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

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Tech News: 2017-18

19:50, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Wikitribune is launched

I figured this might interest the community. E.g. and See also: The main page is supposedly at but it's a 502 error for me now. —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:53, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

The website works now, and I see 483 supporters, 29 days remaining, and no journalists hired yet. --George Ho (talk) 09:37, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Newbie here: I see the implication in the news that Wikitribune this is a WMF project. Any comments Victuallers (talk) 10:37, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
So there will be two news projects? Or will Wikinews somehow merge in to Wikitribune? -- (talk) 12:15, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Jimbo has repeatedly demonstrated inability to understand Wikinews. He came here a while back and asked us a bunch of questions, and frankly I think both sides came away perceiving that the other side had trolled them. --Pi zero (talk) 12:38, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
I've been concerned about what is now being called 'fake news' for a couple decades... and when Wikinews came out hoped that it could become a strong counter to that problem and the disintegration of the traditional news organization. However, it never seemed to have the backing and promotion needed to get there. So now it seems like Wales has come to the same conclusions and is pushing such an effort... but why do so separate from an established community ostensibly under the same umbrella? -- (talk) 13:00, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Folks, can you not read... the news? Nieman Lab piece: "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune, an independent site (not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation)." -- Fuzheado (talk) 13:29, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
In my experience, Jimmy Wales has had two major difficulties in his interactions with Wikinews: he hasn't gotten along with individuals at Wikinews, and he doesn't seem to have ever really understood Wikinews. The two are not unrelated, presumably. I admit I was quite disappointed when he came here a few years ago and started asking questions... and they seemed to be unuseful questions. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but decided to go along with it and try to help him with the questions he'd asked, on the theory that he would know best the order in which he needed to learn things. In retrospect, it might have been more useful to suggest that different questions ought to be asked... though one wonders if there was any way to anticipate, at the time, what other questions ought to have been recommended. While I was thinking in terms of giving him another chance to try to learn what Wikinews is about, I no longer have any confidence that was what he had in mind to do.

It seems possible he's so steeped in the Wikipedian way it interferes with his ability to recognize that there is any other way for a wiki to work. It's especially unfortunate if his difficulties interacting with Wikinews have cut him off from the very wikimedians who could provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of traditional journalistic techniques in a wiki environment and the dynamics of applying wikis to those strengths and weaknesses. --Pi zero (talk) 15:54, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

@Pi zero: - See your talk page for an invite to discuss this on a podcast for Wikipedia Weekly. I also invite others who are active Wikinewsies to the conversation. But it isn't obvious there is a large critical mass of folks here, given the times I've checked in on the Recent changes feed and seeing whole 24 hour blocks with no activity other than cleanup. Perhaps I'm not understanding what dynamics Jimmy (or I) don't "get" about what's working here. You say that Jimmy doesn't see that there are other ways for "wiki to work." But honestly, would you classify Wikinews as a project that "works" or is functional right now? I don't say this to troll. My bona fides: I've been a prominent skeptic of the Wikinews model, but I am not speaking from ignorance. I debated the creation of Wikinews at the start when Erik Moeller wanted to set it up ([6], [7], [8]). I was accredited as a Wikinews reporter in 2005 for the WTO conference in Hong Kong (photo). I've contributed breaking news articles back in the day that seemed promising to test out the model. [9] I've observed and contributed, and concluded that the dynamics don't seem workable. But I'm open minded about alternative views. If there's something you can point to that would help to clear up what you see as Wikipedians not seeing a Wikinews approach, please let me know. Thanks. -- Fuzheado (talk) 15:25, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Hadn't forgotten that ping on my user talk page; putting a brief reply there now. --Pi zero (talk) 15:51, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
On its face, it seems to maybe have some viability. But, other than the small number of paid journalists, I can't see that its much different than WN. We've just always had such a darned steep learning curve and people get frustrated very easily (when they're pressured to learn things gradually). I dunno. Maybe it'll fly well....I just don't know. --Bddpaux (talk) 18:37, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Jimmy Wales has stated on his talk page that all Wikitribune content will be published under a license compatible with Wikinews. --Yair rand (talk) 18:41, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

