User:Merriam/how to contribute to Wikinews
"Wikinews aims to be to news media what Wikipedia is to encyclopedias," according to User:Eloquence. See Wikinews and the Growing Wikimedia Empire. If you don't know what Wikipedia is, find out before going any further.
That's all it is. Take no notice of that "Beta" logo. What I see here now, on 2004-12-04, is a long way from being ready for visitors who are interested in reading news.
identity and time stamps
Get an account and make sure you're logged in when you edit. Where you see comments marked with names and dates, do the same with your comments. The code "~~~~" expands to your name and the date of your edit. You can see this in the preview of your edit.
Always edit your contributions. Show preview repeatedly before you save the page. Make sure you've said exactly what you meant to say. Check spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, and links. Do this for discussion as well as articles. You're expecting a lot of people to read what you write. If you make it difficult for them, they won't bother.
repeating the news
Yes, that's what we're doing here. I don't think it's a complete waste of time, and it's in line with #the concept, but I hope it will progress to something more substantial.
your subject, your language
Write about what you know, in your own language.
Look at the history of the first article. It's had a lot of edits and it's still rough. That's to be expected when no one is available who knows both the subject and the language. Specifically, it has not been edited by native English speakers who also understand Portuguese. Portuguese is part of the subject because it is the language of the sources. Native English speakers who know about Brazilian politics and government would of course be useful here too.
In the context of #an experiment, early articles like this are worthwhile, but it's clear now that we should choose stories that we can do well from the start. If you think a story should be covered on Wikinews, start it by filling in some references (#research and reference). Someone else may be able to write the article.
talking about it and doing it
Try not to go on about what could and should be done. Demonstrate it in your user namespace (subpages).
There's a lot of noise and confusion going on at Wikinews:Columns and Wikinews talk:Columns, and now there's Wikinews:Opinion articles poll. If you think opinion pieces are a good idea, write one. If you want to get into an argument, start by having something to argue about.
research and reference
- Don't write from memory when the facts are available.
- Don't duplicate information when you can link.
- Don't suggest policy without researching precedent.
- Show your references.
This applies to discussion as well as articles. A lot of time is wasted in arguing without research and reference:
- "U.S." or "US"? -- discussion without researching precedent
- style guide discussion of abbreviation -- no reference to w:Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Usage and spelling
- Wikinews:Water cooler#Bylines and Wikinews:Style guide#Dates and location -- confusion over #dateline and byline.
precedent in policy and guidelines
A lot of effort has gone into establishing policy and guidelines at Wikipedia. Wikinews is a different site with different goals, but it's not necessary to start that effort again from scratch. If you're thinking about policy at Wikinews, save time by looking it up at Wikipedia. If you're writing about policy, justify your position with references. Here are some relevant pages:
- w:Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines
- w:Wikipedia:Manual of Style
- w:Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dashes) -- which suggests using double hyphens and waiting for the software to catch up
- w:Wikipedia:Avoiding common mistakes
- w:Wikipedia:Naming conventions
the IRC channel
Talk pages can be very inefficient. Use #wikinews for time-sensitive talk.
- Use the same name on the channel as on the wiki, or something close if the name is taken.
- Understand IRC before you use it, and observe etiquette. Don't flood or go off topic.
- Give precise w:Uniform Resource Locators with fragment identifiers when you're talking about web pages.
dateline and byline
The usual meaning of dateline refers to the report, not the event reported. On a Wikinews article a dateline is appropriate if you were there at that time, writing the bulk of the article. It will become inappropriate if the article changes substantially. If you are writing an article based on a report by someone else, refer to the dateline but don't apply it to your article. Don't write a time and place at the beginning of your article in a form that looks like a dateline unless it is a dateline. Associate times and places with events unambiguously -- for example, in a complete sentence or a table.
If your article has a byline, it simply names you as the author. On Wikinews a byline might be appropriate on an opinion piece.