Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/archives/2012/July

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Handwriting becoming mandatory

I'm... distressed to see what seems to be a move to require handwritten notes for OR. Handwritten notes, scanned or photographed, are cool where applicable. But to require them? I have a perfectly good keyboard. I can type whilst on the phone. Why is it somehow more trustworthy if I write it down (and bugger about photographing still life, given I'm geared up for landscapes and macro, and frankly too poor a photographer and too out of practice to easily force my setup to do something that is neither, and then bugger about some more because IIRC Commons won't take Cannon RAW files)? If what I write is untrue, I can write the same misinformation on paper just as readily. The main difference is that it is slower than typing. A secondary difference is that if I am writing fast (a requirement for notes), it is illegible. A lot of people claim to have illegible handwriting and do not; I have weak, double-jointed fingers and can only write legibly with time and effort. The new craze seems to be to actively discourage, even disallow, redoing these in the instantly-accessible format that is the typed word. This is a dangerous policy shift that would ban me from doing OR and in-turn likely lead me to retirement. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 11:21, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree. Requiring handwritten notes is going too far. The last review on that page crosses the line.
Note, there are two earlier points that might appear to cross the line, but really don't.
  • Early on the page, DragonFire1024 asks for detailed notes — and this request appears to be after the detailed notes are actually provided. That's an illusion: the detailed notes were inserted in response to DragonFire1024's request, but they were inserted on the page above the request.
  • I remarked in some reviewer comments that some people provide PDF of handwritten notes; but my intent was merely to illustrate that it's possible to go to great lengths to provide detailed notes.
  • However, that last review seems [could be taken] to be actually requiring handwritten notes, and that seems excessive. If the notes provided are deemed to contain inadequate information, say so; if the reviewer believes the author is not trustworthy, say so; nor is there anything wrong with encouraging handwritten notes when viable — but requiring them is going entirely too far.
--Pi zero (talk) 12:46, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Okay, we may have both popped off here (conceivably with related contributing circumstances, since we've both in the vicinity of recent death). DragonFire1024 was suggesting in xyr review that handwritten notes would have provided additional credibility in a situation where xe felt credibility was lacking. I've modified my comments, a bit (too late to send them all back to the drawing board for a complete rewrite).
I do agree that we mustn't allow things to creep over into an appearance of requiring handwritten notes; I'd have no problem with encouraging them when feasible, but they aren't always feasible and, as I say, we need to avoid the appearance as well as the substance of requirement. --Pi zero (talk) 12:57, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Handwritten notes should not be mandatory. We've got an accreditation programme because we extend additional trust to such contributors; a trust that they will provide accurate information. That doesn't mean an utter absence of notetaking or such, just a lowering of the bar in relation to OR. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:36, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Not that my two cents really "slams this home", but heck, I can write notes that indicate I just interviewed the resurrected ghost of Walt Disney, scan them and post them as a PDF.......or if I've typed a transcript of such psychotic frivolity it doesn't add/take away from the credibility (face value-wise) of what I'm trying to say; type it, write it.......but do it......as Pi said above, if you don't trust the guy just say so. A liar can write as easily as they can type. Bddpaux (talk) 03:16, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Without in any way diminishing the basic point that handwritten notes should not be mandatory, it's going too far to suggest that greater detail doesn't increase credibility. Verification isn't only a matter of trust, and trust isn't yes-or-no. More information is more opportunity to detect discrepancies, be they honest or otherwise. (I'll not remark in detail on the case of actual dishonesty, as we're not looking to write a how-to for the dishonest.) --Pi zero (talk) 21:09, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Pi zero: I think the point he was trying to make wasn't about detail level. It was that whether the notes are handwritten or typed, the credibility of the information given is identical. It is the quantity and quality of information that helps decide credibility, not the specific method of delivery. Whether the information is handwritten, typed, or in hieroglyphics it's all the same. Now video and audio information has additional layers of fine detail that neither handwritten or typed information lend themselves to, so it's always better for assessing credibility than written info. But that's beyond this discussion. — Gopher65talk 00:34, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Why........

