CZ Talk:Approval Process

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Draft Approval Process For discussion

The meaning of editorial approval. Editors may approve Citizendium articles, i.e., certify that they meet article standards. When an editor approves of an article, he or she is explicitly claiming that that particular version of the article meets those standards, and that he is willing to stake his professional reputation on that claim. The relevant standards are outlined in Approval standards.

An author of an article is anyone who has made a significant contribution to the content of an article, rather than a contribution that is confined to copy editing, stylistic adjustments etc. Any author may, at any time, seek approval for an article that he or she has been contributing to, but may not approve that article himself or herself.

Approval thus requires the involvement of an editor, expert in the relevant field, and who has not contributed significantly to the article content. To secure the involvement of an editor, an author may approach any CZ editor with relevant expertise, or might place a call for approval on the relevant Workgroup page. A call for approval should be made when an article is approaching a state that the authors believe to be adequate, but not necessarily in a final polished state. The call for approval should be indicated by a 'call for approval' tag placed at the top of the article Talk page. An editor who accepts in principle the role of approving an article under development should also indicate this at the top of the Article Talk page.

The approving editor should place comments intended as editorial guidance at the top of the Talk page. These comments should address conditions still to be met before the article can be approved.

When the editor believes that the article is fit for approval, he or she should simply place an Approval Tag at the top of the article page. (When the software has been written to permit this, we will want to display the latest approved versions of articles to users by default, rather than the latest unapproved version.)

Not done yet

I'm finished editing this page for now. I'll be adding more info hopefully tomorrow. --Larry Sanger 03:01, 21 December 2006 (CST)

A couple of points:
1) Involving copyeditors (informally)
I would most definitely take this beyond a voluntary step. I think articles need to be signed off on by the Chief Copyeditor, his or her designees, the Copyediting Workgroup, whatever. Make that a required step in the article approval process. We can be utterly certain, for example, that the likes of Britannica have that as an essential step in their workflow. Thus
From Author(s) --> To Copyedit "department" --> To Editorial "department" for approval --> To Sysops for placement of the Approved template
It is only in this way that all CZ articles will be appropriately standardized, tallying to a unified "feel" of the aggregate product. Without it, articles will appear (and probably actually be) uneven in style, if only because editors may interpret differently or unevenly apply copyediting standards, or because some really are better writers than others. Moreoever, onlookers of the project, such as librarians and academics, will look upon such an additional step very favorably. The keyword in articles going from authoring to final approval should be rigor. This step adds importantly to that. It is a detail the importance of which ought not be minimized.
2) Who may nominate
At least in my reading, this is currently unclear in this policy. If authors can nominate articles for approval, then state so specifically within a brief section under the heading Who may nominate.
Thanks for hearing me out.
Stephen Ewen 00:36, 15 January 2007 (CST)


Re (1), please see the section of the Forums about copyediting. That's where to put this. But here's why I at least have been slow to add any copyediting requirement. We certainly wouldn't want any single person to have to approve articles for copyediting (what a bottleneck), and even any one of a large group of people officially having to approve the article's copyediting would tend to slow the approval process down far too much. Bear in mind that wiki editing, particularly when approval is going on, is a very open, public process, and, in time, I think you're going to see boatloads of people offering far too many copyediting suggestions (and making many minor, conflicting copyedits) when approval time approaches. The result will be quite good--not perfect, perhaps, but large, dynamic collaborations cannot be in the business of perfectionism without grinding their processes to a halt.

Re (2), perhaps all that needs to be said is that to nominate is to approve, and only editors may approve. Authors may not nominate. --Larry Sanger 09:55, 15 January 2007 (CST)

as per Larry's request

I tried to edit the page to reflect our Biology article experience. I do have a question- what happens to the old approved biology (and by inference-other articles being replaced by new editions).? Are they archived? In this case there is very little difference between the editions, but I can imagine cases where the preceding and newly current edition might be extremely different. I think we should have a way to save them so that they are easily retrievable.Nancy Sculerati MD 17:49, 25 January 2007 (CST)

It happens I worked on the what I have just dubbed "re-approval" section just before reading this, and before actually discovering that Larry has done a very good job spelling out the distinctions between sysop permissions and Constable roles and responsibilities , a clarification which significantly improves the practical and ethical guidance in the approval process page so that difficulties like the recent editing glitches in Biology (which I was in the middle of) can be avoided in the future.
I have used the term "re-approval" deliberately because I have found the mechanics of a second approval are trickier than the first.
In that section I map out a proposal for placing version records at the top of the talk pages, and in it it is suggested that the urls to the source versions are kept in an area at the top of the talk page. Also annotation of the sysop saves of newly form re-approved articles is suggested.
These steps (or similar ones), will automatically preserve an index to old approved versions in the history logs, which are automatically preserved anyway - meeting Nancy's request - thanks to the nice properties of the Mediawiki history log (I know that Larry and others will realize this, but us newbies often don't).
These and similar procedural-ethical precedents that we are establishing seem to me to go to the heart of making CZ what we want it to be David Tribe 15:58, 28 January 2007 (CST)

Tags in the history log

In the forum Chris Day has opened up discussion of A and N , W and X tag fields used in the history logs . I assume these tags are being used by sysops, and think guidance should be expanded in this document. David Tribe 16:30, 29 January 2007 (CST)

Approval Timeframe

The timeframe policy is currently,

For DATE TO APPROVE, write down the day after tomorrow, or perhaps better a few days after that if to allow time for completion of last minute copyedits. You must give others at least 24 full hours to examine the article after you have placed the ToApprove template.

David Still has suggested that we give people more time to evaluate nominated articles, and I agree that 24 hours (the minimum) doesn't seem like very much time at all. Do people see it as important that this process be fast, or can we afford to give people more time to comment? How about 3 days (72 hours)? --Mike Johnson 21:17, 3 February 2007 (CST)

Redirecting the talk page as part of the approval process?

This discussion has been pasted here from Talk:Biology and User talk:Chris day

Below from Talk:Biology:

As part of our approval process, we should redirect Talk:Approved article to Talk:Approved article/Draft, to avoid discussion being carried on in two places. Shouldn't we?

Unless you have worked out a different solution (tell me if you have, please!), may I ask someone to (1) create an archive (see User talk:Larry Sanger for an example) of this page, (2) place both a link to that archive and the most recent entries from this page on Talk:Biology/Draft, and (3) entirely replace the contents of Talk:Biology (i.e., this page), which should have been copied either to the archive or to Talk:Biology/Draft, with this: #REDIRECT [[Talk:Biology/Draft]]

For extra credit, update the article approval process page with these steps.  :-)

Of course, if you have some way of understanding what goes on Talk:Biology and Talk:Biology/Draft, and you want to make that a general rule for the whole of CZ, please enlighten me!

--Larry Sanger 16:00, 20 February 2007 (CST)

Larry, check Talk:RNA interference talk. That's the way David had me do the last one. Matt Innis (Talk) 16:09, 20 February 2007 (CST)
It's better to have a redirect page the problem with a note directing people to the new talk page is that some users will not notice it. Chris Day (Talk) 16:19, 20 February 2007 (CST)
[edit clash] I prefer having one talk page only. With respect to the archive, I suggest we use the move function to preserve the edit history of this page at the archive too. This is important since any links to this page will automatically be redirected to the appropriate archive page. Currently there is already one archive for biology, but it was only cut and pasted from this talk page. The edit history for those edits are still associated with this page. I suggest we move this whole page to Talk:Biology Archive 1. Then copy and paste the content from Talk:Biology_archive_1 to the top of the new archive at Talk:Biology Archive 1. Then we should delete the old archive. Any continuing discussion can then be transfered to the Talk:Biology/Draft page. Chris Day (Talk) 16:15, 20 February 2007 (CST)

So, am I right that there just isn't any rhyme or reason to the current confusing situation? --Larry Sanger 16:29, 20 February 2007 (CST)

Yes, you're right. In the long term it is not viable to have two talk pages for every approved article. Once the approval has occured the article talk page should be archived and redirected to the draft talk page AND fully protected so it cannot be changed at a later date. If you unlock the move function then we can proceed. Unless others have a strong argument for not doing this? Chris Day (Talk) 16:39, 20 February 2007 (CST)

It's fine with me. Nancy Sculerati MD 16:44, 20 February 2007 (CST)

Sounds perfect. That way future editors will still have access to previous discussions and decisions on the same page and no-one will make the mistake of posting on the wrong page. I would ask that you outline the steps well for those of us who have do it. Matt Innis (Talk) 18:52, 20 February 2007 (CST)

