Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/Archive/4

April 22


Good news section


Would it be possible to add a section Funny Stories/Good News or whatever, to lighten up the mood set by everyday crises and war? In this section, one could post the kind of stories you encounter at Yahoo! Oddly Enough or similar feeds. I remember my newspaper introducing a page titles "good news" once, a few years ago, and it was allways a pleasure to read. Alternatively, we could introduce a similarly named category and add stories to that. Ony thoughts? -- Redge|(Talk) 10:29, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • SUPPORT What a great idea. I unconditionally support it. Paulrevere2005 14:44, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Support 'oddly enough' quirky human interest section but not 'good news' - who's to say whether news is 'good' or 'bad'? DanRos 17:03, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • You don't need anyone's "permission" - just do it. Be bold. I suggest the category be named - "Wackynews" and we can list it in the WN Entertainment section next to the crossword puzzle. BUT, we should also be careful to still classify the news stories in the correct region and subject categories. -- Davodd | Talk 17:42, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)



Created. add Category:Wackynews to your funny stories - and be sure to also add them to Wackynews. I'll add the subject to the main page once a story or two is listed in the category. -- Davodd | Talk 17:54, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

    • "Wackynews"? - Amgine 07:35, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think Redge originally intended this proposal to be a section of positive news items - the feel-good human interest stories which seem sacharine and pointless to a cynic like myself but which actually have a very wide audience interest. It isn't always the "heroic" stories, either, but even such basic stories as how town X provides service Y to their community or the nice seasonal article about the migrations/emergence of the <local wildlife critter>. I can also see the real-world science articles, the local personality profiles, etc. all being added to a positive news category, as could articles about completion of the tsunami early systems or local history pieces.

But I don't think wackynews is a good title; just my opinion. - Amgine 07:35, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • You are correct. I focused on DanRos's divergent suggestion of a section for odd-ball stories, which could be a popular entertainment feature; but still be news-oriented. "Wackynews" is just a play on the name "Wikinews" - which I thought was both catchy and clear (as well as being obvuosly a Wikinews product). If you think of a better name for our odd-ball stories, then I'm in agreemnt to a name change. As for the Good News section. If someone wants to take that project on, I'm 100% in favor of it. -- Davodd | Talk 08:55, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The page should be named Good news, to follow the house capitalization style.
I will be curious to see how can any news can be presented as "Good news" without imposing a POV.
I realize that one might envision exercising some editorial control over such a section to keep it filled with "happy" stories that are not controversial. But it would be difficult to judge the relative "happiness" of a story. Is the test subjective - as in "I know it when I see it"?
Imagine what would happen if hard news stories about advances in Iraq (new schools, local development programs, an improving economic situation, etc.) started making their way onto a "Good news" page. Partisans could despair at such developments, fearing that good news in Iraq might reflect well on the Bush administration's decision to liberate that country from its previous rulers. They might view any positive developments in Iraq as bad news for the resistance movement.
Hardliners might even say, "Any news which is good for the Bush administration is bad news for the rest of the world."
Suppose the American economy started picking up next quarter by a surprising amount? Who could possibly object to calling this "Good news"? Not so fast - America's enemies would prefer the onset of economic ruin for America. To them, renewed prosperity in America would be very bad news.
As another example, if Bin Laden were captured, some Americans might jump to post the story under "Good news". Most people from other countries would object, as they would think this was bad news, fearing that the story would be exploited by the Bush administration as another notch in their belt to advance their political agenda.
It's extreme, but if North Korea tested a nuclear bomb tomorrow, it would be very good news for the DPRK, as their credibility as a nuclear power would be boosted immensely. Other parties might not be too happy about such a development.
OK, so perhaps some of these examples could be avoided by refusing to carry any stories that were international in scope, as well as prohibiting any stories about good news in America or Iraq.
This would help, but even local stories can't be looked at as "Good news" without imposing a POV.
As a very practical example, if my local city zoning council voted to rezone a parcel of land to allow a large homeless shelter to be built, I might rejoice at the "good news". The guy who owned the land and had it taken away under "eminent domain" might not be so happy.
As another practical example, if my town started offering a gun exchange program (turn in a gun for a pound of cheese) or perhaps a needle exchange program for IV drug users, it might be great news for me, but others could easily say that it was part of a conspiracy to take away gun rights, or that it was a sign of a decaying society giving in to drug use.
Just last evening, Davodd wrote a great story about a California judge deciding that same-sex marriages are OK. A lot of folks up in San Francisco would surely file this story under "Good news". However, I know some folks in Peoria, Illinois who are suitably appalled.
I will be curious to see how a "Good news" section manages to keep a NPOV about what qualifies as good news. — DV 09:40, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
P.S.: I like the Wackynews! I added a wacky story about Beijing cracking down on manhole cover theft. There is a treasure trove of such stories coming out of China, so I will look for more of these types of stories. — DV 09:40, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You made a very good point there. I had wondered about NPOV concerns, but you illustrated it beautifully. The same-sex marriage story would definitly be considered "good" news for the LGBT community but "horrible" news for the followers of Fred Phelps. -- Davodd | Talk 17:07, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Well, I'm happy with the wackynews section. Brilliant name, by the way. I see the good news section might be a little difficult to fill objectively and without damaging the POV. At first, I had imagined it the "I know it when I see it" principle, but of course you are correct that good news is a matter of taste and "de gustibus non est disputandum". Unless someone can come up with a applyable system, I'll withdraw that proposal.