....can person(s) unknown, who aren't signed in, change an article's status to 'Ready'.....and they haven't even contributed to said article? It seems silly and disruptive to me. But, I guess it'd be hard as heck to 'disable' that one single ability. Some dufus ready'd an article I was working on, wasn't within 20 miles of even being ready. Buddpaul (talk) 14:48, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Just revert. As a wiki, anyone is free to edit and sometimes this happens (it's happened to me before). If you'd like to work on an article outside the public view, I suggest you create a user sub-page for what you're working on and remove the "develop" template.--William S. Saturn (talk) 16:35, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually, come to think, the "submit" button is controlled by some javascript code, and it should be possible to wire that to refuse if the user isn't logged in. The vast majority of submits by IPs are spurious, though one never knows how many of them are just 'I wonder what this button does'. Alas, my own studies of javascript aren't far enough along yet for me to code it myself. --Pi zero (talk) 17:30, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Yeah, disabling the button for IPs would probably be a very good idea. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:15, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Been thinking about this. A while back there was talk of disabling the ability for IPs to move pages, but we decided against it because IPs can create articles, but would be unable to correct even a typo in their headlines. A similar logic applies here. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:12, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we should consider disabling the submit button for IPs unless the article was created by an IP? --Pi zero (talk) 16:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Seems reasonable to me. Make sure there's a note (maybe a popup?) of some desription detailing why IPs an't ahnge it except by editing directly; simply put, that the majority of thse edits are undesirable and probably mistakes. One alternative may be an intermediate step; "you are about to mark this article as being ready for an independent {{review}}; are you sure you wish to do this?" Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 20:25, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

ArbCom elections

I propose the same dates, rules, procedures as last year. (See [1], [2].)

The community must agree on all election procedures by July 1, and election committee members by July 10.
The deadline for nominations is 2000 UTC July 17.
Voting will take place from 2000 UTC July 18 to 2000 UTC July 30. Questions and comments may be made during that time period.
Since the incumbent members' seats expire on August 3th, the election committee will declare the winners on about July 31, and the new term begins after declaration. Should any case be before the arbcom at election time, the current committee continues to sit after turnover on cases that started under the current committee. Any new case after turnover is for the new committee.

As worked well last year, I strongly recommend the committee not create a page for "questions for all candidates"; questions for each candidate should be located under that candidate. This is the way things have been done in all but two previous elections; once there was no place for questions at all (the undesirability of this is obvious, I hope), and once, two years ago, we had a page for questions for all candidates, and it turned into a political circus and an ordeal for the nominees (en.wn ArbCom is a judicial body, so should be scrupulously apolitical). I noted last year that one person made their willingness to accept nomination conditional on not having a questions-for-all-candidates page.

We need at least two people for the election committee. Volunteers? --Pi zero (talk) 10:00, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

  • The rules all seem fine. I'd go on the committee, but it is my custom not to be around at this time of year. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:20, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

There is now a 2012 election page; any further discussion should probably be on its talk page. --Pi zero (talk) 14:22, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I just read the bit in last year's rules about "no general questions for everyone" (missed it last year somehow), and I agree with that. I ran for ArbCom in 2010, and I felt compelled to answer EVERY SINGLE QUESTION that was asked, in detail. It was far more laborious than it needed to be, and began to get annoying toward the end of the election. Most of the other candidates (maybe all:P) eventually just stopped answering the general questions. I'm not planning to run this year (due to my low level of activity for the past while), but I agree that if people want to ask questions of every candidate, let them ask them individually. — Gopher65talk 00:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation Request for Comment

You may be aware of the English Wikipedia's blackout to protest the proposed U.S. legislation Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act and the Italian Wikipedia's protest of the proposed Italian legislation DDL intercettazioni. The Wikimedia Foundation wants to know whether the Wikimedia community is willing for it to join an organization called the Internet Defense League, which has the professed aim of coördinating more such protests. Unfortunately, the Foundation representatives only directly notified that part of the community that is on the English Wikipedia. ☺ The RFC, on Meta, is hyperlinked above.