Below from User talk:Chris day:

We could consider naming the archive "Version1" rather than "Archive1" because it is feasible that we will have archives of talk pages that are not associtiated with the saved version. Matt Innis (Talk) 18:58, 20 February 2007 (CST)
So you think the talk page should be archived after every approved version? That might be a good idea, although this might result in very short archives? Maybe it is best to not have the archives linked to each version but have a visible marker to mark the points in the discussion that each archive occurred. Something along the lines of the following:
This would make it possible to associate the discussion with various versions without fragmenting the discussion into small packets. Chris Day (Talk) 19:13, 20 February 2007 (CST)
That would work! That way the history of the decisions will be related to the versions that are associated with them. I know that Biology probably won't change much, but I can see how a controversial subject such as acupuncture or pseudoscience could end up going through some long discussions without making significant changes to the articles. That would work. Matt Innis (Talk) 19:30, 20 February 2007 (CST)

Does this sound like a good plan? If so I will write a procedure into this help page. Chris Day (Talk) 19:49, 20 February 2007 (CST)

A suggestion

As the number of CZ articles, authors, and editors grows, it will be increasingly more cumbersome for authors to find the appropriate editors to approve particular articles. At the same time, it will be harder and harder for editors to keep track of all of the articles that might be approaching the approval stage.

I think we need a system by which authors can easily bring good content to the attention of editors with relevant expertise. A template (or maybe just a category) would do the job, I think. An author would insert the template with relevant workgroups. The article would then show up in a category of author-nominated articles that would be browseable by editors from the proper workgroups.

This way, I don't have to look through the bio page for each and every author in a workgroup to find the right person to approve an article. And an editor doesn't have to check every article that might conceivably fall under her area of expertise.

Thoughts? --Joe Quick (Talk) 16:54, 11 April 2007 (CDT)

I agree this is important. Above Larry says that authors may not nominate an article of approval. On the other hand adding the {{ToApprove}} may well be the best way to recruit editors. Rather than have a seperate proceedure for attracting editors why not just let authors use the ToApprove template? Chris Day (talk) 17:10, 11 April 2007 (CDT)
Well, if we allow authors to use the ToApprove template, then we will eventually have to deal with a nomination that makes it to the deadline without an editor having seen it. It would then be automatically approved without an editor's input. (Is that right?) We don't want to deal with that, so I think it would probably be best to keep the two stages separate. --Joe Quick (Talk) 18:12, 11 April 2007 (CDT)

Link to approval standards

At the moment, the section "When and how to use the {{ToApprove}} template" starts with the sentence

An approving editor (or "approver") should be of the considered opinion that the article satisfies the Citizendium article approval standards.

where the phrase "article approval standards" links to Citizendium Pilot:Policy Outline#Article Standards. Should this link instead point to CZ:Approval Standards? I'm asking because the way I read those pages, Citizendium Pilot:Policy Outline#Article Standards sets a much higher standard than CZ:Approval Standards. I'm assuming that the former is the ideal to which all articles should strive (like an A grade), while the latter is what is needed to be approved (like a pass grade). However, I'm hesitant to make the change. -- Jitse Niesen 07:55, 25 April 2007 (CDT)

approve article, not talk?

When I added the ToApprove template to the talk page of complex number, as directed, the "articles to approve" special page lists Talk:Complex number as the one needing approval. Code glitch? or did I do it wrong? - Greg Martin 20:09, 29 April 2007 (CDT)

This has been the convention, it's been added to the talk page, since usually that's where discussions about approvals have been and I think there were occaisons where -when put on the article- it was missed by the "talkers". Of course, putting it on the talk page leads to the silly list of talk pages up for approval. If you like though, we can put it on both the article and the talk page - or just the article. What do you think? Now's the time to set these conventions. Nancy Sculerati 20:38, 29 April 2007 (CDT)

The problem is: when the template is put on the talk page, then it's the talk page that's added to the "articles to approve" category and listed when that category is viewed. It really means the article, not the talk page, is being nominated. I think it's a relatively minor problem we can just get used to (at least until maybe special software is set up or something). An alternative would be to put one template on the talk page and at the same time a different template on the article page. The template on the article page could be invisible and just add the page to the category. This might cause problems if people made mistakes and didn't add or remove the two templates at the same time. --Catherine Woodgold 18:38, 30 April 2007 (CDT)

meaning of "worked on"

It says "If the editor has worked on it herself, she asks another editor to approve it; or, if there are several editors all doing significant work on the article, then at least three of them can agree to approve it." I think this needs to be reworded or clarified. To me, "worked on it" sounds as if it includes doing any edits to the article, even minor ones. --Catherine Woodgold 18:43, 30 April 2007 (CDT)

moved from Approval Announcement page

I have been involved in a few approvals both as editor and sysop activating the approved version, and actually pioneered (and wrote) the slightly challenging draft approval (Version 1.1 etc.) process. All this is obvious to editors who have been through extensive editing and approval of big articles like Biology and Life.
The decision about which version is approve comes up time after time. It seems always to be complicated by a rush of last minute changes, and most frustratingly, while we are attempting to complete last minute copy edits, there will be a late arrival of a controversial edit of substance which by older rules, would freeze further copy editing because it is slow to be reverted in the approved copy (eg see long debate about proofs in the forums, recent talk in Life, older talk in Biology etc). The very recent entry of Dr Sculerati as an editing role hopefully will solve these trivial but annoying challenges.
My considered advice, in blunt terms is:
Intellectuals should shut up for a few days till the approval V 1.1 goes through, then let fire with all cartridges with a pistol fully loaded. Deep philosphical debates at the wrong time are slowing down the printing presses and confusing the workers!.

(Tongue in cheek emoticon goes here (-)

But which version?

The path I have trodden as nominating editor is to continually update the URL pointer in the template To approve Tag to the latest version containing good copy, and annotate, with each pointer update, the approval area with comments like

  • URL pointer updated David Tribe 16:47, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

so that the sysop (constable) actioning the approval has a clear indication of which version has full editorial support. This is assuming that ALL the edits contained in the pointer are typographical correction to a just previously duly nominated approved version. Again, last minute proposals to change text in a substantial way derail the judgement process by the "disinterested" constable.

In the last two Math approvals, even after the deadline, there were debates that required mathematical and other judgments. I took the view that I was unqualified as a sysop to judge the validity of them ( I understood what they were, and thought the Taylor series link was probably OK and a trivial decision but it's 40 years since I studied Taylor series) and that the articles had been through a thorough approval period, and that in any case if the issues turned out in the judgment of the Math editors out to be crucial, Math editors could push for Version 1.1 within about 24 hours if need be.

Revision of a Approved article to Version 1.1 or 1.2 should be no big deal. Version 1.1 should be an efficient phase for identifying overlooked glitches on approved versions, and my advice is to avoid redrafts and major change till even version 1.2 is on the board.

My attitude is based on the conviction we need to notch up many more approved articles, and that the degree of error in articles that have reached this (Version 1) stage is trivial compared to the great swathe of mediocre stuff we still have sitting there. As we say repeatedly, we have bigger fish to fry.

In fact we should have a "Bigger fish to fry", or just a fish image , template to make the point David Tribe 16:47, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

David, this all seems very sensible. Maybe we should standardize this, such that the nominating editor (in the 1-editor model) would be authorized to update the pointer so long as she or he felt the changes were improvements which did not require re-examination or raise concerns (anyone who disagreed with this could certainly say so on the comment page, and the constable could grant an extra 24 hours if requested, but "there being no objections" then that updated pointered version would become the approved one. I'm thinking right now of Literature, the first entry I've been involved in approving, and my involvement in this case is limited by the fact that I'm its principal author, so all I can do is pace about in the "waiting room" as it were! Russell Potter 16:59, 8 May 2007 (CDT)
I have been updating the pointer fully knowing it wasn't explicitly approved in the rules (but wasn't explicitly forbidden). It would be really unproductive to penalise an editor for doing this. It is called using editorial judgment. It seems obvious that it doesnt need speling out. But what is obvously sensible to some, is opaque to others. Once as a sysop I corrected a trivial but glaring visual flaw in an approved article and it was said afterward that this action was illegal. It took about a week for this to be redone legally by someone else, because it was rather mechanically complex, involving draft versions. I prevented one week of uglyness in an approved article and I am unrepentant about fixing an image presentation that looked atrocious with huge photos obscuring the text, if I recall correctly. But it did convince me that those with direct experience at the coal face have to speak up when formal procedures are not perfectly tuned. The key step is to modify the rules by due process so they work better.David Tribe 17:22, 8 May 2007 (CDT)
Russell has a unique problem in that he is only an author and his editor has gone missing. Technically he can't do anything and the article is about to be approved without his changes. Right now the rules would have constables approving the tagged version unless the editor comes back and changes the pointer. Is that right? --Matt Innis (Talk) 19:26, 8 May 2007 (CDT)
Nancy, after looking at the changes that Russell has made [1], I think they are copy edits. You, as Approval editor, should be able to allow me to approve the article and then you would naturally incorporate his changes. So, instead, I see nothing that should keep me from approving it all on May 10th, right? --Matt Innis (Talk) 19:33, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

