User talk:Miropolitan

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Welcome to Wikinews

A nice cup of coffee for you while you get started

Getting started as a contributor
How to write an article
  1. Pick something current?
  2. Use two independent sources?
  3. Read your sources before writing the story in your own words?. Do choose a unique title? before you start.
  4. Follow Wikinews' structure? for articles, answering as many of who what when where why and how? as you can; summarised in a short, two- or three-sentence opening paragraph. Once complete, your article must be three or more paragraphs.
  5. If you need help, you can add {{helpme}} to your talkpage, along with a question, or alternatively, just ask?

  • Use this tab to enter your title and get a basic article template.
    [RECOMMENDED. Starts your article through the semi-automated {{develop}}—>{{review}}—>{{publish}} collaboration process.]

 Welcome! Thank you for joining Wikinews; we'd love for you to stick around and get more involved. To help you get started we have an essay that will guide you through the process of writing your first full article. There are many other things you can do on the project, but its lifeblood is new, current, stories written neutrally.
As you get more involved, you will need to look into key project policies and other discussions you can participate in; so, keep this message on this page and refer to the other links in it when you want to learn more, or have any problems.

Wikipedia's puzzle-globe logo, © Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia's puzzle-globe logo, © Wikimedia Foundation
  Used to contributing to Wikipedia? See here.
All Wikimedia projects have rules. Here are ours.

Listed here are the official policies of the project, you may be referred to some of them if your early attempts at writing articles don't follow them. Don't let this discourage you, we all had to start somewhere.

The rules and guides laid out here are intended to keep content to high standards and meet certain rules the Wikimedia Foundation applies to all projects. It may seem like a lot to read, but you do not have to go through it all in one sitting, or know them all before you can start contributing.

Remember, you should enjoy contributing to the project. If you're really stuck come chat with the regulars. There's usually someone in chat who will be happy to help, but they may not respond instantly.

The core policies
Places to go, people to meet

Wiki projects work because a sense of community forms around the project. Although writing news is far more individualistic than contributing to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, people often need minor help with things like spelling and copyediting. If a story isn't too old you might be able to expand it, or if it is disputed you may be able to find some more sources and rescue it before it is listed for deletion.

There are always discussions going on about how the site could be improved, and your input is of value. Check the links here to see where you can give input to the running of the Wikinews project.

Find help and get involved
Write your first article for Wikinews!

Use the following box to help you create your first article. Simply type in a title to your story and press "Create page". Then start typing text to your story into the new box that will come up. When you're done, press "save page". That's all there is to it!

It is recommended you read the article guide before starting. Also make sure to check the list of recently created articles to see if your story hasn't already been reported upon.

Tempo di Valse ♪ 23:55, 13 March 2009 (UTC)Reply


Wikinews uses a fairly old version of DPL - not the newer DPL2. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:54, 16 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

Portal for user cats[edit]


Not to be negative, and i do appreciate your effort, but I'm not entirely sure making portals for user cats is an entirely good idea. (I made a comment at Portal talk:User en-2). Cheers. Bawolff 06:12, 17 March 2009 (UTC)Reply


Why create portals for User categories when there is a greater need for portals for news categories? The User en categories were a convenient place for practice - out-of-the-way (for news readers); a cul-de-sac (the second level has no sub-levels). Miropolitan (talk) 02:17, 18 March 2009 (UTC)Reply


My main concern with using portals for this, is that you want a list of every en user on the portal page. However DPL's have a limit on how many articles they display. (try doing a DPL in the sandbox of category published. It won't list 21,941 articles no matter how hard you try). With news articles, that's ok, as we are only interested in the last 10 or so. However for maintaince categories, this might become problem. Bawolff 04:58, 18 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

Portal User en creation notes[edit]

Check them out at Portal talk: User en

Proposal for a portal system[edit]

Alongside the category navigation system there should be a portal navigation system. With each portal having a corresponding category page (but some categories without a corresponding portal page). And with interportal links that preserve (but needn't duplicate) the linkage structure of the category system.

Continued at: Proposal for portal system

South Australia[edit]

Please have a look at other regional categories, South Australia is not how this has been done elsewhere (eg United States), and should be a redirect to a category or portal.

