Wikipedia:International writing contest/Judges' comments

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    Jmabel: I believe that all of the articles submitted for the contest (even 2005_Britannica_takeover_of_Wikimedia) are positive additions to Wikipedia. I have placed the symbol after my signature to indicate which articles I believe are should be in contention. A double heart ♥♥ indicates my personal favorites.
    Sj: all of the serious content submissions, you mean. Though it was charming to see drought with a drought of edits in March. To read my mind, you can skip over my comments and simply glance at the number of diamonds () involved.

JM : double-hearts.  order not so significant : Oakland Cemetery, Kreutz, Apollo 8, Swiss Reformation
SJ : Apollo 8, Swiss Ref., Diamond, Spring-Heeled Jack, Franklin B. Gowen
Dysp: Apollo 8 - Automatic number recognition - Diamond - Kreutz Sungrazers -  Oakland
Sannse : SHJ, Sungrazers, Apollo 8, Swiss Ref., Diamond

Oakland Cemetery ♥♥ ♠♠ 8.5[edit]

Lively (!), if not the cleanest writing; I couldn't resist cleaning up the first paragraph a bit, but an illustration of the imprecision is still in the second paragraph: "The original six acres of Oakland remain part of one of the oldest unchanged plots of land in Atlanta..." (italics mine). Does a great job of revealing a great deal about local history and culture, using its central topic as a vehicle for something larger. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC) ♥♥

Marks for locality and enthusiasm.
Where are the links to maps and aerial photos? Further references wouldn't hurt either. +sj +

I found this one interesting - a good tour, and well illustrated too -- sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠

Echoing the comments about the engaging writing. Draws the reader into the history and character of those buried there, well written. Could do with a map, though, to accompany the journey. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣* 8.5/10)

A perfectly good start on an article, but probably not even a quarter of what belongs here. I'd expect to see a solid history of the budget, some discussion of military Keynesianism, discussion of the process by which the budget is passed, and at least mention of "black budget" for intelligence, off-budget expenditures (as currently in Iraq), and the occasional attachment of non-budget-related riders to the budget bill. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for originality.
A fine stab at a class of article which may be the first of its kind on Wikipedia. +sj +

A good start, but I feel it lacks balance. A more international perspective would improve this - sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

A topic that has enormous potential, for example, a discussion of the clandestine ideas about the large budget, echoing Jmabel, but the article falls disappointingly short. (♣♣♣♣♣ 5/10) Dysprosia 09:26, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Good, vivid writing. A great start on an article, although it could use more material. What about World War II, when this area was half leveled? Also, it certainly could be used as more of a window into the social/cultural history of London, the history of British architecture, etc.

Some sloppiness in the "Moorfields" section: "In London, the 'Moorfields were one of the last pieces of open land in the City of London. The fields wer (the world's oldest psychiatric hospital), and inside the City boundaries, and Middle and Upper Moorfields (both also open fields) to the north." -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

This will be a very good article with a bit more work. There are a few too many run-on sentences - the meaning gets lost in all the commas. I also wasn't clear whether the gate was demolished in 1761 or 1762. Unusual words are best explained in the text if the corresponding article doesn't exist yet (what are a "postern" and an "osler"? - both are red-linked). sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Interesting and comprehensive. Does need more on the historical relevance of the area however. (♣♣♣♣♣♣* 6.5/10) Dysprosia 09:33, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Spring Heeled Jack ♦♦ ♠♠♠ 8.5[edit]

Cool stuff. Great illustrations.

An article this long could probably use a bit more of an overview up top. Writing could be improved in places (Should decide between "it" and "he". "Phenomena" is plural. Some overlinking: why link "theories"? Occasional overblown word or infelicitous phrase: " While several theses try to seek a rational explanation to the events...", "...lacking of durable literary value..." [emphasis mine].) Still, these problems can be easily fixed, and this is well on its way to FA level. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for writing style and comprehensive coverage. ♦♦
A model history. Cleanly separates available witnesses and events from analysis of them, both in papers at the time and after the fact at the end of the century. Elaborates on each of a few possible explanations for the events, with a balanced touch. Well-referenced. +sj +

I really enjoyed this one, a good piece of work. I'd be interested in some comparison with similar cases worldwide - Mothman comes to mind. ♠♠♠

Very engaging, and has everything for an article for its kind. Echo sannse, I'm sure there's some similar idea elsewhere that this article would benefit from discussing. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣* 8.5/10) Dysprosia 09:42, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Covers the ground well, though I could imagine it almost doubling in size with equally valuable material; nicely illustrated; a decent article, but not a great one.

