Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals

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Decision time[edit]

It's time to make some decisions on accreditation requests that are (apparently) languishing in some sort of purgatory. (and, as a random aside: I cant for the life of me figure out why in the heck the ticker shows '4' pending accred. requests, when I can only seemingly find '3').....but, anyhoo........ --Bddpaux (talk) 22:20, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

The {{votings}} template uses the number of pages in Category:Open accreditation requests; one open request wasn't properly transcluded onto the requests page; traced it from the category and transcluded it. --Pi zero (talk) 22:48, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Research reporting[edit]

I'm struggling to get a handle on where synthesis starts to transition over into data-mining. The immediate occasion is two articles we've published today (UTC), on the European deaf swimming championships and the world wheelchair basketball championships. There's limited secondary sourcing on this stuff, and significant effort goes into extracting the information... is it OR? Is it single-source synthesis? Is it something halfway between — and if so, how should we treat it (and what should we call it)?

I'd welcome others' thoughts on this. --Pi zero (talk) 19:17, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

As a minimum I'd be inclined to need further notes explaining how the reporter is analyzing the data for it to be called OR. Below that, I'd call it single source synthesis.--RockerballAustralia c 10:37, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
We both had the same thought about the first submission of world wheelchair basketball championships article. I allowed the second submission; would you have made the same call? --Pi zero (talk) 11:19, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
On quick perusal I probably would have. --RockerballAustralia c 03:19, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Just tossing out an idea[edit]

I've really had audio boxes on my mind lately.....thus I created this little sandbox bit. Who says/what says we couldn't have an article that's essentially 98% spoken audio? I'm not talking the text of an article read aloud to augment the article one can read right there on the screen.....I mean one or two photos, a headline and then just an audio bit....? We've had photo essays that only had 10-15 words of text whey couldn't we do audio, where the audio is the article? a radio news brief? --Bddpaux (talk) 19:37, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

A few thoughts.
  • Our existing review process works best with text. We struggle to apply it to audio news briefs — that's why we have the script: so a reviewer can do a preliminary review of the script, drastically reducing the likelihood of a problem that might cause a reviewer to awkwardly not-ready after recording. I think I've twice not-ready'd an audio after recording; it puts the reporter in the nasty position of doctoring the audio and puts the reviewer in the nasty position of putting the reporter in that position. An actual live broadcast is, as has been pointed out, another creature entirely, with nothing to be done except issue corrections after the fact. You want (it's been remarked, iirc) news anchors for that sort of thing — which is to say, people who have frankly experience with it, and who regularly get feedback on what glitches occurred and what could be done better; the whole feedback cycle works differently for that sort of thing and we'd need to put careful thought into how best to handle it (keeping in mind, it's already been a major challenge devising our existing feedback cycle to work on a wiki).
  • That's with stuff we compose ourselves, though. There's also stuff where you're carrying a live feed of an event taking place, and then you get to mix the two when you've got on-the-scene coverage with a reporter. These are really interesting questions, to which I for one have few-to-no answers yet (but I'm very much in favor of asking the questions, because we need to not stagnate on any front).
  • As a matter of accessibility, we want to provide a transcript of audio content. At its simplest, this is because we can more safely assume that all our readers can read than that they can all hear. (Also, text is way lower bandwidth, and can be consumed in any number of situations where playing sound is out of the question.)
--Pi zero (talk) 20:08, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Very salient points. I cant stop thinking that providing different models/formats on articles help to keep things fresh. Maintaining a true multi media experience can only be a plus, IMO. --Bddpaux (talk) 22:00, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
{{Audio box 2}} is for pretty much exactly that. It slots in just above the infobox in an article. The points Pi zero mentioned, however, mean that it pretty much needs to be an audio recording of a reviewed article, done shortly after the review is complete. We've had people here in the past who would go around to articles, read them, upload the audio, and use audio box 2 on an article for easy accessibility of the audio. However, people come and go on the wiki, and I don't think it's been done for a while. Kamnet was an audio junkie, and he and I spent a fair bit of time making the {{Audio box}} and Audio box 2 templates work properly, in the hope that someone might eventually want to provide audio of articles. Hopefully someone does that, eventually:). — Gopher65talk 02:47, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Transcripts of Wikipedia Signpost interviews?[edit]

