Wikinews:Water cooler/Original

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This project page is inactive or outdated, and is primarily kept here for archival purposes. If you're interested in using this page again, please discuss on the water cooler.

The Water Cooler is the general discussion page about Wikinews, similar to the Village Pump on the English Wikipedia. Please try to merge recent comments here with the new level-two sections before archiving.

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Please vote in Wikinews:Polls.

For full text of past Water Cooler discussions visit: Archive 1 | Archive 2

Ongoing policy discussions which started on the water cooler.

Ongoing discussions about site features.


Summarized Q&A and FAQs[edit]

see: Wikinews:FAQ

Unanswered questions[edit]

  • What is the official definition of "neutrality?"
    • A:
  • I am a news user of 'wiki' - how does it work?
    • A:

Summarized suggestions[edit]

  • Why doesn't international date formatting work here? EX: [[January 3]]
    • A:
  • I suggest RSS for Wikinews
    • A:
  • I suggest an Orphan articles(you can choose another better name if you like) section
  • It would be very convenient to have a Wikipedia link in the left navigation bar.
    • A:
  • Perhaps we could use a template for out-of-date articles that says when information has been updated in a newer article.
    • A:
  • We could have some "Wikinews Wire Service" - subscribers of the service receives news alerts articles of his choice (in certain category or by keywords) via email.
    • A:
  • I hope that people can create audio files of some of the articles that people can download and distribute.
  • Science and technology needs to be two separate categories.
    • A:
  • I suggest Trackback Feature for Wikinews
    • A:

Article review[edit]

many discussions at: Wikinews:Article review

Other Disscussion[edit]

Local reporting[edit]

I'd like to ask/encourage everyone to watch Indiana over the next week. I think what I'm setting up there could serve as a model for other local reporting sections (at least in the US)...and if you have any suggestions or comments, I'd love to hear them.Kurt Weber 05:27, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Subject categories[edit]

There are categories like Category:Politics and conflicts. But one year from now, it will be not very much interesting, I am afraid. It will become a box in which ancient and latest news sit together, mostly undistinguishable.

I want to suggest that the major subject categories that correspond to the Main page subject classification (Politics and conflicts, Sports, Culture and Entertainment, Science and technology, etc. ) have "Category:Subjectname_Monthname,_Year" format.

How do you think? Tomos 19:58, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Like "Category: Politics and Conflicts (December 2004)"?
It could work, but I can see some problems with the idea. Firstly, there are events that cover more than one month (multi-day news events like elections, battles, and revolutions), what category would they be put in? The other problem is that at the beginning of the month, the lists would be practically empty, so a new user surfing in would probably conclude that there's not much of anything here.
I suppose an ideal solution would be to have a page with all the stories from, say, the last month listed, sorted by publishing date. Unfortunately, I don't think there's an automated mechanism in Wikimedia that will handle such a thing, and having to manually maintain a large number of lists with a large number of items like that would be quite a lot of work.
Don't get me wrong, the core of the idea is good, it just needs development. Lankiveil 02:43, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I suggest that pages (like just Politics and conflicts) should be the current events, while categories (like Category:Politics and conflicts) collect events for a month or a year and then get moved by a (not yet made) bot to a "Category:Blah (2004)". This way we can always keep pages up to date; categories are places to get a full list of stories (and in theory down the line we'll be using more specific categories). -- IlyaHaykinson 06:47, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I mostly agree with IlyaHaykinson's idea, though it may not solve problems Lankiveil pointed out.
For the events spanning multiple months, the only solution I can think of is to categorize some articles into multiple months. This is not an elegant solution at all, I have to admit, but doable.
For the problem of category looking too empty at the beginning of a month, we can simply do what we do at the date category page - to link previous & next months. (An example of date category Category:December 1, 2004).
Alternatively, we can use Qarterly category, like Category:Sports_(1Q2004).
I have a feeling that categories are mostly for production purposes, not presentation. That is, we need to categorize (index) articles mostly in order to efficiently list them at subject portal pages (like Politics and conflicts), special coverage portals (like Ukrainian political crisis). These pages are for presentation to readers.
I also have a feeling that newbies do not necessarily know or care about category feature & how to use it. So it is a work of non-newbie Wikinews editors.
These issues are probably best solved by coding like a Mediawiki feature. But what kind of feature is good? I don't know yet. I made a feature request to boolean search pages using categories. [1] It could solve some of the issues, but not all. Tomos 08:10, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Focus on community building[edit]