Just on question though: Wouldn't it be a lot easier to merge category:Wackynews and Wackynews, i.e. place the 'Wackynews' article on the category page? -- Redge (Talk) 12:28, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Done. Except I made Wackynews a defacto template for the cat. -- Davodd | Talk 17:07, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Not that I'm stopping anyone, but I don't really think that "WackyNews" is a great idea. We're barely covering major world stories, do we want to spend time on news items that are ridiculas, -because- they're ridiculas? -- 02:39, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Wackynews stories are a pleasant way to break up the relentless focus on hard news. If no one wanted to spend any time on this type of news item, the category wouldn't have received any contributions.
You are free to focus exclusively on hard news if you like. I plan to throw in the occassional wacky news story when I want a change of pace. — DV 07:02, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Getting back to good news. Lots of news is just plain good; like finding a lost child or the signing of a peace treaty. Now ,once again, with orwellian illogic so prevalent and infiltrating the otherwise reasonable concept of NPOV, perhaps sadists would find good news to be un-good and bad news to be good..but that's kind of ridiculous, I think. Just because some things are ambiguous for the general population regarding "goodness" marriages..doesn't mean that the concept of good news is dead for the general population. Paulrevere2005 18:37, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
There are certain resistance groups which would regard a peace treaty between Israel and the PLO to be very bad news, as the destruction of Israel is one of their goals.
Also, many progressive activists would be rather annoyed if peace were to break out in the Middle East, as it would be one more notch in the Bush administration's belt that could be misused to justify their political agenda.
In China, passage of the recent "anti-secession" law was greeted with jubilant applause that lasted for a full minute in the Great Hall of the People. But meanwhile, Taiwanese lawmakers were reacting furiously and denouncing the new law.
I suppose stories about finding lost pets or children could universally be looked at as good news, so I agree with you on that point. — DV 02:50, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Wackynews name change


Please can we change the name. I like the idea, but the name seems rather unprofessional (no offence to davodd meant).The bellman 09:22, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Personally I like Offbeat, because it's very recognizable and professional-sounding. But maybe I'm just boring. - VF 09:33, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Suggestions (please add more)

  • Wackynews (status quo)
    • I like this since it's fun and cleverly similar to Wikinews DoubleBlue 21:59, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • I prefer this too all the others, definately. Saxsux 19:00, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Offbeat
    • First choice - I like this one since it is reflective of reporter "beats". -- Davodd | Talk 21:49, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Simple, obvious, doesnt include the word wacky (a very major plus). ~The bellman | Smile 12:23, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Off track
  • Different drummer
    • First choice. — DV 09:33, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Odds and ends
    • May violate my pending Apple-inspired trademark on all things "odd" -- Davodd | Talk 21:49, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • This and that
  • Unclassifiable
  • Elsewhere...
  • In other news...
  • Wikinewslite
  • Man bites dog
    • Third choice. — DV 09:33, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Odd news
    • See above. -- Davodd | Talk 21:49, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Really?
  • Heh.
    • Second choice. — DV 09:33, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Believe it or not (infringes on Ripley's?)
  • Truth is stranger than fiction
  • I can't believe it's not butter.
    • lmao; who ever came up with this one - brilliant The bellman 10:52, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • I would imagine this is copyrighted - its been used in Utterly Butterly adverts in the UK and Ireland for the last five or so years. → CGorman (Talk) 20:57, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • Thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal. Seriously, I suspect the hardcore "war and peace" brigades who think Wikinews should focus exclusively on hard news will reign in any attempts to add a link with such a humorous title, so I suspect the least offensive, most watered-down name is what we'll end up with if this vote is taken seriously. VF's choice of "Offbeat" is the front-runner for blandness, just like our logo, so I'd put my money on that one if I had to predict the winner. — DV 11:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • Offbeat is the perfect name for the section! Much better than wackynews. CGorman 14:47, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Wikinews:Credential verification Suggestions for beefing the page up a bit


I suggest that on the credential page, we hvae the reporter list a few of the areas he/she is most interested in covering For instance, our current page format looks similar to this:

