Wikinews talk:Content guide

Latest comment: 2 years ago by Cromium in topic Fixing old articles



Simeon just totally re-wrote this page, making it over twice as long and making it very hard to read and understand. The existing version is a tight, clear easy-to-understand document, and is much superior, so I reverted. Dan100 (Talk) 11:00, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It is much clearer. And certainly much clearer than the original would be if extended to include all the information that it should be presenting.
I am/was trying to rationalise the entire set of introductory documents, as I myself have been finding it almost impossible to find most of what we are supposed to be using here at wikinews.
Please view and review, and decide on what should be done, but if noone objects I will resume what I was doing with this page, since I think Dan100 does not really understand what I did, I don't think s/he took the time to read the page before eliminating it, let alone have the patience to let me put through changes to other pages.
Yes, incremental changes can be good. But this has become a mess, and needed quite a lot more content. There was a lot of things on inappropriate pages, including this one, and consolidating the lot into a rational, designed introduction and reference was needed. I have years of experience in writing these types of documents, as well as in news writing, and I wrote half of the original content on the pages in question.
It's all very well to put policy suggestions on pages that most people never find because the intro to wikinews is so bad, and then complain that people are making changes that haven't been approved on the policy pages that noone ever reads. Fact is, most of these pages weren't written that way in the first place, and I shudder to think what would be here if they had been. I think a lot of policy discussion pages.
Please critique my changes on the merit of content, not on merit of what procedure they result from, and not on merit of how large the change is or who made it. And please when doing so, look at the structure of the site, and try to think how a new user would encounter it.
And also remember that I have already made many change to make this easier, now. This page is the last major piece in the puzzle, I will leave it for now, I must sleep. Wiki is wiki - things can be easily reverted, so we should not be so frightened to have things change, if the changes are well intedned, and well considered. It would be better to build on my changes, than revert them. That is wiki, not holding to tradition when tradition is broken.
And if somehow my changes are blocked, please make suitable amendments to fix the page. - Simeon 16:32, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
How is making it more than twice as long making it clearer?! Look at this way: we have no problems with the contents of articles. That suggests that the existing page was doing its job, and doing it well. There is no need nor consensus for you to suddenly start re-writing everything. Dan100 (Talk) 08:19, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Who is 'we' Dan? How did you get their opinions? I see no-one else making changes or reversions except you. This site was a mess. I am working to make it cleaner. You are reverting my progress in this.
This is a wiki. Changes are proposed on the pages themselves. Consensus is attained if people do not revert the cahnges. Reverting on the basis of 'no consensus' is like me censoring you asking me for permission to talk. 'No, you may not talk, because you don't have permission.'
Do we need to propose proposed policy? Or do we simply propose policy? - Simeon 08:25, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)
How can you claim that the site is in a mess?! Have you ever sat down with people who've never used a wiki before and asked them to find their way around the site, then watch where they go, and see what they think? I have; both over IM and actually in person.
And how can you honestly claim that doubling the length of the page is 'clearer'?!
The 'we' I used is in 'we the site'. People are not writing articles that don't belong here, and do not fall foul of the original, brief and easy-to-read content guide. So why ruin it? Dan100 (Talk) 15:35, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

New policies


Simeon introduced the following new policies:

Wikinews does not want defamation or degrading opinions


Definitely do not defame or degrade. Do not prejudice any court case. Anything published on the internet may be considered 'published in' other countries, and those countries may have different laws to where you live, so be careful — you could still get yourself into trouble even if you can argue the case locally.

Following this should not be too difficult if you stick carefully to the ideas of NPOV, global audience, attribution and referencing so mar mentioned .. but in fact it is. Writing about news without defaming can be quite tricky due to the subtle ways that courts interpret your words.

A start is to make sure that what you write about someone is true. This is not a defence by itself everywhere, and as we have seen, you need to be able to defend your writings everywhere.

As well as truth, you need to show that your writing is in the public interest.

You must also write carefully, and without malice.

The fact that you are reporting what someone else said, in the case of reporting a quote, is not an excuse, so be careful not to repeat a defamation made by someone else.

Note that even if someone claims to be guilty of an offence, you should not then assume they are right. Always assume innocence until a court of law hands down a guilty verdict.

