Wikipedia talk:Requirements for good articles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Archives[change source]


Proposal[change source]

Hi there all. Based upon how inactive I have found the Wikipedia:Proposed good articles page to be, I would like to ask the community about my proposal to lower the total amount of voters required from 5 named editors down to 4 or possibly even lower because of how inactive it has been. Looking back at the last couple of votes, there have been several articles that are good article status just by looking at them that failed to be promoted due to the fact that we don't have enough active voters in the GA process to attain the 5 votes required by the requirements. This has hampered our intentions of getting more articles promoted to GA status.

Another proposed change that I would like to bring up is to leave the number of required voters at 5, but to make the votes last a period of 14 or 21 days instead of the 7 that we have it set at now. By making votes last longer, that gives more possibilities of more editors participating in the votes and a higher probability of articles passing the GA process.

Both of these proposals are up for debate and I would like to hear from the community about what they think about these two proposals. Thanks, Razorflame 15:20, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I like the idea of lowering the number of required editors to 4. There just isn't enough activity to sustain a 5-editor limit. Juliancolton (talk) 15:24, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
What about the proposal to keep the number of editors at 5, but make voting last 14 or 21 days instead of just 7? Cheers, Razorflame 15:29, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd go for reducing the number of !votes, both here and at PVGA. Someone should cross-post this there and also to Simple Talk... I doubt many are watching this page. If we increase the time there is no guarantee that we will get more !votes than 5 (or 6 for PVGA) but if you look at the archives most declined articles were getting 4 !votes. Thanks, BG7even 16:42, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

(<-) The very basic problems I have with prolonging the vote is that articles are supposed to be listed when they are almost ready. You list an article (that meets 5 criteria). Then you get 2 weeks to make it meet the other 4 (or 5, for VGA) criteria; and then there is a voting period of 2-3 weeks (where the article is again changed noticeably). This is against the guideline, stating that most of the changes done from the point of listing should be minor ones. By the time articles finished voting, most look noticeably different from when they were proposed. In my opinion, we should stick to the total time needed of three weeks; if you want two weeks of voting then you only have one week from it being listed, to it meeting all criteria. This means either much more work than now (I see a disaster coming for Curitiba), or listing much later than now.--Eptalon (talk) 17:12, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you on this point. I think that the proposal to lengthen the voting period should be thrown out now. What do you think about reducing the minimum number of named editors that have to vote in order for promotion down to four? Do you think that that would be better for us? Cheers, Razorflame 17:19, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
When we started, getting 5 (or 6) votes was difficult, because we had like 15-20 people total; now we have more than double the number, so this is merely a problem of motivating editors.--Eptalon (talk) 17:43, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

The Criteria[change source]

Many editors don't come anywhere near to following these guidelines, essentially rendering the guidelines moot. Perhaps the criteria should be changed slightly to reflect this. Here are some changes I might recommend:

  1. Requiring an illustration. Some would point out that abstract concepts are hard to illustrate, but I've seen articles that address abstract topics that have several illustration
  2. A minumum reference threshold of ten.

And here's something we definetely should not do:

  • Have a comprehensive test. That is a VGA requirement, not a GA requirement. Also, editors should be discouraged from always using ENwp as a basis for determining the quality of a GA. There is no way that just because the article here is nothing like the ENwp article doesn't mean it shouldn't be GA. Remember that SIMwp is not ENwp.

Purplebackpack89 (talk) 15:34, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

No. Case closed. Goblin 18:04, 1 October 2009 (UTC) I ♥ Fr33kman!
Perhaps a bit longer:
  • A static minimum number of refs is probably not a good idea; this number is mostly depended on article length. One the one hand you do not want to reference everything, on the other the more important points in the article should have a reference. Requiring a static minimum number is counterproductive.
  • Some subjects are abstract concepts, and dont lend themselves well to illustration (ideology, theocracy, faith, deism?), others may cause outrage when they are illustrated (nudity, all sexuality-related articles). The power of a GA or VGA lies in the fact that the subject is treated well, in a language that is easy to understand. An illustration may help understanding, but it not strictly necessary.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts..--Eptalon (talk) 20:19, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I would agree that a picture is nice, probably essential for our VGAs, but not GAs necessarily. Besides, I don't remember a PGA failing as a result of no images. As for reference thresholds, no, I don't think a hard-and-fast number is useful. I could comprehensively reference an article from two or three pages of a book and a couple of large webpages so a ten-ref requirement is just too much. What we really need is a reference for something which could be disputed. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:46, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

