Wikinews:Water cooler/policy

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Policies and guidelines and the Style guide contain or link to most of the current en.Wikinews policies and guidelines, however policy is based on the accepted practices of the day on Wikinews, often these might not be written down. This section of the Water cooler focuses on discussions regarding policy issues.

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


Request for Autochecked?[edit]

Hi. Is there a page to add requests to become Autochecked? All my edits currently have to be checked by other users, which I think takes up their time unnecessarily, as I have a clean block log here, and am trusted on other projects (en.wp Sysop). Thanks, It Is Me Here t / c 14:58, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Well, in theory you'd request it at WN:RFP; but frankly, I don't think we want that here. Even the most trusted reviewers don't want their edits autochecked, because the review bit is a very big deal here (think global impact, with no exaggeration in the term). If there were a way to autocheck everywhere except in mainspace, I imagine we'd all go for it, because the review bit has a different meaning on the other spaces; but as long as autocheck includes mainspace, we'd want to limit it to very highly circumscribed cases (i.e., bots approved by the community — and we're pretty cautious about granting the bot flag). --Pi zero (talk) 15:16, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
We should probably mark Wikinews:Autochecked users as deprecated or historical or something similar. —Tom Morris (talk) 13:01, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Terms of use[edit]


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I propose we adopt the following replacement for the new Paid contributions without disclosure section of the Terms of Use, as the section allows local projects to replace it.

Disclosure of paid contributions on English Wikinews is not a Terms of Use concern; it is a local policy concern.

My intent is to keep this issue under local control, rather than a legal issue that someone might try to take out of our hands (bearing in mind various unscrupulous actions taken pretty regularly by anti-Wikinews agitators). I've worded it to make clear we aren't sanctioning paid editing, in contrast to the replacement wording adopted by Commons: "The Wikimedia Commons community does not require any disclosure of paid contributions from its contributors."

The ostensible purpose of the addition, as I understand it, is to provide a new tool for cracking down on paid editing, by making it a legal issue. However, a strict interpretation of it would allow legal sanction, outside our control, for things some of which we would consider perfectly innocent, and others of which we are quite capable of addressing ourselves (indeed, we're much more able, than is Wikipedia, to take measures when necessary, both sanctioning individuals and issuing {{correction}}s on articles). --Pi zero (talk) 19:35, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Ah control. Where would we be without it? Not here if the agitators had it. Any COI issue, of which paid contributions are part, are all currently handled perfectly well locally. So Support --RockerballAustralia contribs 22:40, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
Makes sense. --Gryllida 06:53, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with what everyone's said so far. Support--Patrick M (TUFKAAP) (talk) 13:57, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Support Commons has rather different concerns than Wikipedia or Wikinews. I admire the simplicity of their policy. It is based on WMF's requirement that A Wikimedia Project community may adopt an alternative paid contribution disclosure policy which has to be listed at wmf:Alternative paid contribution disclosure policies. I doubt that this qualifies. I think you need to draw one up. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:45, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
That's possible; we'll see. A reasonable person would say the whole thing was inapplicable to us because, prior to the foundation's ill-conceived tinkering, we already had policy in place that impinges on paid contribution; but we're not talking about reasonable people, we're talking about lawyers. Commons had the advantage of, afaics, genuinely not caring about paid contributions. We have a more difficult task, in that we have pre-existing policy that wasn't broken before, and we're trying to undo the damage the foundation has done without creating a legal statement that could be construed to interfere with our other policies. If it proves necessary later, we'll come back to the community to endorse a more explicit phrasing approved by legal (the essence of which would be what we're already agreeing to here). --Pi zero (talk) 23:19, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Support Removing any legal problems that the WMF policy might cause is certainly something we should change. Our policy on-wiki should remain the way we handle paid contributions. —Mikemoral♪♫ 08:00, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Thought: Is the proposed wording being added to a particular policy page (WN:COI for example) or are we just going to link to this discussion if it comes up? --RockerballAustralia contribs 08:28, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
It's part of the WMF's terms of use on the Foundation wiki. Wikinews's change to it will be listed on Meta at meta:Alternative paid contribution disclosure policies. We probably should note this at WN:COI though. —Mikemoral♪♫ 05:01, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Comment Yep, specifically under 'Declaring an interest'. --Bddpaux (talk) 21:33, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Comment I've stated in the sitenotice this discussion would run to the end of August. --Pi zero (talk) 11:24, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Ehhhh, whut? I think the wording should be: "Disclosure of paid contributions on English Wikinews is not a Terms of Use concern; it is one covered under our local conflict of interest policy.". But, yes, I fully Support a localised wording.
It'd be nice to see WMF Legal give us a hand with the wording of local policies; I'm glad, and mildly amused, to see Commons avoiding The Other Place's paranoia about being slightly non-PC, and doing so for completely different reasons from those leading to Wikinews needing its own, subtly different, protections. For one, I don't want to see the asshattery that put me right-off contributing allowed. No, I don't mean Pi zero's edit, but the baying for blood in The Other Place — on no-less than Jimmy Wales' Talk Page.
On an unrelated note, I do hope people like the Purty pictures, I'll be looking for someone who fancies picking a few articles/reviews to help put some text around that. I've seen headlines in the Evening News about this being the most-successful Fringe ever. They mention The Stand, which is on Queen Street; I was just opposite The Doctors, with a purple piece of furniture, and asked where it was. I said "Queen Street", they said "So down that way?", and I smiled as I said "oh, aye."
They never asked how far. :P --Brian McNeil / talk 03:20, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
I did consider wording it to specifically refer to COI, and hesitated over whether that, in something supposed to replace the section of the ToU, could be construed to mean that no other policy besides COI could apply to paid contribution (such as, NPOV). I also thought about asking for community feedback on the wording before actually proposing the thing, but shied away from doing so because I've seen these things get bogged down in discussions of what to do and not get to actually doing something. --Pi zero (talk) 11:29, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Portals lead stories[edit]

