Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/Archive/9

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20 November[edit]

Columns[edit]

Please look at my proposal for columns. need Firefox 1.5 (RC's work). User:Bawolff/Sandbox/Column-test Bawolff ☺☻Smile.png 04:44, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

A nice cup of tea and a sit down[edit]

Things have been getting heated recently, and relations between some contributors have broken down significantly. I call on all community members involved in the current disputes, whether under mediation or not, to have a nice cup of tea and a sit down. - Borofkin 00:14, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

Press releases[edit]

We seem to get two or three press releases a week, what do people think about this template? Brianmc 10:33, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

That looks very nice and does seem useful, thanks. Just one minor thing: I don't think you can assume that Press releases are in the public domain. Works in the US are automatically covered by copyright laws(see: Copyright#Obtaining_and_enforcing_copyright ), so unless otherwise specified they are copyrighted. --Deprifry|+T+ 10:40, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm not particularly familiar with copyright, but I've made an effort to revise the text to reflect that and say quotations can be used under Fair Use. I based this on the copyvio template which I felt was a "bad puppy!" template, I think posting a press release needs a more gentle pointing in the direction of what Wikinews is. Brianmc 11:14, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I know this hasn't been up long, but I'd really like feedback on making this a real template that people will use. Someone posting a press release isn't always the easiest situation to deal with. You have no idea if it is someone trying to use Wikinews as a soapbox, or just someone enthusiastic but misguided. That is what I'm aiming for in the text on this, and I'd like some consensus that this is what people would be happy to use. Personally, I'd stick this up and have seen three or four articles I would have put it on in the past week. From some of the conflicts I've seen recently I'm sensitive to how people might approach a newcomer, if I've no feedback in the next day or so I'll make it a real template and use it myself. How it develops from that will be down to the collective wisdom of the Wikinewsies. :) Brianmc 19:06, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I have no problem with the use of this template, as long as it is clear that it is only for c&p press releases not stories that sound like press releases but are not. The other thing to consider is that most admins will delete press releases on sight, so it may be more useful to create a template for leaving on the preson's talk page explaining why the press release was deleted--Cspurrier 19:10, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I can see the points you're making - and I don't disagree with them. However, I've followed things like the recent efforts to get Wine's beta release publicised on WN. I want something in the editor's toolbox that is easy to dish our, but not a severe slap on the wrist for the original submitter. Yes, I'd expect this to only be used on a pure cut'n'paste, but I'm trying to put across the message that we don't want your contribution to go away; we want it in a different presentation. I've understood some of the recent criticism of the Wikinews project to be that some (perhaps misguided) new contributors have met with what they felt was hostility. The way our community reacts to well-meaning, but misguided, content is important. (gets off hobby horse) Brianmc 20:40, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I love the template, though Cspurrier does have a point -- we generally delete press-releases on sight (though I've made the mistake of tagging them as copyvios which opens an entirely different can of worms). Perhaps the template could be made even more friendly by putting a talking smiley-face guy or something on it... Great idea. Thanks for your efforts! --Chiacomo (talk) 05:19, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

As to the suggestion of a template for user pages, I see someone already created one, Copyvio sas. I'll need to try and remember that. Brianmc 09:07, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Lets steal wikipedia's {{Link FA}}[edit]

Lets steal w:template:Link FA to mark articles translated from other languages that have original reporting or are written very well. That template in wikipedia marks FA in other languages with a star by their inter-wiki link. We could also use Wikinews-logo.png , Wikinews Developing.png , Smile.png, LinkFA-star.png or anything else.

Bawolff (-Smile.png 19:09, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposal; "When administrators leave wikinews, they give up admin powers"[edit]

Point #1;It's absurd that this is not automatic. It's even weirder that some admins have even made rationalizations as to why they should be able to hold onto their powers to control the site after announcing they are quitting the site. The only institution I know of that has no participation requirements upon the people who control it is the British House of Lords.

Point #2; I think it's disruptive to the site for admins. to come and go upon their personal whims and moods...or even to threaten the same thing. Anyone who knows anything about business knows that when the management people are making threats about leaving...or actually leaving... and still retaining admin control; the operation of that business is severely disrupted. Just imagine if some admin. that had not been seen or heard from in over a year were to dash in and block people now and again.

Point#3; the current situation(where admins can hold onto their powers indefinitely..even if they quit the site) is patent nonsense and needs to be fixed for that reason alone. Neutralizer 14:14, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't think any of those are good enough reasons to desysop someone for no reason. Just because they "quit" doesn't mean they forget about the site; and often times, they'll come back and do a better job than they did before. --Mrmiscellanious 19:34, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Indeed. Frequently editors will take a "Wikibreak" for indefinite periods of time. --Chiacomo (talk) 19:36, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Please let's not use strawmen here; the discussion is about Administrators, not people who are just editors; plus noone is talking about "Wikibreaks" of short duration. We're talking about exactly what has already happened...people quitting and coming back whenever the mood strikes them...and holding onto their admin powers throughout. Neutralizer 20:10, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I think it's quite amazing that you are still trying to desysop me by proposing policies that would allow for the blocking of me based on most of my actions I have performed on this site. But props for the continuation, I s'pose. Just remember, do not do to one what you would not want one to do to you. --Mrmiscellanious 21:46, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

