Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/Archive/19

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How to preserve a scoop?[edit]

This story was written about a day ago, but it has yet to be published. When it was written, it was (according to google news) only the second English language article on the story, after the Al Jazeera piece cited as a source. Since then, many have been published. Is there anything I can do in the future to expedite an article like this? Thanks, --Shunpiker (talk) 15:08, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

You could try marking the story with {{breaking review}}, which will bring it to the "high-priority" review list at the Newsroom. That should bring it to the attention of other reviewers. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:43, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Anyone think the box on top (The following 3 articles need to be reviewed:) should denote "Breaking" somehow? Calebrw (talk) 03:41, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
It does now. Bawolff 21:30, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Proposed new global policy: m:Biographies of living people[edit]

There is a proposal for a new global policy regarding biographies of living people. Comments, suggestions, and other input are welcome at m:Talk:Biographies of living people. Cheers. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:58, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Ugh. We don't have BLP, and for good reason. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:33, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with this comment [1] made by Brianmc (talk · contribs), at m:Talk:Biographies of living people. Cirt (talk) 08:07, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Wikinews doesn't do 'biographies' nor do we publish unsourced claims. Our use of the review process and Flagged Revisions insulates us from this. I see no harm if meta wants this policy as long as they agree that a sourced news story doesn't amount to a biography. --SVTCobra 00:37, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

A few thoughts about the accreditation process[edit]

Recently, we've been receiving a few ARs from users who have not edited here, but are active on foreign language editions of Wikinews. I never can decide which way to vote in such requests. To one side, they are frequently good contributors to their projects, and accreditation would help them greatly in original reporting. On the other hand, I usually can't read in their language, so I am unable to judge whether or not they would make good ARs based on their contributions on other projects. Maybe each language edition should set up their own AR system, instead of coming here to request it? I want to hear what others folks have to say on this. Tempodivalse [talk] 17:04, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it might be best to do this by language/project. Cirt (talk) 22:00, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Please also read this related discussion: Wikinews_talk:Accredited_Reporter_ID#Accreditation_beyond_Wikinews --SVTCobra 01:20, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

A wikinews-wide accreditation process would have to go up to meta. I don't have a problem with that, but I suspect we'd quickly run out of @wikinewsie email addresses - there is a limit of 100 mailboxes on the hosting account.

I agree with Tempo that it is difficult to assess non-English applicants, but less so for an accreditation process for Commons photographers - hence proposing that first. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:51, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Abysmal treatment of newcomers - Wikinews as an Orwellian state[edit]

I recently (4 May 2009) submitted an article called "Thin non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags banned in South Australia". It was blocked from publication with minimal and inadequate explanations, then altered by another contributor who didn't bother to comment on their changes. Now THIS NEWS ITEM HAS CEASED TO EXIST - it doesn't even remain as a disputed, unpublished article. All record of it on my "my contributions" page has vanished. This is straight out of George Orwell's "1984"! Wikinews, it seems, has been annexed by some Owellian Ministry of Truth! --Miropolitan (talk) 15:00, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

No it hasn't. Things get deleted all the time. Once something is {{stale}} it just happens. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:02, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Once a news article has become stale, that's it. We simply can't publish news items that are more than a few days old, because then they are no longer news. This is frustrating, I understand, and all of us have at one point have had an article deleted due to it being too old. There's a saying around here, and that is: Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news. Please don't let this discourage you, this is just the way we run things around here. Part of the reason why your article was deleted, I think, is because there were some problems with it that made it unsuitable for publishing, and the concerns were not addressed in time for the article to remain recent news. (P.S. If you think you can rescue the article, I can easily undelete it for you and move it to your userspace, which makes it exempt from this sort of deletion.) Tempodivalse [talk] 15:06, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
The actual article was Thin non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags banned in South Australia, admins can review the edit history and contents on this. Firstly, the final placement of {{review}} was done with a {{cleanup}} template still in place and little or no work done to address the concerns expressed in the template.
You royally screwed the start, your initial article creation had the edit summary "Created using information from sources, plus this reporter's observations, interpretation and implied commentary. Accompanied by photo by reporter". Fail. "reporters obervations, interpretation and implied commentary" are all elements of editorial work which is not permitted on Wikinews. This was still a problem at the last attempt to get it reviewed - it ended up tagged WN:NPOV.
There is no Orwellian conspiracy, and if you know your literature about fictional fascist totalitarian states a more appropriate comparison would have been Fahrenheit 451 where they burned the books.
There is one point to add to our rules laid out in the style guide from this... Never use html markup within an article body unless there is absolutely no alternative. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:15, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

For anyone who's interested, here's a copy, Miropolitan/Thin non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags banned in South Australia, of the deleted news article. --Miropolitan (talk) 16:04, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