I think the Editorial Council is the place to get the mechanics of implementation standardized. Nancy Sculerati 17:30, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

Thanks for that comment Dr Sculerati. It happens I'm on the Editorial Council, and I should try and progress it there. David Tribe 17:43, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

His editor is a well respected author who is working on a project- she is not really missing. She -like many experts- is not so familiar with the wiki, and does not regularly spend time on it. Although in no way am I willing to influence her, I am extremely likely to be able to have her read the version that is considered the best one for her to read on the day of approval. Since I myself am rather lame at the wiki- it would be best if you could put up an approval nomination template- an honest one that does not have her name on it -that points to the version to be examined, make it obvious so there will be no mistake. It will be up to her to indicate which version she approves. I am confident that she will approve one, because she already liked the first one that she looked at and her criticisms were really minor. But we will stick to the letter of the law to the best of our ability to interpret it. Hopefully, should Citizendium continue to grow, someday we will have enough of a quantity of editors for each field that things will be easier. Until then, I am willing to make the effort to facilitate. Nancy Sculerati 19:36, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

Nancy, did you see that these are the changes that we are talking about. [2]. What do you think? I think they are copy edits. --Matt Innis (Talk) 20:15, 8 May 2007 (CDT)
Matt has found an illustration of the point I am trying to make. The edits are not authorship but routine copyediting, and in those cases the URL should be updated by the editor supervising the nomination. In her absence, Dr Schulerati should,(as she is) in my opinion, be empowered to incorporate them into the approved version. That an approving editor in that work group is currently not on tap all the time, of course, is quite routine. It shouldn't hold up the implementation of a fair copy of what has been approved. We should add to the approval guidelines an explanation of this . I routine incorporated similar correction to the several articles I was managing. Explicit mentioning of what constitutes copyediting in the rules is needed. If there is a good faith error by, say Dr Schulerati, in calling these copyedits, it can be challenged by other editors and corrected in Version 1.1.David Tribe 20:37, 8 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree that our current rules allow for the above using Nancy as the Approval Editor. I also agree that any new rule should allow that anytime there is a question of content, the change can be removed on request of any of the approving editors. However, lets remove this from this page and bring it to the CZ:Approval Process page, then make a resolution for the Editorial Council. --Matt Innis (Talk) 20:57, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

I have ONE very important point to make- no H, it's Sculerati :-) Nancy Sculerati 21:04, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

Sorry, I was writing for the fonetically challenged, which you are not ;-) David Tribe 15:18, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
Yes ma'am. :D --Matt Innis (Talk) 21:07, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

Actually- TWO important points, there is no such thing as "routine" copyediting without a nominating editor. I say this not because I am an idiot who can't copyedit, but because I am very very smart, :-), smart enough to know that in an article like Literature the copyediting should be done by the nominating editor. Take a look at her user page and click her web site. Dr. Sculerati, who is well known for her unique spelling and punctuation is not about to fool with the English Doctor. Same thing is true for Math, Science, the nominating editors should direct copyedits to avoid making a mess. What I will do is call her and go over it on the phone -audio- while we bothlook at the wiki-visual. That's legitimate, and that's if she doesn't come on the wiki on her own. Nancy Sculerati 21:14, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

This has been very exciting! -- many thanks Matt, and Nancy,and David and all for sensing the issues at at stake. However this works out, I do think it will help all of us think through and improve the Approval process. On a more technical note, I would be delighted if, with Nancy as Approval Editor, we can get the copyedited version of Literature approved on the original date. But if not, perhaps the 24-hour addendum method would work for what we could call version 1.1? In either case, or in any case, I am sure that before too long we'll have a good, solid start to this toplevel article. I hope we'll soon also have some more Editors in Literature, and that this also will help the process along considerably. Cheers to all, Russell Potter 21:17, 8 May 2007 (CDT)
p.s. to Nancy's last comment which appeared after I posted mine: the copyediting, whether 'routine' or not, was actually just me keying in edits suggested by the nominating editor, along with one other slight edit (a closed parenthesis) and a change from one image of books to another. In cases where the approving editor is more wiki-facile, I imagine these would not come up. Russell Potter 22:01, 8 May 2007 (CDT)

Moved from Approval Announcenent page

Towards finalising approval

There seem to be six outstanding issues that have not been tied up.

Approval area

  • This page is important to bring together all the commentary specifically related to the approval process (e.g. Talk:Biology/Approval). There are two specific advantages, 1) The history of this page will be separate from the talk page history. 2) the approval discussion will be more coherent rather than being fractured in the talk page and between talk page archives. 3) this is useful for the constables that might need to find approval related edits in the future since it keeps the approval edits away from the talk page history.
    Every article, even before the approval process begins, should have an approval sub-page that is transcluded at the top of the talk page, so its content is clearly visible. This can be added to the top of the talk page using the {{Approval history}} template (e.g. Talk:RNA_interference/Draft) or incorporated into the checklist (e.g. Talk:Biology/Draft). If added to the checklist this ensures that every talk page has a link to the approval area (I favour this change to the checklist). This is good since it reminds authors and editors to work towards approval rather than moving onto to other pages without first approving. Chris Day (talk) 00:54, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree with Chris Day on this but can add it seems to be current practicve to move Talk:Article to Talk:Article/Draft at the time the first version is approved. This retains all records at the Talk:Articcle/Draft, which is very sensible. Hence it is true that the approval ALWAYS occurs at the talk page of the article being revised and edited.David Tribe 02:44, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
Agree that the addition of the Approval page to the checklist would make it considerably more efficient for constables and anyone interested in the Approval process. It even looks nice. I can't think of any significant reason not to do it. --Matt Innis (Talk) 07:25, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
  • I forgot to mention that the articles talk page should be moved to the Draft talk page (as David mentioned above). This is important to keep edit history intact. At the end of each of these sections we should add the "How=to-version" of this discussion. Chris Day (talk) 07:45, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

I'd appreciate it if you would incorporate these changes to the checklist. Nancy Sculerati 14:14, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Location for the {{ToApprove}} template

  • There seems to be confusion for where the ToApprove template should be placed. i think we all agree that for the first approval it is placed on the talk page. For subsequent approvals it is less clear. There are three posible locations. The draft article (e.g. Biology/Draft), the draft talk page (e.g. Talk:Biology/Draft) or the approval area (e.g. Talk:Biology/Approval. I believe the latter page is the most sensible since all approval related edits can then be tracked in the history of that sub page. Chris Day (talk) 00:54, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
See above there need be no confusion if it is remembered that at the time of approval of the first version the Talk:Article page is moved to Talk:Aticle/Draft. Hence the To approve is aways placed at the Talk page of the article being edited (Talk:Article for the first version, Talk:Article/Draft for subsequent versions.) David Tribe 02:59, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
David, just to clarify, if the ToApprove template is placed in the approval area (such as Talk:Tux/Approval then it will be on the talk page. Look at what appears in the ToApprove category when the ToApprove template is placed in the articles approval area (see Talk:Tux/Draft for a current example)
Yes, another good reason for the Approval page. --Matt Innis (Talk) 07:27, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
It seems to me that the essence of the confusion is that it is unclear what is meant by "the article being edited". The Draft page is the article that is literally being edited, but upon approval, it's not (just) the draft article, but the article itself that will be changed. It seems to me that there ought to be a uniform procedure for handling version 1.0 and subsequent versions of the article. Having an Approval page seems convenient (and I think it's probably a good idea), but it makes it less clear how to gollow the progress of an article. It would be nice to be able to start from the article itself (e.g., Tux) and be able to go directly to the right page for the approval template and discussion and, conversely, be able to go directly from the approval area to the article iself (not the draft of the article that will be approved). Greg Woodhouse 08:03, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree and this can be achieved easily by tweeking the approval templates. Chris Day (talk) 11:48, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Could you do so, Chris? I am not sophisticated enough to know what you mean by an approvals page. Do you just mean the top portion of the discussion page? Or are you talking about making a new tab with an entirely new page? Nancy Sculerati 14:17, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Number of editors

