>I'm going to grouse a bit.
Very good. Now I'm going to just rant a bit (ok, a lot) :).
>I think far, far too much attention gets paid to the worst articles on
>Wikipedia - the studs, the vanity articles, the stuff of debatable
>notability (schools!!) while not nearly enough effort goes into making
>crappy articles into good ones.
YES. Finally someone says the real problem.
>People on AFD love to argue about the crappiest articles. (It also
>to spill over to this mailing list) On the other side of the spectrum,
>the percentage of featured articles (number of featured articles /
>number of articles) has been rapidly declining since March.
>And yet no one seems care. Sometime this month, percentage of featured
>articles will drop below 0.1% -- less than 1 article in 1000 being a
OK, there are a lot of reasons with this. One are the new higher
standards that are being imposed. Between Me, Tony1, and SimonP the
standards are quite high - just look at the number of featured article
candidates (FACs) - now there is around 10 - just a few weeks ago there
were like 40 and then people were complaining because there were too
Another thing is the inevitable controversy. When working on something
that a lot of people have opinions on you run into a lot of heated
debates. In addition, on many of those articles you're going to run
into obvious POV pushers who just don't get it - see my long response at
to someone distressed because (s)he was trying to clean up pop singer
articles. It really is not a rewarding experience most of the time to
deal with articles like that.
For example, when I was trying to clean up the autism/asperger's
syndrome articles I was accused of a "premeditated act of malicious
child harm", equated to a Nazi more than once, and accused of
suppressing peoples' views. In addition, you run into people from
extreme internet groups that come to WP for the sole purpose of having
their group's POV pushed on any related wiki page in addition to the
group itself having a page for recognition. Then there are the daily
battles to keep it accurate and the original research people out (its
difficult to get original research deleted on AfD, ironically :)). Its
quite the circus and requires an unreasonable amount of time from
someone, and really isn't that satisfying at all. Plus, just editing
these articles often will give you the dooming "controversial" label,
giving you to many oppose votes on your RfA or what have you
(generalizing), so many people who are good editors just don't bother
So, in the end its a lot easier just working on uncontroversial
articles that are usually highly techinical in nature (SimonP's
mercantalism masterpiece comes to mind).
I mean you look at a high-profile article like Microsoft. I remember my
first edit was to the talk page of that article complaining about the
obvious POV ranting on that page back in march - I didn't even have
another edit until late july because I thought it would get "fixed"...
- of course I ended up having to do it all myself... which seems to be
a common theme around here. I mean just yesterday I did a complete
rewrite of the hacker article because it was a mess and just wrong in a
lot of places. It only took me an hour, so I don't quite understand why
with 10,000 or so viewers of the page no one else bothered. Whatever
happened to WP:BOLD?
I really do think the FAC process itself is great though. It has two
1)Hit and run opposers - if you are going to oppose you don't need to
help with the article but you need to pay attention to updated comments.
2)People who just nominate an article and never change it during the
FAC. For some reason this happens with like half of them and its really
3)People who oppose because they don't like the article or don't like
the type of article.
There is also peer review - which as everyone who visits there knows
I'm rather prolific at :). I think people should be restricted to
nominating one article per person per two weeks - otherwise you have
the A Link to the past flood of 30 peer review requests in the same
day. As the point of peer review is to get the article to FA status -
which is not easy and is not supposed to be! It should take you at
LEAST two weeks to get one article up to FA status, maybe less with
>Am I the only one who thinks we have our priorities out of order? We
>we spending so much energy arguing about the horrible stuff that (for
>all intents) will never be seen or noticed when our important articles
>(think - Michael Brown, Tom DeLay, John Roberts) are, well, not very
OK - there is a systemic problem with these pages as well. Its not all
that obvious - its that people seem to come to wikipedia to debate
politics instead of discuss actual content. Wikipedia is a horrible
place to debate politics - discussions are fractured and are archived
fast. People need to stick to content and stick to NPOV through
comprimises. Also, as evidenced by the Bush article, going back and
forth between various POVs doesn't work that well - that content needs
to be balanced and it needs to stick to neutral language and cite
OK, sorry for the long rant :).
There's a frighteningly large amount of misinformation being thrown
around here, so let me attempt to inject some real information into the
First, we're promoting slightly more than one article per day (after 280
something days in 2005, we've promoted something like 295 articles). So
at the present rate, we could have a new, different featured article on
the main page every day forever. (Oh, and Mero, last week, we promoted 9
featured articles, not 4)
Second, the FAC process is designed to expose flaws in an article.
