Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/Archive/7

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From one journalist[edit]

Hello, after a rough start with some of you I have had some nice conversations. If you would like to talk to me more about what one journalist who is not an official spokesperson for anything at all thinks of Wikinews I posted an open thread on my blog at along with some of what is left of how this all started.

I have two careers as a journalist and a social worker. I have been checking into assisting with Hurricane Katrina disaster relief because I am so moved by this overwhelming natural and social devastation striking my country. It looks like I have arrangements in place to go to Houston and work at a local counseling center there with refugees. I need to take care of some things locally and go pick up an iBook at the Apple store so I can stay online. This means I won't be earning any money for an unknown period of time. Thank goodness for credit cards.

Gareth Fenley

IRC override?[edit]

  • I was pretty excited seeing a story break where I am right now; Toronto.

I saw on TV that ,miraculously, all passengers are safe (as just reported from CITY TV with police and airport sourcing)..Tried to change the headline to reflect that..Dan100 would not allow the change and then Dčabrilo asked me to stop trying to move a page in development.[[1]] Then I noticed on the breaking news notice it says to "coordinate on IRC?????"

  • Bottom line; the alarmist "plane in flames" headline still graces the main page; 25 minutes later. Is this a problem???? Is IRC communication now mandatory? you tell me. So much for "breaking" news...very disappointed that a scary headline would be kept by editors after knowing the passengers are safe because of some "technical" concerns.Paulrevere2005 22:40, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
While I would encourage you to use IRC, it is of course not mandatory nor is it necessary. So, the bottom line is this: if you have access to IRC, try to use it, and if you can't then that's OK, too. -- NGerda 03:21, August 4, 2005 (UTC)
IRC is not now and probably will never be mandatory for any wiki project because - simply - IRC is not "wiki." IRC is like email or telephone calls; it may be a useful tool to speed up communication as a suppliment to the normal wiki process - but it is only a suppliment. -- Davodd | Talk 17:56, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

IRC is a waste of time hang out... a water cooler of sorts. Fine if you go there (I do), fine if you don't (I also don't). Topics discussed there are informal and should remain so, it's simply chat. -Edbrown05 22:51, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Paul, I asked you to stop moving it as it was causing a lot of edit conflicts and made a mess of redirects (though the title you were proposing was just fine), it was not related to what we were talking about on IRC. (i.e. we did not "decide" anything there). --Dčabrilo 21:14, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I'm talking about this image; It reads to me, and likely to newbies, that to be involved in a breaking news story & part of the wikinews community, you need to jump into IRC. Paulrevere2005 00:25, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Breaking news
This article is breaking news. Article may change rapidly. Cite all sources used. Please consider joining our IRC channel to help co-ordinate work.


Please join our IRC channel to help co-ordinate work can be modified to be less demanding, although please and help are fairly nice words. -- NGerda 00:30, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

I softened the wording earlier today. Dan100 (Talk) 17:41, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

Cool, it seems that nobody else has a problem with it so let's just leave it as is(post Dan's adjustment) as far as I'm concerned. Paulrevere2005 18:26, 18 August 2005 (UTC)


Is there some sort of official Wikinews credentials badge type thingy? What happens if we're doing some of that good ol' original reporting and someone asks to see credentials? Is there a policy for this? --Aciel 19:12, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Aciel, there is WN 'accreditation', but I can't locate it for you. Perhaps another can be of more help. - 19:22, 5 August 2005 (UTC)
Here you go, Wikinews:Accreditation_policy --Cspurrier 22:30, 5 August 2005 (UTC)


I think it's time for Wikinews to get some sort of license better than Public Domain. I don't think a GFDL would be good becuase it is quite restrictive and would pretty much kill the Printed Wikinews & Audio Wikinews projects. I like the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License because people are free to do what they want with the work, just as long as they quote the copyright holder.

My only question is... Would that just mean they (the people who copy articles from Wikinews) write "From Wikinews", or would they also have to write the name of every user that contributes to the article?