  • Above, the mention of a fourth editor was broached. I am not sure this disucussion reached a conclusion either here or on the forum. Where do we stand since the approved template needs to be updated to reflect the consensus of that discussion? Chris Day (talk) 00:54, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
Currently, as a constable, I would have to go with the rules from the CZ:Approval Process page which make no mention of the 4th editor. Of course that is apt to change. --Matt Innis (Talk) 07:31, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
We should be VERY WERY careful about exact wording of rule statements about editor numbers because we keep on unintentionally creating attempted situations that are legally unworkable. I have been through situations where because I have corrected spelling mistakes the whole process of approval comes to a halt. Editors are there to find errors for g*d sake, and if the rules preclude this very process they are supposed to discharge - its the rules that are wrong, not the editors. In fact, the rules have been wrong in several related ways, and only those who do the approvals are in a position to see these flaws. So although we need avoid an author approving an article solo, we must avoid creating red tape making it practically impossible to get articles approved, as we currently have 1800 to go. that is the actual approval problem at the moment. We would be much better off with 1000 approved artices plus 2 approvals with minor flws, than 100 perfect articles in 2 years which is about our current rate David Tribe 15:35, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

I have not yet seen a situation where we have had 4 editors. If you think it is worthwhile to see if this works as a method, I am happy to continue having it on the template. It may be that it will help us. However, if you think it -at this point-just adds confusion, please remove it from the Template. Chris, I think that decision can be left up to you. I will back it, just state your preference, please and the reason for it. Nancy Sculerati 14:20, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

We now have a 4 editor situation on Contraception (medical methods). Lets see if we can figure out what is necessary. --Matt Innis (Talk) 12:25, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

One thing I notice about the template is that the following should disappear when the four the editor signs on "Unless this notice is removed, the article will be approved on date" if we are going to allow approval when a fourth editor signs off on the approval. Persoanlly, I do favour the four and move on approach since it seems very unlikely that four editors would agree over approval if there was a legitimate dispute (it takes one editor to yank the ToApprove template but four to make it pass on fast track). Second, we need to speed up the approval process to accomodate the minor edit updates after the first approval has occurred. Basically, we need to trust our editors. Chris Day (talk) 13:04, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
My concern is that once we get huge like wikipedia, it won't be hard for people to travel in groups of four. How many ID editors are there out there.. Scientologists.. christians... whatever. When we place a definite number and immediate approval, we may be opening a pandora's box. If the article is good, why not wait out the few days and if it holds then Approve it. It takes one to remove the ToApprove template, but how many to remove the Approved template once we put it on?--Matt Innis (Talk) 13:48, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
The purpose of waiting at all, after the announcement of approval, is to let everyone have a chance to comment on an article. It doesn't matter how many editors want to approve an article in that case; if someone else can raise a good point that requires time to fix, we'd like to give them the opportunity (no?). --Larry Sanger 14:01, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
That is a strong argument too. Since we're all volunteers, the more time the better to have many eyes look over the article. If we stick with the deadline scenario, is there any need to have a fourth editor accommodated in the template? Three is probaby enough, especially if they are not authors of the article in question. Chris Day (talk) 14:37, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
With regard to roving non-neutral editors, let's hope it does not come to that.Chris Day (talk) 14:35, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
I've never seen an editor who didn't think they were neutral. --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:46, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Our current rules say three. Most peer reviews are three. If we aren't going to close the approval process with a fourth, why add the fourth, fifth, or any more. I like that the three editors names are in the template. That solves the problem for the constable who only has to see the three names in the template to approve. It also gives information to the reader about who approved and they can click on the name and read their bios to see the strength of the approval. I do think that the editor that wrote the article should be on the list, though. In Contraception (medical methods) this is not the case. --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:42, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

EDIT CONFLICT The number of nominating editors on the template is important in one practical respect- if only nominating editors are allowed to make copyedits with approvals management oversight then (1) if there are only one or few nominating editors, copyediting will be held up and (2) if there are too many nominating editors I guess it could be a problem if one of them has some kind of agenda. That goes back to the non-neutral question. I want to remind you of the (I think) good reason to limit copyedits to the nominating editors, and to ask that copyedits be discussed with all editors and major authors, and that is to avoid a situation-like we almost had- where changes are made to a newly approved article without the input of those responsible for its approval. Nancy Sculerati 14:46, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

So basically what you are suggesting is if you are not on the list, the only time you can make changes is before the 'closing' date on the ToApprove. This is another reason *not* to end immediately at 4 editors. I still don't think we are talking about non-neutral editors as much as we are talking about editors that don't agree or feel that the article is incomplete in some way. --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:52, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Stop a minute- I am saying copyedits, not content edits. The forces against approval are the concern that the article will be approved before its perfect, or really really good, and although we only want good articles to be approved, we do want approved articles. Not articles that are bickered over for days or weeks over trivial aspects. Remember, there is a draft and a new version can be approved. Approval is not an end state, only a stable version. That gets back to the original controversy- if there are 4 editors who approve, is it reasonable to stall the process? Comments that raise important issues will spark a new version. Nancy Sculerati 14:58, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

I have seen articles where three editors have been working away with no others. Then they put up a ToApprove tag and people show up that have never been there before (as it should be). They start making copyedits and content changes (as it should be). So Let me make sure we are on the same page. What you are saying is that if the original three still agree after the others have made their changes, then the article is approved. At that point only the three editors who approved it can make copyedit changes. No-one else can make copyedits. If another editor has a content issue, he can address it on the Draft. --Matt Innis (Talk) 15:19, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Yes, Matt-that's exactly how I see it. Nancy Sculerati 10:54, 19 May 2007 (CDT)
Not having a fourth editor is not really stalling the process. Having a fourth editor is accelerating the process. Nothing is stopping the nominating editor from placing the tag with the next day as the approval date. He/she picks a date that he/she feels is adequate for all the issues to be discussed and copyedited. If we end it immediately on the 4th, we are not trusting that editor. --Matt Innis (Talk) 15:24, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Proof reading phase

  • There was extensive discussion on this topic (i'll get the forum link). At present I have no opinion (i need to refresh myself on the opinions offered on the forums). Chris Day (talk) 00:54, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
This can be solved by the fact that reversals (reverts) are permitted if a reason is given. Its revert without explanation that are verboten (Ive recently realised!).. It will be necessary sometimes if there are substantial edits occurring before all copyedits have been completed for the managing editor to revert them with a note that there is a proofing phase in action for a final article. Alternatively, they remain in place and the approval takes place with an earlier version and the managing editor (or whatever Nancy's title is) is empowered to complete all approptiate copy edits to the approved article. It will be (probably) be necessary to define a limited proofing period, or a definite proofing step or responsibility carried out by Nancy Sculerati.David Tribe 02:59, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
This process continues to mature. It is quite obvious that no matter how perfect our initial Approval process there will be a period of finding "errata" that needs either "copy editing" by the Approval Managing Editor or "re-approving" via the same approval process. I do think it is important, as Nancy pointed out last week, that the Approval tag should be much harder to remove once it is placed to avoid trivial reasons for removal in controversial articles. --Matt Innis (Talk) 07:40, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Here's where we stand- if one of the editors who nominated an article for approval asks the approvals management editor to make a copyedit, then approvals will carry out that change with Sysop privileges. It is important that it be one of the nominating editors for several reasons. First, it must be an editor, as only an expert can judge the difference between a copyedit and an edit that is really more than that. Secondly, the nominating editors have stood behind the article that was approved. It cannot be that after approval, an entirely different editor, without consulting any of them, decides that changes must be made and contacts approvals to make them without the agreement of any of the nominating editors. This is a particularly dangerous possibility where controversial articles are concerned. The one way to be sure that at least one of the nominating editors wants the change is to make a rule that only a nominating editor can request a copyedit from approvals. Ideally, the nominating editor who is requesting the copyedit will be doing so only after there is discussion of that copyedit on the talk page, and all the editors involved in the nomination have clearly rendered their opinion. This was exactly what took place in Complex number.Nancy Sculerati 14:29, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Gallery pages