It seems that administrators have nerves of feathers at best. A slight blow and they are offended. As a matter requiring policy, I would agree that a rule should be made, with a few listed qualifications, and enforced from the point of its first official implementation, that in conjunction with a formal and official procedure for leaving wikinews, an administrator should be made to follow that procedure to complete the process of exit, and by that process for the administrative privileges of that formerly administrator account should be revoked. For history and for ensuring validity of account use, so far as resources permit, the account should be reserved for the user to return and retain full capacity, just as any other account has, earn administrative privileges again purely by demonstration of capacity, if they desire them again. It may be necessary to also set policy against a clique of administrators simply restoring each other after multiple and manipulative declarations of exit. I also do not mean that an arbitrary time limit should be implemented between log-in at max for any user to remain administrator against automatic removal of administrative pledges but that the rule exist more as described: that a procedure be implemented and enforced automatically after request is made for the removal of administrative privileges by the administrator who desires to leave. It is only proper to allow it. By that procedure capricious declarations of an exit may be separated from genuine exit where administrative privileges are removed. (Unsigned comment made by 68.210.70.211)

You have some valid thoughts -- some already appear to have been enshrined, at least in part, in policy and precedent. Administrators can request and have requested that their +sysop bit be removed. There is no way for a set of administrators to arbitrarily restore the +sysop bit to an individual -- only bureaucrats (and stewards, I suppose) can add the +sysop bit. I think our current bureaucrats are well versed in policy and would not contradict it (at least in the peformance of their duties as bureaucrat). I would, for some of the reasons listed by others on this page, oppose the removal of sysop bits based on a "timeout" or inactivity counter. If the community must or wishes de-admin inactive users, perhaps we should go through a regular Request for deAdminship -- and attempt to contact the inactive admin. If they do not respond (or no other editor can explain their extended inactivity), then they can be deadmined under existing policy. What do you think? --Chiacomo (talk) 02:28, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Wikinews is not a business, administrators do not control the site (editors do), and wikis don't operate like any other entity out there. Wiki administrators (at least on WMF sites) are simply editors with a few more buttons. If administrators who haven't been active for a while (students, travelers, others who come and go) pop in and begin blocking people we should evaluate those blocks and see if they are in the best interest of the wiki -- if they're malicious or vandalism or are otherwise not based in policy, then we should vote to have their +admin removed. --Chiacomo (talk) 03:36, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
to waitess: "I'll have what Chiacomo's having, thank you." -Edbrown05 03:56, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
*waves hand* Hi, I'm an admin who's taken a wikibreak (or rather been forced into one), because of school. I still pop in, check the site - if I were to see vandalism while I was here I'd fix it, but sometimes, just like normal people, admins have to step back - in the end though, we really have no power that exceeds any other editor, save for a few buttons. Chiacomo sums it up really well above - and is exactly how I hope I'm treated when I make a comeback over Christmas, and then again next year (as is my pattern ;)). Hope all is well. Lyellin 15:27, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
ok, if Ed can live with it, I guess I can too. Neutralizer 02:31, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposal; All future polls for new administrators must include at least 10 votes in support of the nominee in order to be successful[edit]

If a nominee can't round up 10 votes, he/she should not be an admin,imo. Neutralizer 00:11, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Neutralizer, there is a period of seven days that a user is up for nomination on RfA. If you can't make it to that page at least once every week, it's your own fault. Plain and simple. --Mrmiscellanious 02:41, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Current guidelines do not have demonstrated need for change. My personal guideline is only fix an existing problem, and then use the least amount of change necessary to effect the required change. - Amgine / talk 02:50, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I'd suggest that it's really preferrable for a good percentage of currently active users to vote on admins. I would encourage those nominated to encourage other active users to cast votes. That said, the current rule is good enough. -- IlyaHaykinson 07:56, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Administrator nomination alerts on front page[edit]