Speakman, David

Wikinews user Davodd
Received accreditation: 07:19, 12 Mar 2009 (UTC)

I Suggest it look something like this instead:

Speakman, David - (Davodd)


Location: Mountain View, California, USA
Areas of coverage include: U.S. Law, Film, U.S. Television, Business & Finance

More information: Wikinews user page | Contact reporter via Talk Page | Browse recent activity
Received accreditation: 07:19, 12 Mar 2009 (UTC)

When the reporter applies, the above info can be supplied as part of the process, including up to five general topics they are most likely to write about. I think it adds to the professionalism and provides insight to people checking credentials. -- Davodd | Talk 08:47, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I fully agreed, it makes it look far more professional. CGorman 18:46, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I would suggest also putting [this user] in the More info bit. Another thought is that users who want accreditation should have to have real name accounts (dont know how this would scale). It just sounds a bit silly to have pingswept (or The bellman for that matter) accredited (no offence to pingswept meant, just that the outside world might think twice about the name.) ~The bellman | Smile 12:34, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Changes to page made. I asked Pingswept for the additional info (location / areas of coverage) -- IlyaHaykinson 02:46, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Lottery Numbers


Kinda' self explantory, a page with lottery numbers. You could seperate it by country. (anon post)

This sounds like a job for a newsbot... any programmers wanna take this project on? -- Davodd | Talk 20:06, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I would be happy to code a Lottery Bot. However, someone else would need to find a reliable source for this data. Remember that it should be somewhat centralized, computer-readable (even if it's just screen-scraping), and international. -- IlyaHaykinson 22:27, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Sorting out Latest news


Since the start of contest, the latest news collumns have gained in length. I think in their current state, they don't really invite visitors to read through them all. It's a jumble. I suggest we start sorting latest news templates by topic. An example for March 22:

Crime and law

Disasters and accidents

The school is located in a remote area of Minnesota

Economy and business

U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates


Politics and conflicts

Romanian defense minister to visit Bulgaria


India's first moon mission attempt


Black jaguars are also known to exist.


This example shows two thing: latest news gets even longer, but more easy to read, and too many things fall under Science and Technology, so I divided those. -- Redge (Talk) 09:32, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

And another idea: highlight the stories with pictures. I sometimes have trouble making out which picture goes with which story. This could be implemented regardless of my original suggestion. -- Redge (Talk) 09:40, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't think anyone struggles to scan a list of articles and pick out the ones they want to read - after all, that's exactly what RSS provides, and that's very popular. Further, you'd still have to scan the list for topic areas you might find interesting - it's easier just to scan a simple list of titles. Plus it cuts out serendipity - people rarely have such narrow interests that they are only interested in a few specific topics. People like to scan headlines and just see what's going on in the world. If people really do only want to browse by topic (or region), we have sub-pages for that. Dan100 (Talk) 09:44, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It would also kill the RSS feed, as I'd never be able to keep track of what's new if articles weren't added to a simple list in order of publishing. The RSS feed currently has 400 subscribers (with 100 new subscribers in the last week) and another few hundred read it in their browsers (who knows why!), so it killing it would be a Bad Thing! Dan100 (Talk) 09:49, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

April 21


Wikinews RSS


Does WikiNews already have an RSS feed and if not, could one be started?

Dan100 has built and maintains a w:Blog entitled Wikinews Latest News which includes an RSS feed. Articles are also being pinged onto, and can be found through their system.
There is also work begun to add a more reasonable RSS feed system. (the current feed are either all recent changes (RSS or Atom) or all new files (RSS or Atom), neither of which are really useful since it's everything.) - Amgine 19:24, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I've created a very simple (and ugly, when it comes to the code) RSS feed in PHP. It's very basic right now, and still needs some work. Here's the link to it: [1]
Yes, you need to replace the $day variable with the day you want to view the current feed. If you won't do that, the feed will return the news from today (UTC+1). That's why it's blank ATM. It's easy to change that though, and I'll change it tommorow. You can also view the source, as I'm releasing this simple script under public domain, yay. I'll work on it later tommorow, if anyone's interested. Datrio 23:18, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
About the RSS feed at blogspot: Is it possible to add a small description to the posts? All we get now are an article title and a link. The way I ussually read news is read the first paragraph, then decide whether i want to read the rest. -- Redge|(Talk) 13:05, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply, Redge! There's two reasons why it's headline-only. First is my is laziness; I use the 'BlogThis' bookmarket which means I post with only two clicks - one on the bookmarklet, and a second on publish. BT automatically takes the html title of the page and uses that as the title of the post and the text of the link to the page being blogged. Second, if I were to write a short para it would be my words only; un-editable by anyone else. That's not the 'wiki way'! Even if I were to copy and paste the first paragraph, any subsequent changes made by anyone would not show up in the RSS - bad. Dan100 (Talk) 18:58, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I don't know if this is posible, but maybe someone should create a link tag in wikinews for the rss so firefox users could easaly subscribe to it w:user:Bawolff on wikipedia ( and some other mediawiki sites 02:53, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I'd like to do that, but I don't know how to! Dan100 (Talk) 18:54, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Now I do. It would require code in the head tags of the page, which is impossible to edit by a user. Dan100 (Talk) 11:02, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Why don´t you just make live-bookmarks? Quote from Firefox-Website:
Share your bookmarks - Why keep your bookmarks to yourself? Services like let you publish your own bookmarks as RSS feeds, so that other Firefox users can subscribe to your bookmarks through Live Bookmarks. Live Bookmarks and makes it easy to share cool sites you like with your friends. - [2]
This way you could directly link to an article. --11:01, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC) User:MilesTeg

