Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in feature discussions

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Similar to Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions and Arguments to avoid in adminship discussions, this page discusses the commonly made fallacies and incorrect arguments used in Feature discussions. The term "Feature discussions" refers to the discussion processes used for featuring content, such as at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates (FAC), Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates (FPC), etc.

Featured article candidacies[edit]

  • All aspects of an article should be brought up to the highest possible standards, but it is helpful to distinguish between certain aspects, some of which are "more equal than others":
    • Clarity and readability are essential to the purpose of Wikipedia. If an article can't be read or understood, it might as well be deleted.
    • We require, as core policy, that articles be accurate, neutral, and verifiable.
    • Our copyediting rules are guidelines, which are recommendations; they should be followed (as guidelines ought to be), but it is better to have a clear, well-written, neutral, accurate article with copyediting problems than a badly written and erroneous polemic with perfect dashes and italicization. Copyediting the well-written and accurate article would improve it further; but a review that has had only style concerns addressed is incomplete. Checking references is often the hardest part of a review, especially if they are offline; as much as possible, the comprehensiveness of the article and the accuracy of its sources should be a priority during review. Editors should not be tempted to do the easy part, and leave the prose and content unconsidered.
  • Objections to promotion of an article should be actionable. This means that someone could use your comment to fix the problems with the article. To this end, make sure to give specific reasons why the article does not meet the featured articles (FA) standards; arguments that boil down to "I don't like this article" or "I don't like this subject" are unhelpful to people who want to improve it.
  • Do remember that the style guidelines differ in the force with which they make suggestions. There are many parts of MOS that are expressed in ways that make them explicit recommendations: these cannot be used by reviewers as a basis for opposing FAs. For example, em dashes are not "normally" spaced (not "Do not space em dashes"). It is perfectly open to a nominator to rebut a complaint by saying "well I like them". The weakest form of recommendation is "please consider", which covers useful suggestions. We have complied with this if the possibility mentioned has been considered, whether or not it has been adopted.
  • Also remember that the style guidelines are a few pages, whereas many published guidelines are whole books. Our guidelines often generalize, giving advice, without qualification, that is sound for many articles, but not all. Use common sense.
Until August 2007, they recommended, without qualification, using both metric and Anglo-American units whenever a measurement was mentioned—a good thing for most articles; exceptions were added for scientific articles, which should use metric, and articles on the history of maritime law, which should use nautical miles, without converting them every time. WP:MOS will only mention such exceptions when they have become a problem, and someone has added them; for example, MOS does not mention, on this same subject, that galaxies are measured in lightyears or parsecs, which are not metric.
  • The FAC Director (Raul654) promotes articles based on a reading of the comments and discussion at the WP:FAC review. The community should ensure that the discussions are polite, helpful and informative, both for the participants, and for Raul.
  • In general, folk who nominate articles at FAC have put a lot of work into them and as such emotions can run high in nominations. Thus, anything which keeps a positive spin communication in the case of opposing or highlighting fixes needed to keep morale and mood good is essential. Some hints include:
Be conciliatory, especially if the nominator is inexperienced at featuring deliberation. Consider writing, "Oppose for now...(reasons)...happily support once fixed", rather than a flat "Oppose". Although obvious, it leaves the communication on a positive note. Similarly, do avoid the expression MOS breach; the Manual of Style is neither a fortification or a commandment.
Reviewers are neither judges nor schoolmasters; nominators are not pupils, much less defendants. We are fellow editors.
Be humble; I often assume an apologetic/conciliatory tone. If an article is really falling short and fails in many areas, offer some pointers on where or what to do rather than just 'PR'.
Try to focus on how to fix rather than what is wrong; remember the ultimate aim is to create featured articles regardless of who writes them.
It is a lot easier and quicker to fix obvious typos and formatting glitches yourself rather than typing how to fix them. Also makes for a shorter discussion page at the FAC itself, although if there is any time to write detailed edit summaries, this is it!
Say what you think good about the article, as well as the flaws. If you are commenting on purely stylistic issues because the content and writing are excellent, it will help to say so.

Featured picture candidacies[edit]

  • Just a vote – determination of a picture's feature-worthiness is not a vote. Support opinions without reasoning may be discounted if there are concerns with the picture, especially relating to encyclopedic value. Oppose opinions without reasoning don't help the participants in determining whether they should fix the problem(s) with the picture and may also be discounted in a similar manner.
  • Don't be too picky. Minor technical faults may be forgivable if they do not detract from the overall image quality. Additional leeway may be given to pictures that are relatively hard to replace and/or have few free alternatives. Of course if such technical faults do detract from the overall quality, the image is unlikely to be featured.
  • It's a pretty picture. The main factor in determining feature-worthiness on Wikipedia is the picture's encyclopedic value. We have FPC on Commons for pretty pictures.
  • It takes too long to download. MediaWiki has a thumbnailing algorithm to deal with large images. If you can't view an image at 100% because of its size, then don't support or oppose the image.
  • Bad quality. How so? Be specific, otherwise your opinion is likely to be discounted.