The length thing[change source]

"The article must have a certain length. A minimum is 3.5 kilobytes, not including infoboxes, images, references, other websites, interwiki, and categories. There is no use in denoting very short articles as good." - I propose we remove this altogether and replace it with some kind of recommendation that the article be reasonably comprehensive. If a 3 kb article is broad in its scope and adequately complete I see no reason why it can't be promoted. –Juliancolton | Talk 19:30, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

When I started to edit this wiki and tried to get my first GA in Feb/march, I said this to Eptalon. There are really good and qualitive articles on dewiki with just about 3 kb of text. Imo, the articles must just be well written and no major facts should be missing. Barras (talk) 19:33, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Yep, no problem with this. We should be capable of judging what is a good article without counting characters. The Rambling Man (talk) 07:39, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I fully agree with this. Pmlineditor  08:23, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
If we get rid of it as a requirement, we should still have it as a recommendation. Personally I do not want to have to accept well-written stubs as good articles. If you have a (well-written) article, about 3k in size, it should not be too much trouble/work to get another 500 bytes into the article....--Eptalon (talk) 11:01, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Is the flip side of this that an article can be 4-5KB and still not be GA? Purplebackpack89 (talk) 00:16, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
It's all relative and depends on how comprehensive the article is. –Juliancolton | Talk 00:29, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Of course. I suppose Joey B would fail again Purplebackpack89 (talk) 02:31, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Eptalon on this; well written stubs are, well, stubs. If an article is on a notable topic, then getting to a minimum length should be no problem. Peterdownunder (talk) 02:52, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

This was merely a point of clarification about the standard Purplebackpack89 (talk) 02:54, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Length thing revisited[change source]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I think requirement two should be revised, as a short article doesn't mean a good article in my opinion in any sense. The article should be about the length of Green Day to really strike me as such.

Currently the requirement reads:

"The article must be fairly complete. Usually, articles should be a few kilobytes long, although shorter pages may also be nominated."

I believe it should read:

"The article must be fairly complete. Articles should be at least 12,500 character."

I may be will to go shorter but not much shorter, I hope you feel the same.--   CR90  23:46, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

No, it's stupid. It's about comprehensiveness, not length. This is simple 'pedia, we should be able to be comprehensive and concise in simple english. No, no, and three times no. Goblin 23:48, 4 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ Shappy!
Comprehensiveness does no good if there isn't enough there for you to learn from.--   CR90  23:50, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Umm... what? You seem to be misunderstanding comprehensiveness. If an article is comprehensive, everything you would need to "learn about" would be in it. Adding length limits only stops good articles from being made good, and/or making people waffle on about toot to make length limits. This will never happen, I suggest you stop trying now. Goblin 23:52, 4 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ Nifky!

(<-) I think we can discuss "length", but please do so in terms of kilobytes or similar, not in terms of characters, or words. I would hate to go over an article, replacing shorter words with longer ones. As to what I have seen, candidates are about 8.000 to 10.000 bytes long, once they can be considered realistically; by the time we are done with them, the respective articles often doubled in size. --Eptalon (talk) 23:58, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

I would like to see about 17,000 bytes. (that number is judged from green Day's article from the history page.)--   CR90  00:01, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Considering the old length thing was 3.5kb for GAs that's ridiculously high. We don't need a length thing, it's only detrimental -_- Goblin 00:03, 5 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ Kennedy!

(<-) One of the shortest I know is Little Red Riding Hood, at about 14k (all inclusive) --Eptalon (talk) 00:06, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I can do you one better. Von Braun has just over 9KB, of which it's about 4.5KB of text. Purplebackpack89 (talk) 00:36, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
All of this is irrelevant when the previous limit was 3.5kb and it was less than three months since we discussed it. None of this changes anything, we don't need a length restriction. Goblin 00:41, 5 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ GoblinBots!
Gobby you are one opinion, can't you wait till others express theirs?--   CR90  00:52, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
I point to the above thread where the length was dropped. More people "agree" with me there. This will go nowhere, as i'm sure the lack of input shows. Goblin 00:56, 5 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ Juliancolton!
It's only been up an hour and that thread was a month ago, things change.--   CR90  00:59, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it was less than a month ago. Things don't change that quickly, especially when there has been so few GA nominations. Just admit you're wrong and move along - nothing will come of this. Goblin 01:01, 5 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ GoblinBots!
Why are you so determined to see my discussion not go anywhere?--   CR90  01:43, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Length is irrelevant. For any subject to be covered comprehensively, an article here will almost certainly be "long enough". Setting a minimum character limit seems crazy to me. I suggest we maintain the status quo. The Rambling Man (talk) 08:02, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Echo TRM and Goblin. This was changed just a month ago; no need to rush and change it again. Pmlineditor  17:13, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