Please feel free to take part in the discussion at wikipedia:Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost#Transcripts of audio interviews. John Carter (talk) 00:21, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

John Carter, that's a kind invitation. Truly it is. Perhaps you're not aware of the politics involved, though. I suspect any known Wikinewsie getting involved in that conversation would give Tony1 apoplexy; he's despised Wikinews, and openly plotted its destruction, for years (ever since he humiliated himself here). Using dishonest tactics often involving Signpost. --Pi zero (talk) 01:04, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

2014 ArbCom Election results[edit]

Here are our ArbCom members for 2014:

Election results here. --Bddpaux (talk) 22:21, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

I concur with the assessment by Bddpaux (talk · contribs). Congratulations to all successful candidates. -- Cirt (talk) 05:13, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Context articles[edit]

Hi, still new to this wiki, not sure where this question belongs, or if it's an obvious answer.

Does Wikinews have any policies concerning context articles? I'm meaning something that would provide context to a reader just encountering a commonly reported and developing situation. This could, at its simplest, be in the form of a timeline, such as BBC News Onlines timeline of Ukraine crisis including lists of published articles, possibly with short descriptions giving an overview of how topics have developed. Alternatively it could be more detailed, perhaps including an introduction to the subject.

The intention of such a page would be to provide a quick reference for the reader into a developing situation as to past articles and developments relating to an article they've just read.

As I write, it occurs that this could be acheived with a Category, but none of the categories I have thus far encountered contain a description of the subject, and could possibly be enhanced by the inclusion of a description, or the lead, of each article they contain. Also, such categories would eventually reach a point where they are no longer added to.

Hope that makes sense -- CSJJ104 (talk) 23:32, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

Context Part of this is addressed by portals and part by RSS feeds in categories and other namespaces which essentially show a timeline of stories. I don't know of a policy about context pieces but I don't see why it's a bad idea as such (especially if you can get any kind of original content, e.g. an interview with someone knowledgeable on the topic). —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:05, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
While true categories address this, I was asking about more specific events, e.g. in Category:Ukraine the articles Ukrainian troops retake airfield from separatist militants and Russia stages military exercises as Ukrainian forces advance both clearly related, are divided in the list by articles about, among others, the Deaf Swimming Championships, making it less obvious which stories are directly related, and which are merely related by geographic, or other connections CSJJ104 (talk) 10:15, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
We try not to poach on sister project Wikipedia's territory. Something like a timeline of events related to a crisis, or whatever, as a standalone article, would be encylcopedic, so (the theory goes) it belongs on Wikipedia. Granted, Wikipedia systematically poaches on our territory (with a split between those of them who convince themselves they're not trying to write news, and those who can't see why what they're doing isn't writing news; but I digress). We make a point of not poaching on their territory.
That doesn't prevent us from providing such material in an article. The article has to have a focus that's specific, relevant, and fresh, but within the inverted pyramid style — which I like to think of, in a sort of mixed metaphor, as spiralling outward from the focus — there's flexibility to include various kinds of background. A couple of caveats: we're leery of tabular data, though we do use tables sometimes; and we shouldn't be simply copying a table from somewhere else as that would be copyvio. We've had, though, for example, articles in recent times on sporting events where we had tables with medal counts — how many gold/silver/bronze medals different countries had won, which weren't copyied; that information wasn't being made available elsewhere in convenient summary form (we had to compile the medal counts by going through the lists of who came in what place in each meet, which as you may imagine was "fun" to verify during article review).
An example that comes to mind is Cypriot court clears all of wrongdoing in Greek air disaster (the self-nom of that article for FA described it as "the best English coverage I saw of what should have been a major international story."). --Pi zero (talk) 13:17, 10 August 2014 (UTC)


