Dispatches: Did You Know ...

... that Did You Know (DYK) is the section on Wikipedia's Main Page that highlights our best new and expanded articles from the previous five days?

DYK features hooks—brief, catchy phrases or surprising facts—taken from these articles. An interesting hook attracts readers, encouraging them to click through to learn more. The DYK section is also a way to thank editors who create new content, and to encourage other editors to contribute to and improve that content and the encyclopedia as a whole. DYK entries appear on the Main Page for at least six hours. The section is updated as many as four times a day, and about 800 articles have appeared over the past month—that's more than 25 a day! DYK shows how the encyclopedia continues to evolve, and how editors are constantly adding fascinating new content.

The DYK program has been running for more than four years; among its editors are prolific contributors who have been responsible for hundreds of these snippets of information. You too can nominate an article at the DYK suggestion area.


Under DYK rules, all material must have been created over the past five days. Two kinds of article are eligible—new articles and articles that have been expanded at least fivefold. In either case, they should have 1,500 characters or more of main-body text (that is, excluding such material as references, lists, tables and infoboxes).

Strict adherence to the Manual of Style is not expected, but nominated articles do have to meet notability standards, be written in a neutral point of view, and have no maintenance tags. In the hook, shorter phrases are preferred, the information must be fully referenced with an inline citation, and the article content must not be misrepresented. Content forks of existing articles are ineligible.


A pencil sharpener

DYK made its first appearance on the Main Page on February 22, 2004. The hook here was somewhat ironic: "Did you know that a pencil sharpener 'is a device for sharpening a pencil's point by shaving the end of the pencil'? Well, OK, you probably did." The pencil sharpener article had been created and developed by Raul654, an editor who had been on Wikipedia for only six months and is now a bureaucrat and the Featured article director. So great things grow from small beginnings on Did You Know!

As the DYK program has grown in significance, a number of innovations have been added. From November 2004, article creators have been formally recognized for their efforts. From January 2006, DYK notifications have been added to article talk pages. And from May 2006, nominators have been credited.

There is a DYK Hall of Fame and an unofficial list of the most prolific DYK contributors. Editors are awarded medals after 25, 50 100, and 200 DYK contributions. Blnguyen tops the list as the only editor to have created or expanded more than 200 articles. Blnguyen's DYKs include the revelation "... that Bobby Pearce won the single sculls at the 1928 Summer Olympics despite stopping mid-race for a passing flock of ducks".

River or sewage channel?

Piotrus, Ghirlandajo, ALoan, IvoShandor, Yomangani, TonyTheTiger, Carabinieri, Tim1965, Wetman and P.K. Niyogi have all contributed over 100 new or expanded articles. When nominations are included, at least six editors have surpassed 200 total contributions—this group is led by Piotrus and includes Ghirlandajo, GeeJo, Blnguyen, ALoan, and PFHLai. Piotrus's many contributions include the fact "... that a part of Rawa River in Silesia is currently so polluted it is officially classified as a sewage channel". Wikipedians are urged to forgo the temptation to bathe in it.

DYK is also one of the three elements of the "Triple Crown" rewards for contributing DYKs, Good articles, and a piece of Featured content. On 30 April, following the promotion of his 15th Featured article—the 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt—Blnguyen became the third recipient of the "Alexander the Great edition triple laurel crown" for contributing more than 15 DYKs, 15 Good articles, and 15 Featured articles. Cirt and Awadewit are the editors who have previously received this award. Cirt's Main Page gems include the tidbit "... that the 1937 Western fiction book Buckskin Brigades was Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's first published novel".

How to suggest an article

Nominations are submitted at the DYK suggestion area. The suggestion area is organized by nomination date, which means either the date the article was created or the date its fivefold expansion began. The nominator writes a hook of fewer than 200 characters that presents an unusual or interesting fact to follow the words "Did You Know ..."; for example, this April Fool's Day we featured the hook "Did you know ... that in a few villages and towns of southern France and Spain it is illegal to die?, and that there are attempts to have the same law in a town in Brazil?"

Other editors review the list of suggestions to ensure that all of the requirements are met and that the hook has an inline citation. It's important to keep an eye out for any comments these editors leave where an article needs attention. Around the fifth day after the creation or expansion started, five to eight articles that meet the criteria are moved from the suggestion list to a staging area. Administrators update the Main Page from this staging area every six hours or so. The administrators announce on the article's talk page that the article was displayed on the Main Page, and credit the nominators and major contributors.

Finally, did you know ... that no head or lead administrator runs DYK? Rather, because DYK promotion occurs around the clock, a large group of dedicated administrators takes care of the process.

