Wikinews:Water cooler

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Welcome to the water cooler, a place to discuss the technical issues, policies, and operations of Wikinews. This is divided into five sections; please use the table below to find the most appropriate section to post in, or just use the miscellaneous section. The water cooler is not the place to make lasting comments, as discussions are removed regularly to make room for new ones. Please sign and date your post (by typing ~~~~ or clicking the signature icon in the edit toolbar).
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Policies and guidelines and the Style guide contain or link to most of the current en.Wikinews policies and guidelines, however policy is based on the accepted practices of the day on Wikinews, often these might not be written down. This section of the Water cooler focuses on discussions regarding policy issues.

You may wish to check the archives to see if a subject has been raised previously.

March of the Adjectives

Just some general musings and wonderings about a few bits and baubles: Earlier today, Laura not ready'd this article....Oculus unveils new prototype 'Virtual Reality' headset. I had previously failed it (less eloquently-adorned than Laura's review, I might add)....but she made mention of something that set me to thinking. She commented that the article was too heavily-laden with adjectives like "previously" and "traditionally" which skewed it away from 'neutral'. Now, Laura was better able to put a fine point on what was really at the root of an article smelling of non-neutrality than I was. I will quickly concede that. But sometimes, adjectives are based in reality. March is a month which occurs "previous" to September. "Traditionally", the grass is green and the sky is blue, but if my company can turn the grass purple for 3 hours via a device.....does the use of "traditionally" really lean things away from neutral that much?? I'm just kinda thinking aloud here. I like to say that each article has an ethos all-its-own......a sort-of Zeitgeist unto itself.....and some articles just....well, (as mentioned above) smell funny. But what is some good guidance on when adjectives are or are not our friend? (Stephen King loves the old chestnut: "The adjective is not your friend.") --Bddmagic (talk) 18:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm guessing these adjectives were being used in service of some form of vagueness, either of fact or of attribution. Adjectives don't always foster evil non-neutrality, but they are prone to it. Passive voice has that characteristic too, though passive voice is more frought with problems anyway (it's less forceful and less succinct than active voice); the primary grammatical function of passive voice is to omit the subject, which, again, fosters vagueness of fact or attribution. --Pi zero (talk) 18:52, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
You're looking at the end result of over-exposure to churnalism. Problem is,that's endemic in the tech press. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:06, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure if its possible to write technology-related articles without sounding the way I did, because developments in a particular technological field usually depends on whoever's leading the field. (For example: Google releases a new iteration on its search engine, it will obviously be Google-centred; Microsoft releases Windows 8, it will obviously be Microsoft-centred). I used the word traditionally to mean "Oculus has known about this problem for years and only managed to figure a solution (which it was probably incapable of solving as it waits for the available tech to catch up) it now." TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 20:14, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
In terms of how we define neutralism here, you bring up a few VERY SALIENT points. Some major tech advancements are only being lead by ONE COMPANY or one group of people. Saying as much, isn't being's just stating fact. "Google managed to turn the sky green using a thingamabob they cooked up last week." --isn't's fact. Now, (as Brian nicely pointed out).....the "spirit" of an article can still come across as horrifically non-neutral....and I really sensed that tone (from your first iteration, at least). Interesting discussion here. --Bddpaux (talk) 21:35, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
God, I love the term 'churnalism'. --Bddpaux (talk) 21:35, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, I've had a lot of time to think about this article lately, and I don't think it's a newsworthy article worth publishing anymore. My thoughts were this: most tech articles (see the technology section of Google News) report on the latest tech product/gadget, usually from the leading company of that tech market, which causes the articles to be biased towards that company as I noted above. They also tend to exclude competitors and emphasize the benefits of this particular product over past products. If I've learned anything from my interactions with you guys, it's that journalism articles have to be neutral in tone whilst remaining true to Wikinews' inclusion policy and the 5 Ws. The questions were answered thusly: who = Oculus; what = designed "Crystal Cove"; when = the Tuesday Google and I covered it (Wednesday UTC); where = in the company's press release or at the Consumer Electronic Show's demo; and lastly the most important question is why do we care and how = there's these fancy benefits with technological jargon attached to them like "positionial tracking system and OLED technology" that gives it benefits over past products and also paints the company in a positive light. I can't imagine writing about the "why do we care" part and having to explain how it is better than past products and products from other competitors without sounding non-neutral. And yet if we take out the "why do we care that this new product got into the news", we take out the raison d'etre of the article, the reason it's newsworthy. I think it is for this reason that I am considering just not publishing it. But lemme know what you think, if you convince me this article might be worth pursuing, I'll put in the reasonable time and effort to get it published. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 01:19, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
That article is no longer fresh. --Pi zero (talk) 01:47, 11 January 2014 (UTC)