This would have been a great article, if the issues were addressed in a timely matter. I am not sure, as I have not yet looked, but I believe I was the one who deleted it. I thought the story essentially was a good one, but the format in which the article was, at the time of deletion, was just not up to Wikinews standards, according to WN:SG. I don't like deleting articles that have great potential. It is sad to have to do so. But if they don't meet the requirements, then they are tagged and deleted (deleted according to the tag[s] and what not). If this story can still be fixed, updated, or recent sources found, then I would like to see it published. Maybe contact some people involved with the situation and throw some Original Reporting in there, which would take the staleness away. DragonFire1024 (Talk to the Dragon) 16:57, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Mr McNeil makes a valid point about the use of html, instead of the wikimedia markup language. But the claim that the article lapsed from compliance with WN:NPOV mystifies me.
I think cooler heads will agree that it is very impolite and unhelpful for Mr McNeil to tell Miropolitan: "you royally screwed the start".
I worked on about a dozen articles. Half of them ended up being published. I stopped contributing because I found Mr McNeil shockingly aggressive and incivil. I decided I didn't have to put up with what I regarded as Mr McNeil's serious abuse.
I offer my good wishes to all the remaining wikinews contributors who can be polite to newcomers. I am offering this comment because I got an email alert that someone had left a note on my talk page -- one directing me to this discussion.
With regard to the future of wikinews -- Mr McNeil told me (paraphrasing from memory) that because News became stale so quickly he couldn't afford to waste time being civil. If I am not mistaken Wikinews is not an independent project -- that it uses computer resources provided by the wikimedia foundation. I urge cooler heads here to force those who are not prepared to be civil to step down from their administrative posts, so that their bullying and abuse has less impact. If the wikimedia foundation is committed to collegial cooperation and civil discussion, and the wikinews senior administrators are not committed to civility, I think cooler heads should anticipate that the wikimedia foundation may be compelled to shut down wikinews as a failed experiment.
As I wrote above -- best wishes to anyone here who does their best to play nice to others. Geo Swan (talk) 17:41, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Ah, diplomacy... The art of saying 'nice doggie' until you find a big enough rock. I will freely admit I am cynical and can be crotchety. I don't suffer fools gladly, or more accurately don't entertain foolish behaviour.
Perhaps we should push people more towards featured articles to see where they're going wrong - despite my efforts to develop a better project introduction with {{Howdy}} people seem to only look at their own work and not work that has passed publication criteria.
Now, to address one specific point in my remark about Miropolitan's work, it may not be nicely worded about his failing to meet WN:NPOV and telling everyone so in an edit summary but it set the whole tone for how this article progressed to the dustbin. That includes the accusation of regular contributors acting in an Orwellian fashion, and a predictable response to this hackneyed burst of drama. I must thank Geo Swan for further contributing to the drama, but then he might not find it amusing that I keep a tub of fridge-spreadable sarcasm.
I do not believe the userspace copy of this article has the full edit history to see who said what in edit summaries, what tags they added, and how things on the talk page progressed. That the article stuck around for around 2 weeks shows there was a fair chance given to improve on it. To the end it contained non-NPOV editorialising. This - perhaps as much as anything - is a fault of many media outlets who make no distinction between editorial and news. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:04, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
I think one of the main issues here (based on just a quick read through) is that the originating author didn't know what happened to his article (as in is upset more over not knowing the why it was not published, rather than the fact that it was not published. ). It makes sense people would be mad if an article they put time and effort into just "dissapears" with no explanation. Bawolff 23:50, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
There seems to be a systemic problem at Wikinews, in that failure should be a major learning experience, teaching far more than success, but instead failure here is apt to be a black hole that work disappears into. I had one of these anti-experiences not too long ago, and — with absolutely no ill will on anyone's part — had to fumble through several rounds of questions in order to find out what I ought to do differently in future; somehow, the whole dynamic of the system seemed to be working to discourage learning. There ought to be some way to rechannel the system so that it maximizes learning from failure, rather than minimizing it... Pi zero (talk) 02:32, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
That seems to be the case sometimes. In other cases people 'click' with the project relatively quickly. I think, for editing simplicity if nothing else, that should be covered in a follow-up subsection. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Where do things go wrong for newcomers? - General discussion[edit]

I'd invite people to lay out their own subsection here once they've read through the points below. Mark as a L4 heading with '====' either side. Try to condense into max 3-4 paragraphs. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Long-time contributor: brianmc (talk · contribs)[edit]

Pi zero (talk · contribs) has a very valid point, Wikinews regulars have not focussed on recruitment, training, and retention. To the newcomer it has the potential to seem like "THE RULES" are in a locked filing cabinet hidden in a disused toilet in the cellar where the stairs are gone and the lightbulb has blown. I've made an effort to address the availability of information with {{Howdy}}; there's been little feedback on that other than to remark on it being "pretty".

Issues such as copyright violation are, as anyone from another wiki would expect, dealt with using a blunt instrument. I've failed my own share initially because they violate some other policy, usually WN:NPOV. Opinion and preconceptions colour far too much of the news we read or watch, much of commercial news is bought and sold by the rich and powerful. This influences some people to have a biased outlook - why else would people cry for, and vote for, tax cuts that don't help them but help the top 5-10%? The flip side is those like Neutralizer (talk · contribs) who subsist on a diet of conspiracy theories and anti-establishment sentiment. Things get ugly when people at these poles think their point of view represents WN:NPOV; inbetween the poles people may not be so strident about their 'rightness', but they don't see the criticism as actually applying to what they've written.