For what it's worth, does anyone think that a story on WikiTribune is worthwhile? Maybe for when it's actually live? —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:46, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Maybe an interview would be interesting.
acagastya 18:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Let’s hope that Wikitribune is better than WikiNews. At almost midnight in the UK on Tuesday 25 April 2017, the WikiNews main headline is 'Theresa May calls for June general election' – the article is dated 'Friday, April 21, 2017' and relates to an announcement that May had made on 18 April. I'm struggling to see how this is helpful to anyone with even a passing interest in the news, or how the publication of such a basic and uncontested fact needs another outlet. Wikipedia, of course, already has articles with more up-to-date detail JezGrove (talk) 22:35, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
@JezGrove: No doubt. The problem with Wikinews versus all other WMF projects is that something has to be more-or-less complete when it's posted. An encyclopedia article can be in various stages of writing and still be useful or at least something that a layman could expand or tweak. A news story which is half-written after three days is no longer news. So anyone working here has to be on top of it and have a quick turnaround all the time. I don't envy those who assess articles here and I wish I had more time to be useful to this community. —Justin (koavf)TCM 23:04, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
There's remarkably little new here. People who don't know about Wikinews pronouncing it "dead". A new non-WMF project is proposed that has some similarities to Wikinews but fails to recognize the things that Wikinewsies already know about crowdsourced journalism; and it seems likely that those setting up the new project failed to learn that stuff because they were informed by the anti-Wikinews crowd who required on principle that Wikinews have nothing to teach them. Meanwhile, Wikinews needs crowdsourced semi-automation to enable it to handle more expert tasks more easily, which we already knew was what it needs (and which is being developed, neither more nor less quickly than yesterday). --Pi zero (talk) 23:55, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
The fact that our current limiting reagent seems to be reviewers leaves me thinking Wikinews would be okay if it just had more people. Fortunately, there's no rule against working at both Wikinews and Wikitribune. Honestly it looks like they just want a bunch of Wikignomes and fact-checkers for the heavy lifting (as opposed to the terribly glamorous work we do now exclusively for name recognition, heh).
There doesn't seem much for us to do just yet. I could give it a go at least. Darkfrog24 (talk) 05:14, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
I came to Wikinews hoping to find some mention of Wikitribune 2 days ago. So I left a question on the Wikipedia talk page instead. Ignoring Wikinews, not just by Wales but by everyone reporting the announcement (and what remarkable reach Wales press release has had too btw), seems pretty outrageous to me, but better considered by those who have posted here already. Perhaps though, it is a build up and PR campaign that will inevitably redirect to Wikinews in the end. With the use of the phrase "Fakenews" and Wales recent tweets about Trump, Tribune seems to carry more than a little political motivation... Can anyone here pull together an archive of Wales interactions with Wikinews? Would be useful for a news article, Wikipedia coverage and general education around the issues. Leighblackall (talk) 09:27, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Here is User talk:Jimbo Wales, Leigh. --George Ho (talk) 09:38, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Based on existing evidence, I would hazard a guess that the only (positive) coordination likely to occur with Wikinews would be some sort of attempt to use Wikinews for free advertising. But then, there is also Jimmy's remark on his Wikipedia user talk, saying that wikitribune content would be released under a license compatible with Wikinews. There are several things to keep in mind about that.
  • It seems likely that English Wikinews would have to treat wikitribune as an un-trust-worthy source, perhaps even with the same inherently-not-a-source status that we give Wikipedia; in which case, it clearly wouldn't make any difference to us what license its content was released under.
  • English Wikinews, at least, does not republish material from elsewhere. Three reasons immediately come to mind (though there may be others I've missed):
  • Simply put, a serious competing news site doesn't need us to promote their output.
  • For us to rubber stamp someone else's output would be to abbrogate our site standards in favor of theirs. For example, VOA puts its output in the public domain, but it's propaganda.
  • It's a known fact (to Wikinewsies) that rubber-stamping output from elsewhere drives away volunteers; this was demonstrated by Serbian Wikinews, which had a vital and growing community until it started importing stuff, and then lost contributors. It's an interesting question whether Jimmy knows that — if he doesn't, his remarks seem underinformed, whereas if he does know it, he remarks would take on a different aspect.
@Darkfrog24: I can understand why it might appear that, as you (rather neatly) put it, our current limiting reagent is reviewers; but in fact, we used to have more, and very slowly over time our active reviewer pool has shrunk, like air leaking out of a party balloon. My conclusion, examining the dynamics of this process from the inside, has been that the dynamic equation of English Wikinews is slightly imbalanced, and what we need is to tinker with the coefficients in the equation. The good news (so to speak) being that (1) the equation doesn't have a direly negative derivative, because if it did the project would have been shrinking much faster over the years, and (2) I have a plan for how to adjust the coefficients, and the technical ability to implement it. --Pi zero (talk) 13:02, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

A comment for In the News section for Wikipedia. Notability on Wikipedia and newsworthiness on Wikinews are not the same. Not every award would be mentioned on Wikipedia's ITN section. Not every disaster or accident would find its place on their Main Page. Considering their policies, we can not write news for them. And we should not. There are two different projects for a reason. So let it be.
acagastya 06:49, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

How else to revitalize Wikinews

I proposed below plans that fail to appease the (limited) community:

  1. Recruiting people, especially off-wiki
  2. Eliminating some rules
  3. Closing down some venues

I intentionally struck the above proposals as failed. Now that Wikitribune is created... well, just three out of ten journalists hired and 5500+ supporters... Actually, not there yet. However, how else do we revitalize Wikinews and make it competitive to other news outlets, including the soon-to-be Wikitribune? Currently, so many encyclopedic articles about current events have been created in Wikipedia, yet some of them were deleted due to either the "Wikipedia is not a newspaper" rule or notability guideline about events. I don't know how long Wikinews would last, but I think it's still needed to stabilize Wikipedia. Without Wikinews, how else can Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation handle material about current events and influence of media outlets? --George Ho (talk) 16:59, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

