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At the very start of the new year, 2014's WikiCup competition began. As you read this, it's likely that the competition has only just started, and rules limiting points to content developed in 2014 mean that it can take a few weeks for most people to really start scoring – but this is part of the excitement, as competitors and followers wait to see who scores the first of each type of content, from the bread-and-butter of the competition, like did you knows and good articles, into some of the more obscure corners of Wikipedia, like featured portal candidates.
Hold up, what is the WikiCup?
The WikiCup is an annual competition which has been held on Wikipedia in various forms since 2007. Points are awarded to users based on their production of high-quality, audited content: did you know articles, in the news articles, good articles, featured articles, featured lists, featured pictures, featured portals, good topics, featured topics and good article reviews. In addition, "bonus points" are awarded to certain kinds of content; mainly for articles on topics which appear on numerous Wikipedias, which we use as a rough (but generally fairly reliable) gauge of the article's importance.
In 2007 and 2008, the project was relatively small, and effectively an editcount competition. 12 took part in 2007, and Dreamafter was crowned the winner; in 2008, 24 took part, and jj137 was victorious. In 2009, the focus was shifted to points for audited content, though points per manual edits (to articles or portals) remained. Durova won the competition, based on her large number of featured picture credits. 64 took part, starting in 8 pools of 8. In 2010, points per edit were removed, and the first round opened with one very large pool so that all of the 155 users who signed up could take part. 2010 saw Sturmvogel_66 win out against around 150 others, based on the production of high quality articles on the subject of naval warfare.
After a frantic competition in 2011, 2012 was relatively subdued. Points for good article reviews were introduced, and Hurricanehink, who, as his name suggests, works on meteorological articles, won the competition. Things changed in 2012 with the introduction of bonus points for more important articles; topics which are covered on a large number of Wikipedias could earn double or more points, reflecting their likely higher significance and corresponding difficulty. Cwmhiraeth won the competition, taking full advantage of the bonus points on offer for producing high-quality content on high-importance topics. Details about last year's WikiCup can be seen below.
You may have noticed the flags. Since the first competition, one of the WikiCup's quirks has been that competitors choose a flag to fly. This may be the flag of the competitor's home country, state, county or town, or may be a nation with which they have some affiliation; it may be the flag of a place which fascinates them or just a flag they like. In previous years, everyone had to fly a different flag; now, though, certain flags (such as the flag of India or of the United Kingdom) are flown by many. A second quirk is that the competition is run by judges, who do not participate themselves. The judges might more reasonably be called "coordinators", as little actual judging is required; the rules are set prior to the competition's beginning. The current judging team consists of J Milburn, who has been a judge since the latter half of 2009, The ed17, who has likewise been on the judging team since 2009, and Miyagawa, who is new to the role.
What happened last year?
For the first time, we had someone win the competition twice; Cwmhiraeth emerged victorious after a large number of articles in the natural sciences, including some enormous scores for articles of high importance. Hawkeye7, a newcomer to the WikiCup, finished in second place, while Sasata, who has reached the final round several times, finished third. Sturmvogel_66, a former winner, finished in fourth. As is traditional, a number of additional prizes were awarded:
Casliber won the featured article prize, for producing four featured articles in round 4.
Sturmvogel_66 won the good article prize, for producing 20 good articles in round 3.
Another Believer won the featured list prize, for producing four featured lists in round 2.
Adam Cuerden won the featured picture prize, for producing 23 featured pictures in round 5.
Sven Manguard won the featured portal prize, for producing 2 featured portals in round 3.
Hawkeye7 won the topic prize, for a 23-article featured topic in round 5.
Cwmhiraeth won the did you know prize, for 79 did you know articles in round 5.
ThaddeusB won the in news prize, for 23 in the news articles in round 4.
Ed! won the review prize, for 24 good article reviews in round 1.
The judges also awarding the Oddball Barnstar to The C of E, for some curious contributions in earlier rounds.
Finally, the judges awarded Cwmhiraeth the Geography Barnstar for her work on sea, now a featured article. This top-importance article was the highest-scoring this year; when it was promoted to FA status, Cwmhiraeth could claim 720 points (7.2 times as much as a normal featured article).
What will happen this year?
For 2014 there have been a few small changes to the rules; for example, we've upped the number of points on offer for old articles brought to did you know and the points for featured portals. In addition, Miyagawa has joined the judging team. However, these are relatively small changes, and the format remains mostly unchanged. More than 100 users have signed up to the competition, and signups will remain open until the end of January; all users, newcomers and veterans, are invited to join the competition.
At the end of February, the 64 highest scorers will move into the second round, where they will be split into eight pools of eight. The two highest scorers in each pool, along with the next 16 highest scorers overall, will make it to round three. 32 will become 16, and 16 will become eight. The winner will be declared at the end of October.