Wikinews:Review process poll

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This is a poll on how to deal with the review process. Right now, unreviewed stories can be put on the Main Page alongside reviewed ones (see Wikinews:Article stages). Should we continue this practice, or choose an alternative one? Voting ends January 21, 2005 at 00:01 UTC.

Allow unreviewed stories to be published on the Main Page and index pages[edit]

  1. wunderer 10:51, 02 Dec 2004 (MET) I strongly advise not to spawn this project's death as soon as as a midwifery service. The worst case scenario - apart from a lack off readers - in my eyes would be extremists' flamewars being realised in an editing and deleting competition. Even should this worst-case scenario effold: In my eyes this page would still have no less credibility then any major newspaper, epaper or RF-Channel. I believe wikiusers to be intelligent enough to value any information that was either unprocessed by the agenda setting media or suffered from rightwing and leftwing distortion and thus offering - in stark contrast to the conventional media - differing views... I find the idea of an unlimited publishing and discussion system by which individuals might provoke a majority with their views sort of an ideal. The idea of saving us from dialog or conflict ist highly ridiculous - or suspicious, depending on who offers it...
  2. Jeeperjake 07:21, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC) Since all "news" is really about credibility anyway, why not allow & encourage all users/viewers to become a part of an article's "Credibility Rating Scheme"? Even go so far as to allow/encourage the authors to assign credibility ratings to their own work... For example, a news story that I heard from my wife, who heard it from her mother who heard it from her neighbor who actually witnessed "it" might get an 8 out of 10 credibility rating from me - the author... Others can opine as well. I'm far from certain about how the technicalities of this notion could be brought to wiki-reality (I'm new to this) - but news can happen instantly, and credibility much less so - but with time & exposure, it would/could all be available for everyone to see, choose and participate for themselves... credibility rating with credibility descriptors?
  3. Jimbo Wales 01:03, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC) Strongly support this. The plan to start with a complete a priori "sounds good in theory" review process is quickly proving to be a disaster. Even the wording of this poll is deeply flawed, because it suggests that we are discussing whether to change the policy of the site. But the policy of the site at the present time is just: it is a wiki. The process proposed by Erik has been proposed in a deeply inappropriate way for a wiki, and it must be eliminated as quickly as possible in order for a true policy to emerge which meets the real needs of users of the site.
    I'd like you to elaborate on this "deeply inappropriate way". All the pages have the Template:Proposed policy above them, and we make it clear pretty much everywhere that people can do whatever they want. What is inappropriate about that? I'm not going to go into any arguments about the review process itself until I've collected some more data about what's happening before and after your changes.--Eloquence
  4. Kurt Weber 19:18, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC) Perhaps this can be changed in the future, but for the time being I agree with a comment made by someone else on another talk page--the main page needs to be vibrant and dynamic to attract attention and interest. The gross volume is simply too small (and the volume of reviewed stories even smaller) at this point to only allow reviewed articles to be put there. Keep the unreviewed tag, though.
    How then, do you propose to filter out quasi-stories like World's_Most-Spammed_Man? It's inappropriate for a news site, really, and a quick check would have filtered it out. I think that the risk of stories like this giving a bad name to the site outweighs the nebulous "vibrancy" advantages. In my opinion, the "unreviewed" tag doesn't go far enough in highlighting the unreliable nature of those stories. Lankiveil 06:07, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    I saw the "Bill Gates, Most Spammed Man" story on a number of mainstream, respected news sites, including BBC, CNN, CBS, and Forbes, so I'm not sure why you feel it would be inappropriate for Wikinews? This story served as an anchor piece to highlight the growing volume of spam. Until Wikinews has reporters out covering stories on the beat, these "issue" pieces could provide a hook on which to hang original reporting and analysis. --DV 17:39, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    I've updated the story to include more mainstream and international sources, as well as a Washington Post story with some analysis. --DV 17:56, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  5. Rainbird 05:29, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC) Any volunteer organization draws participants because they can see their own personal vision into fruition. This is what makes publishing one's writings on wikipedia very desirable for many people. Naturally, if the content is inappropriate, it can be quickly reverted or deleted by others who come, wishing to use the encyclopedia. I believe that, psychologically, the obstacle of a several hour review process would put people off who are not otherwise obliged to come here to share their time and skills with Wikinews. Besides which, I believe we would see that awkward material will be edited or deleted exponentially more quickly by the greater volume of people who frequent the main page. Why do we revert a page which we notice is vandalized? Because we ourselves desire to use the wiki - we have an agenda that day, and we want the pages usable. There's no incentive to get involved in editing, if the articles are on some back burner of the wiki. I believe that a tag which says "unreviewed" is perfectly sufficient to let readers know that this article might contain unreliable information. Of course, eventually the system will have to be revamped, when the volume of articles accelerates to where the pages fill up within minutes with new writings.