NPOV is supposed to kill off those biases, but until people take a critical look at how their preferred news sources 'spin' or editorialise content and omit valid widely-held views, they'll not really get to grips with it. As an example, try watching Al Jazeera for a few days. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Yearling: Calebrw (talk · contribs)[edit]

I think brianmc (talk · contribs) has hit the nail pretty much on the head. I does seem as if "The Rules" are locked somewhere and in a sense they are insofar as they should not be changed in a major way under normal circumstances. However, there must be a better way to communicate the rules of journalism to new contributors, and if as Pi zero (talk · contribs) says I too believe that there is a failure in the way in which failure in your first article is not made to be learning tool, but rather leads to a "black hole that work disappears into."

The problem could stem from the fact that so many of the contributors to WN are old hands and are set in their ways: that being, write an article here and there, review a few, and I'm done for the day. At the same time, Wikinews doesn't have the userbase of other WMF projects like Wikipedia and therefore doesn't have the same talent pool.

Moving forward, Wikinews must to a better job on areas related to "recruitment, training, and retention." I think Wikinews needs to find a way to market itself a bit better, so that we see some increased readership. Sure 100 pages views (for an article) and hour is great, but I believe we can do better than that. Calebrw (talk) 19:41, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

People see news every day, but what you read or watch can screw your ability to differentiate between editorialising and plain presentation of facts. I think anyone who relies on Fox for their news coverage is screwed when it comes to contributing to Wikinews. Other channels and newspapers have this same issue of blending editorial with news and expressing an opinion. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:33, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Where do things go wrong for newcomers? - As seen from established user viewpoint[edit]

Regulars first, a sort-of what are the reasons for tagging, reluctance to review, and so. Add additional points or comment on those here. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

  • What are the most common problems with articles? Are there specific guessable reasons for these?
  • What puts people off reviewing articles?
    Too many sources, three or four paragraphs with a dozen sources is OTT. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:37, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
    I think this issue could perhaps partially be addressed by using a more wikipedia style sourcing system, so that reviewers could tell which source is used for which piece of information (see previous proposal) Bawolff 23:18, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Do people fail to check the newsroom?
    The obvious approach would be to add developing DPL back to the main page (however than google news + articles with numbers would not get along). Bawolff 23:18, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Where things go wrong for newcomers? - The newbie perspective[edit]

Newer contributors, where have things been difficult, hard to understand, and so? Comment on points or add more. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

  • How do guides and policies fail to bring people up to speed?
  • Are article tags difficult for people to understand?
  • Is unfamiliarity with Wikinews an issue? Do people arrive with incorrect assumptions from Wikipedia?

  • How can newcomers get derailed before the rules of journalism even become an issue?
I'm not sure whether this falls under one or another of the above points, nor which one if so (nor even whether I can quite pass as a newbie anymore... though I certainly don't feel "established").
If you come to something with the wrong expectations, you may then systematically misinterpret all your subsequent experiences of it through the distorting lens of those expectations. Here are some things that I really wish had been (successfully) explained to me when I first came here (eight months ago), and that I'm only just figuring out now, in gathering together my thoughts for this discussion.
  • Why is Wikinews?
I didn't even notice, until composing these comments, that I wasn't really told this when I first arrived. It should have been stated, early and often, simply and clearly and with infectious enthusiasm, in a way that would make obvious intellectual sense. It should be one of the two most basic questions answered when welcoming newcomers (along with "how to edit a page" or the like). Wikipedia boasts that it is the free encyclopedia than anyone can edit, and proudly presents its Five Pillars. Wikibooks says it's a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit (which is very exciting to anyone who has had to pay the sky-high prices for college textbooks these days). Wikinews... has How to write an article and Neutral point of view. There are a couple of fairly unobtrusive links from the main page to Wikinews:Mission statement, which, well, is what it is; it takes its time about getting to the point of what makes Wikinews unique, and when it gets there it isn't terribly pithy and never really catches fire. There's also "The FREE news source you can write!", with that last being a link to Wikinews:Wikinews needs you!, and that at least has some enthusiasm, but somehow it fails to convey a simple, exciting niche for Wikinews in the big picture, and quickly turns again to NPOV — which also is what it is, although in another context neutrality might be something to enthuse about.
  • Writing Wikinews articles is a largely solitary activity, a time-critical activity, and an all-or-nothing activity.
At Wikipedia one can (and I did) start by making very small edits to articles, and then watching the dynamics as those articles evolve, with many people like oneself making small contributions and some making somewhat larger ones, and each of our mistakes being compensated for by other editors. That totally doesn't work here. My mistaken expectation of Wikinews that there would be lots of people working on any given article was probably subliminally encouraged by the ubiquity of the "collaboration" tab here. My revised expectation now is that one person will usually have to write the whole article, and probably also fix any problems that are flagged out during review — and if the article doesn't succeed within a short period of time it drops off the edge of the Earth and ceases to exist, with no evidence that it ever existed, and certainly no opportunity to watch as problems with it are gradually fixed over time thereafter. If any of those things isn't true (so that I'm still deluded), then that too is something that was not successfully conveyed to me. IMHO it would make all the difference in the world if newcomers were told clearly about these things right up front, so that they didn't later slam into them without warning like a bug on a car window.
Pi zero (talk) 19:07, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Addressing the issues[edit]

As points move to a consensus and link up regulars issues versus issues from newbies, points to work on should be added below. What would be a better wording for a tagging template? Do we need new templates - say, for user talk to alert newbies of issues faster? Should tagging templates link to a 'Plain English' page that excerpts from the relevant policy? I'd like to propose this be worked on to produce WN:TODO as a shortcut to Wikinews:Things to do, a list of points to get people up to speed, and keep actions working towards that getting done. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