  • Are the gallery sub-pages to be treated as separate articles or as part of the main article? I am in favor of treating them as part of the main article. As soon as they are created their talk pages should be directed to the articles talk page. After the first approval the gallery talk page would be redirected to the draft talk page (similar to the article talk page being redirected to the draft talk page). Any changes to the gallery would be discussed on the draft talk page and require approval of the set (article and gallery). The gallery would be protected at the same time as the article. The advantage I see here is one unified talk page for the suite of pages (article, draft and gallery) since they are so closely related. There is nothing worse than fractured discussion. Chris Day (talk) 00:54, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree with you, Chris. (Thanks for fixing this one). I just offer the idea that if there is a way that the images can be re-approved without changing the whole article, in other words not having to re-approve the article, this might be a real benefit in practical terms. It can easily be that images are delayed in approval over the article because of copyright concerns, or a better image is obtained -that kind of thing. So, if there is a way to link the gallery and the article, yet allow nonsynchronous approvals, perhaps that is best. Nancy Sculerati 16:17, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
In our two current galleries (Tux and Biology) all the photos are also in the article, so in that case the article could not be approved without the gallery also being in good shape. With respect to reapporval, whether a gallery is tied to a particlular articles approval or not, any changes to that gallery would still have to be approved. Of course, in the future, we may use galleries to give a more comprehensive photolog of a subject. Especially a National Park, or such. In that case having seperate approval might be useful. Nevertheless, my gut feeling is that if the gallery is holding up approval this is not a problem and might be a good thing. We don't want half finished galleries.
Part of the problem here might be that re-approval is being seen as a difficult process, but this should not be the case. If it is, it will hamper the evolution of the articles. Re-approval must be as easy and painless as possible, whether it is the article, a gallery or both together.
Considering all these factors I still favor an initmate relationship between articles and related galleries under one approval banner. This should ensure that galleries are not a hodge podge affair that will detract from the approved article. Chris Day (talk) 16:41, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

General {{Approved}}template

  • For simplicity i am in favor of one approved template to be pasted onto all related subpages (article, approval, draft and gallery (if it exists)). This makes the job easier for the closing constable. the template will be tailored to give a different out put depending on which page it is placed. Why is this an advantage? Two reasons for starters, the closing constable does not have to remember to place the draft category onto the new draft sub page, it will be automatic. The closing constable does not have to juggle mutliple templates. Chris Day (talk) 00:54, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
This would be great. We need to work in this direction. --Matt Innis (Talk) 07:43, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
I support a trial of such a template. Nancy Sculerati 16:19, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
We will need to await the resolution on the subpage issue before this can be implmented. See the forums for more discussion on that issue. Chris Day (talk) 00:48, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

What are you talking about?

(Sorry, I couldn't think of a good heading) Is the current best practice described somewhere? I know of CZ:Approval Process but that is rather incomplete and it looks like you guys are much further. For instance, the approval subpage that you're talking about is completely new to me.

When we (the maths workgroup) had our first approvals, the following questions came up:

  • How much work can editors do on an article before they are considered authors, and hence they need to go for group approval instead of individual approval?
  • Should changes in the nominated revision in the ToApprove template be documented in the approval area? I saw at least one editor doing this diligently.
  • If a nomination is supported by another editor, can the nominating editor change the revision to approve? The supporting editor? Logically, they would probably need to agree before changing, but that could be rather hard to organize.
  • How to archive the talk page once approval is achieved?
  • What is Template:Experimental about? It's used on Talk:Biology/Draft and Talk:Life/Draft, which we used as guidelines.

Probably, none of these questions is terribly important (except for the third one, for which I'd like to know the answer), but if you rewrite the Approval Process you may take them on board. -- Jitse Niesen 08:12, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

You are correct that many of these issues are not even addressed on the CZ:Approval Process page. This is the primary reason to have this discussion so we can get this whole thing nailed. I wonder if this discussion would be more appropriate at CZ_Talk:Approval_Process? The reason it is here is that Nancy brought up the "what to do with galleries during approval?" issue on this page. I then added several other issues that i thought needed to be discussed.
The idea of an approval area has been around for a while, as part of the regular talk page, but i thought that it would be a lot more efficient if it was on its own subpage (and then transcluded to the relevant talk page). This is unofficial but i think it has enough support that it should be considered as an update for the approval process. In my opinion, all discussion related to approval should be on this subpage, including all the ToApprove templates and this should start when the article is created.
I agree your third point is very important, i believe this is related to the proof reading issue too, although i do not think there is a definitive answer. With regard to the experimental template i apologise for the confusion, I should probably strip that out ( a better model would be the talk:RNA interference/Draft page. The experimental template is a modified version of the checklist template that incorporates the talk archive box and the approval area. The use of that template, rather than the regular checklist template, means the archive box and approval area are generated automatically on the talk page or draft talk page. Chris Day (talk) 11:43, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

I recently edited CZ:Approval Process to reflect the actual appovals process. The main problem with the original rough draft was that the "Approval template" and the "Nominate for Approval" (otherwise known as the "To Approve" template) were both called the approval template. This is what led to the misunderstandings about revoking approval. Any editor in a workgroup can stop an article that is nominated for approval from being approved by removing the "to approve" template. We have never worked out how to revoke approval after an article is approved. That needs to be discussed. Nancy Sculerati 14:34, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Rereading your post, I would like to address question 3."If a nomination is supported by another editor, can the nominating editor change the revision to approve? The supporting editor? Logically, they would probably need to agree before changing, but that could be rather hard to organize." A nomination for approval is all about a version. If editor 1 nominates version Time 0, and editor 2 adds his name to the template, it has got to be for that version. On the other hand, there is an implied prmission here that trivial changes that are copyediting or filing out of points made already in the text will also be acceptable to Editor 2 so long as they are approved by the nominating editor. In other words, Editor 2 is signifying support for the article version as well as suport for the nominating editor's guidance of that article to approval. If editor 3 wants a different version Time 0+6 , a version hat is substantially different in content, this should be discussed on the talk page. If editor 3 feels that Version Time 0 is not acceptable he removes the template. If editor 3 simply makes the case that he prefers Time 0+6, and the others agree, then the original nominating editor can change the version on the template and the second editor's name remains, and now Editor 3 adds his name to the nominating template. When editors are working together in a collegeal way, this can be done. We have not yet had a "template war" when editors remove each others templates, and should we have one I expect it will be because one or more of the editors is unable to restrain himself from unprofessional conduct. Having said all this, I will say that as approvals management editor, I now have made it a practice to always look to see how much activity there has been on a draft since the approvals nomination went up and I read the talk page, if there has been activity I contact the nominating editor and verify the version that is best approved. Since doing this there has not been more than 1 nominating editor. If there was more than 1, I would still just contact the nominating editor, unless the changes have been made by several editors and there are disagreements on the talk page. As I say, that has not happened very recently. If you all have an idea on how it might be done better, please let me know in this discussion. I feel that the constables should not have to mess with these issues, but that it is a reasonable task for the approvals management editor (which may be a team someday) to work out with the nominating editor(s). Nancy Sculerati 17:22, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
Thanks, that's very clear. I was not so much afraid of template wars, but more worried about the difficulties of getting two or three editors with busy lives in different time zones who don't completely understand the approval process to agree on a single revision while the article changes all the time. But hey, editors are the experts, so they should be smart enough to handle that. -- Jitse Niesen 00:02, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Here's a suggestion for a procedure. Any editor who believes that a later version is better and who has no reason to suspect that some editors will prefer the earlier version (i.e. non-controversial changes, obvious improvements) can update the nomination to point to a later version, adding his or her own name and removing the names of all the other approving editors. The other editors may then add their names to show approval of this change. If the changes seem likely to be more controversial, the editor could discuss it on the talk page and could either remove the approval template, or not, but (in this suggested procedure) should not put up an approval template pointing to a different version without first discussing and getting agreement from other editors. I think this method would work smoothly even in cases where there is a large number of approving editors or in cases where some editors are not available during large parts of the approval process. --Catherine Woodgold 07:43, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