  6. Tomos 03:30, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC) Listing them is okay as long as articles are clearly marked as unreviewed or under review. (We do that both on the Main page and at the top of the article.) It is no secret that we are individually not like top-notch professional journalists. The early phase of the wiki projects would in general benefit more from calling participants than offering finished products to readers/ re-users. Besides, we can have an alternative main page, if it is important to offer a list of reviewed articles exclusively. I will post some more comments about Jimbo's opinion on the talk page because I am not sure his strong language is warranted.
  7. AaronSw 03:45, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC) You can mark them as unreviewed. You can put them in a separate section. You can get rid of them later if need be. But right now we need everything we can get.
    We don't need everything we can get. We've got plenty of stories at the moment - what we need is organisation and quality. Ambi 03:47, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  8. For me, the idea of Wiki is that it is filled with most current information, hyperlinked and organised in various categories - like an expanded Current Events section from Wikipedia. It is not always perfect - but it is unique and at least aspiring for worldwide NPOV. If we go with reviewed stories only, we will be trying to duplicate the classic news portals - and this will kill WikiNews as good as anything. -- 15:39, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC) Forgot to sign, sorry - that is me. --Piotrus 15:43, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  9. Current events on wikipedia has proven to work well without a formal review process - so far I've seen no real desasters but attempts to insert POV or otherwise questionable content are quickly reverted by the community. So it can work. The review process here goes for me against the spirit of a wiki: If you see a wrong information in a news why not simply change it? if you see an irrelevant news on the main page why not simply remove it? The review process also asserts a IMO wrong sort of ownership of an article. News should be written in a collaborative way, people adding and improving upon what one person started, not just commenting and reviewing. Even when the review process is not supposed to establish an ownership of an article, it inherently leads people to think in such a way. --Elian 17:05, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  10. If all articles had editorial oversight prior to their first posting on the outward facing pages, it would probably raise the quality of their first appearance, but an overly conservative review process would also drastically reduce the timeliness of those articles.
    Unlike an encyclopedia, "news" implies a story about something very recent, and a lengthy review process would be self-defeating.
    While I could see the merit of a pre-publication review process on Wikipedia (I don't think encyclopedia articles need to be posted as fast as news does), I'm rather surprised there is any serious discussion about setting up a daily, or even a weekly news organization with more pre-publication editorial oversight than Wikipedia has.
    As a compromise, I wouldn't object if there was a pre-publication stage that restricted itself to checking for profanity, vandalism, or obviously false news stories, but exercised no other editorial control pre-publication, leaving the standard wiki processs to fix up stories in later editions.
    Newspapers print improved versions of stories in the second and third editions all the time, and cable news routinely revises stories throughout the day for mistakes, updated information, and just plain better wording. No reason this site needs to hold back until a story is "perfect". Timeliness will be important if Wikinews is to succeed. If Wikinews gets a reputation as being slow to post stories about important breaking news events, visitors will decide that they best go elsewhere to get up-to-date news.