I think we do need more plain English guides on how to write proper news articles. Journalistic writing is like no other style of writing that most people do on a daily basis or learn in school. {{howdy}} is good, but I think there is still a disconnect between new writers and they style in which Wikinews is written. We saw that even people that write in a journalistic fashion can be a bit disconcerted by writing for Wikinews, i.e.: Mountaineers 'Climb Up' for AIDS funding. (Where did the images go?) Calebrw (talk) 19:25, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Image got deleted as not having source/copyright info (see del log). based on the talk page it appears the image was contributed to PD. Does anyone know if a permission email was sent to otrs? This definitly looks like a case where we could get the image undeleted. Bawolff 02:01, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Images is a distant secondary issue here. If we can, I'd be in favour of putting the fair use upload above the free use upload - that way images are local and not there but for the whim of a Commoner. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:26, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Wikinews:Newsworthy and neutral is a start on an essay covering two of the points a lot of newcomers fall foul of in tandem.
  • Wikinews:Editorialising is something else I think we should consider starting. People don't seem to know they're doing it because people like Fox blur the lines between 'official channel opinion' and real, report-the-facts news. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:37, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to adopt a different approach with Credit card companies foreclosing without a mortgage note.. Left an extensive cleanup tag, and highlighted it on the initial contributor's talk page. Thoughts? --Brian McNeil / talk 13:25, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I think this is a step in the right direction. Much better than the generic cleanup tag which doesn't do much to explain what is wrong and how it can be fixed. It was a good idea to inform the editor of the problems on his talk page as well. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:27, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I suspect some might agree with me, but this doesn't seem to be having much effect on this article/contributor. However, someone has brought similar concerns up on one of the other WC sections. I said this discussion was ongoing, plus on on the mailing list. I suspect we need a separate Wikinews: page to work on this. Basically, to outline how to highlight faults that prevent publication or further work on an article. Do we need something on style guide failures? Do we need something on real NPOV neutrality? What? --Brian McNeil / talk 17:31, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
We have to bear in mind that no matter what we do, there are going to be times when people simply won't respond positively. However I definitly think thats a step in the right directions. I think using user talk pages in addition to the article talk page is good also, as i bet there are a lot of newbies who simply don't know article talk pages exist. Bawolff 01:12, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
In addition to more detailed explanations in hatnotes — yes, as has been observed, definitely a step in the right direction — the orientation of the notes could be facing more toward the positive, i.e., "here's what needs to be done", rather than "here's what's wrong". For example, the {{cleanup}} tag might, perhaps, read something like "A contributor considers that this article needs improvements, so that it is not yet publishable. The following necessary improvements were cited: ..." (I realize the wording is tricky; this was my third attempt. My first still had the bolded words "editorial cleanup", which were holding back its positivity, and my second erred in the other direction, implying that the problems cited would be the only improvements needed for publication.) --Pi zero (talk) 11:47, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I notice a lot of people talk about working hard on an article, to only have it disappear when stale, and not really learn from their mistake. We can't publish stale news, but have we ever considered late publishing the stale news? Say if a person starts an article in good faith, at a relevent time, but it has issues. If the issues are eventually fixed, would it be so bad if it got published, but with a publish date of say 5 days ago (or whatever). That way people would not get the negative experiance of having an article deleted, and perhaps they would learn more from the experience, and end up having a non-late article next time. thoughts? Bawolff

A few thoughts.
  • This idea sounds... rather exciting, actually.
  • Presumably the device would have to be carefully bounded to keep it from getting out of hand. Each story needs to be fresh when it's started (which may be obvious once said, but needs to have been said). An unpublished story that is abandoned gets deleted. It should be made clear to those involved that late stories get lower priority for review than fresh ones (so they aren't unpleasantly surprised when this inevitably turns out to be the case). And there has to be a tactful way to kill stories that go on and on without getting any closer to actual publishability; perhaps this would involve emphasizing that reviewers are a limited resource.
  • There ought, of course, to be something marking such stories once published as having a distinct status ({{publish|late}}?). Looking at the article, it would have some sort of identifying hatnote, and there also ought to be a separate place on the main page where late-news stories appear. The separate status would help reinforce that it's much better to get stories out while they're fresh, the hatnote would flag out when browsing the archives that one is looking at a story that was published late, and the separate place on the main page would help prevent the story from going unnoticed by the wider community after publication.
  • One other point that comes to mind (in the obvious-once-stated category): The {{stale}} template would morph into a hatnote identifying the special status of a developing story that is currently not fresh. Perhaps it would point out that there are three options that might be considered: Find newer sources, so the story becomes fresh again; move on to other, fresh stories; or develop it for publication as late news. (Maybe {{develop|late}} and {{review|late}}?)
--Pi zero (talk) 13:29, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I really like this idea as well. I tend to see a bit of pattern in the fact that some of the stories I do on sports are labeled stale after nobody reviews them. The problem is the stories will never be updated. Any updates will need a new story. Example: NFL: Patriots win the 2010 Super Bowl never gets published. However NFL: Goodell strips Patriots of 2010 Super Bowl, even though it is an update to the first story, is a completely different one and needs a separate article. Notes, just made these up and this would be an extreme case. Goodell is NFL commissioner w:Roger Goodell. For real-wold examples, please see National Hockey League news: April 27, 2009 and NASCAR: Brad Keselowski wins Aaron's 499 on last-second crash, seven fans injured. These are two articles I wrote that were never published. After they got stale there were deleted. The news in those stories will never change; it is what it is. The most that could changed would be the official time might change from (for example), 2:00:14 p.m. to 2:00:13 p.m. Calebrw (talk) 22:15, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
This discussion seems to have stalled, so let me try and revive it. While I'm not opposed to the idea of publishing late news, I do not think it is a good idea to devote a separate portion of the main page to old news, as Pi zero suggests. The whole point of news is to report on things that have happened recently, and it won't look very good if we have week-old events on the main page (especially under the title of "Late news". A possible idea would be to let the articles be published under the date when they were put up for review. This way, the article doesn't get deleted and the author doesn't feel upset that his story was deleted. Also, there has to be some proviso that the story has to be current when it's initially written (so we can't report on things that happened several years ago). Just my thoughts. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:04, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I really have to side on the {{stale}} rules we apply now. I could not accept something being published with a 2+ old date on it, and that for 90%+ of cases should be enough to bump it to current. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:14, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Case study of an alienated contributor[edit]

