Articles on major disasters fall short of featured status

September 11 article shot down over stylistic issues

September 11, 2001 attacks, an article with an important position in the history of Wikipedia itself, was nominated for featured article status last week. However, the nomination appeared doomed to fail, as discussion of the article's quality degenerated into an argument over whether the title required another comma.

The "missing" comma after "2001"—already debated extensively on the talk page, with an entire talk page archive dedicated entirely to the issue—continues to plague the September 11 article even after a truce on more emotional issues, like the use of the word "terrorist". Key figures in this debate include Maurreen and jguk.

Maurreen has consistently supported adding the comma, citing a variety of professional style guides for the rule that the year should be followed by a comma or other punctuation mark when a date is written out as day, month, and year. Jguk and others argued that this custom does not apply in this instance, based on widespread usage with the comma missing, particularly in international English usage. They also pointed out that the guidelines cited by Maurreen do not address usage when a date is used as an adjective, as it is in this particular situation.

The discussion and two polls on the talk page in October failed to reach consensus. Others suggested avoiding the issue entirely by moving the article to "Attacks of September 11, 2001" or a similar title.

How far apart do the waves need to be?

Meanwhile, another article that has gotten Wikipedia a lot of press based on similar circumstances, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, had its featured article nomination overwhelmingly rejected. It seems the article (which was still getting 68 edits in a day as of last Sunday) is not stable enough for everyone's tastes. Some people also didn't want it to end up as the featured article on the Main Page while it was still being showcased as part of the news section.

However, brilliant prose was being recognized in areas besides "major disasters of special significance to Wikipedia". Articles that did receive acclamation as featured articles this past week included Witold Pilecki, Liberal Party (Utah), Chemical warfare, Ryanair, and Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

In addition to the featured articles, here's last week's newly-made featured pictures:

Kiritimati Island
Australian Garden Orb Weaver Spider
Alaska Wild Berries
Buddhabrot - deeply iterated
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