Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2010/August

Print edition

Does anyone support the idea of creating a mailing list for the distribution of the print edition? Knowing that people actually read the PE is more or less motivation for creating a PE each day. Of course, subscribing to the PE will get you a nice PDF each day, probably around 1-2 UTC. According to meta:Mailing list#Create a new list, I need "community consensus" so we can file a BugZilla request. So basically, add you votes below for the creation of "Wikinews-print." —Mikemoral♪♫ 04:44, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

  • It would make more sense to have more of the nuts and bolts required for near-automated versions in place prior to getting a mailing list set up. (Hint: Voting is evil.) You would, then, require several lists - depending on what people wanted, and when. Let me think about it, and consider that we're dealing with a global audience. A once-a-day schedule may not be appropriate, but multiple copies per day isn't going to suit many readers. --Brian McNeil / talk 06:35, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
An automated system is something that might happen in the future, but so far despite many people talking about it, it has never materialized. I don't see in any harm for a list for the manual version until we get such a system (Assuming it ever happens). Well voting is evil, it is mostly evil when used to make decision. The point here is to prove consensus in order to demonstrate to the devs that this is something we want so they will act, not to try to come to a decision. Bawolff 07:03, 13 July 2010 (UTC)


  •   Support why not. Although if we're going to create a mailing list, we might also want to look into creating an email digest of everything published in a day, but thats a separate issue. Bawolff 04:48, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
    •   Comment Maybe we can get a bot to take the first paragraph (or second) of each article and make something to send out in a mailing list. Wikinews-digest, maybe? —Mikemoral♪♫ 04:51, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
      • This sounds like a better idea than a print edition, and would be much easier to do. the wub "?!" 08:53, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
  •   Oppose Print is dead, let it go. Seriously, The internet is destroying print news, why are we trying to go BACKWARDS? On top of that, we are in July, more than halyway through the year. We're 194 days in and we've had 27 "daily" print editions done... or roughly 13%. Not even remotely CLOSE to 50%, let alone 100%. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 07:27, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
  •   Support It would be good to coordinate them with a mailing list. Diego Grez return fire 03:18, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

m:Requests for comment/Global banners

^ --MZMcBride (talk) 22:38, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Discussion that needs to happen, now

Five "major" users have already left us in two months (almost exactly, as JC last edited on June 2 and HJ, C628, and Blurpeace all announced their retirements on August 2). All cite disillusionment with the project, mentioning that our focus has shifted from writing news to commenting on drama, and that the project has simply lost its charm.

Let's get some facts down:

  • Wikinews is not, and will never fully be, a professional news agency. Why? We let anyone write, and it's not a full-time position.
  • Wikinews is a place for those interested to write news stories in a attempt to form a collaborative news project.
  • WikiPolitics and drama have been occurring at an abnormal rate over the past two months.
  • Local drama is not newsworthy. If there is less "discussion" and more writing, we will become closer to an actual news agency.

Wikinews needs to become, once again, a collaborative news project. I propose that:

  1. Any user making any attacks whatsoever at another user (including the commentspace) will be blocked immediately. Being a news agency does not require attacking other collaborators.
  2. AAA is to be closed off for any requests that are not:
    • Help requests
    • Page protection requests
    • Vandalism reports
    There is no need for us to be discussing or accusing other users here.
  3. Every user is expected to contribute to news articles, not debating on talk pages or engaging in rude behavior.

I'm appalled that five highly respected users have had to leave in order for us to even have a solid discussion on this matter. If it takes five more users to lose userrights, or even fifty to be blocked, for us to once again achieve an environment in which people want to write, then so be it. It's better than half the users leaving and the other half arguing all day, or worse, the other half gawking and not doing anything constructive (oh wait, that's what's been going on for the past two months).

Is this drastic? Sure. But I even considered proposing that we lock all non-mainspace pages or set a quota of articles for anyone participating in drama discussions.

Is this needed? Something is. There's too much on the line: our reputation, our mission, our users, our values, our quality of news. If you're opposing action, you're just contributing to the issue. Because there is an issue. And it needs to be fixed, now. Why did it take five users quitting to make someone do anything? fetch·comms 23:02, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Foundation is involving itself in project votes. I, for one, welcome our new acting editors-in-chief. - Amgine | t 23:10, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Phillipe made a comment. That is very far from my idea of the foundation involving itself in project votes. Bawolff 23:27, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
This is a serious matter, Amgine. Just because you're "retired" doesn't mean this isn't a pressing issue. I would actually appreciate it if the foundation did make a hard decision about what to do with this place, or implemented some new discipline guideline. There is no excuse for what has happened these past few months. fetch·comms 23:32, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
In regards to the proposal. Blocking people well not being allowed to discuss blocking people seems like something that would cause friction. Bawolff 23:34, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
If we get consensus now that saying something like "Bawolff is a fucking douche" (you're not) is a blockable offense, and someone says that, then I don't think further discussion is needed. The blocking admin can decide the length. Point being, that sort of behavior is unacceptable here and will not be tolerated under any circumstances. fetch·comms 00:02, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
From what I can tell, we need to improve WN:E and actually enforce it, which is a great step in the right direction. —Mikemoral♪♫ 00:22, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Why are you wasting more time? Just enforce it now! If it is the only solution, what are we waiting for. Diego Grez return fire 00:25, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
That's a guideline and people will yell about silly things like that. We need to do more enforcing, really. And we need to start now. fetch·comms 00:23, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

<-- And ideally revamp WN:E. —Mikemoral♪♫ 00:27, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Let's start, then. Any immediate changes you think should be made? fetch·comms 00:32, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
How about creating two separate policies, WN:No personal attacks which gives very specific instances where people can be blocked for rudeness, and keep WN:E as a more broad guidelines of things to keep in mind when editing. Bawolff 00:39, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Just enforce WN:E as policy and strengthen it. Problem solved. Diego Grez return fire 00:40, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Move "Be civil" followed by "Be polite" to the top and reorganized the principles to stick blockable offense at the top and point out what offense are blockable. And perhaps a Wikinews:No personal attacks is a good thing. —Mikemoral♪♫ 00:42, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Well I agree that large violations of WN:E should be enforced, its hard to block people for failing to "Help mediate disagreements between others.", etc. Bawolff 00:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
This is going to be an unpopular suggestion, but how about also updating the blocking policy so that if an admin is given a short term block, their admin privs should also be removed for the duration of the block (or even possibly the duration of the block + 24 hours or something). Bawolff 00:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm in favor of that. We can also block an admin and let them keep the bits as long as they don't use them to unblock themselves, otherwise, they can be de-admined until the block is over. —Mikemoral♪♫ 00:48, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Mike's suggestion seems a bit more feasible. If an admin is blocked, they cannot unblock themself, and if they do, they get desysopped and will need to go through RfA again to regain the bit (that's excluding accidental blocks, but they should still probably wait or go on IRC if they get blocked by accident and it's not reversed by someone else). Also, a NPA policy is a good idea. fetch·comms 00:56, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I meant more as an alternative method of chastising admins as opposed to blocking. Bawolff 01:10, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Well, if an admin is blocked, then the admin can be blocked for 24 hours or so and if they decide to unblock themselves, their bits could be removed until the block is up, and going with fetchcomms' idea, the admin must go through RfA. Or, bawolff's idea can be used to block and de-admin for the block duration + 24 hours. The whole idea behind blocking an admin or any other user for that matter is repeated warnings failed to work. —Mikemoral♪♫ 04:41, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Reply to original proposal

You're all getting way ahead of yourselves.

