pitching in, no big deal." but I actually love barnstars when I get them for something that I feel I did above and beyond the call of duty. And a relative newcomer would be very likely to think that doing a FAC review is "above and beyond the call of duty", and therefore would love the star. So for old hands it's at worst harmless, and for relative newcomers it is very likely to be provide helpful motivation. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 01:41, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Mike, they do as a matter of fact encourage quantity, because that's what you award them for. Whether it has made a difference, I don't know, but it can be maddening to see people rewarded for offering reviews that may have taken them minutes and may have misled the coordinators. I see supports for very poor articles, sometimes articles where you can't even understand the English, but you'll reward anyone who reaches a certain number. It's like handing out barnstars for posting to AN/I, without checking the nature of the posts. SarahSV (talk) 04:09, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
    • There's already some kinda barnstar for "Wow, what an excellent contribution" or whatever. [we could search for more than one.] So here's a thought: just invite FAC regulars to start handing out barnstars whenever they see something that is relatively impressive. If a newcomer does everything 90 or 95% by the book, and asks intelligent/reasonable questions, and admits errors, give 'em one. If anyone, new or old, does something 超级 insightful or helpful or diligent, give 'em one. instead of Mike always doing it, encourage a culture of it (esp. to relative newcomers). Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 04:26, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
      • I think the reviewing barnstars are helpful. And I like Lingzhi's ideas too. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 14:43, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
      • The lists are helpful, and perhaps motivating, though I'm not so sure about the barnstars. Johnbod (talk) 16:40, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • @Mike Christie: I think they are fine. As Lingzhi said, at worst harmless and at best helpful. It's not been my observation that they have driven poor reviewer behavior in the slightest. There have always been low-effort reviews, and there always will be, regardless of whether we're keeping a tally. --Laser brain (talk) 12:19, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • It makes me happy when I see people I've lost touch with returning as reviewers ... I don't read all the FACs, so I wouldn't know without your lists, Mike. Thanks for that. - Dank (push to talk) 12:46, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Just to be clear, I didn't really mean to be confrontational in the throwaway remark about barnstars (one half of a single point in a larger issue) and didn't have the energy to tease out the nuances (opposing is a time sink, e.g, this discussion), and various other thoughts. I'd hoped I might be able to, but find I can't. Victoriaearle (tk) 16:25, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Mike, would you not see it as a problem if you were rewarding people for making quid pro quo supports? Those actively harm FAC, but you would be saying "well done, keep on doing it." SarahSV (talk) 21:39, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I also think that the awards of barnstars are fine, and should continue. I agree with Lingzhi. I try to review an article or two for each one I submit, but I'm aware that this falls below what is actually required at FAC. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:01, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I thought Mike Christie was already an admin... oh wait... wrong forum... me think systematic barnstar good; maybe also encourage people to do it spontaneously a little more often too. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 00:07, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
  • MikeChristie, you know you walk on water. I answered above. If you dig into archives, I can help you find an old rubric we used that did reward quality over quantity (in those days, though, we had to make exceptions for Ealdgyth, who did very important work that did not have support or oppose). We came up with that rubric not only to encourage good reviewers, but also to stem driveby supports. Our matrix always indicated clearly which reviewers were most damaging to FAC —- unqualified supports — and which were more helpful — solid opposes with good examples of all fixes needed. Apologies for iPad typos. The unqualified and unhelpful supports, as Sarastro points out, were the worst, and our rubric discouraged them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:53, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
    • Found the rubric we used at Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive27#February FAC stats; what was not put into print was the other side of the coin-- the high quantity, low quality reviewers. Scoring every single declaration during a month required a lot of time, which is why we didn't continue after four months. But the number of reviews at FAC was much higher then, so this should be doable. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:00, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Hi Mike, I don't have a strong opinion about the barnstars, but I do find the lists motivating--that is, knowing that a number of editors are regularly contributing to reviewing, which makes me want to chip in too. I don't read every review like you, but it's not my impression people there are doing rushed reviews just to see themselves on the list or to get barnstars. Moisejp (talk) 14:50, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Once you've been awarded the barnstar, there is of course less incentive to get it again, but until then, I thought it was worth pursuing. So perhaps it will be for others who haven't received it yet. FunkMonk (talk) 14:53, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Thanks to everyone above (and elsewhere) for the comments. I think there's support for the lists, but not as much support for the barnstars. I plan to continue with the lists, and perhaps list all reviewers in a given month, rather than just the top dozen. I'll stop handing out the barnstars. I understand the criticisms made by Sarah and Sandy, but like a couple of other commenters above I think the negative effects they fear have not happened; the drive-by commenter we have always had with us. Re the more complex rubric: I remembered it and consciously decided not to use it for several reasons: it would have been an unsustainable amount of work; it would put my judgement into the numbers, which I really did not want to do; and I thought it would make no difference to the positive effect I wanted, which was to periodically remind FAC regulars (and irregulars) of the importance of doing one's share of reviews. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:34, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

