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Volume 5, Issue 1 3 January 2009 About the Signpost

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From the editor: Getting back on track 
ArbCom elections: 10 arbitrators appointed Virgin Killer page blocked, unblocked in UK 
Editing statistics show decline in participation Wikipedia drug coverage compared to Medscape, found wanting 
News and notes: Fundraising success and other developments Dispatches: Featured list writers 
Wikipedia in the news WikiProject Report: WikiProject Ice Hockey 
Features and admins The Report on Lengthy Litigation 

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From the editor

By Ragesoss, 3 January 2009

This belated edition of the Wikipedia Signpost hopefully will mark a turning point in the evolution of our community newspaper. Editor-in-chief Ral315 will be returning, and in the meantime Signpost volunteers are working to create a system that can be run easily in the absence of any particular editor.

The Signpost has several outstanding needs. The "Technology report", a long-standing feature that keeps readers up-to-date on MediaWiki development and configuration changes, has been absent from recent editions, including this one. Any offers to take up this important feature, whether on a weekly basis or with periodic updates, would be greatly appreciated.

Two other features, "In the news" and "News and notes", are essentially collaborative works, and they depend on the many editors who update the Signpost Tip Line. While the Tip Line is perhaps the single most complete page for keeping up with important Wikipedia happenings and news coverage, that isn't saying much. More eyes searching for significant Wikipedia stories in the media are always appreciated. Many internal developments and discussions tend to slip through the cracks, so summaries of the results of important requests for comment and other goings on are also helpful.

The weekly "Dispatch" covers issues concerning featured content and related pages, particularly in relation to editing and how the processes work. The stories are about (but not limited to):

Input at the Featured content dispatch workshop is needed and welcome.


This is the community's newspaper, and it needs constant input to keep abreast of issues of community-wide relevance.

Ragesoss


New ArbCom members appointed

By Hermione1980 and seresin, 22 December, 2008

Jimbo Wales has announced the results of the 2008 ArbCom elections. In a note on his talk page on 20 December 2008, Wales named ten new arbitrators to the Committee, expanding it from 15 to 18 seats:

The appointments were the top ten finishers in the election, according to the final vote tallies. Wales indicated that some members of the community had suggested he consider the net number of support votes each candidate received, while others proposed he consider the percentage of support compared to total votes cast. According to him, both metrics yielded the same set of appointments given that the top six would receive the three-year terms, the seventh, eighth and ninth-place finishers would be appointed to two-year terms, and the tenth-place finisher a one-year term. Since both metrics, while giving slightly different rankings, resulted in the same people being appointed to the same seats, he said it was irrelevant which method he used for the purpose of the resulting appointments.

Additionally, Deskana is resigning his seat, leaving one of the 18 seats vacant. Wales has indicated that he will fill that seat with an interim election "in March or June [2009] or so", to allow any other resignations to be handled at the same time.

Seven seats were up for election: the five expiring seats from Tranche Beta, and two vacated seats from Tranche Gamma. Wales expanded the committee by adding one seat to the existing five in each Tranche; with the appointment of Jayvdb to Tranche Beta, Wizardman to Tranche Alpha, and Coren to Tranche Gamma, ArbCom now comprises 18 seats (one vacant).

Of the 17 members, only two have served more than one year on the committee – FloNight and Kirill Lokshin, both of whom have served for two years – and five have served on the committee for one year: FayssalF, FT2, Newyorkbrad, Sam Blacketer and Stephen Bain (previously named Thebainer). Had Wales only appointed seven editors – to fill the vacant and expiring seats – the committee would have had 15 members, seven of whom would have been new. With the three expanded seats, more than half the ArbCom is new: ten of the eighteen (effectively seventeen with Deskana's resignation). This was a result of Wales' decision to implement change in the committee, as he stated on his talk page:

My exploration of the voting results tells me that this was an election for change. The only 2 current Arbs who were running [Charles Matthews and Jdforrester] were soundly defeated. This was a key factor in my decision to expand the committee – appointing 7 of 15 seats would not even be a majority, and 8 of 15 (by filling Deskana's seat) would barely be. As it stands, we have 10 of 18 seats filled with new members, and with 1 retirement, in fact we have 10 of 17 arbs new. The community has asked for change, and I support this fully.

Wales has also stated that ArbCom proceedings should be more transparent. "While not completely outlawing all private decision making," he noted, "I will simply state that I will be strongly inclined to overturn on appeal any decision of the ArbCom that did not include a public discussion and vote." A request for clarification as to whether Wales meant "public discussion and vote" or "public discussion or vote" remains currently unanswered.

By phoebe, Cryptic C62 and Pretzels

Wikipedia blocked over concerns of child pornography

Many Wikipedia users in the United Kingdom were blocked from editing for almost a week early in December 2008, when the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) classified an image on the site as child abuse. A self-regulating body, the UK-based IWF maintains a blacklist of sites containing child abuse images which it claims is used by 95% of UK-based residential ISPs; providers affected included BT, Vodafone, Virgin Media/Tesco.net, Be/O2, EasyNet/UK Online/Sky Broadband, Orange, Demon, and TalkTalk (Opal Telecom). Users attempting to access the Virgin Killer article or image were either served with fake 404 errors, a notification of the block, a refused connection, or simply a blank page.

While the IWF only intended to block access to the single article, British users found that they were unable to edit other parts of Wikipedia due to a complication involving proxies. Sarah Robertson, a spokesperson for the IWF, could not explain this interference, claiming "There shouldn't have been any collateral damage." Wikipedia users quickly determined that traffic to sites on the IWF's blacklist was being routed through a small number of proxy servers, resulting in all users from each affected ISP sharing an IP address. These shared IP addresses were soon blocked by Wikipedia administrators, as vandals could not be distinguished from regular contributors. After a few days of negotiations, some ISPs added X-Forwarded-For headers to their server configurations, meaning the true IP address could once again be read by Wikipedia's servers.

The image in question was the cover of a 1976 album Virgin Killer by Scorpions, which featured a photograph of a nude, 10-year-old girl, with a crack in a pane of glass obscuring her genitals. It has been the subject of several deletion discussions in the past, but Wikipedians cited WP:NOTCENSORED and that the cover was notable for its use, in the words of the band's guitarist, "only to get attention". Mike Godwin, general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), stated, "We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world."[1] The album has been readily available for purchase in the UK and abroad since its release over 30 years ago.

On December 9, the IWF reversed its decision, citing widespread access to the image outside of Wikipedia and "contextual issues," a decision that eventually restored editing access to Wikipedia in the UK (although some ISPs were considerably slow to remove the block) and was applauded by the WMF[2]. The IWF apologized for its actions, stating "IWF’s overriding objective is to minimise the availability of indecent images of children on the internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect."[3], this being a likely reference to the pageview statistics for the article since the block came into place; Virgin Killer was the most viewed article on en.wiki for most of the week, and traffic increased over 200-fold to over 371,900 hits at its peak.

The story attracted remarkable media coverage, including a live interview with the IWF Chief Executive on the UK's national Channel 4 News, and multiple appearances on BBC Radio stations. It was also featured in national newspapers including the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, and almost all major technology news publications. It was the third most dugg story on Digg on the 8th December[4], and the most read article worldwide on BBC News Online for seven hours.