You live in a black and white world Fetchcomms. You seem to think that there is a line in the sand that cannot be crossed, and anything on one side of that line is acceptable, while anything on the other side of that line is not acceptable. But the fact is that there is an enormous grey area between acceptable and not acceptable. Banning all discussion about everything on-wiki is not a good idea.

But let's ignore that for a moment and go back to the first paragraph your original post. All those people left because "other people were creating too much drama"? Hah. Right. That's a laugh. HJ is a drama-queen in the same league as brianmc. Did you even read what brianmc wrote to upset HJ so much that he profaned all over Brian's userpage and then quit the project in a childish huff? Direct quote: "I am very concerned that you published this. Please review the style guide, review guideline, and other sundry policies before doing this again. We never publish single-source articles." That's it. That's what set him off. Unbelievable. I stared at the screen slack jawed for a moment when I read that post. Of all the things that could have set him off, it was that? How immature do you have to be to get angry at relatively mellow (and completely justified) criticism like that?

Since we're speaking of Brian, he's is a gigantic ass most of the time. Yup. Noted, logged, and filed. No news there. Do his difficulties with self-control make him ineligibly to be an admin? Possibly. But let's look at the other people who left because of brianmc. Tempo is an unyielding person with no ability to compromise. It's impossible to debate anything meaningful with him, and that's exceptionally annoying. There's a good reason for this, but that's irrelevant. What ever the reason for it, the fact remains that he's difficult to deal with when he's wrong... and he is often wrong. He doesn't yell or profane like brianmc, he just sits there typing exactly the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over again until you're ready to either give in to him or do a global ban on his account for "disrupting the function of Wikimedia projects as a whole". He makes me twitch. As for C628 and Blurpeace, they are both completely and utterly convinced that they and they alone are the single most intelligent being in the known universe, and therefore anyone who disagrees with them is automatically an idiot, QED. That kind of temperament is impossible to work with. C628 in particular has gotten on my nerves on a regular basis due to his implied insistence that he's never wrong, and that no compromise can be reached, since he's never wrong. The assumption of "I'm always right, no matter what" is a killer for collaborative projects like this. (Part of the same problem Brianmc has, btw.)

Looking past the names at the top of your post and down to the bullet points, the one about *requiring* certain types of user contributions from people that we allow to stay on the project is what jumps out at me. I love how part of your "solution" to the fact that Wikiprojects naturally attract drama-queens is to ban anyone who doesn't contribute at the specific levels that you'd like. Way to increase moral. Ban everyone! That'll solve it all! Sweep all the bad feelings under the rug! Because Hiding How We Feel Solves All Our Problems. But your core assumption is flawed: this isn't a problem with Wikinews and Wikinews alone. Wikipedia is the same way; they're bigger than us, so when 5 or 6 hundred users all leave at the same time due to a drama it's barely noticed.

And that last point is what this all comes down to. We're not all going to like each other. Conflicts are going to happen. Sometimes those conflicts will be resolvable, and sometimes they won't. People *are* going to occasional leave due to personal friction, or even unresolvable disagreement over the goals of the project. But since we only have 20 or so active users, when 5 leave at the same time, we really notice. REALLY notice. But that's life on a small project.

Wikinews isn't smaller than Wikipedia because we're rude. They're rude too. Really rude. I've been beaten down by rude jerks on several occasions on Wikipedia. Wikinews isn't smaller than Wikipedia because people don't care about the news. They care about news just as much as they care about encyclopedic content. No, Wikinews is smaller than Wikipedia because writing an encyclopedia article about the breakout of a war in (say) the Middle East over a period of 5 years is easy, and low stress. Writing that equivalent article in 3 hours and then being hounded by other editors to quickly make copyedits, do rewrites, and find sources for unsourced material, that's hard. That's stressful. But that's news.

In the end we have fewer users than Wikipedia because news is just so much more difficult to write than encyclopedia articles. That's the way it is, and that's the way it's going to remain. Some things are easy and some things are hard. That's life. Gopher65talk 00:58, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

You do definitely have a point. However with that said we used to enforce etiquette policies much more strictly than we do now, and I think that helped reduce the number of conflicts. Bawolff 01:10, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
The problem is Wikipedia does do current events - so clearly people do care about it. Many times I've tried to let wikinewsians know about some story (typically in the IRC channel), and never has an article come from it. Typically by the time wikinews publishes an article on a major event Wikipedia has an article with dozens of references to news reports which is several hours to a few days old. People are willing to write about news. Prodego (talk) 01:12, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I really don't think this is on-topic, but you must understand, a lot of things happen in the world. 99% of the time the people on irc aren't sitting around waiting for something to happen so they can report on it. Bawolff 01:15, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
btw, if we were to have more enforcement of etiquette policies, in the brianmc-HJ situation you mentioned above, I think HJ, not brianmc would be the party blocked. Bawolff 01:17, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Re: Prodego: But there is no deadline on Wikipedia. No pressure. No need to even source the article before they post it. They can just write a blurb, and 10 seconds later someone will tag it with a "citation needed" template. And it can be sourced later.
Wikinews doesn't work that way... although I suppose it could. I mean, there's really no reason why we have to archive our articles permanently after 24 hours, or why we don't allow permanent updates to news articles. Those things are done in the MSM due to tradition, and those traditions started because of the limitations of paper publications.
I suppose that it's possible that we could set up a more pedia-like way of doing news here. That's probably what people expect when they come to Wikinews, and instead they're greeted with a rigid MSM-like Publish!Publish!Publish!Done! type mentality. Maybe what we need to do is examine the core assumptions that we've made about our news writing process? Gopher65talk 01:20, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Uh, obviously you've never seen ITN on enwiki. Unsourced articles are less common than they used to be, anyway, with the addition of BLP prods and more deletionists. And short blurby articles are generally speedily deleted. fetch·comms 01:34, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't recall ever saying "other people were creating too much drama", Gopher65.
I'm also fairly sure that HJ did not quit because of that incident. If you've watched him elsewhere, he takes things very seriously and uses criticism to improve.
I'm not sure why your whole fourth paragraph just points out everybody's supposed weaknesses. This is exactly what I'm am proposing against. If someone is "an ass", then they need to understand that there are two options: either play nice or get blocked. Incivility is the issue; logging it and calling it old news is ignoring the problem. Tempo has his weaknesses as well, but at least he doesn't cuss at everyone all the time. His problem needs to be dealt with separately. I don't really care about your twitching, either, because it's not helping to make this project a nicer place to be. Your judgment of C628 and Blurpeace is also ridiculous. Both are level-headed individuals who may have strong opinions, but don't consider everyone else an idiot and don't lose their temper all the time. Your assumption that you are correct, I suspect, has led you to harbor these accusatory feelings for others (parts of which may very well be correct), but I'm not sure why that entitles you or anyone else to play the blame game. Is it helping the issue? Not really, because it's not very nice either.
I never said anything about banning people who don't contribute. I "expect" everyone to concentrate on writing news. Please don't put words into my mouth. This is a news site, for heaven's sake, we need to write news. Or are you saying that the WMF just hosts drama queen competitions all day? I never said that Wikipedia does not suffer from this issue. If you insist on comparing us to them, admins on Wikipedia can and often block anyone not here to contribute. That includes incivil users (Brianmc would have been indef'd by now, I'm sure. But why am I accusing others?) and wikilawyering drama queens. Five or six hundred users haven't left at the same time due to regular drama, either.
Obviously, if we notice, we do something. Otherwise, we wait until everyone else leaves too. Do we not want to retain editors anymore?
Your point on news is invalid, because Wikipedia gets news done faster than us, and there's often more big news on ITN than there is here. Oh wait, they have more people. Yeah well, we'd have more if everyone were more civil and contributed to writing stories, don'tcha think?
In the end, I don't see how your spiel addresses any issues involving civility and its necessity on this project. fetch·comms 01:31, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Happened upon this, and couldn't resist commenting. Gopher65, it's great to know you think so highly of me. Also wonderful you never got 'round to letting me know about that. Because talking to people is obviously never the best way to accomplish anything. Makes perfect sense. Also exceedingly kind of you to let everyone except me know after I head off, since you obviously like laughing about how much I annoy you behind my back. Could've mentioned something, you know. Civil discussion never hurt anyone, except it's obviously not the Wikinews way, so you'll wait until I finally throw up my hands in exasperation. Then you'll happen to mention it. Whee. Actually, I seem to remember you calling me a moron on IRC one time...perhaps that was your way of letting me know I annoyed you? Way to go. Textbook example of passive-aggressive behavior. I've seen preschoolers better at communicating than that. And for all your bitching about how it's not black and white, that's possibly the most black and white, us and them bit of writing I've ever seen. Congratulations. Now, think about all your complaints about the people who've left. Pretty much saying that we all suck cause we happen to disagree with your POV. You're condemning us for being "wrong" without providing any evidence of how so, or even what might be considered right. Since you fail to take any of our points into consideration, you've suddenly become guilty of what you condemn us for--a one-sided POV and a failure to compromise. Looks like you're the one who's "always right, no matter what" so long as you dismiss anything that doesn't meet your expectations. Make up your mind. C628 (talk) 03:33, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
What bothered me most was that when you didn't get your way, you just up and left. Arguing? That's natural. People not liking each other? I'm not going to like everyone, and not everyone is going to like me. Whatever. I have worked and currently work with people that I don't like. That's annoying, but there's nothing any of us can do about that. What I find truly exasperating is when people cut off debate by walking away. That's just wrong.
And I'm Canadian. Being passive aggressive is a negative characteristic that many of us have:(. If I get too passive aggressive just slap me and I'll stop. Gopher65talk 01:20, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