I would like to see an rss feed of the latest news that was a full-text feed. (Rather than just the news headlines or a news summary.) I would be willing to write and host a script that would generate this feed, if the syntax for news is parsable -- that is, if there are stable and consistent tags which delimit the beginning and end of the news. I have taken a preliminary look at parsing this news and it looks a bit messy. Here are my notes on that -- am I missing something? Is this information stored either in a database or in xml somewhere that I can pull it?

Here are some notes on parsing Wikinews' Latest news -- can anyone comment on / improve these?
The canonical page for determining the list of articles to be included in the feed is:
Each day's news is delimited by tags that look something like this:

<a name="March_26.2C_2005" id="March_26.2C_2005"></a>

The day's articles are included as list elements inside seveal sets of <ul></ul> tags. The list elements include anchor tags that point to the permalinks for each article.
The title of each article is embedded inside of <h1></h1> tags. These are the only <h1></h1> tags in each article.
The meat of each article has four sections -- the story, a "Sources" section, an "External Links" section, and a "Categories" section.
The "Categories" section could presumably be written to the "Categories" element in an RSS 2.0 <item> element.
Other questions:
The articles don't seem to attribute an author. Is that correct?
This is more a comment than a problem. An RSS feed is limited to 15 item elements. If a story is edited after 15 new stories have been posted, that story would drop off the end of the RSS feed. In effect, it would now be static -- since it would no longer be included in the RSS feed, new changes would not be reflected.

Please send comments or suggestions to cbrooks at organiccodefarm daught com.

Just voicing my thoughts that live-bookmark support would be awesome. Added: Found live-bookmark support at by physically adding it as a bookmark. Not obvious, but it works fine.

Let's merge Writing_an_article and Reporter's_tools, and keep them at Wikinews:Workspace


Wikinews:Reporter's tools is a very useful page for people familiar with the place. Wikinews:Writing_an_article is very useful for new folks. The Wikinews:Workspace is a mix of both. I suggest that we move Wikinews:Writing_an_article to Wikinews:Workspace. Perhaps the Editor's tasks could move to the Newsroom. If that works out well, maybe we could add the Wikinews:Reporter's tools a few days later.

When I first discovered Wikinews, I found it confusing and frustrating to learn that there were multiple places for new users to start, each with a slightly different set of resources. I think we should try to simplify and consolidate the meta-information about Wikinews as well as we can. There's a tradeoff between useful and overwhelming, and I think we're headed toward overwhelming. Pingswept 05:36, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Interesting comments (at least to me, as Davodd and I built the system). Writing an article is the step-by-step in-depth guide; the instructions that were on Workspace were a 'quick n dirty/jump right in' effort to get as many new articles as possible, sod the layout guidelines etc.
However most people seem to have been working through Writing an article, probably after finding it from Welcome (and before that, Getting started), which was the intention. So making Writing the single path to follow makes sense.
Reporter's tools was just a spin-off of stuff I developed on my user page. It was never meant to be a place or guide for writing new articles, it's just a handy page of bits to copy and paste. All of Reporter's tools is already integrated with Writing an article. Dan100 (Talk) 18:56, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed that all of Reporter's_tools exist inside Writing_an_article-- that's good.
What I still want is one page that has everything I need while writing articles:
1. links to the templates that I need to edit (Developing Stories, the date templates, and the lead article template)
2. the common snippets to cut and paste (specifically, dateline and sources)
I think that since Workspace is linked from the main page, this is a good place to put what I just described. Alternatively, we could just add the template links to Reporter's_tools, but then what is Workspace? Not good for new people, not good for old people? Pingswept 22:57, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Wikinews:Reporter's tools already has all of the above bar the update lead story link. Dan100 (Talk) 09:20, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Wikinews weekly


I had an idea to create a weekly digest sort of thing, in the form of a news magazine, with lots of splashy pictures and articles, maybe even some feature articles if that might be possible.