--Munchkinguy 02:33, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

  • I think "From Wikinews" is acceptable on non-original items, however for OR items we might want to consider giving the credit to the Wikinewsie(s) who contributed significant amounts to the item. --Mrmiscellanious 03:00, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Should we set up a poll? --Munchkinguy 16:38, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
The disussion about a license for Wikinews affects all versions of Wikinews. There is a straw poll on meta. They discuss this topic on the mailinglist, too. --SonicR 16:49, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I've also heard that Wikinews isn't "officially Public Domain". Creative Commons offers some way of releasing your stuff into the public domain. Just follow this link, fill out your email, title of work, and the copyright holder. --Munchkinguy 19:12, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

Allowable User Names[edit]

I am new here. One of your administrators does not like my user name and insists I change it. Please lmk where the user name rules are. Thank you. NPOV 00:26, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Please see Wikinews:Username. You might be seen as impersonating an official enforcer of the NPOV policy. As a note, I believe you ran into a similar situation on wikipedia. --Chiacomo (talk) 00:31, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
It seems the administrator wishes to cut and paste the talk page discussion here so here was my response to what he said above;By the way, I resent the slur related to what you think I may have run into on Wikipedia.It's not true as far as I know and I only started using this name there today; so I'd apprciate an apology for that transparent effort to make me look like a troublemaker. NPOV 00:31, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Ok; as you can see from Wikinews:Username"Don't create user names that are offensive or attempt impersonate another user" my name does not break the rules. I think it is disturbing that an administrator here would be so insistent about forcing his will upon a new participant (see the talk pages)..but if that's the way it is..its fine with me; I have other things to do. NPOV 01:25, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I have amended that page to ask users to please not create potentially confusing usernames. Dear NPOV — I would be glad to rename your username to something else. -- IlyaHaykinson 02:36, August 16, 2005 (UTC)
  • I'd like to take this matter to the entire community. I do not like the way this is being dealt with and I also do not think there is anything "confusing" about my user name. NPOV 03:16, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I assume I have the right to change the rules back to what they were before this dispute and have done so. Retroactive rule tailoring to support an administrator's impropriety(imo) is way beneath the ethics of this project. NPOV 03:16, 16 August 2005 (UTC

  • It seems the community did not get to decide this matter as 2 administrators simply blocked my NPOV name. Therefore, I have assumed a new name. Hopefully this name will not break existing rules or generate a new rule. Neutralizer 17:30, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
    • I can only speak for myself but i think your earlier name was confusing, so i completely agree with what the admins did. ----

Undercover Government Agents on Wikinews?[edit]