For more on the block and subsequent un-blocking, see Internet Watch Foundation and Wikipedia, and Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/2008 IWF action. The Signpost covered an earlier controversy over Wikipedia's hosting of the Virgin Killer image in May 2008: Explicit sexual content draws fire.


Editing frequency statistics show decline in participation

By Ragesoss, January 3, 2009
 
Accounts per month with at least 20 article edits, January 2001 – September 2008
 
Ratios of high-edit users to all active users since 2005, relative to September 2008 values (article namespace only)
 
New accounts registered per month, October 2005 to December 2008

New statistics on editing frequency, produced by User:Dragons flight, show that the size of the active editing community of the English Wikipedia peaked in early 2007 and has declined somewhat since then. Like Wikipedia's article count, the number of active editors grew exponentially during the early years of the project. The article creation rate (which is tracked at Wikipedia:Size of Wikipedia) peaked around August 2006 at about 2400 net new articles per day and has fallen since then, to around under 1400 in recent months.

Corresponding data for the number of active editors was available from Erik Zachte's Wikipedia Statistics site, but due to the large size of the complete database dump, the numbers for English Wikipedia have not been updated since October 2006, just when Wikipedia appeared to be entering a new phase of growth. The new data shows that the community continued to grow for about six months after the peak in article growth rate, reaching a maximum of 18,126 registered user accounts (excluding bots) with at least 20 article namespace edits in the month of March 2007. By September 2008 (the last month covered by the new statistics) only 13,971 accounts made 20 or more article edits. Anonymous edits and total non-bot edits across all namespaces also peaked in March 2007.

The proportion of active users who contribute heavily has remained relatively stable since the peak of activity in 2007, although active users were more likely to have high edit counts during Wikipedia's period of very rapid growth in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, users making at least one article edit in a given month were about twice as likely to make over 100 edits that month than in 2007 and 2008. However, the proportion of active users making at least 2500 article edits per month has been rising since early 2007.

User:MBisanz has charted the number of new accounts registered per month, which tells a very similar story: March 2007 recorded the largest number of new accounts, and the rate of new account creation has fallen significantly since then. Declines in activity have also been noted, and fretted about, at Wikipedia:Requests for adminship. In 2008, only 201 editors were granted adminship, compared to 408 in 2007; in December 2008, there were only nine successful requests for adminship, and on December 31, there were no active requests. However, the number of active administrators (which appears to have peaked just above 1000 early in 2008) has seen only slight decline; as of January 2, 2009 there are 944 administrators who have made at least 30 edits in the past three months.


Wikipedia drug coverage compared to Medscape, found wanting

By Ragesoss, January 3, 2009

An article published in the December issue of the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, "Scope, Completeness, and Accuracy of Drug Information in Wikipedia", compares Wikipedia articles on pharmaceuticals with corresponding entries in the freely accessible Medscape Drug Reference database (www.medscape.com). The report was written by four researchers: three from the Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy and one from the Faculty of Health and Social Work at the University of Plymouth. The report finds that Wikipedia articles on drugs (from March 12, 2008) were often incomplete in terms of side effects and drug interactions and that "Wikipedia has a more narrow scope, is less complete, and has more errors of omission versus [Medscape]". The authors conclude that consumers should not rely solely on Wikipedia for information on drugs they are taking or considering taking. However, they find that the articles had expanded considerably in scope over the 90 days before March 12 and that "user-edited sites may serve as an effective means of disseminating drug information and are promising as a means of more actively involving consumers in their own care".

The study consisted of 80 questions spread over eight "essential categories of drug information recognized as clinically important to patient safety and care": "administration, adverse drug events, contraindications, dosage, drug interactions, indications, mechanism of action, and use in pregnancy and lactation". Wikipedia articles contained answers to 32 of the questions (up from 27 questions 90 days prior), while Medscape had answers to 66 questions. However, the researchers found four incorrect or outdated answers in Medscape and none in Wikipedia; "manufacturer-provided product information and other authoritative sources" were used to generate the answer key.

Response from Wikipedians

In on-wiki discussions (at WikiProject Pharmacology and WikiProject Medicine), many editors have criticized the study as essentially comparing apples and oranges. MastCell summarized the central objection well:

The authors state: "The comparator database had to be a freely accessible general drug information database". Why a drug information database? They don't really explain this decision, which I think biases the rest of the study. The "sample questions" are similarly skewed – they represent clinical questions that a physician might ask, rather than common questions that a patient or layperson might seek answers to.

While acknowledging the shortcomings of many Wikipedia drug articles, editors noted the very different form, purpose and intended audience of Medscape and Wikipedia. Although accessible to the public, Medscape requires registration (free, but with no opt-out for a weekly email newsletter) to view drug monographs and some other content, and it is explicitly intended for "specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals". The Medscape monographs seem intended to advise health care providers on how to prescribe drugs for specific conditions; Wikipedia intentionally avoids "how-to" content and advice.

Furthermore, 10 of the missing answers in Wikipedia (which were all present in Medscape) were from questions of dosage; such information is explicitly discouraged by Wikipedia's manual of style for medicine-related articles. Similarly, the manual of style instructs editors to:

Try to avoid cloning drug formularies such as the BNF and online resources like RxList and Drugs.com. Extract the pertinent information rather than just dumping low-level facts in a big list. For example, a long list of side effects is largely useless without some idea of which are common or serious.

Part of a typical Medscape Drug Reference entry, the "Dosage, Uses and Warnings" page, consists solely of such "low-level facts", although side effects are typically sorted by frequency of occurrence.

David Ruben has been in contact with the lead author, Kevin A. Clauson; their email exchange is reproduced in the WikiProject Medicine discussion (linked above). Regarding dosage details, Clauson said:

... while I believe the Wikipedia policy to be well-intentioned, I wonder if it should be revisited. As part of my duties, I operate a Drug Information Center and over the years have received a number of calls relating to patients self medicating with prescription drugs after using online sites (not necessarily Wikipedia) as their sole information source in doing so. These patients typically are not brought to our attention until the point where something negative has happened. While I am not offering these anecdotal reports as 'evidence', there are case reports of this type of occurrence (J Am Pharm Assoc 2007 Jul–Aug;47(4):436–42), articles by researchers exploring aspects such as sharing and borrowing prescription medications (J Women's Health 2008 Sep;17(7):1073–80), and my other collaborative work with individuals whose efforts in the sociobehavioral aspects all lead me to question if Wikipedia isn't doing a disservice by electing not to provide basics such as maximum dosages? I don't know what the best answer is to that question as I have undoubtedly not given it as much thought as Wikipedia contributors have, but believing that the intended purpose of something precludes it from being used in other ways does not necessarily make it so.

Wikipedians are considering sending a letter to the editor of the Annals of Pharmacotherapy in response to the study.


News and notes

By phoebe, Mikkalai, Hermione1980, Cryptic C62, Peregrine Fisher, Ragesoss and HaeB, 3 January 2009

Fundraiser goal met

The Wikimedia Foundation 2008 met its fundraising goal in the last days of 2008, reaching $6.1 million dollars on January 1, 2009. According to Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Foundation, this amount will cover all of the WMF's projected costs for 2008–2009.[5] Just over $4 million of this amount was raised during this fundraiser, which opened on November 5. The fundraiser was originally scheduled to end on January 15 (Wikipedia Day), however, the goal was reached earlier than anticipated. In part this success was due to a fundraising sitenotice banner that contained a link to "a personal appeal from Jimmy Wales", which helped raise over $280,000 in a single day.[6] The fundraising banners across the English-language projects and Commons have now been replaced by a thank-you banner, which will be up for "probably a week", according to Gardner.