@George Ho: - I'm somewhat puzzled by this statement: "Without Wikinews, how else can Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation handle material about current events and influence of media outlets?" 1) We already handle information about current events, as I know you've participated on WP:ITN. 2) Why is "influence media outlets" an interesting or desirable goal? -- Fuzheado (talk) 17:39, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Emailed you about something, Fuzheado. For #1, I raised the issue about failing AfDs at w:Wikipedia talk:Deletion policy#Growing amount of failed nominations on current and future events, but the community says the same arguments... methinks? For #2, see my email. --George Ho (talk) 17:53, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Got it, thanks. -- Fuzheado (talk) 19:39, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Also, Fuzheado, may you amend your comments to reflect my current status in Wikipedia please? I don't want misassumptions. --George Ho (talk) 20:08, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
No problem, amended. -- Fuzheado (talk) 20:16, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
To address the issue George Ho poses, I think Wikinews could benefit from shifting focus to original content that doesn't try to rival AP or Reuters, but does what it does best on its own terms. What kind of content? Selected event coverage, in-depth interviews and multimedia. An example: David Shankbone in 2008 did an interview with with the Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, which should be a template for what the Wikipedia/Wikimedia brand can do to open doors. Shimon_Peres_discusses_the_future_of_Israel. I have a more detailed elaboration on this point, and why Wikinews just doesn't work because of deadlines, in this post from 2011 - [10] -- Fuzheado (talk) 18:04, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Changing focus to OR? We never stopped liking OR. We've never stopped doing OR, either. OR is difficult, in a variety of ways. It requires the contributor to already know the ropes at Wikinews (which they can best learn by doing non-OR here). It requires us to know themaccumulated reputation, which one also tends to develop first through non-OR reportage. Would you like to do some OR here, Fuzheado?

It's no secret (I think) my hopes for the future of Wiknews are build around crowd-sourced semi-automation. --Pi zero (talk) 19:07, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

