Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/Backlog elimination drives

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The Copy Editing Backlog Elimination Drives are one-month-long efforts of the Guild of Copy Editors to reduce the backlog of articles that require copy editing, signified with the {{copy edit}} tag. The goals for each drive are listed on the respective drive page. Awards will be given out to those individuals who help reduce the size of the backlog.

The coordinators for each drive are listed on each drive page. If you have any questions, please first consult our FAQ page, which has answers to some commonly-asked questions. If that doesn't help, you can leave a message on the drive's talk page; someone will be happy to help you.

Please make sure that you know how to copy edit and that you are familiar with the Wikipedia Manual of Style before you begin copy editing.

Instructions for participants[edit]

  1. Sign up for the drive. On the drive's page, find the "Signing up" section and press the "Create your articles list" button. This will create a subsection of the page where you will record your copy edits.
    • If you participated in the previous drive, add any Rollover words you may have earned. You'll find this number on the "Barnstars" page—follow the link in the "Signing up" section of the current drive's page. In the "Totals" table, find the number in the column marked "New rollover words". Place this number on the "Rollover words" line in your subsection of the current drive page. You do not perform any calculations with this number; coordinators will add the rollover words to your total at the end of the drive.
  2. Find an article to copy edit: see the "Finding Articles" section below. Articles listed on the Requests page also count towards your drive totals—these higher quality articles don't usually have {{copy edit}} tags. Follow all Requests page instructions.
  3. Verify that no other participant is editing the article. Check the page history and look for "in use" (in the article) and "reviewed" (in the talk page) tags.
  4. Obtain the article's word count: install this script (see below), then click the "Page size" link in the Tools menu.
  5. Record your work in the "Totals" section of the drive page. Your subsection is automatically populated with # {{Working}} [[]] () and # {{Completed}} [[]] ():
    • Place the title of the article you're copy editing on the {{Working}} line in wikilinks [[]]. List the article's full title, not an abbreviated version.
    • The article's word count goes in round brackets ().
    • If the article is from the GOCE Requests page, place *R after the word count. If it was tagged in the "earliest-tagged articles" months listed at the top of the drive page, place *O after the word count.
  6. Remove the {{copy edit}} tag from the article. Optionally, place a {{Goce in use}} tag on top of the article, to inform other participants and editors that you are editing it.
  7. Copy edit the article. If you have any questions, ask on the current drive's talk page.
  8. Remove the {{Goce in use}} tag (if used) when you've finished.
  9. Optionally, place a {{GOCE}} tag in the article talk page to inform you edited the page and to promote GOCE.
  10. Record your completed work in the "Totals" section of the drive page by changing the # {{Working}} to # {{Completed}} on the line with the article's title. Place any comments between the article title and the word count. Check using the "Show preview" button, then save it. Articles not logged or improperly logged will not be credited. Properly completed records look like this in the edit window:
    # {{Completed}} [[Dark chocolate]] (1,234) *O
    and like this on the rendered page:
    1.  Completed Dark chocolate (1,234) *O
  11. Recalculate your article total and word total in the "Totals" section of the drive page. That is, take the new article you just recorded, and add it to your totals.

Dos and Don'ts[edit]

  • Don't "rubber-stamp" articles. Be thorough and complete in your copy edits, working to the end of the article. The prose in copy edited articles should comply with the Manual of Style and be free of grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors. Rejected work will not count towards your total and you may be penalized for it.
  • Don't create extra work; don't copy edit any articles to which you have recently added a {{copy edit}} tag.
  • Don't count what you haven't copy edited. Sometimes articles or sections are unsuitable for copy editing or may not need any work. Don't count words in articles or sections that you have not copy edited.
    • If, after examining an article, you find that copy editing is inappropriate or cannot be completed due to other issues, you may consider removing extant {{copyedit}} tags and taking extra actions—like placing {{GOCEreviewed}} on the talk page, deleting inappropriate material, reporting suspected copyright violation and so on.
  • Do have fun; we're here to help bring these articles to their fullest potential and improve the overall quality of the encyclopedia. If you don't enjoy doing that, there is no motivation to improve these articles and the encyclopedia as a whole.

For new copy editors[edit]

The backlog elimination drive welcomes and encourages Wikipedians who are new to copy editing or who are out-of-practice to join the drive. You may copy edit as many—or as few—articles as you wish. If you want someone to review your work, feel free to ask on the current drive's talk page and one of the coordinators will gladly assist.

Useful tags[edit]

While we do our best to copy edit articles, this is not always achievable. Articles may be unstable, have confusing text or need attention from experts in that subject area. In these instances we can use a tag to attract such help for the article. Some useful tags are:

{{off-topic}} ~ {{Expert-verify}} ~ {{Expert-subject}} ~ {{contradict}} ~ {{confusing}} ~ {{refimprove}} ~ {{nofootnotes}} ~ {{notability}} ~ {{original research}} ~ {{crystal}} ~ {{POV}} ~ {{unreferenced}}

See WP:TC for a full list of cleanup template messages.