At this time, we have proceeded with the understanding that if the basic article from the time of addition of the signatures of other editors has changed without dissent on the talk page, that the nominating editor (the first one) can update the version without formal acceptance by the others and while retaining their names. This requires judgement by approvals management, and comunication by all concerned. In many cases, eg when nominating editors are also authors, removing their names from the template will stop approval. If the editors have all been working in agreement, there is no reason why any of them should suspect that their name has been removed on the basis of the usual kinds of trivial changes that occur between the nominated version and the final frozen version. They are not necesarily checking the page hourly or even daily or weekly. This is why I object to a formal rule that the seconding and additional nominating editors are automaticaly dropped with any change in the draft nominated by the first nominating editor. I propose that if we have a case where an auxilliary nominating editor realizes after approval that the version was updated in a manner that he or she objects to being identified with, they may then request that their name is removed. Unless approvals management makes a gross error in judgement, the changes should never be so extreme that an editor who had suported the nomination would now be completely against the approval, and would have removed the template and stoped approval altogether. Should we ever have a case of this happening, then we will need to modify our procedures accordingly. If the auxilliary nominating editor just would prefer not to have her name there, becase of something about the updated draft , but removal of that name would have prevented approval (too few editors on nomination template) - then I think there should be an opportunity for another editor to replace that editor in the nomination, after the fact. For example, at the present time, there are a total of 7 editors who say that they support the approval of Contraception (medical methods). No really significant changes have occurred since nomination, though there have been plenty of minor ones, there is no dissent among editors recorded on the talk page. In this case, Gareth Leng, the first nominating editor, would choose the final version. In this case, 1 nominating editor is enough, and even if the others for some reason wanted their names off, it would still be approved. If there was a similar case where 3 editors were needed, if after approval there were only 2 , because one objected to something, then another editor who had expressed support should have a chance to replace them. If after approval, the nominating editor's choice in an updated draft was so contrary to other editor's acceptance that now they want to altogether revoke approval, something is very wrong. These changes should never be extreme, should always be in the spirit of the article at the time of its nomination for aproval, and should have been overseen by the approvals management editor. I think that an occurence like I describe (which again, should not hapen) should trigger review by the editor in chief and cief constable. Nancy Sculerati 08:56, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

Proposal 1 Approval page added to checklist

My first proposal would be that we go ahead and add the approval page to the checklist template so that we have an efficient way of handling all approvals in the same manner from the beginning of an article. The approval page is the page with the blue top bar on Tux/Draft talk page (for any newcomers to the discussion). This would be in reference to the above conversation on Approval Area. Any thoughts? --Matt Innis (Talk) 12:04, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Clearly i agree with this approach. It may seem complicated now but once everyone is familiar with the concept of an approval page it will make life a lot easier. There is nothing more complicated than trying to tease apart the various approval related edits from the talk page discussion and the talk page history. Yet that is what we are currently trying to do. Chris Day (talk) 12:19, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
I agree too. I started using them when they appeared and they are intuitively simple. Clear statements in the rules that they are accessed via the Talk page, and appear as a "window" in the talk page will help. Oh and thank Chris for inventing them. Another of your little flourishes.David Tribe 15:39, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for the compliment, the idea was through necessity, for me at least, as i found it hard to track all the comments. Chris Day (talk) 15:59, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

I support you all in making the changes that will smooth the approvals process. Nobody knows it better than you. There is one fly in the ointment I would like to call attention to, although in theory, if a date has arrived and there is a nomination for approval template on this approvals page, the constable should be able to carry out approval without reading through the talk page, in practice there have been editors who write that they think there is a problem with approving the version, yet do not remove the template, and there have been other problems. So- my question is this- should there be a fail safe mechanism whereby a constable has to check off that the talk page has been read before the approval mechanism is carried out? Or is it more a matter of educating everyone to be sure that the "to approve template" is used properly? Or, maybe you mean that the approvals page will only have the actual approval stuff, and the "nomination for approval" template is still placed on the talk page. What do you think? Nancy Sculerati 16:34, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Good point, and one that needs deciding as well. Constable either must read "talk page" or only reads "approval page". Can we use the "approval page" with either choice? I think we can, so unless anyone can think of a reason we can't, let's go with the approval page and work the details from there. Anyone see any problems? --Matt Innis (Talk) 16:42, 16 May 2007 (CDT)
I see no problems. It is the responsability of editors to understand how the template should be used? They either remove it, or add their name to it (on the approval page). Remember that the template will appear to be on the talk page or the (draft talk page). It can also be edited from those pages too, the interface should be relatively seamless. The constables job, IMO, is to monitor the approvals page and transfer the new version to the protected article page when the clock runs down. It is the nominating editor that needs to coordinate which URL is in the template or whether the template should be withdrawn while further discussion takes place. Chris Day (talk) 16:53, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

I see no problems with the approvals page. Certainly worth a trial and likely to be a big improvement. Nancy Sculerati 16:48, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Lets give this until 12:00 (CDT) tomorrow to give others that were invited from the editor and constable list to give input as well. If there are no objections at that point, lets plan on Chris making the change to the Article Checklist. Meanwhile, lets move to problem 2. --Matt Innis (Talk) 19:18, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

Looks okay. However, could somebody please clarify what the approval area is actually used for? Should nominations for approval be noted there? Any edit to the ToApprove template? Approval-related discussion (which version to prefer and why, etc.)? -- Jitse Niesen 00:16, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
David Tribe is the best person to describe usage since he has been the guinea pig for using the page. In general it should include information about the approval process. Basically the presentation of the ToApprove template and related edits and a summary of changes made between versions. I am missing anything? The biology one has a lot of content and might be useful to browse, although i think their actual usage and content will evolve with time. I think we are still tweeking this aspect of the approval process. Chris Day (talk) 00:40, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Yes, lets get that all worked out by the time we are finished. I think it really doesn't matter what we decide as long as we are able to agree and write it down in a way that everyone understands. But lets do choose the most simple option. --Matt Innis (Talk) 09:40, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

I always thought this was a good idea--it's something Chris had done earlier with his test template--the only trouble was that on Windows combined with Internet Explorer, the template ended up overlapping the text, which was very messy looking. I'm all in favor of the change as long as that problem doesn't crop up. --Larry Sanger 14:05, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

The problem of overlapping text is due to the blue background picture and is unrelated to the approval area functionality of the exeprimental template on biology and life (I should replace them with the checklist template since it causes confusion). The inclusion of the approval area coding in the checklist template would not cause any problems. Chris Day (talk) 14:19, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Good News all around on this one. Chris, lets go ahead and put the approval page on the checklist. Do we need to change any language in the instructions for this? --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:25, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

I'll draft some language on usage, as well as the code for you to incorporate into the checklist template. I'll put it on your talk page when I have time. Chris Day (talk) 14:28, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

Proposal 2 Location of the ToApprove template

I propose that we place the ToApprove template on the Approval page. This is the result of the discussions above. There are pros and cons for each. Feel free to rehash them here or add more thoughts, but otherwise I think we seem to agree that the approval page (provided we use it) would be the place to put it. --Matt Innis (Talk) 19:23, 16 May 2007 (CDT)

I agree again. Note that the approval template has been coded in such a way that the Articles talk page ONLY will register in the ToApprove category. Chris Day (talk) 00:45, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
I don't feel strongly about this, and I won't oppose you a general agreement, but I originally had us place the ToApprove template on the talk page because the article page is for users, not contributors. Hence, we want to avoid placing contributor-oriented templates, of which ToApprove is one, on the article page. This is also why the checklist is on the talk page. --Larry Sanger 14:09, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
Not sure of your point here? This proposal does not have the ToApprove template being placed on the user article. It will be on the contributors approval area page, at least I assume that page is not for users. The main idea here is to centralise all approval edits to a sub page rather than mixing them in with the content related discussion on the articles talk page.Chris Day (talk) 14:24, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
I think he is saying that it doesn't matter to him as long as it is not on the article page. I remember that decision. The next problem was when it was at the bottom of the talk page and nobody saw it so we moved it to the top of the page. Now the question becomes, will we be able to see it on the Approval page or should we put the ToApprove template at the top of the article talk page. --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:30, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

On a practical level, if we do not put the actual "to approve" template on top of the talk page, we will have to put a "pointer" there that directs the reader to the Approvals page, otherwise we could all be yakking away on the talk page and not even realize that the article has been nominated for approval. There has to be an indicator.Nancy Sculerati 14:50, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

You might be right, as much as I like it on the approval page, check out Biology talk. A ToApprove template woul dbe pretty far down, especially when the TOC or index gets longer and longer. Chris, any chance it could be put inthe checklist as well somewhere where it could be commented in and out and still be visible? Or is this trying too hard to make it work. --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:59, 17 May 2007 (CDT)
I think there are a few different ways we could have a visible marker at the top of the talk page but still keep the approval edits restricted to the approval page. I'll play around and see if i can get somthing to work. Chris Day (talk) 15:09, 17 May 2007 (CDT)

List of approving editors

As an article reader, I would like to see, for each approved article, somewhere that is quick and easy to find starting from the article, the following information: number of approving editors, the names of the approving editors, and links to their biographies. Currently I don't see this information in the approval area or anywhere else. Even searching carefully through the talk page edit history, it may not be clear how many editors were actually the approving editors of the version that was finally approved. --Catherine Woodgold 07:53, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

I like this idea. --Matt Innis (Talk) 22:09, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Current problem:what constitutes significant authorship?