FA stats

Mike, do we have stats showing the percentage of nominations (first and subsequent noms) that have been promoted over the years? SarahSV (talk) 23:43, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Sarah, I have data from mid-August 2016 through the end of February 2018. In that time there have been 678 closed nominations; 494 were promoted and 184 were archived. By year:
  • 2016 (starting in August): 104 promoted, 50 archived; 67% promoted.
  • 2017 338 promoted, 125 archived; 72% promoted.
  • 2018 52 promoted, 9 archived, 85% promoted.
There were 835 reviews for those 154 noms in 2016 (5.4 per nom); 2870 reviews for 463 noms in 2017 (6.2 per nom); and, so far, 415 reviews for 61 noms in 2018 (6.8 per nom). I think the 2018 data is insufficient to draw conclusions about trends, though. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:50, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
To the other part of your question, about the relevance of experience, the most recent data I have is this, from 2016. I plan to update it but it's much more timeconsuming to do that analysis. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 00:55, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Mike, thanks. (I didn't ask anything about experience; perhaps you're thinking of another thread?) What I'm looking for ideally, starting from whatever year FAC took place in a form that allows the data to be extracted, is what percentage of first nominations has been promoted over the years. I'm wondering whether we now promote a higher percentage of nominations. SarahSV (talk) 01:29, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, by experience, I meant the number of stars the nominator has -- isn't that what you meant by "first and subsequent"? I have data on all FACs since August 2016, including the nominator(s) and the outcome, and the date of the FAC. I've been given a huge dump of the history of WP:WBFAN by a kind botop, but have not yet processed it and don't know when I might get to it. That data, crossreferenced with the FAC history I have, would give you what you're looking for back to August 2016. I have vague plans to extend the data analysis further back, but I doubt that will be any time soon. A month's data takes about two hours to capture, so going back eight years would be weeks of full-time work. A data capture exercise that recorded only the outcomes and nominators would probably still take two or three hours to capture a year's worth of data, if done manually. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:36, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Mike, sorry, I didn't express myself clearly. I meant I would love to see stats for, say, 2004: X number of articles were nominated for the first time, and Y percent of those nominations were promoted. And so on for every year until 2017. It would also be interesting to compare that to the number of nominations overall in each year, whether a first or subsequent nomination, and the percentage promoted. What I'm looking for is whether we are promoting more than we used to on a first nomination. I know in the early days we promoted a lot, then it seemed to reduce as reviewers gained experience, and I wonder whether it is now heading back in the direction of the earlier years. Or are we retaining the same percentages as, say, eight years ago, or has the percentage in fact been relatively stable since FAC began? SarahSV (talk) 03:29, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Those numbers will be very misleading. If the percentage that passed has gone up, it could mean that the quality of the articles prior to nomination has risen (maybe more are initially GAs, maybe the GA process is a little better, maybe it is tilted towards MilHist which has a very nice A-class review). It could also mean what you are insinuating. I think you would have to anchor it by blindly (someone else picks them and you don't know when they were promoted) reviewing and grading articles on a rubric so you can have a quality assessment as well as the percentage. Probably would need multiple people to do it since reviewing is subjective. The percentage itself does not tell you much. Kees08 (Talk) 07:37, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree; too many variables to be sure of causation. I don't have the numbers, in any case; the closest you could get without too much trouble is the monthly totals at the featured logs and archive logs, which wouldn't tell you whether an article had been renominated. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:05, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Here's what I can tell you for August 2016 through February 2018. The row starting with "1" has data for all first nominations of articles -- that is, the FAC is at <article name>/archive1; similarly for the other numbered rows. The "archived" and "promoted" rows split those numbers up by outcome of the FAC. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:56, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Noms/outcome 2016 2017 2018 Grand Total
1 130 385 52 567
  Archived 39 86 6 131
  Promoted 91 299 46 436
2 18 52 6 76
  Archived 9 27 1 37
  Promoted 9 25 5 39
3 2 15 2 19
  Archived 5 1 6
  Promoted 2 10 1 13
4 3 4 1 8
  Archived 1 3 1 5
  Promoted 2 1 3
5 1 2 3
  Archived 1 1 2
  Promoted 1 1
6 1 1
  Archived 1 1
7 3 3
  Archived 1 1
  Promoted 2 2
10 1 1
  Archived 1 1
Grand Total 154 463 61 678

