Wikinews:Water cooler/miscellaneous/archives/2017/January

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1-800 still active?

Is +1 800-672-5669 still a thing for sending in tips? It's listed on the Wikinews Facebook page. -- Zanimum (talk) 15:30, 6 January 2017 (UTC)

Brian McNeil is the admin of the Facebook page, please ping him if it is not working.
Agastya Chandrakant โšฝ๏ธ ๐Ÿ† ๐ŸŽพ ๐ŸŽฌ ๐ŸŽค ๐Ÿ“ฐ 15:38, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
AGastya: The page has several admins. Zanimum has been doing the updating for quite a while. (Please update your signature.)
@Zanimum: Afaik it was literally never once used and eventually turned off. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 16:31, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks @Blood Red Sandman:! Does anyone ever check the account for messages?
(Is the signature update directed to me, or AGastya?) -- Zanimum (talk) 17:29, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Yep. It's not a singular account; it redistributes copies to a bunch of people. So there should in theory always be somebody to notice. At least one person also has access for review purposes; care needs taken, but in principle it makes sense.
Um. AGastya, whose signature doesn't match their username. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 17:37, 6 January 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that is for me, having signature different from the username, as pointed out by the admin whose signature also doesn't match the username, visually.
Agastya Chandrakant โšฝ๏ธ ๐Ÿ† ๐ŸŽพ ๐ŸŽฌ ๐ŸŽค ๐Ÿ“ฐ 01:44, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
Except it does, wise guy. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 15:22, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

And the same.
Agastya Chandrakant โšฝ๏ธ ๐Ÿ† ๐ŸŽพ ๐ŸŽฌ ๐ŸŽค ๐Ÿ“ฐ 15:51, 7 January 2017 (UTC)


Is there any point to the OTRS templates and categories?

I'm unfamiliar with OTRS except as a tool for Commons images. Is there a good reason to keep these hanging about? (Much like Arbcom sits idle but appreciated, like a fire extinguisher in the corner.) BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 08:14, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

The only case I can think of where these might matter is if Commons hosted something that used them, and we locally uploaded it because despite the OTRS stuff we didn't trust Commons to not delete it; the templates would still work. Not impossible, also maybe there's another use I'm not thinking of. --Pi zero (talk) 15:14, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
@Blood Red Sandman:, @Pi zero: Or maybe users woudl want to submit directly to us since we have a different license than the other WMF projects? Does that seem plausible? โ€”Justin (koavf)โคTโ˜ฎCโ˜บMโ˜ฏ 17:53, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
Wouldn't explain the templates, though; especially if (as is implied) we don't even have a local OTRS system. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 15:44, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-02

19:12, 9 January 2017 (UTC)

And here's a valuable lesson to be learned!!

Offering no comments pro or con regarding her side of the political aisle, I just can't believe a person in 2012 would write an economics/political book and have NO BIBLIOGRAPHY! .....and it was published, by Harper Collins for pete's sake! --Bddmagic (talk) 23:07, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

@Bddmagic: I can. :/ โ€”Justin (koavf)โคTโ˜ฎCโ˜บMโ˜ฏ 04:40, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-03

23:24, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Print Edition revived

I surfed to WN:print edition and found recent activity. Somehow, it is revived. This needs to be promoted or something. Otherwise, how to deal with it? --George Ho (talk) 11:39, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

You know what? I am going to make a comment at Template talk:Main page header soon. --George Ho (talk) 01:59, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

How to re-promote Wikinews outside Wikinews itself

Pushing the ArbCom issue aside for now, let's focus on promoting (or re-promoting) Wikinews and make it flourished again. Reading Wikinews:Spread Wikinews, I thought methods are easy, but I guess not. I wanted to write more articles. However, in real life, I have college work. I would neglect the work too much by focusing on Wikinews too much. Therefore, I want to find recruitments. Can you do it, Pi Zero? Meanwhile, I could ask for recruitments at meta-wiki... and not mention ArbCom for now. --George Ho (talk) 19:57, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

