Wikinews:Water cooler/miscellaneous/Archive/18

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Wikipedia 'display case' page[edit]

I created a page on Wikipedia at w:Portal:Featured content/Wikimedia to showcase materials from the other Wikimedia projects, including Wikinews. However, unlike the other projects I couldn't find anything like an archive of 'best pages'. Due to that, and the fact that Wikinews is inherently focused on current pages, I set the page to randomly display one of the current lead articles from Wikinews each time the cache is purged. Please let me know if there is some better option for this. --CBDunk (talk) 00:58, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

This has a few of our best pages, but there aren't that many. Majorly (talk) 01:05, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
That and our Original Reporting as well. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 01:45, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
The current article you have for the featured article is not a featured article but a recent lead. If you would please update so that it uses articles actually from Wikinews:Featured articles. The Mind's Eye (talk) 03:49, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I couldn't find any prepared 'blurbs' for the featured articles, but I created such for the first ten. These are now being displayed on the page above. I'll finish out the rest of the featured articles in the same way. --CBDunkerson (talk) 23:33, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for new verification method on WN[edit]

Hi. I am writing this to ask for your opinions on a new verification method I have briefly discussed with Brian McNeil in IRC. As you are aware, at the moment, in order to verify the credentials of a Wikinews Accredited Reporter, the party viewing the credentials needs to make a phone call or send a fax.

I believe that the process of credential verification could be speeded up by the use of Photographic evidence in the format of a passport sized photograph attached to the reporters credentials, and the same photograph being added to the {{Accredited Reporter}} template.

This would allow a person presented with the credentials to view the photographic evidence on the pass,and also the photo on the user's AR box, and immediately confirm that the person presenting those credentials is verified and accredited.

These photos should also be available somewhere on so that anyone mailing the reporter can verify them by sight.

The photo would obviously need to be recent (< 3 months old) so it is fairly up to date.

If you take a look at my userpage, here you will see that I have uploaded a photograph of myself to use as visual verification. It was only taken yesterday, but gives you an idea of the kind of thing I am referring to.

This is not a vote, simply a request for comments and thoughts. Any problems you forsee would also be welcomed.

Iceflow (talk) 22:56, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

For I have repeatedly pestered people to provide photos. I know Craig (CSpurrier) is working on a more net-wide setup for credentialling, but that seems to be moving at a glacial pace. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:10, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Anthrax case[edit]

Did we have any stories about Bruce Ivins suicide? It looks now like the FBI only fingered him because he was mentally fragile. They don't really have any evidence. Indeed their story about how he must have mailed the anthrax is directly contradicted by the post office [1]. So this might be an interesting piece of OR if someone wants to sort out all the details. It seems the wikipedia article isn't very organized yet, so having a nice wikinews article and the inconsistencies in the FBIs story might help. In defense of the FBI, it's normal police practice to blame the guy who seems the most effected mentally. Nyarlathotep (talk) 15:10, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, we have three:
I am not sure why you needed me to tell you that. --SVTCobra 15:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
heh, not sure either, I'd probably miss clicked on august 8 when looking for it. It would be nice if we had a better search engine, but not much that can be done about that. Anyway, the main point was the new information contradicting the FBIs version. Nyarlathotep (talk) 20:25, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Latest News on Wikipedia Article View Stats[edit]

If anyone is interested, I have the latest information on the status of the Wikimedia Foundation's page view stats, with a response from the person in charge of it, Erik Zachte. In my response to him, I asked him to ensure Wikinews is included. So...fingers crossed. --David Shankbone (talk) 22:36, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

We sort of got included a while back - {{Popular articles}}. and other tools. Bawolff 03:06, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

It appears China has been cheating in gymnastics[edit]

China has been cheating in gymnastics by using 14 year old girls [2], looks like the IOC may be helping them cover it up too. Nyarlathotep (talk) 16:31, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Interview at Accra climate negotiations; possible COI Issues[edit]

Hello everyone, (I've not been around much, but the one or the other knows me I think) I have a question regarding an interview I might be making. I'm currently at the UNFCCC negotiations in Accra, registered and working for an NGO (Germanwatch). Working on a voluntary basis however (I paid my own flight, I might be getting the hotel). Now here at the conference I might have the opportunity to interview a member of the World council of Churches here. This would be facilitated by Germanwatch, and of course they/we do have an interest in getting the potential message out (it looks like I might be interviewing someone from Africa, with a focus on the effects of climate change that are already to be felt). However, we do have the feeling that the interview could still be held in a manner that would keep a neutral point of view. Knowing that there is quite some potential for a conflict of interests, I wanted to give a shout out and ask for peoples take on the issue.