    By the way - this looks like an exciting new project! --DV 14:01, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  11. 119 19:00, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  12. I haven´t participated on this project yet, because I wait for the newssection for my foreign language. The review process is just to slow - and wiki means "fast"... MilesTeg 14:03, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    Just to note, the review process as it stands hasn't been used since the second day, and nothing at all has been used for the last 3 or 4. Lyellin 17:32, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  13. I think Wikinews does need to review stories posted on the main and index pages. I like the idea of Wikinews but have several concerns, the accuracy, timeliness, relevance of the news topic, and unprofessional behavior. Without some sort of review process you run into a credibility problem. Is the review board planning on checking for accuracy. But then again with a ad hoc review process readers get "late" news. Is this acceptable? I also like the idea of tagging stories with "unreviewed" informing the reader that the information contained in the article might not be completely reliable. My other issue with the review process is what is acceptable "news". For instance today at Mcdonalds, they brought back the McRib, this is great news for me but for others it might not be acceptable, where do we draw the line between? Or do we provide a section for bizzarre news, like ananova.The other issue I have is that without some sort of oversight the posting of news can become very unprofessional. For instance if I feel that a certain item is news worthy I post the article and someone else decides that it isn't news worthy and deletes it ... you see where this is going. At least with a review process the deleting of news doesn't become personal. There are many issues that still need to worked out. Wikinews will come to some sort of common ground that we can mostly agree with.
  14. IlyaHaykinson 02:10, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC) I think that the current review process is too slow, and it should not be up to editors and 8 hours to prevent an important news story from apperaing on prominent parts of the site. I am proposing an Alternative Review Process instead of the current model.
  15. They should be. With a note that says they're yet unreviewed, probably, but they still should be published. Anything else would be un-wiki-like. -- Schnee 06:23, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  16. I support this also. Richard 13:57, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  17. Support. It's the only way to have recent top stories. --Whosyourjudas 03:58, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  18. Once we have a working review system, maybe we can rethink keeping unreviewed articles off the main page. Rhobite 15:15, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  19. Support. We should not stifle creativity - too many hoops will keep quality writers from joining. We just need to add more admins to keep a watchful eye on vandalism and site hijackers. Davodd | Talk 23:23, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  20. Give people the option of a semi-closed review (ie articles listed on a page or section specifically marked for that purpose) so that those unsure of the quality of some work can get feedback and gain confidence before making the work's availability widely known, but do not force this as a criterion for publishing, since wiki by definition leaves the article open to criticism and alteration by any user from day one.
    Making a review stage compulsory is both redundant (as I just explained) and useless: since if it's about ensuring quality of news, it fails because it opens the possibilty of denial of service by some mischief maker or dunderhead causing good articles to not be passed through review. If a ratings process is to be added, then add it, but understand that it is only rating system, not a censor for excluding bad content. In wikispace, 'bad' content is merely content that has not yet been refined enough, and in time, it may be improved.
    A problem with a ratings system in wiki is that the content changes. A public news forum with some kind of user-ratings sytem is a nice idea, but this is not really the place for it imho. Perhaps someone like already has this?
    Another issue with it is that users may spend their small amount of input in rating articles instead of in fixing them. It's already a natural urge to criticise an article instead of fixing it. I think for people to learn to fix articles best, they need to concentrate as much effort on that one aspect, rather than have confusing options of 'do i rate it, or do i fix it' (yes, people really are confused that easily - if the answer is not clear, they often choose #3 - abandon it).
    The only way ratings might work to ensure quality is to tie it to an accreditation system, as has been suggested, but it seems difficult to pull off on a wide scale without meeting people in the flesh. With time, perhaps we can identify reliable personnel through some voting system. For now, leave it.
    One very very quick ratings system would be simply to add 'X number of views, last change Y hours ago' data to each page - perhaps even a quick graph of number of changes vs time. If some page has been seen by 13 million people and remained unchanged, it's likely that it's factual. Simeon 15:14, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  21. AliceCrypto (Talk|Contributions): An article should go straight onto the main page templates. By the time it is vetted, it would cease to be news.
  22. What would be useful is to have all articles on the front page, along with an icon (or set of icons) that, at a glance, convey the status of the article regarding completeness, neutrality, and other attributes. That way I could tell what to click on if I were looking for a good news article to read, and what to click on if I want to contribute to an article. Samrolken 08:50, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Only allow pages that have undergone the current process to be published, gradually improve the process[edit]