From the embarassingly low # of votes[1] for messedrocker's admin. I assume many others, like me, didn't know it was happening ! I propose that a small link be put on the front page which will light up whenever an important vote is occurring. Neutralizer 21:02, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Or, you can just bookmark the page and check it periodically, like others do. --Mrmiscellanious 21:28, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Only 3 votes(+ the nominator's) is not very democratic,imo. In fact, I will expand my proposal below. Not all our contributors are online as much as yourself,Amgine and Craig and don't have the time to "check" a lot of different pages. Neutralizer 00:11, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
One would think that if one cared about who became an administrator one would put WN:A on one's watchlist. This smells a bit like instruction creep (or something similar). --Chiacomo (talk) 02:37, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
It's a nice idea, but it is not actually possible. If it were possible, then there would need to be precise guidelines as to what counts as "important votes", and likely endless debates over whether this or that vote qualifies as important enough or not. It would be both instruction creep and divisive.
Just to keep you aware, Neutralizer, there is another candidate for adminship now. - Amgine / talk 02:47, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree there should be a system of letting users know when admin votes are taking place. The point of voting for a new admin is to generate community consensus, which can't be given unless the community knows its going on. Arguing anything else is absurd. Lack of community participation in admin votes is a problem that needs to be dealt. The argument that people who care should be looking at the admin pages reminds me the quote in Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy when Arthur is about to have his house demolished and the contractor says, "The plans have been on display, I can't help it if you didn't check." and Arthur says, "I did check. They were in a dark celler. Guarded by a tiger." The community has to be invovled in new admin votes, or it isn't legitimate. --Wolfrider 03:05, 18 October 2005 (UTC)clicking
I'm not seeing how hard it is to visit the page once every week (or to add it to your watchlist, as suggested above). Keeping up on details should be something users do on their own, not make others do it for them. --Mrmiscellanious 03:35, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree with MrM. Editors are obviously checking the water cooler, why, too, can they not have a look at WN:A (if they care)? As I recall, many people have followed WN:A during RfdA's... What's the difference? I check WN:A, WN:ALERT, WN:DR, and the water cooler every day. It takes only a few minutes and I feel that, as an active member of the community, it is expected of me. And.. there's yet another candidate for adminship. --Chiacomo (talk) 03:43, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
You're right. It isn't that difficult. But the question arises, why WOULDN'T you want community members more involved in the voting process? And to be fair, the WN:A is a little difficult to find. And there's really no way of alerting users to new admin status. I'm thinking specifically about today where two new admins were nominated (although one hasn't accepted), soon after another was appointed. Given the activity on the recent changes page (and the fact that I didn't think to look) it was only luck that I noticed both. This isn't fair for other users. I happen to have enough time to be constantly checking Wikinews, because I'm a student who devotes alot of time to online research.This doesn't necessarily apply to other users who maybe only pop in for copy edits. --Wolfrider 03:45, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Strangely, on the much more active Wikipedia where recent changes cycles many many times per minute, there is no link on the main page. Why, I wonder? I surmise they don't link to their bureaucratic pages so as not to further clutter their already cluttered main page for people who simply don't care -- the vast majority of visitors to Wikipedia (and Wikinews, too!). Unless an editor is overly curious, he needs only visit WN:A and WN:DR once or twice a week. Nominations must remain on the page for at least 7 days (unless it's obvious the community will not reach consensus to +sysop -- those are removed both to spare the nominee and to prevent undue disruption to the site). Unless one is already an administrator, one needn't visit WN:A but once every 7 days -- admins generally have a peek several times daily to make certain there is no vandalism. We generally check the diffs on LOTS of edits (on lots of pages) to revert vandalism or prevent blatant violation of policy. I think I'm rambling... I'll stop typing now. --Chiacomo (talk) 03:56, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
You do make a good point, and it would be interesting to see whether or not having a notice on the front page would increase voting. It is obvious though that low voter turnouts are problem when it comes to adminship, and there might be other reasons for it. For instance the last admin vote I had to explicitly ask the nominee to provide credentials, something which he graciously did, before I felt ready to vote. It could be a sheer lack of information about nominees are scaring people away from voting. Although I appreciated Amgine's information, I didn't feel it was enough to go on. I definately understand the points being raised about cluttering up the main page and being happy with users who "care enough" to go looking, but ultimately low voter turnout anywhere on Wikinews should be considered an issue, and we should be trying to find ways to increase user participation. Being content to sit back and say, "Hey, if they care enough they'll find it." sounds uncomfortably elitist to me. It could very well be that a front page notifier is not the answer, but something needs to be done to increase voter turnout. --Wolfrider 04:26, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Just so you're aware, nominees for adminship do not need to provide "credentials". But anyone may see the contributions of any other user through [http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Username Special:Contributions](Special:Contributions) - Amgine / talk 04:34, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
I know there's no official rule, but it seems like a good idea to check a user out, no? And thanks I didn't actually know that page existed. *Sheepish* --Wolfrider 10:29, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
  • How do you add WNA to a watchlist????? how do you set up a watchlist????? As with a previous comment; I have been going through 4 or 5 pages before getting to the Admin list page. I have been here for many months but do not know how to set up a WNA watchlist; please tell me how to do it. Obviously, there are other contribs around who are as computer dumb as I am, so the "watchlist" solution does not wash for a broad based site for citizen journalists. I must repeat the obvious question stated above; why WOULDN'T you want community members more involved in the voting process? Neutralizer 14:21, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
There's a tab at the top that says watch. Just click that. I do agree with you though, getting here through normal means is difficult. I usually just type the url because its easier to remember. Which might make it difficult for new users to find. --Wolfrider 14:25, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
When one clicks on the "Write/edit articles" link on the left side of the screen (for most users) it takes editors to Wikinews:Workspace. On the Workspace page (and on most every user's talk page under the official {{hello}} welcome) there is a link to Wikinews:Introduction to Wikinews. The Introduction page, which I hope EVERYONE has read -- they should if they plan to be part of the community and the consensus decision making process, contains lots of information including a link to WN:A. Why don't I want community members involved in the voting process? I want anyone who wishes to be involved in voting to vote, but, if they're going to become involved at all, I'd rather they be writing articles. If they are interested enough in the community, they can and will discover WN:A and become involved there as well, if they choose. If they don't choose to read the basic documentation presented to all editors and don't choose to involve themselves in the grinding bureaucratic processes ongoing behind the scenes, then I don't think they should be faced with it on the main page. If I had MY way, the main page would be much more spartan than it is now -- presenting information only to our readers (rather than editors) with, perhaps, a small "get involved" and "login" button at the bottom of the page. I do, however, understand the need both as an infant project and as a wiki generally to increase awareness that anyone can participate. Remember, again, that the majority of visitors to Wikinews are not contributors, but rather, are readers who don't care how we do things. The less behind the scenes clutter presented them, the better chance they'll stay. --Chiacomo (talk) 19:35, 18 October 2005 (UTC)


More photos on main page[edit]

Images grab readers' attention and make sites more enjoyable.