We could even print copies and place them around in thoughtful places as means of "advertising" ;)

I thought I'd float this first to see what kind of response this would get... Dysprosia 11:22, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I like the idea, but it sounds like a lot of work without more advanced templates implemented. If we had a system which to pull selected stories (say, all the stories with pictures in the last week, plus or minus a few selected by hand) and present them in a printer-friendly style, people who wanted to print it out could do so. As it is, I don't think we have enough quality stories yet, but that does seem to be slowly changing (although the power failure last week seems to have slowed contributions). Pingswept 16:35, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

How about a 'Weekend' section? Dan100 (Talk) 19:04, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Both ideas are do-able, but at present would require manually collecting the stories to be displayed. The templates are basically negligible; figure out what you want to display and I'm sure I or someone else could put it together quickly. This would be similar to a project page, and could be created as either an alternative layout (like a main page, updated each week) or as a form of archive (which remains available in a static form.)
Realize that the graphical content online does not look impressive when printed, generally speaking. Computer screens simply cannot display at the higher resolutions of printouts, so what looks good on the screen looks hopelessly crude at 1600dpi. On the other hand, a .pdf can be developed which will look better printed than online, and could be made available via commons. - Amgine 23:48, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I'll attempt something next time I get a chance, then :) Dysprosia 06:29, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Just wanted to lend my support to this. If a PDF document was produced each week I would make some photocopies and distribute it around the Uni at which I work. - 01:21, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
That is a brilliant suggestion! I believe OpenOffice can save documents as pdf; creating them would be trivial (I'd happily do it) Dan100 (Talk) 19:01, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think it would involve more than just converting individual articles to PDF. Ideally it would have a newspaper format, with multiple articles on one page arranged into columns, with headlines of varying sizes, etc. Makes it more visually appealing. Not that I know anything about print publishing. - Borofkin
I just wanted to say i'd read that if someone did it. If your using windows and want to make pdf's [pdfcreater] is also a very useful program for crating pdfs from any program. Another thing that some people might also find useful is the same thing in a weekly e-newsletter. w:user:bawolff on wikipedia (and some other wikimedia projects) 03:03, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sorry I haven't had time to try this. I should try soon... Dysprosia 09:25, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Wikinews Weekend


I think we could tie together a few ideas in a 'Weekend Section, which could appear on the Main page as a prominent link every, er, weekend. It could contain:

  1. News summaries for the week - could just be mainly condensed re-writes of stories from the week, or multiple stories on a single topic (eg Iran's nuclear ambitions) rolled together
  2. Big feature articles - have a template similar to Developing stories on Editor's tasks, ge 'Developing features', then 'publish' them at the weekend
  3. A 'Feature article of the Week' collaboration - mooted before and has real potential
  4. Anything else anyone can think of

It could be implemented simply as a Wikiportal-like page, archived each week.

The big BUT here is making sure we've enough people who'd contribute material, happily work together on a collaboration etc. I don't want us to start something we can't continue, or don't have the man-power for. Dan100 (Talk) 19:01, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

To make navigation easier for reader.


I was browsing Wikinews when I had this problem of navigation. I had randomly moved from software->open source -> window maker.

Now the problem I faced was , I wanted to go back to my previous page, but it was not possible ( other than to click on the back button on my browser).

Users should be provided dynamic list like: page1->page2->page3.

Regards, Praveen.

Section for Original Reporting?


There are some awesome original reporting articles that really deserve more attention than they get. I think there should be a section on the main page, doesn't matter where, where there could be a couple of the latest reports. I know that ultimately there will be a lot more original reporting, but as of now we don't have much, so it should stand out. Maybe bold-face it or something? - Xcjm 01:48, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think that would be good. TBH I think the front page could do with another over-haul. But on the otherhand, many people seem quite keen on what we have now. Dan100 (Talk) 18:57, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Maybe for the moment add a section called From our own reporters to the subjects section? CGorman 20:56, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Although this isn't really the place for such discussion (talk page of Main Page is really), I do think we could probably get rid of the cat box and editor's tasks, and replace them with the following seperate boxes (formatted nicely a la the Spanish front page): Active Portals (from hyperlocal up, won't scale but, hey, that won't be a problem for long while yet...), Original Reporting (say, five newest original stories, if we even have five!) and a few choices ones from ET - Developing stories and perhaps Disputed. These would all be positioned down the right hand side next to Latest news. Dan100 (Talk) 22:12, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
this would best be handled by Categories rather than a section on the front page. -- Davodd | Talk 06:52, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't think so. Categories basically don't work on Wikinews, as articles cannot be listed by date. Dan100 (Talk) 20:06, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Using DPLs, now they can. Dan100 (Talk) 09:08, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Let's scrap Deletion requests


The more I think about this the more it doesn't seem to make sense:

  1. This is a news site. The articles we post here have a shelf-life (are of interest to readers) of two days tops. Therefore a five-day process doesn't fit in.
  2. If an article is about a geniune news event, then any problems can be fixed by editing.
  3. Particulary severe problems can be highlighted with article flags.
  4. Anything else - which is only spam, nonsence and test pages by my reckoning - can be dealt with by speedy deletion.