If in doubt, leave out all identifying information about the people you are writing about, if you think the story needs to be told, and might be defamatory. Don't identify juveniles (generally people under the age of 18) who are charged with an offence, and in most cases even if found guilty their identity should be protected.

Some resources, since this is quite a complex issue, are

Wikinews does not want to degrade, or incite violence, racism, sexism, or nationalism


What it says. Again, laws in many countries can be used against Wikinews or its contributors, and we generally like to be polite to each other and our readers.

Avoid obscenity that is not strictly necessary to tell the story, and then. Remember that our readership is not limited to any particular group or class, and we do not want to offend some subset of readers.

Be careful that your own prejudices don't lead you to report in a way that others may interpret as prejudiced. Go back to 'never assume'.

Nationalism is not generally illegal, but people often find it offensive, especially if they are not members of the particular nation. Since Wikinews is global in outlook and in readership, do your best to avoid nationalistic views, or to correctly attribute them and provide balancing comments from people of contrary views.

Wikinews does not want to promote self-interests of the wikinews contributors


Generally, don't write about something that you have a direct interest in, where you or someone close to you might gain or lose from the outcome, or from publicity. If you do have an interest in something where you might gain or lose, then see if you can find someone else to write about it, and they may decide to use you as a source.


Again, legal requirements as well as politeness and good relations demand that we police Wikinews and write without infringing licenses, copyrights, laws of secrecy and so on.

Follow the guide above to referencing and attributing and you are well on your way.

News reporting is protected in many countries as an important right that balances, to some degree, intellectual property laws such as copyright. You may even be forgiven by some if you report official secrets, though. The key is to only include as much as is necessary to tell the news, to attribute your source, and to only do so if there is a public benefit.

If in doubt, leave it out. There are often alternative sources for material if you can't get permission.

Some resources on this topic appear below.

I have a number of problems with these, all stemming from the fact that we don't allow opinion and only trade in reference facts, so these are all essentially unescce un-needed. We don't need to be filling our guidelines with legalese.

In particular (but not exclusively):

We're not going to defame or degrade, because we're not making stuff up. If we use a source that is making stuff up (unlikely, I don't think anyone's going to be quoting the British Daily Mail in the near future), then, well, whoops. We can't do better than our sources.

Public interest - not our concern. We report facts. If that's not in someone's interests, so be it.

Claiming someone is guilty of an offense before a court's verdict - again, something we'd never do, because it wouldn't be a fact until the court has returned its verdict.

Identifying people - we can if we want, unless I assume an American or Florida court (I understand they have jurisdiction over this site due to the servers being located there) forbades it.

Nationalism, racism etc - if it's a fact and part of reporting, we say it. We don't pretend things do not happen. Of course, npov dictates that we must present the alternative view (if there is one).

Self-interest etc - again, we don't allow advertising, just factual reporting. So it can't be an issue.

Copyright - it's stressed all over the site (like in the text below the edit field) that we can't reproduce copyrighted material. Those warning are sufficient; we do not need more.

Fin. Thoughts please Dan100 (Talk) 20:42, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Historical Content Thought


The line "News stories focus on a single current event or phenomenon" prevents us from adding historical information to the wiki. We should consider changing this to "News stories focus on a single event or phenomenon, and have an accurate dateline". This would fix a few small problems, such as preventing the deletion of a few almost done old articles. It would also the inclusion of historical information, although we should probably have a diffrent dateline and a seperate portal for such stories. Thoughts? Nyarlathotep 05:03, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

The dateline discussion has happened a number of times, iirc. I seem to recall the general resolution of the discussions being to prefer the date the story is submitted, or published, rather than date of the event. Wikinews reports on events or phenomenon, and an element of that reporting should be to accurately define the time at which the event or phenomenon occurs. I don't know how that would be worded though. - Amgine | talk en.WN 05:17, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