I think in the next few weeks, we should focus on building a large, active community of editors, not necessarily on creating top notch articles (though we should take care to tag articles which have problems). I have therefore greatly simplified the article development process.--Eloquence 04:05, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Recent comments[edit]

When Wikinews is not news[edit]

I fear editors here are taking a Wikipedicentric view of articles and not recognizing that consumers of news rarely go back to an article written days (or even hours) ago. And almost NEVER go back and re-read an article already viewed. That is why it is odd to me that people continue to update already-published days-old articles (reports) instead of writing a new article with a fresh angle. This isn't WP - it's WN - and we need to realize that the audience will not change the way it reads news to accommodate our little project or desire to make an older article better or "more complete." So, we'd better change the way we think of articles to accommodate our readers. If an article is a day old and you have new information, write a NEW article with that new information as the lead. Davodd 02:10, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I notice that a lot of mainstream news sites recycle material from earlier stories in follow up stories. When a follow up story doesn't stand on its own, it seems like a good idea to recycle a portion of the original story, in addition to providing a link to the previous story in a "Related Stories" section. I'm curious if anyone else thinks this recycling practice is acceptable, or how one should decide what to recycle. — DV 07:25, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
1. (linking to previous articles) Value of a story increases when it becomes a part of a continuous coverage or special report. See, for example Lycos Europe ends its anti-spam campaign, Ukraine political crisis. Many people read/watch/listen to news sporadically, rather than daily, and that means having an archive of related stories would help them.
2. (editing old articles) I do understand your concern that editing days-old articles is less valuable. But if we were to give up old articles, would we simply keep them as incomplete/biased/inaccurate? Would we delete them? Either option does not sound very attractive, and I sometimes feel like polishing them is the best choice. But I could be wrong on this. I am interested to know what others think. Tomos 08:57, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It is common practice (and helpful to the reader) when writing a follow-up story, to recap background details later on in the story. My suggestion: To write a followup, then have a links section to related articles (or previous news on the same topic). Davodd 09:42, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think we need to edit stories that are incorrect, biased, etc. Articles that don't fit our content or style criteria should be changed. However, if there is new news since the time the original article was written, that should be a separate article. If there's enough of these articles, we should probably have what I'm terming an "In Depth" topic page — like our current page on the tsunami disaster. -- IlyaHaykinson 09:38, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Do you think the in-depth type of story would be more appropriate at Wikipedia? If not, what would distinguish a WN in-depth feature from being a duplicate or in competition with a WP article? Isn't it a waste of resources, when we could just as easily point to WP for in-depth rather that try to duplicate that type of breadth here? Davodd 09:47, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think the in-depth pages need to summarize the current event (after all, in theory Wikipedia should not be doing that — that's Wikinews's job; an encyclopedia's primary job is not news), but more specifically the in-depth page should be linking to the individual articles in a timeline fashion, showing how the news developed. It's not the best example because it's incomplete, but Ukraine political crisis kind of shows what I am referring to. I firmly believe that when people show up at Wikinews they will want context for their stories and we need to provide them such context without relying on Wikipedia to be as up to date on issues