Allow alternative process, but require process review for all "published" articles[edit]

Allow people to suggest and follow alternative processes, but do not allow stories to be published which have not followed any review process
  1. Eloquence 19:13, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  2. Lyellin 19:29, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC) We know that for awhile, the lack of editors will slow down the process of review. That doesn't mean we should throw away the review process- rather, we should make it as time efficent as possible, and get more editors here.
  3. Lankiveil 02:27, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC) It would be silly not to consider alternative schemes, but there should be SOME form of screening.
  4. No screening is a terrible, terrible, terrible, idea. Bye bye quality. Bye bye NPOV. Ambi 03:43, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    nobody talks about no screening at all. The question is how it should be done. --Elian 17:07, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    I would be happy to have a cursory review for profanity, vandalism, and blatantly false stories, but only for those reasons. A daily cannot have a four to eight hour review period for every story - there aren't enough hours in the day. If anyone wants to hold back reports because of POV issues, it might be prudent to seriously consider scaling back to a weekly or even monthly magazine format, and get rid of any illusions that this is a daily reporting site. I'm happy to participate in either type of organization, but a consensus must be reached quickly, or contributors will be working at odds with one another and start arguing due to the confusion. --DV 09:26, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    To take the other side, I for one am comfortable with the continual news cycles typical of Web sites, and see no need to pick a daily or weekly format more typical of print media. As long as the most important and highest-quality articles get highest placement and the least important or least developed articles get lowest placement, the Main Page editors should feel free to modify the Main Page whenever they feel news events and available articles warrant an update, instead of worrying about daily or weekly deadlines. It would be easy to add a section of links to a "virtual weekly magazine" of articles that have been composed over a longer period of time, but such a list should not preclude others from more frequent reporting. To resolve issues of participants working at odds, perhaps there should be a way to distinguish articles intended to report breaking news from more in-depth articles. I think a good way would be for the article creators to list a deadline for intended publication, and then agree to spawn a separate article with a longer deadline if some writers want more time to develop a longer treatment, so the shorter article can be reviewed and posted faster while the longer article is being developed.
  5. BenM 07:28, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  6. ChrisG 12:23, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC) Goodbye credibility, NPOV, quality. More importantly this isn't what people voted for on meta. It seems people want to run before they can crawl. I'm not just a doomsayer I would support Wikinews if it was a weekly magazine with proper review procedures. I could easily see it being superior to the likes of Newsweek, and up there with the Economist. If that scales then consider more frequent coverage.
  7. Guaka 18:59, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  8. MichelleG 12:28, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC) Not having review procedures, at least for Main Page stuff, would be an NPOV disaster. I think we should be open to different ways of doing things, though.
  9. TalkHard 11:28, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  10. carlosar 12:42, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC) - Only reviewed articles should appear at the Main Page.
  11. sydhart 2:49, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC) - perhaps a frontpage section of "breaking news", with headline, one sentence, and lower review standards.
  12. Unrevewed articles should not be mixed with reviewed articles on the main page, but I would have no objection to unreviewed articles being listed in a separate section of the main page along with an indication of the status. Important stories should move to increasingly prominent positions on the main page as the stories develop and solidify.
  13. Cap'n Refsmmat 21:29, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC) Perhaps there should be a link on the main page saying "View and review new articles" or something of the like. The casual reader is not going to come and edit articles, and they wouldn't press that link; the people who would edit it are the people who are dedicated, and they wouldn't be deterred by having to press a link. Everyone else wants the nice, clean, polished articles on the front page.
  14. 13:05, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC) - I also feel that only reviewed articles should appear at the Main Page.
  15. Antithesis 20:05, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC) - Same here. I will look into the answer to this question on the site later -- I assume it has come up already -- but it does concern me that we keep to the highest possible standard of accuracy and integrity, even if we are volunteers. This project could be very successful if we follow the same ethical rules as professional journalists, particularly with respect to reporting (especially in the case of original stories) only what is *provably* true. What people put into print has a great deal of power, which we must wield with grace, honesty and foresight. Professional journalists have editors. So should we.
  16. Agree and Comment: (I shortened the header.) I assume we want to avoid the w:Indymedia Google fiasco, and institute controls on at the very least RSS syndicated stories. But the wiki itself seems like an odd place for display of news items themselves by the same rules. Certainly vandalism is the main issue, and openness carries with it some soft tolerance of it. Display of news versus editing of news is the issue, perhaps a "static" site that shows all RSS syndicated content would make sense? Then theres the issue of needing solid back-linking to the wiki articles for editing... -Stevertigo 20:33, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  17. jkrusky 22:09, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC) Only reviewed articles should appear on the Main Page. Unreviewed articles should be accessible through a link off of the main page. Would it be taboo to suggest protecting reviewed articles on the Main Page?
  18. I do believe that review is necessary. Andrevan 19:58, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Allow only reviewed articles from the main page, but allow non-reviewed articles in a special "hot-off-the-press"-type section[edit]

Is the concern more about rumor not being corroborated or for poorly written articles to be better edited? It seems to me that it'd be nice to allow the option for people to be able to describe events as quickly as possible (in either case), but in a section distinct from the main page (or from a special reviewed articles section) where people would especially take it with a grain of salt. Brettz9 03:52, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)


My original picture of Wikinews was more like a giant news blog than like a traditional news agency. After all, what does "publish" mean in a wiki context? Some sort of filter might be needed, but articles written from easilly-accessible sources (like other news sites) shouldn't need extensive review, just a check that the sources actually say what we are reporting. Articles seem to be languishing in review for no apparent reason.
I think that project should start with as few rules and formal procedures as possible, and create rules only when they are found necessary. That's what has worked for Wikipedia, and I think it can work for Wikinews, too. Isomorphic 17:58, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

--Carlosar 01:03, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC) I think that the elimination of the tags (under review, reviewed, not reviewed) in the article is a good thing. These tags were ugly and not too much value (can we gurantee that an article with the reviewed tag is really a good one?). Also the process is simpler now.

--Carlosar 01:07, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC) Proper review procedures are the big trouble till now in my opinion.