At the present time an article, Northwest Passage which was essentially written by Russell Potter was read by Richard Jensen, our only active history editor, who nominated it for approval. After reading it, he added a section of text that he had previously had published on another open content wiki, which amounts to a very small fraction of the total article. In this case, should he be allowed to nominate the artice for approval? What counts as "significant authorship"? I am putting this question on our Editor-in-Chief's talkpage, but would like all considered opinions. Nancy Sculerati 11:34, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

With the caveat that I am not a disintrested party in this question, I wanted to mention the relevant passage from the policy:
"Editors working individually may approve articles if they have not contributed significantly to the article as an author. In other words, if an editor reviews an article that is fully developed by others, he or she may suggest or even add edits, but strictly in the role of an editor."
The sequence of events in this particular case was 1) Author invites comment on page; 2) Several people make improvements to the page; 3) One person, an editor, added a small section at the end of the article, equal to about 5% of the whole; 4)That same person announced an intent to nominate the entry for Approval; 5)the question was raised, pace the policy language above, as to whether this contribution of 5% was sufficient to disqualify the editor from nominating for Approval. I would argue that the difference is small enough, and/or that it could be interpreted as part of the Editor function ("suggest or even add edits") rather than an Author function. This issue has additional gravity in the humanities, where it often happens that, with Approvals, the one Editor process is the only one practicable due to a shortage of active Editors in these workgroups. Russell Potter 15:29, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

I am not against it, but its grey enough that I think it needs to be openly discussed. In a way- the discussion is itself the prededent to be made for this kind of situation. In other words, in this case the addition of content is in no way political, controversial, or pushing some self-interested point of view. I think the case can be open to discusssion, and if agreeable, we can ask a constable to put the "to approve" template up. I think that if an editor adds new content-even a small prercentage, there could be circumstances where this content (like "pork" added to a bill by a US congressman) might be something else- meaning might break the essential peer review function that nomination is supposed to provide. And so I think the adding of content should be specifically discussed and reviewed if even small amount of completely new content - like a new section, is added to a fully developed article by the nominating editor. If we have a stage where the question is explicitly asked -is this ok? and the answer is -in this case there is nothing objectionable (self-promoting, politically charged, etc ) about the specific content and it can certainly be seen as an editorial addition that makes the article fuller, and more complete, then that's ok. Let the editor nominate and approve. I do not think that a blanket rule of "well, if an editor only adds X percent of the article (where X is some small number) then it always counts as insignificant" would be a good precedent, because it could be abused. So that's my thinking here. My vote is that the content added is legitimate and inconsequential, and is a reasonable editorial addition, but I would like this to be commented on by the Editor in chief (aka Larry :-)(at a minimum-hopefully others also) as far as a precedent goes. I am sorry for the personal irritation that such a delay is likely to cause you as an author (I get pretty irritated as an author now and then, you may have noticed) - I'm looking also at the big picture of how approvals are established. I've put effort into trying to recruit another history editor, and will continue that, one way or the other. As it stands now, the author who will eventually suffer the biggest problem in history approvals is Richard Jensen himself, who has authored many articles and needs another editor on board here to nominate them - for sure. Nancy Sculerati 15:58, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

It never occured to me this would be a problem. The author asked me to review and nominate it. It's a very good article. Since I actually had worked on the topic myself I added a paragraph that brought it up to date (using a passage I wrote for Wikipedia). I should have nominate the article before adding my bit, so apologies for causing this fuss. Richard Jensen 18:07, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

My apologies for not just ignoring it, but there is a lot riding on the approvals process. There are many critics out there, I am sure we can manage this and again, I'm sorry - but I think it's best done this way. At worst, it will mean having to approve the article without thesection. It shouldn't come to that, in my mind, anyway. Nancy Sculerati 18:32, 19 May 2007 (CDT)

I assume that this is about the section "Dispute on international status" and that this section is largely written by Richard Jensen.
I don't think that the addition of a whole paragraph of text can be considered to be covered by the Editor role, as opposed to the Author role. The rule "no editor approves their own writing" makes much sense to me, and hence, I think that as a rule editors who write a whole paragraph of text should not nominate the article for approval.
However, exceptions can be made. In the current case, where the addition is fairly small, apparently uncontroversial, written by an editor who is evidently qualified (far more than the average editor nominating an article for approval), and where there is only one active History editor, I'm happy to let the nomination proceed at the discretion of Nancy Sculerati (or somebody in a similar role). I would like this to be an exception, though; and I fear that if we codify a procedure for it, it will cease to be exceptional. -- Jitse Niesen 08:15, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
It seems to me that if a number of reasonable persons agree that the specific edit in this case should be allowable, we ought to proceed. Perhaps we could call it a "provisional" rule, and apply it only in those fields with 2 or fewer active editors. The dearth of editors in the humanities would otherwise prohibit any approved articles. I was lucky with Literature to have the help of an author and one Editor who made a special effort, but in terms of substantial edits Literature has only one editor, myself, which means that when I put on my author hat, I'm entirely dependent on the hope that one of the seldom-seen other editors will be reachable and willing to nominate.
I would also ask anyone who has read Northwest Passage to leave a comment on the issue on its Talk page -- if we have a consensus there, I hope that would start the process rolling. Russell Potter 09:55, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Sorry for the delay--I was busy with my family this weekend. I agree with all or virtually all of the details Jitse Niesen's analysis above. The question I ask myself is: what is the purpose of the injunction against self-approval? The notion is that an expert editor is a biased judge of the quality of his or her own work. (We can't say that the reason is that it is only one person making the judgment, because we do allow articles to be approved singlehandedly.) If there is a danger about making an exception, therefore, is lies in the danger of the exception permitting someone to approve slanted or idiosyncratic work. I have to agree that a percentage thus seems irrelevant. If in an exception only 1% of the article were added by the approving editor, but that 1% made CZ assert as fact a view that has detractors, then that would demonstrate that the exception could serve as a loophole whereby approving editors can make CZ articles serve their own biases or idiosyncracies.

If we permit an exception in this case, it has to be because of the combination of two factors. (1) We don't yet have many history editors at work. (2) It seems very unlikely to me (and some others above) that the paragraph added is in fact biased or idiosyncratic. Let's review the situation if it happens again--just don't push it.  :-) --Larry Sanger 21:17, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

Technically, if rather than adding the information himself, Richard had a discussion on the talk page that helped Russell to understand the reason for including information concerning the disputed region, Russell could choose if he wanted to include it. Then this article is eligible for individual editor approval. This at least requires a negotiation process that requires Richard to convince Russell that he should include it. Hopefully, Russell, who worked tirelessly to produce a quality work, would not allow an editor to make a request to add something controvesial and biased that would risk the integrity of his article. That is the check system that we are looking for. On Northwest Passage, they should be able to still do that. What would keep them from going back, get Russell's permission for the edit, and consider it an individual editor's approval.--Matt Innis (Talk) 22:07, 20 May 2007 (CDT)

a couple points: Russell in fact did write on the talk page that he approves the addition. More generally we don't work on principle of A owns article YXZ and B must get A's permission to make a change or addition. Richard Jensen 23:19, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
Yes, that's correct -- the added material itself was never in dispute, just whether adding it meant that Richard couldn't nominate the article for approval. I heartily approve of his addition, and made a note of it on the Talk page just in case. At any rate, it looks to me as though the consensus is that in this particular case the article can indeed be nominated -- all the issues have been thoroughly aired, and it seems clear that we're not holding it as a precedent or policy change. Russell Potter 23:27, 20 May 2007 (CDT)
That is all I need to hear, that both agree that the changes are acceptible. I don't think we have to consider it a breach of policy to continue with the individual editor approval, though we might clarify it slightly in the individual editor approval definition. --Matt Innis (Talk) 07:42, 21 May 2007 (CDT)

Proposal 3 Take the 4th editor immediate approval off the template

Okay, I thought a lot about this, and scenerio that pushes it over the limit for me is that a fourth editor can come in and make content changes and when he puts his name on the list, that version is automatically approved immediately. It may have changes that the nominating editor did not agree with the previous night. We have to give all editors the chance to approve the same version of the article. That way everyone will be happy with the work. There is still nothing that keeps the editors from asking for rapid approval if they all agree. For this reason I would say that if it ain't broke don't fix it as well as don't make any more rules than we have to. --Matt Innis (Talk) 14:33, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

I agree. Can Chris or another maven fix this please? Nancy Sculerati 15:09, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

New ToApprove template

I added the new ToApprove template and it's instructions to this page. --Matt Innis (Talk) 20:15, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Error in approval instructions?