as we will be (especially when this deals with more local issues). -- IlyaHaykinson 10:47, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I'm not sure this is the case. I can see two main ways in which people will access Wikinews. One is by bookmarking the main page, and logging in daily to read the latest news. The second is to follow a particular story. For example I'm regularly reloading the Indian Ocean Earthquake page at the moment. It would be even better if each page had an associated RSS feed that I could subscribe to so I would know when pages I was interested in had been updated. Both options have merits. There is no point having access to an old version of the Indian Ocean Earthquake page in my view - this is the 'overview' or summary page of the incident as it unfolds. This is not print - we don't have to reprint the page every time there's an update. This is not broadcast news - it is possible to re-edit old news. This is what Wikinews should take advantage of. However there will be plenty of spin-off stories that will deserve their own pages (lack of news in Myanmar, relief response, local stories etc etc... and they should all be linked to from the overview page as well as standing up in their own right. Karim 09:24, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Sure, mistakes should be corrected. My fear is that the vision you present of Wikinews could put it in direct competition with Wikipedia as being a repository of information on non-breaking news items. I believe the strength of this project is that it can be a breaking news source that taps into the huge population of Internet users who can give timely, up-to-the-minute reports from every corner of the globe. The main weakness of Wikinews that I sense from some editors here is a dot-com-era type of arrogance that "the old ways" of journalism are outdated and do not apply here. They do. Wikipedia is Internet news - and it is competing with thousands of voices (as can be seen on [2]) and our older articles will be lost in the rush. It's a fact of life we must recognize. That said, I believe that our old articles will be very valuable as "clippings" or resources for Wikipedia. Davodd
The wikipedia article on THE earthquake is better than the wikinews one. Further, the wikinews one appears to be essentially an OLDER version of the Wikipedia article - rather than the other way around. Something is very off here. At first I thought maybe wikinews should be a subset of wikipedia, just have "current news" labeled wikipedia articles formated automaticlly onto a wikinews place/site/skin/whatever. Then I saw Davodd's comments and I thought maybe a 24 hour timeout thing might work. Perhaps like this: Any article created on wikinews disappears from wikinews after 24 hours, but goes to wikipedia for archive/deletion/whatever. Maybe identifying where it goes after 24 hours could be part of the article, like the title and its subject categoriy. ( And on a different area of concern about wikinews altogether - PLEASE DON'T CONFUSE PRODUCT PLACEMENT WITH NEWS (e.g. "Microsoft announces <advertisement deleted>".) -- anonymous
Unfortunately, the "newer" article on Wikipedia has also been prone to wild speculation and unsupported numbers. This type of sensationalism will be deadly for Wikinews.
I challenged the one user here who merely copied numbers from Wikipedia to provide a citation, as Wikipedia cannot be relied upon as a primary source. Unfortunately, he came and left.
We have to cite numbers that either come directly from officials of the affected countries, or from news organizations with reporters that are directly confirming their numbers with those officials.
Otherwise we have zero credibility.
I rather wait and have a slightly "older" article than Wikipedia, if that's what it takes to get the numbers right.
However, if we had more firsthand reporting (there was a Wikipedian from Chennai who posted some of the pictures) we would have a much more compelling story to tell without having to resort to speculating on "feared dead" numbers, (or posting dubious relief agency addresses and phone numbers), just to keep our article "newer" than everyone else.
I hope we're not so compelled to get the "scoop" over Wikipedia that we lower our what little standards we have so far.
DV 12:18, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Source accreditation[edit]