Percentage promoted 2008–2018

Year FACs closed Promoted Archived
2008 1328 719 (54%) 609 (46%)
2009 991 522 (53%) 469 (47%)
2010 925 513 (55%) 412 (45%)
2011 665 355 (53%) 310 (47%)
2012 636 375 (59%) 261 (41%)
2013 651 390 (60%) 261 (40%)
2014 505 322 (64%) 183 (36%)
2015 485 303 (62%) 182 (38%)
2016 365 227 (62%) 138 (38%)
2017 461 338 (73%) 123 (27%)
2018 (JF) 61 52 (85%) 9 (15%)

Brian left the table on my talk. Promotion was 53–55% in 2008–2011, increased to 59% in 2012, increased to 60–64% in 2013–2016. There was a sharp increase in 2017 from 62% to 73%. (Did anything happen in 2017 that might explain that?) So: fewer are closed every year, and nominations are much more likely to be promoted.

Brian also has figures showing that it takes much longer to get through FAC (two to three times as long since 2012), including when the nomination is unproblematic. SarahSV (talk) 01:28, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for these. I suspect that there has been a trend since 2017 for a higher proportion of noms to be from experienced "regulars", leading to the higher proportion of passes. Meanwhile there are few reviewers, as we all agree, and possibly some slippage in pass standards. That's how it feels anyway. Johnbod (talk) 02:56, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
So basically the numbers suggest that at this point people do not even bother nominating articles unless they are "experienced regulars", which increases that rate of passed articles, but decreases the overall number of promoted articles. I think this is a problem.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:53, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Do we have any stats for who the nominators and reviewers are and how many are "experienced regulars"?·maunus · snunɐɯ· 10:04, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
A quick-and-dirty count of the 54 nominations currently at FAC, looking to see if the nominator's name appears on WP:WBFAN (and consequently an "experienced regular"), shows that nine of them have nominators who aren't listed as ever having successfully nominated at FAC before, and on a broad range of topics so it's not that the project is being artificially sustained by overflow from the MILHIST or sports projects. (Hong Kong, John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, German destroyer Z39, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, Presidency of George Washington, Alan Wiggins, Sasuke Uchika, Regine Velasquez and Battle of Warsaw (1705), if anyone wants to double-check.) Couple that with the fact that nominations by people with no previous experience are more likely to be quickfailed and removed from the queue, and with the fact that a lot of current nominations are by people with only one or two previous FAs (I only counted those with zero), and it seems that the notion that FAC is dying from a lack of new blood is more anecdotal than factual. ‑ Iridescent 10:24, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
How do you arrive at that conclusion from that data? If only 9 out of 54 nominations are from new nominators - and first nominators' nominations are less likely to pass, then to me that demonstrates precisely that it is not an anecdote.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 10:32, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
"First nominators' nominations are less likely to pass" means that the actual figure is more than 9 since fails get removed from the queue; one would have to go through the history looking at all the failed noms to get the exact figure. At minimum, 20% of nominations are from new nominators, which seems entirely reasonable and if anything a little higher than I'd expect. Bear in mind that the FAC process is now 13 years old; unless there's a steady stream of editors resigning from FAC, then by definition the number of "experienced regulars" can only rise since all 11 of those nominators (George Washington was a triple-nom, all three of whom are shown as new) will be "experienced regulars" when they come back in a couple of months for their next nomination. I'd be willing to bet a large sum that "20% have no previous experience" is considerably higher than the ratio for any comparable process like DYK or GAN. ‑ Iridescent 10:38, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
As someone with hundreds (thousands?) of DYKs, I am skewing the statistcs. It's precisely because DYK is (supposed to be) lightweight that people use it more. It's simply not directly comparable in the past, although perhaps these days it might be. Maury Markowitz (talk) 12:12, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
That there might be greater numbers of experienced nominators doesn't explain the leap from 62% to 73% in 2017. Can Ian Rose and Sarastro1 shed light on that? Also, is there any good reason to leave nominations open for so long? There seems to be a reluctance to archive: there are currently 26 that have been open for longer than a month. The oldest was opened on 30 December. SarahSV (talk) 19:54, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Been watching this trend, and it is frightful. It reflects, quite simply, that more articles are being fixed at FAC now then in the past, and less articles by some nominators are getting real review. Longer time at FAC to fix deficient artIcles leads to backlog, which is discouraging to those who cannot garner support from wikiassociates. An archive with good feedback about what is needed before returning, followed by a successful return to FAC, is going to leave a better taste in the mouth of editors aspiring to FAC then a months-long slog through torture. The necessary “oppose early, oppose often”, which leads to improvement and faster turnaround, seems to be a thing of the past, replaced by an idea that nominators are entitled to pass. ApoloGies for iPad typos. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:03, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't think the past method would work very well in the present. A number of Wiki Projects and Peer Review are dormant, GAN and GOCE have variable review quality so there often isn't a place for off-FAC issue fixing. Some people know that specific users can help with specific problems and can thus be consulted pre-FAC, but there is no directory of such users. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:16, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
So, I went to check on two things: the oldest FAC on the page (more than two months!). It has obvious prose and sourcing errors, and could have been archived 6 weeks ago. Why are coordinators not archiving articles which garner no support after a certain amount of time?