If, "we need to write news", please point me to the last time anyone wrote an article the same length as this dramatic piece of disruption above (referring to a more general audience, not just the last person that wrote here, or C628's section this comment is contained in). Gopher's points are fairly well made due to long-term effort to understand the news generation cycle. I will refrain from commenting on his remarks about others; those about myself, well, he does have a point or six.

  • Phillipe is reacting to issues raised via OTRS, which were escalated upwards by Wikinewsies with access (I'll refrain from rising to what I consider flamebait in calling this project's contributors "Wikinewsians").
  • SwatJester may disavow voting for me to have privileges removed being an office action; yet, Xe effectively reports to Mike Godwin.
  • More than half of the original proposal leads me to believe one first, clear, step would be required; Request de-listing from Google News. I think I have laid out the groundwork for you to infer why that would need done.

Now, I've got to go and spend over eight hours being nice to people. Enjoy your day! -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 05:11, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

A thread about blocking people who make personal attacks devolves into a series of personal attacks. This is rather sad. Bawolff 05:22, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
We need to develop a NPA policy soon. I agree with bawolff: this is sad. —Mikemoral♪♫ 05:36, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
This is predictable, it seems to me. These things are started by people with the very best of intentions and they create more drama and consequently do more damage to the community than the incidents that they are intended to address. I don't see five people leaving because of Brian's losing his cool. I see one person doing so, and then four more leaving because of the drama we've been forced to stew in as a result of one of those four starting a de-crat/sysop nomination against Brian. With the very best of intentions; I harbor no ill will toward HJ. The actual event was a closed loop, though: he left because we spend too much time talking about the latest drama, and the reason we were talking about it was the nomination he made. There's good intentions slathered all over the situation, but it's quite predictable that this thread would produce lots of drama. I wouldn't be surprised if more users resign over it.
Since the thread has been started, I do have one or two comments to make on its content. I don't have time to make them right now; I might later if the thread hasn't boiled over and made that impossible. If the thread stops completely, I won't make them either so as not to reawaken it. We'll see how that goes.
Wikinews works best if we spend most of our on-wiki time on the news, and very occasionally, without drama, work to improve the infrastructure. I've started a thread on the policy water cooler about upgrading the peer review system, for example, because (as I remark there) I think it can't handle the current or future load without increasing numbers of retraction/correction incidents that create tensions that make the project atmosphere worse no matter what else we try to do about the atmosphere. (Brian is just a bellwether of that trend.) --Pi zero (talk) 11:35, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
"I see one person doing so, and then four more leaving because of the drama we've been forced to stew in as a result of one of those four starting a de-crat/sysop nomination against Brian." - then you clearly haven't been paying attention. Juliancolton left in June, following the Matthewedwards incident. Tempo left largely as a result of the abuse directed his way, which reached a peak [1] days before the desysop request was filed. I'm not sure about the others, but there have certainly been frustrations bubbling for a while. I won't deny that the desysop request has raised tensions further, and the incident with HJ Mitchell that spawned it seems relatively innocuous. But it was perhaps inevitable that it would happen sooner or later. the wub "?!" 13:15, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Quite right, the five referred to include Juliancolton. In using an example to illustrate a general phenomenon, I overlooked the obvious fact that only four of the five are involved in my example. Unacceptably sloppy of me; a Wikinewsie shouldn't miss significant details like that. --Pi zero (talk) 15:21, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Section break 2

Let's start over, and this time, please try not to accuse others in the discussion

  • Have you noticed an increase in the amount of conflicts, rude comments, and hostility around the project over the past two months?
    • If yes, do we need to do something about it?
      • If yes, what should we do? (create NPA policy, make etiquette guideline a policy, etc. -type ideas)
      • If no, why not?
    • If no, do you think that our community could and/or should be more civil in general?

Thanks, fetch·comms 20:44, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to try and be constructive. I'm not sure we need a *civility* policy as such, but rather a *maturity* policy, if that's possible. As I briefly mentioned elsewhere (possibly on IRC), I've seen people on Wikipedia engage in terrible harassment (admins are as often the perpetrators as anyone else) and not get punished because they were technically "civil", and thus not breaking any rules. If you're careful about how you write you can be cruel to someone without engaging in personal attacks, or uttering a single profanity. On the Strategic Planning Wiki (and associated IRC channel) this has been discussed in-depth, especially with regards to the extensive harassment that female editors receive from their male counterparts on Wikipedia. Civility isn't enough, as we can plainly see from the example of Wikipedia and the abuse that happens on a regular basis there in spite of their ineffectual civility/NPA rules. NPA isn't even a starting point, due to the ease with which a clever person can avoid such rules. The expectation of mature behaviour is what is required. Can that be put into a policy with any chance of success? Gopher65talk 01:37, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Probably not. I don't think it's the concept, just the enforcement. Would it be worth making some kind of policy, though? I mean, we aren't enwiki, but we sure do block a lot less for attacks and stuff. fetch·comms 02:45, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
Civility is really a professionalism issue. When people talk about professionalism, they think about accuracy of articles, responsibilities to sources, etc, but professionalism is also very much related to how we treat each other. Bawolff 05:38, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
But how do we enforce that? Or should we just expect it? fetch·comms 17:02, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