@Pi zero: I never said Wikinews didn't like OR. I said it should focus on it, and not try to compete with newswires that aim for comprehensive coverage. I've done, and continue to do, original reporting, but it tends to be GLAM-related, so it finds a better home on Commons and Wikipedia. There is also the bias that I like interacting where the is a vibrant community. No insult intended, that's not Wikinews at this point. There also hasn't been a culture of photojournalism in Wikinews. For example, this is a photojournalism trip in 2016 to the Hay Festival, where I was accredited with enthusiasm by the media office as a Wikipedia contributor. Headshots and photos were used to improve Wikipedia articles of authors and artists. [11]. Regarding your semi-automation essay, I have a hard time understanding it. Perhaps it's too abstract. Can you walk through a concrete scenario for which it might be useful? -- Fuzheado (talk) 19:37, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi George, my own – totally impractical – suggestion(s) for what they're worth would be:
The Wikimedia Foundation resolves to ensure that Wikipedia is used entirely for encyclopaedic content, and to rigorously apply the 'Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a newspaper' approach. All breaking and ongoing news stories which currently feature in the WP main page's 'In the news' section would be WikiNews articles and created and linked as such. If a plane has crashed, a (suspected) terrorism attack is unfolding etc. (sorry to focus on the negative, but these are the types of news story that appear in the encyclopaedia fairly instantaneously) these articles would be WikiNews' territory rather than Wikipedia's. The exceptions would be, say, the deaths of people with an existing WP article, and doubtless others: for example, I’m not sure about sporting results – but whilst the Olympic Games or the football World Cup, say, are in progress then perhaps they should be WikiNews articles initially, (with existing WP articles for individual teams / athletes updated accordingly) before migrating to Wikipedia once they have concluded. Other categories of articles that should be WikiNews first would include announcements about up-coming films, TV series and, dare I say it, projects such as Wikitribune! Again, once they are up-and-running these could then become WP articles instead, provided they have passed the WP:Recentism test. As I say, totally impractical… but if the Wikimedia Foundation decided to do some joined-up thinking it could happen in an ideal world! JezGrove (talk) 19:11, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@JezGrove: Wikinews (btw, that's with a small n, just like it's not WikiPedia :-) has a whole different style than Wikipedia. And a different purpose. And different standards. Neutrality works differently here, so that a Featured Article on either project might fail neutrality on the other. Afaict we even use the words "analysis" and "synthesis" in nearly opposite ways. Newsworthiness is spectacularly different from notability. And, oh-by-the-way, there's the fact that Wikinews explicitly rejects Assume Good Faith. You'd have a major uphill battle trying to share content between the two (unless, of course, you "simply" had in mind to get Wikipedia to admit that Wikinews is a reliable source — which, from my past experience on that front, I rather think would be impossible for purely political reasons). --Pi zero (talk) 19:38, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@JezGrove: - Your suggestion seems to be simply an exercise in labeling or semantics - basically call WP:ITN: WikiProject:Wikinews and keep it all on Wikipedia, and we're done. Why do we need a separate Wikinews site, if that is all Wikinews should be? -- Fuzheado (talk) 20:11, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@Fuzheado: - Fair enough, but isn't 'news' at least part of the point? The current main page story about the UK General Election is over a week old and doesn't seem to include any innovative content that couldn't be found almost anywhere else in more depth and in a more timely manner. So as things stand, why would anyone have Wikinews on the favourites bar of their web browser? Is it so stupid (yes, apparently...) to suggest that the Wikimedia Foundation should have one project for breaking/ongoing news (and, yes, original reporting on stories overlooked and/or under-reported elsewhere in the media) and another for settled encyclopaedic fact? From the comments above, the main problems seem to stem from self-defeating internal squabbles within/between the Foundation and its projects; maybe Jimbo should be sorting that out instead of diverting his attention elsewhere... JezGrove (talk) 20:39, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@JezGrove: - The conclusion that more and more people are coming to is the answer to the well-worn joke: "Doctor it hurts when I do this." - "Well, then don't do that." Original deadline reporting is a bad match for wiki communities. In fact, anything with a deadline is a bad match for wiki communities. News has a certain shelf life, and if it isn't finished within a time frame, it ceases to be news. Wikinews was removed from the en.wp Portal:Current events, which is evidence that there is a long history of Wikinews being slowly deprecated in the community. The problem is, closing down projects is so rare and difficult that they are left to linger in a zombie state, rather than anyone taking any definitive action. This gives off the impression that the project is viable "if only more people" would join. Folks try and take up the fallen banner, and run into the same problems again, while looking enviously over the fence at Wikipedia:In the news, but never being able to harness the same energy or participation level. The effort fails, resulting in another dormant period. And the cycle repeats itself over and over... -- Fuzheado (talk) 21:10, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@Fuzheado: But this is the question isn't it: is a wiki a bad model for news? That is an open question. What is your evidence? Just because this wiki is having a hard time doesn't mean that wikis per se are bad for news. Look at how much crappy news there is in general... You have to back this up with some data or something. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:14, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: Right, it's hard/impossible to prove a negative. But we have a lot of examples that show us the prospects are bleak. Wikitorials from LA Times, one of the earliest deadline writing experiments, was a complete disaster for a number of reasons. Writing "A Million Penguins" also yielded poor/unusable results, which was also a deadline-oriented task. All the popularly successful wiki sites (Wikia/Fandom, WikiHow, Intellipedia, Statipedia, Diplopedia, NASA wikis, et al) are based on persistent, evergreen content as a reference, and not on a model that tries to work on strict deadlines. So I'll flip the question to you - do we have examples of where wikis can do things on deadline well? Because I can't think of one. -- Fuzheado (talk) 21:29, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
@Fuzheado: Okay, now this is a good line of thinking... For what it's worth A Million Penguins certainly did have a deadline but was a unique experiment in many ways. I am totally ignorant of Wikitorials, so I will have to bow out there. I think you may be correct that there are not any popular examples of wikis working on deadlines. On the other hand, there are plenty of non-deadline wikis which quickly assemble good content because of a timely event. E.g. when a news event happens in the world, an English Wikipedia article is written very quickly. So there is not a deadline as such but things are cobbled together quickly, generally speaking. As an aside, this is me thinking out loud: One way to rethink Wikinews is by having a self-publishing platform a la Medium but that is also editable. Just like how a lot of newspapers or news magazines have standard reporting but also columns written by a certain author or with a particular editorial voice. Those pieces get a lot of comments and discussions about those stories can happen in the comments... —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:36, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict × 4) for all those anti-wikinews people who say Wikinews' content is same as other news website, they cover it in greater depth ... Tell me, do most of the people use Wiktionary as their first choice dictionary? Why do we have it? Oxford dictionary,, Merriam-Webster, Cambridge Dictionary and Urban Dictionary are those websites which most of the people refer to. How many people do you think rely on Wikiquote to find a quote? How many people rely on Wikivoyage to plan their next trip? Lonely Planet would grab more visitors, easily. Wikiversity? Wikibooks? Apart from Wikipdia, Wikimedia projects were never in limelight. Even Wikimedia Commons got some attention because people wanted their photos to be seen on Wikipedia. They submit photos to improve Wikipedia, they probably don't know or don't care about the other projects. Even on the #wikimedia-devrel IRC channel for GSoC proposals, college students attempt to impress the users by typing a Java code which uses some silly function to print they love Wikipedia. The other day, I came to know about a Wikipedia edition of a language (Cheyenne language) which had less than 2500 native speakers a decade ago (ah, What is the use and/or need and/or requirement of that? You can keep on saying Wikinews is under productive and other things which you really don't understand about this project because Wikinews is Wiki + News. Wikipedians forget that Wikinews is not Wikipedia and thus, we would not keep on editing our archives. As the time goes by, we need to move on. We work in a time frame. Just 21000+ articles in the span of thirteen years — I see it as publishing 1600+ articles each year on an average (though it is not the correct way) and when you compare it with the number of editors on this project, a small bunch of people able to publish 1600 articles a year, just try to imagine how much Wikinews would have produced if we had as many active editors as English Wikipedia has admins? That is still a small number, but if you are foolish enough to compare Wikipedia which is an encyclopedia, with Wikinews, how about introducing a time parameter? After three days time period, there will be no changes to the articles once created? Without proper understanding, you have no rights to say a project is failure. As far as other Wikimedia projects are concerned, most of them would never read a textbook from Wikibooks, or a quote from Wikiquote, but there are a bunch of people – some Wikimedians like me, and a small fraction of non-wikimedians, who use those websites.