I've noticed that the {{peer reviewed}} template on the talkpage of the article contains a link to the Wikinews:Content guide policy page under the "Newsworthiness" criteria, yet we already have a page called Wikinews:Newsworthiness. What is this page's relationship to the content guide and the aim of Wikinews' mission, and should we re-point the link to the new page? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 02:36, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

We put so much of our effort into actual news production that our documentaiton pages tend to lag behind. Our policies, guidelines, and best practices are scattered all over the site. When I wrote WN:Tips on reviewing articles#Checklist, I combed through most of the site collecting tidbits and writing them into the list with links back to where I'd found them; but even that doesn't have everything. The most up-to-date summary of the main elements of newsworthiness, atm, is at WN:PILLARS (that'd be WN:PILLARS#newsworthy). The WN:Newsworthiness page is really about just one of three primary criteria used for newsworthiness — it deals with relevance. I've been meaning to upgrade that page, at some point in my copious free time. --Pi zero (talk) 03:14, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Category usage

Hierarchy I went to add a category to Spain's_men_remain_on_top_of_FIFA_global_rankings_for_April_2014 and noticed that it is in both the broad Category:Sports as well as the more refined Category:Football (soccer). Why is this? Isn't the function of subcategories to diffuse larger ones? Are all news items expected to be in as many levels of categories as possible? I have to admit that I'm mostly an en.wp editor rather than en.wn so I guess I have a lot to learn... Thanks. —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:59, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

  • That'd, largely, be for use with intersection/DPL. A drill-down category style is indeed more-encyclopedic, but also less-readily manipulated with DPL.
For example, the below list is built on that lower-level category "Football (soccer)", but a similar list for "Sports" and Spain wouldn't work if articles were not also in the top-level category ("Sports").

Hopefully that clarifies somewhat. --Brian McNeil / talk 06:01, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Btw, we have in the past usually not created a category until there are three published articles already to do in the category. Some of us have have informal discussions about circumstances under which, with suitable software support to make it useful, we might create whole sets of categories that might be either empty or almost empty, but the software support isn't there quite yet (I'm working on it, but it's very slow going). --Pi zero (talk) 11:12, 17 April 2014 (UTC)



Archive, post emails and use of 3rd-party collectors known to collaborate with intelligence services

The problem of using Google's email services as an auto-collector on email addresses caused more friction than I would've liked last time it was raised; however, in forwarding a substantial document to the reporters' list I've - once again - discovered that my request people avoid the likes of gmail has been ignored.

Before I act, and so this cannot be said to be done in a unilateral manner, which of the following options do people believe might be reasonable:

  1. Delist from scoop/reporters distribution lists when found to be using Gmail to auto-collect email?
  2. Closure of email addresses until given assurances Gmail will not be used?