The Wikinews main page is boring. It currently has just one tiny photograph. pushed off to the right-hand sidebar. Compare that with [news.google.com] or even the main Wikipedia main page and see the difference. I propose we set a policy of always having at least three photographs at the top of the main page, close enough to the top that there is no need to scroll down to see them. Even mobile phone photographs are fine for scaled-down use on the main page. Flickr and moblogs can be excellent sources of photos for us, as long as someone goes and requests GPL or other licensing clearance from the photographers. Does anyone else have any ideas on how to get additional photos for the main page, other than the featured photo proposal below? --Unforgettableid | Talk to me 09:45, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

A good point, and I certainly agree with your assesment that photos make a site more attractive. But I guess the problem that we as a news site with the goal to address an international audience have is that we don't have reporters/photographers at the scene of big news stories and that we can't use photos of news agencies like Google News, or for that matter every major news site, does. If a suicide bomber blows himself up in Basra, there's just no way for us at the present time to get a photo of that story. With a few exceptions like the London bombings, that's the case with most stories that make lead here and we have to rely on maps or at best stock photos available at the commons to illustrate the article. And sadly, original reporting like the one that produced the wonderful photo you used, is far to rare at the moment. --Deprifry|+T+ 14:55, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Ok, but how about those alternatives like I mentioned above, like asking Flickr or [www.photo.net] members or mobloggers for permission to use their photos? We don't always have to use a photo of the actual news event; IMO, just a photo of the location where the event happened is better than nothing. --Unforgettableid | Talk to me 00:02, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
We also want to be as accesible as possible to our readers -- too many photos may be a hardship for those with slower connections or old equipment. There are places on each of the three "lead" articles" to include photos if they are present (and they appear on my screen near the top). Additionally, editors can place photographs in the listing of stories by date. --Chiacomo (talk) 17:50, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
<nod> There is also already a guideline that no article be listed as a lead or feature without a relevant graphic. However, I want to point out the graphic above does not meet Wikinews Fair Use policy: if it is a freely licensed image it should be on Commons, if not it include appropriate licensure which meets the guidelines and a link to the original source. The contributor was contacted about the images when they were uploaded. - Amgine / talk 01:56, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Featured photo[edit]

Perhaps we should even run a featured photo contest, similar to the Wikipedia featured article system, but with:

  • an admin choosing photos every day, plus
  • Barnstars or Wikinews adminship to our best Wikinews photographers. A significant prize, perhaps, but I believe it would get us many more front-page photos. --Unforgettableid | Talk to me 09:58, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Admins should not choose photos -- the community should have that role. Whether we have a poll of some sort or operate under consensus, the administration should *not* have any special roll in highlighting content. Barnstars are a great idea. Adminship should not be considered a reward -- everyone eventually ends up hating you. Wikinews shouldn't award adminship based on a content contest regardless. Perhaps a prominent box on the front page or on the workspace recognizing winners would be nice. --Chiacomo (talk) 17:50, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
OK, I see the sense in "adminship should not be considered a reward". :-) I like that box idea, though. Or, similarly, what if we provided a photo credit to the bottom right of photos that made it to the front page, e.g. "Jane Doe / Chiacomo" for a photo that was made by Jane Doe and uploaded by Chiacomo? --Unforgettableid | Talk to me 23:57, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Thats not a bad idea, Here's what I think:
  1. Photo Has to be relevent to article. We've got commons already for pretty pictures
  2. Barnstar Could be related to Wikinews:Trophy#Original_reporting_barnstar
  3. As said above, admins have no special editing privlidges (there's a policy on that but i'm too lazy to find it)
  4. I'm not sure if we're big enough for something like this. Unless new photo's only happen every once and a while.

Bawolff (-Smile.png 01:49, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Admins have *no* special editing privileges? I bet they can edit the front page to add photos. :) Was the main page once unprotected, then later protected because of vandalism? Was it just always protected? --Unforgettableid | Talk to me 23:57, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Quite right... Each element of the main page can be edited by any editor (even IPs). For example, you could easily add a picture to the main page next to list of stories for November 6 by visting and editing Wikinews:2005/November/6. The main page itself is protected to prevent easy vandalism, but every individual element is unprotected. --Chiacomo (talk) 03:25, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

What I ment by that is that is the admins should not be editing any protected page or bonus thing they could do unless the comunity agrees on it.(not the entire comunity neccesarly has to agree on it, but it shouldn't be a controversal edit.) If another ordinary user wants to change a protected page or something like that and ther's no good reason not to, then an admin should do it on their behalf.Bawolff (-Smile.png 03:02, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

I apologize if this has already been mentioned. How about digging through http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ for photos? Many of the flickr photos have searchable tags and many of them have Creative Commons copyright licenses that would work perfectly for wikinews, no? More and more people on flickr are putting up photos of timely events with CC attribution licenses. Anyhoo, just an idea. 67.161.136.247 16:10, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
That's a great idea, I didn't realize that exsisted. Note we can't use any pictures that are cc-nc (to my knowladge) unless they fall under our fair use policy. Bawolff ☺☻Smile.png 00:19, 10 November 2005 (UTC)


Pre-November 20[edit]

The big Why[edit]

Why write for Wikinews? Why spend huge amounts of time and effort on writing a good, informative, important article--to end up as an anonymous contributor listed on a back page, unthanked, uncredited, forgotten, and most importantly--unpaid? Sure, it's a good deed. But it takes some much time and effort, I find it hard to find why anyone would do it for free and with no direct credit for any article. Why be a Wikinewsie?--137.146.145.150 01:27, 14 September 2005 (UTC)Zaorish