There are so many things I can keep on saying which points out why Wikipedia's approach is not the best one. Like for example, w:Rent-a-Cat article. Why is that even on Wikipedia? It is encyclopedic, but until and unless people are ready to add information about it, do not let it go live. We don't compromise with the minimal length on English Wikinews. We have some set of standards we need to follow so that the news article provides at least the basic information.

For the Wikipedia fanboys and fangirls, Wikipedia has been the dear project of Wikimedia for ever since. Even on the donation banner, it is always help Wikipedia, not the other projects. Try to find twenty consecutive tweets by Wikimedia which does not mention Wikipedia. Or try to find how often does the twitter handle mention about projects excluding Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons? When Wikipedia was and is favoured by WMF, the other projects would not flourish in the same rate.
acagastya 21:48, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

For what it's worth and to be clear, I do not think that Wikinews is a failed experiment. Any "failure" is a simple product of the citizen journalist community, the developers of wiki software, and the community here just not connecting. I don't think that there is anything in principle wrong or else I wouldn't do any work here (as minimal as my work here is compared to other WMF projects). —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:55, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
If the aim of Wikinews is to provide news, then it needs to do so in a timely fashion – hard to do in an age of rolling news. If it aims to provide something else, then it needs to be very clear about what that 'something else' actually is and possibly rename itself and promote itself accordingly. Until then, the Wikimedia Foundation (WF)'s projects web page, says that Wikinews' "reports range from original reporting and interviews to summaries of news from external sources. All reports are required to be written from a neutral point of view". Since Wikipedia's news-related articles are, in effect, "summaries of news from external sources" and have to be NPOV, I'm not clear why they couldn't be Wikinews articles instead (barring, apparently, the WF's and/or Wikinews' own opposition to this state of affairs). Making Wikinews the site for breaking/ongoing news and Wikipedia the site for settled encyclopaedic content, if appropriately controlled by the WF, could bring in more active editors to Wikinews - are there really only 20 at the moment? – but, of course, it would need compromises on both sides. (Ah, so that's the problem, then…) JezGrove (talk) 22:36, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
I think you gave out a broken link, JezGrove. Here's the active one. --George Ho (talk) 22:56, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks @George Ho:, my bad... Any thoughts so far about this discussion that you initiated? JezGrove (talk) 23:01, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
To be honest, I was hoping good ideas, but I guess we end up discussing the state of Wikinews instead. More "original reporting" is suggested, but that's also part of the struck #1 idea. You suggested writing more articles, but that's also part of the struck recruitment idea. Also, promoting Wikinews is part of the struck recruitment idea. I did mention the recruitment thing back in January. The more we discuss, the more we realize that maybe we can re-address this at Meta-wiki. But we've not reached the level yet to the point where we can go to Meta-wiki. Nevertheless, calm (even when mildly heated) discussion can prompt us into doing something, eh? --George Ho (talk) 23:09, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Pinging JezGrove. --George Ho (talk) 23:19, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Actually, George, my suggestion was more along the lines of a major project revision on the part of the Wikimedia Foundation; i.e. that 1) it ensures that Wikinews exclusively handles, er, news (breaking stories and ongoing current events - political, sporting, whatever - including original reporting) in order to create a reliable go-to site for impartial news coverage and thereby encouraging the current creators of such content to do so here, whilst 2) also making sure that Wikipedia leaves those areas alone (on the principle that 'Wikipedia is not a newspaper') in order to concentrate on developments relating to updates of its own existing articles and the creation of non-news articles. In due course, Wikinews articles which passed Wikipedia's Recentism / Notability benchmarks would migrate there. But as everyone here has made clear, for a variety of reasons there is zero chance of that happening. JezGrove (talk) 23:58, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh... Yeah... That idea wouldn't work either, JezGrove. Any other ideas to revitalize the project? Fuzheado? Justin? --George Ho (talk) 00:11, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
Outside of making 44 hours in a day or me marrying rich so that I can spend more time here, then I don't have any answers. I've proposed some before which seemed to be unworkable (and I trust those explanations for why). I know that User:Pi zero has some strong feelings on semi-automated tools being able to help expediate the review process. I believe him but I'm simply too ignorant to address that. :/ —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:35, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
I think I saw a point going by, somewhere up there, about what constitutes a successful news site. A misconception (often entangled with the anti-Wikinews movement) is that Wikinews should provide one-stop shopping for people who want to know what's happening in the world. That seems like a stereotype of news consumption by middle-class US families about fifty to a hundred years ago, with one family reading the Sun and another reading the Chronicle, or whatever. Even I, who am in some ways seriously behind the times (I don't even own a smartphone), use a news aggregator. See Wikinews:Newsworthiness. --Pi zero (talk) 01:21, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
@Pi zero: Sure but this also isn't a specialist publication: since our scope is basically all world news, then if this site were operating ideally, wouldn't it be a one-stop location for a generally well-informed person? I imagine that there will always be niche specialty news that is outside our scope (local softball scores, new products by small companies, endless human interest/man-bites-dog stories, etc.) but if Wikinews were more-or-less the best it could be, then wouldn't someone be able to read only this and be a generally informed person on current affairs? —Justin (koavf)TCM 01:28, 27 April 2017 (UTC)
@Koavf: Our scope is not limited to world news. We cover local news as well, down to a pretty small scale (see WN:Relevance). We can't possibly cover it all (not without maybe a quarter million or more active, experienced Wikinewsies, and we'll need to do some infrastructure work as we work up to that gradually). I'm not opposed to our covering especially global stories, but there are other coverage priorities I would tend to encourage. For example, collections of related stories are great to accumulate in our archives; and some things we can often do especially well, like bringing neutrality and greater coverage to stories that need it, and of course exclusive coverage (OR) which is, btw, often local. (One of my favorites was Glasgow-Oban and Mallaig train diverted onto wrong track in points mixup.) Rapidly developing big stories do not play to our strengths, though we've occasionally managed that sort of coverage. --Pi zero (talk) 02:50, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