While there, I noticed the same nominator had a recent FA promotion. I went to look at that article, and similar to more problems are evident. There are non-reliable sources in that nominator's previous FA that were never questioned; in fact, they may violate EL:NO for copyvio (not sure, since no one asked the nominator what the source is, but looks like a personal archive of newspapers). So, the second thing is that there may be quality problems in this high promotion rate. Default should be archive, not promote. I see Ajona has not taken the advice I gave him years ago to try to take greater care with Spanish-language reviews. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:14, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Not wishing to overcomplicate this already divergent thread with more figures, I've posted some data on my talkpage based on an analysis I did a few months ago on FAC nominations during a trial period Jan/Feb/March 2017. I had hoped to polish these figures before offering them for general comment, but in view of this discussion I thought I'd share them now. Brianboulton (talk) 22:46, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Perennial issues

At this point, we may as well create a subpage of "perennial issues" raised at FAC similar to what they have at Village Pump. There aren't enough reviewers, and people have been bemoaning that as long as I can remember being around FAC. Peer Review as a formal process shriveled on the vine long ago and we can no longer send people back there. Trying GOCE is like approaching a random person on the street and asking them to paint your house. You might get a qualified contractor, or a competent hobbyist, or a bumbling stranger who makes it look worse. Nominations that are clearly deficient should be opposed early and removed. Nominations that are within the realm of FA quality should be helped along, but the reality is that this doesn't always happen, especially if your topic area is not within the domains typically of interest here. You may be sent away with a directive to fix your article without an enumerated worklist, and it's on you to figure out how, in a collaborative environment such as this. --Laser brain (talk) 12:27, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