Right up front I want to say I am making no accusations against any editor(s). But after reading the Defcon article[[2]], I think we all know that it is certainly possible that a government might like to have one of it's own operating here. Is there any way to avoid or detect such an infiltration? 23:31, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Seeing as we are located in the US, I'm sure all an agency would need to do is contact our hosting corp. to have it shut down or toned down. I think we're OK - but surely someone associated with an agency must be a user here, or contribute regularly. :) --Mrmiscellanious 23:40, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
Mr Miscellanious, this is a rather absurd accusation. You should be embarassed about it. We have here in the United States the First Amendment, which I will defend to the death if necessary. There is absolutely zero chance of anything like what you are suggesting happening here. Believe me, if I am ever contacted by any government agent depanding that we shut down or tone down a story, it will be a huge international news story. Period. --Jimbo Wales 14:59, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
  • The way I see it is that when governments become repressive or even fascist; it doesn't usually happen overnight. Hitler came to power long before he started killing Jews. The process always includes fear of perceived and real government powers and also a sense of patriotism whereby the citizens feel they have to "protect" their government and society by censoring themselves and others; and by reporting others; in effect becoming citizen informants. So,unfortunately, that seems to be the direction America/UK is headed and since wikinews(English) has so many westerners, it's predictable,imo, that we would also head in that direction(more self censorship and "patriotic" support for our governments). I don't think the younger people here can imagine how pissed off I get to see that an american can be arrested for holding a protest sign[[3]][[4]] or singing a new song by M&M or an old song by Dylan (that apparently includes lyrics which someone may interpret as being a threat to the president)[[5]][[6]].
  • These new laws now in place (patriot act,threatening the President) feed the self censoring mentality and cause the citizens to empower the government even more; by abandoning what little freedoms we have left. Martin Luther King was convicted over 50 times and his marches on Washington would not be allowed today. Today; anyone convicted more than a few times for civil disobedience would soon find themselves unable to board a plane, unable to get a job, unable to get a loan and probably in jail for life; so the fact is; freedom of speech and the press have been severely curtailed and are close to being downright castrated. Even being a successful author does not guarantee one's freedom of speech anymore[[7]]. "He(Hunter Thompson) sounded almost sorry he had threatened the life of Dubya’s dad during a speech at Marquette University. “To an auditorium filled with 3,000 Jesuit gentlemen, no less,” he sighed. He compared then–Vice President Bush to Nazi architect and Hitler buddy Albert Speer. Called him the “meanest yuppie who ever lived.” Described him as an “evil demoniac politician.” Thompson admitted to me, “I got carried away. I said in fact that George Bush is so guilty that if you of the Jesuit persuasion believe what your faith believes, then you would have to stomp George Bush to death.” He paused. “Then I called for a vote. They believed it, 2 to 1.” The old Thompson would have dismissed the outburst as funny, like the time he accused NBC newsman John Chancellor of spiking his drink with black acid. But not after the Secret Service came out from Denver to talk to him, and an “agent said my life might become a series of terrible misunderstandings if I even thought about going to Washington without consulting him first.”
  • From J.Wales comments, it appears to me that he may not realize how bad it has gotten in the past 3 years and,to me,Mr.Miscellanious's comments(and others) are more indicative of the citizenry shifting toward a general acknowledgement and acceptance of how one testicle of our freedoms of speech,association and the press has already been chopped off; and the bloody hatchet is in the air ready to come down on the other one. The only chance we have is to fight back like hell right now; but do we have the will?
  • So I have to agree with both Mr.M and J.Wales; The U.S. government can shut us down; but only if we(the people) let them. Paulrevere2005 12:12, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't think the objective would be to shut us down; but rather to control/mitigate our product selectively. 00:00, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
Mr. Anon IP, you have very valid concerns, however our advantage over any small group trying to infiltrate or sabatoge us is that the wiki process itself filters out that sort of activity. As long as more people are operating not on the behalf of the government than are working for the government, or any organization for that matter, it will be filtered out by the community. Regards, NGerda 00:50, August 17, 2005 (UTC)
Exactly. It's no problem if the government employs people to contribute on their behalf. They're welcome to. Ideally, all the governments, ngo's, unions, terrorist organisations, and corporations of the world would employ people to contribute to Wikinews. The result would be a lot more news, and if we're lucky come out reasonably balanced. - Borofkin 05:22, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
I ditto Borofkin's comments.The more the merrier. Paulrevere2005 00:13, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
I've encountered at least one person on wikipedia who i swear must have been a paid government misinformant with all the lies he was trying relentlessly to get into political articles. I was not alone in my amazement & suspicion. Kevin Baastalk 00:43, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Now that I think about it; 1 paid agent working 40 hours per week would be putting in as much time(and effect) as 40 contributors who only contribute 1 hour per week. Plus, those salaries could likely be funded from the bottomless "war on terror" slush fund. Paulrevere2005 18:49, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Again, a valid point, but consider the following. 1) You would not need forty hours a week to 'corrupt' Wikinews articles. There aren't that many. Perhaps they would shoot for Wikipedia too. 2) People don't necessarily limit themselves to an hour per week. If an editor notices that some articles have started looking kind of strange, they'll probably spend as much time as is necessary to correct them--or at least to bring all the odd changes to the attention of others. 3) IP addresses are recorded. I'm sort of new here, but am I incorrect in believing that people who regularly post shit are quickly banned?
In conclusion, keep a watch on articles you write, even long after they're no longer front page news. Keep in mind that Wikinews is an archive as well as a current events resource, and it's much easier to rewrite history than to rewrite the news. --Aciel 04:28, 22 August 2005 (UTC)
You're right about some things but if the government is smart, IPs probably won't matter too much. They'll just switch around different IPs (different ranges even) often enough that you won't be able to track them via IPs.
  • You've already got at least 2 as administrators!
You can see how they were exposed here[[8]] before the vote was arbitrarily aborted. Johnnyk 22:13, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Wikinews Daily Reach triples; Ravers?; Effect on policies?[edit]