  • We should be able to make constructive criticisms and even accuse users of wrongdoing where there is clear evidence to suggest this. This is a very delicate situation to manage, especially where explosive personalities are involved, since we cannot simply yell baseless accusations at people. WN:AGI must take into account when to begin questioning a user's intentions - and, more importantly, how to do it in an appropriate manner where genuine uncertainty is involved. I am not opposed to a no personal attacks type thing, but again, it must be worded in such a way as to allow both constructive criticism and honestly held suspicions. While good points are raised about people carefuly avoiding the wording of such policies, I would argue that they can be blocked since they "[a]re trouble-makers who are not contributing to our goals." There is an argument we could add to that blocks for serious disruption, such as sexual harassment, even if the user also displays some desire to actively contribute. That should prevent such issues.
  • Another key issue is that I sense some focus on words themselves. No, please, no. The issue is how words are used. Let me use an example (I shall cast myself as the villain). If I were to go out on the street, find the nearest black man, and call him a nigger, I could expect a criminal record. It is a piece of statute that has my full support; such behaivious is clearly intolerable. Banning the word itself would be wrong; otherwise the victim cannot tell the court "he called me a nigger" and the local paper cannot report "was convicted of (longwinded offense name) after he called a stranger a 'nigger' on the street". To use another hypothertical example that might come out on Wikinews: I could support new policy that made calling a user 'that fucker' inappropriate, but not a policy that banned me from saying 'what the fuck am I doing? This is what I should have done' and correcting whatever silly error I had made.

TL;DR: Policy changes would need delicately managed, but are most certainly not meritless ideas. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 20:03, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Where would you start, then, in making a policy change or new policy? That's what I would like to see happen, at least something done, and in a logical way like you say, without focusing on words themselves. fetch·comms 02:08, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Loosen up

Below is an essay about opinions, sources and notes, so is only indirectly in response to the civility policy proposal. Therefore, I moved it to a new section. InfantGorilla (talk) 10:36, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to chip in just two cents. I've had a long held opinion, and by saying long held, I mean by five years having held this opinion, that you people have an entirely too sanitary approach to doing news.

Loosen up. As long as any reported news story that might have a opinionated slant to it doesn't get WikiMedia sued, then what's the problem? News people who do the reporting will also have opinions too. The fact that it might show up on the news piece should come as no surprise. Readers do filter the news they read with the recognition of that fact that it comes from a perspective.

Also consider, what is going to happen to Wikinews, if and when, all these news sources that are required and are depended upon here on this website turn to into subscription based news services? If that happens, just try doing fact checking in that environment! Imagine, what would that mean for news synthesis here, which is the whole foundation upon which this site is built. Synthesis!!!!

Synthesis? WTF does synthesis even have to do with news? We are not an encyclopedia, staring at each other asking, "Where did you get that idea?"

News is, "Guess what I just found out!!!!"

"What?" an interested person might ask.

Oh, wait, Wikinews asks, I want your sources and notes.

Fuk u, you ain't gettin'em.

If it turns out that your report is wrong, then f u back. That's also how news works.

Chill out!! Bucking up on people over policy, civility, or even professionalism, is not participatory journalism, it's just fighting in a sandbox.

Meritocracy my ass! Posting a story is pure hell in this place. (talk) 08:29, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

You wrote "Posting a story is pure hell in this place". Agreed. There are two kinds of hell.
  • One is when a new or established writer is treated in an uncivil way, gives up and goes away. So maybe we should fix that.
  • The other is when a writer can't meet basic standards (whatever we agree those to be, such as spelling, copyright, opinion/neutral, or whatever.) They might find themselves beating against a brick wall of failed reviews. Are there other places on the internet that are more accepting? Do you enjoy contributing or reading news there more than here, and if so why?
  • Paywalls? At that point a free society will need Wikinewsies and other citizen journalists who can be trusted to go direct to the news makers, and then filter and report the news in a way that is useful. In my opinion, neutrality goes a long way towards making that kind of news trustworthy and neutral.
  • We have a place for "Guess what I just found out!!!!" tips: it is Wikinews:Requested articles. Usually tips come from PR people, and real news from ordinary citizens is a rarity. Everything else is rumours, and I don't want to contribute to a rumour website. (Others do and fair play to them, but let's not call rumours "news")
--InfantGorilla (talk) 10:31, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Solution against the broken external links: back up the Internet

For two years, allows the French Wikipedia to read the external sites, which URL are in its article, even if they're stopped, thanks to a link [Archive] after each URL. Today they're proposing to extend their backups to us, and it's working on the French Wiktionary. Could we please get a consensus to install it here? JackPotte (talk) 21:32, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Here is an example: do you see the reference at the bottom of wikt:fr:welcome? I've just added it and the archive link is already available. JackPotte (talk) 12:24, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Article format redesign

So forgive me if this is a perennial proposal (I did search the archives briefly, but didn't see anything similar), but our current article format is outdated and simply doesn't keep up with other major news outlets. I did a quick mockup of what I think is a more "current" design at User:Fetchcomms/test. I'm just looking for feedback, but I hope that we can do a revamp of the articles sometime in the near-ish future. Perhaps even just one or two changes I made will seem feasible project-wide. fetch·comms 03:15, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Seems good, but it would be a pain to change all of our articles to that format. Diego Grez return fire 03:16, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm not so sure about the byline, though. We're a wiki, and we don't own our articles. Other than that, I think the new design looks great! (Diego, I think the new design won't be implemented on previous articles.) Benny the mascot (talk) 03:24, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think pictures should stay on the left. There's an edit section, which should be removed. I wonder if we can suppress the "(UTC)." It adds an extra line. I'm also not a fan of the byline I think a Wikinews redesign is a great idea. It looks good with a real article. —Mikemoral♪♫ 03:37, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
I like it, especially the use of subtitles. My one major issue would be the justified text, which while it can look nice, is not yet advisable for use on the web. The byline question is something we'll need to have a separate discussion about (personally I'm in favour, but I can see why people might have issues with it). the wub "?!" 10:02, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
I generally like the look. I would reserve the byline for WN:OR only. --Александр Дмитрий (Alexandr Dmitri) (talk) 12:18, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
I certainly hope we wouldn't be planning to change format for older articles (we don't seem to have with minor changes in past, either). The editsection can easily be removed (although I will need to fix the subtitle code for smaller screens and long subtitles). The extra line in the date is caused by a smaller screen as well (widths are relative %), so if we remove the UTC we might as well dump the hour/minute as well or just make that text even smaller. Removing the justification is fine as well, as is removing the byline or just leaving it for certain occasions like interviews, etc., where we often already mention the author's name in the article.
Any further feedback is welcome! Also, as it seems to have been well-received here, does anyone have ideas on where to go next--should we open some "official poll", or something else, etc.? Thanks, fetch·comms 19:38, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
  • How about placing sources on article's talk page? --Saki (talk) 19:49, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

The only major changes I see are is a subline, and a different styled infobox - which has nothing to do with the article layout itself. We could make the infoboxes like that now if we wanted to. As for the Byline, that needs to go - 100%. We're WIKInews, not "I wrote this article"-news. We all wrote the articles. Also, no need for the published time. We do update our articles after publication (Sometimes a lot). If people see a published time, they'll presume nothing has changed since that time. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 19:55, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

