The results of the International writing contest were announced last Monday, following the close of the competition on 31 March. The contest, which aimed to encourage the creation of excellent new articles across the Wikipedia world, ran simultaneously in English, German, Dutch, Ukrainian and Japanese. The German contest was the most elaborate, with over a month of preparation and press before nominations opened on March 1, and a dozen different prizes for the winner, donated by the community. The English contest was the last to begin; announced in the middle of March, it still attracted some 20 entries.
The rules for the contest stipulated that nominated articles must have been shorter than 2000 characters at the start of March. Four entries were disqualified: Terri Schiavo was ruled out as too long at the start of the contest; 2005 Britannica takeover of Wikimedia and Exploding whale (nominated anonymously by the recently-departed Ta bu shi da yu) were submitted as jokes at the onset of April Fool's Day, and Drought was ruled out for having seen no substantial edits during the month. Diamond, already a substantial article that had been nominated as a featured article candidate at the beginning of March, was submitted with the explanation that it had been rewritten from scratch. It was given an Honorable Mention for the great collaborative work that had been done on it over the course of the month.
Judges Jmabel, Sannse, Dysprosia and Sj set to work on judging the eligible entries, and commented on and graded each entry, adopting a variety of marking schemes. By the end of the judging period, the winner was very clearly Apollo 8, which had consisted of two paragraphs of text and numerous lists and tables at the beginning of the month, but had been transformed by Evil Monkey by the end of the month into a Featured article candidate, later successfully promoted to featured status.
The judges announced five runners-up: Reformation in Switzerland, Spring Heeled Jack, Kreutz Sungrazers (written mainly by the author), Oakland Cemetery and Automatic number plate recognition; and also gave an honourable mention to Diamond, which was narrowly too large at the start of the month to qualify, but noted as an exceptionally good article and the only really collaborative entry in the contest.
Several nominations in the contest went on to become featured shortly afterwards, including Spring Heeled Jack, Apollo 8, Diamond, Kreutz Sungrazers and Automatic number plate recognition. The last two were among article recently vying for the accolade of shortest time from creation to featured, at 6.5 days and 11 days respectively, although both were pipped to that prize by Pioneer Zephyr.
The other language-contests participating in the International Writing Contest were won by articles on a diverse range of subjects. In Germany, first place went to an article on the Sachsenross, a motif occurring in many German flags; while on the Dutch Wikipedia, a history of Dutch spelling was declared the narrow winner ahead of an article on the iron/nickel alloy Invar. In Japanese, the winner was an article on the Chromosome theory of inheritance. Results of the Ukrainian contest were not available as of April 23.