Uncle G (talk) 11:51, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Thanks for informing people about the RfC. Just a quick remark that it is not true that "the Foundation representatives only directly notified that part of the community that is on the English Wikipedia" - this was posted on Wikimedia-l (formerly Foundation-l), quite the usual venue for such issues, and on the "Wikimedia Forum" on Meta. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 15:05, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Wikt:direct. I have no desire to trawl through and see which projects received direct notification, but I know we did not and am grateful to Uncle G for rectifying this. You can't expect communities wholesale sign up to Spam-I or poke around Meta on the off-chance, wether it be "usual" or not. Although, it does seem most inconvenient for a manual process; perhaps some central notification point that local communities can opt to have automatically replicated locally would be the way forward. (Obvious drawbacks: Language issues, local bot approvals). Certainly, the current process is only going to snag the most active users cross-projects, which is undesirable if hard to repair. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 15:27, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
      • User:EdwardsBot is the normal mechanism by which such multiple-wiki announcements are made, to their various village pumps/community portals/beer parlours/whatnot, and various WMF people are authorized to use it. It has been used for announcements about IPv6, changes to MediaWiki, WMF Board referenda, and Wikimedia Fellowships. It should have been used here. (Even my notifications haven't brought the non-Anglophone section of the Wikimedia community up to speed.) In a classic example of Wikinews cutting its nose off despite its own face, you've blocked it. Uncle G (talk) 14:15, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
        • I'm glad a mechanism exists, but it is hardly cutting one's nose of to spite one's face to have policy in place requiring random bots to be properly approved first. I note there has been no attempt to engage the community bout this bot or even to supply a userpage detailing the owner or the use (a soft redirect is unreasonable, as it is the perfect demonstration nobody has even actually spent any time on the project somebody has attempted to force the bot upon). Global bots are opt-in for a reason. It is hardly unreasonable to expect told what a bot is and what it does before giving it access to a project, bearing in mind malfunctioning or ill-conceived bots can to extreme damage to small projects. Would you operate a bot on, say, enwp without reading w:Wikipedia:Bot policy first? Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 14:25, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Neither of which is a direct notificiation here at Wikinews, like the English Wikipedia got from Foundation representatives. Thank you Blood Red Sandman for pointing to Wiktionary. ☺ Uncle G (talk) 14:15, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
      • I always feel condescending when I do so, but it's the simplest illustration of the point in hand. :s Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 14:25, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The Wikinews community could hardly be unaware of those protests, since one of our small pool of dedicated Wikinewsies resigned from all wmf projects on grounds that the Foundation had spat in the face of its professed principle of neutrality. Personally I think the resignation was defeating its own purpose, since Wikinews managed to cling to its WN:NPOV policy throughout, even though I agreed that the Foundation's handling of the matter was hypocritical. --Pi zero (talk) 15:24, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Notice that, in what I wrote on all of the wikis, I linked to the Wikinews article on the subject, rather than the Wikipedia one. Uncle G (talk) 14:15, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Good on ya, Uncle G! I wish I'd spotted this discussion earlier. You, at least, recognise the real value of some of the sister projects. I find wiktionary invaluable, and I think what Wikinews offers value-wise will not become really clear for another 10-20 years. In the meantime, Wikipedians can bask in their 'imagined' self-import from contributing to a 'top-ten website'. Will their individual contributions still be around in 10-20 years? Not without having been subjected to 100+ rewrites. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Dealing with problematic prepared stuff

Per the present deletion discussion, as well as this issue, I'd suggest the following to get rid of problematic prepared articles:

  • WN:PROD; Unsourced prepared work, or prepared work shown to be largely unsourced, can be deleted ten days after being tagged.
  • WN:SD; Prepared articles for which the event in question has passed, but the prepared work was not developed into an article (either beause no article was released or because it was easier to start from scratch) can be deleted five days after the event occurred, without tagging.

I've chosen quite long periods (ten and five days) because they seem reasonable in the context of pre-prepared work, which can be worked upon at quite a leisurely pace. Five days for the speedy because that's the point at which the work really does become bsically unsavable. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 20:48, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Support both, per BRS's comments and my comments at the deletion discussion. Bencherlite (talk) 21:59, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support both, as I did at the deletion discussion. I'd been wondering what time bounds to put on them; I like these choices. --Pi zero (talk) 22:10, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Global bans discussion at meta

There's appearently a discussion hidden away at meta: meta:Requests_for_comment/Global_bans. I thought folks here would be interested. Bawolff 12:41, 6 July 2012 (UTC)