I condensed basically every non-article component into a sidebar, so I guess it's not really an article redesign, but a page redesign. So you are opposed to even a "Interviewed by User:X" on such pages? As I said before, we often mention that in interview articles. I will change the published time to just the date, as presented now. Thanks for the comments! fetch·comms 20:02, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
Do you think you can get the sharing links thing on one line? —Mikemoral♪♫ 23:41, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
This is a screen size issue as well. It fits in one line on my screen, but not for 1024x768 (and maybe not 1280x1024). The only other option is shrinking the icon sizes or widening the sidebar, which will take up more article room on smaller screens. fetch·comms 23:48, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
I think a lot of news agencies use über-small columns for the articles. I'm sure making it a bit bigger is okay. —Mikemoral♪♫ 23:55, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
Try it now. If it's still too narrow, I'll make it a set width. fetch·comms 00:24, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it looks great now. I hope we can implement a new format soon. —Mikemoral♪♫ 05:55, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I wanted to comment here earlier in the discussion but I couldn't. Redesigning the page sounds like a good idea at the moment. As Fetchcomms said originally, it is a bit outdated compared to the sites of some news providers. Anyway, not to discredit Fetchcomm's design, but why aren't a few people designing new page ideas so that the community can !vote and form a consensus?
Some notes about Fetchcomm's design. I preferred it when the first image was on the right side next to the infobox template. It has always seemed strange to have the text sandwiched between the image and the template. I don't know of many places that do this, but when they do it's not as obvious as we make it. A second image when the article has one could be placed on the left, lower down the page, and this is more pleasing on the eye than having two images stacked on the left or having one tucked away underneath the infobox, which is what can happen. As for the byline, yes we're a wiki, and yes everyone contributes, but the original story is almost always by one person. People put articles into their own personal categories and list them on their userpages anyway. Performing cleanup and copyediting, and reviewing, doesn't take away from the fact that the story is from one person, and I'd like to be able to click on the original author's name and see what else they've written. The sub-headline is a nice touch, but is that going to be an optional thing or will every article have to have one? Removing the images from the infobox is a good idea, as they often have little to do with what the article is about, but I think we should keep the collaboration part -- we do want people to write here, right? Finally, in that share this story template, if it's possible, isn't it about time we added an "Email this" button, and the Facebook "Like" button as well? Matthewedwards (talk) 14:52, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
I prefer Matthew's image idea as well--we can switch images later, if needed, or just let the writer decide where to put the image(s). The byline debate should probably go into a proposal of its own, as it will be hotly debated, I expect. It's also easy to add/remove from my design, so not a very big deal in regards to the design. I think that subtitles can be optional, although I expect that many, if not most articles, will have them. Collaboration--I'll add an extra section for that. And I'm not sure how to do that with wikicode--I expect it'll need to be done with some javascript for the email and facebook like button. fetch·comms 17:55, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I like it. I hope there is a technical way to make the proposed new infoboxes work without mucking up the layout of archived articles or forcing contrived template names on authors.
  • Please make separate proposals for the ideas of a sub-title and a byline, so you can explain the purpose of those items and persuade the community on their merits and de-merits. (By the way, I want to promote more and bolder collaboration on articles, so I think bylines should be optional and discouraged. Some of Wikinews 's most important output has been deeply collaborative, while much has indeed been outstanding individual effort and talent. Of course interviewers, photographers and on the scene stringers should be proud to name themselves, by pen name not username, in the body of the article.)
  • Can you make room for something like {{dateline}}?
  • Please never forget narrow screens. When we have finalised a draft layout, I guess you need to plan a thorough review to double check that the key information is always available to feed readers, screen readers, mobile phones and iPods of various types, set-top boxes, game consoles, non-Javascript browsers, dial-up and image-disabled browsers.
  • I agree with Matthew's comment about the text sandwich made by the first image. I think the image shouldn't go on the left unless it is particularly newsworthy in itself, such as free on-the-scene documentary photography.
--InfantGorilla (talk) 16:24, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I'm thinking of making just a new, single template page, so it won't affect old pages and there'll be no more juggling of templates. I'm leaving out bylines for now, and subtitles can be configured to be optional, a it seems well-received by most. In User:Fetchcomms/test, I'm using {{dateline}} now; I had the date in the sidebar but it was suggested to move it back to above the article by someone else earlier. I have access to narrow screens, so I can easily test that. Although I don't really think any site looks good on iPod Touches :P For non-js browsers, I thought that the "Opinions" tab was js-generated, and I'm not adding anything new as of yet (but I would like a Facebook like button and email to others link). I will change the image now, as it seems to be 2-1 in voiced opposition. Any other suggestions on pic placement are welcome. fetch·comms 18:01, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

OK, so I figured out email links. The Facebook Like bit can't be done with just wikicode/html here, though (requires either javascript or use of an iframe element). fetch·comms 00:33, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Try this: I think I got the email link working, pretty sure this can be added to the current social bookmarks template now. fetch·comms 00:57, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
or not. fetch·comms 00:57, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Urgh... I need a way to replace all the spaces in the fullpagename into %20... bawolfffffff. fetch·comms 01:48, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, I got underscores :P fetch·comms 02:25, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Yep, just confirmed with two others that underscores is all we're gonna get. Check the link for an example of what I mean. The_article's_poor_title_:( fetch·comms 03:21, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Or, we could use this tool (which is basically like a mailto link that strips the underscores. Is linking to the toolserver a good idea, anyone? fetch·comms 03:26, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
I think we can add the email link to {{publish}} (the toolserver link is good, btw). —Mikemoral♪♫ 04:29, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, if no one has qualms about that, we can probably add it to the current template. fetch·comms 21:07, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  •   Comment Can you please address the comments/points I raised on the talk page of your test redesign? Or, otherwise incorporate them into this discussion? -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 05:20, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

(copied over here to keep the discussion in one place)

I've not seen all the discussion on this, but, from what I have, the following points are those I'd raise...

  1. Related news is for directly related Wikinews stories, not a generic list from one of the top-level stories; as current infoboxes are. That is, related news is where we source from our own earlier content.
  2. This look great on a big monitor. Thus it excludes netbooks, mobiles, users of older machines.
  3. Dates. UTC? Absolutely! It clarifies thing where sources use their timezone-specific date; thing Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. Date granularity. No finer than a 15 minute point to match with push via twitter &c. A 'last updated' might be nice, but can it avoid weirdness with the archiving a few days later?
  5. How simple will this be for a new contributor who is non-technical to create a publish-ready article?
  6. How will this cope with the frequent really short articles that just meet minimum publishable guidelines.
  7. Sub-headings. Unless you're talking a 2-3k-word article, they're redundant.
  8. Bylines? Unwiki. What we have just now are hidden cats for people to keep track of their work. That should suffice, and was mostly done for OR and competition usage.

Under no circumstances do I think this should be retroactively applied; but, might be worth trying on a random selection of articles to see the end result.