(from Wiki-No-News above)

3. How do you attribute articles that are difficult to attribute? This is a problem not just for original articles but also for any reference to off-line media. If I post an article that references a local newspaper that is not online - how does that get attributed. What about the minutes of a town hall meeting etc etc.? I think you need at least two elements: 1) You MUST be able to interact with the author - thus sources not immediately attributable must have a user name with an email contact address on their user page. This doesn't have to be their real name or primary email, but they must be contactable for verification purposes. 2) There should be a way of flagging references/ sources as verified or unverified to allow readers to make up their own minds as to how they interpret an article. Perhaps some sort of traffic-light code or something. As other writers corroborate this the verification status can be changed. (Karim)
Great points. I really like the idea of attributed/unattributed tags on sources. In terms of the author interaction, I know I was thinking that if we accredited reporters, that they would be required to give an e-mail address and name with their accredidation. Would that do the trick for you? DE is working like this, and it seems to do pretty well for them so far. (Lyellin)

Lyellin. Yes this would work, except I'm not sure how one person or group 'accredits' a reporter. Certainly I think providing a contact email is the minimum requirement. I think after that a writer's accreditation will be more a matter of his/her reputation. The more a writer submits, the more their pieces are corroborrated, the more their 'reputation' grows and the more confidence people will have in them. I'm not sure whether this should be implicit, or some sort of explicit system such as on eBay, Shalshdot etc. Perhaps each user should have a colour-coded 'reputation' that appears next to their username? Karim 09:18, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Categories and topic pages[edit]

I've posted a proposed policy for categories, topic pages and managing latest news for pages other than the main page. Please see it at Wikinews:Categories and topic pages. I've updated site news too (but the sitenotice is protected, so I can't change the date last updated) -- IlyaHaykinson 10:37, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

What benefit does Wikinews provide, redundancy aside?[edit]

Ok, so we have the wikipedia article on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and the Wikinews article on Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits Southeast Asia. We have the wikipedia {{current}} template for current events, and we have a likewise disclaimer on wikinews for current events. Both are articles, both are NPOV. The Wikipedia article is vastly better and provides more information. The Wikinews article links to a bunch of wikipedia articles and copies the content, simply writing it in a different style. Further, Wikipedia has on its main page an "In the news" section, and those articles are updated to reflect the changes. In addition, Wikipedia has a current events page.

So essentially, we have two wikis reporting the same information in likewise articles that are simply written differently. I don't see the point. I'd rather see all of our resources pooled to the other projects rather than continuous and unnecessary decentralization. This project defeats one of Wikipedia's biggest advantages: it is accurate up to the second. (maybe that sounds like a pipedream ideology but just you wait a few years) --Alterego 07:58, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

My take is that Wikipedia is good for writing a large issue, long-term events, etc. Things like local news and small news stories are not good for Wikipedia. See list of articles on Science and technology, or Category:Politics and conflicts, for example. Many of them do not find any place in Wikipedia because they are not encyclopediac enough. Tomos 08:24, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I tend to agree. Wikipedia's strength are for historically significant news items and for reasonably 'static' data. Wikinews feels like it's strength would be in topical and volatile items - stuff that needs a lot of detail today but loses all relevance after a week or so. If an article grows and starts treating the topic comprehensively, then that's probably a good candidate for migrating it over into Wikipedia. BryceHarrington 09:29, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The main answer to the question presented is: Wikinews is news; Wikipedia is history. Sure there will be some overlap of subject matter, but the emphasis and calling for each project is different. Davodd | Talk 23:29, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Wikinews should post detailed information about every single event related to the earthquake, while Wikipedia should contain summaries of these events (which could link to the Wikinews articles). I think we should not have "report" type pages on Wikinews that are very similar to Wikipedia articles.--Eloquence

Index Page Navigation[edit]

Very exciting and important project, my respects to everyone's obvious hard work. My first impression as a news consumer and webdesigner is that the index page offers a lot more access to the mechanics of producing the news than it does to the news itself. This means I had to go hunting to find the actual news and it took me a while to understand I was expected to scroll right down the page to get to the site content. Could we please have links to all the major sections - not just spread out on the index page - grouped as a menu section up in the first screen? This would mean having links to

Latest News/ Ongoing Reports/ Special Reports

Politics and conflicts/ Economy and business/ Science and technology/ Disasters and accidents/ Crime and law/ Environment/ Health/ Culture and entertainment/ Sport/ Obituaries/ Weather

Regions: N America/ S America/ Europe/ Africa/ Middle East/ Asia/ Oceania

Wikinews editing: News in Brief/ Ongoing Disputes/Editing Needed/ Requested Articles