Some silly overlinking: does "wife" really need a link? "Body"? Some POV writing: "...curiously sycophantic in tone...", "incongruous" criticism? -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for relevance.
Does justice to a major work. +sj +

Good work, got to agree on the overlinking comment though -- sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠

Well structured, a good read, but given the book was subject to "incongruous criticism", the article does little to describe it. Needs more description and a placement of this work amongst others within the "philosophy of Manhood" idea to make the covering of the article a little more complete. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 7/10) Dysprosia 09:47, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Interesting topic. There is potential here, and a lot of good material, but so far this is not a notably well-written article. The writing is a bit too casual and breezy and could use some tightening. It all seems too fannish. The second-person writing seems unencyclopedic.

No mention of other comparable projects. Could use a summary of the innovative features.

Repeats itself a bit much: how many times do we need the phrase "visitor attraction"? Remarkably, does not even mention the origin of the name, presumably an allusion to Coleridge. Some of the writing seems aimed at a child or a non-native speaker: "Xanadu was automated, meaning the computers did a lot of work for you"; do we really need a parenthetical explanation of the word "exterior"? -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Agree with Jmabel's comments here -- sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Marks for color and coverage.
Does justice to many facets of a cultural icon. Excellent use of images, both of the house and of publicity for it. Including bits of the book is a nice touch. The sections are all too short, and don't have enough detail in their narrative arc; how did everything fit together? How did it really work? What happened to the architects as the project matured and faded? What was the critical reception then; is it remembered in the world of modern architecture? +sj +

Interesting idea, a good read, and at minimum makes a cover of all the angles. However, an immediate minor NPOV issue came to mind: "but is very strange". Needs more on the architectural details here, it appears that the construction routine appears interesting but the article only makes a cursory analysis of the method. Needs more on the impact of Xanadu. I feel the article is missing something. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 7/10) Dysprosia 09:52, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Kreutz Sungrazers ♥♥ ♠♠♠ 7[edit]

Excellent. A first-rate article on an important topic. The writing could be a tad more vivid, but it's certainly not overly dry. I'd be slightly happier if it were clearer which information came from which source, but this seems well on its way to being a Featured Article. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC) ♥♥

Marks for coverage and clarity of writing.
Well wikified; good coverage; clean introduction and descriptions. It would be helpful to have further information on the historical discussions of these comets, not just the current scientific wisdom. Surely the comet seen in Egypt during an eclipse in the 19th century was not simply enjoyed and written off as another amusing quirk of the cosmos. Connections with other comets and theories of comet creation would also help provide context. +sj +

Great article, very interesting. The images help its appeal and complement the understanding of the significance of these bodies well. It's missing a diagram of the typical orbit of these things, and a quick couple of words to explain the term "perihelion" since it's used so extensively in the article (but needs nothing really more by means of explanation, in my opinion), however. I'd echo Sj on the historical discussion comment, but less so, because there are other themes present to keep the reader interested. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 7/10) Dysprosia 11:13, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Excellent work -- sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠♠

Apollo 8 ♥♥ ♦♦ ♠♠♠ 9[edit]

Very good, well on its way to Featured Article. I'd move the "Historical importance" section much higher in the article: it's what will matter to non-buffs. Also, there should be more discussion of the context within the Apollo program: how the Apollo 1 fire had put the program behind schedule and they were playing catch-up to land on the Moon before 1970. But these are matters that can be fixed in 10 minutes. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC) ♥♥

High marks for originality and clarity. ♦♦
A great story, well and passionately told. The grandeur of the moment comes through. However, a little more might be said about the key players involved; how they prepared, how they were received, what they did afterwards.