Noncorporatenewscontrol. Mass media for the people by the people, with no corporate objectives. Free media -- NGerda 01:35, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
Amen brotha! Messedrocker 01:05, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
Why not? By the way, I'm glad you think WikiNews is, "good, informative, important" <g> To be more serious, there's a challenge to digest the news, as reported by others, and serve it up based on many points of view. News sources such as Fox, CNN, and even those good old chaps at the BBC have varying degrees of bias. Even here on WikiNews, there is debate over what is NPOV. There is some degree of satisfaction in getting an article that people can colour with their own prejudices and perhaps discuss with people holding a different POV. Brianmc 20:48, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Many mainstream news organisations will have you working for free and without credit, why give them your labour? Better to do it for the common good, reach a much wider audience, write the news you want to instead of being under the control of a news editor, no death-knocks, the satisfaction of seeing the news on the frontpage (a byline's not everything), the relief of abandoning out of the corrupt, self-satisfied mainstream media and being part of a community that cares about news for its own sake and not profit and takes neutrality very seriously as well. ClareWhite 14:39, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

You do get credit. every time you edit a page your name (or IP if anonoymus) gets in the history. This is probaly not what you mean by credit, but everything you do is credited. If you do a good job on something another user might (and often will) thank you on your user talk page, or give you an award. Bawolff 06:20, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

These words are critical: "most importantly--unpaid" - if being paid is what you think is most important, then it's unlikely that any arguments will convince you of the value of Wikinews. - Borofkin 01:24, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I don't think that Wikinews is ever going to come close to Reuters, AFP or any of the professional news agencies in terms of covering the "big stories". Reuters, for example, has a dedicated reporter in every country in the world, who is able to get direct access to Prime Ministers, Presidents, Chief Execs etc. just by saying that they're from Reuters. And because they are professional journalists, with the resources and credibility that brings, Reuters correspondents can build up networks of contacts who will tip them off when a really big story is breaking. I'm sorry to sound negative, but I think that Wikinewsies are setting the project up to fail if they're trying to compete with that. Even when we've got lots of Wikinewsies scouring the internet for the latest on a breaking news story (eg. the London bombings), all that we're really doing is secondary reporting on news that someone else has gone and found from a primary source.

This has all been very negative so far, but my main point here is this - I think Wikinews has the potential to be something rather more interesting than yet-another-Reuters. The "big" stories are always going to get covered by somebody - but we can pick up the more quirky, unusual ones that "fall between the cracks". I thought that this piece was a really good example: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Dance_party_broken_up_by_police_in_Utah,_USA.

Agree..100%; that story was a defining point; next time more of us need to make sure the ravers aren't discouraged from aggressive participation,imo. Neutralizer 10:06, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

As far as I can see, there was a significant amount of original work, but what really made the piece stand out for me was the hotly-contested debate over its content. The story kept getting batted back and forth until a consensus had been hammered out among all the editors (who came from a range of different political perspectives). Because of the work put in, the result was a very well-rounded, interesting, detailed news story about an event that you'd never in a million years have seen on Reuters or AFP. It's this editorial precision that, I think, marks Wikinews out from Indymedia, and brings the quality up to a much higher standard.

If you're in it for the glory, then I suspect that you're going to tire of Wikinews pretty quickly - but if you're someone who's interested in news and wants to get experience of writing quirky stories to a high standard, this is the ideal place to learn.

Some of us ARE being paid ?[edit]

In my opinion (which hopefully is still expressable on the water cooler), a very few,maybe 1 or 2, contributors are being paid. Paid by U.S. and/or UK government agencies to infiltrate this site and subdue/mitigate any stories which reflect badly upon the US or UK governments. It is really quite simple to see this happening whenever such stories hit the site. Sometimes they use tags aggressively and sometimes they keep pushing the story back into development...and if the story is too strong to bury, they use their edits to protect their employers under the pretense of NPOV while at the same time, encouraging blatant POV in reporting their employer's "spin" on stories. I won't mention any names; just keep an eye out and you'll see it happening all the time...and its always the same people;e.g.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] [10][11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]Neutralizer 11:37, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Wouldn't it be more efficient to just infaltrate a news source that had a bigger reach then wn. wikinews as of right now doesn't have a big enough reach for it to be effective to censor in that manner (imho).Bawolff 22:41, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Great question. The first mistake most of us make is in thinking that corrupt governments are reactionary; they are actually proactionary in that they try to take control of people and organizations which show power potential at the earliest possible stage of that person's career or that organization's existance in order to;