--Shan-UK 10:51, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

These types of suggestions have been discussed before, but didn't get far because the site was too new, and later on because of the page protection.
(Unfortunately vandals made it necessary to protect the main page, so most of us can't improve the layout of the main page without getting an Admin's permission.)
I'm working on a "sandbox page" right now, where I plan to show a better page design to the Admins.
I'll post a link once I have a sandbox page that is worth taking a look at.
DV 16:17, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I set up a sandbox for the Main Page to illustrate an improved layout that addresses some of the points you made.
Please check it out and let me know what you think on the Main Page sandbox discussion page.
Thanks for your constructive feedback.
DV 20:21, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Thanks DV (damn holidays taking all my time). I'm trying to stay abreast of this and will put up any changes as soon as people want them up . Sorry that it had to be protected :(. Lyellin 23:42, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

--Carlosar 00:05, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC) I have a general idea to the Developing stories here

Great ideas. I left comments on the talk page. Davodd | Talk 01:00, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Database Corruption?[edit]

Is anyone else seeing Francisco Melendez as the last editor in this page history? More discussion of this apparent database corruption here.

Speedy Deletion Policy[edit]

I have created (well, copied from en.wikipedia) a speedy deletion policy. You can see it here: Wikinews:Policies and guidelines/Deletion guidelines/Speedy deletion. Please let me know what you think about it. Lankiveil 07:49, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC).

Local reporting--different policies?[edit]

As we start to branch into local reporting, is there any objection to the WN communities that arise around those local areas establish their own policies that may differ from the broader WN ones?Kurt Weber 19:59, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Use of IRC to set Wikinews policy[edit]

I am uncormforatable about a recent trend to rely upon chats in the Wikinews IRC channel as policy-making sessions for Wikinews. There are no written records kept of such meetings and community participation in IRC is sporadic. So in reality no true sense of a community consensus can be gotten from IRC participation. IRC is, on the other hand, a great way to quickly discuss an issue between or among a small group of folks. But as for official WN policy? I hope not. -- Davodd | Talk 00:32, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think it sometimes happens that folks discuss things on IRC leading to productive results. However, if proposed policy emerges from such chat sessions, they need to be logged and archived on the site (see m:Wikinews/IRC_meeting_Oct_27 for an example of a log of a meeting). -- IlyaHaykinson 01:17, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I raised a big stink about setting policy on IRC on Wikipedia, as I am a big proponent of open meeting laws to force policy-makers to allow the community to participate.
However, the best I got out of the discussion was an invitation to hang out on IRC. :)
(The reasoning seems to be that IRC is open to everyone should they have the desire to lurk there.)
However, for those of us who have no desire to hang around in a chat room, I hope if any policy discussions are held on IRC, that someone will do the rest of us the courtesy of posting a log of that discussion (as Ilya has done above), as we need to be careful to prevent the classic small-town phenomenon of town meetings that are only held for show, where it is obvious that a discussion was held somewhere else to organize a block of votes, and the rest of the community members in attendance are left wondering why it appears that everything has already been decided everytime they bother to show up for the official town meeting.
I realize that there is no way to enforce this, and if you enjoy discussing Wikinews on IRC, that's your business, but I hope folks will see the wisdom of keeping any policy discussions as open as possible.
DV 03:25, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree, while IRC is a good place to talk shop, it's hardly a good place to set policy. I think that any proposed policy new should be listed here in the Water Cooler and discussed, before it's adopted. Lankiveil 03:38, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC).
I also agree on this. And those who discuss things on IRC should be encouraged to report the results so that others can join on Wikinews.
An exception, sort of, I can think of is that when there is some emergency, for example a wave of vandals or a very urgent deletion request related to privacy& stalking, it is good that administrators or whoever dealing with that decide on things based on discussions with others on IRC than act unilaterally. Tomos 03:47, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I have a major problem with the current model of policy development on Wikinews. For example, this page sucks. There are more than 80 sub-sections. Unless you are constantly patrolling (easier to do in IRC, btw), you cannot keep abreast of the policy discussions. I also have found almost no attempts to develop consensus; instead, divisive polls with, as often as not, nearly deadlocked votes, are used to enforce a "democratic" model of majority tyrany.
I do not have a specific solution for this problem, other than to massively cut the clutter, build a more complex but easier-to-navigate system of letting the contributors know about policy discussions. And develop consensus, not majority rules. - Amgine 06:50, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The "patrolled" feature[edit]

Has anyone else noticed the exclamation points marking "unpatrolled" edits? More discussion here.