@Koavf, Pi zero, Fuzheado, JezGrove, acagastya: A draft submission is made to promote Wikinews as a "premier news website". Not yet completed though. Thoughts about this? --George Ho (talk) 07:36, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

@George Ho: - Unfortunately, the Wikimania submission deadline was weeks ago, so this proposal will not make it in. On the other hand, we will be having preconference days Wed and Thu where we will have open ended unconference sessions where we can talk Wikinews. CORRECTION: I see it is a "Birds of a Feather" session pitch, so it is still valid for acceptance. -- Fuzheado (talk) 14:13, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
Oh, thanks, Fuzheado. Since we're running out of ideas, how necessary is discussing improvements on Wikinews in Meta-wiki? --George Ho (talk) 15:06, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
The author of the proposal is, I see, DavidMCEddy, whom I recall (once reminded by checking edit history) submitted some OR here several years go. Afaict only one article was published, and a second was attempted but for one or another reason didn't work out and was userspaced. (I'm reminded they voted for my request for crat privs, which happened around that time. :-) I hadn't heard about the Wikimania proposal (so, I don't know anything about what they're thinking other than what it says on the linked page). I do not expect to be at Wikimania.

@George Ho: For my part, I'm not "out of ideas", it's simply taking a while to implement the plan I've embarked on. (I've been working on the software for four or five years, now — I do think it's stuff the Foundation ought in principle to have done ten years ago, if not before, but it's hardly surprising they didn't, and I concluded early on that if they had any creative control over it they'd prevent anything useful from being done.) --Pi zero (talk) 15:34, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

The ping's broken ;). Oh... you have a plan, so I'll wait for that. :) --George Ho (talk) 16:09, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
@George Ho: (hoping I got the ping right this time :-) I did somehow find time to write one related essay, User:Pi zero/essays/vision/sisters. --Pi zero (talk) 16:27, 28 April 2017 (UTC)
@Pi zero: - As mentioned before, I think that essay is too abstract for me to understand. Can you walk through a concrete scenario/case study in how it would work? That would go a long way to figuring out whether we're getting the point you're making. -- Fuzheado (talk) 19:47, 28 April 2017 (UTC)


@Fuzheado: I did a double-take when I read that, because I'd never read your earlier comment where you said it was too abstract. I guess it just got lost in the volume of stuff, somehow, despite having a ping on it. I suppose if I'd seen it at the time I might have made some remark about benefits of Wikinews synthesis; but the conversation has moved on.

Concrete scenarios. First of all, there are a few simple cases in operation on Wikinews now.

  • On many of our larger article categories (perhaps most, by now) — say, Category:Germany — there is a list of latest stories; that's actually a DPL (dynamic page list), but the DPL wiki extension doesn't natively provide the ability to scroll up and down the list. If you've got javascript enabled, there should be a button at the bottom of that list labeled "see older articles", which scrolls further down the list; and when you do scroll down, there's also another button for scrolling up. The first scroll you do on the list takes longer, then scrolling up and down that list goes faster because the view software is already loaded.
  • Any time you've got an article under development, the status notice at the top of the article has a button to submit the article for review. That button actually invokes a dialog action, which checks a bunch of things about the status of the article and, if things check out, replaces the earlier status tag with one requesting review. (We used to have a specialized patch in our Common.js to support that button; there were things we wanted to customize about its behavior, but nobody wanted to try to modify the javascript.)
  • There is a somewhat more sophisticated assistant, breadboard, that I now almost always use instead of Special:ExpandTemplates. It allows you to (within limits) write wiki markup that takes template parameters, and play around with feeding it particular values for particular parameters. (Technically, it's actually showing what would happen if dialog parameters were passed to that wiki markup, causing them to be substituted for template parameters with some differences; but if you stick to simple template techniques it's the same behavior.) Well, okay, I also like the breadboard because I used a layout I find more ergonomic than Special:ExpandTemplates. :-)
  • Template {{intersection link}} generates a wikilink that, when clicked, displays a scrollable DPL of an intersection of categories; for example,
{{intersection link|label=featured photo essays|cat1=Featured article|cat2=Photo essays}}
would produce

