Dispatches: Choosing Today's Featured Article
Each day since February 2004, one of Wikipedia's featured articles (FAs) has occupied a prominent spot on the Main Page as Today's Featured Article (TFA) Since January 2015 the scheduling of these articles has fallen to a team of three coordinators: User:Brianboulton (Brian), User:Crisco 1492 (Chris), and User:Dank (Dan). Brian and Chris schedule in alternate months (Brian odd, Chris even), and Dan organises the "blurbs" (summaries) that appear on the Main Page. Scheduling is based both on editors' nominations and coordinators' selections; historically, the division between editors' and coordinators' choices has been around 50:50, but recently these proportions have deteriorated to around 30:70, as community participation in the TFA process has dwindled somewhat.
All featured articles that have yet to appear on the Main Page are theoretically eligible to be TFA; there are currently about 1100–1200 such articles. The most frequent reason for refusing an otherwise eligible candidate applies mainly to older articles which have deteriorated over time and are no longer representative of the encyclopedia's best work. In some cases, however, we have rejected nominations on grounds of taste; for example the article on the video game Super Columbine Massacre RPG! has been turned down twice.
As a general policy we try to see that Main Page selections are representative of the full range of the available stock of featured articles, without significant over- or under-representation in individual subject areas. Thus if, say, 20 percent of the available articles deal with Military History and 10 percent deal with Sport, those proportions will be reflected in TFA over a period of time. We also try to avoid bunching, that is where articles of a similar character are scheduled in close proximity, although date relevance makes this impossible at times.
Any editor may nominate a featured article for the Main Page, by following the procedure set out on the WP:TFAR page. Such request may be for a specific date, within a window of 30 days following the last scheduled nomination. Alternatively you may nominate without giving a date preference, leaving the timing to the coordinators' discretion. You can indicate an "intention to nominate" a whole year ahead of your required date, by leaving a note on WP:TFARP. This is not a reservation, and you will still have to go through the normal nomination procedure at the appropriate time, but such markers can be helpful as reminders.
Before making a nomination, please bear in mind the following:
- Ensure that the article in question is featured.
- Except in a few very special cases, an article will appear once only on the main page. If you wish to request a second appearance for an article, you should discuss your reasons with the coordinators before making the nomination.
- When nominating, be sure to check the article for dead links, uncited content or other indications of deterioration – this is especially important with older articles, e.g. those promoted before January 2011. Any problems should be fixed before you proceed with the nomination.
- If two or more articles are nominated for the same date, the coordinators will determine which runs that day, based on factors such as relative date significance (a centenary, for example, would carry considerable weight), relative commmunity support, and bunching or other scheduling issues. Please note that the "points system" that used to determine priorities in such cases is no longer in use.