MediaWiki interface to get a facelift

The Wikimedia Foundation announced on December 3 that it received a $890,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation to make Wikipedia's editing interface more user-friendly. The Wikimedia Foundation has recognized that the mixing of ordinary sentences with wiki markup has probably turned off users who could be valuable contributors. According to Wikimedia Foundation's executive director Sue Gardner, "Wikipedia attracts writers who have a moderate-to-high level of technical understanding, but it excludes lots of smart, knowledgeable people who are less tech-centric." The grant will be used to identify and remedy what is turning these people off.

The project, which will be led by a five-person team of three software developers, a user interface designer, and a project manager, the newly hired Naoko Komura, is scheduled to begin in January 2009 and finish in April 2010. The goal is to hide some of the complexities of the MediaWiki software from users who do not need to see it. According to Erik Moeller on the Foundation-l mailing list, the main focus of the project will be "user testing designed to identify the most common barriers to entry for first-time writers, and a series of improvements to the MediaWiki interface…to issues identified through user testing and…hiding complex elements of the user interface from people who don't use them. (Specifically, we'll focus on complex syntax like templates, references, tables, etc.)" There will be two phases to the project. Phase 1 will address some of the simpler barriers to editing, such as the visibility of the "edit" button. Phase 2, which will start in late summer 2009, will focus on simplifying the wiki code.

Some critics have suggested that the MediaWiki interface is intentionally difficult to use in order to lower participation and increase ease of management. A Wired.com post, "Wikipedia’s WYSIWYG Dilemma", quoted an estimate by Jason Calacanis (CEO of Mahalo.com) that a WYSIWYG interface would only cost around $50,000, but that the additional contributors it would attract would bring Wikipedia to a "grinding halt" (the stumbling block perceived is the difficulty of fact-checking in the expected drastically increased amount of contribution).

This earmarked donation is separate from the over $6 million raised through this year's fundraiser. For more information on the grant, see the Wikimedia Foundation press release, the Stanton Grant Q&A, and Erik Moeller's post on Foundation-l.

100,000 archival images donated

Starting on Thursday December 4, 2008, Wikimedia Commons witnessed a massive upload of new historical images. About 100,000 files are anticipated from a donation from the German Federal Archive. Included in the donation were pictures from the Weimar Republic, German colonial era, Third Reich, and Germany after reunification. Angelika Menne-Haritz, vice-president of the Federal Archives in Berlin, said "The public had a right to access the photos," and that "the deal with Wikipedia would facilitate public access to the material." This was the largest single donation of material to Wikimedia Commons since it was established in 2004.

These images are licensed Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License (CC-BY-SA). Wikimedia Germany and the Federal Archive have signed a cooperation agreement that, among other things, asserts that the Federal Archive owns sufficient rights to be able to grant this kind of license. The images were scaled down to 800 pixels in size on the longer side.

The other part of the cooperation is a tool for linking people from a list compiled by the Federal Archive to the German Wikipedia Persondata and to the person authority file of the German National Library (something the German Wikipedia has been doing since 2005).

Biology journal requires summaries on Wikipedia

The journal RNA Biology has begun requiring authors to submit summaries of their work to Wikipedia before publication. For more, see the Wikinews story: RNA journal submits articles to Wikipedia.

French Wikipedia uses image pages to sell posters

On the French Wikipedia, all description pages for images hosted on Wikimedia Commons have been changed to include a link to purchase a poster print of that image from "WikiPosters", a service run by Messages SAS (a 90 employee printing company based in Toulouse). The company has donated €500 to the Wikimedia Foundation and €500 to Wikimedia France, and intends to donate €1.50 to Wikimedia France for each poster sold. However, the agreement between Messages SAS and the French Wikipedia community, while requiring the latter to insert those links, does not seem to place binding financial obligations on the company.

On each image page, a link appears (as in this example image) labeled "Obtenir un poster de cette image (nouveau !)" ("Obtain a poster of this image (new!)) at the top right of each image description page. After clicking on the link, the reader can choose between the ordering pages of different poster vendors (currently only wikiposters.fr).

Wikinews stories appear in Google News

Until recently Google News would not list articles from Wikinews, because of the editorial process requirements. Wikinews would sometimes republish original reporting on a blog that was listed on Google News, to attempt to draw some outside eyeballs. Now that is no longer necessary, and every Wikinews story is available in Google News search results.

Milestones

In December:


Dispatches: How, Why, and Huh?—Inside the minds of Featured list writers

By Scorpion0422, January 3, 2009

2008 has been a big year for the Featured List (FL) process, with several big changes, including the appointment of two directors. As of December 25, 2008, there are 1175 lists, 710 of which were promoted in 2008. Also in 2008, the Featured List Removal (FLR) process was rejuvenated. Prior to 2008, a mere 11 FLs were delisted between November 2005 and December 2007.

Scorpion0422, co-director of the Featured List process (FLC), interviewed four prolific FL writers for The Signpost. These four – who have been primary contributors to a combined 173 lists – discussed their experiences with the Featured list process:

  • Gary King, the most prolific nominator, with FLs in six different topics, most of them focused on awards and nominations received by musical artists.
  • Hurricanehink, who focuses on tropical cyclones, particularly Atlantic hurricanes.
  • Sephiroth BCR, with quite a few FLs relating to anime and manga, but who has also worked on various awards and Nobel Prize-related lists.
  • Woody, with FLs on both Victoria Cross recipients and Aston Villa F.C..

What originally attracted you to writing for Wikipedia?

Gary King. I've used Wikipedia for general knowledge for as long as I can remember. As a web developer, I enjoy keeping up-to-date with web technologies, and since Wikipedia didn't have articles on a lot of them, I created them myself. After that, I ended up creating articles on just about anything, and have written at least 400 articles so far. Probably one of the most well known articles that I've created is YouTube, which I started back in December 2005 when it was an unknown video sharing website. The website—and the article—have both come a long way since then! I also think that working on articles is a great opportunity to research on things that I like and write about them.
Hurricanehink. Throughout high school, I became obsessed with trivia and general knowledge (particularly hurricanes), but I usually relied on a Google search and hoped for the best. One day, I searched for something I thought would be rather obscure, and it led me to Wikipedia for the first time. At first, I was skeptical it would have other topics, but every search yielded a page. My search into hurricane articles is what got me to stay, and almost immediately I began editing, changing various hurricane articles which I thought were missing important information. After a few months of random editing, I really got into the idea of article expansion, and after I contributed to my first featured article, I have been hooked ever since.
Sephiroth BCR. I believe it was because I was reading The Chronicles of Amber at the time, and wanted to see Wikipedia's article on the series. After making a few edits there and there, I wondered whether there were articles on video game series that I enjoyed, so I looked up articles on the Castlevania series, and edited for a bit until I lost interest and stopped. After a couple months, I saw that Wikipedia had articles relating to the Naruto anime and manga, so that reignited my interest and got me back into editing, and I've been editing since. At that point, I think Wikipedia's increasing popularity influenced my decision to return, and my desire to improve what is one of the most heavily searched areas of Wikipedia.
Woody:. I have always had an interest in Military History and my first article contributions were in this area. I first looked for information on the then new post of Commodore-in-Chief; I couldn't find it, so I created the article. I then began to look around Wikipedia in general and found some aspects of British Military history to be lacking in information. My feelings at the time were that these topics deserved good, accurate articles so that anyone could read acquire information about them. My first large article was Andrew Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, a British naval leader in the Second World War, I couldn't believe it was only a stub so I expanded it, and kept on expanding it and eventually it became a Featured article and I was hooked.