A; Keep them from being harmful to that government's agenda or
B; Ideally turn them into useful lackeys (which has already happened with many major media in the USA)
I believe that the US government in particular agrees with NGerda's comments in "the big why" discussion above about the potential power the citizens can achieve with open and non-prostituted citizen journalism and,therefore ,since the objective of the current controllers of the US government is to disempower the citizenry, it is logical for them to be targeting perhaps the only real obstacle left in their now fast-tracked trek toward class/caste based globalization (Americanization) of all the world's peoples,cultures and economies.
In summary, it's much easier to stop a growing force of people when they are 100 than when they are 100 million.
Just as an aside; the other group the US government has to worry about is the ravers; simply because of their numbers and their anti-authority mentality.The biggest coo for the govenment in inhibiting Wikinews growth was when we were unable to keep the ravers who poured into the site because of this story [[25]]; as you can see here[[26]], when that story hit our readership tripled. To get an idea of how the infiltrators operate; just have a good long look at the talk page and follow up activities related to that story.Neutralizer 10:25, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Interesting theory, but I am not employed by the governments of the United States of America, nor the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Now, I realize that you have an agenda to push, Neutralizer - but make assured that I will stop you from pushing any bias in articles. The continuation of your claims that I am an oppressor or are hired by the government is very incorrect and is very immature to show that you cannot respect others that have differing views from you, which in turn would suggest you are not keen to the idea of community sites. Further personal attacks on any members will result in yet another block, you must realize that you are not the only editor here. --Mrmiscellanious 18:14, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Here is the most recent and,perhaps, most blatant, example of story surpression by 1 person against an overwhelming consensus of contributors [27]. It includes this rather bizarre "yelling" quote from the lone story supressor (deemed "obstructive" by other story contributors)"I AM NOT EMPLOYED BY THE GOVERNMENT(S) OF THE FOLLOWING NATION(S): UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITIAN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, NOR ANY DENOMINATIONS RESULTING IN STATE NOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT POSITION ADHERING TO THE FOLLOWING NATIONAL LEVELS". Am I imagining it? does this quote seem to be something that was cut and pasted from some sort of manual? Neutralizer 14:27, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
A friendly advise: If you want to be taken seriously, you should drop this conspiracy crap. You only ridicule yourself with it. --Deprifry|+T+ 14:56, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
A friendly piece of advise in return: look up the definition of "conspiracy" before mis-using the word. You only embarrass yourself otherwise. Neutralizer 02:00, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Conspiracy: "act of working in secret to obtain some goal, usually understood with negative connotations." [28] You're alleging that some of the contributors here on WN are working in secret for government agencies to "to infiltrate this site and subdue/mitigate any stories which reflect badly upon the US or UK governments" (quote by you). That's a conspiracy by the definition I just posted. --Deprifry|+T+ 06:50, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Can I just add that I really think government agencies have better things to do than pay people to infiltrate wikinews! It's not as if there's a shortage of folks out there willing to do all of those things you've described for free. There are a lot of people on the net with strong political views (in all directions). Sometimes having strong political views (and I don't exclude myself from this) can lead a person to act in an unreasonable way. It's one thing to say that you think another user is acting in an unreasonable way because of their strong political views - it's quite another to say that they're doing so because they're a paid secret government agent! -- Rcameronw
  • Don't be so sure. I'm actually a member of the illuminati. Oh, poo. Shouldn't have said that out loud. --Wolfrider 18:50, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I should take the opportunity to say that I could be wrong about my suspicions; I did lead off by saying "in my opinion" and that's all it is...my opinion..not a fact; but it's pretty naive to thing the government has better things to do...after all, they infiltrate Defcon every year and everybody knows it. If I'm wrong about this, the parties involved are certainly tough enough to carry on...after all, the owner(I think) of this project,Jimbo Wales, jumped on the same user awhile back(because he said the US govern. could shut down our stories anytime) and it did not scare him off. If I'm right about it,however, then it means the rest of us will have to put out that much more time and energy to actually stand up to the 1 or 2 man bullying instead of the "nice guy" approach of giving in to it; or else; irrelevancy here we come.After all; 8 hours per day of dedicated paid for work is hard to combat with casual volunteer journalism.
The proof is in the pudding; if the emperor has no clothes,then he has none. Also it doesn't really matter whether someone is a paid govern. worker or not. The point is that the 18 links at the top of this page show how stories/articles which the US govern would like to see delayed and or sanitized have indeed been delayed and sanitized by a very small but dedicated minority of contributors to those stories. That is the only real allegation here. It doesn't really matter "why" they did it; what matters is whether the community is willing to allow it to continue. Neutralizer 18:15, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • So what you're saying, basically, is that the proof of pudding is in the Emperor's new clothes?
  • Brownie points for dissing the Founder there Mr M! On the subject of government agents, the British secret intelligence service (aka MI6) launched its own website today: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4336038.stm. Unfortunately the site doesn't seem to give a contact email address, so I couldn't drop them a line to ask if any wikinewsies were working for them. But there might be a wikinews story in it... Mr. W, the more people splice comments into this discussion, the more wierd your "clothes" comment is going to look...! -- 22:21, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Your reference is to someone who said they thought the governments could infiltrate our system (eh?) and "censor" Wikinews. I responded saying (sarcastically) "all they'd have to do is threaten the hosting company", and that's when Jimbo decided to release a rant on my page, and asking for my reconsideration on the statement (which I did not change). So that's how that started. Similarly, I wouldn't worry all to much about what he has to say. He's no more important than any other contributor on the Wikimedia projects, and whoever tries to prove me wrong better have a good claim. --Mrmiscellanious 19:00, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • MrM, please put a link to that water cooler discussion. Your reference to wikinews being shut down sure wasn't sarcasm imo.Let's have a good look at it; it's in the archives I suppose? Neutralizer 02:46, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
No, I will not. Links are not important. What you are trying to do is incriminate me of as much items as you can. I will not contribute to your personal attacks of me. Find your own link. --Mrmiscellanious 11:11, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
ok,as you suggested, here it is[29]; Your reference to wikinews being shut down doesn't look like sarcasm to me; but if you say so. Neutralizer 13:39, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm actually not wearing any clothes right now. Cough. Neut, I think it's more likely that issues that are heated and controversal to a Western audience are going to be the ones that are debated the most in a largely Western community. --Wolfrider 18:46, 13 October 2005 (UTC)


Rcameronw 22:21, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikiversity Vote[edit]

Voting has started for a new Wikimedia sister project proposal called Wikiversity. This is a request for anybody that is interested to cast a vote either in support or opposition to this new project proposal. The results of this vote will determine if this project will be started on its own seperate group of wikis as a Wikimedia sister project, together with approval from the Wikimedia Foundation Board. Discussion about this proposal should take place on the Wikiversity discussion page.

