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]

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)

This gives me a gastric bleed.........[edit]

Wikinews:Credentials Please read this carefully. --Bddpaux (talk) 20:36, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

[1]; [2]. --20:57, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Archiving policy and dead links[edit]

Is there any sort of precedent to update dead links in archived articles with links to a web archiving service, e.g., or WebCite? If not, then I'd like to propose that we update Wikinews:Archive conventions to specifically allow for updating the link to go to an archived version of the page. Looking at Missing dog's severed head found by 17-year old girl for example, the link to the CNN source is no longer working, but Internet Archive has a link to a version archived March 25, 2007. For updating the actual {{source}} template, we would possibly have need for a new template with a parameters for the original and archived URLs and the archive date. As an example, compare

AP. "Girl finds missing dog's head in box at house" — CNN, March 15, 2007


AP. "Girl finds missing dog's head in box at house" — CNN, March 15, 2007. Archived from the original on 27 March 2007.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? —Mikemoral♪♫ 07:35, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

  • We've kept well-away from that previously. Not because we're keen to keep broken links, but because we've had people try to go directly to such archiving services and serve up a withdrawn version of a source for use in review.
The cited example is perfectly legitimate, unless CNN decide to dick with their robots.txt and kill off keeping copies public. Other sources have already gone down that route, which makes chasing archived copies a potentially-recurring headache.
Personally, I don't think chasing down valid links to archived copies of sources, on our already-archived articles, is of sufficient benefit to the project mission to be worth devoting significant time to. Were someone to put forward a compelling argument to do so, my suggestion would be that this is done as an additional parameter on {{source}} so we preserve the originally cited, and reviewed-from, URL. Note: Editing {{source}} should be done with extreme caution. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:46, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
It's not necessarily an important task to go around doing, but my suggestion here was to amend WN:ARCHIVE to make it explicitly allowed to add archived copies of pages. Rather than changing {{source}}, we might try something like a {{archived source}}, perhaps like the citation I used above. It would certainly be easier that trying to edit {{source}} without breaking it. —Mikemoral♪♫ 05:47, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
  • That makes sense; not a template to extend the list of sources, but to provide a "[Archived version]" link after the now-dead source. Details like which archive, and date retrieved, could be available via a tooltip on the link. That'd keep the format/layout disruption to a minimum. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:28, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
  • An additional field on the {{source}} template, and a note about it at WN:ARCHIVE, seems reasonable. It's not actually a change to the archive policy, after all, and should be doable without crossing over into instruction creep. --Pi zero (talk) 11:26, 8 October 2014 (UTC)
Hm, somehow missed the point about a separate template on first reading. I can see the merit. Then again, we could add it along with another field I've had in mind to add for some time, in a single edit to conserve server kitties. --Pi zero (talk) 11:33, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

For a mention on WN:ARCHIVE, probably something in the "Post-archive edits" section among the lines of "The {{source}} template may be updated [or {{archived source}} template may be added] if a link to a source is dead to include a new link to an archived version from an archival service such as the Internet Archive or WebCite" would do. I don't think that contributes to instruction creep much, but it's an idea. Updating {{source}} or creating a new template might be the only issue here, though the later is likely easier to accomplish. —Mikemoral♪♫ 06:32, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Creating a separate template would create an unbounded future maintenance liability, of making sure changes to one template are echoed in the other. That's undesirable.
When adding a field with significant logic, one could use the same technique I've already used with the {{source}} template's handling of author fields written in all-caps: call a subtemplate. Thereafter, one can change the behavior of that one feature by editing the template, with far less impact than an edit to {{source}} itself. (In the case of all-caps author fields, changes to that one feature now impact a template used on fewer than 1300 pages (and shrinking) rather than one used on more than 20,000 (and growing).) --Pi zero (talk) 11:18, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
Then it would seem that incorporating it into the {{source}} template is the more desirable option here, though that's rather beyond my abilities to make such a change. —Mikemoral♪♫ 09:38, 10 October 2014 (UTC)