Many Regards, and open for all opinions, Sean Heron (talk) 14:33, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

PS One thought that came to me is that perhaps if questions where proposed for me to ask / I posted the questions I want to ask in advance so that they can be scrutinized/ changed/ added to, that would make for some transparency. However, I might be interviewing earlier than I had supposed (perhaps even today), so I guess that's a bit of a problem :/. Still, I shall set up an article preparation in a sec, and then link to it from here. Sean Heron (talk) 17:14, 22 August 2008 (UTC) Link: Interview with Member(s) of World Council of Churches, in Accra

Another twist: I may not be holding the interview myself, but rather just doing the technical side of things. It's not as if we were doing this with the exclusive thought of putting it here, so I guess I might just make a transcript, put it up here and then you can see what you think more concretely I guess. Sean Heron (talk) 07:51, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Google Chrome...[edit]

... is awesome. I just felt that I had to say that. :) Thunderhead 21:59, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Not until it comes out for linux ;), but screenshots/comic looks promising. (although from the comic strip, i doubt there whole ui paradigm will work well with my window manager (w:ratpoision). might have to change to a window manager that actually manages windows when i try this out. Bawolff 04:41, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Pet hates or gripes[edit]

There's always something that gets you about some random Wikinews article, and it can be something trivial or something important. Having just - yet again - come across one that I've had since I first got involved, I thought I'd share it and invite other people to air their laundry about the little things that bug you when editing or reading here.

Add your own below, and comment on those of others. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:06, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

  • The BBC.
These guys have to be one of our most frequently used sources, hardly a day goes by that we don't have at least one article drawing content from what they've published. Being such a large organisation they have several entries on Wikipedia, my pet hate is how these are cited in the {{source}} template. My firmly held belief is that we should always specify BBC News Online as it is the website we're sourcing from, not the nebulous corporation - w:BBC, and not the news arm w:BBC News. The only exception I can think of is BBC Sport, but nine times out of ten you'd get to the sport article via the news website. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:06, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
  • The Guardian and AFP:
As long as we're talking about sources, we might as well talk about these two. It isn't "guardian" or "The Guardian", it is "" (small "g" please). And AFP is "Agence France-Presse". Not that hard people! Also, just like it shouldn't be "British Broadcasting Corporation", it shouldn't be "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation" either; it should be "" (in caps like that). We're not talking about the corporate entity, and we shouldn't link there if there is a more specific link that could be used instead. Gopher65talk 07:37, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I also don't like it when people don't bother linking to seldom used - or region specific - words using Wiktionary. It's easy: do it exactly the way you would when linking to wikipedia, just throw a "wikt:" in there instead of a "w:". Here's a helpful list of interwiki shortcuts that you should bookmark: Interwiki linking. Gopher65talk 07:37, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


The Wiktionary idea is interesting, Gopher65 do you have any specific words you've seen in recent articles that you believe should have been linked? I am tempted to ask if we should use a different method of linking than the same as for WP to highlight it goes to the word's definition. However, I've not personally spotted any instances recently where I believe this would have been appropriate; is it something that links with the idea of a Simple English Wikinews? --Brian McNeil / talk 08:13, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