Spoken Wikinews[edit]

I personally think Wikinews is one of the greatest thing (making it my backup for when I got bored of Wikipedia), and I have an idea to help improve it. On Wikipedia, we have something called WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia. Basically, contributors would read the article aloud, and then upload it for people to listen to. If you follow the link I made, you can see the advantages of an article read aloud.

Therefore, my proposal is that we start up "Spoken Wikinews", where people (including myself: I hope to read many articles for this project) can record published articles, and then upload it for the world to listen. We could have it work in a similar fashion to Wikipedia's Spoken Wikipedia, or we can have an entirely new system for it. Either way, I think a Spoken Wikinews project would be great.

-- Messedrocker 01:03, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Boy do I feel ignorant. It already exists! Messedrocker 01:10, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Proposal for topic header, categorys, and full date listings all in one ! :D[edit]

Please see my proposal at template:topic header. I propmise its really cool. Bawolff 00:26, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

please look at it, i think its a really cool idea.Bawolff 00:21, 2 October 2005 (UTC)
Looks good to me. :) -- IlyaHaykinson 07:03, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

Have developing stories expire[edit]

Currently some developing stories remain forever, or until we go thru the painful process of voting to delete them. This proposal would make their removal from the main page automatic after a few days:

  1. Add the current date to the template for developing stories.
  2. Only show the last few days developing stories on the main page. If somebody is actively editing the story, they can publish it and/or update the date to keep it on the main page. If nobody does anything, it should "fall off" the main page in a few days, after which it can still be found by those with it on their contribution list or watchlist.

What do you think ? StuRat 12:11, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree ClareWhite 14:33, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

Blocking abuse remedies[edit]

I think we need some way to reign in "over the top" blocking when it happens[30][31]. I propose that any admin who has 2 or more of his blocks reversed within a 30 day time frame should lose his blocking power for the next 30 day time frame. Neutralizer 00:45, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

This is not technically possible as the MediaWiki software is currently structured and would require a voluntary action on the part of the administrator in question. It also would create a hardship to mainting the wiki -- especially in the hours when few administrators are online and monitoring Wikinews. Generally, there are at least two administrators online at any time and if a block is improperly applied, one needs only appeal to the other admin. --Chiacomo (talk) 00:49, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
I suppose that's how it should work; but as you may have seen with my recent block; I appealed to CSpurrier on IRC and he would not go against Amgine even though he thought the block was for too long a time period + he and MrM did not even respond to the fact the block had no justification at all. As I said, it sometimes seems to me that a few admins have a clique going on, which I believe gets in the way of the integrity of the wiki..just my opinion. The blocking weapon can be quite effective in pushing people away who an administrator , for whatever reason (e.g. good intentions) wants to see go away....but isn't that simply a manifestation of a classist/caste community; which I am sure no one feels this wiki should emulate? Neutralizer 13:07, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
I do not disagree with Amgine's reason for the block. I personally favour shorter blocks but the length of the block is 100% up to the admin. If I see a case of an admin giving block for reasons I disagree with or for much longer(more then a week for anything but serious offences) then I think they should I will unblock. --Cspurrier 14:38, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
What was the exact reason for the block[32]? Please provide edit links to show what I did to justify the block at all...and how did the sockpuppet search manage to get me unblocked?What did that have to do with the block? Neutralizer 17:23, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
  • You have to take that up with Amgine. We are not him. We don't know. Stop asking us, ask the right people. --Mrmiscellanious 18:16, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Mrmiscellanious, CSpurrier made the point above; "If I see a case of an admin giving block for reasons I disagree with...then I think they should I will unblock".....so my question is appropriate for him dyt? Neutralizer 01:52, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • It may be his moral code of conduct, however Amgine blocked you, CSpurrier didn't. A reason should have been defined when blocked (view the block log) --Mrmiscellanious 01:57, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Regardless of the deflection by MrMiscellanious, I am still awaiting an answer from CSpurrier because if he did not see a real reason for that block and he did not un-block me, then the assertion that the remedy for unwarranted blocks is the appeal to another admin. is a false remedy. Neutralizer 02:26, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
CSpurrier said he did not disagree with the reason for the block (above) -- Amgine's block summary (from the block log) was "Repeated publication to lead articles of disputed, unpublished article. Main page vandalism." He then unblocked Neutralizer with the summary "Lack of basis to block beyond disruption" -- keep in mind that disruption is specifically mentioned in policy. Neutralizer was blocked by Amgine for less than an hour. Wait -- I've forgotten why we're discussing this. --Chiacomo (talk) 02:52, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