Tsunami Relief[edit]

Just a suggestion from a "newbie" on blogs: What if we start a groundswell suggesting that President Bush take two unprecedented stands to help the tsunami victims AND take a giant step towards peace in the Mid-East:

  1. Have a small, simple swearing-in ceremony and send the $$millions NOT spent on an elaborate inaugeration to the tsunami destroyed countries.
  2. Call on the warring factions in the entire Middle East (Arabs, Palestinians, Israelis) to cease fighting and send aid to their Muslim brothers and sisters in the tsunami-stricken countries.

(above edit from an anonymous IP address)

While these are pleasant suggestions, Wikinews is not a political advocacy organization.
Also, it's my understanding that the American presidential inauguration ceremony is being funded by private individuals and organizations, so President Bush does not directly control that money.
Perhaps if you could find a notable organization that is advocating the above proposal, Wikinews could publish a story about that organization's efforts should they have success with generating support for these ideas.
DV 07:20, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
In case anyone doubts my support of newbies around here...
It appears that "Grandma Pepper" has company in the "jet set".
Mr. Cuban is hardly a charitable organization, but it's the best I could do on short notice. :)
DV 19:50, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Help! The water cooler is too full![edit]

This page is over 200K in size, and my browser is about to crash from editing this page!

Candidates for Admin (you know who you are :) will receive my accolades for helping to move some of these discussions onto subpages.

DV 07:29, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I pruned it a little. -- Davodd | Talk 11:14, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Water cooler, FAQ[edit]

I feel this page is not easy to use for discussions, which is why policy decision making is being ignored or being done by a very limited group of the contributors. I have created a model of this page which will be easier to maintain, which keeps all the messages available on the Water cooler, and which may improve participation. It may be viewed at User:Amgine/Sandbox2. - Amgine 07:05, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The Wikinews:FAQ did not exist as of a couple hours ago. This is directly linked by a couple of skins, and is a more appropriate repository than the Water cooler. (It could also be included on this page simply with {{Wikinews:FAQ}}) - Amgine 07:05, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you. My edits last night were a first step in creating such a FAQ (and an attempt to wittle down the size of this beast). Be bold with your ideas. -- Davodd | Talk 07:37, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I created a beta verson of a community portal - "the newsroom"[edit]

Over the past few days there have been numerous requests (mostly resulting from talks with Tsunami Help folk) that Wikinews have a centralized community portal set up in an easy-to-use format for new users. I've taken a stab at it to create the newsroom for wikijournalists. I borrowed heavily from Wikipedia, but I'm sure as more people start improvng it, our community portal will evolve into its own "Wikinews"-flovored beast. Please visit Wikinews:The newsroom and leave your comments, suggestions and the like on its talk page. Also feel free to tweak it or boldly edit it to make it better serve the community. -- Davodd | Talk 08:02, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Other languages?[edit]

Does anyone else have an opinion about the posting of articles in French? More discussion on this topic here.

Suggestion of Trackback Feature[edit]

  • I suggest to implement a Trackback Feature, for example by w:en:Haloscan or a corresponding Open-Source Project. On could easily relate to the News and achieve a better connection with w:Blog-World.--Monet 20:29, 4. Jan 2005 (UTC)

New tool on IRC[edit]

We have secured a Recent Changes bot on IRC at [3]. This can allow real-time patrolling of recent changes, and hopefully quick notice of vandalism.

One item I'll be requesting is an upgrade of the bot to link to the patrol difs, so edits may be marked as patrolled. - Amgine 03:26, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)