I was thinking primarily in science stories, or in stories that are local/regional. For instance: Australian English uses a good many words that either 1)simply don't exist in Canadian English, or 2)have a different meaning. (And I'm sure we're all familiar with some of the more snicker-worthy Queens/American English differences, like "rubber".) As for science stories, sometimes a link to Wikipedia is justified, but other times a simple definition would be more informative. As an example, here are the Wikipedia and Wiktionary links for "radioelement", which is a word that doesn't enter into most people's vocabularies: Wikipedia, Wiktionary.
As you can see the Wikipedia article (quite correctly) redirects to Radioactive decay, because radioelement isn't worthy of its own article. You might be able to find the definition of the word in there, if you look hard enough, but I doubt most people would bother (and honestly, I don't see anything even mentioning radioelements in the wikipedia article. It is more of a general topic article). Wiktionary on the other had presents a simple definition. That's a lot more useful in this case, as it instantly tells the reader exactly what they needed to know. (Interestingly, some of the online dictionaries seem to copy from each other just like CNN copies from AP, and many of them don't have the correct definition of radioelement.) But I don't want every single word linked. I read an article a little while ago that had the word "explosion" linked. Really? Explosion? That's completely unnecessary; only uncommon and regional words should be wikt-linked, IMO.
What is this Simple English Wikinews you speak of? Linky? Gopher65talk 16:50, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Simple english wikinews was a proposal to open a dumbed-down version of wikinews to thoose who are learning the language, or for kids (but honestly kids aren't that stupid). Similiar to simple: Anyways didn't gain enough support (thankfully, i don't like simple projects) - see meta:Wikinews/Start_a_new_edition#Simple_English. [note:despite my hatred of simple, I do like the wikt idea] Bawolff 08:35, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations 2008[edit]

Here are photos from the protests outside of the United Nations when Ahmadinejad spoke. --David Shankbone (talk) 22:42, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

The Telegraph (UK) plagiarizes Wikipedia?[edit]

From this breaking discussion, it appears that The Daily Telegraph (UK) copied the text of w:James Crumley(permalink) almost verbatim.[3] Doesn't look like any other news source has broken the story yet. Seems newsworthy. Would an accredited reporter like to ask the paper for a comment? Durova (talk) 05:58, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I have emailed the NUJ General Secretary for comment, CC'd to wikinews-l.
What we need:
  • Revision plagiarised.
  • Telegraph editorial contacts.
  • More details on the alleged Scotsman incident (see WP discussion). --Brian McNeil / talk 08:53, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Emailed WMF UK's press contact to try and get good email address at the Telegraph. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:02, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
David didn't have a Telegraph email, I went through the front door. Email in wikinews-l, per one to NUJ. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:37, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Is it safe to assume that neither replied? Where can we go from here? --SVTCobra 00:24, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

700,000 edits[edit]

There have now been over 700,000 edits to Wikinews Smile.png

Anonymous101talk 13:23, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

What? I'm only responsible for 3% of the edits! I've been slacking. :-P --Brian McNeil / talk 13:51, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Sent a note to wikizine. Hopefully it'd get mentioned it next edition. Good work everyone. Bawolff 03:52, 2 October 2008 (UTC)


Any one opposed to Auto Archiving of this page for threads when they haven't been edited for thirty days? Anonymous101talk 08:18, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Nope. It is kinda a pain to archive this page. --Brian McNeil / talk 09:13, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Getting more articles... a different approach[edit]

There has been a lot of talk on the wiki recently about contributer recruitment and other things to get more content on Wikinews, and several legnthy discussions about getting new users. One thing that I have noticed is that many active users/admins do not write articles anywhere nearly as often as they used to, and that if they all wrote just 3 articles a week are article count would be way hight.

So basically, stop reading this message and go and write an article. Anonymous101talk 15:35, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Anyone who spends an hour a day on IRC or makes long comments at the water cooler cannot claim they do not have enough time to write articles. Anonymous101talk 15:53, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
I did two the day after this comment went up, but only one yesterday since. I'd like to think the level of detail/quality in what I wrote made up for not doing more. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:32, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
3 articles in one week is more than one most people do anyway, and you did write very good quality articles. Anonymous101talk 20:34, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
I count it as 2 last week, 1 this week - but thanks for the compliment. I enjoy doing the Thailand stuff, I know what I'm talking about most of the time. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:42, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
I also consider the articles a sort-of, "proving I can still bring home the bacon" and something to justify giving advice to our newer contributors. If I can't write something decent then I should not be trying to tell other people how to. For the latest one, I read every single source before I wrote a word. I then only referred to sources to get spelling and details correct. I also dug up people's Wikipedia entries for facts (and checked them against sources - i.e. verify WP). It wasn't a lot of edits but it was an intense couple of hour's work that gives a satisfying result. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:50, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
0_o That's how I thought every article got written Brianmc. I've only written a few, but even the shortest of them has never taken me less than an hour. And the single article that I wrote from scratch took me a good... 5 hours or so to research and write—and it wasn't long. I may be on IRC for an hour or so every day (all day logged in, but most of it AFK), but that doesn't mean I have time to spend writing an article. When I do an article I make sure I *understand* the topic and the news fully before I start to write. So writing an article is a real endeavour for me, not something to be taken lightly. Gopher65talk 17:05, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I've managed an article in well under an hour before - if you look at some of my really early ones you'll see there's not a lot too them. I read fast, and am a fair-to-middling typist. Yes, good work takes longer. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:00, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Freedom of Information request sent to US Department of Defense[edit]

