Friday, February 16, 2007

Ten Random Articles

This post is inspired by the suggestion Worldtraveller made in his recent essay ("Is Wikipedia Failing") to examine ten random articles. Here's my examination of ten random articles, thoughtfully provided for me by MediaWiki's "Special:Random" function.
  1. Spittal - Disambiguation article; but constructed in a nonparallel way. Also, the second half of the disambiguation is mispunctuated. Grade: check-minus.

  2. 34th United States Congress - Political Parties - The title of this article is inconsistent with the MOS (it should be something like "Members of the 34th United States Congress by political party"). I was hoping for an analysis of the political parties in the 34th Congress; however, all I got was a list of members of the 34th Congress by political party. This is content for an almanac, not for an encyclopedia. (If there were a WikiData, I'd recommend moving it there.) At least it lists one reference (well, two, but they're really the same thing, just published under two different names). Grade: F.

  3. Winfield, Missouri - This is a RamBot article with basically only one addition, two sentences about the police department that seem very much out of place given that the mayor (which one would think is a more significant fact than police chief) is not listed. On the other hand, it's not all that badly abused. No sources other than the census data, but then there's not much to sourced besides the census data....Grade: D+.

  4. Saša, Tin i Kedžo - This article is about a defunct Croatian boy band. I suppose it passes notability because they're the first boy band in Croatia. The article has multiple grammatical errors, probably because it was written by someone with a limited grasp of English, and never copyedited. Two stub tags, although frankly I can't see what one would want to add to this article. No sources. Grade: D-.

  5. Redbird Arena - This stub is about a sports arena in Normal, Illinois. Nothing obviously wrong with it, although it is choppily written. Probably a candidate for merging into the article about Normal, although I suspect many people would object to that. No sources. Grade: D+.

  6. Synopsis - This article is basically a dictionary definition, and it should likely be replaced by a disambiguation which includes a reference to Wiktionary. The article also seems to be limited in scope without acknowledging that it is limited in scope. Judging by the number of spammy links at the bottom, this article was likely either created to support linkspam, or has been taken over for that purpose. If there are sources, they're not cited as such. Grade: D

  7. Fine Time - This is a nearly zero-content article apparently about a song. This is another example of an article that belongs in a hypothetical WikiData, although there is a tiny bit of trivia. No sources. Grade: D-

  8. Le Roy Township, Minnesota - As minor place articles go, this one is slightly better that most, although that's not saying much. The article has been somewhat expanded from the Rambot-created original. The only major organizational complaint is that the "Cemetaries" section is strangely organized underneath "History". Has one reference source. Grade: C

  9. Bathylutichthys - A fish stub. Says almost nothing, but at least doesn't do so badly. Has one reference source. Grade: C

  10. Jean Baptiste Perrin - This biographical article of a physicist is at least half-decent. There are minor grammatical issues and some portions that are sloppily written, but the main defect of this article is that it's too short to avoid having the infobox override the navigational box at the bottom of the article. I'm not sure that anything can be added to this article, though, which suggests that the infobox is too large, or something like that. Anyway, definitely the best article out of this lot. Not that that's saying much. Sadly, no sources, which hurts its grade considerably. Grade: C-
Pretty sad, when you look at it: nothing gets better than a C and over half the articles (five of nine) are unsourced. (I am not going to demand sources on a disambiguation page.)

Now, I realize that this is only ten articles out of well over a million, but still.....