I wasn't really going for any particular meaning of the dateline. I was suggesting that old stories be permitted, as long as the dateline is accurate. For the most part, the "change" is that old stories which suddenly pop back into develop shouldn't suddenly be deleted for no longer being news, so long as their dateline remains accurate. Infact, we might even tolerate such insanity as going back & adding a wikinews story about the first atomic bomb (see above link), but it would need to be tagged as a "historical addition". Nyarlathotep 06:53, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Agreed, this is my original proposal, as well as the proposal at metawiki. Wikinews has failed, and will fail, as a poor man's google news. If we are able to find old news stories, why not write an article on them? It's easy enough to change the date to be correct for when the event actually happened. And it will still appear in the recent changes and searches/categories for peer review. They make excellent sources for wikipedia articles.
Anyone who is against allowing historical news stories must be in favor of deleting all articles older than a certain time (2 months for example). Otherwise it is hypocritical. --MateoP 23:14, 29 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Oh, you'll find somebody who feels that wikinews' old articles should accurately represent how wikinews presented the news of the day, but I think this critisism is completely handled by merely tagging such articles as historical additions. Among other cultural benifits, inclusionism of historical articles will bring more people with diffrent writing styles to wikinews, which we could use. Anyway, I think that maybe the real question is: how should the categories and templates work?

I think historical articles should have a seperate portal from the main page, and developing historical articles should not appear on the main page. Currently, the Template:Developing_stories is computed as Category:Disputed plus not Category :Published minus Category:Deletion_requests, Category:Brief, and Category:Local_only; so we can just subtract Category:Historical too. For the historical portal page itself, we need a developing stories box, which lists only articles in Category:Historical (and either Category:Disputed or not Category:Published), but the majority of the page should be dedicated to showing off good articles. One idea is to list all articles from "this day in history" which are included in Category:Historical or Category:Featured, eventually maybe just restricting this to Category:Featured once we get too many historical articles. A one-time bot could crawl the history of the main page templates to identify all past lead & featured articles, and add Category:Featured to them.

I think this can be made to work fairly cleanly, although a few parts of the site will need some minor adjustments. We may find, for example, that historical articles require a more wikipedia like deletion protocol. Anyway, once we've thought through the changes, we can take a proposal to the Water Cooler. I don't think people will mind if we actually implement the system, as the changes shouldn't inconvenience normal operations. Nyarlathotep 03:51, 30 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Here are two arguments why this is not a good idea for Wikinews:
  • Wikinews is not encyclopedic. Writing articles about historical events is what an encyclopedia does. These articles would need to meet a different set of criteria than a news source because all historical data may be accessed, and the event must be put into context including background and related information.
  • Wikinews article archives are one of the primary goals of the Wikinews project: to create and maintain a resource which may be linked to as primary source documents which will not be restricted in access and therefore provide permanent online citations.
- Amgine | talk en.WN 03:57, 30 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

How is the seccond argument against historical articles. To me it seems for it? Bawolff ☺☻  04:01, 30 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

He is worried that a crackpot who claims to be an eye witness to say the Kennedy assassination, but is completely nuts, will be able to post his crap here as original reporting, its just a diffrent way of stating his first critisism. I understand the critisism, but I've also just see a number of minor flaws in wikinews which would be corrected by not being so quite so myopic about the moment. Anyway, its worth talking about. Nyarlathotep 04:10, 30 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Sort of. Because we all know much more about what was found in Iraq after the invasion, it is difficult to write an article about the Iraq war which is not informed by the Bush administration's failure to locate weapons of mass destruction. But if we write an article with a dateline of during the invasion or before it, when that information was not known, the article is extremely likely to contain implications or information which would not have been known at the time, and therefore if cited as a primary source will be misinformation. Our archives should contain the mistakes and misinformation we knew at the time, such as when we (and many other news sources) were hoaxed about Mr. Bush jr. going to Australia. And it should contain the limitations of the knowledge we had at the time, like the progression of articles last year as we learned the extent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But it should not contain, as primary documents, articles which purport to be about a specific time but were written long after the event with access to a much wider array of data and information. - Amgine | talk en.WN 04:27, 30 December 2005 (UTC)Reply
Alright, I hadn't quite thought of it in those terms, which are more clarifying than the crackpot thing. Nyarlathotep 05:01, 30 December 2005 (UTC)Reply

Is this news?