I actually liked Tintor2's suggestion of bringing on an expert copyeditor as "hired gun" co-nominator, on the assumption that the copyeditor's services will be used both before and during the FAC, with the nominator(s) who are expert in the subject matter ensuring that the prose remains accurate. Some regular nominators who participate in the WikiCup might find the job attractive.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:56, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
On general principle, I would like to discourage the use of the word "expert". It may seem bland and courteous, but it is subject to it for editors who reveal and verify their real-world identity and expertise. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 13:08, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Lingzhi. A perennial problem at FAC is the lack of expert input, and copy-editing in the real world includes checking for accuracy; what the GOCE calls copy-editing is closer to proof-reading. SarahSV (talk) 19:42, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Sub "highly experienced" for "expert", then. Just trying to bring this back to where the OP started.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:49, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
This seems to be a perennial misunderstanding of yours @SlimVirgin:. Copyeditors have no responsibility whatsoever for the facts in a piece of text, only its style, presentation, layout, spelling, grammar, clarity and so on. Copyediting does not include the step of content editing, which in your hypothetical "real world" is done before copyediting, although the same person may in practice do both at different stages of the process of preparing a piece of work for publication. Eric Corbett 23:58, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Copy editors in news organizations may be the last line of defence before publication. As well as checking the obvious, they look for lack of clarity, factual errors, and things that might cause a problem, including obvious legal issues. They're speaking to the writer and perhaps the company lawyer. It's not only about shuffling words around. (I daresay there are online ads for copy editors who do check only grammar, etc.)
Because copy editing on WP doesn't involve looking at sources, and source reviews are actually reviews of source types and citation format, it means no one is regularly checking that FAs don't contain nonsense, deviations from sources, sources that may look appropriate but aren't, plagiarism, and sources that don't exist. I know that some reviewers do look for those things, but increasingly most don't. "Support on prose" can mean "at a glance, the writing isn't terrible." SarahSV (talk) 00:35, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
To my mind the role of subject-matter expert reviewers is best handled by the individual projects if they have an A-class review system going (sadly, most don't), or by members of the relevant projects, not by ordinary reviewers here. I know quite a bit of history, but I'd be a liar if I were to pretend to be able to review anything but prose or source formatting for a biology or an astronomy article, forex. Mind you, that's not always a disadvantage as a reviewer unfamiliar with the topic can sometimes catch incomplete or not fully explained concepts that a familiar eye can glide right over. But I agree that it's a problem, but not one that I expect that we'll be able to address without the addition of many more reviewers.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 01:08, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Raul proposed trying to get subject-matter experts to do reviews, but the sticking point is that we have nothing to offer them. Maunus then suggested trying to organize academic credits for expert reviewers, but I don't know what happened to the idea (see Grants:IdeaLab/Getting Academic Reviewers). It seemed very much worth pursuing. SarahSV (talk) 01:14, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I have some experience with getting experts to review, both with senior museum curators and medical researchers, and User:Anthonyhcole has long been working on it in various ways. Some of my FAs have had such reviews, usually offline. To get the most out of it you have to give them something that is already at least at FA standard, in fact most of my ones were performed on a version that had already passed FAC, partly by accident. If there are many or major problems, a top expert will tend to wash their hands of it - you are better off with a doctoral or postdoc student. But they often profess willingness, though the amount of work they will do varies. It takes time to organize, though I suppose we could try spamming experts. I've had very limited success with that - the best results came when they approached me (museums who wanted to highlight something), or when I was WiR at Cancer Research UK], or was put in contact by some chapter event etc. The most effective ones were also face-to-face, when they had marked-up a printout of the article. It also helped that two of the museum curators were in the process of writing/editing books on exactly the same thing, so had it all at the front of their mind. Johnbod (talk) 04:19, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
    • I corresponded via email with several real-world authorities on the Bengal Famine of 1943 (maybe 6 or 7? I'd have to check). In fact, my correspondence with one popular author ran into at least 20 or 30 exchanges, discussing many details and aspects of the famine. Even oft-cited scholars sent me one or two lengthy emails. One oft-cited scholar even praised the article and praised my dedication in doing it (maybe he was being polite, but the way he expressed it sounded more real than polite). But if I mentioned the concept of an expert review with anyone (and I did), suddenly it was like I had contracted leprosy. That was true even though I said it would be 100% anonymous, no names ever mentioned on any forum, and only one or two Wikipedians knowing who had done it. So scholars and journalists don't mind at all chatting about these topics with Wikipedians, but are very averse to any form of direct participation. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 04:59, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
@Johnbod: I've requested an external review with several articles I've written, and it has always helped, although it can take many months to receive the review, because it's at the bottom of their pile, priority-wise. That would make it difficult to coordinate for FAC; the author would have to ask a long time in advance, probably a year or more. Anthonyhcole, I saw your description somewhere of how your review idea worked out, but you stopped writing it halfway through. I would love to read that if you ever finish it. SarahSV (talk) 05:09, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, though none of my turn-arounds have been as long as a year. Btw, this is an unsolicited blog review of a group of articles], which I acted on a bit (see my belated comment at bottom), and I'm sure User:PatHadley did too. But the author is also somewhat biased towards his own specialism in the early AS period. If only we got more of these! Johnbod (talk) 14:20, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Wikiversity's WikiJournal has added a peer-reviewed science journal to the existing medical journal; a humanities journal is also in the works. I have submitted radiocarbon dating there, and had some useful feedback from the one review I've received so far. I gather an article in one of the WikiJournals would count as a reliable source for use here. It would also be possible to have an article that is not in Wikipedia accepted over there, and when it's published it could then be copied directly into Wikipedia as the start of an article over here, though that assumes no such article exists here. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:12, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that the mentor option isn't really employed to any wide extent, or even suggested much? I've only been approached for it once. Perhaps instead of only sending nominators of failed articles to peer review or copy edit, suggest they should apply for mentorship? FunkMonk (talk) 23:47, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Laser Brain's opening summary is accurate. Regarding copyediting, much can be done (grammar errors and redundant word removal) without looking at the source, but some needs understanding and knowledge, which is where the reviewer/copyeditor asks the question at FAC of the nominator. Our subject matter is too diverse to find external experts, 99% of whom have no time anyway. Agree the mentoring thing is worth pursuing. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:00, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Regarding the mentorships, is it people's opinion that they were used to develop single articles, or to develop experienced FA editors? In my view, it should be the second. Are there "mentees" who are now regulars? Or do they all drop away once the single project is done?--Wehwalt (talk)