We're not, currently, handling anything suitably sensitive to have this as a major concern. But, it is the fact this was a point of conflict previously — one I assumed everyone was clear on being unacceptable — which is most-irksome. We should be amongst the groups who get fresh stuff from WikiLeaks; that'll never happen if we have to work on the assumption someone will use google email services and put their convenience ahead of the security of our sources. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:36, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Absolutely not in regards to deactivating the addresses entirely; no telling what people might use those for. I (probably inappropriately) use mine as my primary email address, and can't remember the password for, nor when I last logged into, the free webmail account I used before that. The question I have to ask is, given just how much data is hoovered and stored, can we realistically have any faith any emails we send using any account are private from NSA, GCHQ etc?
There also lacks an alternative to amalgamating via Google etc, unless people log straight into the webmail part of The setup page lists settings available to hook up Wikinewsie to a local client like Thunderbird (which I used, before fire claimed my old laptop, God have mercy on its soul) but they aren't helpful to those who struggle with technical biz. Adding an exception is well-explained, but that's the easy bit. The mail protocols, and use of ports, will fly over many heads. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 18:48, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
  • As soon as an email from a non-USian passes through a US-based mail server (eg Google) the entire message is considered "fair game". In contrast, email between US correspondents is - allegedly - only mined for metadata (i.e. the headers). One can assume that email wholly between non-US correspondents is mined for metadata whether we like it or not.
Since this information came to my attention due to Gmail bouncing a large attachment, the temptation is to drop such people from scoop/reporters. Taking technical steps to put message content largely beyond snooping is far further beyond the average person than the instructions you make reference to.
I've been warning people about Google since long before the Snowden revelations; in fact, since before most people had even heard of WikiLeaks. It is that there was some conflict on this matter previously, and my cautions on the matter have "been used as toilet paper" is most-annoying. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The list seems to me to serve two distinguishable functions, one of which is much more demanding than the other. The simpler function is handling materials that should not be publicized; the more demanding, handling materials that should not be allowed to reach parties who might do serious harm with them. Stuff that oughtn't be publicized includes copyrighted materials, which can be viewed privately but can't legally be put on the wiki; embargoed press materials; email addresses that might draw spam (or other bothersomely unwelcome traffic) if publicized. Material that needs to be kept away from parties who might to real harm with it is most often going to be identities (such as real names, emails, addresses) of informants or, in some cases, victims, where the consequences of the information getting out could be rather more than spam. Yes, at the far upper end of that is stuff the likes of NSA shouldn't get hold of, but there's plenty of stuff falling into this class without (hopefully) going quite that far, just as Google's behavior toward the NSA may be expected to reflect other aspects of their behavior as well (making them untrustworthy for more than just things the NSA shouldn't get their hands on). A while ago we had someone claiming to file an original report from inside a war zone, who refused to send any documentation to scoop on the grounds that if xyr identity got out they'd be hunted down and killed. Now, I lack confidence that wasn't a hoax, but the point is valid: information that sensitive could not safely be sent to scoop, then or, presumably, now.
So should there should be two lists, one for stuff that oughtn't be made public, and one for stuff that truly needs to be kept confidential? --Pi zero (talk) 19:41, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Ideally, we need more than just kludged-together distribution lists. That requires the ability to run mailing list software on a server we control. Given my new broadband connection, I could probably run that from home (as, say, Not ideal, but more-sophisticated than anything currently at our disposal on shared hosting. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:46, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Changes to the default site typography coming soon

This week, the typography on Wikimedia sites will be updated for all readers and editors who use the default "Vector" skin. This change will involve new serif fonts for some headings, small tweaks to body content fonts, text size, text color, and spacing between elements. The schedule is:

  • April 1st: non-Wikipedia projects will see this change live
  • April 3rd: Wikipedias will see this change live

This change is very similar to the "Typography Update" Beta Feature that has been available on Wikimedia projects since November 2013. After several rounds of testing and with feedback from the community, this Beta Feature will be disabled and successful aspects enabled in the default site appearance. Users who are logged in may still choose to use another skin, or alter their personal CSS, if they prefer a different appearance. Local common CSS styles will also apply as normal, for issues with local styles and scripts that impact all users.

For more information:

-- Steven Walling (Product Manager) on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation's User Experience Design team




Political cartoon

The famous political cartoonist Ranan Lurie had contributed us a new political cartoon commons:François Hollande, by Ranan Lurie.png. I am sure that you will find it useful in Wikinews. דוד שי (talk) 20:09, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

NB. This image has been deleted from commons. - Amgine | t 16:58, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
No, just a typo in the link. It's here. Though I fail to see what immediate use it could be to us. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 17:13, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, it'd be lovely if we could collect a daily/weekly gallery of political cartoons which are freely-licensed. Sounds like a great bot-task, or a weekly round-up/brief type article. - Amgine | t 18:13, 4 February 2014 (UTC)


I just set out to create a Category:Adolf Hitler, which seemed an obvious choice given recent category best-practice. However, I find it was deleted in 2008 based on a community consensus. I believe the reason for that decision needn't apply now as category practice has evolved and we should be better behaved, but rather than create the category immediately I'm posting here first so folks can object.