Why are you interested in featured lists and lists in general?

Hurricanehink. Though I usually work on straightforward articles, I enjoy switching it up with a list, particularly with making the tables. It's rewarding to organize and write on a fixed collection of items, and it's a relief having that fixed set.
Sephiroth BCR. I particularly enjoy making tables and putting information into a tabular format. And it gives me an excuse to go watch new anime or read new manga for different series.
Gary King. As someone who likes to look at graphs and statistics all day, I have a strong attraction to featured lists. Some of the things that I'm interested in have managed to find their way into my featured lists, such as List of unrecognized countries (geography), List of premiers of Manitoba (politics), and List of awards and nominations received by Radiohead (music). Also, featured lists are great for comparing information, and are useful indexes. They are also typically focused on a very specific topic, so I can work on them without needing to write about something I'm not interested in. I also enjoy writing featured lists because they require a nice balance between writing brilliant prose and formatting information in a logical and convenient manner, both which aren't easy to do at first.
Woody:. My contributions to lists on Wikipedia tend to revolve around two topics: Aston Villa Football Club and Victoria Cross related lists. Generally, with most articles that I edit, I have the ultimate intention of getting it to Featured content, be that an article, a list or as a topic as a whole. I wouldn't say I have a particular affinity with featured lists, I am more aligned to the topics that I am bringing up to FT.

What motivated you to work on your first Featured list?

Gary King. Sephiroth BCR (who is also interviewed on this page) was, and still is, a very proficient featured list contributor. When I asked him what directions I could take in terms of article writing, he pointed me to a few pages: Featured list candidates (FLC), Featured article candidates (FAC), Featured topic candidates (FTC), and Good article nominations (GAN). So, I worked on my first featured list, which was also my first featured content of any kind: List of autonomous areas by country. The nomination ended up with 7 Supports and 0 Opposes. Needless to say, I had a very good impression of the process, so I ended up going back with more nominations.
Hurricanehink. I was a little tired of working on articles, so I took a stab on a list of tropical cyclones affecting my home state. I really enjoyed the process, from developing the article to someone suggesting I take it to FLC. It was a really pleasurable experience, and so I did it twice more in a two week period. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 02:36, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Sephiroth BCR. After seeing User:Erachima bring List of Bleach episodes (season 1) (then some weird title using the arc name) to featured list status, I felt confident in bringing List of Bleach episodes (season 2) to FLC due to the model he created. I've basically used that model since with a few tweaks from there to there.
Woody:. To put it simply: the poor state of the Aston Villa F.C. topics on Wikipedia. As part of developing Aston Villa F.C. I moved the content of the notable players section over to List of Aston Villa F.C. players with this edit. Frankly, it was a subjective mess, so over a period of time, a few editors including myself set about improving it.

How do you choose an article to bring to FLC?

Hurricanehink. If there's a subject I really get interested in, and I put a lot of work into it, I'll usually take the effort to go for FLC. I like working on inter-related lists, too. ♬♩ Hurricanehink (talk) 02:32, 18 December 2008 (UTC)


Woody:. I am a rather specialised editor at FLC in that I work on set topics. Intially, this was the topic of Aston Villa F.C., and the several lists within that topic. My other main interest is the Victoria Cross and the lists of its recipients. There are a plethora of inter-related lists on Wikipedia and I am working through the different lists within that topic.
Sephiroth BCR. Depends on the type of list. For anime episode lists, it's for series that I've watched, and I tend to bring series that I particularly like up to par (List of Black Lagoon episodes for instance). Same thing for manga chapter lists, as you can't really make the list without reading the chapters first (List of Soul Eater chapters for an example). Past that, I usually conceptualize featured topics (see my workshop) and make lists along those lines in order to make the topic, and most of my topics tend to be long-term projects. Outside of anime and manga, what I choose to work on varies greatly. I occasionally stumble upon lists when reading through random material, find the subject intriguing, and then bring them to FLC if I feel it is plausible.
Gary King. When finding a list to bring to FLC, the most important thing that I check is whether or not its subject matter appeals to me. I sometimes also work on lists about a subject that I want to learn more about. For instance, I took List of universities in Canada and its child lists to FLC to learn more about Canada's universities, and the child lists of History of Canadian first ministers to FLC to learn more about each province's premiers. Some of my recent featured lists have been part of featured topics, including the two previously mentioned groups of lists. In a number of cases, I chose a list when I begin doing a few edits here and there, and then found myself giving the list a major overhaul. I then figured that I might as well make it into a featured list after spending so much time on it.

What has been your most difficult FLC experience?

Hurricanehink. List of most intense tropical cyclones was a bit difficult, as it opened my eyes for what really makes a great list. I got lazy and didn't go the extra distance; the list still isn't featured, partly as a reminder of how much effort to put into the lists.
 
The Aston Villa team of the late 19th century
Woody:. The first and second FLC of Aston Villa F.C. statistics and records was certainly my most difficult FLC experience; it is also the only FLC I have had that has failed. This was the one of the first list of its kind that the football WikiProject put up at FLC, and the opinions about what these lists needed to contain shifted during the FLC. There was a lot of work that needed to be done on it so I withdrew it. The main crux of the work was in sourcing many of the more obscure statistics and records about the club, many of which were spread around the books I used for references. It was certainly the list that needed the most work and effort to improve.
Gary King. List of Wilfrid Laurier University people took the longest time to bring to featured status. It had to go through three nominations before finally becoming a featured list. One issue that was brought up constantly throughout each nomination was that it was not comprehensive enough—it didn't include every notable person associated with the university. So, after the second nomination, I ended up spending a few weeks researching people associated with the university and adding them to the list. I ended up adding over a hundred names. The third nomination finally succeeded and the list became featured—a whopping seven months after I first started working on it.
Sephiroth BCR. Never really had an experience that was too overwhelming for my tastes. I guess the hardest was the FLC for List of Japanese submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film because I had to make the list from scratch without any model, and as I was participating in the first featured list contest, I received an exceptionally thorough review from the FLC regulars (many of whom were competing against me). Outside of the actual nomination, List of Naruto characters was definitely the hardest one to produce, as there was an enormous amount of work in merging material, finding adequate conception/reception information, sourcing the entire thing, and then finding a copy-editor to go through an 85k list.

Which of the featured lists to which you've contributed make you most proud? And why?