Another well written and comprehensive article -- sannse (talk) 09:29, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠♠

Wonderfully comprehensive and an great linking of the impact of the mission to future space travel. Excellently structured. My only quibble is that certain acronyms were not explained before use, leaving me a little baffled at first, when they were explained a few sentences down. This is easily repairable. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 9/10) Dysprosia 09:59, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Reformation in Switzerland ♥♥ ♦♦ ♠♠♠ 6.5[edit]

Excellent. Solid. The occasional awkward phrase (e.g. "reformatory ideas") and some issues with capitalization ("Catholic" and "Protestant" should always be capitalized in English when referring to the religions; similarly for "Inquisition" whe referring to the institution), but this is trivially remedied. Clearly knowledgable, important topic, vividly written. There could be more indication of what information comes from what source, and a light copy edit is in order, but well on its way to Featured Article status. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC) ♥♥

High marks for research, style, and clarity of writing. ♦♦
A fantastic bit of research; well cross-referenced, well illustrated, well narrated. It is hard to find fault with this article. +sj +

Beautifully detailed and comprehensive. A good choice of illustrations too -- sannse (talk) 09:33, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠♠

Comprehensive, well written, but a little dry for my liking. May need a little bit of explanations on how the cantons and Switzerland itself is related, to get an idea of the background behind the warring between the cantons and the relationships between them to give it a bit more of a tie together. (♣♣♣♣♣♣* 6.5/10) Dysprosia 10:09, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Solid, short article. Very good for what it is, we need more of these, but probably the type of article that lacks the potential to be featured, unless someone manages to use this as a window into something else. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for clarity and color.
A lovely article. Concise, neatly summarized, well-illustrated by quote and image. Perhaps a bit over-linked; and missing deep detail -- What was the painting's history? How did it end up in the National Gallery? What was the context of its commission; the relationship between the parties involved? What was the process of producing presidential paintings / paintings of nobility like in that day, and how did the creation of this one differ from those norms? Much of this detail should be relegated to its own articles; but at least linked to. +sj +

Well written. Analysis section is good -- art-related articles could benefit from adding more analyses of the works! Good reference to the US /House as well. Echo comments on shortness however, does need a bit more depth, but a good effort nonetheless. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 7/10) Dysprosia 23:47, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The analysis is very interesting - exactly what I want to know about a painting. Shows that an article doesn't have to be long to be good -- sannse (talk) 09:35, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠

Franklin B. Gowen - ♦+ ♠♠ 8[edit]

Great start on an article, certainly has potential to grow into something great. Could use more indication what information came from what source, but otherwise excellent for what it is. The sort of figure about whom we could use more articles. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for clarity and subject matter. ♦+
A wonderful short biography. Much to recommend; a fair overview of life, death, and all that came between; with enough detail to catch some of the flavor of those times and places. +sj +

Very well written and lays out the biography well with extensive account. Minor quibble on photolayout, but not really an issue. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 8/10) Dysprosia 23:42, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

sj says it well here - sannse (talk) 10:04, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠

Solid. Readable. As with so many of these, it would be nice to have a clue what information comes from what sources. A few stylistic quirks ("It should be noted..."). Not the sort of topic I tend to get excited about, but certainly something we need, and a good article. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for usefulness and interest. ♦+
Excellently written; clear and useful to the lay reader without sacrificing precision or proper terminology. Cleverly and thoroughly illustrated with images and cultural cross-references. +sj +

Lead structure goes on too much, thus leading into technicalities too fast (easily repairable however). Some sections get a bit sticky, and could be improved by merely just using constructs like "ameloblasts are polarized columnar cells, which are _____." or "Tomes’ processes, which _____." The explanations need not be detailed, just merely gives the reader an idea of the subconcept without getting bogged down in technicalities. Apart from that, the rest of the article is interesting, and provides a great background to the details of why one should brush/floss/etc. (♣♣♣♣♣♣* 6.5/10) Dysprosia 11:13, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

♠♠ -- sannse (talk) 09:52, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

What's there is excellent; I imagine this still has a lot of potential for expansion. Again, the sort of figure about whom we could use more articles. And again, could use more indication what information came from what source. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for writing style and subject matter. ♦+
As Jmabel notes, there should be many more such articles. Excellent subject matter. Well written and illustrated; short but memorable. Fine overview of a complex life. +sj +

Nice article, interesting subject matter, but a distinct lack of describing her impact and importance within the lead paragraph, thus failing to hold the reader. Does need expansion, but a good effort nonetheless. (♣♣♣♣♣♣ 6/10) Dysprosia 23:38, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

