Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Council

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WikiProject iconCouncil
WikiProject iconThis page relates to the WikiProject Council, a collaborative effort regarding WikiProjects in general. If you would like to participate, please visit the project discussion page.

     You are invited to join the discussion at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Working/Manual § Other. Specifically, please see entry on the list entitled Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2024 March 13#Category:Harold B. Lee Library-related film articles. Thanks! HouseBlaster (talk · he/him) 18:57, 20 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    This project was recreated, again without going through any proposal process, despite the recent MfD. A G4 speedy was declined, but just like most of these musician WikiProjects, I doubt this has the legs to be maintained. StarcheerspeaksnewslostwarsTalk to me 16:54, 26 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    @Starcheerspeaksnewslostwars, we're currently discouraging people from using Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals, as it's basically broken.
    @Another Believer, two months ago, we had a consensus to delete that page. What do you think has changed? Has an actual group formed? (WikiProjects usually need half a dozen or more experienced editors if the group's going to survive for more than a few months.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:10, 28 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]


    I have created Draft:WikiProject food and drink industry in England. The main article bein Food and drink industry in England, but there are many other articles that can be added to the wiki project.

    I am looking for members to work on the articles, create new articles as necessary, expand and maintain current article and hopefully get these articles onto the Good article list.

    I have requested help on the Teahouse as well as making the request on the WikiProject. ChefBear01 (talk) 16:25, 2 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    @ChefBear01, a WP:WikiProject is a group of contributors. If you don't already have a group, then you've probably wasted your time in creating pages for the (non-existent) group to coordinate their work on. I suggest that you join Wikipedia:WikiProject Food and drink instead of trying to create a splinter group. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:57, 2 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    Systematically merging WikiProjects[edit]

    Picking up on something from the discussion above, I get the sense that most of us who think that WikiProjects are a good but underused model would like to see them quite aggressively merged into broader topics – based on the observation that big groups like WP:MILHIST or WP:WOMRED seem to be the most effective. (I get that those who don't think they're a good idea, or that they have run their course, don't see the point of this, but we don't lose anything by trying.)

    There is a process for merging inactive WikiProjects but it is cumbersome and therefore underused:

    1. It assumes that inactive projects should become task forces of the merge target, which greatly increases the technical complexity of the merge – but why would we want an inactive project to become an inactive task force?
    2. It only really works for fully-inactive projects, but merging ten inactive projects is likely to just result in one inactive project. Ideally we want to be merging one or two active projects with a larger number of semi- or inactive projects.
    3. It has to be done case by case with individual discussions, making it very easy for a small number of objections ("We're very happy here in WikiProject Colourless Green Ideas, thank you very much") to wreck the whole process.