I'd looked at 'purloining enWP's article cteation tool. That might be a better pririty to tackle. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 18:44, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

  1. Should we use "Related stories" instead? That's what the current infoboxes say.
  2. It looks fine on both my iPad and iPod Touch.
  3. You mean like "August 4, 2010 (UTC)", or have the hour/minute in there too? There was some opposition to that above.
  4. Last updated will be likely impossible to do automatically, because revisiontimestamp will catch the archive (and edits that aren't really updates, like interwikis or vandalism reverts).
  5. This design can be wrapped up in one template. There will be parameters for the subtitle, infobox category, and text/pics/sources/categories. Should be about as easy as it is now, except the infobox doesn't need to be added by itself.
  6. For short articles, the sidebar should not reach down further than where the social bookmarks currently are (I just tested a short article in the redesign).
  7. Subheadings can be optional (if the param is blank, then it doesn't appear), and I think they would be useful for the occasional longer articles.

If you can find a "good" assortment of articles varying in length, a photoessay, interview, whatnot, that should give a good representation of what works and does not. We shouldn't bother with old articles, I agree. fetch·comms 21:07, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I mocked up a proposal similar to this one a while back, but yours looks much better than mine. I love it, and hope we can implement it soon. Δενδοδγε τ\c 11:42, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

I've tried to make a template version of the proposal at User:Dendodge/Sandbox. I think it's relatively simple for new users to work out—it asks for six parameters (type, user, related, date, text, and sources), only three of which (date, text, and sources) are needed. "Type" defines whether it is original research (if so, it adds the byline—if you don't like that, the parameter can go). "User" is the name of the person who made the article, and is required for the byline (see previous comment). "Related" is for the infobox thingy. "Date" is the date of the article (this one can go if you'd rather just use {{date}}. I tried to get the current system of entering it automatically to work but I couldn't—maybe somebody could take a look?). "Text" is, quite obviously, the text of the article. "Sources" is where the sources go (this can be merged with "text" if you like). Therefore, we could get it down to two parameters ("related" and "text") if you think less is more, only one of which ("text") would be required. An example transclusion is viewable here. Δενδοδγε τ\c 18:07, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I forgot to mention "subtitle, which is an optional parameter and adds a subtitle. Δενδοδγε τ\c 19:38, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Transclusion looks great to me. For the date, I'd just use {{date}} with the {{date|{{<includeonly>subst:</includeonly>#time:F j, Y}}}} code rather than a parameter. Still not sure what the consensus for a byline is, but I'd remove that for now, or comment that part out, or whatnot when making a final version. Sources is probably easier merged with the text part, which would also include the images, etc. Otherwise, it seems to work well. fetch·comms 18:54, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
I tried that for the time, but it didn't seem to work when transcluded for some reason so I added the parameter as a compromise. I thought the sources might be easier for n00bs as a parameter, but it might be better in the text. Whatever. Δενδοδγε τ\c 17:49, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
One other possible way might be to split it up into multiple templates. Instead of the article text as parameter one, do {{article header|parameters...}} Article text here {{article footer}}. {{date|{{<includeonly>subst:</includeonly>#time:F j, Y}}}} won't work in a template, unless that template is substituted, as {{subst:#time:F j, Y}} is substituted at save time. if the subst is is includeonly, then the subst only appears during transclussion, and never when saving a page. You can use {{date|{{<includeonly>safesubst:</includeonly>#time:F j, Y}}}} which will subst if the containing template is substituted, and act like {{#time:F j, Y}} when transcluded, but I don't think that is that useful here. Bawolff 19:10, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll take {{date}} out of the template for now and have it be included manually—we can always add it to the default article template like we do now. Δενδοδγε τ\c 19:15, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that keeping it at a single template is best, because it's a lot easier for new users to use, and simpler in general. Maybe just put the date with the rest of the article text (not a separate param)? fetch·comms 03:48, 9 August 2010 (UTC)


I think this is a good way to push things, but not something to rush. I might add, voting is evil; it should not turn into a beauty contest to see who can create the purdiest layout. There's a whole bowl of spaghetti around what I'd stress is a workflow. Multiple components are involved; we need a fair bit of software development, as well as a more professional article appearance. My own work to create templates for relatively easily maintained, and consistent, portals is another component of the 'bigger picture'.

The MSM spend millions on hideous packages like SharePoint, then the same again to beat them into doing what they want. We do not have that sort of money; and, I am not a project manager. My IT background is systems analysis, mostly troubleshooting; but, with a lot of design and future-proofing work.

Can we work on resetting expectations of those with no software development experience? Contributing needs made easier; collaborating needs made easier; and, perhaps most importantly, reviewing needs made easier. These are all, currently, fragmented parts of a greater whole.

This is bold; but, is is bold enough? -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 23:34, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand completely what you mean—that we need a design that is easier to use for writers, or that we need to add more functions (if so, which?), or that we should making more designs and (not?) voting on them sometime, or all or some or none of the above? fetch·comms 02:22, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • How do you propose we do that? Make some sort of web app on the toolserver? I agree that all those things you mentioned could be improved, but I'm not sure on their direct relationship to making a new page design. To try and bundle up many updates into one proposal would take a very long time, as some of these things need their own discussions. fetch·comms 17:01, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Not a web app; the toolserver is, frequently, unreliable. I mean significant changes to FlaggedRevs to support a reviewing process. But, as I keep saying, it is a workflow we need to spec out. From that, it should be possible to pick out points like an article redesign and do those as and when people can. I doubt we'd complete all the changes I think are needed in anything approaching what most contributors would consider reasonable timescales. However, A map of where the project is hopefully going would give a clearer framework. I've a little time off this weekend, I'll try and expand on this and lay out my ideas then. there are so few Wikinewsies that duplicated, or wasted, effort should be avoided. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 05:36, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that there are a number of ways we could make the site easier to use, and this could come as a part of that bundle. The Main Page is fine already, and has been changed far too often already, but articles, portals, and other reader-oriented pages could be improved. We already have a new-style portal template that Brian developed—we need to roll that (or something similar) out across the board. Things like MakeLead should be expanded to include category portals to ensure that portal leads are always up-to-date. We should also refine this proposal, make it as user-friendly as possible for both readers and writers, and start using it on all new articles. Reviewing could be better, but not too difficult to learn—while it can be improved, it shouldn't be the most important issue. We could do with some kind of site-wide redesign to make everything purdy and easy to use, followed by rabid article-writing (especially OR) to increase our user-base. We certainly need it after recent events. Δενδοδγε τ\c 18:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)


I thought the technical issues behind my template should probably be discussed separately to the design issues, hence a new section.

  • I have created a draft template version of this proposal that can be applied to articles at User:Dendodge/Sandbox
  • Examples of the template in use can be seen on User talk:Dendodge/Sandbox
  • There is a longer example using a featured article with multiple sections at User:Dendodge/Sandbox/2
    • Notice that I have put the sources and related news in the sidebar for this one—I think it looks a bit nicer on long articles, but it's not too important
  • The parameters used in the template can be seen at User talk:Dendodge/Sandbox

Any comments? Δενδοδγε τ\c 19:55, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

  • I like the look of the sources in the sidebar for longer articles. Everything else looks nice, and we could even put the FA box in the sidebar, too. For the regular template, I prefer the sidebar without the extra line at the bottom, if no extra text is needed. Maybe just bundle that with the parameter? Or does everyone else like it there. It's not a big deal to me, just looks cleaner without it. fetch·comms 19:26, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
(Sorry for the delay) I think you are probably right, so I've moved it into an #if. I think it looks nicer, but it's slightly (and I mean very slightly) heavier on the servers (which can, of course, take it). Δενδοδγε τ\c 15:41, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Requests for permissions re-formulation

Hi. I have been sorting old archives of requests for permissions in the past days and created a new layout for them, located at Template:RfA. I want feedback on the following points:

  1. Is the system easier to use? If not, how do you think it could be made easier to use?
  2. Should the "Notable works" be optional or necessary to do?

