Unfortunately someone lobbed the "proposed policy or guideline" template on the project page. I never intended this to be policy or guideline. It's more a drive towards making more articles accessible to more people. After all, it's better to have an article that can be understood by 1,000 readers rather than none at all. The point here is that it is better still if 1,000,000 or 10,000,000 can understand and learn from it.
As far as how this is meant to pre-suppose what readers want - it only assumes that readers want accurate and informative articles that they can understand and that they enjoy reading. It makes no more assumptions than that. It's not meant to be a panacea to be applied everywhere (and it will not resolve or help the BC/BCE dispute). But it may improve other articles. Take the article on chromosomes, for instance. Don't look at it yet. What would you expect/want such an article to offer?
I think it should tell a reader not familiar with biology what a chromosome is and why it is important. It should explain to that same reader what it does. It may have a small section at the end containing technical details for someone with more advanced knowledge, but really I'd be surprised if there's much that can't be explained to a novice.
Now look at the article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosome It tells me nothing. Not what one is, not why it's important. To me (and I guess to anyone else who is unfamiliar with what a chromosome really is) it is meaningless. And it's here that Wikipedia ceases to function as a proper encyclopaedia. I also ask myself, what would it cost to those who already know quite a bit about biology if the article was more accessible. The answer's nothing - no information needs to be deleted, none should be removed. It's just a question of rephrasing so that more can comprehend.
This is what Readers First is about. Encouraging editors of articles to think about their audience - and in particular to aim for as wide an audience as possible. Einstein wrote a best-seller on relativity and Hawkings a best-seller on time (although the later chapters admittedly beat many people). They did show that complicated ideas can be explained to a general population. There's no reason why we should not try to make our articles as accessible to as
many as possible.
If there are volunteers who understand chromosomes and who have the patience to explain it to a layman, then let me know and I'll work with them to improve the article so you can see how much better it can get.
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