    I think to have a chance of reviving the WikiProject model on a larger scale we need to be more aggressive. What I envisage is getting broad, community-level consensus that we should aim to have projects at a certain level of agglomeration – I'd suggest aligning it with the ORES topic taxonomy, which is derived from the WikiProject Council's directory and now used across a wide spectrum of tools and processes, but a potential RfC could present several options. Of course, if there are genuinely active projects under that level that don't want to be merged, then they could remain. But with the rest (the vast majority) we could proceed with merging on a WP:BRD basis, and without creating task forces. – Joe (talk) 09:59, 14 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    Some good ideas, and definitely worth discussing more broadly with the community. WikiProjects are currently under utilised, and any ideas for revival should be actively explored — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 10:06, 14 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I agree, and I think that trying to pull the history-related projects together is a good first step.
    Joe, I think that technical complexity, especially wrt the banner templates, is a problem we need to solve. We don't want to end up with duplicate banners, and there's an advantage to keeping old pages visible (e.g., if they contain lists of editors or ideas), but the goal of merging groups of people is to end up with one group of people. Consequently, I think archiving old talk pages and redirecting them to the main talk page should be encouraged. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:29, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I agree. I think that and merging the banner templates/categories is the main benefit of merging, as opposed to just marking the inactive ones as inactive. – Joe (talk) 08:17, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    There are a few reasons taskforces are useful, off the top of my head they can be separately noted on templates and maintain their own lists of articles. These can be useful tools for tracking, especially if the parent Wikiproject is huge. (Presumably task forces are also easier to re-convert into Wikiprojects if needed, although I'm unsure if this has ever happened.) For example, Wikipedia:WikiProject Brunei is totally dead, but it would feel suboptimal if a merging into the ORES/Articletopic Wikipedia:WikiProject Southeast Asia (Also dead but putting that aside for now) led to the loss of its tracking categories. CMD (talk) 06:48, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I totally agree that task forces are useful, but if a topic has proved not to have enough interest behind it to sustain a WikiProject, why would we assume it can sustain a task force? I think it's better (and easier!) to do a clean merge, then let the merged WikiProject decide which, if any, topics it wants to spin out again as task forces. It could also be done on a case-by-case basis so, yes, when merging countries it probably makes sense to retain a task force as that's a natural subdivision. – Joe (talk) 08:20, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I do not assume an inactive Wikiproject can sustain a task force, my point is that the technical tools developed as part of Wikiprojects are helpful even without an active editorbase. For example, I do not think there is enough interest to sustain Wikipedia:WikiProject Brunei, but there is a practical use to being able to follow Wikipedia:WikiProject Brunei/Article alerts. It is at least a fun curiosity to be able to see Wikipedia:WikiProject Brunei/Recognized content/Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Brunei articles by quality statistics, and the sum of having these for each country provides some rough pointers to think about systematic bias. To my understanding, these tools are linked to the existence of task forces, due to how the bots work. Some projects might not have useful tools of course, my mind went to inactive country projects as I've long wondered if/how they could be merged. CMD (talk) 09:34, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I see your point, but if there is not an active editor base tagging articles as within the scope of the WikiProject, then these bot-generated reports will also become less and less useful over time. There's a balance to be found but in general I agree with WAID above: WikiProjects are first and foremost a group of people. Their categorisation and quality assessment functions are secondary to that, and can be continued in other ways if the need for the WikiProject (the people) is no longer there. – Joe (talk) 10:01, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    If the tools can be continued in other ways, that would make everything much simpler. At the very least, I use Wikipedia:WikiProject Brunei/Article alerts and would be sad to see it gone. CMD (talk) 10:26, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I would welcome any task forces under the umbrella for WikiProject History, just as one possible option, if that is useful to others here. Sm8900 (talk) 18:11, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I mean, I suppose it won't do any harm here, but I think this is basically a rearranging of the deck chairs. There are plenty of WikiProjects with a broad scope comparable to MILHIST or WOMRED that are functionally defunct; I think the long-term success of those two is at least in part stochastic, and I would not expect "aggressive merging" to form a comparably successful project. Over a decade ago, a user attempted a major upmerge of individual US state projects to WikiProject United States, coupled with a fairly aggressive tagging campaign. I didn't notice at the time any particularly sustained upswing in project activity, and the pushback from the state projects that were active enough not to want to be subsumed started that user's spiral towards long-term abuse.
    I think it is worth asking why WikiProjects were so active and useful in the early days of en.wikipedia and have undergone such a profound decline. I agree with the above comments about people being first and foremost. *Why*, on an internet full of knowledgeable people, are we unable to attract enough editors to keep these groups staffed and active. I certainly have some ideas, but I'd be curious to know what others think. Choess (talk) 06:04, 16 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    States were maybe not the best test case since, with enwiki's massive American editor base, they tend to be more active than a country of comparable size elsewhere. I don't know why WikiProjects have foundered – I think the fact that we have salami-sliced topics until they can no longer sustain a working group is one plausible explanation, and hence that merging is worth a try. I'd also be interested to hear other ideas and I do really think they're worth saving. My sense is that new editors that might have gotten involved in a WikiProject if they joined when we did are now more likely to end up invested in a 'patrol', because these still have an active community around them. – Joe (talk) 10:15, 16 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I think that some of the problem is focusing on "topics" when a WikiProject is a "group of people".
    IMO people who want to work together will find a way to do that. However, I think three changes have hurt WikiProjects:
    • lots of salami-sliced topics make it harder to find the other people,
    • the existence of passable pages for most popular subjects reduces the demand for creating content, and
    • the way people want to do that, in the present decade, is off wiki.
    Merging up people-less pages increases the odds that someone looking for a group will find someone to work with.
    When I was a new editor, I saw a link to Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine on an article talk page. When I looked around, I saw requests for help with evidence that those requests were resulting in help. I also saw someone was asking for help on a large but simple task. I thought I could do that, and maybe that would free up other, more experienced editors to do more important things, like creating articles. Some 115K edits later, here I am. I don't think the same thing happens now. You find the pages, but there's nothing going on. If there is anything other than automated announcements, it's some kind of complaint or dispute. It gives you a different view of the group. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:26, 16 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Some of this seems like it could be subject to empirical examination: if we look back at the earliest WikiProject archives, are the articles and topics discussed more general or "popular" than at present? Are there a significant number of projects that were once active and have since become quiescent?
    I think Wikipedia:WikiProject Banksia might be an interesting study. Founded 2006, a rather niche topic, but consistently produced Featured Articles through 2018 and got about 10% of its articles above "Start"-class, which I think is pretty successful. Maybe I'm just grasping a different part of the elephant, but this is how I think of our content as developing: one or a few very energetic people doing most of the work, probably on a power law distribution, which stimulates less active users to align with that task (say, doing some reference formatting to help a *Banksia* article towards FA, or contributing a few sentences summarizing a relevant paper).
    WikiProjects are a group of people sharing a thematic interest. I think the crux of the problem is that we've become increasingly adamantine about refusing to acknowledge that some editors have more knowledge about subject matter than others; the only form of expertise we recognize is "expertise" about our internal rules. Energetically (mis)interpreting policy gives you moderator power over the work of others; energetically interpreting subject matter gets you moderated. Forming a project just creates a bigger target area for people to zoom in and declare that your work is OR, non-notable, fanboyism, etc. Of course our social energy has been diverted to criticism, not creation; that's what we reward. (Happy to take this elsewhere to avoid derailing Joe's concrete proposal—what's our replacement for User talk:Iridescent?) Choess (talk) 19:02, 18 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    @Choess, I don't think there's a replacement for Iri's page, but I'm willing to volunteer his page for this conversation. Alternative, you can have it here (maybe in a new section, and feel free to ping interesting/interested editors). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:23, 18 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Shared experiences help bond groups together, establishing a feeling of common purpose. While there is a good reason for Wikipedia not to be a host for general discussion, it means those shared experiences have to come through article editing and related discussion. This was easier to come by when Wikipedia was in a land rush phase, with many eager editors and a need to establish common agreements on article writing conventions, categories, suitable sources, standards for having an article, and so forth. Now that a lot of this has been set up, there is less need for daily discussions on operations. There is still higher level discussions to be had, such as reconciling different standards that were set up by different groups, but typically more abstract discussions garner less interest. Combined with the decrease in long-term editors due to the natural turnover of editors from earlier cohorts and the greater choices of pastimes now available online, more of the current generation of editors never experienced the busy times for their WikiProjects of interest. For new editors today, trying to connect with a group of Wikipedia editors who are mostly heads-down and working steadily away on mundane tasks isn't easy.
    One thing I think might help (without opening up WikiProjects to more general forum-like discussion) is to build lists of desired articles or tasks to complete, make them very visible, and get people to check off items as they are done. There's still lots of writing to be done, and having a visible tracking board would generate a bit of that common purpose feel again. For this idea to work, though, it needs some volunteers to help keep the status board current, perhaps generating stats at various checkpoints, and to reach out to editors who seem like good candidates based on their contribution history. Ideally this outreach would be assisted by the new editor mentors. I don't know how much interest there is, but the good news is that it is an initiative that can be managed by a fairly small number of people for any one given topic area. isaacl (talk) 22:24, 18 May 2024 (UTC)[reply] can do automated leaderboards for certain purposes (e.g., most refs added, most images uploaded to Commons, most words added to an article). That might appeal to some groups. You'd still have to have someone bringing the off-wiki information back to the group. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:28, 18 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    I think a manual checking off of items would more readily create a shared experience feeling. Automated leaderboards by themselves are just counts. Maybe if they were used to award silly barnstars, it would be appealing to some users and thus foster a bit of esprit de corps. isaacl (talk) 06:25, 19 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Small, achievable tasks are good, especially if everyone can see that multiple editors are involved. Wikipedia:WikiProject Disambiguation sometimes brings lists of dab-needing articles to WPMED, and we usually get a few editors working on them. The Pareto principle applies, but the key point is that people need to feel like someone else needs to pitch in. Having one person do the whole list doesn't make the group feel important. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:41, 19 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Yes, that's the idea: create a place where people can see the work being done by each person, to help establish common shared experiences. Additionally, help those who want a bit of direction to find tasks that need to be completed. isaacl (talk) 19:00, 19 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    Proposed merge of inactive history WikiProjects[edit]