One of the key reasons for this is the headaches around maintaining lists manually. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:39, 4 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

On further considering this, I would assume there are protected pages need Category:South Australia added prior to making South Australia a redirect to portal or category.
A second point, is how - exactly - is South Australia geographically defined? Lastly, is 'South' or 'Southern' more appropriate? --Brian McNeil / talk 12:47, 4 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

South Australia is a state, like Kentucky is a state or Kerala is a state, with well-defined borders. Southern Australia is an informal descriptor, not well defined. Queenslanders call the "southern states" what Western Australians call the "eastern states" - New South Wales and Victoria (where the populous, self-important cities of Sydney and Melbourne are located). --Miropolitan, 4 May 2009

Thanks for the Australian geography lesson, it's just labelled "XXXX" on my map. :-P --Brian McNeil / talk 14:47, 4 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

Just got your email, it landed in my Bulk folder. The underlying Cateory: page should have all articles. If there are articles that should be in this category that are protected, then use {{editprotected}} on the article talk to get an admin to add that. Generally a header is then put on the Category: page using a DPL to list the most recently published stories.

Portals: are used where there is a fair churn of articles, a common template used for these will give a WP link, a latest news, and latest news in main categories like Economy and Business. You might not have one if there were only 2-3 news items per year.

Depending on what you have, the South Australia page would be a redirect to the portal or category. thus you can use the [[South Australia]] syntax in an actual news article and get directed to a portal. Early on in the project, South Australia would have been a link to the Wikipedia article, but if people are looking for news they should stay on the news site. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:39, 4 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

Region/topic pages - which namespace?[edit]

Reason to create a region or topic page in the Portal namespace: it gets listed alongside other region and topic pages, many of which (but not all, eg Massachussetts) can be found there. There is no Region category or Topic category.

Reason not to create a region portal and redirecting a main page to it: extra author effort, plus yet another redirect to confuse the viewer.

Reason to create a region page in the Category namespace: it gets listed as a subcategory of whatever other categories one placed it in, and not just as a page; this helps distinguish it from article pages.

Reason to not to bother listing regions/topics as categories:

  • A region/topic page can be distinguished from news article pages in a (higher) category's page-list by placing it at the front of that list, by listing it under blank (or some other non-alpha-numeric character) using the code .
  • Subcategories are often buried on second or third (etc) pages accessible by an alphabet menu, which renders it useless as an easy navigation system.
  • A newly created category will probably have no news articles in its automatic page-list, which makes it look kinda dumb. Getting all those published news articles that should be on this list actually on this list is difficult, time-consuming and problematic (for similar reasons to using DPLs, see next section).


Miropolitan, 2009.5.4

When to use Dynamic Page Lists[edit]

Reason to use DPLs: They allow news articles categorised under a region or topic to be listed under that region/topic (page/section) without (ongoing) user intervention. This is good for high volume news regions/topics.

Reasons to create article lists manually:

  • DPLs resist flexible formatting, eg make it hard to group articles by year.
  • DPLs rely on authors categorising their news articles appropriately. Changing an article's categorisation (especially after it's published) is harder than manually listing or not listing it.
  • The issue of whether a given article should be listed on a given region or topic page is not quite the same as how a news article should be categorised.
    • Article categorisation has a bearing on the organisation and appearance of the Category hierarchy.
    • An article's categorisation is part of the act of writing that article - authors may have their own reasons for how they do so.
    • Consideration of what to put on a region/topic page may have more to do with the composition of that page. Whether a given news article should be listed on (for example) the South Australia page as against the Australia page, or the Baxter Detention Centre page (for example) may depend on what other articles are listed on these pages, or on how the page authors/stakeholders want to develop the page. (Related example:) Should articles about father-daughter-sex or teacher-student-sex appear on the South Australia page just because they occur in South Australia, or involve South Australians? Some may argue that such relationships are so widespread that they hardly distinguish South Australia. On the other hand, such stories may be a useful balance to stories about all those noble and lofty things that South Australians get up to (like banning thin, non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags).

Miropolitan, 2009.5.4


Hi Miropolitan. Please add {{editprotected}} at the bottom of the collaboration pages. It keeps things in chronological order. Thanks. Cheers and happy editing, --SVTCobra 00:05, 6 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

Okay --Miropolitan (talk) 01:08, 6 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

On my first attempt to write a news article for Wikinews[edit]

Concerning my first attempt to write a news article for Wikinews: "Thin non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags banned in South Australia" (initially dated 4 May 2009)

Writing process and help from critics

Thank you to Tempodivalse for reminding me to create a category before linking an article to it. I'd assumed that linking to a category actually created the category, as with Wikipedia.

Thankyou to DragonFire1024 and Brianmc for criticisms that helped me improve the article, although I didn't follow all their suggestions.

I left in the section headers, against DragonFire's advice (Remove sections. Currently written more as an editorial). But I thought carefully about how and why I was using them, and added extra clarification text, for example under the Why? header a phrase of the form "reasons for doing so include". As for the reminder (warning?) that the article was written more as an editorial, I had trouble responding to this because the WN:SG style guide doesn't mention it. Nevertheless, the advice prompted me to make the article more factual, and to separate some of the facts, in particular to put separate close-to-the-source facts from the what-expresses-my-observations-attitudes-biases facts (not entirely successfully perhaps).