Also this week:
  • From the editor
  • Board restructuring
  • Arbitrator resigns
  • BAG, CU nominations
  • WikiWorld
  • News and notes
  • In the news
  • Dispatches
  • Features and admins
  • Technology report
  • Arbitration report

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    Discuss this story

    These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.
    This article could benefit from some data still ... who are the most prolific DYK writers, who has worked longest to advance DYK, who is instrumental to the process, more about the people involved, the numbers, how it/they benefit Wiki. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:58, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I'm not sure how you want to integrate this in but here's the list of the most prolific contributors (at least those that choose to list themself). Note that the list is broken into 2 parts: the first half is participations which includes nominations and creations/expansion and the second half is creations/expansions. There are no head/lead of the promoters/admins, it's completely a group effort. The group of admins who promote is large to deal with all of the hours of the day/week. Any admin who finds out that DYK needs to be updated can do the update, although some do more promotions than others. You found the history about the first DYK article. DYK benefits the wiki by encouraging contributors to start new articles or to greatly expand existing stubs. Royalbroil 03:48, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    What you added is good; it's OK to highlight outstanding contributors on these Dispatches, so feel free to expand. Why is the archived story red-linked? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:40, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I didn't know what to link to. I think it happened about a month ago. I searched the archives and found [article]. It's a small note at the bottom, so I removed the link in the article. Royalbroil 05:17, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Goodness !! With this level of excellence in copyediting, people are going to be intimidated from submitting future Dispatches because the standard is set so high :-))) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:36, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Triple Crown

    There is no link to or explanation of the Triple Crown awards, so the reader might not know what they are and how they are bestowed:

    DYK is also one of the three elements of the Wikipedia "Triple Crown" rewards. Cirt and Awadewit have been awarded the "Alexander the Great edition triple laurel crown" for contributing more than 15 DYKs, 15 Good articles, and 15 Featured articles.

    Also, the Dispatch deadline is the 28th, but the Signpost usually goes out several days after the deadline: Blnguyen has 14 FAs and several maturing at FAC. Can someone who knows the processes involved stay on top of this in case the article needs to be updated before it's published? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:13, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    I can't find a link to or explanation of this "Alexander the Great" thingie either. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:37, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    See User:Durova/Triple_crown_winner's_circle#Alexander_the_Great_edition_triple_laurel_crown Woody (talk) 21:40, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Thank you, Woody (you're everywhere these days :-)) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:42, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I am omnipresent, everyone knows this Sandy ;) (This is still on my watchlist after it got moved.)) Woody (talk) 21:47, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I get it :-) Problem; your links led me to a contradiction. User:Durova/Did you know? says 2,000 characters, this article and DYK say 1,500. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:48, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I got there more simply, from Wikipedia:Did_you_know/Hall_of_Fame, which is wikilinked in that section of the article itself. --jbmurray (talk|contribs) 21:51, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Thanks, Jbmurray; yes, better to link to a Wiki page. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:57, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    True but it simply transcludes {{User:Durova/Triple crown winner's circle}}. I didn't know about that page as I haven't really got involved with DYK but I agree it makes it more "official". Woody (talk) 22:00, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Particularly since that 2,000 number may be an error? Someone needs to sort that ... I've never followed DYK and didn't even know what they were until this article. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:02, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    The character limit has varied quite a bit recently according to the page history of WP:DYK. I think it varies according to the "hook" backlog. Either way, Durova has now updated her page to the current requirement. Woody (talk) 22:41, 26 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    (deindent) The character limit always was 1500 characters, and we experimented with 2000 for a short while before going back to 1500. Durova's article is unofficial and it was wrong. The triple crown might be a good topic for a full length article in the future. I wouldn't have put it in this article because I think it's too much off-topic. Royalbroil 06:08, 27 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Up on 12 January, down on 23 January. Now I see why I was confused, it took 3 months to fully correct the DYK page: March 27, 12 April. Woody (talk) 10:20, 27 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    It's actually 15 Featured contents - portals and lists are allowed. I'm going to apply for the Napoleon crown now...Blnguyen (bananabucket) 03:23, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Since I had never heard of these things before, I'm just getting up to speed: I see the application process has more than a month backlog, so I'm going to go ahead and adjust the text here pre-publication. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:35, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I adjusted the text to 1) keep the DYK leaders and awards first (since the article is principally about DYK and Royalbroil points out the Triple Crowns are off-topic here), but 2) add the info that Blnguyen (as the DYK leader) has applied for the Triple Crown thingie (there's a backlog). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:54, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]


    Royal, we should follow WP:MOS#Ellipses on this page; [1] the ellipses need spaces; would it be OK to put them back? By the way, I promoted a Blnguyen FA today; can anyone who participates in those award processes get that loose end tied up so we can mention him in this Dispatch? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:22, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    We've been doing the DYK hooks without that space for a very long time, right or wrong. I had a peer review from a DYK regular who correctly pointed this out. Royalbroil 04:01, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Oops. Yep, I saw that on your talk page. Well, the problem is, the Dispatch is produced and edited by featured content writers, and it looks like DYK is out of touch with the MoS, specifically WP:MOS#Ellipses. Can we follow the MoS for this article (hopefully they'll realize and come up to speed as a result)? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 04:16, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I went ahead and fixed the ellipses to conform to MoS. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:47, 28 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]


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