 
Thirty-two Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with Princeton University.
Sephiroth BCR. List of Naruto characters for the bucketload of work described above, and the culmination of over a year and a half of mergers, reverting the countless upon countless edits from new or anonymous users who love the series to death, and overcoming the inertia against creating something like that. That and it was the anime and manga WikiProject's first featured character list, so that was a particularly nice accomplishment. Past that, I consider List of Japanese submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film one of my major accomplishments for getting me into film articles (I've produced eleven film FLs since), ultimately culminating in me being elected a coordinator of WikiProject Films. Aside from that, I'm particularly pleased with List of Nobel Laureates affiliated with Princeton University, as I was able to make a list relating to the university I currently attend, as well as making a model for similar lists in the future.
Gary King. I began working on List of mergers and acquisitions by Microsoft in April 2008, and nominated it as a featured list candidate the next month. The nomination, however, failed, primarily because of a lack of comments. It had 114 references at the time, for 114 acquisitions made by Microsoft. So, I went back to the drawing board and continued to work on it. A few months later, in November 2008, I rewrote the entire list and included mergers made by Microsoft, in addition to the acquisitions already on the page. I also expanded the lead significantly, and found a few more acquisitions that weren't originally on the list and added them. After expanding it, the list had 229 references for 229 mergers and acquisitions made by Microsoft. It was as comprehensive as it was going to be, and it passed its second featured list nomination later that month. I am very proud of the work that I put into the list; it is also the first result in most search engines when looking for "Microsoft acquisitions", and I think, deservedly so!
Hurricanehink. That's got to be List of Florida hurricanes, which itself is more of an article, but it's the gateway to five other featured lists. I got a bit obsessed, but I really wanted to finish the topic, due to its importance. Really, who doesn't want to know which tropical cyclones have affected Florida, to what severity and at what time of year?
Woody:. That would have to be any one of the Victoria Cross recipients list. There is so much history and courage behind each one of those lists. I think it is out of respect for their achievements that I continue to develop the lists. I think these kinds of lists are indicative of the reasons why Wikipedia was created, and is such a success; it is a great reference work.

Do you prefer working on articles or lists?

Gary King. I started off with lists, so they were very appealing to me. Afterward, however, I began to move more towards featured articles, perhaps because of the fact that I was still fairly inexperienced with them and wanted to be better at writing them. I now have roughly ten times as many featured lists as featured articles, so I'd like to spend more time with featured articles. However, I will always continue to submit featured list candidates, because I always find an interesting list to write. In featured topics that I work on, articles usually outnumber lists, which is another reason for why I have been working more on featured articles than lists lately. In the cases where a topic is made up entirely of lists, I am given an opportunity to go back to featured lists, which is always nice.
 
Satellite image of Florida, used in List of snow events in Florida
Hurricanehink. Articles. I more like working on a single subject, so I can get every last bit of information on it from every angle. I also like the writing aspect more, finding ways to incorporate and develop prose. I don't get that as much for lists.
Sephiroth BCR. Lists. I enjoy making tables and placing stuff in them. That and working on articles is much more time-consuming (largely due to the research requirements). I have two featured articles (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow) and both involved an excruciatingly long research and drafting process that left me exhausted after each incident. That and the difficulty of finding a copy-editor that is capable of bringing stuff to FA-quality writing gets more difficult by the day. I do work on good articles, and I admit it's a much more relaxing prospect to bring something up to GA-quality. I currently plan a good topic including List of Naruto characters and the various characters in the Naruto franchise (see User:Sephiroth BCR/Workshop#Characters of Naruto).
Woody:. I think they both have their positives and negatives. At the moment, I think I prefer lists, they are easier and more standardised. The criteria for articles constantly shifts with the Manual of Style changing daily which makes it harder to develop a set standard. I think the monotony of making lists can be beneficial in some circumstances but the sheer amount of hard work that goes into perfecting articles makes them enjoyable in their own right when you see the finished article.

What is the main difference between working on a list and working on an article?

Gary King. Lists have a more rigid layout, which makes it easier in some cases to spot issues. For some very creative lists, however, an editor has to figure out how to best display the information in a way that would convey the message the best to the reader. Also, it's always important to choose the right images to add to a list, because featured lists are usually shorter than featured articles, so the images need to be extremely relevant to the list for them to be included as space is limited. Articles are similar in a way, though, in that some types of articles can all have roughly the same layout, especially articles related to entertainment like films, television episodes, and video games. When writing a list, an editor needs a good eye for structure, while for articles, a good eye for prose is necessary.
Sephiroth BCR. Structure. Lists have a pretty clear structure: lead, the actual list (usually a table, depends on the subject), a "see also" section if appropriate, references, and external links. This is probably the structure of a grand majority of lists. That and the fact you're working with tables and need to be somewhat familiar with the intricacies of table syntax (namely sortability, especially the {{sort}} and {{sortname}} functions). Trying to put information into an aesthetically pleasing form in a table is different from anything you're doing in an article, in which your concentration is more on the quality of the text, adhering to NPOV in the balance of the presentation of the material, and research on the material to ensure that all your bases are covered.
Woody:. If you want to improve an page within a day, then lists are the thing to do: most lists can be developed to a good standard within a day, to Featured standard within a week. With articles, it is more a labour of love; they take much longer to develop and perfect. If I want some instant gratification then I prefer lists, but if I want to watch something develop, I would have to go with articles.

What advice do you have about the FL process for other writers?

 
Bud Wilkinson (right)—the 26th head coach of the Arizona Cardinals with U.S. President John F. Kennedy, during a 1961 visit to the White House
Gary King. Compare a list that you're working on with a recently promoted featured list that's similar in subject matter and type, and then build the list similar to that. However, an important thing to remember is to use common sense; sometimes, even recently promoted featured lists use standards that don't make much sense or can be improved on. Some standards can go unquestioned, but that shouldn't be the case; it's important to change a list's formatting if you think that it's better to convey information one way rather than another. An example are lists of NFL head coaches, such as this recently promoted one: List of Arizona Cardinals head coaches. Previous lists of this type were missing the winning percentage column for the playoffs, but it didn't make much sense to omit that information, so recently, this column has been a requirement for lists of NFL head coaches, which makes sense.
Sephiroth BCR. Models, models, models. Practically all FLs are based on one another and consistency is king when making lists. Absolute best thing for a FL writer to do when tackling a list is to look at similar examples, especially in the table. You can deviate slightly depending on the subject, but the overall structure of the table should be the same (maybe an additional column or two for material unique to the subject or expanding in the lead to cover some relevant points). The lead should also follow the same structure; however, there is much greater flexibility here for more, less, or different information depending on the subject.
Woody:. Get involved! It is not nearly as scary as you might imagine. There will always be someone around to answer any questions about lists, and usually there will already be a Featured list to base your edits on. You rarely see "trail-blazing" lists at FLC, that is a type of list that has never been developed before, there is always a template to base your list on.

Other than nominating, how much do you participate in the FLC process?

Woody. I go through spurts of activity at FLC. When I nominate an FLC, I try to review at least two other lists, and whenever a Milhist list is up for review I try to review them. When I have free time, I try to review lists from other areas.
 