It does seem advisable to put a usage note on the category saying it should not be used to index mere demonstrations of Godwin's law. If we want a category for Godwin's law, that's a separate matter; this just means that when somebody does compare someone to Hitler (as North Korea just did the Prime Minister of Japan), the wikilink on the name Hitler will be local to Wikinews. --Pi zero (talk) 21:28, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Agree with Pi zero (t · c · b). Category:Adolf Hitler should be for the individual. Category:Godwin's law would be a fascinating idea for a category, as well. -- Cirt (talk) 03:27, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I thought it was appropriate then and I think it's appropriate now. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 15:31, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Papua New Guinea Article

I am currently working on a feature article about rugby league in Papua New Guinea. I have a contact who is making a documentary about rugby league in the country and will engage with him to get some more material. I think it is a relevant issue as they have a team competing in the Queensland Cup and there are several NRL players with PNG heritage. Just wanted to give you a heads up on the article that I'll be working on and to get your advice moving forward. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Adam UOW86 (talkcontribs) 06:44, 9 April 2014




NSW tightens alcohol restrictions in CBD and Kings Cross

Please see the article talk page. Thanks. —Gryllida 10:32, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

"I turned the web upside down and couldn't find what exactly happened, or how. Thank you, modern journalism."
Another reason synthesis is only getting harder. --Pi zero (talk) 10:45, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Wikinews:Sochi Paralympic Games

Hi. I've been in poor communication lately as life has been busy and a lot of things have been going on. I wanted to bring Wikinews:Sochi Paralympic Games to people's attention because everything came together about in the past two weeks to make this a reality, including accreditation arriving, WM-UA getting funding, and accommodation being booked. The only English Wikinewsie attending will be me. Unlike the London Paralympics or other large sporting events I have covered, I do not expect English Wikinews to be getting blasted with 2 to 6 articles a day (70 total articles were created in the 3 weeks around London as a point of reference, 21 around the 5 day long IPC Alpine World Championships). The volume should be lower at 1 to 2 articles a day. --LauraHale (talk) 19:35, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

That's gonna be, to state the obvious, really cool. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 15:54, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm interested to see what you get out of this, given that Putin seems to have decided the end of the 'regular' Winter Olympics means he can invade Crimea.
If the conditions for journalists are as-bad as some of the mainstream reported, I think that's something to keep until you're out of the country. JWS isn't on a secure connection, you can assume the Russian authorities will be monitoring journalists' communications, so stay safe. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:45, 28 February 2014 (UTC)




Tech News: 2014-13

18:56, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Tech News: 2014-14

09:20, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Tech News: 2014-15

08:00, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Memorial fund in Ashley-Nelson and Adrianne Wadewitz's honor?

Would it be possible as a community to see about setting up a paypal or similar account where we can gather donations for any women who participate on any language Wikinews to do original reporting about women in technology? It can be set up as a memorial fund in Cindy Ashley-Nelson and Adrianne Wadewitz's honor and administered by members of the Wikinews community or we can see if we can ask the WMF to administer any funds as a restricted donation. --LauraHale (talk) 14:32, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

  • This is a great idea. Perhaps making it something offering grants for original reporting/research on any project? Wikiversity does OR as well, and it could apply to getting media for Commons too. Basically something for original content in their honour. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 15:08, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
    • I would be comfortable to making it only available to women doing original reporting on Wikinews because I would like this to come out of our project, be supported by our sister project and support getting more women involved in our project, ideally covering women. I am fine with making it more broard, and not just women in technology if it comes to that. (I think we could get a chapter to handle the gathering of funds on behalf of Wikinews.)--LauraHale (talk) 15:25, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Having it at just technology is, I think, probably too narrow for the Wikinewses. Sadly. Extending could work, though; the possibilities if we add sport, politics, the arts.... Yes, that would work. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 15:50, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I would be fine with it being open to anyone doing original reporting on women (technology, sports, politics, health) or women doing original reporting on any topic. The question becomes who handles the money and how do we get it distributed. --LauraHale (talk) 15:55, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Seeting up a memorial bank account for donations does not look like it would be that hard to do. I'd be happy to see about setting that up if people thought it was worth doing. --LauraHale (talk) 17:35, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

  • As I understand, donations to any Wikimedia project go to the WMF. Additionally, WMF and individual chapters can distribute grants as they see fit. What I'm concerned about is whether such fund has been run by community before, in any project, any language.
How would the fund be used?
Additionally, such topic choice looks a bit narrow. Gryllida 22:40, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Randomly, it was pointed out to me that we should contact the familes for permission before we do anything. This is just a random note for future thought. --LauraHale (talk) 23:44, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

I believe the WMF has been anguishing over the concept of having an endowment, which I suspect would be on a far-larger scale than this proposal. However, this might-well be a good opportunity to look at such things on a far smaller scale. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:14, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

While we're making random notes: As a matter of prudence, we need to be clear on who controls the purse strings. Reportage financial support controlled by the foundation could create political pressure on the publication process, unhealthily for Wikinews independence and therefore neutrality. En.wn has a robust review process with which to resist political pressure; Wikinewses with less robust review would be less able to resist. And though we could resist, it's unwise to systemically invite confrontations. --Pi zero (talk) 11:28, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Tech News: 2014-16

07:18, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

The Wikinewsie Group

I'm not going to go into the details of conversations on IRC, most local regulars are adultsAdmins and can look at the aborted 'latest update'. It contains a great-deal of information that was not communicated to me, with only a single email on the subject since the last TWG newsletter back at the start of December.