This talk page User talk:Dennis Melancon#Copyright violation details how one user felt alienated and accused of copyvios and ended up abandoning Wikinews. I am not suggesting that there are many like this nor that he was right; just thought I would add it here as it is recent. --SVTCobra 00:53, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

@SVTCobra (talk · contribs), the user deleted this talk page of what refer to, This contains what you need to know though. It's interesting case and does deal with the fact that Wikinews has no reliable method of confirming the identity of someone. Now WN:CV allows Accredited Reporters to be checked out and WN:A allows Admins to be checked out, but there really is nothing in place for users to be checked out by admins.
I certainly don't fault you on your approach, but one thing he says at the end is correct, at least as far as I understand it: I, as the sole copyright holder of a work, can license it on my site on one way, but at the same time can also allow it to be licensed on the WN/WP/Commons as whatever I want. It's easier for me to say, publish a news story about Sonia Sotomayer on my website and say, well, I'm submitting it to Wikinews and now the version on Wikinews is licensed under CC-BY-2.5. Same with photography. For instance, this image is owned by me, but I licensed it for use on Wikimedia Commons (WP at the time). However, I could take the original, resize it to the exact same size as above and still charge (say $5) for someone to use it. I would assume the reverse is true, as the sole copyright holder of the work, Dennis Melancon (talk · contribs) could relicense his work to WN under CC-BY-2.5 should he choose to do so.
SVTCobra, I don't know that you saw the last revision the user in question made however. That's why I linked to it above. Calebrw (talk) 22:04, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I did see that last comment. I guess a user like Dennis should put explicitly on the collaboration page that they license it as CC-BY-2.5 despite them publishing elsewhere under a more restrictive license. BTW I wasn't the one who tagged it as copyvio ... I was just responding to the complaint. --SVTCobra 23:44, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
From what i can gather, the user seemed to be unnecessarily combative. I don't think we were in unreasonable in this case. Bawolff 00:42, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I think Wikinews:Water_cooler/assistance#Pervetually_reverted would provide a much better case study of where we could do better in the future. Bawolff 03:16, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Football category renamed without consensus[edit]