I was cautioned by Mrmiscellanious (sic) against submitting articles given to me by Neutralizer. I offered this assistance because I did not want good stories to go stale while the user was blocked. At the time, I did not see anything in the blocking policy which disallowed this; it is my judgment which decides what is posted and I am not allowing Neutralizer to use my account without check. As a matter of fact, after Neutralizer sent me his story, we discussed it and mutually agreed that it was not suitable for Wikinews. If this behaviour is not allowed on Wikinews I would like the blocking policy to reflect this rule. Additionally, I would note that one guideline of the blocking policy is "users should not block those with whom they are currently engaged in conflict." - McCart42 (talk) 02:28, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you McCart42 -- I don't think we really care where editors come up with stories (blocked users, scribblings found on paper bags, or aliens) so long as the story is appropriate for wikinews and is properly sourced. People often provide weblinks in IRC for "good stories" and never write them themselves. I don't see any difference in a blocked user sending you a story or a "lead" for a story. Of course, it wouldn't be appropriate for a blocked user to send rants or complaints, etc through another user -- that would in fact defeat the purpose of the block. As to the other issue, yes, generally, it is bad form for administrators to block editors with whom they are currently engaged in conflict. BUT, I would venture that in the course of performing their duties, administrators often become engaged in conflict with users (through corrective messages to talk pages, etc) -- except for the most obvious vandals and trolls with whom no conversation is necessary. Even then, administrators often lobby other admins for help. --Chiacomo (talk) 14:26, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
I would disagree. McCart42, I am interpereting your invitation as a bypass to the Blocking policy. These polices were here to teach the user of their actions which they did wrong. Inviting them to contribute in any way while blocked can be interpereted as disruption. However, since this is the first occasion; I'd rather advise users to not repeat this same extension to other users while blocked rather than making a large issue of it. In turn, it really defeats the effectiveness of the block when offering this type of service. --Mrmiscellanious 21:34, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
This is a great example of how administrative powers and controls over the site will be expanded if there is no resistence. Neutralizer 02:26, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Drop it. It is disruptive if users bypass the block, which was imposed here to keep disruptive members out for a while. --Mrmiscellanious 11:12, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Blocks were not meant to keep news stories out. Neutralizer 13:26, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
They are if disruptive users are submiting them. --Mrmiscellanious 21:35, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
The story is more important than the submitter; plus, most blocks are not for disruption. You have to have a rule before you can enforce a rule; in a free society; so if you want such a rule; try to get the community to support it,please. So far its 3-1 against you in this discussion. Neutralizer 01:27, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
I didn't see anyone vote for it. So how can it be 3 - 1 in support for your measures? --Mrmiscellanious 10:37, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Proposal: Water cooler use[edit]

I would like to propose the Water cooler be used to discuss how the community and site may be improved. Disagreements between contributors are distracting enough in specific articles. Moving what is apparently personal disputes to the Water cooler is disruptive of the working of the community.

Suffice to say that, should a government choose to employ people to contribute to Wikinews their contributions would be welcomed so long as they followed the community's NPOV and other policies and guidelines. As would contributions paid for by NGOs, political parties, or volunteers with strong personal biases. So long as they do not disrupt the site, contributors are welcome. - Amgine/talk 23:16, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

I would agree. And, as a result - I would propose that any more bickering of members or their edits on this page (without it being of revelence to any credible proposals of Wikinews) should be considered disruptive, and grounds for a possible temporary block. --Mrmiscellanious 23:22, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, to the nearest tavern then? I rather be barred!! -Edbrown05 23:42, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Just for the record; as far as I know, MrMiscellanious and I buried the hatchet days ago. I have no personal dispute with him at all, so please let's not use a non-existant personality conflict as an excuse for water cooler censorship. I join Amgine in welcoming everyone to our project; but I also encourage everyone to stand up against any type of bullying that goes on by anybody. Any open and free discussions here helps improve the site so additional controls and rules which the admins above could use to justify even more blocks would be destructive and unacceptable. Neutralizer 02:36, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I understand these concerns, and agree that such disputes are highly undesirable, but I feel that further blocks could actually be even more disruptive. One party to this discussion has already been given a 75-hour block and as far as I can see that's done nothing to resolve the underlying issues. The danger I see is that the end result might be to drive users away from wikinews, and I don't think any of us wants to see that happen. I personally feel that we need a little bit less blocking rather than a little bit more.
  • Secondly, as I understand it, the rules on blocking state that a user who has made a mixture of constructive and disruptive edits should not be blocked - and also that blocking should only be used as a measure of last resort. I don't believe we're at the "last resort" stage, or even close. I believe that EVERY party to this discussion has had constructive things to say, therefore I don't believe that further blocking for any user would be appropriate, within my understanding of the rules.
  • And although the discussion has been heated at times, the personal slurs (though very unfortunate) have also, in my view, been rather mild. As far as I can see the discussion is now focussed on what people have said rather than on personalities per se. Attacking someone's comments is not the same as attacking their personality, whatever the perceived motivation. I think it's important that we preserve that distinction.
  • I don't agree that a heated watercooler discussion, however vigorously pursued (in my view BOTH parties have been fairly vigorous) constitutes, in itself, a disruption of the wiki. This particular discussion (in its various manifestations) has certainly been an engaging one and drawn in a lot of different people - but I see that less as proof of its "disruptive" intent and more that there may be some wider implications for the community which need addressing. Wikinewsies tend to be sensible people and I don't believe that so many people would (at various stages) have got involved if this was merely a personal dispute.

Rcameronw 17:41, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Alternative Proposal[edit]

  • I therefore propose as an alternative that, (both in general and for this specific case) where the community feels that a serious personal dispute is going on, we encourage both parties to talk one-on-one, either on email or IRC or on these pages, to try to resolve their differences constructively and agree better ways of working together. Although strong feelings have obviously been aroused here (and often are on collaborative projects within a diverse community), and some things have been said that shouldn't have been, I really think that we as a community are capable of sorting this out through discussion.

Rcameronw 17:41, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

  • I agree with the suggestion directly above. In fact, MrMiscellanious and I had a nice talk on IRC today and as I said above, I have no ill feelings toward him personally at all. Neutralizer 01:41, 15 October 2005 (UTC)