DR seems to be a hang-over ported across from Wikipedia. It just doesn't work in our context. I believe we should scrap the whole system and depend on article flags and speedy deletion. Dan100 (Talk) 11:18, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Removing Deletion requests is NPOV taken to the point of absurdity.
NPOV is not a suicide pact.
This proposal will cause polarization in two completely different directions:
  • It will short-circuit the normal discussion process we have on the Deletion requests page about the suitability of an article when a serious objection is raised about the entire premise of the story.
  • Meanwhile, contributors who think they own this site could use the lack of a Deletion requests page as a premise to start labeling articles that they disagree with as "vandalism" or "patent nonsense" (or even "annoying") and speedily delete them before there was any opportunity for the normal back and forth discussion that a collaborative wiki demands. A Deletion requests page acts as a safety net to prevent that, by creating another option that allows for more careful consideration.
We can't take shortcuts and start making snap decisions about whether other contributor's postings are worthwhile. The world is more complicated than that.
Sure, it's more difficult to edit articles to address concerns, than it is to declare them as nonsense and go home.
I'm rather concerned to see so many of the time-honored conventions of Wikipedia being tossed aside without careful analysis of the impact of those changes.
Is this proposal based upon an analysis of the Deletion logs, or the articles that were nominated on the Deletion requests page? If not, how can we honestly examine what the impact of such a change might be?
Stories may have a shelf life, as Dan100 put it, but we are still establishing an important historical record as we build an archive of stories. It's important to maintain the proven mechanism of a Deletion requests page, to determine what goes into that archive.
I can't support making such a substantial change in our workflow based upon anecdotal evidence, so I oppose this proposal until a credible analysis is presented to support it.
DV 12:10, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't quite understand some of what you've written there, DV.

Suicide Pact?! Wuh?

Discussions about article suitability - either it's a news story, or it's not. I can't see much room for confusion there.

Marking valid articles for speedy deletion - that would be vandalism. I hope no admins I deleting articles themselves; it's always best to mark it then allow another admin to actually delete it.

Who is suggesting making snap decisions about articles?

I don't think we need to be slave to Wikipedia. That site is a encyclopedia; we're an online news site. Two very quite different things.

I don't really understand what you mean by DR being 'proven'.

What anecdotal evidence? Dan100 (Talk) 15:39, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

No. Im seriously worried about scrapping it altogether at this early stage. Perhaps its rules need to be altered (reduce time frame, add a specific admin to monitor it etc.), but scrapping it just like that is too radical. Maybe you should conduct a multiple choice poll with the options: a) scrap, b) keep as it is, c) alter by X, or d) alter by Y, e) alter by Z; to get a feel for what people think before making sudden changes. CGorman 14:20, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

What do you see the downsides of scrapping DR to be? Dan100 (Talk) 15:55, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • OPPOSED! I agree with CGorman's comment about the timing of such a change being too early. I think its better to keep what we have for the moment simply because it forces us to be more patient and thoughtful in dealing with these articles; and in the process a smoother more friendly design will likely show itself. This is an evolutionary process whereas Dan100's suggestion is more "Big Bang". For now, lets just all chill out and work with what we've got. Paulrevere2005 16:13, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Dan100, I'll chill out as Paulrevere2005 has suggested, and take your points one at a time, to make sure we understand each other. Your comments are in quotes, with my responses inline:

"I don't quite understand some of what you've written there, DV."

OK, thanks for letting me know there was a failure to communicate.

"Suicide Pact?! Wuh?"

Sorry, I forgot you're from the UK, so you might not get the reference. Basically, taking any idea to it's logical extreme is often a bad idea, as it can lead to unintended consequences which are self-defeating.
What has that got to do with being from the UK or not? The bellman 03:53, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The American President Lincoln once said, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."
Some commentators have taken to labeling it as an old trope that makes the rounds in American politics whenever it suits the political agendas of those who would further tighten laws for the "war on terror".
Anyways, the phrase seems apt when someone wants to take an otherwise virtuous concept, in this case NPOV, to its logical extreme, by not deleting any articles at all, which I believe would be suicidal for Wikinews. — DV 12:34, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that one up. Not everyone here is in the US! Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Discussions about article suitability - either it's a news story, or it's not. I can't see much room for confusion there."

The world's not black and white. There are shades of gray.
Agree to disagree there :) Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Marking valid articles for speedy deletion - that would be vandalism. I hope no admins I deleting articles themselves; it's always best to mark it then allow another admin to actually delete it."

"Who is suggesting making snap decisions about articles?"