I'm well-aware non-profit politics can be just as-much of a tarpit as any other organisation's, but I think the last thing we should be doing is rushing to incorporate. We first need to wind all the way back to about a year ago, and listen to our colleagues looking at German and Arabic Wikinews — plus those who might like to see the Hungarian Wikinews reopened.

I emailed the following text to wikinews-l yesterday:

link=Wikinews:Water cooler Whither

For confidence from those who use, it isn't going anywhere. But, where next for the little bit of 'social engineering' it's been?

People in European countries are stuck with State/Interior Departments which refuse to recognise those who don't make the majority of their living from journalism as members of the press. There's the odd judicial judgement giving 'citizen journalists' the same protections and courtesy as the 'formally recognised' press; sadly, we lack the infrastructure to robustly rely on such judgements, or to indemnify people where they might-well get themselves in trouble.

Lots of things have been tried on various language Wikinews projects; those with an interest in the educational aspect of quality journalism are likely to have a really broad range of things they might regard as priorities. What might build readership, contributor levels, encourage 'more ambitious' reporting? What makes the project more-respected, even if that is solely outwith the Wikimedia 'movement'?

If we need an organisation like The Wikinewsie Group (TWG), what goals do Wikinews contributors and editors want to see it achieve? What do you, regardless of the language you call "Mother Tongue", see as the most-readily supported, and argued for, purpose of a NPoV news source? That can be the 'sausage machine' of rewriting mainstream news so "What was known at the time" goes into a freely-accessible archive, or it can be capturing the moment "On-the-spot" reporting. If you're wise, I suspect it will be both.

Please help make sure this reaches people on non-English Wikis. The needs, and perceived goals, of Wikinewsies around the world are stunningly diverse. Wherever TWG jumps in setting up and first registering, we've a messily diverse constituency to satisfy.

link=Wikinews:Water cooler

I've not followed BRS' lead, and bailed from TWG. It's tempting, but risks us — and the Foundation — learning nothing from the experience. I believe there are extremely sound arguments why a thematic organisation is the best solution for Wikinewsies; and, yes, that is as an NGO.

I assume AffComm shared that belief, since they recommended the Board recognise the org. However, the quality — in fact, the very existence — of communication on the matter went down the toilet after the board meeting where their recommendation was rejected. In addition to trying to bring supporters and contributors to other language projects back onboard, I'd hope AffComm and the Board might take this opportunity to remedy those failings.

The below sub-headings are intended for a free-for all discussion. Yes, it might-well be argued this should take place on Meta; however, that's just as-inconvenient as here is for people working on other language versions of Wikinews. Plus, looking at the Meta pages on TWG, discussion there appears a magnet for critics. I'm sure they'll pop up here too, but one might hope that any criticism is constructive rather than destructive. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:54, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

  • This post has been highlighted on every corresponding Cafe/WaterCooler I've been able to find. Similarly, I've emailed or posted mention of it to some of those who chose not to become involved when the proposal was first put up on Meta.
I'm disinclined to chase AffComm, or the Board for that matter, at this point in time. This is a matter for Wikinews contributors, where I believe we need to start with a clean sheet instead of preconceived organisational objectives.
That's — hopefully — not going to see all the closure proposal drama dragged back out of the cupboard; we're past that, and need to move forward. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:55, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

What has achieved

To list, contributions welcome.

Where contributors hit a glass ceiling

Invariably, that's being recognised as press.

What benefits should an incorporated organisation bring?

Not just junkets and conferences

General discussion

What goals, and needs, should a "mission statement" that forms part of the 'articles of incorporation' address?

Thanks to Brian for contacting me. I have not followed recent events about The Wikinewsie Group, but I am still a subscriber to the newsletter which, I suppose, has not been posted for while because Laura was busy reporting from abroad?

Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to add my point of view on the TWG and Wikinews in general. Exactly one year ago, I published an analysis about the prospects for Wikinews on the German equivalent to the Water Cooler (it's in German only, I hope you can read it via Translate Google). I had previously published this text on my personal blog, and after the discussion then I quit German Wikinews as did de:Benutzer:SonicR because de:Benutzer:Itu controlled German Wikinews as a sysop in an all but maniac and quite unhelpful way. The community is so small, indeed, that we cannot even hold sysop elections in a proper way because there are not enough community members to take part according to the rules set up in the beginning of the project. Any suggestion for reform was declined and contested by Itu.

To give a brief summary, German Wikinews today still is as good as dead as it was a year ago. Period. Those interested in publishing news or news-related texts become bloggers or they use the social networks for publishing their opinion online. The blogosphere is still going strong. No one would think of using a wiki for that. In this country hardly anyone knows about Wikinews at all, and there is no way to change about this shortly.

I appreciate all the effort that has gone into the relaunch of English Wikinews which I have watched from time to time. You have indeed made English Wikinews more attractive as a news portal, and as I initiated the relaunch of German Wikiversity one year ago (which finally failed) I know exactly how much time and effort goes into this, so chapeau and a very warm thank you to all of you involved! I also like your education programme which I read about in the latest edition of "This month in Education". And I like Spanish Wikinews, too, by the way.

As to the situation of, say, "citizen journalists" in Germany, I'd like to point out that the scene is about to change at this very point because bloggers and photographers are increasingly admitted to official events. E.g., I take part in press conferences at Frankfurt museums and at the Frankfurt Bookfair as a local blogger, and I regularly report about art exhibitions and other cultural events. Only yesterday, the German public radio and television station WDR at Cologne announced that part-time and volunteer journalists and photographers will in the future be admitted to press conferences, etc., after a Wikimedia Commons volunteer was turned away some time ago and Wikimedia Germany negotiated with the station. There also was a change in policy at the German federal parliament, or Bundestag, in Berlin, which now also admits bloggers reporting from committee and plenary sessions. So, there is some change happening right now which will probably lead to even more grassroots journalism in this country. However, this will not make the situation of Wikinews better because Wikinews has no community to take advantage of this. This will all go into the blogosphere and into the social networks such as Twitter, Google+, or Facebook.

I withdrew from those interested in founding the Wikinewsie group because I was no longer active in German Wikinews since April last year and because the Wikinewsie group was from the very start a group that aimed at English and Spanish Wikinews in the first place, leaving all other language versions aside. Of course, you may do so, but if you do it this way, I would rather not be a part of it, as I live in Europe. Also, as I pointed out then, the name "Wikinewsie" is not a serious name for a news reporting organisation when mentioned in Europe, or at least to a non-native English speaker which makes the name all but unusable/unfit in this part of the world. This may be different in the United States, although I cannot tell.

So, I wish you lots of luck on your way ahead. I very much hope that you will succeed in founding the group after all, in whatever way, be it a thematic organisation or a user group. And if you have any more questions or if you think I can help you further please do not hesitate to let me know. As I do not read here regularly, you might like to ping me by wikimail.--Aschmidt (talk) 01:17, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