I have loads of other specific applications in mind. A few examples:

  • Lots of other buttons for changing the state of an article.
  • An article wizard to help people writing an article — like a more interactive version of Wikinews:Article wizard, which I had modeled somewhat on Wikipedia's "article wizard" but didn't like because I really wanted people to be able to enter data in fields as they went along, rather than having to read about it all and then start an article and try to remember what you read earlier.
  • A review assistant to make it massively easier for reviewers to do reviews. This, like the article wizard, must be done in a way that doesn't detract from the human element of the task, which is the point of the activity, which I expect will require great care and deep thought. That's why I say semi-automation, rather than just automation: the human element must not be diminished.
The review assistant is really the number one thing that's needed, even before an article wizard.
  • There are some pretty complex curating tasks we perform on our archives, involving wikilinks and categories, that I really want to build a semi-automated assistant for. I haven't decided whether to reimplement HotCat using dialog, but it should be possible.
  • There are lots of specialized tasks, setting up nominations, closing discussions, archiving discussions — between Wikinews and Wikibooks I've seen a number of specialized kinds of archiving that can't be done with the standard bots. All those specialized tasks ought to be semi-automatable.
  • A dialog-based mechanism might be used to make it easier for newbies to participate in ordinary talk-page conversations (like this one); I haven't really applied myself yet to that, but I suspect a well-chosen interface could do amazing things.
  • Maybe, a device for "editing" a fully protected page, in which you actually edit the markup and then "submit" it, which automatically sets up an editprotected request on the article talk page — with dialog buttons on the request that an admin can use to examine the proposed edit, possibly modify it, and, if they so choose, submit it, streamlining the processing of such requests.

And then there are the most challenging and exciting applications, that only began to come into focus for me once I was building things with the dialog tools.

  • A context-sensitive mechanism for suggesting to the user semi-automated assistants that they might want to apply to the current situation.
  • A meta-assistant for building and maintaining semi-automated assistants.
The meta-assistant is something I gradually realized was not only desirable but necessary. Although in principle I have achieved my technical goal of allowing all this stuff to be done in wiki markup, and I do maintain that is vitally important, it's really daunting to set up a nontrivial assistant by hand. I have been deliberately doing it exactly so that I could learn about what is needed, and I can honestly say that a meta-assistant is needed. So now I'm continuing to build assistants, one at a time by hand, and carefully thinking about how should what I'm doing be semi-automated. Which is the same thing I've been doing for years with pretty much everything I do on the project (projects, because I always meant to import the dialog tools to Wikibooks, and did so last year; I hope to get a much wider range of case studies in dialog there, because Wikibooks is basically a confederation of thousands of microprojects called "books"): everything I do, I think about how to semi-automate.

--Pi zero (talk) 21:39, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

Since timing is so important to our purposes, perhaps some means of detecting good stories just as they hit the mainstream news. There's Eurekalert for science news, where press releases generally appear a few days before the main outlets pick things up, but perhaps people have heard of more. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:10, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

Crowdfunding, Wikinews, Wikitribune, etc.

There is meta:CentralNotice/Request, Koavf. May you fill out crowdfunding request then? --George Ho (talk) 07:15, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Newslines on Wikinews: failure; on WikiTribune: gonna fail

This guy thinks WikiTribune is doomed, which would be bad, but it also thinks we're already dead, which is ...worse? Darkfrog24 (talk) 20:33, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