My recent comment in the preceding thread was intended to explain why I'm not inclined to get involved in off-project recruitment efforts. Executive summary: they're liable to stir up trouble, and I see semi-automation to relieve the review bottleneck as more instrumental to increasing our output. --Pi zero (talk) 20:20, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Can you explain the semi-automation please? Thank you. If you mean "pending changes" and all that, okay. That means I'm allowed to edit the Main Page then... or what else do you mean? --George Ho (talk) 21:56, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Back on topic about the recruitment thing... If more are recruited, then more administrators are needed. Otherwise, without enough administrators... huge backlog! I got that. --George Ho (talk) 22:01, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Even when more administrators are recruited, there could be less journalists writing articles here. --George Ho (talk) 22:04, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Let's see.
  • Semi-automation. I'm not a believer in totally automating things; as I see it, the whole point of wikis is to empower human beings. Semi-automation provides help but keeps the human contributor in control, making the executive decisions. News, especially, is about humans exercising good judgement; in fact, at least two individuals for each article, a reporter and a reviewer. Think "wizard". It is impossible โ€” truly, inherently, impossible โ€” for the Wikimedia Foundation to provide the sort of semi-auotmation that is needed, because they cannot help being clueless about what is needed for the operation of the wikis: only the volunteers immersed in doing it can know that. The principle needed here, I submit, is the same principle the wikis use for content creation: put the volunteers in charge of it. Just as it would be unworkable for the volunteers to petition the Foundation to edit the content of each article for them, it would be likewise unworkable for the volunteers to petition the Foundation to provide the semi-automated assistants wanted. The solution is to make wiki markup capable of constructing interactive wiki pages, and thus capable of constructing "wizards". That's what I've set out to do, and over the past several years I've come a long way on it; the low-level details (at the level of wiki markup) are described at Help:Dialog, while the high-level strategy is described at User:Pi zero/essays/vision/sisters.

    I expect to construct assistants for both writers and reviewers; before I started the software development project, I tried my hand at developing an "article wizard" in the style of Wikipedia's, and was deeply dissatisfied with it because it seemed to me the thing was just begging to be interactive. However, I've concluded that assisting reviewers is a much higher priority, because if the review task doesn't get addressed first, improving the writing task would only increase the incoming review load that is already too often overwhelming for the available review labor. If the review capacity is increased, though, that in the long run will result in sustained increased output, as it would prevent new arrivals from being starved for review attention.

  • Admins are not necessarily reviewers. We aren't in dire need of more admins; more admins wouldn't help with the problem. Review is a different and technically more depending task, so not all admins can do review; and even the number of users capable of review is large compared to the number who actually do review on a regular basis. That's because doing a full review is a great big lump of effort; it's not hard for it to take an hour or two. But suppose we could soup up our semi-automated assistants to the point that a full review (for a smallish article) could be done in 15 minutes. Reviewers we already have, who are technically capable of the task but aren't likely to be able to drop everything to make that kind of labor donation on-demand (whenever somebody else submits an article), might be far more able to donate fifteen minutes, so that the increase in available review labor would be larger than the factor by which the time-per-review is reduced.
--Pi zero (talk) 00:04, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

... All right. I'll wait for a few or several years... I mean, years, to see Wikinews flourish again. I'll raise the issue here again in that time if the situation hasn't improved. Okay? --George Ho (talk) 00:28, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

I chose to take your questions in good faith, and did my best to give useful information in reply. Since my efforts on your behalf have been met with what appears to be hostile sarcasm, I don't feel encouraged to put further effort into discussing timeframes. --Pi zero (talk) 01:26, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
No, no. You have done a great job on Wikinews. Same with BRS. I didn't mean to imply sarcasm. But... ah well. Your answers are useful and prompted me to drop the participation issue for now. --George Ho (talk) 01:39, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Sorry to have misunderstood. Again. The thread has been going awry a bit, that way. Anyway, I'm glad if my answers have been useful. --Pi zero (talk) 01:41, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Okay. Peace out I mean, whew! That's settled. --George Ho (talk) 01:45, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Participation of Wikinews declining?