Hurricane Gloria to the east of New Jersey, from List of New Jersey hurricanes
Gary King. I try to stay updated with anything going on with the featured list process, which includes staying on top of whatever appears at Wikipedia talk:Featured list candidates. Commenting on featured list candidates is something that I also enjoy doing. At one point, I tried to comment on every new featured list candidate, but it proved to be a tiring task. Since then, I comment on lists that catch my fancy and I provide advice on how to improve them. In particular, the prose in lists could always use more work. Reviews usually focus on the layout and structure of lists, but attention should also be given to the prose, so I try to do that when I can.
Sephiroth BCR. I'm one of the FLRC directors, so I comment on nominations there and close them as part of my duties. Past that, I comment on FLCs from time to time and frequent the discussions at the featured list candidates' discussion page.

Do you think reviewing other articles at FLC helps you as you write and nominate lists yourself? If so, how?

 
U.S. President George W. Bush with the six 2003 American Nobel Laureates in the Oval Office
Sephiroth BCR. For people that review all the time, it definitely helps them in their writing. I don't believe it's necessary to place a review yourself, but rather to read nominations from time to time to see new trends that merge in terms of what reviewers want to see in certain lists. It is especially important to do this when similar lists are at FLCs and comments made on one FLC may impact the other.
Gary King. It definitely helps. You get to see what trends are taking place among different types of lists, and you get ideas on how to improve your own lists or what types of lists to work on. It also helps to teach yourself how to find problems in a list, which will help with your own. When reviewing other lists, it forces you to look at lists that you don't normally read or write, and so you think differently. If you work on the same types of lists for too long, then you don't have an idea of how the format could be improved, a problem which is alleviated by reviewing other lists. Finally, reviewing other lists definitely helps with nominating your own lists because it reduces the backlog, so your own nominations will need less time to wait before getting reviews!
Woody. I think it varies depending on what type of list you are interested in. As I said earlier, for those lists that are new and relatively rare at FLC, previous FLCs can be very important to look at. Reviewing other lists forces you to examine the pages in detail which can be very indicative for any lists that you are developing personally. For the Victoria Cross lists, there aren't really any other similar lists in development, whereas the football lists have many other lists to compare against. I know that when I was developing the statistics and records FLC for the first time, my reviewing of other lists showed me how far behind the standard my list was. So yes, it can help.

How do you feel the FLC process differs from the FAC process?

Gary King. The featured list nomination process focuses more on layout, structure, and referencing, while the featured article nomination process focuses more on prose. That makes it easier to use other featured lists as models for future ones, but the disadvantage is that some featured list candidates have prose that wouldn't be considered "professional", which is technically required in the featured list criteria. Recently, there has been more focus on prose, which is excellent. I think that it's harder to write well than to format a table, so if nominators learn how to write better prose, then everyone wins. In addition, there are certainly less issues with regards to neutrality, especially undue weight. Also, in order to build a featured list, it is important to be good at organizing information.
Sephiroth BCR. Much, much less pressure, although that may be a consequence of going through the process so often. FAC concentrates on things that FLC tends not to have problems with (NPOV, copy-editing due to the big disparity in the actual amount of text, depth of coverage). There are shared items (sources, images), but altogether, the two processes are basically the same thing evaluating two very different types of content, so there is a natural concentration on things that have more relevance to each.
Woody. Both types of review are as rigorous as each other and follow the same patterns and principles, but I think they differ in certain areas, mainly arising from the differences in the type of content that they review. Featured article candidates (FAC) is now based around finishing off, and perfecting, the prose of an article which can be a very subjective exercise and can lead to disagreements. I think FLC differs in that there is generally only one way of displaying the information, there can be tweaks in table format, but the basis remains the same across all lists. This is different from FAC where articles can develop in a number of forms. So in the main, they are the same, but FAC can get a bit more pressured.

See also


In the News

By Cryptic C62, Peregrine Fisher and Pretzels, December 8, 2008

Revisions and Reviews vs. Source

Barbara Ortutay of the Associated Press recently discussed the challenges students face when trying to find reliable information. Susan Miller-Cochran of North Carolina State University and Rochelle Rodrigo of Maricopa Community Colleges recently presented a paper suggesting that students be given a checklist to help determine the reliability of information that they might find online, such as on Wikipedia, or offline, such as self-published books. The two main questions on the checklist would be whether or not the material changes over time and how it has been reviewed. While the answers for Wikipedia articles may not be entirely clear cut, Miller-Cochran wants to transition away from "pigeonholing the material based on where it was found."

Singer's biography full of lies; quickly corrected

Keith Murray, lead singer of We Are Scientists, complained that his Wikipedia entry contained information that was "awesomely untrue." He made specific reference to the article's claims that he donates half of his earnings to PETA and that he was scheduled to be the face of Louis Vuitton's next collection. He went on to say "I love that there is an encyclopaedic entry online that seems to be the basis by which people get information about me that contains outright lies." By the end of December 8, the day the article was written, all of the misinformation referenced in the article had been removed, as well as various other questionable claims.

Psychologist finds Wikipedians grumpy and closed-minded

A study has found that Wikipedians lack agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness, and are more comfortable online than in offline life. A team of psychologists from the Sammy Ofer School of Communication in Herzliya, Israel, compared 69 Israeli contributors to 70 students, matched for age and intensity of Internet use. The study also found that, amongst women, introverts were more likely to contribute than extroverts. Leading the study, Yair Amichai-Hamburger speculated in New Scientist magazine that the average Wikipedian takes part because they struggle to express themselves in real-world social situations.

Briefly

  • An Arkansas judge decided that Arkansas officials will not have to reveal which state computers were used to make politically-significant edits to the biographies of politicians during election season, including that of Mike Huckabee.
  • The Edmonton Journal profiled a local Wikipedian, Steve Smith.


WikiProject Report: WikiProject Ice Hockey

By Cryptic C62, December 8, 2008

Here we are with another issue of the WikiProject Report! Moving away from the sciences, this edition's interview highlights Wikiproject Ice Hockey. Resolute, a prolific sports fan and editor, discusses the role of organized collaboration within the project.