I'm rather concerned at the rename of the football category to association football per aa alleged convention on Wikipedia. The move has no consensus anywhere on WN as far as I can see. The articles contained largely pertain to European football and so I oppose the move to a US naming. It may work on WP, where people want to look it up and find out what it is, but we are a news project and our naming should be aimed at whoever is most likely to read news on the subject - and that's mostly not people from the US. The US public also understands what soccer means, but much of the European public (that's readers, I think the editors here will all know the term) will give you a blank stare if you asked them about 'association football'. I propose that we move it back unless someone convinces me otherwise. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 11:04, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Links to the changes and discussion about this? Cirt (talk) 12:13, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
There is no discussion (or none that I've seen). The whole point is that this was done without discussion. The cat wasn't properly moved, it was created here with a summary that suggested a move. Category:Football (soccer) is now depopulated with the categories exchanged on every page it was used on (sample 1, 2, 3). I now see, looking at the user's contribs, that there's a large amount of moves "Per WP naming standard and to remove inadvertant subpage". I can support these per the removal of the subpage, but there is marked determination to force WP ideas onto WN. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 13:31, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
FAQs from Wikipedia article:
Q: I've never heard of this sport being called "Association football".
A: The term "association football" is the original name for the sport. However, its usage has diminished in recent years, with different cultures developing their own word(s) for the sport. Even the word "soccer" derives from the -soc- in "association".
Q: Why not just "Football"?
A: This is because there are several sports that are known as football in different countries. For example, in the United States, American football is primarily referred to as "football", while the same is true of Gaelic football in Ireland and rugby or Australian rules football in Australia. The title "association football" avoids any ambiguity over which code of football is being referred to, and also removes the potential for accusations of bias towards any particular code.
Q: Why not "Soccer" then?
A: In the United Kingdom, the usage of the term "soccer" is sometimes viewed as being derogatory, or an example of American culture being forced onto the rest of the world. Therefore, although the word "soccer" would be an unambiguous title for this article, there would be discontent from a large number of people who object to their word for the sport being ignored.
Q: What about "Football (soccer)"?
A: On Wikipedia, the placing of a word in parentheses in the title of an article is used as a method of disambiguation, with the parenthesised word usually being a set that the article's subject is a part of. Therefore, the title "Football (soccer)" implies that football is a form of soccer, which is not the case.
I don't imply that any one reason above works 100 percent towards why I changed the category and perhaps I did so sloppily, for which I apologize. However, I don't understand why the term "association football" is in any way American. In America, football is known only as soccer (outside of the soccer community), not association football or any other term. Furthermore, calling it just football doesn't work. While Portal:Football already exists to serve the needs of people who are looking to find articles on soccer/football/association football. The category is purely a category for internal use and I honestly didn't think it would be a huge difference. I may have been wrong.
I've done some reading on WP about the issue and there will always be somebody saying that one way or the other is wrong, however with association football you get a the "Do not promote any particular viewpoint" part of WN:PG covered as this title promotes no side, but rather one in which a proper name is used. In addition, WN:NPOV states "The neutral point of view policy states that one should write articles without bias, representing all views fairly. ..." and why this does refer to articles it could apply here as association football is a term that has no no bias toward one view or the other. Football (soccer) does in so far as as that it appeals directly to either English/American points of view, while disregarding those of Australian, Celtic/Gaelic, etc. football.
Furthermore, WN:NPOV#Anglo-American-centric_point_of_view states "The presence of articles written from a United States, Canadian, British or Oceanic perspective is simply a reflection of the fact that there are many U.S. and Commonwealth citizens working on the project. ... This is an ongoing problem that should be corrected by active collaboration from people from other countries. But rather than introducing their own cultural bias, they should seek to improve articles by removing any examples of cultural bias that they encounter." Association football has no bias. If it were up to me as an American, it would be Portal:Soccer and Category:Soccer, but it is not up to me to put my own bias on the category.
I'm glad that we can agree that the sub pages needed to go. Hope this isn't too long winded for you. Calebrw (talk) 03:02, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Comment: This whole discussion should have taken place before the category moves / depopulation / populations took place. I would strongly recommend changing it all back, first, and then after discussion, making changes, per whatever consensus we come to, here on this project. Cirt (talk) 04:01, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Cirt. You have now provided us with some good reasoning to discuss, but we should have reached a consensus here first (I also had no idea association football was never used in the US, my apologies, I was sure it was). To get to that discussion - I'm a Brit and I've never had an issue with "Football (soccer)". On Wikinews, unlike Wikipedia, we do not have such a method of disambiguation, so I thought it was actually quite an inteligent compromise. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 10:29, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
That may be a possibility, but I will not be able to personally for a little while. Maybe Thursday or Friday. Right now, I'm going to be watching the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final. Calebrw (talk) 18:32, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

My opinion is that Category:Association football is inappropriate and inferior to Category:Football (soccer) on a news site such as Wikinews. It may be fine for an encyclopedia. The fact is the sport is not commonly called Association Football anywhere. Even BBC Sport, the national broadcaster of the nation from where the sport arises, uses Football as its category. It is called either Football or Soccer (see overview of names) in virtually every nation. This list also shows that it is far from just the United States that calls it Soccer. If it should be changed it should probably be changed to Category:Football/soccer, but slashes have a way of wreaking havoc on the Mediawiki software's way of storing subpages. Therefore, we — in my opinion — should revert this change. Wikipedia can be useful for many things, but they are not always sharing our perspective. Cheers, --SVTCobra 21:57, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

False articles[edit]

I think now that we have just reached a consensus with Passengers on Air France Flight 447 sent text messages to family members before plane disappeared that articles shown to be (or likely to be) either false or deliberatly hoaxed we issue a retraction via the correction template we should probably make a policy on this consensus. Much of the problem was that there was no clear policy, with our verification policy directly competing with WN:ARCHIVE and the simple need for journalistic honour. A policy made now, where the arguments have just been had and consensus formed, should be uncontroversial to implement and would prevent a re-run of that long debate. Shall we start work on a page? Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 11:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