In my case (the resulting article was Balfour Declaration), it seemed the nominator specifically wanted the article on the main page in time of its anniversary, and did not mention future FACs. FunkMonk (talk) 06:11, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
That one is worth having as FA on any terms.--Wehwalt (talk) 07:05, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Switching gears. One thing I've seen mentioned in the talk above seems like a major improvment, and that's suggesting that reviewers clearly state, right at the start, how close they feel the article is. The current "comment" simply isn't enough, if the article is complete pants, we need to say that right from the start. Maury Markowitz (talk) 12:57, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Some reviewers, like myself, slowly review articles as we read along, therefore it is not possible to give such a general statement outright, unless the problems are very obvious. FunkMonk (talk) 13:37, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
That's just it, unless the problems are very obvious, we should assume its fixable and say that. If you come to some opposite conclusion later, update your opinion. But the current "comment" provides neither the nom or other reviewers any indication of, well, anything. Maury Markowitz (talk) 12:54, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree some indication should usually be given (subject to the point above), though these days the mere fact that comments are being made usually implies that the reviewer sees light at the end of the tunnel. If the article is a long way off, people either just oppose, or don't review at all - which is where we came in above. In fact I have formed a general opinion, mostly on a quick skim, before I start a full read through making comments as I go. But for example in the case of Ice drilling, my most recent "comment", I haven't read much of it at all, and possibly won't ever do so. In this case I obviously won't support/oppose, though the article is clearly very thorough and no doubt deserves to pass. Johnbod (talk) 15:21, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Per my talkpage, on the basis of the first three months of 2017 as a sample period, the average length of a FAC review was 36–38 days. By way of comparison, in 2008 when traffic was three times as heavy, the average duration was 15 days. All figures approximate and subject to margins of error. Brianboulton (talk) 19:37, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • That's a few years before my time, but did the delegates have the same policy of archiving noms that hadn't gotten a single review in 15 days as they did in 2010 when I got started at FAC?--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 19:53, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
As far as archiving goes, the 2008 average is fairly meaningless. Then, large numbers of FACs were archived in very short periods – often less than 7 days – while relatively few stretched for as long as a month. The process worked quite differently then; typically, a nomination would be greeted with a barrage of supports and/or opposes, fewer "neutral" comments. See here to get the picture. Brianboulton (talk) 10:47, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
@Sturm, see here, Feb 2010 and Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/archive43. That formalized it, but even before, my objective was to keep the page moving so everyone got a chance at review, rather than lagging at the bottom where nothing would happen. If a FAC wasn't progressing by about two weeks, yes, I closed it. Sometimes the article was close to promotion, was likely to make it after some off-FAC work, and I would indicate what was needed before bringing it back. Sometimes, if the article was so far from standard that no one wanted to engage, I would try to leave suggestions about what to do next to get people to engage, when archiving. But Brian's stats indicating 15 days are representative in so far as I did not like to see the page backlogged, and felt that the fastest route to FA promotion was archival of the FACs that weren't progressing. Not sure about Brian's statement re 7 days, although I know of a couple of individual peculiarities that led to that issue, until we addressed the FAC instructions to deal with repeated unprepared noms from the same editors. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:55, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, Sandy, for the links.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 01:21, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
User:SandyGeorgia: Sandy, the figures I produced relate only to my test period, which was Jan-March 2008. In January and February 2008 I found 39 (out of 101) articles that had been archived in 7 days or less. The shortest period was 3 days. This excludes speedy withdrawals that were closed on the same day or day following nomination. The figures are from the very beginning of your FAC reign, before you had set your stamp on the process. I've taken a quick look to see how these figures compare with a couple of years later, in 2010. The differences are substantial: no more batteries of unadorned support/opposes, more speedy withdrawals, many fewer closures within 7 days. The average duration for an archived nom in Jan/Feb 2010 was not that different from 2008 (about 16 days), but much more closely distributed around the mean. All these figures should be taken as broadly indicative rather than statistically precise. Incidentally, poring over those old reviews was a poignant exercise. All those great, lost names! Ah, well... Brianboulton (talk) 16:45, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
That all sounds about right, Brian. Archives ... ah, yes ... what I would give these days to hear from Yomangani, qp10qp, TimVickers ... I could go on ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:11, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Let's not forget that reviews are not required at FAC. The judgement as to whether an article meets the requirements is solely in the eye of the coordinators. So whereas at an A-class review I would post a support !vote on, for example, Boeing CH-47 Chinook in Australian service, there is no need or point for that here. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 01:42, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
It's certainly rather a niche interpretation of WP:FAC: Consensus is built among reviewers and nominators; the coordinators determine whether there is consensus. Notwithstanding that there are 25 currently active candidates with nearly 80 reviews between them :) —SerialNumber54129...speculates 14:17, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Fully protected edit request on 16 March 2018