I just noticed this [[9]] and I think it has a lot to do with this[[10]]. As I said on the rave bust discussion page; that article and its links seemed to me to fully exploit the medium we have at our disposal and resulted in a fantastic inclusive news experience. I felt like I had actually been to the event. Obviously, this new crowd of contributors may have somewhat different perspectives than many of us oldies; so I expect Wikinews will continue to embrace the newcomers and their energy while maintaining our core structure/principles. If some of our policies evolve as a result; so much the better; but this huge growth spurt(tripling from 60 to 200) is telling us that we just hit the motherlode..whether we realize it or we need to try to help,encourage,& facilitate these new contributors as they become more exposed to this project. The kind of welcoming messages that MrMiscellaneous sends out is one good idea, I think, I am wondering what else can be done to make them feel at home here? Paulrevere2005 18:05, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Take it easy Paul. We might be hitting 200, but the BBC is at 27,000! - were still small fry! Wikipedia is about 14,000. → CGorman (Talk) 19:39, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree Paul. I think that controversy and conflict are good for Wikinews. While it may cause some growing pains, edit-wars, annoying POV-pushers, it's good in the long run. With Wikinews:Project Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney I've been trying to get local activists interested in reporting on issues that they care about. If five locals get on here and give us a bunch of Indymedia style personal accounts and rants, we can all clean it up and end up with some pretty good content. I'm not having much luck so far though - I think perhaps I should get a little bit more controversial, e.g. Talk-show host calls 30A protestors 'a bunch of feral left-wing lunatics'. :-) - Borofkin 23:03, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

I think that story had very little to do with the traffic rank surge. A more likely reason is that we were twice within two clicks of the Wikipedia main page this week - stories for Lance and for the Peru jet crash. It's quite a consistent effect, which is why I encourage people to go over there and put {{wikinews|headline}} at the top of prominent stories. Dan100 (Talk) 07:19, August 26, 2005 (UTC)

I can't buy that explanation,Dan, unless you have a history showing the correlation you're referring to. I would expect this story similarity between pedia and news would happen all the time? Paulrevere2005 13:13, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

I haven't bothered noting anything down, but I've observed the effect many times. Bear in mind that Wikipedia has several orders of magnitude more traffic than us (and Indymedia, blogs etc), so even if a tiny proportion of their readers come here, that results in a surge in our traffic. Dan100 (Talk) 09:48, August 27, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps both explanations are correct. However, many blogs refered to the Utah rave story [11]. Several Indymedia editions and other news sites [12] used this article as reference, too. --SonicR 14:28, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree that it turned into an excellent article and showed a very effective balance between citizen journalism, with all its potential pitfalls, and good, solid news standards. I hope it will help people realise they can come to Wikinews to report what's going on where they are, from all walks of life. ClareWhite 14:43, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

The follow up was bad, including an illegal administrative censorship of a de-administratorship request. 22:51, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Original author withdrawing "his" story?[edit]

I am wondering whether it is wikinews policy that the "original author" of a published story that 6 others have worked on can unilaterally "withdraw" the story? That seems to be the direction this story is going in Montreal lab questions ethics of recent EPO doping claims against Lance Armstrong. CSpurrier has advised the original author on his talk page that he will delete the story if that 1 person asks him to [[13]]. CSpurrier is also making false accusations about me which conflict with the wikinews policies and guidelines "personal attacks"; but for the purpose of the water cooler; noone owns a story here and noone can have a story deleted because they began it; isn't that the policy? Neutralizer 02:08, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Technically yes, however exceptions can be made (ie. if only one contributor edited the article). While there shouldn't be a deletion of the article unless it's violating a policy (I haven't looked at the article myself), your point could've came across just as strong without making a personal feud with a member public, Neutralizer. If you are to become a regular member here, please do make an attempt to get to know us better before bashing everyone. --Mrmiscellanious 03:11, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

feud?bashing?everyone?Well then, I guess you could have just answered the question(maybe even looked at the article first?) instead of making a personal feud with a member public,Mrmiscellaneous, and please try to get to know us better before bashing everyone. Neutralizer 00:45, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
To answer the original question - no, you cannot retract anything which you write here. You are submitting it into the public domain, and therefore relinquishing all control over it. There is a clear and prominent disclaimer to this effect below every edit window. Dan100 (Talk) 09:44, August 27, 2005 (UTC)

Deleting requests for de-admin in the middle of the voting process[edit]

  • The way this was handled seems kind of scary to me. This particular deadmin. request (Mrmiscellaneous) likely had little chance of success;however, I particularly am concerned that the request was made be a new contributor and was deleted by another admin. In addition,the request did have supporting votes; but most importantly, what's there to be afraid of if the new request has so little merit? Is there that little faith in the community or the process? I don't know what's worse; having voted to see the voting process aborted; or never to have had the chance to vote at all? I think this is an important policy issue;

A; Should anons or newbies have the right to make such a request?