  • English Wikinews does suffer from a low contributor base, and I am sorry to hear things have not gone well with German Wikinews. I'd certainly no intent to see TWG aimed at only English and Spanish communities, there was a convenience with accredited reporters in both language communities; however, that wasn't a deliberate attempt to exclude or restrict involvement — looking back at the TWG discussion, it's easy to see how that could've been taken away as an impression.
It's a shame there's no community and infrastructure to work with people who get press access. This is one of the points I want to see any organisation address. Less-so when it comes to push for access, but more in-terms of being able to back contributors. Right now, we need to work with a chapter for any event where there's a requirement to vouch for attending contributors. This is where my confidence in the 'blogosphere' drops off a cliff — you truly are on your own if someone decides to prosecute you. The current 'multi-organisational' structure means where Wikinews contributors are included, it is within the constraints of photography for Commons or a focus on certain content areas of Wikipedia.
TWG, or whatever name might end up being appropriate, should be where the knowledge from press-style projects ends up concentrated — there to be available to any chapter; both in checking, or providing, relevant legal protections for those working as reporters and photographers and, in acting as a central organisation which handles indemnity insurance and negotiating access. --Brian McNeil / talk 05:49, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I second the «small community» problem, from my look at Russian Wikinews. Getting people to stop publish yellow propaganda takes a lot of effort, along the likes of writing a proper article daily, and even-so they reject it due to my not very coherent language style and word choice. Gryllida 10:23, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
  • These comments bring to mind some interesting issues about the various approaches to review on the various Wikinewses. As I recall from a year ago, there was an idea being floated, internally, that one mustn't bring up review because it would supposedly start some sort of war between different communities. This I think was a serious mistake, because it was one more thing promoting lack of dialog. There are really deep, interesting trade-offs in how a Wikinews project approaches review and publication; and we want to support everyone's approach, and it can only be to the good that everyone know more about the alternatives and their trade-offs. English Wikinews is, of course, vigorously pursuing the high end of pre-publication review standards, and this has very substantial advantages while, at the same time, it creates a massive workload that we're working hard to find ways to mitigate through software tools. I get the impression German Wikinews has had less luck with higher review standards, and one wonders what factors have produced different outcomes. --Pi zero (talk) 12:36, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I've invited Crtew to give input, and should probably prod David Blackall too. I believe review is what pulled in Edu sector use of enWN. Gry highlights what I'd suspect is one of the more-valuable aspects there — teaching news literacy. If all you've read, or seen, is propagandistic? That's what you'll think news is supposed to be like. Plus commercial news, that has to pull eyeballs for advertisers, spin out crisis as-if it's a sporting match; or hype mediocre ex-pop stars from long-gone manufactured bands, and which footballer's tax-avoidance scheme they're sleeping in.
I'd suspect it's the fact that the mainstream have sold-out, and diluted the definition of news so much, that blogging becomes a credible option for Aschmidt and others; one where politicians can extend their largesse to permitting access to parliament.
I'm uncomfortable with the new media aspect of the Fourth Estate being fragmented in the way blogging tends towards. Having read the Google translation of Aschmidt's remarks, the criticism — which I'd assume is significantly aimed at deWN — can't really be faulted. Synthesis fails to be valuable to readers, if it doesn't have depth. Over time Wikipedia should acquire that depth, but is prohibited from doing so because No Original Research is an essential pillar of the encyclopedia — it keeps quacks and crackpots from stuffing it with pseudoscience.
[Aside: It looks like this discussion will need topic-split to keep it manageable.]
I noted quite some time ago that the "hide it in the edit history" of Wikipedia works to the detriment of contributor morale here. That's why we ended up with Category:Wikinewsies, and individual categories for major contributors. Blogging is a good fit for news, especially where content is often opinionated. I believe that's, largely, because collaborative production of a single news article is the exception, not the rule. Quietly tracking authorship, as enWN has done, gives contributors some self-esteem back; although, it isn't the same "prestige" level as people seem to take from anonymously contributing to Wikipedia.
However, I don't think the 'Blogosphere' is the solution to poor news literacy, to providing people with the full picture, and to keeping out the crackpots. I'd hold up The Huffington Post as an example of where blogging tends to evolve towards. The commercial pressure from advertising sees homeopathy, and other quackery, accepted and published. The overall credibility of the 'brand' then suffers significantly.
Wikinews suffers in other ways, which are more related to volume of output than to quality and credibility. I'm not ignoring Gryllida's remarks on "yellow propaganda" when saying that, I am assuming the submissions being referred to are at least a few steps up from the sources which make people see that as a 'journalistic norm'. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:14, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I'd add, on the value of review in teaching, news literacy is part of a broader principle: starting with facts and only then tentatively building opinions upon them; a precious thing to be nurtured, in contrast to starting with an opinion or other agenda and then shopping for (or worse, inventing) "facts" to promote one's chosen agenda, which is a massively destructive force in the world today (up to and including causing wars).
Also, a shout-out for the value of review when applied to the work of veteran Wikinews reporters. Those who (rightly) sing the praises of "many eyeballs" on Wikipedia often don't appreciate how logistically daunting it is, in a news context, to guarantee even two sets of eyeballs. Reviewing veterans' reportage is relatively far less burdensome than reviewing newcomers', even though it can still be quite substantial for a major article — and it provides a considerable payback in quality and, therefore, earned repute of the project. The frequency of flubs, which can and do happen to anyone, is greatly lowered with two sets of experienced eyes, and the likelihood of feature-quality output is enhanced. --Pi zero (talk) 12:50, 18 April 2014 (UTC)