Dispatches 1

Dispatches: Featured topics

A Featured topic (FT) is a collection of inter-related articles that are of high quality. The minimum quality of the component articles of a topic, and the definition of a topic, have become more stringent over time. As of August 2008, the requirements specify that a featured topic must contain at least three articles, all of which must have been rated as good articles, featured articles, or featured lists. Articles in the topic which are not eligible for good or featured class—either due to instability or limited subject matter—must pass an audit including a formal peer review. The topic must have a well-defined scope, cover its subject comprehensively, and include an introductory or summary article to the topic.

To attain FT status, an editor can nominate a set of articles at Featured topic candidates (FTC) where reviewers determine whether the set of articles meets the FT criteria. Unlike some Featured content processes, Featured topics has no official director; Arctic Gnome does the majority of promoting and closing topics, but any user can do so. Some topics grow over time; as new articles are created that are within the topic scope, they can be proposed for addition to the topic at FTC.

When a topic expands to include articles that are not of sufficient quality, or when existing articles lose their good or featured status, a Featured topic has a three-month grace period in which to bring the topic back into compliance with the Featured topic criteria. Topics which do not meet criteria due to a change in that criteria, rather than through a change in the topic, have a six-month grace period. If the topic is not successful in aligning with the criteria, the topic can then be nominated for removal. This removal process typically last two weeks.

Recent milestones

Just over three years since it was initially proposed, Featured topics includes 438 articles in 56 topics across 15 categories, with 16 of the topics having every article either featured class or ineligible to be featured because of limited subject matter or inherent instability. The project promotes on average just over three topics a month, adds onto existing topics once a month, and has demoted four topics in the past year, one of which was later re-added. August was a record-setting month, with seven new topics promoted and two additions added to existing topics. Around five and a half percent of all of Wikipedia's nearly 8000 Good articles, Featured articles, and Featured lists are included in Featured topics.

History

Featured topics was first proposed in August 2005 by Violet/riga. The proposal was to feature groups of articles meeting quality standards, to encourage editors to write "good collections" of articles across a whole topic. Under the first criterion, articles included in the topic did not have to be featured, but were required to be of "decent quality", such as passing a peer review with no major complaints. The articles in the topic also had to be grouped around a "central" article, to help tie them all together.

Saffron was the first Featured topic, consisting of three Featured articles written by Saravask and promoted in April 2006.
The first topic nominated was 2012 Summer Olympics bids in November 2005, covering articles pertaining to the cities bidding to host the 2012 Olympics. Over the next few months, other Featured topic proposals were Music of the Lesser Antilles, which included the articles on the music of the Lesser Antilles region, Stargate, which was a nomination of the several dozen articles that covered the fictional Stargate Universe, and saffron, which included Wikipedia's three Featured articles pertaining to saffron. The first topic to be promoted was Saffron, in April 2006 and it remains featured; none of the other proposals were promoted.

There were no more promotions until seven months later in November 2006, when a handful of other topics reached featured status. Of these new topics, only Star Wars episodes and Solar System are still featured. At the time, the FT criterion were vague; in December 2006, Arctic Gnome began to revamp the project, creating nomination guidelines and codifying the general consensus of rules for topics that had been formed over the previous year. This codification included the first minimum requirement of quality for the included articles, that they had to be rated at least a "B" on the WP:1.0 assessment scale. His efforts were timely; a week after he began, the project was nominated for deletion. Largely due to the recent changes, the project was kept, although various proposals were submitted to change the name of the project to remove the term 'Featured'.

In January 2007 the project began to take off: the topics were displayed in templates rather than as a short list; all articles were required to be Good articles, A class, Featured quality, or an audited article of limited subject matter; the requirements as to what constituted a "topic" were more set; and the project covered eight topics encompassing 81 articles. The minimum requirements and size of the project have continued to rise since then; by June 2007, the 150 articles across 15 topics could no longer be A-class, as it was deemed to not be defined well enough; and a month later it was added that the topics had to include a minimum number of featured articles or lists. In February 2008, as the project included 293 articles in 32 topics, the minimum requirement was raised again to 20 percent of the topic with a minimum of two featured elements, and on September 1 that percentage was raised to 25, as the process passed 50 topics and 400 articles.

Samples

The Canadian Election Timelines Featured topic consists of all Featured lists except for one item too limited to reach featured status:

The 2003 Atlantic hurricane season Featured topic includes several Good articles, Featured articles, and Featured lists, as well as a link to a subtopic which is itself a Featured topic:




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    Notes

    Need to work in links to the criteria and the nomination page. Also, work in pending milestone if/when it's reached, per this. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:38, 14 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    As I said, I would hold off on publishing this article until September, so it goes out after the milestone has been completed (and then that section of the article can be finalised, too). Also that way we can wait and see whether the minimum criteria does in fact go up to 25%/33%. It's probably worth noting there should be at least 2 additions this month, which equals the best there, too. You could also mention the current discussions about overview topics (see also the NIN nom), which would be good to mention if only because doing so might get some more input there (it may be partly because Arctic Gnome has gone away at the mo but it seems to me that conversation has halted slightly). Otherwise, a very well written article, good stuff! - rst20xx (talk) 16:34, 14 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Tentatively, I'm thinking this could aim for the Signpost of September 1; since the Signpost never publishes on time, that would mean it wouldn't actually publish until the 3rd, 4th or 5th, and you all could chunk the text in before month-end, knowing that you would have a few days to work out any kinks. Is that good? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:49, 14 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Yep, sounds good. We should have an idea what's going to happen in enough time to write it, even if it DOES go out on the 1st - rst20xx (talk) 16:11, 15 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Well, maybe not, with the WP:GOOGLE thing it's all exploded. --PresN (talk) 16:10, 18 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    How? What does that proposal affect about FT? By the way, the link above isn't right. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    It is possible that good topics will be integrated into featured topics in terms of nomination procedure etc. as apart from FA requirements criteria, they will not be much different at all. So this would require the history to be updated. It is also possible that when this comes to be, the featured topic %age criteria will go up at the same time, and some of the featured topics will automatically become good topics instead. However, I anticipate that things should have settled down by September 1st, so we should still be alright - rst20xx (talk) 23:53, 18 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    I didn't get that in the straw poll, but the discussion is too convoluted to understand anyway. If whatever these "Good topics" are becomes integrated into "Featured topics", there's going to be a problem with using the "Featured" terminology. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:58, 18 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Integrated insofar as that they will share a nomination procedure, a log, etc. It will still be possible to tell which are which and they will probably have separate main pages. Sorry, I should have made that clearer. I guess you'll see what I mean when this all settles down, which should hopefully be within the week - rst20xx (talk) 13:46, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Okay, it appears that the two types of topics might end up being fully integrated. However:

    1. This probably won't happen now til after the article publication
    2. It won't affect featured topics beyond the space sharing, so it should probably get a mention at the end of the History section but that's about it

    -- rst20xx (talk) 00:54, 26 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]




           

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