  • This is certainly something that we need to discuss. There are a large number of conflicting opinions as to what we should and shouldn't do at certain stages in an article's life and we need to come to some consensus on this issue. Yesterday's discussion unfortunately became clouded by there being two significant questions to answer; firstly, whether the article was appropriately verified and secondly, if not, what should we do about it. It seems to be the case that the answer to the latter question is that we shouldn't simply delete an article. Clearly that would be the correct course of action on an unpublished article but I recognise there are issues in doing that with articles that have been published. I would support Brianmc's actions though to go further than simply adding a correction notice and to actually remove the offending text, one of the benefits of doing so is it reduces the risk of the misleading article being indexed by search engines which wouldn't be helpful. Let's keep things simple, for any articles that have been published, if they are later shown to be largely inaccurate we should follow Brian's course of action with the recent article.
Perhaps in hindsight and with the understanding that the community seem to dislike the idea of articles vanishing however ludicrous they are shown to be, a deletion request wasn't the most appropriate method of raising this. I do wonder though whether the concerns would have received an appropriate level of consideration. Perhaps we could consider where such concerns should be raised since it is obvious that simply mentioning this on the article's talk page probably wouldn't be effective. Adambro (talk) 13:00, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we could combine it with the policy page (WN:FALSE?) so that a user could create an entry for a suspect article, comment on the problems and provide evidence that the material within is largely inacurate. Noncontroversial stuff (I suspect mainly small errors that will end up there regardless of how clear we make the instructions) could be quickly handled with the template without page blanking and we could debate the possiblity of completely retracting the article, as with the Air France story. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 13:06, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
  • This article - under current policy - was an 'edge case'. The author and reviewer should both have known about the problems that exist with cellular phones in planes; even over land this causes reliability issues; the plane was expected to be over water and well away from cell towers; in-flight microcells are currently experimental technology, and all evidence pointed to it not being fitted on flight 447. I can't comment on the reliability of the sources used to publish, were there any attempts to verify their reliability and how prone they are to running sensationalist material?
I think the problem of "What the #@$% do we do with this?" was where things fell apart. From a Wikipedian perspective deletion seems obvious - unless something is so widespread that this became w:Air France flight 447 text message hoax. A lot of people wading in on the debate were taking that, "it's bollocks, delete it" attitude. That's wrong for Wikinews, and I think the fact that we're having this discussion proves it.
I did not have the solution currently in place as a goal when I noted the deletion request and voted Keep; however, I was of the opinion that if found incorrect a correction should be there. My gut feeling on that was based on having seen the article advertised on Facebook. I can assume it was also shared via twitter - and potentially other sites. Basically, a lot of the core audience had already read it. To me, that meant it fell on the {{correction}} side of an article's lifecycle.
Here's a quote from Frank Zappa's "Trouble Every Day", a song about the Watts Riots...

And further they assert

That any show they'll interrupt To bring you news if it comes up They say that if the place blows up They will be the first to tell, Because the boys they got downtown Are workin' hard and doin' swell, And if anybody gets the news Before it hits the street, They say that no one blabs it faster Their coverage can't be beat

This story was too much "no one blabs it faster". Those with that attitude know who they are, and some retained belief in the story far beyond a reasonable position. There should have been a lot more " Keep but..." votes, a lot more effort to debunk or confirm, and a lot less credulity.
Anyway, I think the criteria for {{correction}} needs to go to a visibility parameter as opposed to a published duration parameter. As this is more judgement-based I'd suggest a Wikinews:Correction notices page (DPL of recent corrections, criteria used, examples of defining cases). Also a note on the WN:DR page for submission of published articles; something about how non-transparent or misleading a deletion could be, feeds into the discussion, and if a deletion is proposed leads to more " Keep but...." votes and debunk efforts. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:36, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Trying to create a WN:FALSE policy seems to be a dangerous place to go. News reports are going to get some stuff wrong, almost as a matter of course. How much needs to be proven false before a retraction, a correction, or a deletion? I really think we need to treat these things on a-case-by-case basis. A policy might leave a loop-hole for someone to remove news they don't like, based on a technicality. Cheers, --SVTCobra 23:17, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Promotion of Meekel (talk · contribs) to editor status per IRC?[edit]

Recently, Brianmc (talk · contribs) promoted Meekel (talk · contribs) to editor status, without any on-wiki discussion or an explanation in the promotion summary. When I asked him about it, he said that "we were joking in IRC, he said 'I'm not a reviewer', quickly consulted a couple of admins and we told him to get reviewing". My question is: is a promotion based on that valid? I'm not so sure, as IRC is completely separate from the actual wiki, and nothing there is logged, so there is no record of the discussion. Plus, lots of people don't use irc or are not there all the time, so one does not get much chance to draw up any concerns about granting the user the flag. I was just wondering what other folks thought about this. (BTW I have no objections to Meekel being given editor status - I would have supported him in an RfE - it was just the way he was promoted that gives me some concern.) Tempodivalse [talk] 14:40, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Meh, editor status is still an easy-come-easy-go type of thing. A request at WN:FRRFP doesn't require a vote and can be approved by a single sysop. Likewise, any sysop can demote a user immediately if they are sighting undesirable edits. That the request was made off-wiki is of minor consequence. Cheers, --SVTCobra 23:07, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, I suppose you're right, it doesn't really make all that much difference. As you say, editorship is supposed to be an "easy come, easy go" sort of thing. I guess I'm too much of a formalist. Smile.png Still, I like to be able to comment in these sort of things, and I'm not given an opportunity to do so if it's done in the irc, since I never use it. It doesn't matter though, Meekel turned out to be a very competent reviewer. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:26, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Sources versus External links[edit]

As this discussion page shows, there is dispute over when various items are appropriate as sources or as external links. My opinion is this is thus an area of policy that needs clarified.

  • External links is not a forbidden section. My intention when wording policy around this was to make it easy to zap people linking to their own blogs on stories and such, not ruthless suppression.
  • Certain items should not be listed using the {{source}} template as they do not have a real date of publication (eg. YouTube videos).
  • "Retrieved" should never be used in citing a |date= parameter. The whole push to a standard Month dayno, Year date format is to allow future automated manipulation of data by having a parseable field.
  • Sites such as YouTube make no claim to be a source of news.