@Darkfrog24: I think the author has a lot of perspective and isn't just bloviating. I hope he's incorrect but time will tell. Although Wikinews is definitely not a vibrant success, the idea of calling it a failure is premature: anyone can come along and start adding good stories at any time. Until the servers are unplugged, this can't be a failure. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:24, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
It seems that blogger doesn't comprehend that "wiki" does not necessarily imply "wiki that works the way Wikipedia works". The dismissal of Wikinews is thus apparently not based on being well-informed about it. Their objections to a Wikipedia-style wiki as a news forum are quite valid, I would say; the key ingredient in all Wikipedia quality controls is unbounded time, which is necessarily absent in news reportage. --Pi zero (talk) 22:04, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
The part about the financial differences between WikiTribune and Wikimedia intrigues me. One tends to assume that famous people have larger fortunes than they do. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:11, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
I found the author factually incorrect/inconsistent at some points.
  • so much so that schoolchildren in the U.S. are specifically instructed not to use it as a source.
    • First, we are not supposed to cite Wikipedia as a source, we should only cite the sources which were used for that fact. One essay on Wikipedia also says that.
    • Second, unreliability may be one of the reasons, it is not the only reason. Since a lot of related material is available on Wikipedia on the same topic, it becomes easy for students to copy. My class topper had copied her biology project from Wikipedia. I could tell that just by reading the first line — the tone and the sentence structure was enough for me to make that guess. It was other thing that she did not remove the numbers within square brackets for citations.
    • Third, a general question: how much of the content is not reliable on Wikipedia? It depends on time. There is lot of vandalism during some football matches, but then, people (don't count me in) uses Wikipedia. Else how would Wikipedia compete with Amazon for the sixth place in Alexa rankings?
  • But the fake news controversy is itself fake news, manufactured by traditional news media to deflect attention from their own failings.
    • The author has clearly never used Google Newsstand and Google News and Weather where a lot of a) fake and b) audience grabbing biased and poorly written news articles with smartly written headlines which aims to create controversy until the reader does not open it and read what exactly it has to say - which is enough for those websites to make money from the advertisement.
    • Why is the author ignorant about the ads and not do not track me?
    • A lot of fake news is shared via Facebook and WhatsApp read the HTML comment is you want the details
  • How on earth can that work for news?
    • Simple. Those people who blocked you on Wikipedia would not be running the Wiki dedicated for news. And, Wikinews is a lot dissimilar to Wikipedia in lot many way though it seems to be the same.
  • It’s worth noting that the whole ethos of Wikipedia was set up by Wales, and in the 15 years of operation, none of these issues have been fixed.
    • Ever heard about the other Wikimedia projects? The discussion is not about Wikipedia which is an encyclopedia. We are talking about news. Can you please focus your discussion on news? Thank you!
  • He[Larry Sanger] didn’t get quite as much press though, despite having a better idea.
    • I thought discussion about Wikipedia was closed. It is just like asking Do you like "bacon" or "YouTube"? Wait. YouTube had a problem with its counter for Gangnam Style. Now say a million things the other topic is better than YouTube despite the fact that they are not the same thing so you can not compare!
  • By the time ‘the truth’ comes out, you’ve already moved on to the next piece of news that confirms your biases.
    • This is true for every news website wiki or not. Once a news article is published, is there is a major update, but not immediately, another article mentioning the "update" is published. On websites like Twitter, that update is pinned for the attention.
  • system that pays people for their contributions.
    • Sure. Say hello to misleading and/or confusing statements and for neutrality: pack your bags and go away. We care for the money. More readers = more money.
  • Wikipedia contributors are over 90% male, and despite a number of initiatives that ratio is not changing.
    • So? How is that even distantly related to what a news website has to do?
    • Wikitribune is not going to be running on MediaWiki. I don't see their website using it, neither do I think they will. End of the story.
  • the system pushes out women and minorities in favour of young men who would rather write about the latest Simpsons’ episode or their favorite porn stars, than any women scientist.
    • I can say, I know very less female Wikipedians. But that does not make the about statement true. If someone is interested in ice hockey, they will write about it. If someone is interested in the field of neurology, they will write about it. It is about notability. The statement is as bogus as the article is.

In the end, I do not understand how this article was different from any other editor who had a bad experience at Wikipedia and probably never contributed to any other Wikimedia project or even a wiki.
Agastya Chandrakant ⚽️ 🏆 🎾 🎬 🎤 📰 04:26, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Well, yes, it did seem to me the blogger didn't grok some of the principles on which Wikipedia works, in addition to not comprehending that Wikinews works differently from Wikipedia. Hence my earlier remark limited to their criticism of Wikipedia as a news source. --Pi zero (talk) 05:14, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Voting has begun in 2017 Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees elections

19:14, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-19

02:24, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-20

21:48, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Join the next cycle of Wikimedia movement strategy discussions (underway until June 12)

21:08, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia's attempts to effectively handle current events

In Wikipedia, the community is drafting a proposal to limit the amount of articles about current events. How do we react to this? --George Ho (talk) 05:53, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

@George Ho: I aspire to not get sucked into these Wikipedian policy debates; a Wikinewsie doesn't have time for such things, and it's generally not rationally based anyway. They'll do what they do. It's always been rational for Wikipedia to not meddle in real-time news coverage, which they are fundamentally unsuited for because their workflow hinges entirely for its success on the axiomatic assumption that there is infinite time available in which to sort things out. From a Wikinews perspective, there's no big short-term "opportunity" in it, because we can only increase our operating capacity slowly; it would have been more short-term useful to us if they'd enforced their own policy from eight or ten years ago, when our currently-active-community was larger. I'm afraid that, not to my credit, I have trouble seeing this as a benevolent sisterly impulse toward us; with the big fuss recently over "fake news", it's come to their attention that news coverage is really hard, and so they want it to be somebody else's problem. Which it should be, of course, but that was always true. --Pi zero (talk) 11:23, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Wikinews Reporters on Blogspot

No update since '09. Anyone who would like to update it?
acagastya 13:55, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-21

22:02, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Start of the 2017 Wikimedia Foundation Funds Dissemination Committee elections

21:06, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Tech News: 2017-22

12:18, 30 May 2017 (UTC)