I have recently come across the idea of shorts. Is there any reason shorts are so rarely produced? Are these a good place to put the beginnings of multiple articles, if the editor does not have time to write them all up, to be expanded later either by the original editor or someone else, or for other stories to be added to. Or would less, more developed articles be preferable? CSJJ104 (talk) 18:16, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Shorts haven't worked out well in recent times, though we do our best to process them when they come along. As an output product, I can see they have some merit. I think perhaps they sometimes get assigned as coursework. There are some practical difficulties though. Maybe there's a way to make them work better logistically, but atm I don't see what that would be.
  • It's not clear to me that the amount of labor to write one is all that much less than to write minimal articles about each of the stories. It certainly doesn't strike me as requiring less Wikinews-writing skill. Each of the stories requires (under the modern review regimen) two mutually independent sources anyway, so there should be enough material there for a minimal article on each.
  • The amount of review labor is high, as the reviewer has to look at twice as many sources as there are items, and grok each story in order to review it. It wouldn't be that much more difficult to review separate minimal articles on each story.
  • If, during review, one of the items isn't ready, what should the reviewer do? Not-ready'ing the whole batch could be quite nasty. Deleting one and publishing the rest (assuming there were enough in the batch for the remainder to be viable) would make it pretty awkward to fix the one that was deleted, since honestly our review system is pretty clumsy about handling major changes post-publish. Besides which, although we have have template {{breaking}} to mark an article where we believe significant changes might occur during the 24-hour window post-publish, that only works if it's on the article from the moment of publication; it doesn't apply to a shorts article having more items added post-publish; and we generally disallow post-publish additions to an article that change its focus, which is sort-of what would happen if one added an item to a shorts article post-publish.
As I say, maybe there's a way to make the logistics of shorts work better, but I'm not seeing it. We do sometimes come up with innovations to make something work better; for example, with audio news briefs, which Crtew (a journalism professor at University of Southern Indiana) has revived in recent times, audio summaries of recent articles, we had the problem that once you record the audio, what's a reviewer to do except accept or reject? So we've developed a (so far, undocumented and technically unsupported) two-tier review process, where a script is submitted for pre-review, a reviewer looks it over and makes copyedits as needed, and then they record it and a reviewer listens to it to make sure nothing horrible went wrong. (Maybe once I sent back an audio for something that had gone wrong that I felt needed to be fixed before publication, but the two-tier process works pretty well.) --Pi zero (talk) 19:17, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. From the writers point of view, I was thinking if 3 or 4 (or more) quite major, from there point of view, stories came along at once, it would be difficult to write them all up, but I can see why it would be difficult for the reviewer. As a suggestion, would there be some way to perhaps use the collaboration page to approve each one individually, before it is added to the main article? Also, perhaps extending the period from 1 to 2 days might give the individual stories time to be developed. Just my thoughts as a comparative beginner on this wiki, would be interested to here what those more experienced think. CSJJ104 (talk) 20:45, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
PS: Also thinking that it could be a good place to post updates to other stories, e.g. a current story involves a Texas Governor, if he does resign it may not be an article on its own, but a couple of lines along with the conclusions of other stories with links back to the main story could be useful/informative. CSJJ104 (talk) 20:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, in regards to the last point, if there's a new development updating an existing story, you'd already need it to be newsworthy and have two sources, and then you can get a standalone article for not much more than the price of one shorts item — by listing the previous Wikinews articles in Related news (assuming they're since about 2009 or 2010, so they'd been peer reviewed) and just flat-out copying passages, sentences, even paragraphs from the previous Wikinews articles to fill out most of the lower part of the inverted pyramid. Professional news orgs, I'm told (and have somewhat observed) do this sort of thing all the time, creating a series of articles on an ongoing story where each one copies a lot of material from earlier ones. Someone was saying, iirc, a professional reporter might produce one major article per week, but build up material for it incrementally in lesser articles over the course of the week. --Pi zero (talk)
I agree with Pi zero except on one point: it isn't "that much more difficult to review separate minimal articles on each story", it's quite a bit easier. There is a good reason for this: I simply won't review certain types of articles. I think everyone is the same way. Why? Because I just know nothing about some subjects. I won't review one of Rockerballer's articles on Australian Football because I simply know nothing about Australian Football. I just... can't do it. So if you wrote a shorts article with four 2 paragraph articles in it, and one of them was about Australian Football, I'd just pass on by to the next article and review that one instead. Not out of malice, but just because I wouldn't know where to even begin checking the accuracy of a subject I'm utterly clueless about. I seem to recall reviewing one of Rockerballer's articles on one of those (from my distant and completely lost point of view) obscure sports teams once, and what should have taken me 20 minutes took me many hours, most of it background research.
Going back to the scenario I mentioned, if, on the other hand, four separate articles had been written, all of them with a short concluding 3rd paragraph, I might well review three of the four (taking 15 minutes each for minimalist two source articles), while leaving the fourth for someone better equipped to handle it. Maybe even Rockerballer himself if it was a sports article that you'd written, since he'd probably know the difference between a puck and a volleyball, unlike me:).
Another couple points: from the reader's perspective, only some of the articles in a short are likely to be attractive reading material, leading to less interest in such articles. And from the perspective of our poor, underworked front page, higher article count is better. I'd rather have four minimalist articles posted to the front page than the same four articles all lumped together, and only taking up one of the five lead article slots. — Gopher65talk 04:37, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I concur with nearly everything Gopher states, except the business about knowing nothing/something. To review here, I really don't have to (nor do I) know much about Quantum Physics......but as a reviewer/editor, I'm looking for whether someone is/isn't "following the rules" of good print reporting (e.g. style, tone, voice, solid writing mechanics etc.) Of course, it's nice to have editor(s) working on articles within their respective fields of endeavor. But I can ready/not ready a hundred articles next week on the topic of Australian Football so long as I keep my decision focused on the "letter" and not "the spirit". It's not an accident that Rock radio stations hire people who mostly like Country music! Most importantly though, the matter of shorts has also been on my mind too. I love our high standards here, but WE WORK FOR FREE and ask potential other contributors to do the same. Print has always been low man on the totem pole and always will be......BUT, I think if we could generate a list of HIGHLY CREDIBLE sources and accept those within the parameters of single-source articles, it'd be nice to have shorts that ran 3-4 sentence....I love the idea of just "expanded" headlines. This way, we could get newbies to come in as cubs and work their way up to longer articles, but they'd get loads of tiny reinforcers along the way. --Bddpaux (talk) 15:48, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Libyan unrest[edit]