B; Who has the authority to delete such a request in mid-vote?

I thought the request re; NGerda was groundless but I would have never tried to stop the vote. Paulrevere2005 13:21, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Paul, the problem with the most recent request is that there were no grounds for the RFdA. None of the reasons cited constituted the misuse or abuse of admin powers. We, as editors, simply cannot allow spurious RFdAs, article deletion requests, etc... they bog down the already bogged down bureaucratic processes. As we grow, these requests will overtake us -- especially if we allow them to overtake us now. --Chiacomo (talk) 03:30, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
There have been very few such requests; and a community vote will quickly determine which ones have merit. The way this was handled , and the new rules(below) means that any admin in the future,with just 1 or 2 supporters, can avoid a vote and block anyone who tries to force a vote. That's not the wiki way,imo. Paulrevere2005 03:43, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
The problem is that if requests such as the one above are allowed to continue unchecked, they will multiply (like rabbits). Disputes between editors (one or both of which may be administrators) will quickly end up with an RFdA. This is unacceptable, in my opinion. The grounds for removal of administrative power are abuse of that power -- unless the person instituting an RFdA cites some (even alleged) misuse of administrative power, the request is spurious and can and should be removed. I will not comment on the policy change you refer to except to say that our policies are fluid and that we must remember that our purpose here is not to create or debate policy, nor to editorialize on news, or to provide lists of personal opinions, or provide hits to externals sites. Our purpose here is to provide a (nearly) NPOV, free news service. Ultimately, all of our actions should support that ideal -- in writing and editing and sourcing articles and in streamlining those policies that are required to smoothly run Wikinews. I am very grateful for your concern for Wikinews and have the utmost respect for your view of the wiki-way -- I don't believe we're that far apart. --Chiacomo (talk) 03:56, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
  • I'd like to hear some opinions from contributors who are not admin. and were not involved in the now deleted discussion re; the request for de-admin. of Mrmiscellanious. IMO it's the ultimate power grab for admins to supervise themselves. Paulrevere2005 14:22, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

View from a not admin: I didn't see any of this, but I am inclined to agree that such requests should be treated as discussions with the complainant allowed to have their say rather than being deleted. If requests do not fall into the right rules then it would be more educational for the entire community to be told why, rather than the discussion being 'disappeared'. On the other hand, tt may be that admins are more likely to be targeted in such a way because of their percieved special status, which isn't fair, so perhaps if complaints are deemed to be unsuitable for a de-admin request they should be moved somewhere else. When I was first here I thought I read something about a disputes place but I've never seen it, perhaps it needs to be given a higher profile. As well as giving people the chance to have their voices heard, it is the duty of editors to defend another editor as well when a complaint is unfair. Communication may be hard to follow but it is vital to maintain it, rather than bring in deletion policies without consultation which will raise suspicions like Paul's. Rather than being overly bureaucratic, it is important to allow these channels, otherwise people will be put off being involved ClareWhite 15:36, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Please see the brand new anti-wiki(imo) rules for dealing with de-admin.Requests[edit]

[[14]] This is not wiki and must go NOW! I can't believe the community will agree to this. The last line of Dan's new rules allows blocking anyone who tries to allow a vote to continue but not for anyone who tries to stop the vote. These new rules provide too much shelter for rogue admins. They can now simply delete any requests for their own deadmin. and then block anyone else who agreed with the request and tried to rv. it.Paulrevere2005 13:52, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Comment by anonymous user: Looks absolutely reasonable to me. Unfounded requests only bog down resources and can be abused for agitation. However, for safety reasons, the following should go: "anyone may object to a request for de-adminship, and render the request null-and-void.". Additionally, the admin in question should have no say in the handling of the request(which means that he/she also cannot remove a de-admin request or block the users participating in it) - other admins however should be able to that. If you cannot trust the admin-staff as a whole, then you've lost anyways and its time to start over.