To inform the community, I have fired an FOIA request at the United States Department of Defense. The purpose is to investigate the suspicious wreck of a civilian airliner in Iraq at a US air base. 2007 Balad aircraft crash has the details, but doesn't cover why the thing seems dodgy, since the allegations have not been made in reliable sources and the rest is speculation. However, the lack of investigative reports, the fact that Turkey were not allowed - possibly illegally - to join the investigation, witness claims of a missile strike, the immediate denial of anything except an accident, the fact that images obtained by FOI (which gave me the idea) don't seem to show an airliner that came down in one bit (not enough fire, shallow impact scars despite soft ground, short impact scars for heavy debris suggesting it dug in and stopped quickly, wreckage spread out), the fact that witnesses refute claims of fog in the area and the fact that some people claim sources in the know have told them the plane inadvertantly triggered an automated missile defense system over the hospital do make a lot of circumstancial evidence for a coverup. 34 civilian lives were lost in an alledged accident, so the public at large have a right to know what happened to the aircraft for their safety, and US voters have a right to confirmation there was no coverup - or to have one exposed. Accordingly, I have requested that the US DoD cough up a large list of documents which should, if supplied, allow me to conclusively tell the world either way. In reality, I likely won't get them all, and they may be doctored, but regardless here is what I have requested:

  • Minutes of any and all meetings at which parties to the investigation were decided; specifically, the meetings where it was decided that Iraq, the US and Moldova would be party to the investigation and the meeting were it was decided to deny Turkey access to the investigative team; (<-- I expect difficulty with this one, but dunno what excuse they could give)
  • A transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder tape and the readout from the Flight Data Recorder;
  • Confirmation of the current location of the wreckage, especially of the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder as it is unclear wether these remained in Iraq or were decoded in Moscow (For these devices, all information regarding their whereabouts from the moment of the accident onwards are requested); (<-- This is due to disputes between Turkey and the others over what happened to the CVR/FDR)
  • All availible images of the debris and cargo both at the crash site and in storage, especially images taken specifically to aid the investigation; (<-- I suspect there will be nothing new, they likely gave it all to that other guy, but lets find out)
  • The preliminary accident report and any and all interim reports; (<-- They may well deny these exist)
  • The current draft of the final report; (<-- As above)
  • Any and all documents containing assesments of the veracity of the claim of responsibility made by the insurgent group Islamic Army in Iraq; (<-- May be denied on security grounds, but shouldn't be)
  • Any and all witness statements given to the investigative team or the air base;
  • Weather radar readouts, weather forcasts and weather station readouts for the air base and sorounding area at the time of the crash;
  • Documents detailing the exact location of key pieces of wreckage including any and all maps of the debris field if produced - these must be availible as images show GPS readings being taken at various key points in the debris field;
  • Air Traffic Control radar data for the aircraft from at least thirty minutes prior to impact up to the crash;
  • A map of the airbase and sorounding area showing its layout and any and all areas of restricted airspace; (<-- They won't like that. I'll likely get a map, but without restricted airspace - national security again)
  • Design details of any and all anti-aircraft systems installed at the air base; specifically what level of automation is involved and what is required to trigger the system. (<-- Highly unlikely, the only one that may be justified under the 'national security' claim)

I will let you know the results. They have twenty working days to reply, I sent it a few days ago. If they don't reply I will complain/appeal and report on that. If they withold the documents I will complain/appeal and report on that, and obviously if they cough up that gets reported on in great detail. In short: a guaranteed exclusive investigative piece. Stay tuned. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:28, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

I wish you good luck, but if you read Freedom of Information Act, I think you will find they have plenty of stones to hide under. --SVTCobra 00:02, 15 October 2008 (UTC)