I'm wanting to create a category related to the situation in Libya since the 2011 Libyan Uprising but am unsure what to call it. Thoughts? CSJJ104 (talk) 18:31, 28 August 2014 (UTC)


Following some recent discussion on irc, I've attempted an upgrade of template {{tasks}}. The problem is that newcomers apparently fail to realize the collaboration page is there at all. Experienced Wikinewsies don't, I think, even read the list of items on the tasks notice, they just go directly to the review template; but lately I've observed distinctly better results from leaving a note on the author's user talk page with a pointer to the review comments, and I don't think that's all because of the "personal touch" (though the personal touch is good too).

As I've got it atm, the template produces the usual message if there isn't a re-review flag amongst the parameters; if there is such a flag, it produces

If we really want it to produce a visible list based on the other flags, it could. --17:53, 12 October 2014 (UTC)


I know this has been proposed in the past (above, even)...but I strongly wish to bring it back up. I think, for a "contest" or maybe a "promotional event" or the-like, we really need to take a run at doing/allowing some 'shorts'. I think a contest would be awesome! I'm not proposing a major policy shift, this would be short-term only. A few four-sentence articles might serve to spark outside reporting interest (and God knows, we could use some around here). Thoughts? Ideas? --Bddpaux (talk) 14:59, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Ping I think it's a fine idea. If it gives this place a shot in the arm, that can't be a bad thing. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:15, 27 October 2014 (UTC)