    I've proposed merging a number of inactive WikiProjects into WikiProject History. Please see the discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject History#Merge inactive history WikiProjects. – Joe (talk) 10:04, 14 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    I support this idea. we would welcome them. i also support some development of task forces to replace these wikiprojects. this would of course depend upon the specific interest level of the community.
    as one idea, can we use this as perhaps a good opportunity to discuss some general ideas on how task forces might be structured and developed, specifially to make it more likely they would be actively used, and would be actually useful? open to all ideas. thanks! Sm8900 (talk) 18:13, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
    Most task forces are not actively used in the long run, so IMO it makes most sense to plan for that eventuality. Task force (as a place where a small subgroup talks something over) are most useful temporarily ("A few of us are going to take this to a subpage, to avoid cluttering up the main discussion page for the next year or so") or for ongoing specialized processes (e.g., Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Assessment/A-Class review).
    @Sm8900, if you are interested in supporting this, you might check the history pages for the inactive WikiProjects, to see if you can find any still-active editors and invite them to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject History. I have done a bit of this with newer editors for WPMED this year, and I find that it's helpful to give a specific call to action. People want to be given a specific, positive action they can take, like "sign up for our newsletter" or "help with our Backlog of the Month™". WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:05, 15 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]


    Read: Wikipedia:Help desk#c-TSventon-20240519100100-48JCL-20240518212700 told me to come here. 48JCL (talkcontribs) 12:02, 19 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

    @48JCL, I suggest that you merge those projects. Based on your description, the process should look like:
    WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:37, 19 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]