Wikipedia:Today's featured article oddities

The first "Today's Featured Article" section on the main page was on February 22, 2004 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, since you ask). To start with, the rotation of articles was done by updating {{Feature}}. The selection did not change at 00:00 (UTC) as it now does, and sometimes articles would appear for more or less than 24 hours.

The system of using daily templates, prepared in advance and automatically transcluded onto the main page, began on August 7, 2004. Since then, things have been a little more regular.

The general rules are that only featured articles appear in the TFA slot, only one FA appears per calendar day, each FA appears for 24 hours, with only one picture, and no FA can appear more than once as TFA. Most of the time these rules are followed... Here is a little list of times when the TFA slot has done something a bit different, intentionally or otherwise.

Featured content:

Featured article candidates (FAC)

Featured article review (FAR)

Today's featured article (TFA):

Featured article tools:

The ones with two featured articles in a day

Since August 2004, this has happened on only three occasions:

The ones when multiple featured articles ran in the same blurb

The ones with featured articles that have appeared twice

The ones with something other than a featured article in the TFA slot

The one when TFA was late

The one with the shortest blurb

  • On April 1, 2013, the hook for the featured article consisted of simply the character "?" (albeit a very large "?"), referring to the Indonesian film ?.

The ones with the most votes

The ones with the most points

  • For many years, until April 2014, the requests page used a points system to help indicate which articles were more deserving of appearing as TFA in the event of competition for the same date or similar articles being nominated. (Final version of the system) Factors used included: how long it had been since the article's promotion (with articles that had been promoted 1, or 2+, years ago gaining points); whether the article was from a section at WP:FA with <50 articles; whether it was a "vital article"; whether similar articles had run in the recent past (which could mean bonuses or penalties, depending on timing); whether it would be the author's first TFA; and to mark anniversaries (with various bonus points for multiples of 10 or 25).
  • The highest score under this system, as far as anyone can remember, was 11 points:
  • Had the points system still been in operation, Wikipedia:Today's featured article/requests/John A. Macdonald would have set a new record with 12 points: bicentenary of birth (6), level 4 vital article (4) and promoted over 2 years previously (2).

The one with the most pictures in the blurb

  • Middle Ages, which was TFA on September 12, 2013, had not one but five accompanying images, each illustrating different aspects of the topic. The image that a reader saw at any particular time was governed by {{random subpage}}, assisted by the main page being purged every 15 minutes by a bot.
  • Metalloid, which was TFA for October 4, 2014, had six different images, one for each of the main metalloids. Random subpages were used to vary which metalloid image was displayed.

The ones with a theme spread over several days

The ones on April 1

Some years - but not every year - parts of the main page, including TFA, have marked April Fools' Day.