No offense to anyone and this is not meant to be a PA but this opposing to added a limit is, IMO, laziness on the part of the editors. Again GA's are supposed to be some of our best articles, and have a GA that's the length of Barack Obama hurts the GA system IMO, it makes me hard to respect it.--   CR90  20:41, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Remember that long article doesn't equal good article. A 50KB article with long, ungainly sentences, fastidious details, and terrible navagability, is of much lower quality than a 10KB article that succintly tells you all you need to know in a logical fashion Purplebackpackonthetrail (talk) 00:36, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
"laziness on the part of the editors"... funny. How many GAs or VGAs have you actually written? Don't accuse people who are in opposition of your odd plan of being lazy until you contribute actively to these areas. Stop drama-mongering, and let's get on with creating decent articles (which don't have to be a "certain size")... The Rambling Man (talk) 08:10, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
TRM, there's a difference from being lazy about creating articles, and just not being good at it, I'm in the later group, thank you. And I would appreciate if you would apologize for call me drama mongering , I just want to make sure out GA get respect since we work so hard on them.--   CR90  18:58, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
How does length not equal respect? I've written the shortest GA yet it's stil a damn good GA and gets respect - that article could be no more comprehensive without adding loads of unsourced stuff. (Or self-published sources, which are a no-no :P) Goblin 19:00, 6 January 2010 (UTC) I ♥ Nifky!
No, this "discussion" is baseless. If you can explain exactly why a good article should "be at least 12,500 character. [sic]" (and presumably a very good one should be significantly more?) then I'm prepared to listen further. Your accusation of "laziness" against those in opposition to your proposal is simply rude, without foundation and, yes, drama-mongering. Find a GA that you think isn't a GA because it doesn't meet 12,500 characters. Write a GA and then tell the rest of us that we're lazy. In either case, I'd suggest we conclude this here and get on with trying to improve content. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:44, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Whatever.--   CR90  21:53, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Hallelujah. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:58, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not change it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page, such as the current discussion page. No more changes should be made to this discussion.


Word not understood: Requesting change[change source]

I read through the "Requirements for good articles" but there's a word I don't understand and never came across before: "pertinent". Could anyone change this word to a word that more people know about please?

7. "If there are any illustrations, they must be pertinent to the article. They must also be properly labelled."

Minimac (talk) 16:50, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

It means that the images have to be relevant. πr2 (talk • changes) 20:15, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I think that it is derived from the word "pertain". πr2 (talk • changes) 20:20, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, yes. Pertain means to be appropriate to, to have relevance to, to relate to. It comes from the Latin per + teneo --> I hold through. DJDunsie (talk) 17:59, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

minor changes[change source]

"The last few revisions should be minor changes (like spell-checking or link-fixing)." Why? πr2 (talk • changes) 20:16, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

The GA criteria were copied VGA criteria at the start, the first few GAs were failed VGAs. VGA criteria have the exactly same line. The idea at the start was that of "incremental" improvement (many small changes, rather than few big ones). No one writes perfect articles...--Eptalon (talk) 20:32, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Requirement #2[change source]

I have a question. For Requirement #2 "The article must be fairly complete. Usually, articles should be a few kilobytes long, although shorter pages may also be nominated." What is considered a minimum? Can someone please explain. Thanks in advance, Jonayo! Selena 4 ever 18:03, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

