Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2011/December

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WN:HOW

From looking at a comment on my talk - somewhat of a belated plea for help - I've created WN:HOW (Okay, it redirects to Wikinews:How do I ... ?, but you get the idea).

I think if we can, somehow, list most of the common beginner's mistakes this may be a better form to present the information in. I've just started by filling in a few headings, not any real content as-yet. Please feel free to expand the list of questions that should be answered. --Brian McNeil / talk 00:29, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Hm. Content issues I've explained recently (need translation to succinct how-to items):
  • choosing a focal news event
  • choosing a headline
  • what information to include (basic questions and significance spring to mind, but surely we can do better than that)
  • inverted pyramid
  • when to attribute
  • what to do when the information isn't in the sources
And of course there's the ever popular 'how to avoid copyvio'. --Pi zero (talk) 03:30, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
For these, more content-construction related, points I think we have to aim for lede-sized answers.
On copyvio, someone at GLAMsterdam was bold enough to mention the Eastern Pachyderm, and offer an explanation; The education systems of places like India, Pakistan, China, and much of the Middle-to-Far East, have a tendency towards rôte learning, and copying your teacher's words is considered a respectful thing to do – with Western cultures having a far stronger concept of plagiarism as being "bad". That, perhaps, could feed into why to avoid copyvio instead of how-to. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:39, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Come to think, I know someone who taught a course in Nepal during her sabbatical some years back, and found the students' natural reflex was to cooperate with each other during exams — and it mostly didn't bother the Nepalese faculty. --Pi zero (talk) 13:19, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

WN:Never assume

My first draft upgrade/replacement for AGI. I was pleasantly surprised to realize how much of the previous material was just madly backpedaling from telling people to assume something in the first place. --Pi zero (talk) 04:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • That is nice and succinct. I quite like it. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Category reform

Our categorization infrastructure ain't what it oughta be. Though not quite ready to make specific proposals, I'd like to run some tentative ideas past the community and get preliminary feedback — so, hopefully, I'm not completely blindsided by big objections later.

  • Category creation criteria should often depend on more than just how many articles there are. When a category has children, it should have a relatively comprehensive and coherent set of children; a simple example is provinces/states within a country, but the principle should be applicable to more abstract topics as well. Advantages:
  • easier to remember to populate existing categories if one knows what categories to expect to exist (we have cats for every country in the world, even though iirc a few of them have only one or two articles).
  • easier to keep track of which categories need creating.
  • Not all extant category parent–child relations are meant to suggest that all articles in the child are relevant to the parent, and of those that do suggest relevance, some only suggest slight relevance. Automatic inclusion can perhaps be arranged without a bot (see b:Template:Allbooks category), but there are then two questions:
  • When is automatic inclusion actually appropriate?
  • Should there be a distinction between articles that are explicitly related to a parent category, and articles that are only related to it through inclusion? We don't want to make queries difficult to make thereby, and one wonders whether the primary category should be the narrower one or the comprehensive one (in the Wikibooks setup, the narrower one is primary and the comprehensive "all books" category is secondary, but the reasons for that seem to be peculiar to Wikibooks versus Wikinews).
  • Given that categorization maintenance seems inherently a long-term, therefore incremental, task, might we want a maintenance page associated with each category, to keep track of which things have and haven't been done/checked for that particular category? (Yes, my inspiration is wanting to distribute my User:Pi zero/Categories page across the categories rather than have a single monolithic page, but I'd hope to improve, perhaps by a lot, on the form of such maintenance pages).

--Pi zero (talk) 13:53, 17 December 2011 (UTC)