  1. Tell us a little about your background as a Wikipedian.
    I have been a regular editor since early 2006 after playing around infrequently prior to that. Having been a long time member of various discussion forums, the concept of sharing information has always been of interest to me and Wikipedia plays well into that, thus attracting me to the editorial side of the site. I have been an admin for some time, though I rarely use the tools, as I decided early on that writing articles is far more compelling than dealing with the drama of operating this place. I leave that to the people who are interested in handling it. My editing focus has been mainly on sports topics in Western Canada, in particular junior ice hockey and defunct teams and leagues throughout the west. I've always enjoyed research projects, and while nobody else may care about the history of the Calgary Tigers, I enjoy going back 80 years into the past and learning, not only about the topic I am researching, but about the world of the time.
  2. Besides being a resident of Calgary, Alberta, what attracted you to working on content related to Calgary's hockey teams and, more generally, the National Hockey League?
    I've always had a passion for the game, especially growing up in the heyday of the Battle of Alberta. Relative to the NHL's senior teams, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames are a young team at 29 years old, and I think people tend to forget that there was 90 years of history in this city that predates the Flames, showing that our history is as rich as any other. I enjoy learning about it, and sharing it where I can. The History of the National Hockey League series is much the same. There have been some amazing stories and incidents in the past that I find fascinating.
  3. In our previous interview with Ruslik0, he claimed that "the featured topic itself has not required so much collaboration. Creating a new topic is actually quite simple, providing you have enough GA and FA articles". You helped bring National Hockey League awards to featured topic status. Do you agree or disagree with Ruslik0?
    I suppose it depends on whether you treat the FT nomination in isolation. The nomination procedure itself I don't find is all that collaborative. However, in the case of the NHL awards topic, only two of the 24 articles in the topic were recognized when we started. Bringing those articles to featured status required a significant amount of collaboration. That effort was, I think, the hockey project at its best, as many of us were involved. We never would have gotten to the point of nominating the articles as a featured topic if not for the hard work of many editors.
  4. However, you appear to be working much more independently on History of the National Hockey League and its related articles, having brought two of them[1] through FAC on solo nominations. Is this series one that you intend to bring to Featured Topic status on your own?
    Yes and no. For the most part, I wrote the four articles myself, with Maxim coming on board to help write the articles for 1967–92 and 1992–present, and Wafulz wrote a good portion of the first. However, bringing those articles to featured status, and potentially the entire topic, is impossible to do solo. Many of the members of the project have made additions, suggestions and copy edits that have allowed me to bring the articles to FAC. FAC itself is something I would classify as adversarial collaboration, as the critical eye of many reviewers has allowed us to polish the articles off. It is through all of their comments and efforts that I've been able to improve my own writing to the point where I can write a featured article. So even though I tend to work independently in the actual research and writing of an article, I have been heavily influenced by everyone who's reviewed my work in the past, such that no effort is truly a solo accomplishment. If we bring the history topic to featured status, the credit for getting there will have to be shared amongst many editors.
  5. Some editors believe that it is best for one to work on subjects to which one has no personal attachment or connection, thus making it easier to analyze the information objectively. Clearly you don't subscribe to this belief. Do you ever find it difficult to remain unattached and objective when working on articles related to Calgary hockey?
    I think you need to have a passion for your subject to be an effective writer, and thus it is natural to gravitate towards topics for which there is an attachment. At the same time, and especially in the case of sports, the passion that fans put into their teams does make it challenging at times. (I'm pretty sure that half my edits are reverting "team I hate SUCKS!" additions to articles.) I feel that I am able to disassociate myself from the fan aspect of writing about my local teams without much difficulty as I often spend my emotional side of fandom on discussion forums. Where I can't we have many other editors who are willing to take a look and ensure that neutrality is being maintained. I also prefer that articles be as complete as possible, so minimizing or hiding aspects of a team's history I don't like defeats the purpose. I think the challenge of remaining objective for me is greater in teams I hate. I suppose it is hard to do justice to a topic you loathe.
  6. The Ice Hockey project page doesn't include a list of goals or priorities, any sort of monthly or weekly collaboration, and most of the task force talk pages haven't been edited since September. However, as you mentioned earlier, the NHL awards topic required a great deal of effort from many of the project's members. Would you like to see the more typical forms of organized collaboration incorporated into the project page in the future, or do you think they are unnecessary and not worth the time spent maintaining them?
    The NHL awards topic was interesting in that everyone jumped on board to build the articles, because it is atypical for our project, it seems. We have attempted collaboration of the week type activities, with varying degrees of success. I think that those subpages remain unused as we place most discussion in the main talk page. Given we operate more as an association of editors than anything else, I'm not certain formalized structures of collaboration will have a high degree of success. That being said, there has never been a shortage of assistance available, and several of us frequently receive requests for copy edits, sources and advice on improving articles. Most of our larger collaborative activities tend to be spontaneous, such as a recent case where several editors worked to replace a number of copyvios that were discovered.

Notes


Features and admins

By seresin, Techman224 and Hermione1980, 3 January 2009

Administrators

Ten editors were granted admin status via the Requests for Adminship process since last issue: Dank55 (nom), Dravecky (nom), Efe (nom), It Is Me Here  (nom), Sgeureka (nom), Wehwalt (nom), Icewedge  (nom), Lustiger seth (nom), AniMate (nom) and GrahamColm (nom).

Bots

Twenty-three bots or bot tasks were approved to begin operating since last issue: DirlBot (task request), AnomieBOT (task request), AnomieBOT (task request), Legobot (task request), ShepBot (task request), GrouchoBot (task request), AnomieBOT (task request), Legobot (task request), Numbo3-bot (task request), OrophinBot (task request), DavidWSBot (task request), Muro Bot (task request), ProtectionTaggingBot (task request), Addbot (task request), DYKBot (task request), Simplebot (task request), XLerateBot (task request), SassoBot (task request), AnomieBOT (task request), PDFbot (task request), AnomieBOT (task request), RibotBOT (task request) and NobelBot (task request).

Featured pages

Fifty-three articles were promoted to featured status since last issue: Primate (nom), Tanks in the Spanish Army (nom), 13th Airborne Division (United States) (nom), Reception history of Jane Austen (nom), Atmosphere of Jupiter (nom), Phan Dinh Phung (nom), Major depressive disorder (nom), Ayumi Hamasaki (nom), Niobium (nom), Christmas 1994 nor'easter (nom), Maggie Gyllenhaal (nom), Bart Simpson (nom), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (nom), Main sequence (nom), Luc Bourdon (nom), Sonestown Covered Bridge (nom), 2nd Canadian Infantry Division (nom), Rheinmetall 120 mm gun (nom), Frederick III, German Emperor (nom), Tropical Storm Erick (2007) (nom), Over the Rainbow (Connie Talbot album) (nom), 2006 Pacific hurricane season (nom), SS Washingtonian (nom), SS Dakotan (nom), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (nom), Shackleton–Rowett Expedition (nom), Pallid sturgeon (nom), Albert, Prince Consort (nom), July 2006 Westchester County tornado (nom), Raccoon (nom), 1994 Atlantic hurricane season (nom), Richard Cordray (nom), Marble Madness (nom), AMX-30 (nom), Tiny Thompson (nom), 2006 Gator Bowl (nom), Scout Moor Wind Farm (nom), Blair Anderson Wark (nom), Akutan Zero (nom), British Empire (nom), Action of 13 January 1797 (nom), Wail al-Shehri (nom), Gerard K. O'Neill (nom), Over the Edge (1999) (nom), Half-Life 2: Lost Coast (nom), Solomon P. Sharp (nom), Plutonium (nom), Georges Vézina (nom), 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix (nom), Vithoba (nom), Arena Active Protection System (nom), Meet Kevin Johnson (nom) and Wonder Stories (nom).