Word counting script[edit]

See Wikipedia:Prosesize#Installation and removal for instructions on how to install the prosesize gadget.

To test the script, go to a random article, look under the Toolbox menu on the far left of the screen and find the link for Page size. The backlog elimination drive uses the number of words listed under Prose size (text only). Note this script does not:

  • parse prose text in lists and tables; or
  • give an accurate word count in articles with significant amounts of mathematical notation.

In the cases listed above, you may need to copy/paste into a word processor such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs or LibreOffice Writer. In these cases, you should remove the table of contents, image captions, mathematical notation and any other non-copy-editable prose.

Finding articles[edit]

Some copy editors enjoy taking a random dip in Category:All articles needing copy edit and learning about something completely new along the way. Others prefer editing articles in a field they already know about. Such articles can be found using categories:[Credit 1]

  1. Go to the PetScan tool.
  2. Set the Depth to 5.
  3. Write or paste All articles needing copy edit in the box labelled "Categories".
  4. Write the name of a category you're interested in on a separate line in the same box, for example; Books.
  5. Scroll down and click the button labelled "Do it!"
  6. Be patient; large categories might take a little while to search.

This example will find articles tagged with {{copy edit}} in Category:Books, as well as its sub-categories, sub-sub-categories, and so on down to sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-categories.

  1. In the Categories tab:
    1. Set Depth to 5.
    2. Place All articles needing copy edit in the Category box.
  2. In Page Properties tab
    1. In Namepsaces, Tick off both Article (blank) and Talk in the Namespaces boxes.
  3. In Templates&links tab
    1. Place the template of the wikiproject in the Templates field, e.g. Wikiproject Pakistan, and tick off "Use talk pages instead."
  4. Click "Do it!"
  5. Wow! The example search found 77 articles on Pakistan that need copy edits and took 5 seconds to execute.
  1. ^ Basically ripped from here; original tip from #Jubileeclipman

Rollover words [edit]

Rollover words are words from your drive total that did not count towards an award. These are carried forward—or "rolled over"—to the next drive. For example, if Example copy edits 25,436 words, they will receive the Tireless Contributor Barnstar (20,000 words). Their remaining 5,436 words are rolled over until the next drive, where they can be added to his/her total word count. If Example copy edits 2,800 words in the following drive, they will receive the Working Wikipedian's Barnstar (8,000 words) and 236 rollover words (5,436 plus 2,800, minus 8,000).

Rollover words are valid only during the next drive. If Example earned 14,000 roll-over words in a March drive and did not participate in the May drive, they cannot use them in the July drive; their rollover count will return to zero. Rollover words do not apply to the Gold Star Leaderboard awards.


The following awards will be given out for the drive.

Total word count awards[edit]

Awards will be given out at the conclusion of the backlog elimination drive as follows:

Minor Barnstar.png At least one copy edit
The Minor Barnstar
CopyeditorStar7.PNG At least 30,000 words
The (old school) League of Copy Editors Barnstar
Modest Barnstar.png At least 4,000 words
The Modest Barnstar
Copyedit Barnstar Hires.png At least 40,000 words
The (modern) Guild of Copy Editors Barnstar
Working Man's Barnstar.png At least 8,000 words
The Working Wikipedian's Barnstar
Barnstar of Diligence.png At least 60,000 words
The Barnstar of Diligence
CleanupBarnstar.PNG At least 12,000 words
The Cleanup Barnstar
SuperiorContentReviewScribe.png At least 80,000 words
The Order of the Superior Scribe of Wikipedia
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif At least 20,000 words
The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Most Excellent Order of Star Scribes.png At least 100,000 words
A special, VERY exclusive award created just for the few, the happy few: the Most Excellent Order of the Caretaker's Star

Leaderboard awards[edit]

Goce barnstar.png

The prestigious Guild of Copy Editors' Gold Star Award will be awarded to the copy editor with the highest total article count, the highest total word count, the most articles of more than 5,000 words, the most articles from the oldest three months, and the largest article copy edited during the drive.

Goce silver barnstar.png

The GOCE Silver Star Award will be presented to all editors who make the remaining four leaderboard slots in each category.

10k award[edit]


An editor who copy edits an individual article of more than 10,000 words that does not make it to the leaderboard in the "longest article" category will receive The 10k Copy Edit Barnstar.


Participants can place a drive userbox on their userpage using {{User Copyedit Drives|X}}. Replace X with the number of drives you have participated in. It displays as follows:
Writing Magnifying.PNGThis user has participated in X Backlog Elimination Drives with the Guild of Copy Editors.
If you also participate in the blitzes, you can use: {{User Copyedit Blitzes Drives|X|X}}
Writing Magnifying.PNGThis user has participated in 1 Backlog Elimination Blitz and 1 Backlog Elimination Drive with the Guild of Copy Editors.

Instructions for coordinators[edit]