I took Brianmc's advice about beefing up the first (and second) paragraph with more who-what-why-when-how; it makes sense that the initial part of the article is a kind of summary that the rest of the article expands on. However, against Brianmc's advice, I didn't ruthlessly cull all the "women's magazine" bits, although admittedly I wasn't quite sure what B meant when he criticised the article's style for being too much like a women's magazine. (I was also was a bit put out - why pick on women?)

I must note here that I found little guidance in the WN:SG style guide about the issues Brianmc raised despite B's pointer to it. Come to think of it, DragonFire pointed me to the style guide, and I didn't find any advice on the issues D raised either - about sections, and (by implication) section headings, within the body of the news article - when, how, why to use them (or not use them). (Presumably the style guide has changed since B and D last read it, and it was rather an imagined style guide, or perhaps two imagined style guides, that they were referring to. Please don't ask me to rewrite the style guide to restore these imagined bits, which I was apparently in breach of.) This is unfortunate, because the issues raised are interesting ones, whatever one may think of sections/headers on the one hand, and the article style found in women's magazines (or indeed men's magazines), on the other.

On further reflection, I wonder whether D's concern about editorialising, and B's style concerns, are not in fact the same concern? And whether that concern is fairly widespread among (veteran) contributors. If so, where is the page that discusses it?

Loss of control

However, I have been unable to convert the lessons I have learned into a (in my eyes) better published article, because another writer has come in and kicked the article apart (albeit with the best of intentions, I'm sure).

Changes to the article include:

  • The section headers are gone. (What is it about pure slabs of text that so excites people that they do away with headers structuring the text and helping the reader navigate their way through it? Next they'll be doing away with the headline!)
  • The effort to describe a particular event, sticking closely to sources has been swamped by a wash of extraneous information - about efforts to control plastic bags in other regions; about bags "creating sewage pipe blockages providing a rich breeding ground for malaria and dengue fever" (presumably via mosquitoes), not however a problem in South Australia; about greenhouse gas issues in comparing plastic bags to paper ones.
  • The dot point structure is gone. (Again the overwhelming desire that some people have for unalloyed slabs of text.)
  • Lots more Wikipedia links embedded in the text. But that doesn't bother me.

My first reaction to (most of) these changes is (addressed to the other writer): Write your own damn news article! But I'm not supposed to say that, because "Wikinews articles are not "owned" by any of its editors, and anyone else is meant to be free to contribute to any article". Wikinews:Writing_an_article Okay, that's reasonable because there may be writers who simply can't begin an article, but who thrive on altering (improving, mutilating) other people's articles, and why deny them space to exist? Unfortunately, there is little guidance on how to deal with differences of opinion on article composition - I guess the wiki process is still being worked out (which may in fact be one of the main reasons that Wikinews was set up).

I do note that the other writer hasn't bothered to discuss their changes on the talk page (and they are major changes). But I suspect that veteran contributors who read to this point will merely sigh, "That's Wiki".

My second reaction is: If another contributor has useful information, they should create a new section, and put it in there. For example a section on what other regions are doing, in contrast to South Australia perhaps). Oh, but I forgot, articles aren't supposed be divided up into sections. (In which case, what's to stop various points wandering all over the text in a random fashion? As they seem have done here.)


At the end of the day (and I really should have gone to bed an hour ago), my involvement in Wikinews is to primarily to learn - about how to write news articles, how to use wikicode, and how to collaborate. So I've still come out ahead (more or less).

However, I'm not sure I'd recommend writing a Wikinews article to anyone else. (Why lose friends and antagonise enemies, as they say).

--Miropolitan (talk) 16:15, 11 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

Deletion of my first attempt to write a news article for Wikinews[edit]

Copy of my post (22 May 2009) to Wikinews:Water cooler/policy

(Section 24) Abysmal treatment of newcomers - Wikinews as an Orwellian state

I recently (4 May 2009) submitted an article called "Thin non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags banned in South Australia". It was blocked from publication with minimal and inadequate explanations, then altered by another contributor who didn't bother to comment on their changes. Now THIS NEWS ITEM HAS CEASED TO EXIST - it doesn't even remain as a disputed, unpublished article. All record of it on my "my contributions" page has vanished. This is straight out of George Orwell's "1984"! Wikinews, it seems, has been annexed by some Owellian Ministry of Truth!

--Miropolitan (talk) 15:20, 22 May 2009 (UTC)Reply

For anyone who's interested, I have created a copy of said news article: Thin non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags banned in South Australia

--Miropolitan (talk) 15:56, 22 May 2009 (UTC)Reply