Dispatches: Changes at peer review

More Peer Reviewers needed!

Peer Review is a busy place: there were at least 156 peer review requests in December 2007, 184 in January 2008, and 188 in February 2008. Reviewers are always needed and welcomed, so please volunteer here, or just review a single article; constructive comments are always helpful in improving articles, and are a major contribution to the project. Despite a number of process improvements at Peer review – on top of a house style check generated by a script written by AndyZ and operated by Ruhrfischmore participation at peer review is needed to help raise the standards of WP's articles.

New: the volunteers list

To assist intending reviewers, we've recently made a significant change by introducing a volunteers list of peer reviewers and their reviewing interests. This helps editors with peer-review requests to find interested reviewers, and hence increases participation at peer review. More than 90 reviewers are listed (although some reviewers are listed more than once). Anecdotal evidence suggests that the scheme has been a success; one reviewer, Jayron32 commented that

"Under the old system, I would check in here once in a while, and maybe pick up a new article to peer review ... With the new volunteer page, I am able to list myself by area of preference, and article custodians come to me to request a review. I always get an article I am interested in, which is helping me review a LOT more article."

The volunteers list is organised by Wikipedia 1.0 topic names. To help reviewers find articles to review, the peer-review page is now organised in a similar way; a separate page lists peer reviews by date of request. There's also a new backlog list. This shows peer-review requests at least a week old that have received no comments (beyond the semi-automated review).

Automation is streamlining the process

The automation which has made some of the above changes possible is also helping behind the scenes with the maintenance of peer-review pages. In the past, old peer-review pages had to be moved to make space for new requests, and these page moves broke many links. This issue has been addressed by starting each peer-review request on a unique page. The unique page is determined through a template system developed by Geometry guy and Gimmetrow. The main peer review page is automatically generated by VeblenBot, a bot operated by Carl (CBM); the monthly peer-review archives, from February 2008 onwards, are created in a similar way.

These changes have reduced the number of edits required for requesting or closing a peer review, although unfamiliarity with the changes may make the process seem more difficult at first. Editors are encouraged to read the instructions at Wikipedia:Peer review and to raise any queries or comments on the talk page. (Editors nominating an article as a featured article candidate (FAC) or featured list candidate (FLC) should first close the peer review.)

Listing an article at peer review

Editors are encouraged to allow ample time – at least several weeks – for an effective peer review, and to actively recruit knowledgeable editors to review the article. There are at least three standard ways of locating peer reviewers:

  1. contacting editors listed on the peer review list,
  2. posting to relevant WikiProjects, and
  3. browsing featured articles in similar topics to find editors with similar interests.

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  • Dispatches
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  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
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