-- sannse (talk) 15:56, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Excellently written. As seems to be a pattern, could use more indication what information came from what source. Nicely balanced among the various aspects of the topic. Not exactly an exciting subject: I think I'd add something about the Big Brother-ish aspects to the lead, since it's the main hook as to why someone might really care if they are not just randomly curious. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for encyclopedic detail.
Great coverage of one implementation of the topic. Good writing, moving unstoppably from introduction to conclusion. Lacking a certain sense of context; not merely big-brother elements of the technology, but also its place in other recognition schemes, variance in implementation around the world; diverse implementations and discussions (legal, social, or otherwise) in different communities. +sj +

Well written and detailed, though there are some minor points about headerization, where the police, traffic control, and toll sections should probably have a parent header about the actual uses of the technology. There's no mention in the header about the actual uses for and practices of the technology, which creates a bit of an unsatisfactory anticipation. Otherwise, the overall finish is very good. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣* 8.5/10) Dysprosia 11:33, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

♠♠ -- sannse (talk) 15:56, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Diamond ♦♦ ♠♠♠ 9[edit]

A bit dry for a topic that would allow for an exciting article. Shouldn't the conflict diamonds issue be in the lead? Shouldn't there be more in the lead about DeBeers and price controls? I'd expect more about engagement rings, and the effect on the market of things like deliberately establishing this tradition in modern Japan. I notice that our article on the Diamond industry is quite weak.

The research here is clearly first rate, the writing is good (most of my issues are with the organization of the article, not the way any given part is written), the article is well on its way to Featured Article quality. Someone clearly knows their stuff (although, once again, more clarity on what came from where would be nice). It wouldn't astound me if our material about diamonds and the diamond industry might need to be refactored a little; still, good stuff. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for thoroughness and clarity of writing. ♦♦
Brilliant, encyclopedic coverage of a greatly varied subject. Touches on physical, gemological, cultural, and political facets without lending too great a prominence to any of them. I notice that serious work is continuing on the article; I think it is already ready for FAC. +sj +

Well written and covers all the bases extremely well. Minor issues with formatting and header layout, eg., "Mechanical properties" should have subheaders there, instead of just bold lead-ins, but this is easily rectified. (♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ 9) Dysprosia 23:35, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Very good. I'd like to see some more on the non-technical side of things… famous diamonds… I'm not sure what else, but it needs a bit more interest -- sannse (talk) 09:51, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC) ♠♠♠

Disqualified and joke entries[edit]

Terri Schiavo[edit]

Disqualified by virtue of the article's great length even in February. +sj + First -- I'll admit it -- I'm tired of hearing about the late Ms. Schiavo. Doubtless the case merits an article; doubtless it is so controversial that it will be a mess for years. I won't be surprised if each judge of this contest sees a significantly different article, depending on who got at it last.

We see the trouble in the lead paragraph: "... who some say spent the last fifteen years of her life in a persistent vegetative state, but was not proven." The grammar is appalling; the warring points of view are on display. But even where there is little controversy, the writing can be equally poor: "...Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage caused by a cardiac arrest brought on by chemical imbalances in the blood due to alleged bulimia." And the chronology of the lead section jumps all over the place.

There is lengthy detail on relatively trivial matters ("Her childhood and high school years were spent as a chubby and shy girl who loved animals and kept hamsters and birds as pets"). Her weight at one point is given in American for (pounds) and UK form (stone) but not in the metric system. As of when I'm reading it, there are significant misspellings.

I couldn't bring myself to keep reading. There may eventually be a good article here. There is not yet. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for collaboration.
Though this article doesn't qualify for the March contest, and is neither neutral nor concise, it is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to know about the woman, the public debates, and the continuing controversy. A timely example of the Wikipedia gristmill at work. +sj +

This really shows the disadvantages of the Wikipedia system rather than its advantages -- sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Clever, fun, but obviously not appropriate for the contest. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:58, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

Marks for entertainment and collaboration.
Could use better indication of which details came from which sources. Could use a better overview and a better lead paragraph; important reams of information which go unremarked in the first half of the article take on dire importance in the second half, and vice versa. Could have been done mroe tastefully, but was amusing enough to attract commentary from 5 or 6 news sources. +sj +

humm - sannse (talk) 16:40, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Bit of a shaggy dog story really, with everyone winding their bit in. Was intended as a humour piece - it really didn't "do it" for me. Not to mention it's gone through nth iterations already... (♣♣♣♣♣* 5.5/10) Dysprosia 09:35, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)