In the past, there were plentiful of administrators. Now there 21 remaining, including nine bureaucrats. Not only that, according to the active users list, two users are the top active at the moment. Ones at the hundreds range, including me right now, seems several or not plentiful. Any ideas? --George Ho (talk) 12:55, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Wikinews activity is a subject we're very aware of, and I do have a long-range plan I've invested several years of volunteer time into and continue to work on. Much could, in principle, be said on it, but... well, what time I don't put into day-to-day news production I've tended to prefer to put into implementing long-term vision rather that describing it, because an implementation is both more useful and more convincing than vaporware.

That said, and acknowledging there certainly is an activity deficit, it's also possible to misinterpret some statistics. For example,

  • We imposed a privilege expiry policy a few years ago, after which we suspended admin rights of some folks who had actually been inactive for quite some time. So that decline in number of admins is more distributed in time that it might appear.
  • It's true BRS and I are the most active folks here; we're doing review and admin stuff. Even when little admin stuff is being done (though there's a background level of it, archiving articles and deleting abandoned articles as well as spam/vandalism), review is edit-intensive and inevitably concentrated at the active reviewers who are, also inevitably, a fraction of the active contributors. Straight edit count may create the deceptive appearance that the reviewers are doing most of everything; if a reporter slaves away at an article for hours, splats it down on a page and submits it for review (two edits), then a reviewer makes twenty small copyedits (deliberately small, so as to explain exactly what they're doing and provide clear diffs) and publishes, does it follow that the reviewer put ten times as much labor into it? Not just 'no'; hell no.
Basically we've got three kinds of activity going on: reporting-and-review, day-to-day administrative stuff, and long-term infrastructure (which is mostly admin). --Pi zero (talk) 14:49, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
A couple of links: (1) Help:Dialog; (2) User:Pi zero/essays/vision/sisters. (I still haven't gotten to writing a companion essay specifically about en.wn.) --Pi zero (talk) 14:55, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

All right... I see your point about administering. If the stats of active editors and administrators are not enough, at least I found archives of published articles. Examples: Wikinews:2004/December (from Wikinews:2004), Wikinews:2007/December (from Wikinews:2007), Wikinews:2010/December, Wikinews:2013/December (from Wikinews:2013), and Wikinews:2016/December (from Wikinews:2016). --George Ho (talk) 05:10, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

Going back years is a little misleading; over the last few months I've actually noticed participation gradually increasing. (More reviewers would help improve workflow considerably.) BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 20:11, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
You mean Wikinews:2016/October and Wikinews:2016/November? I did see some increase... but that much? Also, I can see a list of reviewers. Must I notify them all? By the way, what about template:Lead article 5? This needs checking. --George Ho (talk) 23:03, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
No, I don't mean 2016. I mean recent months. I'm not sure why you want to contact reviewers; if I was, I could maybe answer that. I don't ever (as a rule) touch the leads, so you'd be better asking somebody else about that. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 23:05, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't plan to contact them all. I can contact just one or two. Would that suffice? --George Ho (talk) 23:13, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Again, what about? Do mean a sort of friendly "Hey, you haven't edited in a while..." type thing? I'm all for that. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 23:49, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Okay... I don't know who Aaron Schulz is. What about Developer Socks One, Two, and Three? None of the accounts have done contributions... or what? Brion VIBBER says at his user talk page to allow removal of his reviewer rights as he is currently inactive in both Wikinews and Wikipedia. Can you do that? --George Ho (talk) 01:37, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Contacted several by email. Hope they respond soon. If not, I thought about taking the issue to Meta-wiki. --George Ho (talk) 03:55, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
@George Ho:, what is your beef here? Pardon my bluntness. It sounds like harassing users by email. Taking what issue to meta-wiki? I see no problem here, and you seem determined to invent/cause/will-into-existence some sort of problem. Your contributions are welcome, but this looks a lot like gratuitous trouble-making. You've named some accounts we have chosen not to de-priv (the developer accounts are obviously provided for the devs, for example), and our privilege-expiry-policy allows us to do this. Chill. --Pi zero (talk) 13:47, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Also, I want to recruit or other promising wiki-journalists. However, I don't think Wikipedia is a suitable venue. I thought about Meta-wiki, but I don't know how many people go there. I can't go to any other sister projects and ask people to join Wikinews. --George Ho (talk) 23:16, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