My thinking is that I did the first step for this re-formulation and sorting of the Requests for Permissions system. You do the rest :-) (well, I still have to finish the archives' sorting) Cheers and thanks. Diego Grez return fire 18:31, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I've commented on the talkpage, but I'll repeat myself here. The entire history has been lost for all of the archived discussions. --Alexandr Dmitri (talk) 23:04, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Appears previous archiving borked this anyway so nevermind. --Alexandr Dmitri (talk) 23:11, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
I like splitting things into the subpages (definitely for archives it is a lot better). I dislike the notable works section. We are still a small enough community that anyone who is voting should already have a decent idea what the person has contributed and so it just adds clutter. Likewise "RfAs for this user" is unnecessary. Most RfAs pass, so a user with past RfAs would be a oddity rather then something worth including in a template. Finally RfAs are not votes, dividing them up into sections like that encourages them to be treated as votes. --Cspurrier (talk) 01:14, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
I find that I like splitting the archives into subpages for each request, but I oppose separate subpages for requests that are still open. Requests should be entirely on the RFP page until they are actually archived and thus cease to be visible on the page.
One thing we might do better is that, when an archive box is placed around a discussion, the box should start just below the section heading, instead of above. That makes it easier both to edit the previous section (which thus doesn't have the top of the following archive box in it), and to archive the closed section (which thus doesn't require editing the whole page).
My reasoning on open-request subpages:
  • For anyone who watches RFP, open-request subpages make it easier to not follow the progress of each request than to follow it. That's just backwards from what we now want on Wikinews: we have a small community, and anyone who is watching RFP at all will probably want to follow the progress of each request.
  • The only upside I can think of to open-request subpages is that, if there are multiple requests open at once, they all have subsections with the same names; so if someone edits a subsection directly, you can't tell from the edit summary which request they were addressing (and it often isn't obvious from the diff, either). I edit the whole request section, so that the edit summary will identify the discussion.
  • Open-request subpages make starting a request more complicated.
  • Once someone has added an open-request subpage to their watchlist, if they want to keep their watchlist trim they'll have to remember to unwatch the subpage later.
  • If closure of the discussion gets undone —which has happened recently— anyone who had already unwatched it will simply not know that it has been reopened. I can think of several solutions to that, but the only one that doesn't involve a higher level of red tape is to simply not have open-request subpages in the first place.
Wikibooks, with a participating project-wide community smaller than ours, puts RFDs on a single page (even though there are always more of them open than I ever remember us having open RFPs). Once each discussion is closed, it is moved to a separate page, and transcluded on the main page for a while before the transclusion is removed. That seems to work pretty well — although they don't divide each RFD into subsections. (Keeping a chronological list of archived requests would improve their system, I think; maybe I'll have time to set that up, at some point.)
(Postscript: Many of these problems would disappear if the wiki software provided a way to watch a page and all its subpages, so that new subpages get watched automatically. That's quite interesting to me, because Wikibooks has been wishing for such a feature for years.) --Pi zero (talk) 16:19, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Crazy idea

Is it possible to create a userright, like mini-reviewer or something, that can:

  • Automatically mark revisions in non-main namespaces patrolled (autopatrolother)
  • Edit semi-protected pages (autoconfirmed)
  • Revert many editions made by the same editor in a row (rollback)
  • Have the editor's own edited marked as sighted if the version immediately before it is sighted

But cannot

  • Sight pages that currently need to be reviewed
  • View list of unreviewed pages (unreviewedpages)
  • View recent changes patrol marks (patrolmarks)

If such a right is created, I'll be the first to apply. :) Kayau (talk · contribs) 07:04, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

We don't use autopatrol. Why would a user account need autoconfirmed? You get it after like 4 days anyways. Rollback is generally not given out so freely. "Autosight" has been removed for everyone (much to my displeasure). So in short: No. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 07:08, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Currently even reviewers don't have "Have the editor's own edited marked as sighted if the version immediately before it is sighted" (only bots have it atm). You're already autoconfirmed, and I don't even think we use patroller, so I'm not sure what the benefit would be. (other than perhaps rollback, which to be honest isn't that useful imo, but isn't that dangerous. I wouldn't be opposed to just giving rollback to all autoconfirmed users). What is it that you want to do that you can't currently do? Bawolff 07:10, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
No, per Shaka-Shaka Diego Grez return fire 16:23, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
If they aren't automatically sighted, then can they at least manually sight their own edits if the revision immediately before it is sighted? I believe they can. My idea is somewhat similar to that of level 1 of w:Wikipedia:Pending_changes#Description. Autoconfirmed people cannot sight others' edits but can sight their own if the revision immediately before it is accepted. Kayau (talk · contribs) 09:05, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
That —the ability to sight one's own edit if the immediately preceding revision was sighted— is not a lesser responsibility than reviewing. It is reviewing. It requires judgment just as expert and mature as publishing an article. A small edit can be a factual error, copyvio, POV, or otherwise a violation of the style guide. Don't fall into the trap of imagining that there are "minor good-faith edits", such as Wikibooks or Wikipedia might recognize, that should be let through because it's better for the project to encourage contributors and let any resulting problems be ironed out in the long run. That's alien to the nature of what we do on Wikinews. --Pi zero (talk) 14:22, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Reviving the project

Hello all,

If you remember me, I was an active sysop here in 2009, but then took a year-long break from all Wiki activities in August of last year. I have since returned, and am quite shocked of the events that have transpired on this site over the past few months. It seems as though the level of civility here and its collaborative, friendly nature has essentially disappeared. This is definitely not the Wikinews that I remember.

To make things short, I believe that we need to revive and expand this project. English Wikinews is slowly dying, and something needs to be done about it. So, I think that in a project-wide collaboration, there needs to be some sort of effort to change what is wrong; attracting more readers and writers, setting new policies about civility, and making Wikinews an overall better place.

I'll let discussion about this start, but I must make the point clear that we need to:

a) Outline our problems
b) Attain more writers
c) Make the site seem open and friendly
d) Enforce new policy on civility.

I hope we have interest in this, because it is just what we need.

red-thunder. 16:40, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Unless the project is Lazarus (or Spock), revival will be pretty difficult, but here are my ideas:
I think one of the primary things we should do would be to write more in-depth, collaborative (preferably OR) pieces, rather than many 3-paragraph stubs. The wiki format lends itself well to this format, and there is no way we can compete with the mainstrem media in terms of volume—in terms of depth of coverage, however, we have an advantage. Of course, collaborative articles will not work unless we have a clear civility policy (not necessarily of the kind that has been proposed before, but we need something). Δενδοδγε τ\c 17:03, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Wikinews needs in addition to new civility policies, an "in-depth"-ization of our articles. As Dendodge says, most of our articles are really, really short. Diego Grez return fire 17:28, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I would love to get this moved to a separate page, so the community can discuss it and come up with some proposals. Does anyone agree? red-thunder. 20:25, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

As a semi-active newbie, I believe that it is in fact rather unsurprising that Wikinews is more likely to be affected, as a whole, by conflicts than Wikipedia or Wikibooks. I apologise if this is POV-pushing, unconstructive, or something-the-community-has-already-discussed-on-anyway-only-I-was-unaware-of-it, but here it goes anyway.