We specifically don't give a number amount because a number wouldn't apply to all subjects. You need to use some common sense based on the subject you are writing about. There is a section a couple sections above where someone tried to add a specific number but it failed. And the number they proposed is laughably small. -DJSasso (talk) 18:05, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
As long as the article comprehensively covers the subject in hand there really isn't any issue with the length of the article, the primary reason that we did away with it. That said, I'd perhaps my site my GAs, London Underground 1967 Stock and London Underground 2009 Stock as articles at the 'lower' end of the scale. You could do shorter, but perhaps not much without not covering the subjects in question comprehensively. Hope that helps. Goblin 18:09, 3 January 2012 (UTC) I ♥ GoblinBots!
Thanks for the replies it helped answer my question :D Best, Jonayo! Selena 4 ever 23:22, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

We need to add another requirement, here and at WP:RVGA[change source]

This is Simple English Wikipedia, but there is no requirement that the language in GAs or VGAs be simple. There should be such a requirement. Maybe it was assumed when the processes were set up, but in practice our articles are not all in simple language.

I'm not sure how it should be worded. We could aim for a specific grade level, agreement among reviewers that text is simple enough, or maybe something else.

Comments? --Auntof6 (talk) 08:50, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

An interesting observation, I suppose we should argue that all our articles should be in Simple English, or else we just delete them! As a an achievable goal, all our GA's and VGA's should be models of Simple English writing. A specific "score" as a minimum requirement PLUS reviewer agreement would probably work. I shall do some research and checking to see what a minimum benchmark could be, and so it does not just become an exercise in "bean counting."--Peterdownunder (talk) 09:24, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Unneeded. Please read requirement #8: There must be no templates pointing to the fact that the article needs improvement. Some of these templates are {{complex}}, {{cleanup}}, {{stub}}, {{unreferenced}} and {{wikify}}. The article also should not need them. With that we actually already have a rule that articles need to be simple, if they aren't, tag them and don't promote them. Simple as that. No need for more (redundant) rules. -Barras talk 11:50, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I would have to agree with Barras here. There is a requirement (its actually #9) that requires that the article not need improvement and one of the things we tag articles for improvement with is complexity. So if the article is complex as Barras says we should tag it (or better yet improve it) and fail it. -DJSasso (talk) 14:35, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
In the VGA requirements it's #9, since the discussion is on this page, I quoted the criteria from PGA, where it is #8. Anyway, the criteria exists, even for both, VGAs and GAs. -Barras talk 15:02, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I didn't even notice we weren't on the VGA page. My bad. -DJSasso (talk) 15:18, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure that I agree with Barras. As I see it, there are three levels of complexity:
  • Fail - article so complex that it needs a {{complex}} template
  • Pass - No templates or accolades
  • Pass with distinction - The article is worthy of being a "Good article" (assuming that other criteria are also met).
As an example, consider the article Shraddha Kapoor (proposed as a GA yesterday) (No offence meant to User:OMGmelissa). The language in this article is definitely too complex for it to be regarded as a Good Article, yet plastering a {{complex}} template across it would be rather anti-social. Martinvl (talk) 15:24, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually that article is a perfect example of when the tag needs to be used. I wouldn't at the moment however because they have the currently being expanded tag on it. But it would fit the bill if it wasn't actively being worked on. -DJSasso (talk) 15:36, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
On the contrary. This is the editor's first article. She actually needs a little help rather than banners across her work. Ideally somebody should rewrite one ore two sentences in Simple English and explain why they are rewriting. Slapping a banner across the page is likely to put her off editing. Martinvl (talk) 16:16, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, there are other ways to help the editor but that doesn't mean the template isn't still valid. -DJSasso (talk) 12:00, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Barras, you are absolutely right. Requirement #8 does cover this. I withdraw my proposal. --Auntof6 (talk) 21:55, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
However we have no guideline however as to when the {{complex}} template should be used. Martinvl (talk) 03:15, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
As with any maintenance template it is whenever a person feels it is needed. Usually you should explain on the talk page why you think its needed, but that rarely happens. I never use these sorts of templates because I am not a fan of them, however we purposefully are vague on such things because having "rules" for everything makes things more complicated. -DJSasso (talk) 12:00, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I am also not a fan of them which is why I contend that the absence of such a flag is not a guarantee of "Simple English". We do however need a reference against which a person can check their article before submitting it for GA status in the knowledge that whoever assesses the article will use the same point of reference. I think that we also need to formalize article length - at the moment discussion on article length is hidden in a Talk Page. Martinvl (talk) 12:16, 12 March 2014 (UTC)