This needs clarified so people will use external links sections where appropriate. I still contend that in the above linked article there can be zero justification for listing an online petition set up by Mr Random Internet User and claiming it is a credible source; it's existence may be newsworthy but I think this puts it in external links. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:41, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Comment by Cirt[edit]

  • External links sections in articles should be avoided.
  • Sources used to support text in the article itself should be listed in the Sources section. Sources not used to support material in the article, but recommended as a resource for further reading, could be listed in an External links section.
  • Sources that are static websites that do not have a listed date, could have the date specified as that when the website was last updated. However, I have found that it is accepted practice to use retrieved before the date of a website source, as it shows the reader when the writer used a source for material in the article, and when that link was retrieved. This is especially helpful to note a record of the date retrieved, when a website may later go dead.
  • It is helpful to format these sources using the {{Source}} template, as it helps to standardize sources and provide additional information.

Cirt (talk) 08:48, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Comment by Tempodivalse[edit]

I tend to agree with Cirt here, mainly per reasons I outlined at the discussion page of the Oklahoma trooper article. It's my opinion that "External links" should only be used as "further reading" that does not back up anything in the article text, while "Sources" are to be used to back up material covered in the prose itself. In this case, the link serves to corroborate some part of the story, so it should be placed in "Sources".

However, it's an entirely different question as to whether mention to the petition in the article should be made at all. I think that it's inappropriate to comment on the number of petitions in the article unless there is some evidence that the signatures are credible and not just forged by a single person. Tempodivalse [talk] 15:53, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

I didn't even think of the petition aspect of this, but this may be better for a different discussion. Calebrw (talk) 18:16, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Side note unrelated to current discussion: Petition removed from that article. Cirt (talk) 22:06, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Abbreviations and acronyms[edit]

This discussion sprang up at Talk:U.K. broadcaster Setanta enters administration. It regards an issue that is not well covered in our style guide. Here's a copy:


U.K. vs. UK

Unlike the U.S. which has periods, the UK does not in AP style. I believe the same applies to the EU, but I am not sure and will try to check. Can't fix the article now though. Calebrw (talk) 17:16, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

I have seen you cite AP style as authoritative before, but why? Imho, I'd prefer if we dropped the periods for all three; indeed we could drop them for almost any abbreviation. Lots of newspapers have done so. Our style guide doesn't have a lot on this but you can see acronyms instead of full names for what we do have.--SVTCobra 18:33, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Hart's agrees with your preference. Personally, I do not favour a rule that differentiates between "U.S." and "EU". It's arbitrary and difficult to remember. The idea that "us" is a word whereas "eu" is not, upon which this arbitrariness is supposedly based, doesn't really wash all that well with an international readership. ☺ Uncle G (talk) 18:50, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
To my knowledge AP style is used throughout the world when writing in a journalistic style. That being said, writing in the AP style is more heavily favored in the U.S. than it is in other parts of the world (and frequently, many publications have their own MoS that they use). However, AP style provides a great resource that breeds continuity, which at least in journalism is essential to proper understanding. Differentiating between "Bombay" and "New Dehli" (for example). I'm not purposing that Wikinews adapt AP style formally, but I do think it should be used to fall back on. I would also welcome further discussion of this as I may be to just America-centered in my views on this. We could move this to the Water Cooler. Calebrw (talk) 20:03, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
The Associated Press' style book should not be a fallback without good reason. What suits Wikinews and takes account of project limitations should be. I would choose U.S., U.K., and E.U. - not to conform to any country or region's mores or preferences, not to follow some other organisation's style guide, but because when these abbreviations are used as the starting 'word' in an article title they should be grouped together in the relevant category.
I would be happy to see this discussion copied to the water cooler with a brief intro, others may have better reasons for choosing a particular scheme. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:26, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikinews has not been consistent at all in its use of US, EU, UN, UK versus U.S., E.U., U.N., U.K., etc. It probably behooves us to come up with a consistent usage that we can: a) all agree to, b) easily point to in WN:SG for new contributors, so that they quickly adhere. Since we are a wiki, I think it is worthwhile to consider what Wikipedia has to say, so see also Acronyms_and_abbreviations at their MoS. I look forward to input in how we can become consistent without being confusing. Cheers, --SVTCobra 00:23, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

  • I don't have a logical reason, but I feel no periods is prettier. Bawolff 06:04, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
    • As I mentioned above, I too prefer no periods. Also, I don't think any of us would consider putting periods in FIFA, UNICEF, FA, FBI, CIA, or a host of others. I think think the simplest and most consistent policy would be to drop the periods in U.K. and U.S. Cheers, --SVTCobra 00:53, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Ahem! ☺ Uncle G (talk) 04:08, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Flagged revision[edit]

Hello. I've seem the page Wikinews:Flagged revisions/Requests for permissions but i didn't see the local policy to give the Editor/Reviewer status. Who can be an Editor or Reviewer here? Maybe I'll use your answer to make a proposal in pt@wikinews. Vitorbraziledit talk 20:31, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

It is automatic for accredited users and admins. Beyond that it's trusted community members who've demonstrated a wish to positively contribute.
We consider this an easy-come-easy-go policy. That is, we're fairly relaxed giving it and a handful of votes (with no opposes) is enough. It would be the same for removal too, but it hasn't come to that. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:35, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer! Vitorbraziledit talk 02:11, 27 June 2009 (UTC)