Hmm... look at New Year's Day stats. Many viewers went for one of articles from 2007. Newer ones had views ranging in hundreds, especially from yesterday's stats. --George Ho (talk) 04:26, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

I know both of you are very hard-working on Wikinews, and I applaud your accomplishments. However, I looked at 2016 election of the ArbCom, and... I'm speechless about... low voting count on every nominee. This isn't to criticize the action but to question how useful ArbCom is nowadays. Explain? --George Ho (talk) 07:55, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Also, I'm reading recently archived nominations at Wikinews:Featured article candidates/archive/9. Seems that... usually vote count has been low, and one or two participated in the same discussions. --George Ho (talk) 08:02, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

ArbCom serves two essential purposes for us. One is that it stands ready in case it's needed. The other is that it allows us to be a news site, which we can't do if we're subject to being screwed over by bullshit from folks outside who don't care about, and don't understand, news.

You seem to be under some misapprehension that news archives are somehow not part of the value of a news site. Our archives are a major asset. --Pi zero (talk) 13:47, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

No, I'm not undervaluing news. And I don't jump to conclusions like that. In fact, I just pointed out low participation in most venues of this Wikinews. That's all. If you want to discuss ArbCom and WN:Dispute resolution, we can take that issue to Policy subpage. In Wikipedia, I have used newspaper archives to cite anything. When you mention news archives, I hope you mean ones in WN:2016, WN:2008 and other pages. And one of articles, like the one that had most hits on New Year's Day. I can propose showing again "On This Day" as English Wikinews used to back then. --George Ho (talk) 17:58, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm kind of baffled, here. I have no particular desire to discuss ArbCom; you brought it up, I addressed your remarks, and now you're talking about how I should go to another forum if I want to discuss it. It seems we're failing to communicate, in some that I don't understand. It's no longer clear to me what the topic of this discussion is meant to be (as I also remarked above, where you talked about going to Meta; perhaps you overlooked that remark since I made it in the same edit with the remark down here). --Pi zero (talk) 18:15, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
All right... I guess we are discussing so many things at once, which I used as examples of lower participation. However, I didn't mean to go off-topic and talk things at once. Initially, I was discussing low participation in general, but I went into specifics. When I mentioned "Meta", I was going to ask for recruitments and increasing participation. I thought you'd be familiar with affairs of other sister projects. It's not easy being clear when I assumed people are familiar with other issues. --George Ho (talk) 18:35, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Oh... I also overlooked your response to Meta above. My apologies for overlooking that response. --George Ho (talk) 18:37, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Heh. I thought you might have loverlooked it. Making a note-to-self to separate multiple comments like that into multiple edits, so they're more visible.

History has encouraged us to treat most non-Wikinews venues in the sisterhood as hostile territory. When we receive attention from Wikipedia or meta, it has usually been with sororicidal intent. Before the adoption of a policy that inactivity is not, in itself, a valid reason to propose closure, there were so many proposals to close en.wn, one of the wikimedians who participates in such discussions started using an image of, iirc, an undead creature rising from a coffin, to symbolize the Wikinews-closure effort that keeps coming back every time it seems like it was finally put to rest. Since that policy, the sororicidal faction has devised other tactics to promote their agenda.

Imo, the biggest obstacle to growing en.wn โ€” the obvious long-term goal โ€” is the review bottleneck. The strategy I've chosen for redressing that bottleneck โ€” wiki-based semi-automated assistance โ€” is still in development, and without that redress of the bottleneck, it seems likely that a major writing recruitment drive would simply create more submissions than we could handle. --Pi zero (talk) 19:36, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

  • This thread got very convoluted, and went awry, so I don't intend to feed a monster nobody intended to create. Suffice to say, we're very much aware of the issues with participation. BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 19:13, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-04

20:14, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-05

18:45, 30 January 2017 (UTC)