You seem to have no problem making snap decisions about deleting other contributor's comments which you find annoying. Deleting articles you find annoying is the next step up, once the safety net of a Deletion requests page is gone.
I can't argue with you about that if that's how you feel. All I can say is that personally, I do not believe that would happen. I assume your comment deleting other contributor's comments which you find annoying was about removing un-warranted, out-of-process deletion requests. I have never removed any comments about an article other than on DR. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"I don't think we need to be slave to Wikipedia. That site is a encyclopedia; we're an online news site. Two very quite different things."

Really? NPOV is non-negotiable. It may have been invented on Wikipedia, but it's the law around here. NPOV and a number of other ground rules are called "Foundation issues" for a reason - they apply on all Wikimedia sites.
You must mis-understand me. When I said we're "being a slave to Wikipedia", I was talking about DR requests, not NPOV. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"I don't really understand what you mean by DR being 'proven'."

Wikipedia has a long history of working out proven methods for a large group of contributors to work with each other. Rome wasn't built in a day.
As I've said, this is Wikinews, not Wikipedia. Our content is different; our processes need to reflect that. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"What anecdotal evidence?"

You pulled justifications for this proposal out of thin air up at the top of this thread, based upon slim anecdotal evidence.
I was just putting forward my ideas. There were no anecdotes there. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Let's not cut off our nose to spite our face. Getting rid of the Deletion requests page is not justified because of a petty disagreement over its proper use.
Wuh? I put out my reasons for suggesting this idea above. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm making the effort to assume good faith. While the definition for that term points out we can also "learn from experience", surely the threat you feel from flamboyant contributors is not so great that draconian measures need to be imposed to control them.
WUH?? Your making great leaps of logic here; I suggest reigning yourself in a bit. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I hope you'll join me in tolerating a diverse range of contributors, even when they annoy you or have different political views than your own.
I only uphold NPOV (to the point that it was I who actually ported the WP npov policy page to Wikinews). As I've pointed out ad naesuem, I have little/no political views. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)
DV 16:52, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think we definitely a discussion process before deleting articles, but we can experiment with a shorter timeframe to make the decision in. I also think there should be clear policies for removing spurious listings.--Eloquence 18:09, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for weighing in, Eloquence. A shorter timeframe to decide on article deletions is appropriate, given the faster pace of this site, as long as it's enough time for regular contributors to notice and participate if they so choose.
Clear policies for whether a deletion request is legitimate or not are good in principle, but doesn't the Deletion request guideline page already provide a multitude of reasons that one can choose from when justifying such a request?
Perhaps for this latter issue, the deletion requester should be required to quote a reason from the Deletion guidelines? (It is confusing when rules are cited in a contributor's own words.) — DV 18:23, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I recommend keeping DR, changing the comment period to be 3 days for normal articles and 7 days for original reporting, and having to quote a reason from the deletion policy. The DR process helps enforce some time-out between users, and is a convenient way to easily get input on contentious articles. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:29, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Excellent point, a distingtion between the policy for Original Reporting and other articles is vital. CGorman 19:43, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what i think of Dan's proposal, but changing the time to 3 days, is not going to address his core concern that it will already have been up for two days (which he says is the lifespan of an article in this place). I certainly agree that just because the 'pedia has it, it doesnt mean we should. I also see merit in the argument that there is going to be some stuff that falls between nonsense and news (conspiricy stories for one), but we really do have to face the fact that we need fast and decisive action on this site, because of the speed that news becomes old. The bellman 04:04, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • The bellman has lightly touched upon the crux of this issue, in my opinion.

Is NBC's "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert a purveyor of "conspiracy stories"?


"Russert: You and Senator Kerry are both in Skull and Bones, the secret society.

President Bush: It's so secret we can't talk about it.

Russert: What does that mean for America?

President Bush: I don’t know.

Russert: Number 322 ?

President Bush: (no response)"

The 9/11 hijackings involved a conspiracy among the 12 hijackers to hijack planes etc. Is THAT a "conspiracy story"?"Watergate" involved a cover-up conspiracy. Was THAT a "conspiracy story". Before Michael Moore's movie, the story about special flight arrangements for the bin laden family's quick exit from the US (POST 9/11) was considered a "conspiracy story".

More importantly, where did this slur,"taboo" come from? I say it came from governments who want an easy derogatory label to use to discount/frustrate investigative reporting; and its used often by white house press secretaries to deflect sensitive questions; and they have been able to get the press to accept the derogatory connotation and in effect become self-censoring. Other such labels which have been very effective in the US were "outside agitators"(civil rights movement), "communist propaganda", "anti-american", and recently "old europe". My definition of a "conspiracy theory" is a theory pertaining to criminal acts which alludes to governmental agencies or employees(including presidents/PMs) being involved in those acts. If a government itself puts out the same kind of story e.g. "Saddam is secretly amassing weapons of mass destruction"..then, to the press, its a White House"intelligence report" rather than a White House"conspiracy theory".