Is there any limitations on updating the main stories which appear on Portals, or any guidelines on what these stories should be? Some of them are looking dated and I wished to check before just changing them. CSJJ104 (talk) 20:39, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

There's not a formal limitation to what you're wanting to do. I don't think anyone would mind if you do it. However, Portals seem to be deprecated in favour of Categories. --RockerballAustralia contribs 20:50, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
I had noticed that several are linked to from the main page, or are in turn linked to from one that is, although often these ones do mot have story summaries such as Portal:United Kingdom. Should more effort be spent on ones linked from the main page, or at least a consistency established to what the new page links to (either portals or categories)? CSJJ104 (talk) 21:07, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
I was noticing just a day or two ago that there are some portals linked from the main page, and I thought about what it would take to get rid of those links.
  • Many of our categories, but not all, use {{topic cat}}, which makes for a pretty snazzy category page. Compare, for example, Category:India which uses {{topic cat}}, to Category:Russia which (at this moment) does not. One thing we'd certainly want to do, before retargeting the links from portals to categories, would be to convert all of those categories to use {{topic cat}}. I started doing that the other day.
  • There is another difference between categories and portals. As it was explained to me long ago, the categories are meant to be used by researchers searching our archives, while the portals are meant for readers. I'm not sure I completely understand that distinction, but as a practical matter, most portals offer one thing not offered by {{topic cat}}: an article-creation form. I can appreciate the desirability of sending readers from the main page to a page that offers an article-creation form. So I'm not sure what to think about that.
  • As a further plot twist, I hope soon to start seriously deploying the new generation of semi-automation I've been been developing for the project. This has two different possible implications for the portals. On one hand, I would expect to replace those article creation forms with a sophisticated interactive article wizard, accessed by a simple button that (unlike a big cumbersome article-creation form) could be conveniently added to {{topic cat}}. On the other hand, the main reason the portals fell out of use, so I gather, was that it was too much work to keep their leads up-to-date, and it's possible the new generation of semi-automation could provide a way to conveniently update portal leads.
--Pi zero (talk) 22:05, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
I've now upgraded all the region categories to use {{topic cat}}. --Pi zero (talk) 12:36, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Would it be appropriate to update categories with {{topic cat}} in any categories I come across which don't already use it. Also, what, if any, are the criteria for creating a category? CSJJ104 (talk) 23:35, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

'In Depth' articles[edit]

Can anyone explain what is meant by in depth articles? I have seen the phrase in the Wikinews:Content_guide and in several article titles, but cannot find a policy describing what is meant by it.

Thanks to those who have answered my questions up to now, trying to understand how this wiki works. CSJJ104 (talk) 23:30, 22 August 2014 (UTC)