Speed feature

New article races to featured status but falls short of record

Yet another new article went rapidly to featured article status last week, as Automatic number plate recognition sped through the process in near-record time.

Started on 28 March at 00:40 (UTC) by Violetriga, Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) got some early exposure from being added to the "Did you know" template for the Main Page. Two days after creation, Violetriga submitted the article for peer review. After incorporating comments and making some additional expansion, she nominated it for featured article status on 3 April, and it was promoted last Friday, 8 April, at 03:19 (UTC).

Having completed this achievement, Violetriga wondered if ANPR had set a new speed record. Great Lakes Storm of 1913, which previously passed through after only 14 days (see archived story), was suggested as being the existing record. However, raising the issue prompted additional investigation to reveal several other articles that went even more quickly from creation to qualifying as featured.

ALoan compiled a table showing the quickest promotions, including their time of creation, the nomination for featured article status, and the time they were each promoted (see the talk page for the full table and discussion). The recordholder for shortest elapsed time proved to be Pioneer Zephyr, one of the train articles developed by slambo and other train enthusiasts, which was promoted after only 6 days, 0 hours, and 13 minutes of existence. ANPR was only fourth on the list, behind also Kreutz Sungrazers and Japanese toilet.

Worldtraveller observed that Pioneer Zephyr had been promoted after an abnormally brief stay on the featured article candidates page. Pioneer Zephyr received featured article status 2 March, only three days after being nominated (possibly due to someone forgetting that February is shorter than other months). In comparison, the second-fastest promotion, Kreutz Sungrazers, which he himself worked on, had remained on the page for five days, which is the normal minimum time period. Worldtraveller concluded that "if PZ had been left for the normal 5 days, I'd be the true winner by a day and a half".

Joining in the good-natured rivalry, Bishonen added her comment, "When I saw the heading [the section heading on the talk page was "New→featured record?"], I naturally assumed excellence was imputed to the longest time from new to Featured". Presumably she felt that articles which took longer to ferment and develop could be considered even more superior. Anyway, Bishonen pointed out that some of the articles she had helped bring to featured status dated back as far as 1911 (since they had replaced original text from the Encyclopædia Britannica's 11th edition).

The competition also prompted some concern about people holding back contributions in order to compete for this "record", and losing the benefit of more time for collaboration. Others mentioned that any work to produce more featured articles should be inherently positive for Wikipedia. The pros and cons of tracking who has produced the most featured articles were also discussed. In the end, either is much like edit counting, and not worth worrying too much about.

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