So, the bellman has hit upon what MAY be an underlying(subliminal even?) attractiveness of this suggestion. Maybe its a way to keep what governments would describe as "conspiracy stories" from being reported on wikinews. Because, after all, who wants to be associated with a derogatory label? Only people like Dr. Martin Luther King ("communist agitator" & 53 convictions). Paulrevere2005 14:37, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

no, the crux of the issue is that there is a blurry line between news and not-news, and that this line may well change over time (taking watergate as an example, if one said that regan knew about it before any evidence/proof had emerged to link him in, it would have been conspiricy theory DESPITE its truthfulness.) We can only be concerned on a news site about that which we can prove beyond reasonable doubt. We are not concerned by what is actually truth, we are concerned with what we can PROVE is truth (or equally prove is untruth). The bellman 23:59, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree with that; I suppose I support Ilya's suggestion now. Paulrevere2005 02:49, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I note that since making this proposal nothing has actually been listed for deletion except for some old abandoned articles (which probably don't need deleting anyway, they're doing no harm). It is apparent that, for the reasons I gave at the top of this post, that we don't simply don't need DR. Dan100 (Talk) 12:08, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Lets give our READERS a "Letters to the Contributors" Section  :))

  • Lets focus on READERS for a moment! Just occurred to me. A friend who was a career writer for a major newspaper was complaining that even his letters to the editor of that newspaper are never published. I think there is a huge opportunity here to attract READERS who like to express their own opinion about something in the press. They've sent off letters to the Wash Post NYTimes and they know the chances of seeing those letters in print is 1 out of a thousand. Lets give them that opportunity HERE!!!! To write a letter about an article they read HERE!!!! A letter to US, the contributors to Wikinews!!!

Remember, most people don't want to be a writer of news, but just about every READER of news has an opinion about the story they'd like to express. I made my living in Advertising/marketing and I know what I'm talking about.

The bottom line is this will DRAMATICALLY increase our loyal,regular customers number. I can guarantee that because they will want to see their letter in print and also see if others responded to their opinion.

And the best result of all is, we'll get some public feedback about what we are writing. This is the BEST idea I've had in awhile:))) Paulrevere2005 14:27, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

"Letters to the editor" is a really cool idea. I love it.
However, this idea is not suitable for Wikinews.
"Letters to the editor" will never appear on the outward facing pages of Wikinews, because opinions can not appear in the article space. For this reason, Wikinews doesn't carry an editorial page either.
Opinions could theoretically appear on User or User talk pages, but this would defeat the point, because few readers have a reason to visit non-article space pages, (or even where to look to find them) and only religious Recent changes devotees bother to check out the history of everyone's user pages to read new content on them.
Even if there was an alternative reality with a "POV News" website, running a "Letters to the editor" on a wiki would be difficult to pull off without protecting the pages immediately after the letters were posted, because on a wiki, other contributors could edit (or even delete) the letters they didn't agree with.
(Some well-meaning contributors could even edit the letters to better make their case, which would be really bizarre without removing the name of the person who sent in the letter.)
Encouraging feedback from visitors is a great idea. I appreciate the sentiment behind this proposal.
DV 15:43, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've seen the talk page be used as a place of discussion for a couple of articles (as in a place for discussion of the news - forum style - rather than of the article itself), perhaps we could add another tab to create one page for contributor discussion, and one for reader discussion, or simply use the one talk page for both purposes and hope it doesnt get too messy; or maybe even create foo/talk and but a link at the buttom of every story saying "Discuss this article at [[foo/talk|here]]". Still another idea would be adding a section after references for comments. Lots of ideas, and i really dont think that if the place that we use has obvious non-NPOV markers that it would really matter NPOVwise. The bellman 04:19, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I really support this "two tab" idea: sometimes you want to just talk about the news itself (not about the article), and the Talk: page is really geared to discussing the article. I would like Talk: renamed to something like Editing Talk:, and a new namespace News Talk: created for a discussion about the news. -- IlyaHaykinson 07:12, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Tracking Readers' Hits on Stories?

  • I'm still thinking its a good idea to start focusing more on the public (readers) than on each other's work. Perhaps we could have those little "number of hits" boxes next to each story? This way we could see what the readers are interested in?? Just an idea. Paulrevere2005
corpknowpedia is a wiki that has under "special pages" the category "popular pages" which sorts pages by number of views -HumanityAgent 68.8.96.whatever 18:35, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Thanks, I went there but couldn't find a reference to wiki stories. Maybe it would be good if the readers(and us) could see the # of hits per story right on the main page?..just an idea. Paulrevere2005 13:39, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)