Seventy lists were promoted to featured status since last issue: Mark of the Year (nom), List of Germany international footballers (nom), Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 2) (nom), List of universities in the Canadian Prairies (nom), List of universities in Atlantic Canada (nom), List of Gantz chapters (nom), List of current Canadian first ministers (nom), Timeline of the 1983 Atlantic hurricane season (nom), List of Wilfrid Laurier University people (nom), List of Sacramento Kings head coaches (nom), List of Indiana Pacers head coaches (nom), List of FA Trophy winners (nom), List of awards and nominations received by Sam Roberts (nom), List of premiers of Prince Edward Island (nom), List of The O.C. episodes (nom), Pendulum discography (nom), Gaylactic Spectrum Award winners and nominees for best short fiction (nom), Killswitch Engage discography (nom), State highways in Hamilton County, New York (nom), List of Tokyo Mew Mew chapters (nom), Iron Maiden discography (nom), List of New Jersey Nets head coaches (nom), List of Caltrain stations (nom), Timeline of the 1982 Atlantic hurricane season (nom), List of Washington Wizards head coaches (nom), List of number-one Billboard Top Latin Albums of 2007 (nom), List of New Orleans Saints head coaches (nom), List of World Rally Championship Drivers' Champions (nom), List of premiers of British Columbia (nom), List of premiers of Nova Scotia (nom), List of Cleveland Cavaliers head coaches (nom), List of Kirby media (nom), List of number-one Billboard Top Latin Albums of 1993, 1994 and 1995 (nom), List of ECW Television Champions (nom), List of Nobel Laureates (nom), List of states and union territories of India by population (nom), Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (nom), List of Joking Apart episodes (nom), List of Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day starting pitchers (nom), List of Washington Capitals head coaches (nom), The Cure discography (nom), Gaylactic Spectrum Award winners and nominees for best other work (nom), List of Detroit Pistons head coaches (nom), List of St. Louis Rams head coaches (nom), List of Arizona Cardinals head coaches (nom), List of Florida Panthers head coaches (nom), List of FA Vase winners (nom), Sylvester Medal (nom), List of Cleveland Browns head coaches (nom), List of Fullmetal Alchemist chapters (nom), Trivium discography (nom), List of University of Waterloo people (nom), Royal Medal (nom), Maryland Terrapins football seasons (nom), Prison Break (season 2) (nom), New York Rangers seasons (nom), List of current Canadian senators (nom), List of Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine (nom), Timeline of the Adriatic campaign, 1807–1814 (nom), List of awards and nominations received by Alicia Keys (nom), List of WWF Light Heavyweight Champions (nom), List of San Diego Padres managers (nom), List of Metallica band members (nom), Audioslave discography (nom), List of Formula One Grand Prix winners (nom), List of number-one Billboard Top Latin Albums of 1996, 1997 and 1998 (nom), List of Baltimore Orioles managers (nom), List of United States Presidents who died in office (nom), List of tallest buildings in Vancouver (nom) and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award (nom).

Eighteen topics were promoted to featured status since last issue: Parachutes (nom), X&Y (nom), 30 Rock (season 2) (nom), Spider-Man films (nom), Vince's Devils (nom), Hey Venus! (nom), U-5 class submarines (nom), U-3 class submarines (nom), U-1 class submarines (nom), U-20 class submarines (nom), Hardy Boyz (nom), Half-Life 2 titles (nom), Lists of men's major championships winning golfers (nom), Lists of universities in Canada (nom), Seasons of The O.C. (nom), State touring routes in Hamilton County, New York (nom), Simpson family (nom) and Spanish Tanks (nom).

Three portals were promoted to featured status since last issue: Portal:Peru (nom), Portal:Theatre (nom) and Portal:Schools (nom).

The following featured articles were displayed on the Main Page since last issue as Today's featured article: St Kilda, Scotland, Amateur radio in India , Frank Zappa, Interstate 70 in Utah, Emmeline Pankhurst, USS Nevada (BB-36), Elaine Paige, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, Olivier Messiaen, 2008 Men's Olympics road race, Mana series, Albert Speer, Riverina, Getting It: The psychology of est, LaRouche criminal trials, Latter Days, United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, Clem Hill, Richard Hawes, Equipartition theorem, Sunderland Echo, Preity Zinta, Rings of Uranus, Robert Sterling Yard, Thespis, Battle of Shiloh, Elizabeth Needham, Thylacine, Gunnhild, Mother of Kings, Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, Richard Cordray and The Guardian of Education.

Former featured pages

Eight articles were delisted since last issue: Pashtun people (nom), Cornell University (nom), Government of Maryland (nom), Sarajevo (nom), Speed of light (nom), Asthma (nom), Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) (nom) and Augustan literature (nom).

No topics were delisted since last issue.

Three lists were delisted since last issue: List of Hong Kong ODI cricketers (nom), List of India ODI cricketers (nom) and List of Australia ODI cricketers (nom).

Featured media

The following featured pictures were displayed on the Main Page since the last issue as picture of the day: North Face of Mount Everest, Head of a blow-fly, A sadhu, Trial by Jury, Lesser yellolegs, Hoodoo formations in the Pink Cliffs, Prime knots, Shanty town, Political cartoon of American President Andrew Jackson, Drupe, Golf bunker, Mayfly, Schematic of a tank, Emperor penguin, Tunnel rats, Geothermal areas of Yellowstone National Park, Australian Red Cross, Video of Polar Bear Cub Nursing, Pegnitz River, Female Marmalade Fly, Olympus Mons, Aerial Lithograph of Phoenix, Arizona, Squadron of C-17 Globemaster III Aircraft, Reindeer, Engraving of Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Saint-Chély-du-Tarn, Roasted Coffee Beans, Goat, Large Bee Fly, Champagne Pool, Ceaseran Section, Video of Lunar Transit, AV-8B Harrier II and Skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.

No sounds were featured since last issue.

Two featured pictures were demoted since the last issue: Ladybird and 433 eros.

Thirty-five pictures were promoted to featured status since the last issue and are shown below.


The Report on Lengthy Litigation

By seresin, 3 January 2009

Since last issue, ten new members of the Committee were appointed, and two resignations came into effect (those of Jpgordon and Deskana), bringing the total of seats on the Committee to eighteen, seventeen of which are occupied. See related story.

The Arbitration Committee closed two cases since last issue, and accepted four new ones, leaving a total of five open.


Evidence phase

  • PHG: A case brought by PHG, in a follow up to a prior case against PHG, Franco-Mongol alliance. This case will review PHG's editing since the prior case, and may impose new sanctions, or repeal current sanctions, as necessary.
  • Fringe science: A case initially filed about the behavior of ScienceApologist, but which was opened to look at editing in the entire area of fringe science, and the behavior of editors who are involved in the area of dispute.
  • G.-M. Cupertino: A case regarding the behavior of G.-M. Cupertino, accepted without significant prior dispute resolution as several arbitrators believed lower levels of dispute resolution would be fruitless.

Motion to close

  • Ireland article names: A case to deal with the disputes about the naming of Ireland-related articles. As of press time, a remedy calling for the community to develop a mechanism to find consensus on naming of Ireland-related articles has eight unanimous support votes. A further remedy will create a three-member panel of uninvolved administrators to develop and oversee such a mechanism, if a suitable one is not created within fourteen days of the closure of the case. Until such a consensus is found, the articles in question are to remain at their current titles, and after a consensus is found, no further discussions about moving the pages may take place for two years.

Closed

  • Piotrus 2: The latest in a series of cases involving alleged edit-warring and other misconduct by numerous editors on articles pertaining to Eastern Europe. The case, which was open for almost four months, passed remedies regarding seven specific editors, and banned Boodlesthecat and Greg park avenue for one year. The committee also, by remedy, stated that they would open a Request for Comment on the Arbitration Enforcement process, start a general community discussion about reforming the dispute resolution process, and publish guides for using the Workshop and Evidence pages. By motion, the entire Request for Arbitration was renamed from Piotrus 2 to Eastern European disputes.
  • Cold fusion: A case involving conduct disputes around the article Cold fusion. In the final decision, Pcarbonn was topic-banned for one year from editing Cold fusion and related articles.