  • Wikipedia is a project with more sub-communities than there are active users on WN. Different communities have different atmospheres. Some communities are small and consist of people who always agree with each other. Those projects are happy. Some communities are medium and consist of people who regularly disagree with each other. Some communities are big and contain communities that are small or medium. Each of these communities have some people who are, in Pi zero's words, in the 'project-wide cell'. Some people are in the 'project-wide cell', but not any other community, perhaps because they are not interested in mainspace work. Due to the complexity of Wikipedia, if one community disappears, there are still lots of others. Therefore, Wikipedia is not likely to become an overall unfriendly place due to conflicts and disagreements.
  • Wikibooks is a project whose number of active users is considerably larger than Wikinews (which again is something Pi zero discovered). (Note here, that Thenub's CU discussion has more supports than WN ArbCom discussions.) Most active regular contributors only care about their own books. And, at any given point of time, no book has more than two active contributors. Really. So there isn't much room for book-specific disputes. As for the 'project-wide cell', it is very small. Some users are here today and gone tomorrow, and then back a month later, then goes again. Due to its size, it is not as often (note that I'm not saying NEVER, which is a completely different thing!) vulnerable to destruction due to disputes. A dispute can also be here today, and gone tomorrow. Therefore, Wikibooks, due to its small 'project-wide cell', is again less likely to become an overall unfriendly place due to conflicts and disputes.
  • Wikinews is different. Instead of having loads of sub-communities etc, it has one large project-wide cell. Wikinews is like a city; Wikibooks, on the other hand, is a suburb. (Not a very good metaphor, but you get the idea right? :P) Everyone does pretty much the same job. Because all the people are packed together, they start having disputes. It can be nothing at first, but grudges grow, and eventually burst. People leave the city and go somewhere else. This is the problem with Wikinews. Is it possible to divide the community so that there are people working only on one topic? I think not; some people work on, say, Chile, and other people work on, say, um, well, global warming, UFOs, and all those. So that won't work. This is why, IMO, Wikinews is more vulnerable to destruction due to disputes.

I know some of my arguments are rather weak, and that I have not really followed any logical order, and that I expressed myself in rather awkward manners. I will also note that I, as a kid, don't know that much about the world. But this is my opinion, and I have given it, regardless of consequences. Kayau (talk · contribs) 11:29, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia has a much greater tendency towards drama than Wikinews, but I do agree that when there is a dispute here it affects the whole community. Δενδοδγε τ\c 11:45, 23 August 2010 (UTC)


Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to go to the main page and see a nice little map of where all the news in the whole world is? Also you could see what's the news in a certain area off the bat. Also some important news happens in un-known areas. Instead of having a lame little .svg map you could explore the area in depth in Google maps. I'm pretty certain we can hack the Google Maps API to allow this. Also their is already a template to deal with this ({{location}}) What are your guys thoughts on this?

Note - We can use Google maps as their TOS states "The Maps API is a free service, available for any web site that is free to consumers. Please see the terms of service ( ) for more information." - If you guys hate Google we could always use but they offer less features

Irunongamesplay 00:05, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm liking this idea a lot. Not something you usually see on news sites, very unique. red-thunder. 18:11, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
  • It is not the Google Maps ToS that you should be concerned about. Should it be implemented as an integrated part of Wikinews, we will be instructed to take it out immediately. The WMF is very, very keen to avoid sharing data without readers being aware of such. OpenStreetMap,... maybe. Google? Not a chance. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:22, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Wikiminiatlas? Also the foundation people seem to like the open street map people, so if this was to happen I'd put my money on it being with open street map, not google. Bawolff 22:05, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Anyone who remembers mentions of using Google Analytics will know exactly why their APIs are unlikely to be used without special treatment for the WMF. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:26, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Do we need special treatment? We can easily set up a API and since the WMF makes no money off Wikinews it will be no issue Irunongamesplay 00:51, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

We cannot set up an API, because it involves making readers submit to Google ToS in terms of what data they collect, and how they use it . That is not a decision that can be made by anyone here; you add Google code, that isn't clearly, and unambiguously, requiring of a conscious activation step, you're breaching the WMF Privacy Policy. You will be reverted. Now, look to the alternatives, please. --Brian McNeil / talk 01:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

WikiMiniAtlas looks like the best bet to me—it is already widely used on Wikipedia, and shouldn't be too hard to adapt for our purposes. Δενδοδγε τ\c 19:53, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Restart page reformat thread

OK, so I think consensus is that the page redesign concept proposed way above is a good idea. User talk:Dendodge/Sandbox has what it currently looks like.

As discussion has mostly ended above, I'm now wondering, when does everyone want to implement this? In a month, or over a couple months? Do a trial run on a few new articles first? I know brianmc had written out plans for a much longer roadmap, and this could very well kickstart some of those other items. fetch·comms 22:38, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

I'd do a trial implementation as soon as you feel like it. - Amgine | t 22:48, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
If anyone would like, I'll write re-format an article and stick a little notice about the page redesign. —Mikemoral♪♫ 03:01, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Seems good to me. I think starting a test now will let us see what needs to be fixed quickly. fetch·comms 13:33, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
If no one disagrees, I'll go ahead and use User:Mikemoral/Sandbox for the actual article. —Mikemoral♪♫ 15:03, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Go ahead. I just did one at User:Fetchcomms/test2 and I think it looks fine. Can you try on a shorterish article, to compare? I've also added more params to the template. fetch·comms 15:14, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Care to move the template to the template namespace? I'll do the leads, if that's fine. —Mikemoral♪♫ 15:18, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Whoops, we did the same article. I've changed a few params and stuck the sources in the sidebar. Is that OK? I need to add a note for the "redesign" bit, and maybe mention letting people leave feedback/bugs on the template talk? fetch·comms 15:21, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, first bug: the "related stories" category is not working, it lists all recent news. fetch·comms 15:23, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Set up a comment/bug report space. fetch·comms 15:39, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)That's weird, is DPL not able to take parameters for a template? I thought it did. —Mikemoral♪♫ 15:40, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Yay, it's fixed. —Mikemoral♪♫ 15:49, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Yep, just had to use #tag. fetch·comms 15:49, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Can someone semi Template:Page layout, as vandalism would affect a whole article now, not just a small bit. fetch·comms 15:56, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Done. I move protected it, too, as nobody should have any reason to move it and it would cause some confusion if anybody did. Δενδοδγε τ\c 16:03, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Glenn Beck to hold controversial 'Restoring Honor' rally at Lincoln Memorial looks pretty good to me, and nobody has hated it enough to complain yet, so that can only be a good thing. If the trial goes well, someone (looks at Bawolff) will have to make a couple of changes to the review gadget (and possibly MakeLead, but I'm not sure) to handle the new format before we roll it out completely. Δενδοδγε τ\c 16:00, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

If anyone wants to use the template for a few other new articles, that might get us more feedback. fetch·comms 16:41, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I've put it on the all the leads, so hopefully there will be some feedback. —Mikemoral♪♫ 16:44, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll give you some feedback :) A major change like this needs to be made a little more public, so users can comment on it before it happens. The new design is not particularly appealing, and I for one will not use it on any articles I create. I don't read the cooler that often, so probably a sitenotice or something for the future, ok? BarkingFish (talk) 23:42, 28 August 2010 (UTC)