That's why all objections have to be actionable (and, corrospondingly,
specific enough so as to be actionable). Someone has to fix the problems
in order for an article to be promoted, and that job usually falls to
the nominator. I do not like the idea of forcing the reviewers to fix
the article - that's just a bad idea.
As for Tony's idea - well, I don't want to put too fine a point of this
because I respect Tony, but his idea
is terrible. Unredeemably bad, in fact. The FAC is a sane, well-mainted
part of Wikipedia *THAT ACTUALLY GENERATES GOOD ARTICLES*. So, let's
scrap the process and make it more like Votes for Deletion, eh? Oh,
It introduce a massive bureacracy to what is a rather effecient process
(and don't take my word on that -- library science graduate students
studied the FAC process and concluded that it "is not ideal, but it does
seem relatively rigorous."-
http://www.isrl.uiuc.edu/~stvilia/papers/qualWiki.pdf -- remind me again
how many research studies have concluded that the VFD/AFD works well?)
Tony's proposed changes represent a huge step backwards. Consider the
example articles Tony pointed at. If those articles "Exemplify
Wikipedia's best articles", then he has rather low expectations. The
featured article criteria are the standards we hold articles to, and
every single one those articles is lacking (as Geni pointed out). Is
holding articles to a high standard a bad thing? I would hope not.
Michael Turley wrote:
>Honestly, my memory sucks right now. I'm not trying to be flippant:
>Isn't there a famous traffic circle or two worthy of featured article
>status in London, England? Perhaps one in Paris, France or Rome,
>Italy as well?
Birmingham. [[Spaghetti Junction (England)]].
> I know how it works. I'm suggesting that articles of no interest to
> except the author (and I don't happen to think the example given comes
> anywhere near qualifying for that particular condition)
I would argue that featured articles that, say, Worldtraveller, writes
(mostly dealing with advanced astronomy stuff) are about as
interesting as watching paint dry - but they are obviously GOOD
articles - and that's the point. The whole "it's only interesting to
the author" argument is nonsense because its such a relative thing.
[[User:RN]] at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:RN
Ryan Norton at wxforum: http://wxforum.org
Michael Turley wrote:
>I had no prior interest in [[Sigurd Syr]] before contributing to the
>article on him. What I did have an interest in, was improving
>Wikipedia, and making an apology to User:Briangotts, and he selected
>[[Sigurd Syr]] as my assignment when I offered to make a referenced,
>content contributing, good faith edit to an article of his choice.
Heh. One of my favourite articles I've mostly written is [[Gifford
Pinchot]]. Not that it's a fantastic article. But someone (I forget
who) on IRC said "hey, this needs working on. There's some reference
links on the talk page. Go for it." So I spent half an hour using the
reference links to write the article. Without having bothered to do
that, I'd never have known that the term "conservation" as applied to
forests and so forth was invented by a Republican.
Ray Saintonge wrote:
>>AFD had a near unanimous concensus that the article should be deleted.
>>I don't have anything against merging content during the discussion, but if
>>the consensus is to delete such a merge must be undone.
>What vandal would do that?
>Obviously, unless a merger prohibition was specifically mentioned in the
>deletion request it should not apply.
Even then I don't see how it can apply. AFD is not the Editor in
Chief, deciding article content on that level. The idea of a mechanism
wherein five AFD regulars can vote that any content not ever be
included in a given article should be treated as binding is so utterly
stupid I hardly have words for it.
Justin Cormack wrote:
>I dont find the featured article process very interesting. There are
>lots of articles that are of that quality
>but I dont feel any real incentive to nominate. And quite a few of
>the FAs are not very good. Articles that I
>care about are getting better, much better and thats more important
>to me. What are FAs for? What percentage
>of articles do you expect to be FAs?
Seconded. There's lots of really good articles, but the actual FAC
process is a *stupid* amount of work to *expect* anyone to go through
in my direct experience. I don't see how it can scale as Raul expects
(This may be an interesting side-effect of the article rating feature:
seeing what articles are actually rated highly by the readers and
seeing if they can get just that little bit of polish.)
Tony Sidaway wrote:
>so much of the best that Wikipedia has to offer
>comprises mediocrely written articles that tell you pretty much what you
>need to know, and generally do it in less than a screenful of information
>and without pointless fripperies such as pictures.
That seems to me a rather limited view of Wikipedia's strengths and
potential. You might as well say we're aspiring to nothing more than
creating exactly the same stuff you can find on virtually any website on