I have an account of a public free-food and speech night put on by a local shop to raise awareness of homelessness and hunger. Interesting community leaders were there, and I've got photos. Is this news? 08:35, 2 September 2008 (UTC)Reply



Wikinews normally deletes unpublished articles that are about events that happened (or became public knowledge) more than 2 to 3 days ago.

I can't find that reflected in this guide. Perhaps it should be. See Talk:Pfizer accused of using charity for profit.

--InfantGorilla (talk) 15:21, 20 November 2008 (UTC)Reply

Done. Thanks Brian. --InfantGorilla (talk) 19:02, 20 November 2008 (UTC)Reply

More on timeliness


What does Wikinews do that the regular media don't do? Is this for un- or under-reported stories (like "Project Censored" or "Indymedia")? Or is this the place to break new stories? I guess I don't understand the point of writing a story and then referencing it to mainstream news stories covering the same topic. How is Wikinews better than the regular media regarding regular news?

For example, I was going to add a story about an illegal immigrant from Ghana who was killed while being deported from Japan. The story was covered in "The Economist" and English language "Japan Times" but was mostly overlooked, apparently conspicuously so in Japan. A Google news search only brings up the one Economist article, which is here: The Japan Times story comes up on a Google web search here: I haven't done a Japanese language search. The Economist story is dated May 13th, but the incident occurred in April. It's not breaking news, so apparently not an appropriate topic. It's not noteworthy enough for a stand alone Wikipedia article. Maybe "Human rights in Japan"? Ghostofnemo (talk) 07:46, 19 May 2010 (UTC)Reply

As you point out, different citizen journalism sites have different criteria for "news". If you have done your own research, such as interviews, this is original reporting and is very welcome here, and the consensus view on "what is news" and "timeliness" are not so strict in that case. However, if you wish to synthesize information from other news outlets, then look for a more recent story. If an under-reported story has caught your attention, and you can't manage any original reporting (even by e-mail or phone) then look for recent developments to make it newsworthy again, such as a recent statement from the police or the APFS.
As far as I know, Wikinews doesn't have a magazine or analysis category, for taking a longer or broader view on the news. I don't know if it has been discussed in the past, but as you say, Wikipedia and Indymedia often accept submissions like this.
--InfantGorilla (talk) 09:01, 19 May 2010 (UTC)Reply
What Wikinews brings to the table, even for synthesis articles, is neutral point of view. It's hard to get people excited about neutrality, but it really is a very big deal. Take FOX News as a bellwether for the direction things are likely to slide in, and watch as print news outlets with serious journalistic ethics wither and die, and it should become clear that the ability of ordinary citizens to find neutral reporting of the news anywhere in the future is threatened. Yes, Wikinews ought to do better on timeliness. A common prediction here on that issue is that our reviewing times will improve as the project reaches critical mass, so that there are always plenty of reviewers around. (I have a few ideas of my own that I save up for future proposal here, but for now I mostly put my energy into improving our implementation of the way we do things now.) --Pi zero (talk) 17:38, 19 May 2010 (UTC)Reply



how i submit a information for my website.??


News creation time limit


Is the purpose of Wikinews to be a complete record of news and not just to include news by chance from a certain time limit, which omits news that may not happen to be written on Wikinews, within that time limit, even though that news may have happened and is notable?

With the current last point in the guideline of what news is, it states; "Ensure your reporting is timely and the story is at most a week old with sources in the last 2–3 days. Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news." The definition of the word "news" in this statement seems to be an absolute perspective. Retrospectively how is past news any less significant than today's news? Some might say the past is equally relevant to the present or perhaps Wikinews should contain no history at all? How is this absolute perspective inviting to new contributors and productive to a more complete record of news?

My view is that Wikinews has cast a small net, of limited time for contributors to create a more comprehensive resource of information, restricting it to only breaking news. This doesn't address sercumstaces when news at the time doesn't have wide exposure, may not be first heard about by Wikinews contributors which is subsequently encountered and is notable.

Yes ideally all contributions should be "new" and "recent" as news happens, written as soon as possible. The contradiction is that news is often reoccurring, on-going or may be referred to at a later date. A wiki is unique in the sense that the content can evolve, whether the content predates the subject or not.

"Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news." Is the emphasis of news, more towards rumours and speculation, not facts? The approach of a news style of writing, is different to an encyclopaedia, though both follow a "neutral point of view" and "verifiability" guidelines, ultimately resulting in accurate content. Is Wikinews missing accurate content?

News articles are defined in guidelines as required to be verifiable. By restricting the creation of news article subject after a week or 2–3 days, consequently Wikinews will be incomplete, lacking historic records of events. Is a news report any less of a report simply because of the timing of the report? Isn't content more important than immediacy?

I would rephrase the criteria as: "Once news is written it will always be a record of events. There is recent news and there is also the historic record. Exceptions of the time limit for retrospective news, may be permitted for accurate content of apparent significance."

RW Marloe (talk) 00:56, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

It is not possible to recreate neutrally at a later date what a news story would have looked like at the time; you might as well write an article about the Battle of Cannae as it would have been covered by Walter Cronkite (And that's the way it is). Such an effort might, in fact, be educational and therefore within the purview of the Wikimedia Foundation (I loved Liberty's Kids) — it might fit at Wikiversity or (less likely, but depending on how one set it up) Wikijunior.
Assuming you do not intend faux news, what you are asking for (under the unnecessarily elaborate name "comprehensive resource of information") is an encyclopedia. There is nothing wrong with wanting an encyclopedia, but Wikinews is not what you want: it is not an encyclopedia. It would not make sense for Wikinews to try to be an encyclopedia, because that would be redundant: one of our esteemed sister projects is already doing that. (Please note the WN:NOT item specifically stipulating Wikinews is not a dumping ground for failed Wikipedia articles.) --Pi zero (talk) 02:14, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
Tending largely to agree with Pi zero here; news, by its nature, must be new. How about concerning yourself less with the content guide, and helping us with some content? --Brian McNeil / talk 10:22, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
Yes I understand and agree with some your points, staleness does set in after two to three days, not two to three years Template:Oldnews, I was merely explaining may thoughts about what the purview of the time limit is and what effects it may cause. There is already an exception to the time limit with original news Wikinews:Original reporting, it explains that exceptions are possible on the Template:Stale.
I reiterate that the limit can have adverse impacts to users that are still learning how to write news quickly on a Wiki. A limit also impacts the time needed to form a proportional perspective of complex news and comprehensive details that may require long explanation. The ability to submit unfinished news can be done, though the likelihood of passing a review and being published may be unlikely. News that is unfinished and hasn't been reviewed can always be edited and improved by other users, but only without it being prematurely deleted. RW Marloe (talk) 11:27, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Reply



Can't see the policy Socks dot Sox (talk) 20:54, 10 November 2016 (UTC)Reply

Not sure what it is you can't see. Is this a technical problem? --Pi zero (talk) 22:15, 10 November 2016 (UTC)Reply



Maybe I am just not seeing things right, but is it really my imagination that this page needs some very basic copy-editting? Ottawahitech (talk) 12:57, 12 October 2017 (UTC) Please ping meReply

Just to add a note: This Project page is very prominent since it is the very first link a editor new to wiki-news is most likely to click on because it is displayed on the top of Template:Welcome-body which is left on the talk page of every new arrival (I think?) Ottawahitech (talk) 13:05, 12 October 2017 (UTC) Please ping meReply

What makes you think it needs a lot of copyediting? (Do keep in mind, we are not Wikipedia and do not follow the en.wp MOS. --Pi zero (talk) 13:29, 12 October 2017 (UTC)Reply

Fixing old articles


{{flag}} This policy currently says "Only fix old articles that don't follow current style or content guidelines", yet our style guide says "Changes to the guide are not applied retroactively". I think "Only fix old articles that don't follow current content guidelines" would do. - Xbspiro (talk) 02:37, 25 July 2021 (UTC)Reply

@Xbspiro: Thank you for highlighting this. Your suggestion makes sense. I’ve marked this discussion as needing community attention. If nobody objects in the next week, feel free to make the change and linking to this discussion in the edit summary. --Green Giant (talk) 07:01, 25 July 2021 (UTC)Reply
  Done as suggested. [24Cr][talk] 13:11, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply
Return to the project page "Content guide".