A protected redirect, Wikipedia:FAC, needs a redirect category (rcat) template added. Please modify it as follows:

  • from this:
#REDIRECT [[Wikipedia:Featured article candidates]] {{R from shortcut}}
  • to this:
#REDIRECT [[Wikipedia:Featured article candidates]]

{{Redirect category shell|
{{R to project page}}
{{R from shortcut}}

The {{Redirect category shell}} template is used to sort redirects into one or more categories. When {{pp-protected}} and/or {{pp-move}} suffice, the Redirect category shell template will detect the protection level(s) and categorize the redirect automatically. (Also, the categories will be automatically removed or changed when and if protection is lifted, raised or lowered.) Thank you in advance!  Paine Ellsworth  put'r there  17:31, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Judging by the fact that the protection links to WP:MOVP I wonder if HJ Mitchell only meant to move protect it, and indeed, full protection is rather strange for the redirect Galobtter (pingó mió) 17:36, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
Possibly, however I see shortcuts and other redirects fully protected from editing quite a lot (nothing strange about it), and the edit summary given includes full edit protection as well as move protection ([edit=sysop] (indefinite) [move=sysop] (indefinite)), so we can wait and see.  Paine Ellsworth  put'r there  21:53, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
  Done — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:49, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you, Martin, hope all is well with you and yours!  Paine Ellsworth  put'r there  14:23, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Socking at FAC and FAR

Discussion on FAR talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:19, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
As an update, I've listed all the involved Featured Articles for Review of their status as they must be checked before retaining the star Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 09:27, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

With seven FAs at WP:FAR due to socking on their FACs, it would be helpful if some reviewers here would look in there. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:14, 19 March 2018 (UTC)


So, this apparently just passed FAC, and there's a lot I'm missing (d'oh). Can anyone illuminate me about the number of citations in the lead (not only an eyesore, but why are they needed?) and how all of that quoted text in the citations does not create a copyvio problem? How much quoted text can we paste into an article before it becomes a copyvio problem? (I have never seen a medical journal article use that style.) And why we no longer require a lot of support outside of one WikiProject? Dazed and confused (but no more than usual :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:34, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

Hm. This sentence has three citations in the lead, but just one in the equivalent sentence in the body a few paragraphs later: "HMB [costs] US$30–50 per month when taking 3 grams per day". I was going to remove another obvious one, the dose range, but then I thought maybe there's a MED guideline that all doses need refs wherever they occur. Or something. Outriggr (talk) 04:49, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
See, in the way TFA/R used to work, that would be up on the mainpage lickety split, and the community would scream, and it would be fixed or at FAR in a week. We no longer have that possibility. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 08:48, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
The FAC nominator said in their nom Like amphetamine, this article includes citations in the lead that are grouped in a citation note at the end of each paragraph. I will not remove the lead references since they cite medical claims...Per WP:MEDRS, all medical claims in this article must be cited by recent reviews, meta-analyses, or systematic reviews, which I suppose explains some of it. I don't know why that WProject feels the need reinterpret WP:V though. —SerialNumber54129 paranoia /cheap shit room 08:58, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
That's a point. I have been mostly inactive for several years, but when I was involved (as the fifth editor in there when WP:MEDRS was started), we worked quite hard to be sure MEDRS and MEDMOS staying in alignment with project-wide guidelines. Now, someone has decided medical leads have to be cited, which is out of sync with WP:LEAD. I have opposed it.[1] It is being done only to make it easier to translate articles to other languages-- not even an en.Wikipedia issue. This is what we get as a result.