It says under (4) "Now, go to the article's Talk/Draft page, and "comment out"--do not delete--the template." Isn't this the article's Talk page, not Talk/Draft? John Stephenson 04:47, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

The articles talk page is redirected to the Draft talk page. The reasoning was, if the active copy of the article is the draft version it is logical to have the active talk page on the draft's talk page.
These intructions predate subpages so I think there will have to be a massive overhaul in the near future. It might be best to wait to see exactly what we end up with before starting to rewrite sections. Chris Day (talk) 09:27, 13 August 2007 (CDT)
Right. Meanwhile, I suggest to do a little cosmetics, since it's just a bit confusing. It refers to Talk:XYZ/Draft before instructing to create that page. I hope it makes no harm if we simply put creating Draft talk before the passage about editing it. Aleksander Stos 05:22, 18 August 2007 (CDT)

1.0 or 1.1

In a few places "1.0" is indicated as the number for the first approved version, but e.g. "approval area" section uses "1.1". On some approved articles I see 1.1 (and e.g. 1.2) is used, perhaps there are others with 1.0. Do we adjust the description here to 1.1? (Anyway, have to choose one possibility.) Unless objections are posted, I'll simply do it. Aleksander Stos 05:43, 18 August 2007 (CDT)


this really looks like a pain from reading. Also, I don't like how updates are only made by people copy-pasting over from the /draft page. It really would go much better to use some sort of software for this. Aaron Schulz 06:15, 22 November 2007 (CST)

Something needs simplification

There exists an approved article which I would like to see replaced with its latest draft version. In other words, I would like to see approved article X replaced with X/Draft. However, I will need a very long time, and perhaps some not-easily-reversed error-filled practice attempts, to do that from the guidelines given here. I hope someone with the requiste knowledge and empathy can devise a procedure that we 'ordinary' editors can follow with ease. I intend that only as feedback, recognizing my own cognitive limitations. --Anthony.Sebastian 19:49, 18 February 2008 (CST)

Neither editors nor authors can perform the steps needed to actually update the Approved text; Approved articles are protected against editing, and only CZ:Constables have the necessary powers to modify them (e.g. to update to a new version). All you as an editor can do is nominate the article for Approval; to do that, just edit the "ToApprove" section of the metadata, as explained in this meta-article. J. Noel Chiappa 18:49, 25 February 2008 (CST)
Ooops, you are a constable. Well, don't go aroudnd calling yourself an "'ordinary' editor", then! :-) J. Noel Chiappa 18:55, 25 February 2008 (CST)

Updated nomination instructions - hopefully correctly!

I have updated the instructions in this meta-article on how to nominate an article for Approval, to reflect what seems to be the current system (as best I can make it out :-) involving editing the "ToApprove" section of the metadata. If I have screwed anything up, I apologize, but the instructions here (with their call to edit the article's Talk: page to add the {{ToApprove}} template) seem to be incorrect, as it seems that with the new subpage system, one doesn't in fact manually add that template to the Talk: page anymore. Again, I hope I worked this all out correctly, but I I blew it, my abject apologies (in advance). J. Noel Chiappa 19:00, 25 February 2008 (CST)

Noel, looks exactly right to me. Good job. Thanks, D. Matt Innis 19:39, 25 February 2008 (CST)
Ditto with my second pair of eyes. Stephen Ewen 20:30, 25 February 2008 (CST)

Thanks very much for the review, all (and a sigh of relief :-); I was worried that the incorrect instructions would be very confusing to less technically-savvy editors/authors. I'll update the instructions in the now-deprecated {{ToApprove}} and {{Approved}} templates themselves. (Don't worry, I won't mess them up! :-) J. Noel Chiappa 21:28, 25 February 2008 (CST)

Protect the /Approval subpage?

Should we be protecting articles' /Approval sub-page, as well as their main text page? Otherwise someone could modify the data shown at the top of the article about the Approval. Come to think of it, do we also need to protect the article's metadata page, because that could be modified to remove the approval? (Although that's probably less harmful than showing an non-Approved page as approved - which anyone can do at the moment by suitably editing an in-Approved article's metadata page, sigh.) But maybe I'm just being paranoid, and we don't need to be that defensive? Although why protect the article, then? (Although I suppose that's useful, to guard against mistakes.) J. Noel Chiappa 23:16, 25 February 2008 (CST)

Simplify the Constable's job?

It strikes me that the whole notion that, for articles that have been copyedited/slightly-tweaked by the Editor after nomination, the notion that the Constable should check through the history to make sure that any changes aren't 'major' increases the constable's workload in what is already a fairly laborious process (making the /Draft page, yadda-yadda). How about we just operate on the honour system, and say 'if an editor has OK'd it, it's OK'; then, if anyone thinks an editor has overstepped the lines, [i]then[/i] have a discussion. (And repeat, egregious, offendors may find that they aren't Editors any more...) J. Noel Chiappa 11:08, 27 February 2008 (CST)

Streamlining & Forking this

I think this article is much too long for use. It seems to me that there are three intended audiences here for which there should be three separate articles:

  1. Authors who are curious about the approval process. They will want to know how to nominate (to an editor) an article for approval.
  2. Editors who need to know how to fill out the request for approval template.
  3. Sysops who need to know how to fill out the approved template.

These last two audiences are not necessary for inclusion on this page. I suggest that this article be a general overview of the topic for authors with links to these two subpages:

CZ:Approval Process/Editors
CZ:Approval Process/Sysops

Russell D. Jones 23:24, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Articles to Approve

It would be nice, if Articles to Approve would also include the date set for approval. Peter Schmitt 11:47, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Comparison approved -- draft

There should be an easy way to compare (at least) the current draft with the current version of the approved (versions of a) page (or better: to compare arbitrary versions of the approved and the draft page). Peter Schmitt 11:56, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Chris Day, who created the subpages template, used to have a feature like that incorporated into the subpages with a button, but it disappeared one day. It shouldn't be too hard. The initial diff would start with the version number of the approved article the end diff would be the latest... It seems that it would be nice to have a button that does that for us. D. Matt Innis 17:13, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
This would be nice and better as nothing, but I meant a little more since approved pages may have a history of their own after approval. Peter Schmitt 19:48, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Whatever you guys (or other guys) come up with, please don't make it too complicated for the poor dumb Kops who have to run the actual Approval mechanics. It's tricky enough at the moment, especially since we only do one every couple of weeks or so, and thereby forget what we've already learned. Any further complications added to the present set of instructions will not be looked upon favorably, at least not by *certain* members of the Konstabulary. Thanks for taking this into consideration! Hayford Peirce 20:24, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Discussion on Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard


My idea is that the approval process should be enough to make an article qualify as a Reliable Source on WP. This would motivate some productive collaboration from both directions, which would be moderately healthy for both sides. Jameson Quinn 15:10, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

That is definitely a good goal. Since the variable in this case is that wikipedians decide what is verifiable and reliable, what would we need to do to make this pass their requirements? D. Matt Innis 16:52, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Permanent record of Editor qualifications relevant to an approval

Currently, approved articles have wikilinks, provided via {{Approved Article In}}, to the user pages of the Editors who sponsored the approval. Wouldn't the simplest way of providing a permanent record of Editor qualifications relevant to an approval be to replace those generic wikilinks by a permalink to the version of those Editors' user pages at the time of that approval, and to require that that version of the page contains information about the qualifications of the Editor relative to that approval? This is a small complication of the approval process, yet a simplification of the overall management of Editor's user pages. --Daniel Mietchen 19:46, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Good thinking, Daniel. I like it. D. Matt Innis 01:12, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, a good idea.
Rational Wiki use a "capture" tag on many links, some to us and more to Conservapedia. The effect is to capture the inked page as it was when linked, so even if it is later deleted, reverted or whatever, that version remains in their records. Would that be an appropriate mechanism for this? Does our version of MediaWiki support it? Sandy Harris
Don't know how that <capture> tag is implemented but the main difference will probably be that permanent links in our current configuration do miss out on changes made to templates that are used on the target page of the permalink. There is not a lot of template usage in the sections on Editor qualifications, so this shouldn't be a big problem. Flagged Revisions can handle that, and so can the capture tag, for which there would certainly be other uses as well. --Daniel Mietchen 20:13, 8 April 2011 (UTC)