So in my other formal role, the question here is, why did FAC allow this? And what is the deal with chunking up the citations with exact quotes, no matter the reason? And how about the constant pinging of WT:MED by the nominator about the FAC vs. making sure that an article has broad support, not just from one involved project, before passing FAC? I would love to see this run TFA/R so we can see how the community reacts to this eyesore. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 09:48, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

To quote your own summary, linked above, "Jytdog just posted a note recommending citations in the leads of medical articles". His actual language there is: "To facilitate broad coverage of our medical content in other languages, the translation task force often translates only the lead; to facilitate that, it is useful to add citations to the lead, even though they not necessary as described in WP:LEAD." This is not in fact in the current WP:MEDRS text. The citation level and style in this article is certainly unusual, as several reviewers said, but I rather doubt that there is much connection with Jytdog's proposed amendment. Nor would it seem intended "to make it easier to translate articles to other languages", and it seems unlikely it would achieve this. But I must say, not having looked at either the article or the FAC nom before, I rather agree with User:Lingzhi's comments. Johnbod (talk) 11:40, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
Correct (I removed it). The "translate to other languages" reasoning comes from the diff, which I removed, and that is what is behind this trend. Reading through what pieces of that FAC are decipherable (and the quote above from Serial), it is pretty clear that this editor is doing this because he has firmly understood somewhere that this is what medical articles typically do (Not), must do (Not) and that this is what MEDRS requires. Hence, my question for *this* page; even in the instance that MEDRS did attempt to require it (which would put MEDRS out of sync with LEAD), WIAFA rules here, and LEAD applies. WIAFA anymore? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:20, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

() I found that whole exchange more than slightly discouraging. Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 11:49, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

I think you were trying to foot a bot ... don't make me do it oh Lingy one! SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:20, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

So, what I hoped to explore was the problem of how FAR came to be moribund, and that without FAR, FA has little meaning (once an FA, always an FA). When TFA, FAC, and FAR were unbundled, FAs became a one-way street. Part of that was related to the changes in scheduling instituted at TFA/R, where there are no more spontaneous FAs. I waited years for the right day to come along, but when Tim Howard made international headlines, we were well into the system where TFA could only be chosen well in advance, so one-time opportunities to match a news headline were lost. That's no big deal-- the bigger problem is that the notion that TFA/R is some sort of proxy for FAR (checking for quality) took hold, and editors understand their articles won't get sudden exposure on the mainpage, which leads to ... no reason to maintain an FA. The FAC page routinely has four dozen articles up. The entire process is stalled. I suggest it can be reinvigorated by contemplating the way TFA was handled when there was one person in charge of keeping the whole process functioning. What would the community say about this article if it appeared on the mainpage? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 12:56, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

FA editnotice template central

Wikipedia:Featured articles/Editnotice templates

@Nikkimaria:. I moved all of the FA editnotice templates I was watching out of my sandbox in to a Wikipedia page, so I could pass them over here. While I was adding the links to the discussions from when we created them, I noticed that Nikkimaria had mentioned something similar for MilHist articles; she might want to add them, or this might be a central page for tracking all of them, and removing them when articles are defeatured. @Outriggr: has been helping clean them up. I am unwatching that page now ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:40, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Particularly we need people to watchlist Template:Medical FA editnotice because, contrary to what I assumed was common practice—see editnotice protection itself; see protection of {{editnotice}}; see protection of {{British English editnotice}}—I could not get it semi-protected at the protection request desk. Outriggr (talk) 00:48, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
I've no idea what this section is about (... context needed?), but I semi-protected the editnotice under the highly visible template guideline. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:02, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
If an article has an associated edit notice template, you see that notice when you edit the article. For example, open an edit window on Tourette syndrome (or any medical FA) and you will see the {{Medical FA editnotice}}. (We developed this in the FAC discussion links you will find on the page linked above-- I have been watching them ever since, and am now turning them over to Outriggr and all of you :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:13, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
I obviously know what an editnotice is, but did not know what the purpose of this section was until your parenthetical aside above. :-) Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:17, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
The idea is that we might provide one page for tracking FA editnotice templates. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 05:27, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Featured article candidates/archive70".